Jeepneys, Tramps and Thieves

The year was 1999. To a teenager on her own in a a big city, on holiday for the first time, Cebu was a magical place. It was all fun and games up until I needed a ticket home. Times being what they were and Google maps being nonexistent, I inevitably got lost searching for the ticketing office of George and Peter Lines. Directions were needed, nothing that a smile and a few words of thanks wouldn’t fix.

Or so I thought. Long story short, I asked an otap vendor. He  was so eager to help, he roped in a friend who had one of those trikes you see at piers, for ferrying people with heavy luggage around. The good news? I found the ticketing office. The bad? I came home with 500 PhP worth of otap and a lifelong distrust of strangers.  Clearly, the lesson here is that otap is evil. Oh, and get directions from someone who isn’t incentivized to benefit from your ignorance (like a policeman), and learn to say no.

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Stalking Me Up (With Her Love)

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The pigeons around my building are incessantly horny. I get treated to displays of  relentless and unabated stalking every morning. All day, every day, it’s male pigeons waddling desperately after female pigeons, coaxing them to mate. Nonstop. Mate with me. Mate with me. Mate with me? Please?

Welcome to the animal kingdom. Where art imitates life.

Everyone knows the best way to make a girl fall for you is to stalk her incessantly throughout an entire music video. Four minutes of this, and she’s yours. Forever. Music videos never lie. Not exactly sure why Tara Reid was being so coy here. Soul patch, questionable hair, ripped denim jacket, Ed Hardy trucker hat? Her ovaries should’ve exploded.

Maybe MTV is to blame for my slightly more tolerant acceptance of male heckling. (But MTV taught me that it was normal! Insert sad face.) It happens, and being overly offended by it is a waste of my time. Wasting time is bad. Blatantly ripping off the video that started this all, including extended dance break? Worse.

Sorry Usher. Michael Jackson did it first and did it best in this modern-day feminist’s nightmare. That white cotton sash will live on in infamy, though. This would never fly in 2017, that girl would’ve maced MJ after the first few bars, because progress.

 

 

Meanwhile, in the Scottish Highlands

My knowledge of Scotland comes from romance novels and movies. I know they have a loch that has a Ness, say “och,” “nae” and “bluidy” a lot, that William Wallace looked like Mel Gibson and James Bond is a Scot.

When Le Hubs suggested the Fergus Scottish Festival as a way to get out of town, I jumped at the chance. Scots are portrayed as rough, rowdy and roguish, perennial harassers of the Brits and clannish to the point of absurdity. No, Outlander didn’t cause this – brief aside, I only got through its first six episodes, not a fan, don’t hate me – just the attraction of the unknown did.

So we get there and there’s men in kilts everywhere. I had never seen so many men in skirts in my life. Costumes! Socks with dirks stuffed in them (not a euphemism)! Plaid! Bagpipes! Plaid! Scotch Eggs! Plaid! Celtic coloured glass! Plaid! Sheep shearing! Plaid! Men flipping logs for sport! Plaid!

If I’d known the dress code was traditional Highland fling, I would’ve made more of an effort, because their national dress is absolutely amazing. Knee high socks, sporrans, pleats, I can see myself Baby One More Time-ing that ish. But I didnae ken. Och well, there’s always next time!

 

 

Break Ups and Shake Ups

Is it that time again? That part of the music cycle where boy/girl bands break up and its individual members go their separate ways, make their own marks and come up with their own albums?

This is the third iteration I’ve lived through, and I was there when NKOTB’s Jordan Knight and Joey McIntyre came out swinging. I was there when Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez faced off against Nick Carter and Nick Lachey, there when the Spice Girls faced off against each other, there when Destiny’s Child broke up and came out with their own albums, there when BSB and NKOTB came together like a multi-armed giant mutant  singing group causing the hearts of late twenty somethings to explode .

I had no idea what Jordan Knight meant by “it.” Then I grew up and realized he wanted to sex up a carnie in an amusement park. I thought he meant romance! I weep for my childhood.

Nelly and Kelly contemplate cheating, and use MS Excel on a Nokia QWERTY phone to further their courtship. God, the early oughts were badass. 

It’s happening again, with the One Direction boys going their own directions. Two things: they were right when they said music is cyclical, and my god I am way too old for this shit.

I had a hard time with Slow Hands being like sweat dripping on dirty laundry, because gross. Sign of the Times makes five minutes feel like  being stuck behind someone in line at the ATM who takes forever. Come on Bowie, get your money and go already… Pillow Talk was last year, so here’s Strip That Down, because apropos of nothing, this makes me think of pink flamingoes.

 

Reading Rainbow

It’s a good time to be a bookworm. Not that it’s ever a bad time to be a bookworm, but it used to be pricier for me because e-books hadn’t yet been invented, and I had to actually pay to read, because that was the price of being in a book club. (Php 10 for an Avon Romance!) Flash forward a decade or two, and it’s all just point, click and download.  Overdrive and the Toronto Public Library are the gifts that keep giving.

Weirdly, I wasn’t into the whole e-book thing at first – made the usual noises, nothing like the real thing, blah blah blah and crap. But the pros far outweighed the cons. Nightly ablutions + not skipping a chapter? Win. Reading in bed without a lamp? Win. Plus you can’t beat the price of free.

I’ve been tackling my book backlog these past couple of weeks because I needed a break from the Netflix glut and the internet is a minefield of possible GoT spoilers. Books have always been portals to other worlds, windows to peek through and watch glorious ladies in ballgowns sweeping past. Escapism at its best.

This is my idealized self-portrait.

This is me in real life.

So book reviews, the quick-fire edition:

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Random YouTube K-hole

This fever dream was brought to you by episode recaps of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8, off of the absolutely brilliant Blind Canyon and its hilarious webmistress. Birthed by the reminder of Derrick Barry and that hideous two-in-one negligee he obviously cribbed from Britney’s pregnant video + Acid Betty in Madonna giving birth to doves drag + sleep deprivation = this.

Behold, pop stars who didn’t let pregnancy get in the way of making music videos, because the only other thing more urgent than the call of nature is the call of the muse, fetus in the belly bedamned.

Britney, pre-breakdown. It’s the last time we’ll ever see her as the innocent southern All-American girl, all smiles and giggles and just a dash of naughty sexiness. And then she gives birth, shaves her head and uses an umbrella as a weapon of mass destruction. Kids ruin everything. Las Vegas puts you back together.

 

In medieval times, women went into confinement when they got pregnant. Here’s Beyonce, showing the word confinement isn’t even in her vocabulary.

 

The original trailblazer is not to be outdone.  Madame Madonna, four months pregnant with Guy Ritchie’s child. When she says she wants to dance with her baby, do you think she means it literally? She also takes time to throw a couple of bills at strippers, because why not. Say hi to your mommy, Rocco.

I was going to include Whitney Houston’s I’m Every Woman, which shows her pregnant with her only child, but now they’re both dead and both passed in unfortunate circumstances, so… yeah. No. Bad idea. You get the Spice Girls instead.

Emphasizing the power in girl power, this gets runner up points for featuring not just one, but two pregnancies. From Generation Next to having the next generation! Friendship never ends.