Sunday, July 31, 2011


I played the role of libero for the very first time in my life in my volleyball game today. According to wikipedia, a libero is a player specialized in defensive skills who cannot block or attack the ball when it is entirely above net height. When the ball is not in play, the libero can replace any back-row player, without prior notice to the officials. This replacement does not count against the substitution limit each team is allowed per set, although the libero may be replaced only by the player whom they replaced.

While the libero is generally the most skilled defensive player on the team, my assignment to this role came about because most of the other players in my team are much, much better attackers than I am LOL. Since our attackers have to jump a lot to either block or spike, the team felt a libero was needed to give at our attackers some rest each time they rotated to the backline.

The bad thing about the libero, apart from the fact that you cannot attack the ball, is that you cannot serve either. Interestingly enough though, I ended up playing a lot in each of the three sets we played so the fact that I never served is not really bad given the amount of time I spent on court.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hoppípolla by Sigur Rós

This song was written years ago but I only discovered it recently, though a friend of mine. The lyrics are Icelandic (Sigur Rós are from Iceland) but while you may not understand the words, it's still a great song to listen to. Check it out. :)

video uploaded in youtube by user hollowpapa

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Takoyaki in Hana

I love takoyaki and Hana in Little Tokyo offers some of the best in town.

If you are a takoyaki fan, you need to make your way to Little Tokyo along Pasong Tamo and visit Hana. A set of six costs P120 but the takoyaki is authentic and really good.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Maid service bungle-up

I got a maid service to clean my place recently. Back in the day, I used to do my own cleaning until I realized that (1) maids can do it better and more quickly than me, (2) I actually give more people jobs when I hire a maid service, and (3) it's just an overall more efficient use of my time to get someone else to clean my place.

The only problem was that my maid service broke one of my glass candle holders. They told me they will replace what they broke - they even took a picture of the similar candle holder - but the only problem is that this was purchased years ago and I'm not sure that it is still available. They may end up finding something similar but it won't be exactly the same. While it will certainly throw off the symmetry I have in my pad, I guess I can just look at this as adding personality to my home by having mix-and-match decorative items LOL.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Time to replace my phone

I think I need to get myself a new mobile phone. My current one, a Sony Ericsson K770i, doesn't seem to be working properly anymore. There are times when it just keeps hanging and rebooting, other times people can't seem to reach me even if my phone is on, and sometimes I can barely hear the person I'm talking to on the phone. While this phone has been with me for just about 2 1/2 years, I think I may have dropped it too many times that I've worn it out faster than any other phone I've had in the pst.

My last two phones have been Sony Ericsson (prior to this, I had the K750i) so I'm tempted to stick with the brand. However, my main problem with these phones is the charging. The slot where you put the charger tends to degrade a bit easily (especially when my sweats gets in it and mucks it up). I'm personally not a fan of phones with a lot of functionalities so I don't necessarily want to get an IPhone. I may have to switch back to a Nokia (I was a Nokia user prior to 2006). I took a quick look at a Nokia store and I'm thinking about getting a C3, C5, or X3.

The main thing I like about my Ericsson phones though was the fact that they have this pretty powerful light. It helps when ordering food or drinks in dimly lit restaurants. Funny that most people look at really edgy and cool features when getting a phone while I look for one that has a good light LOL. I'm such a dinosaur. :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Denz's bday

My friend and ex-colleague Denz celebrated his birthday at home, similar to what he has done each of the last few years. He invited me along with several of our other friends, and while a lot of people confirmed that they would go, it stormed very heavily that day. This resulted in most people backing out at the last minute. Shobie was there with Rodski but when the rains started pouring, she got concerned that the roads would be flooded so she left promptly. This meant that the only person I knew who was still in the party was Denz. I decided that I hadn't seen Denz in more than a year so even if I didn't know anyone there and despite the heavy rains, I would still go.

I got to the party a bit late because I had a volleyball game early that afternoon. Thankfully, there was a whole lot of food when I got there (as is always the case whenever Denz celebrates his birthday). I ended up having getting about three platefuls of food which means I ate more calories than I burned during our one-hour game LOL.

I stayed in the party for about an hour, listening to everyone else belt out standards and oldies over the Magic Sing and getting in a bit of airtime myself LOL. Too bad our other friends weren't able to make it or stay around. Nevertheless, it was great catching up with Denz. He says his party next year will be massive since he's celebrating a milestone year so I am looking forward to that.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Varekai is amazing!!! I watched it with my mom and needless to say we were blown away. I have seen other Cirque du Soleil shows on TV before so I knew what it was about but it's different seeing something like this live so when I saw the Varekai commercials on TV, I knew I had to watch it.

The ticket prices were not that accessible but I saw some front row seats still available in the second-cheapest section so I ended up getting those even if they cost more. I mean, it's not everyday you get to watch a show like this. (In any case, the show was definitely worth the price!) I think it's great that Cirque du Soleil actually brought their own tent because it gave the show a very authentic feel to it. The vendors with popcorn and hotdogs walking all around added to the great atmosphere.

Of course, all that accounts for nothing unless the show lives up to the hype. And it certainly did! Those Cirque du Soleil artists have nerves of absolute steel and are in perfect physical condition! Just watching them do a stunt is exhausting, so I can't even begin to imagine what it feels like to do what they do and to prepare for it! A lot of the stunts were so dangerous and extreme that it was sometimes tough to clap because you were holding your breath too much and were worried that someone could get seriously injured. There was one stunt, in the Icarian games act, that wasn't completed successfully, but the audience was very supportive and cheered the artists to give them encouragement despite the miss. Here's a video of that sequence (the stunt they were unable to complete is at 5:57 to 6:14).

video uploaded in youtube by user Icarusangel27

There were quite a few comedic moments and slapstick bits with the clowns and faux magician, but I felt they are sort of needed because when something is as intense as this show, you need enough light moments to balance things out and to catch your breath. I've heard from people who have seen other Cirque shows comment that the stunts are not that original, but I don't see a difference between watching "unoriginal" but spectacular stunts with listening to your favorite song or re-watching a good movie. I can listen to my fave songs dozens of times in a row or more, so if someone can swing from a hoop while using just the back of their neck to hang on to it while dangling several meters in the air, I think I can watch that over and over again too. :)

I really hope that Cirque du Soleil found this trip to the Philippines quite profitable. I would absolutely love to have more of these shows brought to Manila for more Filipinos to enjoy.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sick again. And a couple of sad but brilliant films.

My crazy schedule recently has left me working a lot of long nights in the last few months, and it finally caught up to me. I woke up one Tuesday morning with a terrible headache and a painful throat. I could barely get out of bed, and even after I tried getting a couple more hours of sleep, I was still in a lot of pain. It was the same story the next day. I couldn't even turn on my laptop to set up my automatic out-of-office replies to tell people I was out sick.

Since I was practically bedridden, I decided to just put on a couple of DVDs that I had for a already but haven't been able to watch. Unfortunately for me, the two films I selected are both not the ideal choices for someone who is sick. One was "The Kite Runner" and the other was "Atonement".

(Spoiler alert: I will be taking in some detail about the plot of these two films so if you haven't seen them and don't want to be spoiled, please stop reading here.)

Don't get me wrong, both films are brilliant and very deserving of the rave reviews they got and the awards they won or were nominated for. However, the thing about these two films is that both of them have a lack of redemption in at least some of the main characters, and that somehow makes them difficult and depressing to watch.

Take Atonement for instance. There is a lot of sexual tension building up between the two leads, Robbie and Cecilia (played by James McAvoy and Kiera Knightley), and when they finally openly admit to the attraction for each other, their love is cut short by Cecilia's sister Briony, who is secretly in love with Robbie. Rather than lose Robbie to her sister, Briony accuses him of raping her cousin and he is subsequently sent to prison. Robbie is then given the choice of staying in prison or becoming a soldier (the film is set in World War II) and he chooses instead to fight in the war. He and Cecilia, who has now become a nurse, manage to meet briefly before their lives are forever parted by war, a war which ultimately leads to their tragic and separate deaths.

The Kite Runner is just as, if not more, depressing. It is set mostly in Afghanistan and the lead character, Amir, is the son of a wealthy man named Baba. His best friend, Hassan, was the son of their servant. Despite the difference in class, the two best friends are inseparable up until a gruesome event: Hassan is molested and raped by some bullies. Amir, who witnesses it, does nothing to stop it and is consumed by guilt to the point that he drives Hassan away. When the Russians invade Afghanistan, Amir and his father are forced to flee to the US where their lifestyle changes dramatically - Baba now works in a gasoline station and Amir studies in a community college and works part-time in a flea market. Once Amir graduates and then marries his love interest Soraya, Baba passes away from a terminal illness. It's at this point that Baba's closest friend, Rahim Khan who is now living in Pakistan, asks Amir to pay him a visit. Rahim Khan tells Amir that Hassan is actually his brother from a different mother. Hassan eventually got married and had a son but both he and his wife were killed by the Taliban, who also take his son away. Amir successfully attempts to take Hassan's son away from the Taliban and then brings him to the US to live with him and his wife.

While it is a positive ending - Amir manages to save Hassan's son from the Taliban - I can't get over the fact that Hassan was raped as a kid, driven away by his best friend, and when he manages to have a family of his own, his son is taken away and is killed. I keep thinking how Hassan's last thoughts before dying were that his son would be taken by the Taliban and how hopeless he must have felt when taking his final breath. The fact that Amir is not even able to tell Hassan directly that he is sorry for driving Hassan away makes it even worse.

Despite the timing of me watching these two movies not being the best because I was sick, I am happy that I did get to watch both them. Two thumps up and definitely worth watching.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Linkin Park perform "Rolling in the Deep"

Didn't expect this one bit. But Linkin Park do a fine job of covering Adele's "Rolling in the Deep". Chester is one awesome vocalist.

video uploaded in youtube by linkinparktv

Monday, July 04, 2011


Rafa Nadal lost the Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic. It was his 5th straight loss against the Serb who has now also replaced Rafa as the #1 ranked player in the world. I'm gutted.

It's a horrific result for any Nadal fan. The sad thing about it is that his recent losses to Novak have been mostly mental. In the Wimbledon final, he was holding serve very well up until 4-5 when all of a sudden he suddenly lost the plot. I thought Rafa would go down without a fight after losing the second set 1-6 must but when he managed to break Novak early in the 3rd set and held on to that break to win a set, I thought he could at least get into the right frame of mind to put up a fight as he normally does against everyone else. Unfortunately, it was the same story in the 4th, with Rafa holding his own up until the tail end of the match where his fight seemed to all but disappear.

It's frightening to think that Nadal's asset throughout his career has been his unmatched mental strength and belief that he can win any match, even when he's down. Rafa now needs to find a way to get back his focus and figure out a way to beat Novak. I just hope he figures it out sooner rather than later.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Belated Father's Day celebration and an Arcade afternoon

My family wasn't able to go out during Father's day because of scheduling issues so our celebration came a week later. My mom initially thought of having lunch somewhere in Intramuros but it took my family a while to get ready in the morning so it was almost 1pm when we left home. As such, I suggested that we have lunch in Cerchio instead. Cerchio located in the Tomas Morato area has the same owners as Romulo's Cafe and offers similar cuisine so I thought it would be perfect for my family.

I reckoned that since we would get there at around 1:30pm, there would be more than enough tables available and I didn't need a reservation. Sure enough, only a few tables were occupied when we got there so we were seated imediately. We were all quite hungry by the time our order arrived so I didn't even bother taking snapshots to put up in my blog but the food was really good! Despite the size of our meal, we still managed to have coffee and dessert after. You could tell that the owner of Romulo's and Cerchio is the same because both places have excellent service. Cerchio also has a pretty cool patio area on the second floor which seems to be a perfect place to chill out with your friends over a few drinks in the evening.

After lunch, we headed to Shangri-La mall because my grandma wanted to watch the movie of Sam Milby and KC Concepcion (can't remember the title). I was thinking of taking my nephews to watch Green Lantern but when we got there, Green Lantern wasn't showing for another 1 1/2 hours. I offered to take my nephews to watch Super 8 instead but neither of them were interested. My mom wanted to watch it and since she doesn't have a lot of opportunities to watch, I suggested she go see it and I would just take my nephews to Quantum while everyone else went to the cinema.

So we go to Quantum and I purchased P100 worth of tokens before realizing that a lot of the games that we normally play there - like the one where you drop a ball and bowling - were both not operational. There weren't a lot of games available so we just used up our tokens on whatever games felt interesting enough to play then I told my nephews we should just check out Power Station.

It was a pretty good move because Power Station had both games that were not available in Quantum. Plus, it has this 'Go Go Balls' game that was soooo much fun to play. Each game had four levels that would test different skills like accuracy and speed. The great thing about this game was that all three of us - me and my two nephews - could play the game at the same time. In fact, the more people playing it the better because more balls would be thrown at the screen. We had so much fun playing it that we played it a few times (no one was in line so it wasn't like we were unfairly hogging it. :)) This is what Go Go Balls looks like:

video uploaded in youtube by user saintfun0140

By the time we were done playing, both movies had finished. We got some Dippin' Dots for my nephews and I bought a box of silvanas from House of Silvanas before we headed home. Strangely enough, I'm the one who actually wants to go back to Power Station so we can have another crack at the Go Go Balls game LOL.