Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I can't make you love me

I just heard an mp3 of Constantine's rendition of "I can't make you love me", his contest piece on American Idol this week. I guess taken by itself it's an okay performance. Thing is though, I absolutely love Kimberley Locke's incredibly soulful version of that song, so for me Constantine's just pales in comparison. Speaking of Kimberley, her version of Somewhere the Rainbow is also hair-raising. Listening to her performances makes me think she should've won AI2, but well at least she came in 3rd and she is so far the only Idol to have debuted at #1 with her single "8th World Wonder." Not bad.

On another note, Volleyball season for me is about to start. Team IT is once again participating in the company tournament. Unfortunately, we are now missing a lot of talent. John V is in Singapore now, Romy will be out of the country, Patrick said he can't play, and Tots is getting married soon so we aren't sure how often she will get to play. At least Daryl is making a comeback, which is great for our team defense. Hopefully we can still string a few victories together.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Where did the long weekend go?

Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun. No work for four consecutive days. And since I never go out of town during Holy Week so that I can spend time going to church and doing the Stations of the Cross, I should have been able to regain my equilibrium.

So why is it that I feel so incredibly drained this Monday? I guess all those four days were still full packed. Organizing my stuff at home, shopping for things we need at home (like flashlights and catfood, among others), planning for the Bukas Sarili Christmas Cards for a Cause project, doing overtime at work, sorting out my photos and organizing them into photo albums. I guess I should've decided not to sort out my photos, but I have this huge pile of pictures I had printed out over the last 2-3 years sitting in my room and I figured I needed to make the pile a bit smaller. Pero ayan, start pa lang ng week and I feel tired na. Not the right week to be tired though, kasi we are moving our Phase 2 release into production this weekend. Hay, all-nighter siguro ako tonight para lang makausad ng konti. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Canon S45

Today I got my mom a Canon S45 digital camera. This after a lot of deliberation on exactly what camera I wanted to get her.

It all started when my mom said a couple of weeks ago that she was planning to go to China this Saturday. Initially it was Hong Kong, but she really wants to see the Great Wall and it's more difficult to schedule a trip to China, so there you go. She is also taking my older brother on this trip because my bro has never been out of the country. The trip is quite expensive esp since it's for 2 people so my mom was thinking of borrowing money. I figured I would just give her the money to pay for my bro so that she wouldn't have to borrow the money, then I found out that she had already paid for everything.

Last Saturday when we were in Shangri-La, my mom was contemplating getting a digicam. She was having problems with her regular camera that day which added to her desire to get a digicam, and when we were having film developed, she spotted some digicams and was just about ready to buy one of them that was within her budget. I asked her if she wanted to get a camera then or if she could wait for me to look around. She said I could look around first.

So last Sunday I went looking for digicams. I wanted to get a Canon, so I ended up with 3 choices - Ixus 30 as suggested by Joh, Powershot S45 (an old model), and Powershot A85 (Paulo said that, because it was newer than the S45, it was a better buy). Now the Ixus 30 was out of stock everywhere, so I was just about ready to get the A85 until I learned that it used four AA batteries and that I could run out 4 energizers in about half an hour. Also, the S45 had a wider angle. So I got the S45. Decided to throw in a 512Mb CF card and a spare battery with it, and the store gave me a free camera case. I realize I didn't get my mom a Christmas gift so I guess this will do as a very belated present.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Expensive quirk

Most people I know buy CDs (especially original ones!) when there are about 3-4 songs in that album that they like. And I guess in general, I'm like that too. Except when there is a song that I absolutely love, in which case I buy the original CD just for that one song without really caring if I end up liking anything else in the CD. I bought the Nine days CD for "If I am", the 3 Doors Down CD for "Kryptonite" ("Be like that" had not been released at the time I bought that CD), the Ricky Martin CD for "Nobody wants to be lonely" (duet with Christina Aguilera), and the Creed CD for "Higher" (again, "With arms wide open" had not been released at the time). Generally I've been lucky with most of the CDs I got just for the one song as I end up enjoying the rest of the songs in the album. The Ricky Martin CD I didn't really listen to because "Nobody wants to be lonely" was actually a bonus track and was on a separate CD (single). So I ended up just listening to that single rather than the rest of the album.

My current favorite song is "Broken Sonnet" by Hale. I think I first found out what the title of the song was as well as the artist just last week, and since then I have heard it a LOT on all the mainstream radio stations. During the BSF meeting last Saturday, I mention to Bunky that maybe our band can perform this song (if this happens, this might be our first cover of local rock song) and Christelle says "Yeah, that's a great song" and proceeds to tell me in which album the song can be found. I forgot the name of the album, but I reckon I know the name of the band so I should be able to find it. As it turns out, I couldn't find it anywhere! So after a futile attempt looking for the CD everywhere, I decide to text Christelle and ask her what the title of Hale's album is. Apparently, Hale does NOT have an album out yet, and Christells says "Broken Sonnet" is actually in "Full Volume" which is a Pinoy alternative rock compilation. So I go to Tower, find "Full Volume", and buy it. Between yesterday and today, I have probably spent about 3-4 hours listening to just this song hahaha I know I'm absolutely frickin' mental! Same thing happened with "Nobody wants to be lonely" - I put the CD in my CD drive at work a few years ago and kept listening to it while working until I realized I had listened to it the entire morning!

A lot of people might actually think it's kinda stupid to buy an entire CD just for one song. But when I think about it, the enjoyment I get out of that one song can be greater than the amount of fun people have with entire albums, so who cares? Besides, in about a day and a half, I have listened to this one song more often than other people have listened to entire CDs that they have bought. So really, who gets more bang for their buck? =)

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Ah, the travails of working on a weekend

I decided to use my overnight stay at the Pen (prize I won during P&G's Christmas party last year) last night. I had a long day, starting off with me a Bukas Sarili meeting, then heading into a party for the kinder 'graduation' of my nephew CJ, followed by a trip back home then back to Makati for a dinner party at Che's house. I decided I would work on Sunday to make sure everything is set for our April 4 release at work, and I didn't want to have to do another round of Makati-Fairview driving so I figured I would just bunk up at the Pen.

Problem, though, is that working in the office on a weekend when there is no work buzz just doesn't provide enough momentum to get me started. So I decided maybe if I would write about it I'd get going. I'll tell you tonight whether writing this blog did jumpstart me or not. =)

Pretty cool Saturday though. The Bukas Sarili meeting had 7 people in it, although for some reason it felt there were less until I realized we have had BSF meetings with only 4-5 people in the past. We rescheduled the Rummage Sale to May 14. We also decided on a new size for our Christmas cards (had to be done now so we can get the artists invitation ou; has to be done really soon if we are to get this project working a lot better than it did last year). The pledge run looks terribly promising, though - first you have me planning to run the 42k with Ray and Kendrick. Bunky and Anne are contemplating running either 5 or 10k. Iona has managed to get friends from MBS to share interest in this, as well as Erwin Samson from our batch in Pisay. Anne told me she seems to have gotten a few people interested in the run, too. And Ray said that Joy is also planning to run. Heck, that's a truckload of new runners! This project really can end up being the biggest fundrasising project of BSF to date. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

CJ's celebration was a lot of fun too. We started off with lunch in Powerplant then we tried to look for "Guysack" - this is the smaller Scorpion Zoid (CJ doesn't like the big one) but we couldn't find it. So we moved to Shangri-La mall where we still couldn't find Guysack. So I ended up buying CJ a remote control car instead that twists and turns in every direction and is pretty sturdy that it can bump into things and be dropped without breaking. I also got myself the a new pair of Oakley's which is actually the same model that I lost about a year ago, and this purchase got my mom P1200 for her FSP card. Then my nephews both rode the Carousel then got some free animal balloons somewhere else in the mall.

Finally, Che's party. This is actually a belated bday party - Che celebrated her bday a couple of weeks ago. Her sister was the Chef, and the food was pretty damn good. There was a lot of it though and some people couldn't eat everything they had. As I still had the "hoover" genes in me despite my recent diet, I decided to wolf down most of Hannah's leftovers. When I said "I'm so full," Hannah replied "siguro naman sana ano." Hehe, up until that time I didn't realize I had eaten almost twice as much as everyone else and they were all already full. So I guess if I really eat that much I can't complain if I'm overweight. =)

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Here's a picture of me in Teotihuacan, one of the pyramid sites in the outskirts of Mexico City. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Liposuction, anyone?

Inbetween the time I ran a marathon last year (end-July) and early this year, I didn't really have any exercise. Add to that 3 international trips (and mind you, it is near impossible not to gain weight whenever your international trip offers you buffet meals morning, noon, and nighttime), and well I guess it wouldn't surprise you that I gained 10lbs. So I figured that when I started my tennis lessons, I would begin to lose the weight I gained.

Every week I'd check the scale in the clinic and for some reason my weight wasn't going down. Yesterday I check again and I still hadn't lost weight. The doctor heard me lamenting my sorry state and asked me how frequently I was exercising. I said 3 times a week, and the tennis sessions I have can't exactly be compared to a walk in the park! So she asked me what I was eating and I said I was eating pretty much the same thing (although I admitted probably eating a lot more since I started playing tennis to compensate for the energy loss). So well there you go. If I want to lose weight, exercise alone won't do it. I need to go on a diet as well, which is utterly unfortunate.

Anyway, I decided to reduce the amount of dessert I have - instead of 1-2 pieces of dessert a day (cheesecake, sans rival, chocolate based cake slices etc) I am now going to have 1-2 pieces of dessert every two days. So earlier today, I got hungry at about 5pm and headed out thinking of getting a slice of French applie pie from Sugarhouse. On my way there I remembered my diet so I decided to eat corn instead (without salt and butter!). Proponents of the South Beach diet will say those are still carbs, but hey I guess that is still less fattening than a slice of French apple pie with whipped cream.

Talk about bad luck

Well as they say, when it rains it pours.

We were supposed to finish the upgrade of our testing environment today so that users could login and test the new system enhancements that we put in based on their needs. The problem is, the database server of our testing environment was down today because it was also being upgraded. It was supposed to be ready at 6pm Philippine time but well it's close to 8pm now and our database server is still down.

As if this wasn't bad enough, at 830pm our network is going to be brought down for network maintenance purposes. So basically, that means we won't be able to finish upgradiong our test environment tonight, and all our users won't be able to begin testing tomorrow. Argh! Talk about work-related stress. Oh well, at least next week we have a 4-day weekend (thank God for Holy Week). I should be able to regain my equilibrium then.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Whoever said sleep was overrated probably didn't get enough sleep growing up

Interesting weekend this last one was. Friday night I played tennis and it went pretty well considering I didn't play for a week (it was a tough week at work so I had to skip a couple of tennis sessions). The trainer started asking me to do more difficult "tricks" like jump into the serve and also to spin my serve. Pretty cool, but boy was my body sore as hell. =)

I then headed off to Diane's despedida - she'll be moving to the US for a 2-year assignment. The party was in Embassy at the Fort. Apparently, to get in you need to be in the guest list. And even when you get in, there's a private party area that's guarded by a huge bouncer. Diane's despedida was in this private area and it was the first time I've ever been to a private party in a private club. This 'exclusivity' thing is not my cup of tea, though, but well I wasn't there for the place but for Diane so it doesn't matter. Of course, later on, I realized this was where all the gorgeous girls in Manila were, so I guess maybe there is something to be said about places like this! =)

As for Saturday and Sunday, I spent most of it sleeping! I slept for 10 hours on Friday-Saturday, and I'm convinced I would've slept longer if I didn't have to attend the Get-together of Benefactors and Scholars in Ateneo at 430pm. The first scholar of Bukas Sarili, Audris, is graduating this Saturday, and as such, representatives from Bukas Sarili were invited to the event to celebrate with her. I was pretty much the only Bukas person who was available so I went. And I'm glad I did too because all the scholars were called up on stage along with their benefactors. As I got up past 2pm I was about 15 minutes late for the event, during which time the valedicatorian who was also a scholar was delivering his speech. Right after this was the segment where the scholars and their benefactors were called on stage so I guess you could say I made it just in time. We never had a similar event in UP (although I do know that at the start of my freshman year, there was an oblation scholars party in the Executive House, but that was it. Nothing after grad) and I recall thinking that this was such a cool thing to do. I was (and am still) really happy for Audris. I remember my mom telling me on the way home (I dropped her off in Rustan's Expresslane in Katipunan before I headed to ADMU and picked her up there afterwards) that it's great that those students get an opportunity to study in Ateneo.

I proceeded to sleep for 12 hours on Sat-Sun, getting up at 330pm (my body clock shifted to the EMEA timezone for some reason =)). Couldn't really do anything anymore so I just chilled and watched a couple of VCDs - "Leap of Faith" (starring Steve Martin) and "Something's Gotta Give" which was ok for the most part except for the ending because I wanted Diane Keaton to end up with Keanu and not with Jack Nicholson (maybe I will explain why in a separate post some other time).

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Quarterfinals, here we come!

I heard on CNN that Ronaldinho predicted that all 4 english teams (Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool) would be booted out of the UEFA Champions League this week. All but Liverpool had goal deficits to overcome (Arsenal were 1-3 down, Chelsea 1-2 down, Man Utd 0-1 down, Liverpool 3-1).

Well, Ronaldinho didn't get it right. He scored twice against Chelsea but a late goal by John Terry put Chelsea ahead 5-4 on aggregate. Arsenal and Man Utd though were ousted.

But of course, the highlight (well, for me) was Liverpool's very convincing win over Bayern Leverkusen. After winning 3-1 at home in the first leg, they had to play Leverkusen in Germany. Despite this, they still managed to win, again with a score of 3-1 for a 6-2 aggregate win!!! Pretty damn good result, I say. =) Liverpool are now in the quartefinals of CL, the first time this has happened since I started watching football. Sana tuloy-tuloy na, but I guess the odds are stacked against them.

Real Madrid were also tossed out of the CL after a 0-2 loss to Juventus. Owen managed to get on the pitch when he substitued for Raul at the 96th minute (injury time). 96th minute!!! What did they expect him to do with barely any time left? Guess they don't seem to get the pattern that's been pretty obvious this season - no Owen, no win. Hehe, I'm ranting. Oh well.

Btw, Rob and Amber ended up placing first in this week's leg of the Amazing Race. Ugh.

This week on American Idol

Okay, it's a couple of days late but I had to put in something about the performance of the guys in American Idol this week. I just have to say, never have I watched an American Idol night were I was blown away by so many of the performances! Last week, Bo Bice rocked the house in a way that it had not been rocked this season. I think after the rest of the guys saw that, they figured they wanted to have a performance like that as well. So pretty much everyone stepped up. Even Scott started dancing, although I have to agree with Simon that his dancing sucked big time (I laugh everytime I remember waht he looked like dancing =)). Nikko's version of 'Georgia on my mind' was great, but Anwar Robinson just brought the house down with his unique interpretation of 'What a wonderful world' that just left people awed. Galing sobra! I will wait for an mp3 of it to be made available in the internet so I can listen to it again. It has to be up there with my favorite American Idol performances of all time:
  • 'Summertime' by Fantasia Barrino
  • 'Don't rain on my parade' by Latoya London
  • 'A house is not a home' by Tamyra Gray
  • 'Bridge over troubled water' by Clay Aiken
  • 'I can't make you love me' by Kimberley Locke

Di na ako makaisip ng ibang fave performances ko right now. A lot of you might be saying I am missing Latoya's 'All by myself' rendition that initially put her on the map, but I just didn't like it as much. She didn't maintain that high note as well as Celine did, and so for me she ended up sounding like a poor copy. Her version of 'Don't rain on my parade' though was sung so crisply and clearly, and she made that song her own.

I didn't get to see the performance of the girls apart from Jessica Sierra. I think American Idol should have had the girls perform on night 1 and the guys on night 2. Parang anti-climactic yung nangyayari, todo hataw yung guys tapos yung girls medyo di ganun kagaling. Ah well, we're now in the top 12 so we shall see. To quote Tanya, "This year's American Idol will be a guy." If babae manalo, I'll be really disappointed in the American Idol voting public.

This just in - America have voted and Janay, Amanda, Travis and Nikko are out. Nikko??? WTF??? Okay, I am now disappointed in the American public. Maybe Nikko and Anwar ended up having the same market and Anwar ate up most of Nikko's votes in the same way Fantasia ate up Latoya's votes nung 4 na lang sila. Oh well.

Karl Jenkins and the power of the internet (March 7)

Years ago, there was this "A Diamond is Forever" advertisement that had shadow images of people going through the different stages of life. I recall that ad very clearly because it had, for me, fantastic music (if you can appreciate classical music, that is) and everytime I saw that ad I'd watch it, or rather, listen to the music being played.

I bring this up because of an interesting series of events beginning last week (that culminated in me running into this song again, and being impressed once again with the power of the internet). On Monday, I sent an email out to the yahoogroups of my high school barkada saying how upset I was that Martin Scorcese didn't win best director (although Lia, a Scorcese fan, did say she watched MDB and felt that Clint deserved the directorship no) and that Hillary Swank won her second best actress trophy (that's more best actress Oscars than Glenn Close, Julianne Moore and Susan Sarandon combined!). Somehow that discussion led to the discussion of ordering rare books on Amazon, and over this weekend I decided to list down some of the things I would like to order on Amazon in the future ('pag nagkapera na ulit ako hehehe).

Now in one looong flight from Brussels to Manila a couple of years ago, I was listening to the classical music channel when I chanced upon that same song I mentioned above. There was no DJ saying who the artist was or what the song was titled, so I looked at the media guide and for some reason I was led to believe that this Diamond song was 'Aria' by Rolf Lovland. I left it in my list of things to order online and didn't pay attention to it again until last weekend.

When I decided to look it up again, I found that I couldn't spot any Rolf Lovland CDs that contained Aria in Amazon. So I did a search on Rolf Lovland and Aria in google. I ended up in a site that had samples from each song in his different CDs. However, I was surprised when I listened to the sample of Aria - that wasn't the song I was looking for! And neither were any of his other songs!

I obviously didn't have the media guide with me anymore so I couldn't search each of the songs listed in the classical channel =). So I do another google search, this time on +"a diamond is forever" +"de beers" +music. The third or fourth hit I got was a Karl Jenkins site. I take a look at it because it has promise, and lo and behold I read this line - "Karl Jenkins has composed the following music for commercials which have now become classics: De Beers Diamonds 'A Diamond Is Forever' - original 'Shadows' film, and all subsequent arrangements." Galing! I found what I was looking for!

This time, I check out Karl Jenkins in Amazon And I see a CD entitled "Diamond Music" which in fact has a shot of the "Shadows" ad as the cover. I can't wait 'til I get my summer bonus so that I can go buy this CD (so well I have some time to see if I can find the CD in a local Music shop. After all, I never looked for Karl Jenkins; all this time I was looking for Rolf Lovland =)).

You can hear a sample of the song I am talking about here -

You can read more about Karl Jenkins in

TGIF (March 4 post)

It's Friday again, and I am so looking forward to the weekend. Wednesday was a late night in the office, and last night was the same. Tapos medyo early morning pa for me the last couple of days. Bad trip pa Edsa kanina. They put a 'fence' in the middle of the road in the Crame-Annapolis area so that vehicles coming down from the Santolan flyover couldn't move into the outer lanes. I guess it is meant to ease traffic along Edsa, but I am not sure if it worked in actuality because it took me 45 minutes to get from East Avenue to Ortigas!!! Or well, maybe it's just Friday traffic.

Anyway, I am already looking forward to tonight when I take my 15th tennis lesson. Last Monday, my serve started feeling like it's gotten better and more consistent, and I am starting to control the direction of my shots a lot more as well. And whereas I would keep losing to the ballboys the first couple of times I played games or even sets against them, now I starting to hang in there a bit and in fact I beat a couple of them already. Memorable shots I hit - inside-out backhand service return winner, down-the-line forehand winner, and service winner wide to the ad court. Naks! Sana tuloy-tuloy na. I just wish that not being able to have lessons on Wednesday won't make me lose muscle memory too much.

Btw, I am a bit surprised that Aloha is out of AI. She didn't do well last Wednesday, but she didn't do as badly as some of the other girls. Interestingly enough, everyone - from Ryan Seacrest to Simon Cowell - sounded much more positive and constructive last night. They also did away with all the emotional melodrama of the first SF eliminations day. I think it worked though, because the people booted out looked disappointed but handled it a lot better.

Real and Reality TV (March 3 post)

First off, congratulations to Real Madrid for narrowing the gap with league leaders Barcelona with a 3-1 win over Real Betis. Of course, Michael Owen scored yet another goal (the 1st of the match) after only 10 minutes. And it's one of those few times where he was in the starting line-up (they really should let him start more often). He has now scored 10 goals, 4 behind Ronaldo and 1 ahead of Raul. If you divide goals by the number of minutes or even games played, you'll see that Owen has a better record than either Ronaldo or Raul this season.

I decided to catch American Idol on ABC 5 since I made it home by 10pm. That way, I wouldn't have to stay up til 1230am for the Starworld run. AI last night wasn't all that exciting. The guys are so much better than the girls (opposite of last year). My favorite performers in semifinal week 1 - Nadia and Aloha - both disappointed me last night (what the heck was Nadia thinking when she picked that song???). And Mikalah she was actually really good last night. I'm still not wowed by her, but last night she had to have given the best performance.

Of course during breaks I kept switching channels to AXN to catch bits of the pilot episode of the Amazing Race 7. Rob and Amber are indeed contestants in TAR7, which I think is really annoying (dalawang survivor na nga nalaro nila, pati ba naman TAR pasukin nila? Maybe they should've just joined fear factor). I guess the producers must've been thinking that Amber and Rob would draw in a lot more viewers, so from their perspective it made sense. But it was interesting that, of the parts of the show I saw, it really seemed like everyone was against Rob and Amber. Good thing for me that the Survivor couple didn't end up #1 (top team Debbie and Bianca earned $10K each for finishing that leg first). Best friends Ryan and Chuck were the first team to be eliminated, losing a foot-race to Ron and Kelly literally by a few seconds.

By the time the show ended, I was really wiped out. I ended up falling asleep somewhere between 1130pm and 12mn, the first time in a fairly long while that I fell asleep before midnight. Which is a good thing. =)

New blog!

Funny thing. A week after setting up a blog in friendster, I could no longer see the blog tab. I gave it a couple of days, thinking it might have some network issue, but the problem was still there. So sent friendster an email about it. I got a quick answer, and apparently, the friendster blog is only available to people in the US and Canada. Well since I already bought into the idea of blogging, I figured I'd just find a new place to do it. So here we are.

I'll be copying the 4 posts I had on my friendster blog over here just for posterity. And hopefully this time, people who want to comment will be able to comment. =)