Friday, February 24, 2006

Will I Ever Return to the States?

You may have noticed from or whatever news sites you visit that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has declared The Island to be in a state of emergency. What does this mean? Rallies and protests are banned, arrests without warrants are allowed, the president can call in the military to intervene, and she has the ability to take over facilities and media outlets if they pose a threat to national security. Basically, she is one step short of declaring martial law.

Why all the commotion? These days mark the 20th anniversary of the four day EDSA Revolution that ousted Ferdinand Marcos from power on February 25, 1986. If you have no clue what I'm talking about, that is OK because I don't either. I created that sentence based on news stories that I've read today. Don't worry. I'm 99% sure it's accurate. Anyway, people hate the president here because she is supposedly corrupt and supposedly rigged the last election. Supposedly, a coup attempt was quashed this morning and included a general of special forces being arrested. From what I've been told even if they manage to oust this president, they don't really know who would step up and replace her. This situation could really escalate. The co-workers are already making the "Carlo, you're not going to be able to go back to the states" jokes. Uh oh.

For whatever reason, this all seems exciting to me. Not that I want to live under martial law, but I am interested to see what life under martial law is like. I'm probably just crazy. One of the political rallies is being held at a monument two blocks away from The Agency. I guess that spot is famous because it was one of the main rallying points for the 1986 revolution. I want to walk over there and check it out, but with my luck I'd probably walk into the crowd just before they started releasing tear gas.

In any case, I'm thinking this will probably pass seeing as the president has already survived three impeachent attempts and a coup attempt or two.

Until next time...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Rafting in Davao

Last weekend I took a trip to Davao for a commercial shoot, or what I like to call whitewater rafting. I honestly had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that I was going to the south to the island of Mindanao. From what I’ve heard, there are terrorists down in Mindanao. This somewhat scared me until I was assured that Davao had a decent metropolitan area. They also have a mayor notorious for being a badass. They call him The Punisher. I’m not joking. There was a billboard of him riding a Harley, and above his name was “The Punisher.” You think no smoking bans in indoor public places is bad in NY and CA? He went as far as banning smoking while you’re riding your car. I also heard he dropped convicted drug users from helicopters over the ocean…or something to that effect, and I’m not kidding either. This is the Philippines; apparently you can do stuff like that here. As soon as I found out that we had The Punisher on our side, I felt just a little bit better.

I’m not going to give you the play-by-play because way too many events took place and would only make sense to those that were there, but I will give you some highlights.

-I made it through stretches of the river called The Washing Machine, Rodeo, and the Drop & Suck.

-I fell off the raft, floated down the river for about 100 yards through some nasty rapids and hit rocks, swallowed tons of nasty river water and almost drowned, and a raft and kayak had to be sent to rescue me. It was awesome. I hope to do it again sometime.

-Food in Davao is awesome. I would go back just to eat.

-There was a Hitachi crane in the middle of the river. When I say "middle of the river," I don't mean that it looked like the crane just fell of the shore. I mean it looked like a helicopter airlifted the thing in the middle of the river. Also, how did they manage to get the crane in the middle of the jungle anyway? Anyhow, we had to steer around it. It would've sucked to hit it.

-Our raft got punctured and had to be sealed. That was cool.

-I drank until 3 AM, hopped on a plane at 7 AM, and went straight to work at 10 AM hung over and sleepy as hell.

-After the rafting, I still had enough energy to dazzle some village children with my futbol skills.

-We hung out with the rafting guides and crew, production staff, and director, and they were all probably some of the most awesome people I’ve met in my life…that’s in addition to the fact that they’re awesome drinkers and drank until 5 in the morning after five hours of filming and rafting.

Tons more stuff happened, but attempting to tell the stories would be the same as when a friend tries to tell you an inside joke he has with another friend but you just don’t get it because you weren’t there. Also, I probably would ramble on for paragraphs, lose focus, and further prove that I have ADD.

The trip was one of the best things I’ve ever done. It really made me rethink what I want to do with my life…again. Maybe I’ll just stay here and become a river guide…ehhh probably not but it’s tempting.

Anyway, click on "My Life in Photographs" over in the links section to take a look at the pics.

Gogie, the Art Director, took some sweet modeling pics back in the hotel. Maybe one day he’ll send them, and I’ll post them. The professional photographer also got some sweet action shots on the river, and I’ll also hopefully get those one day and post them. I’ll let you know if I ever get any of those.

Until next time…

Friday, February 17, 2006

Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?

A couple weeks ago, Rissa, one of our Account Directors, asked me if I wanted to be a body double for a print ad. Of course I said “yes.” I got a free shirt for the shoot and chicken dinner afterwards!

The client uses this Filipino action star to endorse this specific product. We did a shoot with him and some awesome expensive photographer a couple months ago, but we only got shots of him in his wifebeater and button down. The client wanted a picture of him in a white t-shirt. It was not within budget nor was it the most economically efficient thing to pay up again just to get shots of the guy in a white tee, and they ruled out Photoshop for a variety of reasons. I guess a body double was the best solution, and they needed a male model.

I set down my Orange Mocha Frappuccino and headed out to the mall to get my fitted white tee. I was looking for a shirt that would evoke memories of Derelicte—it is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique. I tried on several shirts, turning to the right a few times to check myself out in the mirror doing several poses.

I also had to stop eating for the next six hours because Rissa yelled at me while making alterations to my shirt. “Oh, I'm sorry, did my pin get in the way of your ass? Do me a favor and lose five pounds immediately or get out of my building like now!”

Thank goodness for Junette, my fearless leader/Account Director, coming to my rescue. Her retort, “I suggest you and your Kmart Jaclyn Smith Collection outfit... stay the hell away from Carlo.” If my memory serves me correctly, I believe they had a break-dance fight.

In any case, I had to resort to smoking Lucky Strikes in the break room, but that didn’t work out too well for me either. I thought I was getting the black lung. It wasn’t too ventilated down there.

Finally, 6 PM rolled around. It was time to get my shoot on. Here are a few takes that came from the shoot. The results are in amigo. What’s left to ponder?

Here are some reviews:

“God, you’re hot.” –Hottest Guy on Campus

“Who cares about The Dirty Burrito anyway? The man has only one look for Christ's sake! Blue Steel? Ferrari? Le Tigra? They're the same face! Doesn't anybody notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!” –Mugatu

“HAHAHA... hey if the advertising thing doesn't work out it looks like you've got a future in modeling!” –The Grassy Knoll

“DORK. Oh my gosh.” –The SO

“Can you believe it everybody? Carlo's body double stand-in has started a craze around the world. Everybody wants his chiseled pecs and sturdy bicep.” –Chirco

“WTF? Are you serious?” –The Asian Sensation

“Hahahahaha! You’re an idiot.” –Rillo

"I friggin' worship you, man" hot right now...Hansel

Anyway, this modeling thing has been one hell of a ride. I wasn't like every other kid, you know, who dreams about being an astronaut, I was always more interested in what bark was made out of on a tree. Richard Gere's a real hero of mine. Sting. Sting would be another person who's a hero. The music he's created over the years, I don't really listen to it, but the fact that he's making it, I respect that. I care desperately about what I do. Do I know what product I'm selling? No. Do I know what I'm doing today? No. But I'm here, and I'm gonna give it my best shot.

(Disclaimer: I used several lines from the movie Zoolander. Some are denoted by quotations and others are not, but in no way do I claim credit for any of them.)

Until next time…

Monday, February 06, 2006

Stream of Social Media Consciousness

I love social media. It’s so addicting. What is social media you ask? Well, most likely you are already a heavy user. From AIM to MySpace to Blogger to DotPhoto, it’s all social media.

With the huge opportunity in marketing and advertising through the web, companies like Yahoo! and Google are investing in social media applications like crazy. NewsCorp already bought MySpace, Yahoo! bought Flickr, and you know Google is always developing applications. Seriously, check out this Google Downloads page. I hope you’ll all sign up for Google Talk and join me in the Google Revolution. If you need an invite, leave me a comment and I’ll send you one. I believe I have 99 invites remaining.

When did my infatuation with social media begin? I suppose it began with AOL. Remember back in the day when we were just starting high school (circa 1997), Internet (Yes, it is a capital “I” because I got a triple word score taken away from me in Scrabble) access was becoming more commonplace and AOL was mass mailing those free CDs? You could create some super cool screenname and chat endlessly with your friends. No more long distance phone bills! Don’t forget that we were still just getting out of the Zach Morris epoch of mobile evolution, and wireless service wasn’t as affordable so you couldn’t use your anytime minutes or unlimited Sprint-to-Sprint minutes. People were also on dial-up so we couldn’t just stay online 24/7 like we are wont to do now. I would get extremely angry when my mom or dad would pick up the phone and interrupt my deep IM conversations about whatever it was I talked about when I was in my mid-teens. (Side Note: At The Agency, this girl likes to use the term “mad maxed” to describe extreme anger. This amuses me to no end. Perhaps I’ll incorporate it into my vocabulary, much like I incorporated “amped” after two seasons of Laguna.) I’m sure it was probably about my hot neighbor two houses down the street with whom I was too afraid to speak even though she made a couple attempts to talk to me. (Side Note: I have no clue why she wanted to talk to me. I like to think it was because she watched me practicing my futbolling skills on my driveway, and was attracted to futbollers.) Believe it or not, The Dirty Burrito was not always so outgoing and open to exposing his soul to the world. You can thank Northwestern’s Hottest Guy on Campus and the rest of the Rochester Knights for making The Dirty Burrito who he is today. Why am I talking in the third person and carrying this paragraph like I’m talking to myself? I need to move on before I lose sight of my goal of explaining my addiction to social media.

Screw it. I normally write my posts in MS Word and save them to my desktop with relevant names. For example, this post was originally named “social media.” I just changed it to “Stream of Social Media Consciousness.” It’s in CAPS because it has a 99% chance of becoming the name of the post. I haven’t written in a couple weeks; I have many thoughts in my head. I suppose I won’t need parenthetical phrases or side notes henceforth (I could’ve used “from this point on,” but I always wanted to use “henceforth” in writing) because I’ve decided this is a stream of consciousness. Damn…I guess I still do need the previously aforementioned literary devices. I think “previously aformentioned” is redundant.

I still remember the first time I used a search engine. I’m not sure what it was, but it might have been Yahoo!. Anyway, I had to research how to prevent ankle injuries for a report for gym class. Yeah…gym class. It was a stupid attempt to make physical education actually informative. I also could’ve chosen the pros and cons of Astroturf, however, I did not think my research skills were that refined for me to take on such a complicated subject. I forgot where I was originally going with this paragraph because I had to return to the third and fourth paragraphs and change the creative direction of this post. I suppose I’ll move on.

After discovering instant messaging, I didn’t really use the Internet for much of anything besides research for school, registering for classes, and illegally downloading music. High school and college just flew by without anything significant happening. OK, well I guess some stuff happened. In no particular order, there was me being a “menace” to my parents, some speeding tickets, a totaled car, an MIP and UIP, a couple girlfriends, a PT Cruiser, Giuseppe Biondo, Dillo Day, an alcohol addiction, a couple screenname changes, 11+ part time jobs, Ben’s sister, John Mayer and Dave Matthews Band being convicted of child molestation which subsequently ended their careers (I WISH), Bartender, The Moon Party and Pipeline Party, discovering Chipotle, Elden Campbell, some LSD, hookers, and a car-racing squirrel. All of the aforementioned events are true. By the way, my definition of “true” is the same as that of James Frey.

Let’s fast forward to July 2005. I am in Minneapolis, seven months removed from graduation, two months removed from college, and not that excited about my new job at The Corporation. They’re showing Laguna Beach marathons on MTV every weekend in anticipation of the second season. There are challenges to the “realness” of the show, like fake Webshots of Lo. An idiot girl at work is challenging me on the show and making up nonsensical arguments, but I can’t deride her publicly at work. I had so many thoughts running through my head, and I needed to talk to someone about it. I couldn’t just randomly bring up Laguna in normal conversation because people would think I’m crazy. What was I supposed to do?

I read someone’s blog on Blogger, and I decided I wanted to start blogging, dammit. (Just for the record, I believe it is spelled “dammit” and not “damnit.” Why do I choose “dammit?” Because Blink 182 spelled it “Dammit,” dammit.) This was the perfect outlet for me to voice all my views on the world. From my postmodern views of Taiwanese secession and its effects on nuclear proliferation and economic interdependence of compensating wage differentials in third world oligarchic regimes to whether LC was hotter than Kristin, I wanted to write about it all. I named it after the nickname that the immortal Ben Walker coined for me…only because he thought I was Mexican. It got off to a slow start but with the help AIM profile links, debate-stirring Laguna Beach posts, and the legendary Foreigner (not “I Want to Know What Love Is,” but foreigner like me) post, people started IMing and clicking on links, and the counter just started spinning.

Oh yeah…I forgot to mention that during college I joined some online social networks, or stalker directories, as I like to call them. These directories would include Facebook, MySpace, and Friendster. At first, I resisted the urge to join these networks because I really did believe there was something wrong and sketchy about stalking people online. However, I got extremely drunk one glorious night in November and instead of getting some late night eats or even just passing out, I signed up for Facebook. It was the best decision I ever made. It led me to sign up for MySpace, and eventually Friendster. Friendster is not so popular in the US, however, it is hugely popular here on The Island. In fact, people use it to screen prospective interview candidates. It’s really rather amusing. They also prefer Yahoo! Messenger on The Island. Though I do have a Yahoo! ID, I have yet to join the Yahoo! Messenger nation because as I said before, I am trying to support the Google Revolution. (Side Note: I think whatever scientists do this kind of research should study why different applications and programs got popular in different parts of the world. I think it’s analogous to dialects developing in different parts of the world, e.g., French in Quebec versus French in France or Spanish in Latin America versus Spanish in Spain. [Side Note to the Side Note: For those of you that are confused, "e.g." is like saying "for example" and "i.e." is like saying "in other words." I see too many people make this mistake and feel the need to correct them.] Why did AIM gain dominance in America and Yahoo! Messenger in the Philippines? Why is Friendster more popular on The Island than over on US soil? I need these questions answered because I am a huge geek. As an additional FYI, they logically call their messages "YMs" whereas we call them "IMs.") Whoa...that side note looked like a math problem with all those parentheses.

I really need to wrap this up. I’m going all over the place. I have no clue what I’m even writing about anymore. I guess the last things I need to mention are my online photo album with Dotphoto and my online bookmarks through Yeah…check my out my online bookmarks. You now can see most of my bookmarks and what I currently find amusing. I’ll also link to it in the “links” section.

On a completely unrelated note (not that this article has any cohesion or anything), though I’ve spent most of my life living in suburban Detroit, I’ve managed to disappear for every major sporting event that happened there in the last two years. This includes the Pistons’ 2004 NBA Championship (I was driving through a hail storm in Nebraska with Hottest Guy on Campus on our way to California), the 2005 MLB All-Star Game (I was slaving away in a cube at The Corporation), and now Super Bowl XL.

I’m not even going to proofread this or spellcheck it (The man that helped invent spellcheck was the commencement speaker at my college graduation. He was the most boring speaker ever and no one cared for him until he mentioned his role in creating spellcheck, and subsequently receive loud applause and cheering). This post is a mess. Maybe I should just try writing short little blurbs instead of magazine articles.

Until next time…