Saturday, February 28, 2009

Today. A Smile.

Busy, was how I had foreseen today would be.

Grocery store errands for tonight (a couple of friends and T are coming for dinner, drinks and most likely, sleepover). Salvia and wildflower seedlings to plant. Glasses to wash (Dan had already washed the others last night). Kitchen rubbish to take out. Make-up shopping for tomorrow's show. Laundry. Kitchen tasks. The hunt f0r the best baguette in town. Phone calls to return. Emails to reply to.

The list could go on. And equipped with my multi-tasking skills, I was pretty sure I could accomplish all of them if I had enough determination.

I still do, but not for all those mundane tasks. I decided, after vacuuming our floor, that I would use that determination to sit still, and be guiltlessly idle. As Paulo Coelho puts it in his reflection, "How To Climb Mountains",

"You must, naturally, always keep in mind your objective-- reaching the top. However, as you climb, the view changes, and there is nothing wrong with stopping now and then to enjoy the vista. With each metre you climb, you can see a little further, so take time to discover things you haven't noticed before."

I decided that the enormous determination that I had today, I would use to do a very herculean task: to be still. I would pull over and watch the world go by. Observe life happen. For just a few hours today, I would stop chasing everything that everyone else is after and rest, so that whatever's there in the Universe that's been chasing me could catch up.

I fixed myself a pot of tea, picked a few wild flowers, sat like a fat, lazy hen on my white couch (the covers of which have just been washed, after eons!), take one last look at my computer, set the music on my iTunes and just be in the moment.

Just as my productively idle moment was ending, I got an sms from T saying:

"Just to remind you, I Aumulu!"

and then a chat window on my Facebook popped. And lo and behold! It was Rems! Yes, Rems on Facebook (using her good friend, Orlan's account). Our chat didn't last long though, because it was her time to meditate.

"Sometimes we encounter things in our path, but because our time has not yet come, they brush past, without touching us, even though they were close enough for us to see them." --Paulo Coelho, "Marked Out To Die"

I'm glad that I decided to do what I did. Otherwise, T's and Rems's messages would have been just one of those little pleasures that brushed past me. They wouldn't have touched me the way they did, like the chirping of the birds and the innocent laughter of the kids from outside my window; or the purple flowers that I picked from the street; or the crisp, chill air that rarely comes and happens only in that short period of transition from winter to spring; or the comforting flavor of my hot pot of Strawberry-Mango infusion; or Loyva's blog entry; or just the miracle of life, and the luxury of time.

I Won't Be A Party Pooper

I imposed a rule upon myself to fulfill memes with which I get more than 3 people tagging me. Ricci Chan was the fourth to tag me on this so I am joining the bandwagon.

1 - Go to "Wikipedia." Hit “Random Article”
or click
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to "Random quotations"
or click
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use Photoshop or similar to put it all together

5 - Post it to FB with this text in the "caption" and TAG the friends you want to join in. (you can untag yourself if you don't want this photo up).

That's not too bad.
My first album speaks of empowerment and hope.


"If we must suffer, let's suffer on the heights." -Victor Hugo, "Les Malheureux"


Thursday, February 26, 2009

On The Road To Recovery

Pink Becky's been acting weird lately.

Yesterday, I finally decided to bring her to specialist, and she was instantly confined.

This morning, I got a call from them informing me that she has to undergo major surgery.

I hope she doesn't suffer from amnesia after the procedure.

I love you, Pink Becky! Be well!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

There's Something About Mary

The dancing.

The spirit.

The person.

A wise man once said, "When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live in such a manner than when you die, the world cries and you rejoice!"

And she did just that.

*video posts lifted from Ida Beltran-Lucila's Multiply page. Thanks for sharing, ate Gen!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Inspiration For The Day

*Thanks for sharing, T!

Para Sa Bayan

Revived Ep2 Out Now!

*DKNY totes courtesy of Mai; colored tees courtesy of Julius

Para Sa Bayan
In Commemoration of the EDSA Revolution

Balahura as we may seem, we have a patriotic side too.
Patriotic, but not boring.
Listen up and find out for yourselves.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The News About Mary

Washington Ballet Studio Company dancer Mary Saludares, 20, was killed Friday night when she was struck by a car in Harford County. The ballet company has canceled the remainder of its tour, including its Sunday performances at Howard Community College in Columbia. (photo courtesy Washington Ballet Company/Tony Powell)

Mary Saludares, a 20-year-old member of The Washington Ballet Studio Company, was struck and killed by a car Friday night in Edgewood, State Police said.

The award-winning company was scheduled to perform Sunday at 4 and 7:30 at at Howard Community College's Smith Theater as part of the Candlelight Concert Society's Family Series, but The Washington Ballet announced in a release that it had canceled the remainder of its tour. The release said the group was on tour in Harford County when the accident occurred.

According to the State Police, Saludares was crossing Route 24 at Edgewood Road just after 10 p.m. when she was struck by a southbound silver Chevrolet Impala driven by Robert Kane of Abingdon. Saludares was pronounced dead at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center.

State Police were investigating the accident.

“No words can describe the pain of losing Mary,” said The Washington Ballet Artistic Director Septime Webre. “She was not only a beautiful dancer, but a radiant soul who emitted peace and joy. The entire TWB family mourns her passing and extends its thoughts and prayers to Mary’s family.”

Saludares began dancing at the age of 6 under Sofia Elizalde and Raul Sauz at Steps Dance Studio in Manila, Philippines. In 2006, she received the highest Royal Academy of Dance Award, the Solo Seal. She had the honor of being the first Filipino entry in the 2006 Adeline Genée International Ballet Competition.

In 2004, she received the Luva Adameit Award in the first NAMCYA Ballet Competition in the Philippines. She later attended the School of American Ballet and The Washington School of Ballet's Release Time year-round program. She was selected to join The Washington Ballet Studio Company for its 2008-2009 season, achieving one of her dreams of moving from student to professional.

Saludares is survived by her father, José M. Saludares Jr.; her mother, Marissa S. Saludares; and two brothers, Patrick Vincent Saludares and Bryan Joseph Saludares.

Students and staff are being offered grief counseling services. A memorial service is being planned for early March in Washington to honor Saludares. A private family funeral will be held in the Philippines in the coming days.

*lifted from a Multiply blog; source unspecified.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Is It Ever Timely?

Life is fragile. That's what our teacher, Enrico Labayen, reminded me when he learned the news that Mary had passed away.

Mary was a stunning dancer. Young, passionate, talented, dynamic, ambitious, and full of life. According to her closest friends, she too was very positive, compassionate, humble and generous. Her passing away shocked the Philippine dance world because she was a gem: a dance icon in the making. She died at the very premature age of 20. Very untimely.

But is it ever timely?

If my time is now and I die in my sleep tonight, will my spirit be able to smile and say, "I have lived every single moment of my life without wasting a second to regret and bitterness"?

Will I be thankful for all the pain that came my way that made every joy sweeter?

Will I go satisfied that I have seen enough sunsets and enough daybreaks?

Will I rejoice knowing that I have loved with all my might? And shared everything I could?

Will I be content knowing that I have lived my life climbing the highest of its peaks and down to the depths of its mysteries, through the darkest of its nights, and the brightest of its mornings? Through alleys, roads and rivers?

Will I find pride knowing that I selflessly gave what I could?

Will I be able to say, "I lived"?

When is it ever timely?

And when my time comes, how will I say my final goodbye?

"Sometimes we encounter things in our path, but because our time has not yet come, they brush past us, without touching us, even though they were close enough for us to touch them." --Paulo Coelho

Thank you, Mary. For making this world just a bit better, brighter and enjoyable for some of us. Thank you for inspiring us. And thank you for this moment of reflection. Bouree your way up to heaven, and dance with the angels. The Creator is waiting for your first curtsy in His court.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Let's Play A Game

How many putangina's can you say in 9 minutes? Would you dare try to beat this schizo?

citibank scandal - -

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Of Challenges

Exactly a week back, a Wednesday, I saw him for the first time. He was new to this place that has, over time, become my mid-week hangout. He looked unfamiliar not just to me, but to the other denizens as well. But he had a certain charm that drew people to him. At some point, he caught me staring at him. He looked me in the eye and smiled at me. A little bit sly, I thought. Immediately, I knew I could never trust him. I turned away and left.

Yesterday, I was surprised to see him there again. He was stunning and captivating. French. Givenchy. Son nom est Givenchy.

But this time he was no longer alone. He stood there, proud and self-assured with his friends. Three of them. All Italian. Versace, Prada, and Versace.

They locked their gaze on me as soon as I walked into the warm hall. Trying so hard to keep my composure, I pretended not to see them and forced myself to walk fast past them. But I could feel them still. I knew that behind me, they were staring at me, waiting for me to make a move.

I turned around and walked back to were they were. Before I knew it, they were all lined up right in front of me. "We're on sale. What should you do?", Givenchy, their leader, asked me. Challenged me.

We stood there: all five of us, in awkward, difficult silence. My heart was beating fast and my hands were sweating. I was ready to take on the challenge. But not with every one of them. Only one. (Or maybe two, but that would mean I'll have to sacrifice a lot this month. One is safe. That only means I have to postpone a planned purchase till next month.) But which one? I reached inside my pocket for my phone and checked the time. 5:20pm. We'd been standing there for more than 10 minutes. One missed call. T.

I dialled T's number and apologized for missing his call. "I was making a very important decision."

"May I ask what?"

I explained to him the situation and asked for counsel.

"You don't need it. You have sunnies," he said matter-of-factly.

"But they're two years old," I reasoned out.

"And still functioning." T was very clever. He caught cornered me in a cul de sac. "Hard times, Rye. We shouldn't be spending on unnecessary things."

"It's necessary."

"It's a want." He punctuated the discussion.

"What should I do?", I asked him feeling defeated.

"Put them down and walk away."

I was silent.

"Did you hear me, my love?"

"Putting them down." And I started to walk away. "Walking away."

I left Delay No Mall with a heavy heart and million second thoughts running in my head. More than four times, I attempted to go back and give it a second chance. Eventually, I realized I was gonna be late for my dance class if I stayed longer. I gave up.

All throughout my back-to-back classes, images of them four sporadically flashed in my mind. And images of them and me in the sun. In Boracay. In Floatilla. On the train. On the bus. In Cheung Sha. In South Beach. I struggled to forget them. I needed them out of my system before dinner, when I was gonna meet up with T to celebrate our second month. I succeeded somehow.

But I woke up this morning to thoughts of them.

And, through an incident today, I learned a lesson from yesterday's challenge: In shopping, as in life in general, not all challenges are worth spending our energies and resources on. Some challenges serve nothing more than our egos. And it's not bad at all. But other challenges serve our egos and some things else. It is but wiser to save our bullets for these ones that prove to be more worthwhile.

That incident today, I will blog about tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cultivating The Sean Cody In All Of Us

WARNING: Reader discretion is strongly advised.

I have a certain degree of admiration for Sean Cody. I will explain why, but first, let me introduce him to my readers who do not watch gay porn, by quoting parts of his auto-written profile on his website. Here goes:

"Who am I? Well, I am an average guy who just happens to have a love for the beauty of the male form. I'm actually very normal in most respects and when people meet me they can't believe I do this because I am very clean cut and I look very straight-laced.

When I turned thirty I decided to start an adult website because I knew it was something I would enjoy. I had never even held a camcorder before and I didn't know what I was doing but I learned, mostly through trial and error.

I have a lot of fun running this site and that's why I do it. I've met a lot of cool people and experienced a lot of things I otherwise wouldn't have. The hardest part about being in this line of work is telling people what you do. Fortunately, my family and friends know and they're surprisingly accepting." (from To read the full write-up, click here)

For those who still didn't get it, Sean Cody is a pornographer. Almost every gay man I know, regardless of age, knows of Sean Cody and his works. Not everyone, but 9 out of 10 would be a realistic estimate. Out of these people that I know who know of him, there is not one person whom I know of, that hasn't seen his face in his videos. Yes, hetero readers. He has starred in some of his works.

So why do I admire him? It's not because I'm a performer and he has laudable acting prowess, in fact I'd say his performance is usually lackluster. Not because he has a body of a Greek god, he's never stripped in front of the camera; nor has he a face of an angel. Well, his face would pass for innocent but wouldn't it be odd to see an angel in a porn flick?

I admire Sean Cody because he is a man with conviction. He decided what to do with his life and he stood by it. For some, making choices is easy, but for others it's not. For some, standing up for the choices they make is easy, especially if they know that the choice that they make fits in the stereotypical definition of noble; but for others, who make unpopular choices, it is not. Sean Cody is one of the "others". And the "others" is not a minority.

Every now and then, we make choices that people around us, even those whose opinions matter a lot to us, do not approve of. Sadly, even in this time of new age spirituality that fosters oneness and unity, when majority of our generation fights discord and discrimination and advocates living and letting live, the old adage "You can't please everybody" still holds true. Every option that we are faced with has its own audience, and its own critics, just like every option also has its pros and cons. Between the rock and the hard place, only we know which the better choice is. Only we know which one will give us the closest semblance to bliss and make us sleep soundly at night. If, in the middle of the night, we wake up and realize that the mosquitoes are ruining our sleep, then it is our obligation to ourselves to deal with them, since those mosquitoes are part and parcel of the choice that we made. Feeling sorry for ourselves is preposterous and undignified.

I do not believe that wrong decisions do exist. But there are ways in making decisions, by which we may be wrong. If I choose to be this and to live this way, it is a decision that is neither right nor wrong. It becomes wrong when in the end I realize that I didn't consider that it might be unpopular and that I might be criticized for it and end up explaining myself to people I love and questioning their loyalty and love for me. But if I can look at things objectively enough, I will see that what apparently is an absence of love and loyalty is actually the exact opposite. Since they love me too much, they're not around because they know that being around me will burden me even more. They stepped away because they're letting me be. They're letting me live my life the way I want to, and not the way they do.

Furthermore, if I am man enough to stand by my convictions, I will deal with the consequences of my own choice, even if they were unforeseen. I will not live my choices half-heartedly. I will live it with earnestness, just like the way Sean Cody jumped into his life as a pornographer with certitude the first time he appeared on-cam, fucking Nick. (If you don't have that yet, download it now. That's now considered a precious collector's item.)

Monday, February 16, 2009

When In Rome...

...or in any city in the world, and you want a quick glimpse of their culture, watch their ads. These reflect the psyche of the people: their wants, their needs, where they come from and the direction they're going. That's one of the most interesting things I learned from Denisa Reyes in one of our many vodka nights.

Opening Today!

Can't You Read the Menu?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

We're Back!


After 7 months of hiatus, we are back online!
Now with a new link, but still with the same feel.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Two Years Back

After writing my Valentine's entry for tonight, I searched the Sent folder of my email, trying to find an important address. I didn't find it. Instead, this I found this---

Evaluation: Valentine’s Day ‘07

I had anticipated this day for weeks with much dread. I had the right and reason to. For the first time in 7 years, I would be celebrating Valentine’s Day sans romance (whether real or make-believe) in my life. And I am a hopeless romantic; Valentine’s is my day.

So for days preceding “the” day, I hoped and wished that Valentine’s would just come and go like any ordinary day. Of course I knew that no matter how big my faith was, or no matter how hard I prayed, there was no stopping Valentine’s. But I hoped that the Universe would conspire to at least allow me to go through Feb. 14oblivious of all the romance in the air. Or on the ground. But the Universe didn’t .As a matter of fact, It persisted in showing me that just because I am still healing from my last relationship which ended just 2 weeks before Valentine’s, doesn’t mean nobody else has the right to feel the way I felt for 7 years before today. Everywhere I looked, I saw couples, and flowers and chocolates and romance. And all other forms of love. Furthermore, It made me see that even if I may be single (not that being single is such a bad thing. I’m just not used to being single yet), I could still be part of the love-giving and –receiving. And I had the choice. Whether I want to be part of it or not, whether I want to be a recipient and giver or the Valentine’s Scrooge is entirely up to me.

How did I weigh my options? Following are the circumstances that helped me decide.

As midnight struck last night, my most recent boyfriend sent me an sms, which said, “Happy Valentine’s. I haven’t stopped loving you, just so you know.”
I woke up this morning and the first thing I read on my mobile phone was from my mom: a personal love message she had composed (I could tell because of the vocabulary) which ended in “Happy love day, my son. I love you so much!”
Then after digesting what my mom just sent me and thanking the Universe for the wonderful mother Remi is, I stepped out of my room, ready to start my morning rituals and I saw what seemed to me as a card envelope stuck on my door by some adhesive tape. Curious, I grabbed it and eagerly opened it, to see a card from my best friend Dan. He wrote such a wonderful message that summarized into his last sentence: “Basta, ang gusto ko lang sabihin ay (All I really want to say is), I am very thankful I have you as my best friend.” On the side, in small print, he said that even though I am boyfriend-less, I am blessed with a lot of friends who love me. So true.

Later that afternoon, maybe out of pity or whatever (which doesn’t really matter to me), Keith asked me to go with him to the carnival. I said no the first time but he convinced me eventually. I tried to come up with excuses. Some of them were true and valid, some were not; he had all the solution to every issue I came up with. So it turned out, I had a valentine. Sure, it was last-minute and was far from being a romantic date. Point is, I had a date on Valentine’s Day. And what a gorgeous, green-eyed date I had!

I got home a little after midnight. When I turned my computer on, I found out that I received a friendster testimonial and a myspace comment from my “girlfriend” (girlfriend in quotation marks being, that if I were straight, everybody would probably be gossiping about us now, misconstruing the unexpected closeness that we have), just reminding me that I am one of the very few friends she truly values and loves.

So that’s how my day went --- filled with simple gestures of love that caused such a big impact to me. Started with love, ended with love and filled with so much love in between.

I guess it’s true what the song says; that love is all around us. And whether I want to be part of it or not, whether I want to be a recipient and giver or the Valentine’s Scrooge is entirely up to me. What did I decide? Well, when there’s just an abundance of reasons that prove that scarcity of love is but a pathetic delusion; and all my senses are unanimous in saying that it just feels so right to be part of this loving ecosystem, it would be stupid to want out. And I’m not stupid. Romantic, but not stupid.

All in all, it wasn’t my worst Valentine’s. In fact, I believe that saying it has been my best Valentine’s to date wouldn’t be an overstatement.

Valentine’s 07. Ang rating natin dyan, 5 stars.

Now I am starting to think I am such a contradiction.

A Change Of Heart On Valentine's

Notwithstanding the risk of being perceived as a Valentine Scrooge, I boldly announced my view on Valentine's Day on Facebook this morning by posting it on my status:

"Rye doesn't understand all the hype on Valentine's.
Love should be spread and celebrated everyday.
And we should be having passionate sex everyday too."

I am not a hater. I just don't understand the need to celebrate it the way we do today. Of course, some people may argue that Valentine's is a religious celebration, to commemorate St. Valentine. Ok, religious rites are not to be questioned. But do we even know which of the these St. Valentines this day is to be attributed to? According to my research (yes, I did research before I complained. I'm not a plain wanker.), the Catholic church recognizes at least 3 saints whose names are either Valentine or Valentinus. And, even if we know exactly which of them this celebration is for, why do we celebrate? Because he was a martyr? Well, aren't all saints martyrs? Why isn't any of them deserving of the same hullabaloo that we create, year after year, for one of them saints known as Valentine?

One look at the world around us on VDay and there's no denying that it is the genius behind the commercialization of this worldwide event that we are honoring. Her name was Esther Howland of Massachussets and she was the first to mass produce Valentine's cards sometime after 1847. A marketing phenomenon, her legacy lives on more than a century after her death.

So you get my drift. That's how I perceived Valentine's. Perceived. Past tense. I had a change of heart coming home from work today.

I am currently suffering from a bad cold and dry cough. My sinusitis is at its peak today and when I was in class today, I unintentionally yelled when 2 of my students couldn't do a simple pas de bouree en tournant in time with the music. The rest of the class, they were all quiet and pushing their bodies hard.

I had a chat with one of the students on the way to the train station and she said that my sudden outburst scared the shit out of them. And I saw that. I had never seen any of them concentrate that way in class before this afternoon. Then I remembered my favorite high school teacher, Mr. Aguila, in one of his pep talks in class. He said that if one screams and projects anger everyday and earns the reputation of being a "terror", he will succeed in intimidating people in the beginning. But people will get used to it and his antics will eventually lose impact.

That was the perfect rebuttal to my Facebook status. Valentine's, like Christmas, cannot be celebrated everyday, because it will diminish the impact by which it hits us. It will seize to be something we look forward to year after year. Flowers and chocolates will be meaningless when we receive them everyday. Passionate sex, when done everyday may be fun in the first few months but human nature will make us want for something that we don't have: the absence of sex. And can you imagine if we have to go to fancy dinner every single day? Too much money!

So I am changing my opinion on Valentine's. But I still refuse to spend my money on anything in the name of Valentine's

Happy Valentine's everyone! I hope it's not too late.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The 200-Dollar Difference

For $750, in Salon G, one can get a Senior Stylist with credentials including film, theater and TV credits, to do his hair. This includes shampoo, a haircut and color correction. As soon as the client comes in, he is greeted warmly by his stylist, whom he can also enjoy a nice chat with throughout the whole session. He will also be asked to choose from a list of beverages that includes coffee, tea, juice or wine, that he can have before or during his session. He can experience the friendliest, warmest pampering from its staff of articulate and pleasant professionals.

At the end of the day, the client looks more beautiful than he actually is, because he feels great and such positive energies are manifested physically even sans effort.

But there are times when the client has other things to spend on. So he opts for a cheaper alternative.

For $550, in Salon H, one can get the Salon Director to do his hair, with credentials, uhhh... (they don't have a website, and I couldn't find any other research material.) Well, let's just get back on that later. This includes shampoo, a haircut and color correction, although the correction may not be as precise as the client envisioned it would be. It could be 4 shades yellower. When he walks in, he has to wait 3-5 minutes before the stylists decide which of them wants to do the job. If the client doesn't speak Cantonese, he can also get annoyed with his stylist who just won't stop speaking to him in the vernacular despite the fact that he had done everything--- charades, playing deaf, raising an eyebrow, half-yelling--- to let him know that he doesn't understand a word in the Chinese vocabulary. The whole process can take longer than usual, because time allowance for translation has to be factored in. The client might get parched, so it is advised that he bring something that he can drink. They have a strict BYOB policy. With the amount that the client is paying, he gets to see, first-hand, assistants gossiping behind each other's backs, and also the chance to interact with assistants who do not have the time to shampoo clients because they're busy having their mid-afternoon dimsum and coffee, or doing their own hair.

At the end of the day, he feels cheaper than he actually is because when he looks in the mirror, he sees that his cheapness is manifested by his hair even sans effort.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Boy Scout Vs. The Drama Queen

"I'm gonna need to call in today," the drama queen exclaimed in frustration.

"No, stupid!"

"Ok, maybe I won't. I'll just call them and tell the truth."

"Tell them what?" the boy scout, close to the end of his patience, asked, almost in a condescending manner.

"That I can't come to work because I don't have dancewear today. And I don't have access to all my essentials: my wallet, my Ipod, my Octopus, my phone even.. (Oh shit! How will I call them anyway?) ...because everything's inside the house, and..."

"And we locked ourselves out. You think they'd think that's cute?"

After just a beat, the Drama Queen's face lit up as an idea suddenly popped up. "Oh my God! Maybe I should just go and meet up with Dan in Disney so I can borrow his housekeys. Do I have time? If I go now..."

"In boxers? You're actually thinking to travel to Disney in boxers?" The boy scout was now torn. They were standing behind Kenny, the landlord's son who was relentlessly trying to open the steel door with two pieces of 3-foot iron wire. He slid both wires between the grills which were on the same level as their heads and painstakingly tried to get their hooked ends to clasp onto the door latch inside. It had been 10 minutes, and still, there was absolutely no sign of salvation. Kenny was in his mid-30's, a bit chubby and quite nerdy too. His fashion sense was what a lot of people might consider passe; and his english vocabulary was limited to "hi" and "sorry". He certainly was not, in fact he was not even remotely close to being, the drama queen's type of guy. And this only made the situation worse, because the boy scout knew that if the drama queen fancied Kenny, even the slightest bit, she wouldn't be as panicky as she was at that moment. Standing beside the drama queen, the boy scout was having a hard time deciding which of his urges to act on first: the urge to mock and belittle her concerns by laughing at her, or the urge to put her bickering to a screeching halt by spanking her in the head.

"You're right. I can't take the train to Disney. My Octopus is inside the flat." Her voice started to shake as if her world was about to shatter to a million pieces and she was ready for a major breakdown scene. Like the way she did when she was 9 and her grandma refused to buy her a toy iron and ironing board because they were for girls.

At this point, the boy scout had already moved from where his was standing over the past 15 minutes. He looked out the window that was on the other end of the hall. "Kenny!", he called out enthusiastically. "Don't bother anymore. I think I know what to do."

Kenny stopped what he was doing and stared at him. He obviously didn't understand what the boy scout said.

"What are you gonna do?!" the drama queen asked with both excitement and fear, and she was ignored by the boy scout.

" I. Go. Out. Here. Go There. Go. In." In the most elementary of words and the biggest, most indicating of gestures, the boy scout spelled out the plan to Kenny. He was gonna go out of the window, onto the hanging ledge and into their balcony, where the door was unlocked. He smiled at Kenny and waited for him to reciprocate, as a sign of approval, but Kenny just stared at him, dumbfounded. He smiled at the drama queen briefly and looked away before she could even try to stop him.

Without hestitation, the boy scout raised his left foot chest-high, climbed the windowsill and pushed himself out. The drama queen clutched his pearls in horror and gasped, praying that the wind wouldn't blow and throw him off-balance. Less than two minutes later, the front door opened and the boy scout showed himself to Kenny who was still holding the wires and didn't seem to know what was happening.

"Oh, good!" Kenny said, which surprised the boy and the drama queen. They didn't know Kenny knew a third word in english.

"No sweat," the boy scout affirmed. And he wasn't lying. Contrary to what the drama queen might have projected, it wasn't that dangerous. The ledge was about 2 feet wide and the concrete fence that separated their balcony from the ledge wasn't more than 4 feet tall. And their flat was only on the second (first floor, in HK) floor. Even if he fell, the worst that could happen was a sprain.

Still, the drama queen thought it was a scene from "Mission: Impossible". So as soon as I got my hands on my computer, the drama queen in me defied the boy scout in me and typed: "Rye did the unthinkable" in my Facebook status.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Call Me Robin Hood

...for stealing a good read from Tita Mike's Notes page on Facebook and posting it here from everyone to see.

25 random things about Facebook
It’s not a computer virus, but it sure is starting to feel like one
By Helen A.S. Popkin
updated 9:00 a.m. ET Feb. 2, 2009

It’s not a computer virus, but for some Facebook members, it’s starting to feel like one. It’s called the "25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you," and it seems all the kids are doing it. The Facebook notification pops up in your e-mail or Facebook "wall" with instructions to list these 25 things and tag 25 of your own “friends” to do the same.

The only thing lacking in this dubious invitation is the dire threat of a chain letter — that failure to comply means certain death in say, the next 25 days. Well, turnabout is fair play. Let's see how YOU like it, Facebook!

1. Facebook fosters the illusion that every person you know actually cares that you left your Nikes in the locker room at Crunch.

2. Nobody cares that you left your Nikes in the locker room at Crunch.

3. If you join Facebook to find out what your kids are up to, you might actually find out what your kids are up to.

4. You don’t want to find out what your kids are up to.

5. Unless, of course, you want to find photos of your 19-year-old daughter making out with another 19-year-old coed for the edification of a bunch of 19-year old dudes doing beer bongs. (That’s age 19, if you’re lucky.)

6. You can announce your divorce on Facebook via the heart icon thingy.

7. Don’t announce your divorce on Facebook.

8. Don’t announce your divorce on Facebook for a number of reasons, the least of which is that all your "friends" will respond on your "wall" with sympathies that in a different era would've been delivered in privacy. You wouldn’t console somebody by shouting across a room full of people. Why are you doing it on a Facebook "wall?"

9. You people take Facebook way too seriously.

10. A woman was killed after changing her relationship status on Facebook.

11. Remember that Burger King "Whopper Sacrifice" application that allegedly offered a free Whopper coupon for every 10 friends you dumped? Well, you probably shouldn’t have dumped a couple of your oldest friends, two of which are hardcore vegans. At least one of them didn’t find it hilarious at all and now they won’t “re-friend” you.

12. If you join Facebook to find people you used to know, you’re just as likely to find your middle school BFF Jill as you are to reignite the passions of that one guy from Photography class who has been stalking you since junior college.

13. "Don’t Get Botox"

14. Facebook can get you fired. Yes, you. Just like you are not that one person who can drive safely while talking on a cell phone, you are not that one person who is in no danger of getting fired for something stupid posted by or about you on Facebook.

15. What’s more, your boss is on Facebook. If you join, you’re going to have to decide whether to accept his or her "friendship." If you accept, you risk losing your job for something he or she stumbles upon. If you attempt to play it safe by not accepting your boss’s "friendship," you risk losing your job for offending him or her.

16. Oh, and you’re also at risk of alienating your oldest friends by bumping their rank in your "Always show these friends" box. We’re talking your adult friends, like, in their 30s and 40s, with jobs and kids and all kinds of grown-up responsibilities.

17. Your otherwise grown-up friends are angry at you for bumping their "Always show these friends" rank because obviously you’re trying to communicate some kind of super secret Facebook message along the lines of, "I value your friendship two-people less today than I did yesterday." It’s like watching your friendship stock plummet.

18. The esteemed widow of former Emperor of Malawi did not just send you a "friend" request, nor is she bearing a unique and prosperous offer straight out of Nigeria just for you.

19. And while we’re on the subject, I'VE JUST BEEN HELD UP AT GUNPOINT IN LONDON AND I NEED YOU TO SEND ME $600 NOW!!!!!

20. Facebook is most concerned about Your Privacy. (And the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny are friends!)

21. Don’t connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts. People you haven’t heard from for, like, seven years — people you never thought you were friends with — will leave lame and annoying comments on your Tweets.

22. It’s like, hey, if you want to rekindle the friendship I never thought we had, call me or at least send a private e-mail. Jeez.

23. OK, the cool thing about having your Facebook and Twitter accounts connected is that your Tweets show up as your status updates. But then, if people respond on Twitter and maybe ask you something, and you respond via Twitter, it shows up as your Facebook status, and that’s annoying.

24. While you're sending zombie challenges to all your "friends," there's a guy in Egypt using Facebook to foment democracy.

25. Eventually, someone will post photos from your high school yearbook. Dang, your hair was big.

Naw, but seriously. You kids are awesome! Come "friend" me on Facebook!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Locker Room Field Trip

I walked in the locker room and found two men: one, probably in his early 40's and the other, in his late 20's. Judging on body language, they didn't know each other. One was just getting ready for his tennis game while the other was still damp from the shower. They were both chinese, and both naked.

As soon as I deposited my stuff in my assigned locker, I marched into the shower cubicle. I was in my trunks and a towel hung in my shoulder. Twenty minutes later, I was wiping myself dry. I was going to wrap the towel around my loin but it was too small for one end to even reach the other. I decided to wear my trunks again. And then I decided otherwise. Come to think of it, I have never experienced parading in any changing room completely naked. Not in the dressing rooms of the company I used to work for, not in any public changing room I have ever been. Other people can do it, why can't I?

With much pride and dignity, I swung the shower curtain open and walked to the locker stark naked. The two men I had walked into weren't around anymore, but another character had appeared: the boy who, about an hour ago got me pissed because he moved the dumbells I was using for my Arnold Press. Few minutes later, I heard somebody walking out of the steam room. And another one coming out of the toilet. We were all bare-assed. Nothing to be coy about.

Although I didn't pretend to be straight, I also didn't announce I was gay. Maybe they knew and didn't mind at all. Or maybe they were too busy to even examine. Or maybe, they really thought I was straight even though my blonde lock screamed faggotry. Here in HK, I have learned that to judge a book by its cover is truly unwise; because here in HK, metrosexuals do exist.

Everything was going well. By that, I meant I wasn't having trouble co-existing in an enclosed space with other men in such vulnerable state. Neither were they. I could say so because none of them made me feel they were uncomfortable. Well, until I headed to the sink, and, out of habit, applied my cheek tint right after applying my moisturizer.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Pas De Bourree It Forward

For those that the Muse Of Dance chose to mentor me--
Sofia Zobel-Elizalde
Enrico Labayen
Denisa Reyes
...and the men and women that
unconditionally shared their
skills, time and wisdom.

I am not the kind of dancer that my colleagues would call a virtuoso. Neither am I the kind that choreographers would beg on their knees to dance for them. Nor the kind that teachers would kill for, to own pedagogy.

I am just a single unit in the multitude. There will be no tributes staged for me in this lifetime or in the lifetimes that will follow. My life will not be recorded by historians, or studied by scholars. There won't be a school of dance named after me. I am not among the great movers of this artform. Bautista is far from Vaganova, or Forsythe, or Graham, or Cechetti, Nureyev. It doesn't belong to the lines of Labayen, or Reyes, or Jumalon, or Fabella, or Nierras, or Beltran, or Morales.

In the dance atlas, I am insignificant. Invisible, even. But the way by which dance rules my life is neither insignificant nor invisible. It feeds me. It nourishes me. And it keeps me alive. And I wouldn't be enjoying my dancer's life now if not for my mentors who never got tired of sharing--- my mentors who gave and gave and made sure I was learning as much as I can, without even asking for anything in return. Not a single centavo to pay for my tuition fee.

To them, I will forever be grateful. It is my turn to share. My turn to pay it forward.

The Likha Babies prepared
a pre-workshop feast that
we shared on Chater Road in Central

One more picture before digging in.

Good food. Good conversation. Good company.
And it only got better after this sumptuous lunch.

Day 1 Output

Day 2 Output