Thursday, December 27, 2007
I was just happy Christmas was over. I couldn't stand playing Mr. Miserable to the hilt. The agony was simply killing me. The more festive people became, the more I was pushed to the brink of self-destruction.
Christmas went well. Not perfect per my standards, but far better than the past six Christmases. Some expectations remained unmet, but they are no reason to complain.
Same time, last year …
I said: “This year’s Christmas leaves me at a crossroad, where I anxiously wait for better things to unfold. For the first time, I sit on a hopeful tone – for my life to finally have a complete turn-around.”
The good things have arrived and have started steering me to directions I never even imagined reacheable. For the first time in so many years, there is now reason to hope for a life unperturbed by ghosts of the past.
I’m hopeful that I have finally exorcised my demons. I now look forward to a more fulfilling year.
Wish me luck friends, as I sail to a brighter sun (... with fingers crossed).
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Hoping to expedite the process, I seriously studied the application form and readied everything listed therein, specially the picture which now should have a royal blue background. Yun lang daw ang tatanggapin ng computer, as we are converting to a machine readable format.
I expected a more tedious process. But not as bad as it turned out.
Right at Step 1, taob na agad ako. My photo background did not pass the color test – not as royal as it ought to be. So I needed a quick fix. Me photographer daw. Siyempre, sa DFA mismo.
So off I went to the queue. Talking to those near me, I gathered that most of them had defects in their photos: iba ang kulay, me shadow, me white spot o kung anong illumination, me earring at kung anu-ano pa. And there's no telling when the rejection will occur. Pwedeng sa gwardiya pa lang or kung kelan patapos ka na at nasuri na ng iba ang picture. The not-so-subtle message of course is: if you want to be sure, sa DFA ka magpakuha. Neat, di ba? Sana, inilagay na rin yun sa form.
I wanted myself to be wearing a suit in the photo so I checked the operators if they have any I could use. None. Ang meron sila, sinusuklob na putol na damit para magmukhang me collar ang suot. Very cosmopolitan ang dating!
And then the clincher: me pa-cute na sumingit sa pila! One very decent and righteous man. Sikat sa pagsasabi kung ano ang tama. Guess who?
Bro. Mike Velarde and a lady (must be his wife). Ang galing di ba?
Monday, December 17, 2007
Here go my random observations:
Just as the Indian judge predicted, an upset was possible. Singapore’s Hady Mirza, clearly not a vocal powerhouse but a genuine charmer, won the Asian Idol title. What does this prove? That the idol search is not entirely about singing – it is about the person’s ability to connect with the audience not only through his voice but more importantly, his personality.
But the winner was determined via text votes (two choices per message). How did Hady Mirza win despite coming from a small country, meaning with lesser number of possible texters? Let me venture some guesses. First, he does have a set of loyal fans who surely voted for him non-stop. Second, he possesses good looks - enough to capture the votes of the other countries. And third, he was not perceived as a threat. With voters required to vote for two idols, each country surely rallied support for their own bets. But they could not be expected to vote for their perceived competitors. Thus they will have to vote for the safer contestants. I think Hady got most of the second votes.
How did Philippine idol Mau Marcelo fare? Good, I guess. But not phenomenal enough to set the audience on fire.
In any singing contest, the choice of song is critical. And I have always believed that Ako ang Nagwagi is not really a good piece, unless you have Dulce’s vocal range or higher. The song is designed to awe and impress at very first salvo – after that the melody becomes repetitive and boring. Mau sang it on a lower key and was not really able to lift it to soaring heights. That’s why the Malaysian judge commented that she was holding out, as she was capable of doing better.
Her rendition of Reach was better and did impress the judges, but this was later upstaged by Indonesian Mike Mohede’s rendition of I Believe I Can Fly (although to me, Eric Santos’ version was far better).
Last night, the idols were more relaxed and thus sang better. Hady and Jaclyn were great in their “Freedom” duet. India’s Abhijeet Sawant gave the audience more reason to vote for him than just his cute smile. Mike however, started well but later faded to oblivion when Guy Sebastian came in. And sadly, Mau Marcelo was reduced to doing back-up for Rivermaya. She didn’t even seem to have memorized the song.
So, if I were to judge who did best in the contest, who would it be? I think it should have been Jaclyn Victor of Malaysia, closely tailed by Mike and Mau.
One last thing: I tried voting for Mau and Jaclyn three times but all I got were replies to the effect that the “service is temporarily unavailable.” Anyone having the same experience?
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Just when I thought I've had him deported to the dreadful icebergs of Antarctica, he came back with a wide grin. Tapping on my window, he waived the parchment bearing the bad news:
F_ _ k_ng Sh _t! @#$%**(()_!! Again?!!!!
Due to an unfair rule from the gods of Olympus, I will be denied all the bonuses afforded to all others in my company. Darn! What a way to cap the year, huh!
Well, it's a good thing I’m used to being poor. Armed with my spartan training, I'm sure I will again survive this poverty-marred Christmas, as I have always done during the past years. With nothing to grease my stomach, I’ll probably just pack my bags and heed to the mountains.
And plan for my grand revenge on Christmas eve.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Next is Taipei 101, the worlds tallest building (the challenger, which is now taller, is still being completed), which also boasts of having the fastest elevators at 1,010 meters per minute. I went up its observatory (27 seconds up to the 85th floor), but unfortunately, it was on a foggy day. No good shots that time.
He he. Sarado na po nung dumaan kami, kaya walang tao.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
When I went to Chicago, snow already fell days before. But when I arrived, it was tauntingly sunny. Just as I left, it came. This is how it looks there now. Hay! :-)
And it's snowing in Reno too! Now, nature's really having fun mocking me.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
This was purportedly said by one of my host’s kids when they went to the Grand Canyon before. Well, at the time, he was still young.
For me, the place was spectacular – God’s work at its best! It really deserves its place in the Seven Natural Wonders of the world. As I marveled at the fantastic gorges, I dawned on me just how small I was - just an infinitesimal speck in the vast sea of God’s wonderful creations.
I thought I have been accustomed to heights (remember, my favorite pastime is oggling at people from my 20th Floor workstation), but looking down the mile-deep fissures made me realize that my stomach has more to learn. I had to stay far from the edges (there were areas with no railings) to feel safe.
(P.S. Ako yung tumalon na blonde ang buhok sa second pic). He he.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
And it could be a nice time for a decent jog too. So I tried checking the temperature outside. Nice try, he he. I wasn't even able to put my foot out. A chilly wind immediately pushed me back to the warm insides of the house.
So this is Chicago, the windy city. Now I know how it got such tag. The wind does make the air cooler.
But since I’m here on tour, I can’t just stay home and watch tv. So off we went, with my hosts Don and Loi Bascon to downtown Chicago.
We first went to the Museum Campus where the Adler Observatory was. Pretty spectacular! And the view of the city was simply great. Check these:
No controversies here. We rooted for Helio. He danced his heart out and he visibly had great fun!
y damn arthritis could kill me! :-)
Now you ask. Why am I watching TV on this very short Chicago leg of my trip?
It’s freezing cold outside. Below zero but no snow. It’s a struggle being out there. In this kind of weather, m
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
They would be told hospitality is engrained in Filipino culture. True. That’s why it is not lost on many of those of who have left the country and have been exposed to contrary influences. Many still embrace the trait and are truly proud of it.
Now, I am experiencing the best of that in this travel I’m having. Truth to tell, to a certain degree, I do feel embarassed being the center of such gracious attention. But that can’t be helped. I know they really want the best for me.
My kababayans and relatives have so far been exerting all possible efforts to make my stay worthwhile.
They would fetch me from the airport, open their homes for days to accommodate me, be absent from work to keep me company, drive long hours to famous destinations, pay for some of my travels and tickets and just about everything else they could think of to make me see and experience how life in America goes.
I feel so blessed having known these people. I hope one day I’ll have the opportunity to pay them or any other guest forward, with the same zeal and warmth as I have received.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Unlike him, I wasn’t as excited in getting there. I have kept my expectations low in this visit, knowing fully-well that this was rushed and most of the people I’m visiting will be working. But my hosts exerted all efforts to make my stay worthwhile, so they did get job passes and brought me to the mother of all film studios.
Personally, the experience pushed me back in time, when I too dreamed of being in the film industry. The part of the tour where people are shown dubbing and film effects techniques reminded me of the time when the famous Ishmael Bernal brought us to a studio and dubbed his films.
For other pics, please visit Coldman's post. We may have been there on the same day but we both forgot to bring our name tags. :-)