Friday, June 29, 2012

Project 52 (26/52): On Cleo Caliente (And Why Radio's A Bit Sadder Without Her)

.:Project 52 (26/52): On Cleo Caliente (And Why Radio's A Bit Sadder Without Her):.

Aaaand that's a wrap!

Cleo Caliente recently left the Disenchanted Kingdom and radio in general last Monday, and it's a bit weird knowing she probably won't be coming back anymore.

I still remember meeting her like it was yesterday: less than a month into the Disenchanted Kingdom while they were still a morning show, I guested to promote my second major show, Bound And Gagged, and that's where I ended up being an unofficial part of the Disenchanted Kingdom for the past three years. It was awesome, obviously.

And then I just hit it off with Cleo. Things just fell into place. And I don't mean this romantically.

Three years of ups and downs and general insanity. Good times. Bad times. Times when you'd want to strangle each other. Times when no words are necessary and you simply understand. Times when you'd walk across Binondo on Good Friday, and see a guy peeing in a plastic bag in full view of you. It's gonna be weird not having her as part of the Disenchanted Kingdom now, although that certainly doesn't mean Cleo and I would cease being friends. Still, there's a pang of sadness surrounding her departure from radio.

Of course, most people who don't know me too well would probably never forget that infamous run-in Cleo had with a hotel, and how that issue blew up to a point nobody expected it to. It was one of those key points in my life where I realized that as a friend, Cleo was a keeper, and I became more than just a fan of her talent on air and outright a fan of her as a human being.

I don't really need to go into the politics or the behind-the-scenes stories because they're irrelevant to one simple fact: we lost one of the good ones this week. The most disappointing part about it is it could have been avoided, and everything about this situation could have been turned around to unprecedented heights if enough people beyond the DK itself actually gave a damn. But noooo...

Cleo's unique point of view, her ability to quickly switch gears from demure to witty to provocative to abrasive at the snap of a finger, and her sheer desire to better herself were assets that her station happened to be very lucky to have. Unfortunately, they just let her go gently into that goodnight. A whimper instead of a blaze of glory, through no fault of her own, or the entire team, for that matter.

A shame, really. I take consolation in the fact that better times lie ahead for Cleo Caliente, and she will continue to blaze a trail only she can. I definitely wish her success, and I'm sure she can kick @$$ in anything she'd truly put her mind into.

Godspeed, Cleo! You will be missed on radio, but the radio industry's loss will surely be a different industry's massive gain.

Here's to nearly three years of friendship, and to hopefully less running-into-dicks-during-Good-Friday for us!

Monday, June 25, 2012


.:Over A Year Ago, And Yet...:.

In 2010, I wrote this comedy article about Demi Lovato and her rehab, as I speculated about what the circumstances behind it might have been.

To this day, I get about one to two comments a week that I just reject, addressing my article as if it were serious, calling me a liar, among other things.

I'm sorry, but I find all of this pretty funny. What part of "comedy, satire, snark" in the tags made them think the post was even remotely serious?

.:There Goes That...:.

When LeBron James won his first ever championship after nine seasons in the NBA, I felt a bit bad about the fact that I couldn't use my LeBron jokes anymore, and I didn't have the heart to use the same jokes on Kevin Durant because I actually like the dude.

It's interesting, though. I mean, where does LBJ go from here, though? Will it be possible for the Heat to establish a dynasty, or was this just a period in flux before the next batch of superstars wrestle dominance away from the Heat before it can even truly assert itself?

Sure, I'm definitely a LeBron hater. I won't deny it. Despite that, it's an interesting mental exercise to see where he's going.

I especially want to know how Erik Spoelstra, for that matter, is feeling about the fact that he seems to be the only Pinoy making waves internationally who doesn't have Pinoys wanting to sing his praises to the highest heavens. Poor guy.

.:I Don't Understand...:.

Why people take you for granted and just take everything they can get from you, only to push you away the minute they find it convenient to do so.

I thought highly of you. I really did. Sadly, I find myself just absolutely disappointed instead. I wish I understood. I wish you just sat me down and talked to me, and made me see why you're doing this to me.

I really don't get it. I wish I did. Unfortunately, I find myself devastated because even when you shouldn't, you matter to me. Way too much.

All I know is, even if you wouldn't believe me, I gave you my all.

Film Reviews: Kimmy Dora 2, Prometheus, Rock Of Ages

Three film reviews in one go. I wanted to try and do a stylized "thumbs up" rating system, but I don't think I've figured it out just yet.

So maybe I will do that in the future when I've fully revamped how I rank films, but for now? Let's stick to the letter grade system, I guess?

.:Film Review: Kimmy Dora 2:.

Absurd doesn't even begin to cover it.

Kimmy Dora 2
Barely disproving how some things should be left well enough alone.

So. More than two years ago, I raved briefly about Kimmy Dora 1, which, to me, was a crowning achievement for comedy. Eugene Domingo showed why she was A-List level, and proved that her comedic chops have gone so underappreciated for so long.

Today, we hear people complain that she is overrated. How fickle the arrows of fate, indeed!

I don't really feel the need to focus on talking about the storyline, because Kimmy Dora isn't really a movie that was supposed to make sense. Sadly, the more they tried to make it have a semblance of structure, the worse the film suffered for it.

This isn't to say that Kimmy Dora 2 is a bad film, by any stretch of imagination. It's just that it had the enormity of the first film weighing on its shoulders, and it ended up tripping all over itself.

Given that I knew Alodia personally, it actually felt a bit weird seeing her try to be scary. I'm sure it terrified a few moviegoers, but with me, it just felt surreal, much in the same way it felt when I saw Trixie while I was watching the Temptation Island remake.

In any case, I enjoyed the movie, until it get to the really protracted fight scene, with Mura, a lot of stupid choreography, and a missed joke of sealing off the book using the packing tape they had a running joke on for a notable chunk of the film. I don't really feel like getting into the details too much, but the fight left me cold, especially when I heard the words "sl**" and "whore" about ten thousand times too many. Not exactly a very feel-good part there for feminists and their allies, I'm guessing.

Here's hoping they don't try to milk this franchise to the ground the way Enteng Kabisote has been doing, but hey, people need to eat, I guess.

On a personal note, I'm very proud of Alodia. A fairly good first outing, definitely!

Fun Rating: B (It could have been at least an A-, but the dragging finale ruined the flow of the film for me.)
Critical Rating: C+ (I think it was a little too self-aware for its own good, and started taking itself seriously at the same time. A weird, disastrous combination.)

.:Film Review: Prometheus:.

To think I'm squeamish...

A prequel to a franchise I never really followed.

This was the second straight film I ended up watching with Ms. NKOTB, and I just absolutely freaked out. Not knowing what to expect other than "this is a prequel to the Aliens film series," I really was unsure what the film was actually about.

It was a pretty start-studded cast, what with Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron, at the very least. Depicting the journey of the ship called Prometheus, they embark on a quest to find perhaps the people who created humankind, and gain answers from them. Except this encounter only leads to more questions, because now, we find out that our supposed creators want all of us dead. Why? What's going on?

I'd say much more about it, but I think I closed my eyes halfway through it. Still, it was a pretty good film, and the buildup to the payoff was pretty well-crafted.

Fun Rating: A- (Thrills, chills, and spills. Hard to go wrong with that.)
Critical Rating: A- (Excellent pacing, beautiful cinematography, top-notch cast. I'm sure I'd rate this higher if I were a fan of the Alien franchise, though.)

.:Film Review: Rock Of Ages:.

Beautiful! And the movie was cool, too.

Rock Of Ages
Musicals rock!

I am a sucker for musicals. This was awesome. Go watch it.

Okay, if that wasn't enough to convince you, then allow me to explain: Rock Of Ages is a musical set in the 80's Glam Rock era, where you have Los Angeles playing as the land of opportunity for wannabe singers hoping to make something of themselves, and perhaps doing a dance or two for the sake of a Paul Heyman analog.

With Tom Cruise playing Stacee Jax, the beleaguered artist who oozes amazing sex appeal and cracktastic insanity, the casting has been inspired, to say the least. Who knew that Tom could actually sing and sing very well? I mean, doing his own stunts in Mission Impossible 4 (Including that crazy building climb he did without using CGI or a special made-up set.)? That was scary enough. But actually singing his own songs? Possibly even scarier.

With a very engaging storyline that I don't feel like getting on, I was just happily singing along to the songs playing throughout the whole film. It was a great trek, and Alec Baldwin + Russel Brand was a thing of beauty, and my absolute favorite bit in that film.

Overall, if you like singing along to musicals, this is a perfect film for you to do it in. I understand some liberties were taken with the original script from the theater version, but whatever. Rock Of Ages was beautiful, and I don't care what the naysayers had to say. This felt like an episode of Glee done right, and that deserves a whole lot of props.

Fun Rating: A+ (I was singing along! That's the mark of a great musical, in my book.)
Critical Rating: B+ (It isn't really avant garde storytelling, but who cares?)

Friday, June 22, 2012

What's The Bus, Tell Me What's A-Happening?

.:A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum...:.

... Oh, I meant the radio station. This happened a few days ago, but I think it's still pretty interesting to share.

So there I was inside the bus, and as I was about to head to a seat, I saw a woman standing and pointed her at the seat I was supposed to occupy. She thanked me, and then I found a seat behind her in the rearmost row of the bus.

A man sat to my left, very shifty-eyed, and he seemed to be looking at the phone in my breast pocket and the iPhone the Korean to my right was holding. This was all, sadly, my realization upon hindsight, and it's not like I would have had any right to do anything about him before he tried to make a play to steal anything, right?

Stop clowning around or I will blow your head off!

Well, at some point, he seemed to be about to get off, but I noticed he was holding something in his hand. It turns out, this was a knife, and he used the shock of the knife and his nonchalant attitude to plain snatch the bracelet the lady I mentioned earlier happened to be wearing.

It happened in slow motion to me, but I realized that with him holding a bladed weapon and this being a bus, it wasn't a good idea to try and take him down. He could have accomplices, and even without that, it's a bladed weapon in his right hand. I felt a tad guilty I wasn't able to stop the criminal, but I was relieved that the lady, sans the stolen bracelet, appeared to be all right, albeit a bit shook up by the incident.

At no point did the conductor try to help or so much as ask the woman how she was. Neither did he try to help the other woman the snatcher victimized as he was casually strolling down the bus. I don't want to make any speculations about his complicity in the incident, but it was mighty disappointing he didn't even so much as check on the two victims.

Almost immediately after this piece of scum disembarked from the bus, another one stood up.

Yeah, it was a bus preacher.

But not a machine gun preacher, sadly.

So. Inside a bus filled with people who were just robbed by a piece of scum, what does this second piece of scum do? Why, fleece shaken and disoriented people for money for no visible cause. What was that money for? What group did she represent? Did she just casually ignore that there were at least three Muslims in the bus, too?

Did this bus preacher even give a damn that two people were robbed in the bus? Did this preacher have the sensitivity realize that saying "God is good, God is great" to two people who could have been stabbed is cloying and patronizing at best?

Probably not, eh?

I realize that for the most part, they are free to evangelize in buses, unless the conductors asked them to stop. It's not like atheists, Muslims, or other groups are prevented from doing it themselves. Then again, what are the odds that they're more likely to stop a non-Christian evangelist on a bus? Workers on strike tend to be ushered down from buses before they could ask for help from people.

True, I realize that there isn't really a law against them (Or is there?). But can you blame me for being annoyed at them? You keep telling me how good God is, and how he loves us all. Then you hook us in by telling us that IF we love God, we'd contribute to your cause. And then you hand us blank white envelopes, and we have zero idea where that money is going.

Your message couldn't have be made any clearer even if you were to brandish a bladed weapon while you told us how good God is. Or else.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 said it best: there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heaven.

So bugger off the bus and stop extorting people who just want a quiet bus ride home for the sake of your god. Or so you say. We were already held up once. You didn't have to do it again so soon.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Project 52 (25/52): On Dismissing Issues (Because They Don't Matter To Us)

.:Project 52 (25/52): On Dismissing Issues (Because They Don't Matter To Us):.

Two issues recently came to my attention the past week: the so-called bill to "ban God in the government" by Kabataan Party-List representative Mong Palatino, and internationally, the Kickstarter project "Tropes vs. Women in Videogames." Yeah, they seem to be as disconnected as can be, that is, until you take a gander at the kind of opposition both undertakings are currently facing.

In the Philippines, an editorial denouncing this secularist bill was published, and has found a lot of support from people who never even read the contents of the bill to begin with. Oh, look! It's exactly like the RH Bill all over again: knee-jerk alarmists who still think that Catholics are the victims when it is clear that they are the privileged group in society.

On the internet, Anita Sarkeesian was met with an unbelievable amount of vitriol over a video project she hasn't even done yet. Of course, it was awesome that she made nearly thirty times the $6,000 she initially required to carry out her project. Despite that, I don't think being subjected to the kind of online abuse she had to endure could possibly be justified even to the tune of $150,000++. Other Kickstarter projects have had similar success without nearly the same amount of cyberbullying.

When you look at these seemingly disjointed issues, you see an obvious, common thread: the opposition is mounted by people in positions of privilege. The average Catholic does not get discriminated against in the Philippines the way the average agnostic or atheist would. The average male would not get regular sexual harrassment while online solely because they're male. In both cases, the privileged classes, the ones whose entrenchment is both put into question and challenged, are fighting back. And how!

I. The Great Divide Over Secularism

This image never gets old.

Some people questioned the relevance of this proposed bill, saying that this does not represent the constituency of the Kabataan Party-List representative. Except it actually does. The youth are part of a global village more than the old guard are, and as such, should be more sensitive to secularism.

Not only is it relevant, it also simply upholds what should already be common sense as what our constitution has provided for: why is the government giving special treatment to a particular religion? Why does it have public prayers that naturally exclude non-believers, chapels funded even by Muslim taxpayers, and so on?

At no point does this proposed bill say that religion should be abhorred at all costs. What this bill is proposing is a level playing field: that the default assumption about a person doesn't involve their religious affiliation being Catholic, which, I am quite certain, you will notice happening a lot all around us.

Is this really so bad? This bill respects people's freedom to have their own religion. All it does is prevent certain religions from dominating the government's domain when church and state should actually be separate. You want to pray? Pray without the state having to enforce it. You want to go to church? Do it in a church that wasn't paid for with tax money.

It's simple: the minute you spend for a single Catholic church from tax money, it becomes valid for every other religion to ask for the same kind of consideration. So, in the interest of fairness, either all religions should receive consideration from the state, or not one religion should receive consideration from the state.

The reason religious people, especially Catholics, are pushing back against this bill is clear: they don't like not having these special considerations. They are so used to assuming that the default setting of every person they meet is Catholic unless established otherwise that when the default is changed to religious-neutral, they suddenly lose their privilege.

The kind of privilege that has allowed an archbishop nigh immunity from legal repercussions for multiple cases of sexual harassment. The kind of privilege that means we begin every session in congress with a prayer as if agnostics and atheists didn't exist, and as if a moment of silence wasn't sufficient for people of all creeds to pray to whomever they wish to pray to. The kind of privilege that allows a former president to lie through her teeth about her promise to not run for president again because "God told her to run."

Well, cry me a river.

We keep on claiming we want to live in a just and fair society, yet we are so willing to throw people who don't share our beliefs under the bus because it's convenient for us? This is just and fair? Really?

Look at it this way: if Christianity is true, then non-believers are already going to Hell after they die. Is that not enough? Why do we need to make the rest of their lives a living Hell by forcing upon them things they already do not believe in, to begin with?

You want to be a missionary? You want to crusade for your God? You are free to do so. Nobody's stoning those bus preachers, right? Just don't expect government backing while you're doing it. Check your privilege at the door, and use the exact same tools available to every other person who wants to become evangelists for their own belief systems, or even their lack of one.

The problem with some religious people is that they are so focused on the martyrs of old that they now forget they are no longer the underdogs: they are now part of the dynasty.

II. Misogynists Assemble!

A woman outside the kitchen? SEIZE HER!

A great number of male gamers called it unfair that feminists keep on harping on the issues of sexism in video games, either by denying this is an issue altogether while hurling sexist commentary at the feminists without a hint of irony, or derailing the discussion altogether by citing instances where men were supposedly also being discriminated against.

Here's the funny thing: nobody was telling them they can't talk about problematic depictions of men in video games. They were clearly just bringing these issues up to silence a woman who dared speak up about her issues. We can't have that going on, no siree.

Why don't these men who feel their rights are also being trampled upon start their own kickstarter? One of two things: they're either too lazy, or they themselves realize their problems aren't actually worth fighting for. And you know why not? Because the straight male is privileged, and virtually every discrimination that happens against a man comes with them not being "man enough" (Whatever the Hades that means.), not simply because they're a man.

Yes: misandry is brought about by misogyny, yet again! How dare a man become a *gasp* woman?!? Shocking!

It was like a beacon call just happened without anyone noticing it, and next thing you know, Anita Sarkeesian was swarmed by misogynists. It was a staggering effort, and it makes you wonder how much good these neckbeards could have accomplished if they did something better with their energy.

Nobody's saying that men don't have issues, but why are we shoehorning these in a discussion about women's issues? Some people dismissed this project as some kind of attention grab, all the while being oblivious to the fact that the men who want to shift the discussion to male issues are the ones trying to grab attention! They can always discuss their issues in their space. Why do they need to bring it to the one space set up by a woman for the explicit intention of discussing women's issues? Why the overwhelming need to dominate the conversation with our own agenda without giving quarter to the Other's agenda?

The trolls who wanted to silence Anita were doing so because the status quo was being challenged: oh, noes! No more sexy girl characters! Ridiculous. Men and women alike can all be sexy without having to be objectified. If a little sensitivity, just a tad consideration, can make the gaming experience of a girl gamer just a wee bit more enjoyable, is that really so much to ask?

Well, apparently, if you're one of these guy gamers, then yes, that's too much to ask! You know why it's too much? Because it puts in jeopardy the privilege males have had ever since society became a patriarchy.

It's the kind of privilege that has allowed Aris Bakthanians to harrass his own teammate and not so much as be slapped with legal action for it. It's the kind of privilege that has allowed men to not have to worry about random people asking them "dick or gtfo" while they're playing their MMORPG. It's the kind of privilege that has allowed men to say "women should be grateful they can even vote" as if this excuses every other instance of institutionalized unequality between men and women. Ever.

Well, cry me a river.

We keep on claiming we live in a just and fair society, yet whenever a woman gets on her soapbox to say something, instead of actually debating her, we just try to shut her up. Why is that? is it because she has something to say that could possibly upset us?

Here is a prime opportunity for dialogue. A chance to look at what a woman feels are problematic depictions of women in video games, that, if addressed, could possibly allow women to be somewhat less uneasy about playing video games. It could result in better sales for games, and by extension, better motivation to create more well-rounded and thoughtful games.

And we address this opportunity by telling her to shut up? Really? Really?!?

III. No, Really

Well, screw it. Maybe the issue of secularism isn't important to a huge swath of Filipinos out there, but it's important to me. And as a Filipino who pays his taxes, I believe I have just as much of a say in this lawmaking process as everyone else who also pays their taxes.

Maybe the issue of women portayal in video games isn't important to a huge swath of gamers out there, but it's clearly important to Anita Sarkeesian, and 6,968 people who gave money to make the project happen. As people who put their money where their mouth is, I think they have just as much of a say in this entire process as everyone else who disagrees with them. And yeah, this topic is pretty important to me, too, so count me in as someone who actually wants to see this series get produced.

It's beside the point whether you agree or disagree with either issue. The point is that there is room for dialogue for both issues. Sure, you're free to dismiss them (I did dismiss the whole Corona issue, after all.). However, this doesn't mean that your opinion on the matter will have a magical binding effect on stopping this dialogue from happening anyways (My lack of enthusiasm for the Corona issue didn't stop it from happening, after all.).

Privilege is only cool if you're the one benefiting from it. The more people realize that not everyone gets the same deal, the sooner we'd all be able to finally get to working towards a fair and just society, and not just some vestigial mockery of it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Some Things Just Fall Into Place Sometimes, But Some Things Fall Apart More Often...

.:The Dichotomy:.

... an unexpected greeting. A connection that persists simply because it's so easy and it just works that way. Time. Space. Circumstances.

Sometimes, the universe lines itself up to remind you that no, life isn't all about hardships and finding yourself scaling insurmountable odds just to find happiness. Sometimes, it's just right under your nose. Or right under your feet, even.

I guess, when all the pieces just fall into place like that, the only question that remains would be: are you ready for it? Did the universe align itself perfectly but in the wrong time? Or is it only you holding yourself back yet again?

I don't know if I'm willing to find out anymore.

Because true, things fall into place sometimes, but more often than not, things just fall apart. Years upon years of trying. Of being told things are all right, only for the lies to dissipate in an instant when the lie is no longer convenient to stand by.

And it's so easy to be angry. To point to the Other and say it's their fault. But before you do that, you can't help but feel... what is missing with you that you simply aren't good enough? What is wrong with you?

They say that love is patient. That love is kind. What they didn't say was that love is immune to pain. It isn't. Yet all love can do, when it is so true, when it is so sincere, when it means nothing but the best for that person who is loved, is for love to keep on keeping on. No matter the pain. No matter the hurt.

So where do broken hearts go, then? To stay where things fall apart after everything has been said and done, or to go where things fall into place without even trying?

I don't know, but all I know is I refuse to give in to the anger. I refuse to cheapen how deep my feelings run by lashing out and saying anything hurtful. I'm better than that, and she deserves better than that.

I just pray that someday, someone sees that I'm worth it, the way I have never ceased believing that she was worth it, after all this time.

If I stand all alone, will the shadow hide the color of my heart?
Blue for the tears, black for the night's fears.
The stars in the sky don't mean nothin' to you, they're a mirror.
I don't want to talk about it, how you broke my heart...

- Rod Stewart, "I Don't Want To Talk About It"

Still Disenchanting, As Always...

.:Still Disenchanting, As Always...:.

So there we were last Monday, just enjoying the kick-ass show King DJ Logan, Marf, Cleo Caliente, and (every now and then) yours truly manage to deliver on 99.5 RT, 6 to 9 every evening. After the show, KDL had this bright idea of going to Behrouz, as we were going to meet the owners of the place in Metrowalk.

Oh, yeah. The food was awesome. That much is a given. But what really got to me were the amazing stories they had to tell that night. How they do what they do, the kind of rigorous process they have to undergo on a daily basis just to make sure their food is fresh and clean, and even their very interesting love story, as things just fell into place for them in love and career in one fell swoop. With multiple branches in Metro Manila, you can just imagine how much ground they have to cover just to make sure all of them are running smoothly. It's a tight ship, but I personally wouldn't have it any other way.

And did I forget to mention that the food was awesome? Because the lamb chops and the ox brain still linger in my mind to this very moment.

It was quiet moments like these that made me very happy to be a part of the Disenchanted Kingdom, even if an earth-shattering announcement was made over dinner that night. We may not be flashy or bombastic the way other shows at our timeslot happen to be, but The Disenchanted Kingdom has typically been a fun show where people can just enjoy light-hearted banter and be themselves.

.:A SPIT Take:.

With the first-ever Manila Improv Festival happening sometime next week, you can tell that the time is definitely ripe for the amazing improv comedy group known as Silly People's Improv Theater, aka SPIT, to really make waves in the country and bring alternative forms of comedy to the national consciousness much in the way the Comedy Cartel has been trying for years now, all the same.

Of course, there are key differences, and as a fan of comedy in general, I'm very mindful of how different an act by a Vice Ganda and a John Lapuz would be from an act by Mike Unson and a GB Labrador or an act by a Gabe Mercado and a Kenneth Keng. That being said, it's really great to see that these different forms of comedy are really coming to their own, and hitting their stride as they reach audiences far and wide.

Last night, The Disenchanted Kingdom guested SPIT, and the results were phenomenal as Chester, Bibay, Aryn, Monica, Maliksi, Kenneth, and Gabe truly broke expectations, as King DJ Logan was clearly impressed by the sheer amount of entertainment he has missed right under his nose all this time. He was further surprised to discover that all this time, those little games he's been playing, such as Triple Threat? They're improv games, too.

The interview was pretty in-depth: from the origins of Silly People's Improv Theater, to the things they feel are necessary requirements for someone to become a good improv comedian, it really gave ample insights into the craft and the work that goes into improv comedy. How does one create laughter from nothing but random ideas by the audience and nothing but the most basic of rules to guide them along?

However it's done, SPIT has been doing it nearly every week for the past ten years already.

On top of the amazing interview, they even tried to push a scenario on me as a very cold audition. I was pretty miserable at it, but they at least saw I was willing to go through trilling like Regine, or jawing like Robin, while Logan matched wits with Gabe on the fly.

Then, the piece de resistance: a reggae song made up on the spot about what one thing women keep doing should forever be banned (I suggested "bringing up past transgressions."), which went over pretty well.

Well, what else is there left to say? I don't think I can sing the praises of SPIT any louder if I tried, so guys, if you're ever free from 28 June to 01 July, and you happen to be in the Makati area, why don't you just go mosey on over to Quantum during the evenings, and for 400 bucks, get treated to not just the amazing ensemble of SPIT, but even several other improv comedy troupes all over the world?

It's an experience that will not just be fun, but maybe even life-changing for you. You just need to let it happen.

Let the insanity commence!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Energizer And Nuffnang Power My Life Through My TV Remote (And It Just Keeps Going...)

.:... And Going, And Going, And Going... :.

Energizer and Nuffnang power my life through my TV Remote. And it just keeps going, and going, and going.

How long, do you ask? First of all, you have to know that we use our TV's quite a bit at home, mostly for gaming purposes. Here. Let me show you it:

I didn't eat for three months to get this TV...

You have to understand that regardless of how much or how little one uses a remote control for a television, it's expected that these remote controls will last quite a while. Maybe three months or so. Well, given how the pair of batteries we use on the LG TV were the same pair of batteries from our older TV that we sold to make room for the new one, this means that we've been using the same pair of batteries to power the TV remote for two years and counting.

And yes, it still works without missing a beat. No need to slap the remote or any of those silly rituals you have to do just to get your remote working when using other batteries.

That's why it's pretty obvious: they are the makers of the world's longest lasting batteries. Energizer locks in the power in ways other batteries can only dream of, and it's amazing that with such great power, they also come with such great responsibility. It kinda reminds me of someone I know...

Looks familiar, eh?

So yeah, Energizer has got it going with their batteries, and they, along with Nuffnang, have a premiere for The Amazing Spider-Man happening on June 29, in Rockwell. I'd love to go, if they're willing to have me.

Indeed, Energizer has powered my life through my TV remote. But there's one other half to the story... how has Nuffnang powered my life, having been a former part of the crazy Nuffnang family for the past three years?

I think it's easy to say how Nuffnang has powered my life then, and how it powers my life to this very day.

That's how.

No matter what happened, I keep going and going, and going. It's easy to see who I have to thank for making that huge a difference in my life. Need I say more?

Once a Nuffie, always a Nuffie.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Axe Anarchy Raid. ToyCon 2012. Utter Madness.


So after months of hard work, of planning, and orchestrating, the people behind Axe Anarchy Raid pulled off the coup of a lifetime. On 6.9, Eastwood Mall was witness to an overload of hotness, as 100 women ran after 100 men and 20 decoys to get a million bucks. After everything has been said and done, the internet sensation Ms. Petra Mahalimuyak ended up a million pesos richer, as did a fine gentleman by the name of Eric Losloso

I wish I could say I took a lot of pictures, but I was just so busy taking it all in that day that I barely managed to remember that I actually had a camera with me. I spent most of my time hanging around with Marf and Neil from 99.5RT as we just watched the whole thing unfold that evening.

There were a lot of gorgeous people, both male and female, and the spectacle drew quite a crowd. I was just amusing myself as I watched Ramon Bautista and Marc Nelson get things started onstage, explaining the rules, as the participants for the Axe Anarchy Raid paraded across Eastwood Mall. From there, the chaos just really boiled over, and even at the point Petra won, nobody could have been able to tell from the outside, as the whole event was so frenetic.

After the event, I met up with an old friend, Kimmy. It was great catching up with her after all that time, and it's pretty ironic, because another friend of mine, also a Kimmy, was one of the people handling the event that night, and I didn't get to talk to that other Kimmy.

That being said, I had my moment of Zen during the entire event, and that's really what I choose to hold dear about Axe Anarchy Raid...

Zen is an understatement.

.:ToyCon Madness!:.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to host ToyCon 2012's cosplay competitions, and as always, it was awesome!

Whether it was individual cosplay, or group cosplay, or even the hilarious Booth Babe segment, it was, as usual, one for the books. I think the key takeaway from those two days though was the part where Kristell Lim just went all perky and insane on us onstage during the Booth Babe competition. During awarding, when we awarded Jia Bustamante for winning the actual competition, I actually pointed to Kristell and told her, "It's okay if you didn't win the Booth Babe, but you won my heart," or something to that effect in the vernacular. We had a good laugh about that, and it just goes to show how far the both of us have come over time.

It was hilarious. It was cool. And best of all, we had a blast, even if one of the people manning the booth Kristell was part of happened to be one of my former students from Reedley.

Hindi tao. Hindi hayop. Pero hindi din daw bagay, eh. LOL

On both days, Alodia and Ashley were there, making the human traffic for days 2 and 3 just... well, wow. Still, it was great seeing them there, as it has been a while, and I had new fodder to tease Alodia with since I actually watched Kimmy Dora 2 earlier last week. She did well in her role, but familiarity with her sorta eliminated any of the scare factor she may have had in the first place.

In any case, I'm pretty glad to see the effort quite a few of these cosplayers put into their craft, and their happy faces as they strut their stuff. I know some naysayers keep asking them why they keep doing what they do, but hey, so long as they're not hurting anyone with what they do, then walang basagan ng trip. Obviously, this doesn't apply to the creepy photograpervs and other similarly objectionable elements of cosplaying, but you get my drift.

I did make a few notable observations during both days, but most of them were made at the spur of the moment, so I can't quite remember them, unfortunately. In any case, as a retrospective, yeah, I enjoyed ToyCon this year, and I'm sure that if the world still exists (and I still do) by the time ToyCon 2013 rolls around, I will enjoy hosting that one, all the same.

It's kinda too bad Cleo didn't make it in time during Saturday to host with me, though. I think it would've been awesome, as she was clearly surprised that I wasn't all nicey-nicey while I was onstage, as opposed to how I normally am during the Disenchanted Kingdom.

Ah, well. Onto the rest of the week, then!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Project 52 2012 (24/52): On Filipino Pride (And Why I'm Not Entirely Proud Of It)

.:Project 52 2012 (24/52): On Filipino Pride (And Why I'm Not Entirely Proud Of It):.

Insert generic patriotic image here. That works.

This will not be an "I hate being a Filipino!" post.

In fact, this will be a post to celebrate Independence day: the day we decided to declare to the world that hey, we are a nation that deserves to run this country as we see fit. We are a nation that would rather see this country run like hell by Filipinos than see it run like heaven by Americans. We are a nation that got our wish, for good or bad.

You know why I am proud of being a Filipino? Because of what we have achieved. I am not proud of being a Filipino in and by itself, because that is an errand for fools. I am not proud of being a Filipino for an achievement that I cannot take any part in, like punching a bunch of Mexicans so many times that I get paid the annual income of a tiny country every single time I do it. Don't even ask me what I think about the Pacquiao fight the other day because I couldn't even be bothered to watch any of his fights. I'm simply not a fan.

I don't want to get into this too much because I want to enjoy my holiday, but let's face it, guys: for a country rife with poverty, corruption, and so many other problems, we're doing what we can and doing a respectable job at it despite what all the naysayers keep trying to tell us.

Is it perfect? Obviously not. Could it be better? Definitely so. But one thing I refuse to accept is that the Filipino has simply stopped trying. I simply cannot believe that is the case, no matter how bad things are getting here.

And it is my hope that this kind of devotion to doing our part to make the Philippines a better place isn't brought about by blind patriotism or a vapid sense of nationalism. I'd like to think that we have people actively fighting to save the Philippine seas and its diversity of marine life because not only do they believe in their cause, but because they believe that it can be done. I'd like to think that Freethinkers participating in the democratic process in the struggle to fight the RH Bill are doing it because they believe 11 maternal deaths each day in this country are worth preventing.

Am I proud of world-class talent coming from our nation, like say, Charice or Lea Salonga? Well, why wouldn't I? All I'm saying is that this kind of pride shouldn't be enough for me to turn on my blinders to anything contrary. I don't even begrudge Manny his success in boxing. I just can't be bothered to watch his fights. It isn't rocket science, really.

Ultimately, I am proud that as a nation, we refuse to give up. The only way I could personally justify that kind of pride is, obviously, to continue never giving up on this country, as well. And that takes words and action. A lot of action.

I've been grappling with the concept of "Filipino pride" ever since I've seen it get wounded so many times by issues that seemed trivial at best. We've had Chip Tsao, Desperate Housewives, Alec Baldwin, and so many others that I can't recall at the moment. Through it all, I couldn't help but feel that for a country that claims so much "Pinoy Pride," we come off as pretty insecure when every little thing pertaining to Filipinos never fails to catch our attention, and we blow a lot of it out of proportion. Yeah, that includes the Bourne Legacy trailer.

So what is the point of all this? I'll be honest and say: the point is to get people to thinking. How does one become proud of his heritage without turning into a zealot? Are patriotism and objectivity truly mutually exclusive? These are questions I'm willing to grapple with, but I fully recognize I don't have all the answers. I guess all I want to do is to get people to start thinking for themselves, and seeing where that leads us. It isn't such a novel concept, I know.

But it does follow the spirit of Independence Day.

Someday, we too, can punch an alien in the face and get a ciga-cigar. 
But we just bite it, we don't light it.

I take pride in our celebration of our Independence Day. May we never forget the sacrifices our forefathers have made for what we enjoy today, and give our future children more reasons to be proud of their heritage.

May we never rest on our laurels. There is still so much work to do.

Friday, June 08, 2012

The Day I Went Viral: A Case Study (And A Bit Of An Ego Trip, Yes)

.:So This Is How It Feels...:.

Boston in 7, baby!

Back in the day (I can't believe that you can now say "back in the day" in reference to the internet!), if you made a funny joke, it would spread via e-mail, or via text message. I've had my fair share of those, and they're mostly one-liners that caught on, and that was the end of it.

Fast forward to 2012, though, and you now have what we affectionately call memes. What was originally an amazing concept coined by Richard Dawkins turned into cats, Rick Astley, Noynoying, and more cats. Sure, the internet ruined the concept of the meme, but now that it's there, we realize that they come and go pretty quickly. By the time I publish this post, I'm guessing the BaYo meme would be all but gone unless BaYo changes its mind and embraces some pretty obvious things they missed in their copy (Like actually point out that Filipinos, by virtue of our origins, are already mixed in ethnicity, to begin with.).

Which leads us to yesterday, and one of the pictures that helped kickstart the meme:

No caption necessary.

First off, disclosure: I'm analyzing this phenomenon both as a case study, and yes, as an ego trip. It's my blog. Indulge me. I promise this will have some insights to go along with all of this shameless self-promotion. And like we always say, walang basagan ng (ego) trip.

Also, no, I don't work for BaYo, nor do I handle their advertising or PR. I wish I did, though.

Anyways, I had help from one of my officemates to edit the Kuya Germs picture I got to have an all-black background, and from there, I just put in the copy and the campaign logo. As an afterthought, though, I re-edited my picture to include the "0% Tulugan" quip, which I felt was the oomph that was missing from the original image. This is why there are two versions of the ad going around.

Of course, by the time I put up the modified image, my Explorers Of Uranus teammate from geekfight, TJ, already shared the image on Facebook, which, to my shock, was shared over a hundred times within a few minutes.

.:A Meme Was Born:.

Now, as a comedian, I am certainly guilty of jumping on memetic bandwagons left and right. Hades, I even advocated it during my talk last iBlog 8! Memes do their job, and are admittedly easy ways to get a chuckle from people.

Laugh! Laugh, I say!

But I couldn't quite imagine getting a meme started all by myself. And to an extent, I haven't really fully done that, either, because I was mostly inspired by Marocharim.

Yup. That was his idea.

From there, I did my Rick Astley one (Which actually hit top 1 on the Morning Rush yesterday.), and I had a Safeguard one, plus a Krispy Kreme one. Still, another guy came up with this gem, which is often also cited as one of the images that kickstarted the meme...

100% brilliant!

By now, the German Moreno picture has been shared 491 times on Facebook (That I am aware of.), and I'm still overwhelmed by it.

.:Public Property?:.

As the meme spread, I noticed a curious development: as you can see from this news article, credit where credit was due slowly disappeared. Not just from me, but from the Bernardo Bernardo guy, and even a Tweet that I recognize to have been from Noelle! At some point, you cede ownership of "your" joke, and it becomes memetic and public property. Surprisingly, I was more flattered than annoyed as this went on. I wish I knew how the Bernardo Bernardo guy felt, but I'm inclined to guess he felt the same way.

I wouldn't even be surprised if hypothetically, someone called me a hack for doing the German Moreno bit at some comedy gig this weekend, despite the fact that I actually created it. It's part and parcel of what it means for something to, pardon the term (Because I hate using it, myself.), go viral.

When I spoke about this hypothetical situation last iBlog, I didn't expect to actually end up having a real-life case study for myself so soon. I asked myself: how would I feel about it when people "steal" my joke? In the end, the answer was pretty clear: I was flattered people thought my joke was worth sharing. Or stealing. I wasn't going to make money from the German Moreno spoof, anyways.

.:The Message Behind The Medium:.

Thing is, I didn't want just the joke to go viral. I shifted to a more comedic tone in my blog mainly because I felt it was easier for me to get my message across that way, and my message was one of temperance. It was easy to get worked up over the campaign, sure, but defusing the situation using a bit of cool-headedness and humor? That can't be such a terrible idea, right?

So imagine my surprise when Saab Magalona tweeted about my blog post. It's one thing for a joke to go viral, but it's a whole different thing when a blog entry does. I ended up sharing that blogpost on Filipino Freethinkers. Even The POC, an online publication I regularly contribute to, ended up mentioning me a couple of times.

Ego-tripping aside, I really wanted to spread a very simple message: the campaign was a bit bone-headed, yes, but let's put down the pitchforks for a moment, and try to give BaYo a chance to turn things around. It seems that when it comes to the internet, giving anything questionable a remotely charitable reading is ignored in favor of the salacious prospect of flying off the handle and bashing a company or a person wholesale. Shoot first, ask questions later.

I was one of the first people to jump aboard the Bambi Dela Paz bandwagon in 2008. I never bothered deleting that blog entry or softening my stance on the issue, because I wanted posts like these to remind me that sometimes, a little temperance goes a long way, and even I can find myself guilty of engaging in virtual lynch mobs from time to time. I make this plea for temperance for myself just as much as I make it for anyone who'd bother to listen.

.:After Everything Has Been Said And Done...:.

In the end, BaYo decided to junk the campaign altogether. Personally, I feel that's too bad, because apologizing, clarifying their stance, and then promptly riding the memetic wave would have given them a lot of leverage for costs they already sunk into the project. But meh, what do I know, right? I'm just a guy who cracked a few jokes at their expense (Or to their benefit, depending on how you look at it.), after all.

I don't need to retread the lessons on race and identity that I already tackled in my previous blog post. At this point, I was genuinely curious what it means to find yourself as one of the people who kickstarts a viral phenomenon, and the feelings one would get as their contribution gets spread all over the internet, with or without credit. While the results are far from conclusive since I need to pull this off a few more times before I could have any substantial data, how things played out have painted a pretty telltale picture so far. Make of it what you will, I suppose.

So this is how it feels to go viral and be able to see it happen in real time. It feels pretty cool, but humbling at the same time: you realize that an idea, no matter how good or bad, can only thrive by putting itself at the mercy of people and factors completely out of your hands.

I guess that's why I'm very averse to initiatives done with the assumption that it will go viral. More often than not, these things happen because they happen, and not because you willed it to be so. By Monday, I'd be genuinely surprised if anyone still even remembered this meme ever happened. My 15 minutes of fame were up since last night, so it seems.

Nonetheless, I'd be a liar if I pretended that those 15 minutes of fame didn't put a smile on my face.

More importantly, I'm glad I managed to put a smile on the faces of so many other people. Credit or no credit, I don't think I could have possibly hoped for anything more from a 15-minute MS Paint job.

I'll see you jabronis around. Ciao!

BaYo: So call me, maybe?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Project 52 (23/52): On "What's Your Mix?" (And Why It's Much Ado About Nothing)

.:Project 52 (23/52): On "What's Your Mix?" (And Why It's Much Ado About Nothing):.

Does this offend you? Unless you're a mathematician, probably not.

Yeah, I still don't understand the mathematics involved that results in a lady with 80/20 blood lineage, but who am I to question the mathematical process involved in determining these things?

I touched on this briefly in my blog yesterday, and while I was quick to join poking fun at the whole thing, I certainly didn't feel outraged by the ad, to say the least. Having worked in advertising in some capacity or some other for so many years, I tend to feel for the guys who made this campaign, because clearly, they had the best of intentions when they made this (Not that intent is ever an excuse for anything.). This was probably 90% inspiration and 10% perspiration, and that's why we arrived at this copy...

Hmm. Needs a little more Godwin...

There were unfortunate implications there, but the intent is clearly the reverse of what the knee-jerk slacktivists are trying to say: more than Pinoys needing a mix of foreign blood to be a success, the copy of the ad implies that foreigners need a mix of Pinoy blood to be a success. It seems like people were 90% furious, and 10% reading when they decided to get worked up over this.

Semantics aside, I'm sure the copy writers for this campaign didn't intend to channel Voldemort and notions of a brown Aryan race when they made this. Clearly, the campaign is simply about mix. Fil-Am rappers do this all the time when they talk about the intertwining of cultures, and how they have to deal with it every single day.

50% milk, 50% coco puff?

Despite all that, whether they meant to say that success is brought about by having a mix of foreign blood, or by having a mix of Filipino blood, it definitely sends the wrong message and yet again reeks of the kind of Filipino Patriots® I frequently poke fun at: the Pinoy equivalent of the redneck American whose only counter-argument to every single thing wrong about their country is, "if you hate it so much, then why don't you just leave?"

While one can be proud of one's heritage, one's heritage in and by itself is not a cause for pride. The achievements of every Filipino, great or small, in no way reflects upon our own achievements. The beauty of it is, it works the same way with every Filipino's failures. We make our own luck. What a fascinating concept!

Is it something to get all worked up over, though? No, I honestly don't think so. I'm just 50% amused, and 50% meh when it comes to the whole "issue" because outside of bad copy writing, this isn't nor should it be a national pride issue. At all.

Look. I know it's very delectable to pretend that Bayo was trying to undermine Filipino pride by insinuating that we need to have foreign blood to be worth anything, but not only is that a very uncharitable reading of the issue at hand, it's also missing the forest for the trees: having Filipino blood shouldn't give us a free pass to success, nor should having foreign blood. It really boils down to what we do as Filipinos that define our ability to succeed, far more than our ethnic heritage.

This is much ado about nothing. There is no need to crucify Bayo as though they are upholding colonial mentality when they are clearly (and unfortunately) trying to imply the reverse: a kind of brown Aryan bloodline that guarantees nothing but prosperity to anyone who is lucky enough to have Filipino blood in them. In fact, the campaign talks about "mix," but at no point does it attempt to say that anything "pure" has less merit.

If anything, I can imagine a far worse backlash if they tried to so much as put primacy in someone being a "pure" Filipino. It goes against the concept of their ad campaign, but that's what you get when you try to fit a square peg in a round hole. Clearly, fashion mix and ethnic mix don't mix with each other well. The "palahian" uproar from the feminist sector should make that immensely clear.

When you have random xenophobic Filipinos hating Solenn Heussaff or Jinri Park or Grace Lee for daring to identify themselves as being Filipino, you kind of feel a wee bit weirded out by the double standard when we take every chance to remind South Korea that Sandara Park of 2NE1 used to be a TV and movie star in the Philippines, and the sheer amount of sourgraping this nation engages in everytime the Azkals lose a game. Our standards of calling someone "one of us" are just so arbitrary it makes my head spin sometimes. It's 50% funny and 50% pathetic.

Sometimes, you could almost imagine Erik Spoelstra wondering why all the Filipino support went to Jessica Sanchez in American Idol.

"LeBron, you're not eating a pretzel, so stop choking, dammit! Pinoy pride!"

Besides, if a throwaway ad campaign from a brand is enough to make you call your own Filipino pride into question, then maybe the basis for your pride doesn't run quite deep enough as your wounded pride (Or is it ego?) leads you to believe it does.

Was Bayo's campaign a good one? 50% yes and 50% no (Okay, this percentage running gag is annoying even me, so I should stop now.). Logistically, it was poorly worded and insensitive to the implications of their poor choice of words. Whether you read it as a gateway brown Aryan statement or as a further affirmation of colonial mentality, it completely undercut the inherently good message of the campaign: it's good to mix. It's just that there's that nagging feeling of, "but what if you don't mix?" Is it bad? Is it better? Inquiring minds need to know!

Not addressing that question properly apparently backfired on Bayo, on top of the common but irrefutable complaint about Filipino pride boiling down purely to bloodline rather than actual merits.

On the other hand, we're talking about Bayo now. A lot. Brand awareness is at an all-time high. Positive or negative as it may be, there is now a dialogue going on about what it means to be Filipino; about why we support the Azkals and Jessica Sanchez but turn our backs on Erik Spoelstra and Rob Schneider.

I can think of a reason why we do, though.

While the conversation starter is admittedly pedestrian in nature, now, we are beginning to understand that this discussion on identity is a very important discussion to have at this point where the world is becoming a global village more and more. For all the good and bad this globalization brings, how does one remain Filipino, and how does one demonstrate and inspire pride in our heritage? These things do not merely happen in and by themselves: the how is a very important factor that needs consideration.

What does it mean to be a Filipino? Is it our bloodline ala Jasmine Trias or Tia Carrere? Or is it more about our desire to identify with being Filipino ala Grace Lee or Erwan Heussaff?

What does it mean to be a success? Is Manny Pacquiao a success in boxing because he's a Filipino, or is he a success because he worked hard at it, and he just happened to be a Filipino? Does the latter take away from Filipino pride, or simply remind us that we need to look at Filipino pride in a more nuanced and all-encompassing manner?

If only for the fact that now, these questions do get asked, and hopefully, get closer to being answered satisfactorily, then yeah, I think Bayo did good, in spite of itself.

If I may be so bold as to suggest to whoever is running the advertising for Bayo, I think the easiest way to turn this around would be to ride the wave of your campaign's memetic value. Don't take the campaign too seriously, and revel in the absurdity of it, while encouraging the insightful dialogue you've already unintentionally instigated. The momentum is now in your hands to make something positive out of all this.

If I could paraphrase Lourd De Veyra, this all boils down to one simple thing: walang basagan ng mix. All this navel-gazing taken into consideration, though, I think it's still boss to poke fun at the whole "controversy"...

Thank you, thank you! I'll be here all week!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Randomicity In The Middle Of The Day...

.:This Feels Weird...:.

So here I am, raring to go for this Saturday's Axe Anarchy Raid in Eastwood, and all I could think of is how much of a drag it is to go leave the office and drop by RX 93.1 to see Jinri Park and Karen Bordador to discuss what's going to happen.

Of course I'm joking.

There is no way seeing these amazing ladies would ever constitute being "a drag". Ever. Still, who'd have thought that this would end up being what I have to do, right? Can't say I'd ever complain.

.:Aysee, How I Missed Thee:.

After dropping in on the Disenchanted Kingdom last night, I ended up having late dinner with them at Aysee. Sisig goodness! That was just wonderful.

Considering how I've been hanging out with these guys for nearly three years, I must say, the Disenchanted Kingdom has been a pretty integral part of my life already at this point.

.:Should I Give Up, Or Should I Just Keep Chasing Pavements?:.

Even if it leads nowhere? :(

.:A Prelude To This Week's Project 52...:.

So Bayo came out with this pretty eye-catching campaign recently...

I'm bad at numbers. How does this even work?

I mean, it's pretty clever, in that hey, a mix is awesome, right? Whether you're pure Pinoy or a mix of races, it's all good. That's a pretty positive message for diversity, and when I was looking at the billboards, I thought nothing of it. It's not like they were advocating a superior race or anything like that, right?

But then, the copy came along...

Greatness by lineage! Voldemort He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named would be pleased!

You can imagine the crapstorm that followed from this, I believe. Still, I refuse to get all worked up on poor wording, so I will just share with you what Marocharim had to add to this campaign...

Rolled! Into! One!

And of course, how could I not possibly share my take on this mix?

0% Stranger to love.

Expect a more thorough post tomorrow, I guess.

Friday, June 01, 2012

iBlog 8: Back And Lovin' It!

.:And So The Internets Exploded:.

The Patriotic Filipino returns to iBlog!

A year ago, I wrote about how amazing iBlog 7 was, especially its final talk, as delivered by the inimitable Ria. It was an eye-opener of a talk, and spoke of inclusiveness, and support, and camaraderie. It showed bloggers that indeed, there is a whole world of people out there that this community can intersect with and grow with in positive ways.

This year, with the overwhelming majority of new attendees in iBlog 8, I do believe that we have found that explosion of new blood, and I personally couldn't be happier to see it happen.

An insensitive tweet came up during the day itself that "yesterday's topics were better," but considering this person wasn't even there during day one, I think it's easy to take that with a grain of salt. Let 'em fade into irrelevance and ignorance, I say. (/cryptic)

Once again, I missed the first day of iBlog the way I did the previous year, but this time, it was because I was at work, and being new here in the company, I wasn't exactly in a position to take a leave, but I have heard raves for Carlo Ople's segment, because quite frankly, this man knows what he's talking about. He has made a name for himself in the blogging world, and he deserves every single accolade he is getting now.

That being said, during the second day, I had the pleasure of meeting Rem Tanuan, who tried to tackle the topic, "The Soul Of Blogging," which is a grossly underrepresented topic in the middle of the virtual gold rush that is aimed at making us as much money as we possibly can through our blogs. It was a very heartwarming discussion, and I'm sure a lot of people found value in what he had to say.

Janette Toral then took to the stage to discuss a very thought-provoking topic: the Politics of Blogging. She talked about cliques, about attempts at hierarchies, entitlement complexes, free versus paid domains, and a host of other things that continue to keep bloggers from ever being as integrating a community as it really could be. I'm happy to say that the online community has gotten decidedly less insular in the past year, although there's also a marked disappearance in certain key people within the community whose valuable presence is indeed sorely missed. Like Aileen Apolo! Wemishu!

In any case, Janette may not have named names, but it was a pretty fearless talk that didn't discriminate on any imaginary divides between factions or groups. It was a talk that needed to be done, in my opinion, because the sooner we get to hash out these nitty-gritty issues, the easier it would be for bloggers new and old alike to understand that this microcosm of a community we have has a political side to it, and whether you like that or you don't, you need to at least be aware of it and to act accordingly.

There were other speakers as well that interested me genuinely, but I especially liked the part where we had a bit of discussion regarding edubloggers, because I just had to ask...

You can hear the audible puntastic groans right about... now.

The final speaker as well, Alvin Dakis, proved to be an engaging speaker for blogging about health, but had his unique dose of humor to go with it. Coupling him with Vic Abrugar and last year's Roy Dela Cruz, there wasn't a shortage of naturally hilarious people in that room just adding to the aura of the whole event.

As it is with nearly every year, Mr. JJ Disini tackled also tackled a few legal issues that always tend to bear repeating, and Mike Abundo and myself are still the last two people who have never missed a single iBlog since it started.

Now, the reason I made a bit of a detour to discuss naturally funny people was the fact that I actually had a talk on that very topic. As a standup comedian who is still in the thick of continuously improving his craft, I recognize that I am not naturally funny. With that in mind, how does one learn the right skillset to even attempt to do comedy in public?

Well, thankfully, when you're doing comedy blogging, it's significantly easier to make jokes because you have unimpeded access to visual aids and you don't need to focus nearly as much on comedic timing or delivery because you're writing your jokes, not saying them out loud. With that in mind, the challenge becomes easier, albeit also different at the same time. Other challenges become manifest, particularly the lack of physical cues and other obvious signposts that a punchline was already thrown.

There is so much to tackle, so much to figure out, but I was glad that I managed to work my way around the fifteen minutes I was provided. Since I was part of a panel of speakers including a talk on Inspiring Quotes and Posts by Doc Wendell, and using Public Narrative for blogging from Bien. I was actually nervous, and it felt like it was the first time I was hitting the stage again, and this time completely reinvented.

Five years ago, I went up the stage to speak during iBlog 3, establishing myself as a magician and a mentalist. It was pretty amazing, because the next five years went by and nearly every single blogger who ever met me knew that fact about me. In iBlog 8, I went up onstage as a standup comedian, and I needed to prove that as a speaker on comedy, I was qualified not just in theory, but in practice.

Channeling all the nights I bombed onstage as a cautionary tale to me, I soldiered on and did my talk. A cursory look at my slides would probably tell you that they would be useless without my spiel, but I assure you that Sharon Cuneta, GMA, Former Chief Justice Corona, and Mick Pennisi probably wouldn't be happy about the contents of my talk. I'd still do my set if they were in the audience, though.

I've always liked comedy. I am a fan of a wide range of comedy ranging from the most painful of puns, to the most outrageous of offensive humor, to the most sophisticated of observational comedy, to the most inane of improv. In terms of sheer theory and knowledge, I have more than just a rudimentary grasp of the art form, but I admittedly recognize that I have a long way to go as a performer. My task was to meld the theory and the practice in a cohesive package for the time that I'm onstage.

Nonetheless, I'd like to think I did well, as I elicited laughs from the iBlog 8 audience on day 2, but at the same time challenging them to think about what it means to be a comedy blogger. The eight methods I gave were clearly stopgap measures: crutches, even. The mark of a great comedian is learning to work with and beyond these so-called crutches. It's easy to do blue humor and shock the audience, for instance, but it's even more shocking to come up with a fully clean yet amazingly hilarious set, because that takes a lot of work.

So I finished my talk, and mission accomplished, right? Well, that's what I thought, until the Q and A came up.

All speakers managed to answer questions such as those about writer's block, but a few questions were in my direction, and they were surprisingly about... ethics.


I suppose it's because I'm a classy guy? (Cyanide and Happiness)

I actively avoided courting controversy in iBlog 8 by not talking about blogging ethics or etiquette. In comedy terms, doing that would be too cheap and easy for me, so I had to fight with all my might to not go in that direction, even if beating a dead horse who totally looks like one seems very fun to do.

Yes, I've actually given several talks about the topic for some digital marketing lectures in the past due to my academic background and the MA degree I never got around to completing, but seriously? Comedy and ethics?

Thankfully, I was prepared to answer the questions they had, and emphasized that yeah, comedy can and does cross the line a lot, but what's important is that the comedian must be prepared to deal with the consequences of crossing the line. If they aren't, then they shouldn't be making those jokes in the first place.

As for encapsulating my rule of thumb for blogger ethics in one sentence, I stated: if you are confident you can do it offline without any issues, then it probably will be the same online.

Another question came up as well, asking me how I feel when my jokes get plagiarized, and seeing as how I'm nowhere near paying my bills through my comedy, I simply felt amused by it all. Maybe even a little flattered.

And even after all the questions about ethics that completely took me by surprise, what I wasn't prepared for in the end was the part where the people in iBlog 8 took it upon themselves to rechristen me as "Marcy." Next thing I knew, everyone and their mother took to calling me just that, including my M:TG teammates, the Disenchanted Kingdom, and every single blogger who met me during iBlog 8.


After an amazing time at iBlog 8, I was just glad that I managed to do what I set out to do: I managed to tackle a subject that people haven't taken notice of, and make a good case for why comedy blogging, as underappreciated as it may be, serves a very important role in any blogosphere. I've learned from the masters in the field, and all I could do is share to everyone interested why they work, and why we shouldn't take them for granted.

It's so much easier to make people cry than to make them laugh. I should know, because I've cried at movies more times than I have laughed heartily. Anyone willing to dedicate themselves to an endeavor as thankless and as demanding as comedy blogging certainly deserves all the props they manage to get, and "8 Comedy Blogging Methods For The Not-Naturally-Funny" was my simple way of giving thanks to those people who have blazed that trail for aspiring comics such as myself, as we try to make the world a lighter place to be in, no matter how unappreciated or unnoticed that effort may actually be.

We know we make a difference, and that's really what matters.

See you in iBlog 9! And thank you for being a part of my life for the past ten years, blogosphere!

iBlog 8: Comedy Blog Writing (For The Not-Naturally-Funny)

Hey, I just met you
 and this is crazy
 Marcelle's my real name
Don't call me Marcy