Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bell X1 - Eve, the Apple of my Eye

My friend Tim strongly suggested to me that I download the song "Eve, the apple of my eye" by Bell X1 about two weeks ago. I couldn't download it on itunes at the time so I just searched for it on youtube and immediately upon listening to it, I got absolutely hooked! I've been listening to it over and over and over again and I am still not tired of it!

Bell X1 also do an incredible acoustic version of their song (which I actually prefer). Check it out here.

Anyways, I just realized that I can actually download songs from itunes as long as a I have an itunes gift card (which I have - Denise and Yong Han gave me a couple as their 'thank you' for me singing in their wedding). But I'm thinking now whether I just order their CD on amazon and save my itunes GC for other songs that belong to albums which I have no interest in buying. I'll probably ask Tim what he thinks of the Bell X1 album that this song is on and I'll decide on what to do then.

Still Oz audition in Elbow Room last April 5

Well, it's taken me nearly 2 months to write about this. My band Still Oz had an audition in Elbow Room over in Metrowalk last April 5. We actually passed and were asked to perform on May 9 and on May 23, but both Ipe and Oz were unavailable on May 9 so we ended up playing only on May 23.

Anyways, we used to record our performances on tape (where those cassettes are, I no longer have any idea) and it was always good to review our performances 'coz we could figure out what we were doing right and what we could do better. Now late in 2006 I bought a Sony W100, which is a point and shoot camera that has video-taking capabilities. So I figured that I could use this, along with my tripod, to shoot videos of our performances. That way, it would be easier to see the ways in which we can improve. My memory stick is 2Gb so I can actually take about 2 hours worth of decent-quality video with it, which meant that I managed to get our entire audition on video.

We were a bit rusty overall but we did manage to pull off a couple of decent songs. Here is a vid of what I think was our best performance of the night - our cover of U2's "All I want is you":

And here's one of our cover of Live's "Lightning crashes", which I also think was pretty decent (if you can get past the fact that I was a quarter-step faster than the drumbeat in some parts of the 2nd and 3rd chorus):

I only managed to complete the video upload today. Stupidly, I didn't reduce the size of the videos - they are all in the 70 to 95 Mb in size and it takes me about 2 hours to upload a vid of that size to youtube! Now I had already uploaded a few of my full-sized videos early on and since I'm a bit obsessive-compulsive, I decided to stick with uploading the rest of my full-sized videos.

Click here for our entire playlist on youtube. You may want to skip "Bright Lights" (4th song) as we performed that one quite badly LOL.

I'll be posting about our May 23 gig soon.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Marathon training tracker - May 29

I ran 9 kilometers today. I was actually a bit tired on my way home and I was thinking of skipping training and postponing it to the next day. But when I got home, I somehow felt a surge of energy, and that was enough to get me to the gym.

My last few runs hadn't been very good. I mentioned running for an hour a while back, and I didn't manage to run for the entire hour as I had to slow down to a brisk walk twice. Earlier this week, I had intended to run for 45 minutes but about 20 minutes in, I started to feel extremely dehydrated, so I ended up stopping after about 33 minutes. To add to this, I'm not as fast I was two years ago.

So I decided that for my training today, I would run at a fairly slow pace - around 8.5 kilometers per hour - and just try to sustain that for an entire hour. What was great about my training run was that I not only managed to run for the entire hour without stopping, I also managed to keep going faster and faster and never dropped speed. I went up slowly from 8.5kph to 10kph towards the end of my run, and I even sprinted for the last couple hundred meters. I was feeling quite tired late in my run and wanted to slow down actually, but I managed to will myself to keep going which I did.

I've also started taking Mike's advice of putting ice on my knees after each training run. I had a bit of knee pain for most of the second half of last year and I want to make sure my knees stay injury-free. So far, they've held up. Hopefully it stays that way.

I am now planning to run 1 hour and 20 minutes on Saturday and hopefully I can cover 12 kilometers in this training run. I don't know exactly when the marathon will be but it should be sometime in July, so I have maybe a month to a month and a half to go from 9 kilometers to 42. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fun in Singapore part 2

After the very social and utterly exhausting Saturday I had, I ended up just chilling on Sunday. I was supposed to meet up with Paulo, Giselle, and Gabe for lunch but Gi texted me early on Sunday morning to tell me that Paulo was sick and so they had to take a rain check. Ben also invited me to hang out with him and his friends but I told him I was just really tired. I needed to make sure I was well rested for the work that I needed to do the next day!

On Monday, I headed to Vivo City to have dinner in Marché with Denise, Marion, and Kleng and her family. Marion was in Manila the week before and Kleng was unavailable when I met up with Denise and Yong Han on May 1st, so we decided to meet up again for dinner that week. I suggested Marché because I had eaten there before and enjoyed the food, the ambience, and the set-up. Apparently so did the rest of them.

Now interestingly enough, my friend Joyce was also in Singapore during my second week there. Anna had been encouraging Joyce to visit her in Singapore and weeks before, Joyce had already booked her tickets. So it was cool that I ended up going there practically at the same time so we all got to hang out. We met up in Clarke Quay on Tuesday night and had dinner in The Tapas Tree (a Spanish restaurant).

Joyce and Anna in The Tapas Tree

I was feeling really tired so I begged off early (which was actually around 1030pm already) and since we didn't really get to hang out as much as we wanted to, we agreed to meet up again on Thursday. We found ourselves along Orchard - we ate in some noodle place in the basement of Paragon. After dinner, we swing by Wheelock Place so I could get dessert - Paul told me the week before that the desserts in Big O Cafe and Restaurant were really good so I wanted to try it before I left Singapore. Big O was closing already but they let us buy a couple of cakes to go. Joyce wanted to see my hotel room so we bring our desserts there. And I really do have to say that the Big O Cheesecake is a definite must-try for dessert lovers. It is so unbelievably good! So good in fact that the next time I go to Singapore I will try it again.

I hung out again with Ben on Friday night, but this time with a different set of his friends. We begin the night with a few beers in Balaclava in Suntec City. At around 11pm, the crowd was thinning and the few people who were still hanging out decided to move somewhere more exciting. Ben and his friend Stuart were talking about Attica and I say, "what is Attica?" They look at each other and then look at me and ask "You've never been to Attica?!?" So naturally they decided to take me there.

We make a few stops before heading to Attica. We grab a drink in this Cantonese pop bar (can't recall the name of the place), then we head to China One for a couple more drinks. We move to this other bar in Clarke Quay before finally making our way to Attica (Ben's friend Mel managed to get us through without paying the entrance fee - way to go, Mel! :) ). Ben had a couple more friends there - Sandee and Shazana - and we spend the rest of the night just hanging out there.

check out the cool Attica fog :)

I ended up getting back to the hotel at almost 5am and I fell asleep almost instantly. I get up about 5 hours later to pack my stuff and check out, and by around 1230pm I meet up with Alvin, Che, Paulo, Giselle and Gabe in Crystal Jade in Takashimaya for lunch. I hadn't seen Alvin, Pau and Gi in my Singapore trip prior to that day so you could say it was a bit of a photo finish LOL. After lunch, we moved to the Coffee Club for coffee and dessert.

just the adults

Gi with Gabe

I head back to my hotel at around 3pm (buying a couple of boxes of Royce chocolates along the way) and then head to the airport for my 5pm flight. All in all, a fantastic trip. The work was intense, but it was great getting to hang out with all my friends there. Can't wait 'til my next trip to Singapore!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Fun in Singapore part 1

I was in Singapore a few weeks ago for work. I love going to Singapore just because I have so many really good friends there. It was a bit of a paid holiday in parts because not only did I get to spend a weekend there, but I was also there on May 1st, which is also a holiday in Singapore (I had to be there a couple of days before and had to continue working after). Since there was no work that day, I had lunch with Paul and Les in Hard Rock Café. Later that night, Denise and Yong Han picked me up from my hotel and we headed to Sentosa to have dinner in Coastes, a restaurant on the beach. I had never been there before, and I had never gone to Sentosa just for dinner, so it was a nice experience. The pizza there is pretty good.

I spent Friday night with Ching, Sarah, and David. John was supposed to join us too but Ching said he had to do something urgent at the last minute. We had dinner and drinks in Cuba Libre which I believe is the favorite Clarke Quay hang out of Sarah and David, and it was of course cool to see the two of them dance a bit of salsa to the live music there.

Saturday ended up being a day of firsts. Che organized a gimmick in Mind Café with my office friends - Tim, Ching, John, Steph, Tonette, and Joel (and well Che of course). Mind Café is basically a place where you can get food and coffee, and then pay an extra fee to use any of the scores of board games they have there. I had never been there before and with most of us being major board games fans, we ended spending about 6 hours there, playing Hit or miss, Snorta, Ticket to Ride, and Settlers (all of which I had just played for the first time as well).

Afterwards I met up with my high school friends Anna, Kokog, and Topher (who was there for the weekend, in transit from Dubai to Manila) for dinner in Newton Circus. Ching joined us for a bit but had to leave early and Mikey and his family joined us later on. I had been to hawker centers in Singapore before, but never in Newton Circus.

Afterwards, I headed to Clarke Quay and met up with Ben and his friends. We had a few drinks (mostly vodka-redbulls) in Bungy Bar which was right next to G-max, the reverse bungee ride in Clarke Quay. I asked the folks I was hanging out with whether they had been on it and none of them had. I then told them that I would never ever ever get on that ride. Which essentially led to Ben somehow convincing me to get on it with him and his friends. I'm not a fan of amusement park rides so I was sweating bullets while waiting for our turn and needless to say I was scared shitless whilst being thrust up and down in the air. I was a bit out of sorts for a few moments after getting of the ride haha but I was really pleased that I got on it. There's something about conquering fears, however temporary, that is quite gratifying. :)

We then headed to China One afterwards, where I ended up hanging out with a few folks from Denmark and Norway because they came up to me and chatted me up after seeing my "Sverige" (Sweden) shirt. My new Scandinavian friends were actually planning to head somewhere else after Clarke Quay closed and invited me to join them (Ben and his friends had since gone) but I told them I had an incredibly long day and had very little sleep so I needed to head back to the hotel. I ended up getting the facebook address of one of them and I now have them as friends there. I found myself back in my hotel room at 430am.

More on my awesome Singapore trip in my next post!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Aces and Goals

There was still a chance for Liverpool to make it to their 3rd Champions league final in the last four years. But after 90 minutes, Liverpool and Chelsea were deadlocked 2-2 aggregate, with both teams scoring one away goal. They had to play an extra 30 minutes right then and there to break the tie. Chelsea scored two goals early in extra time, and with 3 ½ minutes left, Babel scored a goal. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to match Chelsea’s other goal in extra time and as a result, Liverpool are out. What makes it even more awful is that Liverpool should’ve been given a penalty in extra time but the referee changed his mind. If Liverpool scored that one extra goal, they would have gone through on the away goals rule. But they didn’t. Damn. (And watching all those stupid replays really hurts! LOL)

I’m not really sure who to root for now in the Champions League final. Man Utd beat Barcelona to set up an all English Champions League final. I really don’t like Man Utd, but then I don’t really want to root for the team that beat Liverpool. I guess it doesn’t really matter to me now.

At least Liverpool are almost ascertained of another shot for Champions League glory as they have locked 4th place in the English Premiership (remaining ahead of Merseyside rivals Everton, thank God).


Ever since Michael Owen left Liverpool, his career has kinda gone downhill. He had a brief stint in Real Madrid where he did have moderate success (scoring quite a few goals in the few games he played in, and having a very good goals-to-minutes-played ratio). After Real let him go, he ended up in Newcastle United. But even there he hasn’t been able to play a lot – he’s been sidelined so often in the last few years due to injury.

So I’m glad that he has scored 11 goals this season. And in fact scored a double for Newcastle a couple of weekends ago. Not bad. I just really wish he could have an injury-free season. I’m pretty sure he still has a lot of great years left in him if he can only play a full season.


It’s not very common for both the #1 and #2 players in tennis to be unable to win a title in three months. But that’s exactly what happened at the start of this year. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been undeniably the two most dominant players in the last few years – with Federer being #1 for the last four years and Nadal being #2 for the last three years straight. But neither of them won a title from January to March. And it’s not like neither of them were playing.

The titleless streaks ended this month. Federer thumped a clearly overmatched draw in Estoril for his first title this year. He could’ve won his second shortly after that, but Nadal reestablished himself as a favorite for the French Open title this year by beating Federer in the final of Monte Carlo and then solidifying his status as the best tennis player on clay right now by winning his 2nd title of the year on the red clay of Barcelona. Considering he's had a lackluster year up until the last couple of weeks, the fact that he's dropped only one set in his last ten matches has re-established Nadal as a favorite to win the French Open title this year.


Even women’s tennis has been a bit strange this year. Sharapova had a very lackluster 2007 and few could’ve predicted her to win her 3rd Grand Slam title in Australia this year. But that’s exactly what she did. And Justine Henin, who was the most consistent woman on tour last year, seems to have lost the consistency and defensive ability this year, not having won a title yet either. And then Serena Williams, who seemed so out of it early this year, goes on an amazing tear, winning three titles in a row, beating Henin with an embarrassing score of 6-0 6-2.

With the clay court season coming though, Justine may once again find her form in the same way that Nadal has. Both Serena and Maria are not very good on European clay so their recent successes may be slowed down by the red dirt. Both Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova, who have been finalists in Roland Garros, have both been playing well in the last couple of months and may have a shot at the title.

So as has been the case in the last few years, I still have no clue which woman will take home the French Open title this year.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Preparing for Marathon #5

I’m now starting to run again. Partly for health reasons (I have a lot of extra inches around my waist now and I don’t feel as sprightly nor as energetic as I have been in the past), partly for vanity and financial reasons (most of my clothes don’t fit me very well anymore and I refuse - and well have no money - to buy new clothes hehehe).

But the main reason is that I plan to run my fifth marathon in July or August (depending on when the Milo marathon will be held).

I haven’t really been running recently i.e. the last several months because my knee had been giving me problems during this time. So from around November to February I worked on strengthening my leg muscles by using the lower-impact elliptical machine instead of the treadmill. Then, a little more than month ago, I started running on the treadmill again, just to see if my knee would be okay. I began with 15 minute runs, went up to 20-25 minutes, then to 30 minutes. So far my knee was holding up pretty well. Then a couple of Saturdays ago, I ran 45 minutes straight.

And last Thursday, I decided to run for an hour. It wasn’t a very good run – I had to slow the treadmill down to a brisk-walking pace three times during that hour – but I was happy with the fact that I managed to will myself to stay on the treadmill for the full hour. I wanted to stop after about half an hour and again after 45 minutes but I think the thought that I had very little time left to prepare for my marathon kept me going. Okay that sounds more like a sense of urgency than discipline, but anything that will get me covering more distances during training is good. :)