Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Killers cancel their Asian tour

So today should have been about me watching The Killers live in MOA. Instead, I learned about this unfortunate bit of news:

I waited for this concert for about 2 months and got my tickets in early December, so I was really disappointed to find out that The Killers had to cancel their tour. To add insult to injury, I need to go the Ticketnet main office in Araneta Coliseum between 1 and 8pm to get my refund. Such a frickin' hassle.

I don't know if (or when) they plan to come to Manila again. I just hope that if and when they do come back to perform, I'll still be able to see them play.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The week that was

Fun. Busy. Interesting. That's how the last week was. Or, well, the last week and a couple of days...

I went to a Karaoke bar with friends. Twice. Should've been three times because my friend Joyce organized a get-together in Red Box last Tuesday. But I worked long hours that day and by the time I got off work, I was exhausted and begged off. I did, however, go to Music Match twice. The first time with colleagues two Friday ago and the second time with non-work friends just last night. I remember how I had a lot of throat-related problems towards the tail-end of last year so it's great that I am now once again able to sing for three to four hours straight.

I also headed down South last Saturday to attend the 1st birthday party of Annika, the daughter of my friends Hes and Migs. And I have to say, it has to be the biggest 1st birthday party I have ever attended. From the food to the decor to the booths (for stuff like photo-taking and cotton candy) to the giveaways for both kids and adults, it was really hard to top that party! I was also called on stage by the magician and I have to say that I was impressed when he managed to take my wristwatch from me during his trick. Makes you a but worried though at how good sleigh-of-hand experts can be if they wanted to pick your pocket!

I also went to the baptism of my inaanak Ethan earlier today. Ethan is the second son of my cousin Peachy. It sas a slight disaster though in that I was late by about 15 minutes and by the time I got there, the actual christening had already been done. What's even worse was that all the ninongs were late! But Peachy was very understanding though and was just happy we all made it eventually. It was nice catching up with my relatives too, a lot of whom I only get to see once or twice a year during family reunions.

Apart from this, it's been a huge amount of work. I got thrust into a pretty important project to take over someone who had to be moved to another project. And a couple of my other initiatives continue to require a lot of work. But it's all good. This week was busy but definitely one of the most productive and successful weeks I've had in a long time. Hopefully I keep getting weeks like this. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

MJ's choreographer and dancers with our very own the Cebu inmates

The Cebu inmates have really made an impact in the world as they are joined by Michael Jackson's long-time choreographer Travis Payne and dancers Daniel Celebre and Dres Reid to learn performances from Michael Jackson's 'This is it'.

video made available in youtube by SonyPicturesDVD

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Not shaping up the way I wanted it to

The Australian Open started last week and in what, for me, is the most unfortunate result so far, defending champion Rafael Nadal is forced to withdraw due to injury in his quarterfinal match against Andy Murray.

This is bad news (at least to us Nadal fans lol). Rafa was unable to defend his lone Grand Slam title last year and will lose a whole lot of points. It's also been a very long 8 months since he won his last title. His confidence can't be that good after losing 6 times to top 10 players in the last 2 months (prior to December, he had the best H2H record against top 10 players in 2009). And if he's injured this early in the season, it's not a good sign for how things will shape up the rest of the year.

He did put up a good fight against Murray in the first two sets before having to retire though, so there are good signs that he will do well once the ATP tour hits the clay court season. He does have a lot of points to defend between now and May so hopefully he finds his 2008 form sooner rather than later.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Random stuff

So this bit of news is almost a week old, but congratulations to Meryl Streep for winning her 7th Golden Globe award. Her portrayal of Julia Child in the film 'Julie and Julia' got her another trophy for best actress in a comedy or musical. So she now holds the record for the most Golden Globe wins AND nominations. She's also nominated in the Screen Actors Guild awards. Here's hoping she wins that and gets nominated for a 16th Oscar.


Major bummer. This is the single most horrible season of Liverpool since I became a fan more than 8 years ago. No chance for them to win any title this year, and it's only January. They are currently 6th in the Barclays Premier League (although 5th place Man City and 7th place Aston Villa both have a game-in-hand) so they have to fight really hard to get a top 4 finish and secure a spot in the Champions League next season. Really hope they start doing better...


American Idol 9 has started. I can remember how I used to rush home on Wed and Thu nights to make sure I caught it on Starworld. Somehow I've lost a large amount of interest in it, despite the fact that a lot of talent has come out of the last few seasons. It took a while for me to figure out why but I realized that I got turned off due to the fact that now, the judges have a habit of excessively 'pimping' their favorite contestants.

It didn't use to be like that. Or at least not to the degree that it's been done the last 2-3 seasons. It must be the Taylor Hicks effect. Coz in Season 5 and in all seasons before it, there was a lot of favorite-pimping going on but good praise was shared as well to other contestants a lot of the time, and favorites were also criticized when they didn't meet expectations. Now in S5, Taylor was the hands-down winner even if the show really wanted either Christ Daughtry of Katharine McPhee to win. As it turns out, Taylor never really broke into the mainstream and is the first Idol winner not to have sold more than a million albums. After that, the powers that be must have figured that by pimping their favorite contestants, they make sure that someone who they feel is hip and current and can sell lots of records ends up winning.

The problem with this is that now, when the favorites turn in a sub-par performance, they still get praised to the high heavens while other contestants who do incredibly well get a cursory nod. I was getting so annoyed so often that I realized I didn't really want to watch it as often anymore. If I'm home and it's on, I tune in. But it's definitely not in my list of fave shows. And with Simon leaving next season, I'll probably start tuning in even less.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Al Jarreau sings 'Take Five'

Check out this unbelievable live performance of 'Take Five' by jazz legend Al Jarreau.

video uploaded in youtube by user tomgadd

So many things to be utterly impressed with in this performance: from the injections of scatting in the opening spiel, to how the song begins, to Al Jarreau's incredible breath control, phrasing and creativity/inventiveness, to the absolute mad skills of the band.

This is such a difficult song to sing as it requires superior control and as if not satisfied with that, Al increases the degree of difficulty with his scatting. I mean, rather than take a breath during what could be instrumental bits, he scats non-stop. Most people would be out of breath after a minute of doing what he does but he sustains it for more than 6 minutes.

Also, a lot o f times he'd sings at a fairly high key then he'd drop his voice to a really low note then jump seamlessly back up to the higher register (pay attention to the parts from 3:48 to 3:53 and from 4:32 to 4:36). To do this and remain pitch-perfect as Al does is not easy by any means (try it yourself and see). In fact, Al is pitch-perfect throughout the entire song. Geez!

A spectacular performance from a true jazz legend. Doesn't really get much better than this.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy new year!

A week and a half into the new year and I finally get around to making my first post. :) So before we get any deeper into the new year, let me do a recap of 2009 and all the great and interesting things that happened. Some of favorite moments:

My 6th marathon for charity

With some after-the-fact donations, I ended up raising more than P80,000! Looking forward to #7 this year. :)

Christmas with family and friends

I took my family to Subic to visit Zoobic, take photos around the waterfront, go shopping in the duty free stores, and hit the pool in our resort. I also had two family reunions, two family meals, and a whole lot of get-togethers with my friends. It was exhausting and I gained weight, but you can't beat quality (and quantity) time with the people you love!

Still Oz's 5-month stint in Ponti

Our last regular gig was in Bistro 110 back in end-2006, so to play for 5 months (our longest continuous weekly gig in one place) was amazing. We also have two new band members: Vince on lead guitar and Ria on violin. We also added some great songs to our playlist. Some of my favorites from our new songs include:
  • "The Blower's Daughter" by Damien Rice,
  • "Run" by Snow Patrol,
  • "Shattered" by O.A.R.,
  • "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay, and
  • "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers
Corporate Social Responsibility at work
I continued to head our Corporate Social responsibility organization at work. In the last year, among other things, we organized (1) a habitat for humanity build, (2) a run-for-charity that involved almost 100 runners who raised P150,000 for the benefit of Haribon and Kythe, (3) relief for Typhoon Ondoy victims, and (4) an orphan event for Christmas. We also made donations to GILAS, Habitat for Humanity, Golden Acres, and Typhoon Kiko victims.

Gigging at work
I also became the head of our band org at work. Towards the end of the year, we had two really cool gigs during corporate events that were well-received by the audience. I got to perform some DMB songs for the first time and I also got to perform "Closer" by Ne-yo. Awesome!

Watching a Formula 1 Grand Prix live

You can check about my trip in this blog post.

Some really cool firsts this year:
  • Joined a tree-planting activity for the first time (one of my friends celebrated her birthday with a tree-planting activity)
  • Went to Bangkok for the first time on holiday (I had been to Bangkok before, but for work)
  • Visited Koh Samui in Thailand for the first time (I also drove and crashed a scooter)
  • Had my photo taken with a real live tiger in Zoobic
  • Visited Chinatown, at least as an adult, and went on a food trip (I may have been there before as a kid, but I can't really remember).
I also got to see concerts or live shows of the following artists for the first time:
  • Oasis (and just in time as they have now disbanded!)
  • Kaiser Chiefs
  • Travis
  • Underworld
  • Cynthia Alexander
  • The Backstreet Boys (yeah lol, they had a concert in F1 grounds during F1 weekend)
So all in all, another fantastic year. I can't wait to see what 2010 has in store. :)