Thursday, November 21, 2002


There's just something about unfettered arrogance that makes me have to respond. To speak so breezily on something as unfathomable as love, and say without a trace of irony that you are an authority to give advice on it? News flash: Your pretentious english and poorly worded grammar does not make you look smarter. Quite the opposite, actually.

You are a child. From what I hear, the only experience you have is alternately falling for the unattainable or cavalierly hurting wonderful people who should have known better. I'm no expert at love. And I don't pretend to be anything else. You don't know a damn thing about what you're talking about.

Not a damn thing.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Rock Awards Running Commentary

I had the chance to go to the NU 107 Rock Awards tonight, but I didn't. At 3:55 pm this afternoon, Imago manager Candice Lopez posts an email saying she had five invites to the show up for grabs. I was online and checked my mail almost immediately after her posting that. The celphone was in my hand, her number on the display screen, ready to call her, but somehow, I found myself hesitating.

It was probably due to the fact that rock music as a whole in general SUCKED for me this year. Heavy shit rap metal bands with vocalists who screamed instead of sung lorded it over the charts. None of my favorite artists did anything of note this year. (the closest thing I can think of is itchyworms! drummer Jazz Nicholas coming up with Boldstar, up for best new artist).

With Cheese, Slapshock AND Greyhoundz performing on the same show, along with Monsterbot and Chicosci (what no Kamikazee?), this was going to be the heaviest Rock Awards ever. I could only imagine the kind of crowd that roster was gonna attract. Probably the same type of misfits who went to the PULP Freakshow where bottles and rocks flew through the air like confetti, injuring dozens of fans.

So I just put my phone back in my pocket and got a haircut instead. I listened to the live broadcast on the radio, and these are my thoughts on it:

- Boldstar wins best new artist. Wooohooo!! Jazz Nicholas is offically a trivia question: Who is the only musician to win best new artist two years in a row?

- Is it just me, or did Daydream Cycle really, really suck?

- Cheese wins for Best Album. This I agree with. I I think that "Mottaka", barring that shrieking bridge, is a brilliant song that shows real growth. And I HATE Cheese. To please their fans is one thing. But to gain the respect of people who don't like them? Impressive.

- Chicosci's "Paris" wins Song of the Year. I admit, it's catchy, but that song over Mottaka? I think it benefitted from being released later and was thus fresher in everyone's mind. Plus, Ian Tayao is a better vocalist who can actually sing (the rare times he isnt screaming like a rabid demon in heat, that is).

- Ian Tayao of Cheese wins vocalist of the year. See above for my feelings on it. Can't stand his music, and from what I hear from people in position to know, he's apparently an asshole in real life. But that has nothing to do with his abilities as a vocalist, so yun.

- I thought Cheese was supposed to perform "Mottaka"? Someone made a mistake, or the band must have really really thought they were going to perform twice tonight (see below for that).

- Moonstar88 performing? They must have been a last-minute addition. Someone must have figured out that this was gonna be a dangerously rowdy show and that they had better put some buffer bands inbetween the heavy ones to prevent a riot from breaking out.

- Pan is Yano, Yano is Pan. Listening to them made it feel like it was 1992 again. And that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

- Diether Ocampo almost starts a riot by calling the audience jologs. Okay, I am SO glad I didn't go.

- Marben of Badburn, in the only truly memorable moment of the night, cusses the fans out for apparently booing when his band's drummer beats out Cheese, Slapshock and Greyhoundz for Drummer of the year. To paraphrase, I believe he said: "Goddamshitmothafukkin' HATERS!! The bands you like ain't worth SHIT!!!" Kudos for telling like it is, dude.

- Aaaannnd the Artist of the Year: Slapshock? Okay, this was a surprise. I've been telling anyone within earshot when the subject came up that it was going to be the Year of Cheese -- and that's still arguably the case; with the group bagging Album of the Year, Vocalist of the Year and Listeners Choice. I honestly feel that they also displayed for the most artistic growth, and although it pains me to say it, I think they should have won. I guess the NU judges must have went with the commercial powerhouses. Or maybe Cheese just pissed them off. Who knows.

- Okay, now Slapshock really have to take a hiatus. They're blurring the line between 'huge' and 'hugely inescapable' and will, if they aren't careful, suffer the inevitable backlash. Get too popular, and it will become cool to hate you. It's a show business fact of life.

- Overall, the whole night sucked, and I think the hosts knew it. I mean, how bad does it have to be for your hosts to start plugging next years Rock Awards promising that it will be great, when this year's show isn't even over yet??

Ultimately this year's Rock Awards showed me just how out of touch my tastes are with the current pulse of Pinoy Rock. After having listened to it on the radio, I am relieved that I made the right decision not to go. It was RIGHT THERE: I hit the 'check email' just as Candice sends her announcement. I have her number on my cel, and yet I hesitated.

The first reaction is often the correct one.

If wishes were fishes I'd be rolling in tuna

I wish I knew just the right words to say to make the pain go away. That I was clever enough, or witty enough, or funny enough to say just the right quip to make you smile that wonderful smile of yours. That I was that guy in the movies who "always knows just the right thing to say". It's easy to know just the Right Thing to Say when your dialogue is crafted by a big-time Hollywood screenwriter who goes through draft after draft until they get it right.

But this is real life, and the times when it feels like I should be saying something to you to cheer you up, all I can do is sigh and rub your shoulder. I wish I did know the right thing to say.

But I don't.

I wish I had the darkness in me to truly understand what you're going through. Believe me, I've been through my own pits of despair, but nowhere near the depths you've ventured to. For the most part I've left that pain behind me, and it's not something I want to go back to. Perhaps it is chronic. Right now I want to concentrate on everything good in my life. And things are, barring what's you're going through right now, very, very, good. Better than they've ever been.

I wish my psyche bore the scars of pain that would allow me to truly fathom what you're enduring, and not just sit idly by meekly offering my support. A friend of ours who bears similar scars, gets you in a way I never can. And that hurts. I wish I suffered the despair that you do.

But I don't.

I've talked to friends about this, and their response is generally the same: that I should sit back and let you work this out on your own. And there is truth to that. When I was dumped after coming out, I wallowed in self-pity for god knows how long. I knew I had to snap out of it. I wanted to snap out of it. But I couldn't.

My friends did all sorts of things in an attempt to help me get me past this: Getting drunk with me, listening to my woes, offering gentle advice. One friend tried the tough love approach and just told me to 'get over it', as it had already been two months. They did every conceivable thing to help me, but in the end the only one who could decide when it was time to move on was me.

But still, I can't help feeling that I'm being remiss in my responsibilities as your lover. Shouldn't I be there, to share your pain at least, if I can't alleviate it? Isn't this the sort of thing that you don't have to go through anymore alone now that we're together? There are times when I'm walking on the street thinking about your silence which says far more than if you were screaming in my ear. My frustration bubbling underneath the surface; It's so much sometimes that I just want to raise my arms and scream "WHAT CAN I DO?!!" at the top of my lungs.

But I don't.

By not being able to help you with this, I can't help thinking that I'm failing you somehow. My fear manifests itself in the form of a mental image of you in the future, with another lover. You're talking about me, your ex-love, on how I wasn't able to help you during your times of depression, which was why we didn't work.

Are my fears warranted? Am I disappointing you somehow by not being able to say or do the one thing that can make it easier? On a level that you would never even admit to yourself?

Am I failing you?

So here I sit in my own house, across town from where you are. Waiting. For you to get through this. Aching to act, to do something, anything to help you get through this. And the only thing I can do is to think about you. To worry. To simply be there for you. To Love you.

And I do.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002


A few months back, a bunch of us were watching the screening of the Ringu trilogy in Ayala Cinema. Nelz was having some problems at the time, so I asked my friend Vinfred for advice on what to do when your significant other is undergoing a bout of depression; whether there was anything that one could, or should do to reassure their other half that we were there for them.

Vinfred put his arm around me and tentatively told me that this type of thing is common in all relationships, whether gay or straight. And that this was something that the other person has to deal with on their own. The best thing we can do is just stand back and let them do it.

Later on that night, Vinfred talked about how he seems to forecast his wife's moods in advance. Two days before she goes into her PMS stage, he gets cranky as well. Studies have shown husbands who have gained weight along with their wives while pregnant. Whether this is coincidental or not is unclear, but it does happen.

And today, I think I kinda got what he was talking about. Today was a day spent in stillness. I walked in a fog, unable to muster any enthusiasm to do anything. It's frustrating: knowing that someone that you care for deeply is undergoing something, and the best thing you can do is to simply stand back and do nothing. You're paralyzed; wanting to do something... anything to try and alleviate the pain they are feeling. But you can't.

I don't know if this is akin to the sympathy pains that Vinfred feels, but today was a total non-event. Got up, went to work, went home, and watched television for the rest of the day. Feeling nothing. Even now as I type this, the sense of disconnection makes me feel particularly aware of how my body is merely a shell that my consciousness resides in.

Maybe this is how I'm trying to 'do something'. By purposely shutting down the part of myself that feels joy. To simulate my own stillness in an attempt to share the pain my other feels. If he can't let me into his anguish, then I guess I'll create my own. Please let me emphasize that this is my choice, lest someone start to feel responsible for my emotional well-being as well as his own. Like yourself, my problems are mine, to deal with in my own choosing.

If the one you Love is feeling depressed, what's the point of being happy yourself?

Monday, November 18, 2002


The man's website can be found here. A lot of great pictures and bio. Can you believe he even has a CD out? (apparently, his voice is reedy and sweet, like Aaron Neville, another big man) The gallery can be found here. Click on the two rightmost pictures for good headshots of him.

Is it just me, or does he kinda look like a darker version of Nelz? The chunky face, the lips, and the nose. Physically imposing, yet graced with a kindness and gentleness that is readily apparent. Bearishly irresistible.

Hell, even their smiles are similarly radiant!...

Yeah, just TRY bashing us, I dare you

Esera Tuaolo, recently retired from the NFL and is the first-ever gay football player to come out publicly. At 6 foot-two and 281 pounds, he is a giant of a man and not at all what one would think of as a stereotypical homosexual. He spent the whole of his NFL career in the closet and has only now decided to reveal his sexuality and his relationship to his life partner Mitchell Wherley to the media. They have been together for several years and have adopted a set twins that they are raising as their own.

I like this particular story for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that it shows that there is another aspect of homosexuality that is only starting to come out: The gay man that is Physically powerful as well as in touch with his feelings. This subclassification of gay man is strong enough to take a man by force if they were so inclined, (but are too nice to do so). In other words, every homophobe's worst nightmare.

Up to now, the most visible image of gay men was and still is that of the limp-wristed, slim-bodied queers. They are physically frail, as it is 'unladylike' to put on any muscle. And if they do work out, it's usually for vanity to get abs and whatnot; these guys still wouldnt know the first thing about any type of physical aggression. I don't think these types of gay people rate less than any other type, it's just so not where I fall under.

I think a lot of that has to do with straight men's insecurity over gays; the inherent need to feel superior over these 'faggots'. The idea that a guy who sleeps with other guys AND can beat you up in a fight is too much of an assault to their male ego. Which is why they've either pretended that we don't exist or have ignored us outright.

But we ARE out there. Alexander the Great was one of the Greatest leaders of his time and the ruler of the known world at his reign. His relationship with Hephaeston is the stuff of gay legend. Richard the Lionhearted was described in several accounts as a huge, physcially imposing man and King of England from 1189 to 1199. He had a very 'close relationship' with King Phillip of France (another queen!) sharing with him, among other things, a plate and a bed.

And then there's me. I'm 5'6 and 185 pounds; short but stocky. I work out four days a week, concentrating solely on powerlifiting (cardio bores me). I'll be the first to admit I am not a cut guy -- I've got about equal amounts of fat and muscle -- and you'll never see me in a centerfold. But I can pretty much lift any piece luggage you need moved, and if heaven forbid I ever get into a fight; I don't promise that I will win (I haven't been trained in martial arts) I can probably do a decent amount of damage with my bulk.

Not to say that I would get into a fight. I am the biggest pacifist you will ever meet. I may get mad. A lot even, but having a physically abusive father taught me firsthand that violence against anyone weaker than yourself is an act of a stinking coward. Always. If you do get into a confrontation, make sure it's with someone who has an equal or better chance of kicking your ass. Anything else -- a woman, someone smaller than you -- is the lowest of the low.

Which is another reason I don't get into fights. Bodybuilding gives me confidence and self-esteem, to walk away from conflicts before escalating when a less secure man might have lowered himself to fighting just to save face. It gives me physical presence to go with my own teensy bit of charisma which is an asset in dealing with people. And I look good in bodyhugging lycra shirts.

Gay people are everywhere, in every shape and every size. And sorry to tell you this straight guys, but some of us are stronger than you, faster than you, and can probably whip you in a game of basketball. Then afterwards, we can dress ourselves up in a fabulous color-coordinated ensemble, cook a magnificent dinner and sing a smooth R & B song later that night to woo our man. Homphobes are running out of things to feel superior over. The new gay man is creative and multi-talented, with a great fashion sense, and is good in sports.

What guy wouldn't feel threatened by us?

From one swelled head to another

I've never worn someone out before, ever. I have to admit though, that it was a great feeling. It took all of my willpower to keep from gloating.


Updates Part 2: Focal Cafe gig

Last Wednesday, Adam calls me up and asks if I have any plans on Friday. I tell him no, and ask what's up. Turns out he and Charmaine went to Focal Cafe (in Connecticut St) to have coffee. Musicians perform there several nights a week (R & B on tuesdays, Oldies music on thursdays, Anything-goes on fridays, and featured artists on saturdays). Adam was batchmates with the owner's sister Yvette, and they were invariably invited to perform. Yvette liked them so much that she invited them (and us) back to perform on friday.

Friday comes, and we show up. Sparse crowd. Just a table or two filled, not including the other performers; who I think equalled the number of paying customers. I was happy to see the acoustic duo CherryDawn performing, as they were friends of mine. They did a majority of covers with an original or two, as did Spires, another guitarist-and-vocalist pairing. Where's Joe? was the only one who really put an emphasis on originals (we did a 50-50 split; 5 covers & 5 originals)

Again, the sound was an issue. While Spires and Cherrydawn sounded great, there were songs we played that couldnt even be heard by other members of the fricking band. 'Where Do We Go From Here' was particularly troublesome, as I could barely hear myself playing, as did Joe, who basically had to guess when to pluck his bass. As our instruments clashed, it made me all the more nervous; I ended up forgetting lyrics. Cedric all but gave up trying to play since he couldn't hear, and the whole thing turned into one glorious train wreck of a song.

Charmaine didn't have much luck either. She has never been a power singer, but when she did 'Lessons' the consensus was that her voice could not be heard over the instruments. This is a complaint that has been fairly constant in the majority our gigs. I'm beginning to see that our particular set up -- 2 acoustic-electric guitars, bass, drums/percs, 2 vocalists (one belter and one crooner)-- is particularly tricky to mix for.

Case in point: When Charmaine sings 'Lessons', she whipers and sings out in the span of that one song. If the mix is kept at a constant level, the resulting sound is either too soft or too loud. Where's Joe? needs a mixer. The thing is that all of us need to be onstage, so we lack the extra set of ears to tell us if things are unbalanced. Okay, so I know what the problem that needs to be fixed is now. I just have no idea how to solve it.

I got some info from Yvette afterwards. She said that she understood the difference when there was a bad performance and when the sound system was to blame. She did say however, that we were a tad too loud. No biggie, really, as I can tone down our songs if needed. Yvette told us that the band would get a chance to play there again. I dearly hope that she meant it and wasn't just being political. We got a free meal and drink each, which is nothing to sneeze at if you looked at their prices. We must have eaten a thousand bucks worth of food that night, and it was all very, very good. Their Almond Roca Cappuccino is to die for. Hell, I wanna go back there just so I can try all of their coffees!

I admit, the crowd at Focal Cafe is comprised mainly of after-office yuppie types who just want to relax to some soothing, usually familiar music. That's why covers are much appreciated by the audience there. It sounds like I'm generalizing and looking down on people, but I'm really not: These people just want to sit down and relax music. The unfamilarity of original compositions is often an obstacle to that.

That's why Cherrydawn and Spires got a good reception. It makes me sad, of course; playing our songs to a practically indifferent response. But I have to keep in mind that these are the same types of people who would cheer wildly at the exact same song if they heard it on the radio first. Kince was feeling similarly down after his (percieved) failure at the Poetry Reading. From where I was standing it looked like he went over well, and any detractors were jerks who just wanted to see their buddies play; to hell with everyone else. (these were the same people who ended up leaving when the Open mic was over and Where's Joe? and Twisted Halo played. Idiots.)

I reassured him that he did great. Thinking about it later on, I came up with something else I should have told him: That if he played at his very best, no matter the response of the crowd it was a performance to be proud of.

I should remember to tell myself that when these things happen.

Current Mood \ Introspective and blessedly quiet

Updates: Last Full Show

It just struck me now that Where's Joe? has had three gigs this month, the most we've ever had to date. (I know. Pitiful, isn't it?) The first was at Freedom Bar for Mike Macalino's Last Full Show productions. I think it was a bit of a 'sympathy' gig myself, because he forgot to frigging put our name on the poster. Oh yeah, that does wonders for our ego, Mike. Well, at least it got us another gig for December. (does this count as a 'guilt gig' this time?)

Unlike the last time we played at Freedom Bar, I didn't really make any major mistakes this time. I was a lot more at ease with the Between-song Banter; goofing on Where's Joe? being a boy band (Adam is the bad boy, Joe was the cute one, Cedric was the brooding one, and yours truly was the 'Alternative Lifestyle' one). Also, during the end of the final song, Cedric flubbed the drum finish. Instead of getting upset and flustered, I just laughed it off and kept going.

Now, this can mean one of two things: Either I'm getting used to being on stage so I can shrug off errors like that, OR it means that I've made so many screwups in the past that I've already gotten numb to the effects.

I'm not quite sure which one it is.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Current outfit and demeanor | gym attire rushing to work out

So what's been going on with YOU?

Lots and lots and lots of things. But no time to blog about them just yet, as I'm off to the gym and then work. But updates ARE soon to come.

Monday, November 11, 2002

Current condition | Tired, Lacking in sleep

One of the best songs ever written

I wish I could write like this.

Untitled from Imago

Bakit mahirap sumabay sa agos
Ng iyong mundo
Sinmple lang naman sana ang buhay
Kung ika'y matino

Sabihin sakin lahat ng lihim mo
Iingatan ko
Ibaling sakin ang problema mo
Kakayanin ko

Pikit mata
Kong iaalay ang buwan at araw
Pati pa sapatos kong suot
Simple lang naman sana ang buhay
Kung ika'y matino

Sabihin sakin lahat ng lihim mo
Iingatan ko
Ibaling sakin ang problema mo
Kakayanin ko


sasamahan ka sa tamis
sasamahan ka sa pait
sasamahan ka sa dilim
sasamahan ka hanggang langit

sasamahan ka sa tamis
sasamahan ka sa pait
sasamahan ka sa dilim
sasamahan ka hanggang langit

Sabihin sakin lahat ng lihim mo
Iingatan ko
Ibaling sakin ang problema mo
Kakayanin ko

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Current mood | pensive, introspective & guilty


Today I was guilty of TWICE not being able to control my impulses and opening my big stupid mouth when I should have just SHUT UP!! The first was when the phone was ringing constantly today, and the person at the other end of the line was looking for someone who ended up not being there at all.

Having to act as go-between for the one on the phone and the people downstairs who SHOULD have been the one to pick it up irked my patience. The phone rings again, and smoke is coming out of my ears. I angrily pick it up and yell "HELLO!", expecting it to be the same person.

It was a customer, looking to get a delivery.

There goes a customer I'll probably never see again. But the second was infinitely worse. Without getting into details, I let my emotions snowball and explode into a childish and myopic outburst when I SHOULD have been thinking of Nelz' feelings and the context of his situation. But I didn't.

Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!!

Losing a customer is bad enough. But what I potentially had to lose the second time............ if that happened..................I don't even want to think about it.

Nelz forgave me, thank god. It's a good thing, because it's going to take me a hell of a lot longer to forgive myself.

To make sure this never happens again.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Current Outfit | Splashy sparkly Gig shirt

Tonight, Tonight

Where's Joe? has a gig in Freedom Bar. It's been a while since we played, and I'm looking forward to it. To all the regular readers (yes, both of you) you are all invited to watch us, tonight at 9 pm along Anonas St. :)

Gig report to follow....

Monday, November 04, 2002

Current music | Yep, still silence

Stepping forward

Jason is coming out to his mother today. One of the most difficult, yet absolutely necessary steps in any gay person's life. I wish him all the luck in the world. :)

Go get 'em kid!!

Current Music | Silence

Thank god for coffee

Ah, nothing like getting a good four hours of sleep to start the day right....

Current music | Various people talking downstairs

Where the hell have you been?

It's been more than a week since I blogged last. Not because my life has been uneventful, or that I've been away from the internet. I just haven't felt the need to blog lately. In the same way I haven't felt the need to write any new songs. Which I should really, really do something about.

The Artist's Way recommends as a way of awakening your creativity doing something called "Morning Pages": three pages of writing every morning as soon as you get up on whatever subject you like. It doesn't matter if it's about what happened the previous day, what you plan to do today, your dreams, or just three pages of you going "this is me writing" over and over again.

The idea is that you clear your mind of whatever stuff has accumulated in your subconscious, and lets ideas flow more easily. I used to do it, and I have to admit, dang if it didn't work. There were days that I started out literally saying "well, this is me writing on this notebook" and by the end of it coming up with maybe four pages of material. You'd be surprised by what comes out of you if you just let it all flow. I must have come up with at least 2 song concepts doing the pages.

Eventually, I stopped because I wanted to sleep more, but the idea is sound, and if anyone is undergoing a creative block of sorts I heartily recommend it: when you wake up in the morning, the first thing you do is sit down and write. About anything. Just ramble in a stream-of-consciousness mode if you must, but write. You'll be surprised by the results.

That sounds like blogging.

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