Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Sick again

Got sick again last Monday. About a month ago I had to take a sick leave as well. I don't think I've ever had as many sick leaves in a year as I've taken in 05. Must be getting old. Or maybe I'm running myself ragged too much.

Thank God it's just a few more days before the long weekend! Can't wait to just chill out at home and get a bit more sleep than I am used to.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

My least boring 10km treadmill run ever

Gold’s Gym had its 3rd Gold’s Olympics last Saturday. There are five teams, comprised of members and trainers, who compete in this event that features five elements – running, relay, bench press, boxing, and group exercise.

One of the trainers, James, was forming a team with the help of my trainer, Marlon. Thursday night last week, I got a call from James asking me if I wanted to run the 10km for their team. The run would be on a treadmill – the guy would run 10km and the girl would run 5km on an adjacent treadmill as soon as the guy finished. I told James that (1) I hadn’t run for two months, and (2) I don't run anywhere nearly fast as a lot of other serious long distance runners. I guess he was out of options (I later found out that his original 10km runner was unavailable at the last minute) so I was the guy. I figured I needed the exercise and it was an interesting thing to be a part of, and it was early on Saturday morning so I wasn’t going to lose my entire day. So I agreed to join.

I ended up finishing last out of five runners (as I expected) but I was quite pleased that I finished in under 55 minutes. Considering I haven’t run, exercised, or played any sport in the last 1 ½ months or so, that, for me, was quite an achievement. Also, I was only about 6 minutes behind the 2nd placer, 4 minutes off the pace of the 3rd placer and 2 minutes behind the 4th placer (I was worried my opponents were all track athletes who would be clocking less than 45 minutes and that I would finish in more than an hour which would have been embarrassing). With everyone watching and giving the runners encouragement, that 10km treadmill run didn’t feel boring at all (and it felt like it was less than 54 minutes too).

The cool thing though was that my partner, Jona (not sure if I spelled her name right) absolutely smashed the competition in the 5km. Her time added to mine put out team in 3rd place overall. In fact, she was so fast that if she pushed herself, she could’ve pulled us up to 2nd, but James told her not to overwork herself since she would be doing 100 abdominals in the relay as well.

At the end of the day, our team ended up 3rd overall, losing to the Black team and the Green team (both of which I think featured a truckload of trainers, we had about 3 or 4 only). It was so much fun that I am actually hoping that I get to join again next year despite my last place showing. Maybe if I train continually for the next year, I can shave off enough minutes off of my 10km time, allowing me to get a callback (hehe I wish!)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Still Oz live on Breakfast!

Chalk up another milestone for me this year – I can now say that I have sung live on national television! Imagine that!

A couple of weeks ago (Wed, Sept 29), my band Still Oz guested on the Studio 23 morning show “Breakfast”. Oz asked us a few days before the show whether we wanted to perform on Breakfast which airs at 630-8am. I am not a morning person and in fact I was terribly busy during that time, but opportunities like this don’t come along very often and I figured I would still make it to work early enough coz Breakfast finishes at 8am and Makati is less than an hour away from the ABS-CBN studio. I guess everyone else in the band thought so too so we all agreed to do the show.

We ended up playing 5 songs, all of them by Dave Matthews Band and U2. The set up was that we would sing 4 partial songs, usually leading to commercial. It’s not really very easy to sing first thing in the morning but I guess my adrenaline was pumping that day as my voice seemed to open up well enough for me to do a good job with all our songs.

The show opened with us playing ‘Ants Marching’. In the middle of the song, the hosts introduced themselves and what was lined up in the next hour and a half. Then later on we did ‘All I want is you’ and ‘Where the streets have no name’, both as segues into adverts. Several minutes later, one of the hosts, Patricia, interviewed us (we all got asked a question and you could see how inexperienced we were as our answers were not the most well-versed or well thought out) before we performed #41, the only song we played in full. We then finished the show with ‘Grey Street’ which we played while the credits were rolliwng. I was pleased about the fact that I managed to hit the 17-second sustain in that song (which still made the show, sort of, as I think the show cut in the middle of me holding that note).

Aside: Strangest coincidence. Oz’s friend who got us to perform on the show is apparently a high school friend of Kathy. As luck would have it, Oz’s friend also got Kathy and her friends to perform fire-spinning on the show (which they do every so often in different venues across the city), and on the same day! Now what are the chances of that happening? =)

All in all, a fantastic experience. Not sure if it’ll ever happen again, but at least now I can say that I’ve sung live on national TV. Now I just need to make sure I get a tape of that show.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

My Big 3-0 (part 2)

The rest of my birthday celebration was kind of a long weekend. My birthday was on Saturday, and my band had a gig in Racks El Pueblo on Friday night that was going to start at around 11pm. I figured there was a good chance I would be performing on stage when I turned 30, and true enough, I was. Can’t remember exactly which song I was singing at the stroke of midnight, but I knew that it was Sept 24 when I saw members of the Grin team (the volleyball team I coach who watched my gig after their game that Friday night) come up a few feet away from the stage and mouth ‘Happy birthday’ to me when I looked at them.

The gig itself wasn’t all that good technically – we majorly bungled up the intro to “Selling the drama” and well everyone was making quite a few mistakes. I have to say, though, that part of it was certainlty the sound system which sucked quite a bit and in fact my mic died a few times in the middle of a song (especially a couple of times during a cappella parts!). But the audience didn’t seem to mind, and the reception we got sort of mirrored that of 90proof where a huge part of the audience were standing up to watch us perform and even sing along with us (as if, again, it was a concert that they came to watch).

By the time the gig was over, the remaining Grin team whisked me off to their table where a slice of chocolate cake with a candle on top of it was waiting for me, and they started to sing ‘Happy Birthday’. (Earlier in the night, they also presented me with a nice picture of me with the team, and dedications from everyone at the back, Jane had also gotten me the ‘Free yourself’ CD of Fantasia Barrino, which was a whole lot better than I thought it would be, and I’ve been playing it a lot on my car stereo recently). Later that night er early early morning, Bunky realized that it was past midnight and the band and our friends who stayed to watch started greeting me as well. Sep even got me a San Mig light – one for the road – before I headed out.

The next day I got up quite late as I was exhausted from the long week and the long Friday. I then made reservations for ten in Cantinetta, this new restaurant next to Starbucks along Pasong Tamo extension. I learned about this resto from Anton’s blog and he raved about it so I figured it would be good to try it out. I knew it was pricey, but thje plan was that Mitch and I woudl split the bill since Mitch's birthday is just a few days before mine and most of the time we celebrate together.

I picked up Iona and Joyce on the way to Makati, and we got there right on schedule (730pm, as I had reserved). Mitch and Ferg got there shortly after, followed by Mike. Gary and Winnie came a bit later and Anna rounded up the gang. The food was actually very good – from the Tagliatelle, to the mushroom and spinach appetizer, to the different pizzas, to the cannelloni and lasagna. The wine that Ferg picked for us was pretty good too. Cantinetta served us a couple of desserts for free, but as that was clearly not enough for everyone, Mitch and I decided to get one each of the desserts they had.

The next day, Sunday, I took my family to Superbowl in SM Fairview for lunch. Unfortunately, Tatay was sick so he couldn’t join us. Tita Tuds and my cousins Tracy, Troy, and Twinkle were all unavailable too because they only found out last minute about it and already had other plans. So it was just me, Mom, CJ, Ciera, and Nanay in Superbowl. We just ordered extra so that we could bring food to those who couldn’t make it.

Finally, on Monday, I met up with my friends from Nortel in Good Earth in Metrowalk. I was actually sick that day and was on sick leave, but I didn’t want to reschedule so I rested the entire day and felt good enough to head to the Ortigas area at around 630. I arrived in Good Earth at 730 and for the first time, I was the first person to arrive. We all stuffed ourselves silly (the beef chow mein was our favorite dish that night, although everything was good) before capping the night at Coffee Beanery that was just right next door.

I also ended up with a bit more stuff from my wishlist and some other stuff – more starbucks GCs, aftershave gel and shaving cream from Body Shop, a concert ticket to the Company’s 20th anniversary, and a few more CDs: ‘A rush of blood to the head’ by Coldplay, ‘Hopes and dreams’ by Keane, and ‘The best of Sting.’

My Big 3-0 (part 1)

I finally turned 30 a couple of weeks ago! The big 3-0! And the strange thing is that I am actually excited to be 30. I guess it’s because I enjoyed the last 30 years of my life well enough to look forward to next 30 (fingers crossed…)

One of the things that make my life pretty exciting are the great, great people around me. So to commemorate my 30 years on earth, I made sure to celebrate with the different sets of people that have made my life worth living.

The first part of my celebration happened last September 19 with my friends from work. It was a Monday, so not exactly the ideal day for a party, but Mike and Giselle were here and would only be in the country that week, and a few other folks weren’t available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday due to late night meetings. So Monday it was.

Didn’t matter really, coz it was a great party! We held it in Mike’s house and I sorted out the food. Since I don’t cook, I just ordered delivery – Pansit Lucban from Buddy’s and Chicken Wings from Greenwich. I got to Mike’s place at 730 and dropped off the drinks, ice cream, and party stuff. Then I left shortly to get some siomai from Henlin since I wasn’t sure whether the variety of food was enough. By the time I got back, a few folks had already arrived although Mike had left. We started preparing the food, but we decided to wait for the other people who were on the way before digging in.

Turns out the people we were waiting for had a cake for me and they put candles in the shape of #30 on top of it.

Then we started eating – turned out the pansit was quite heavy and all 18 of us there could only eat half of the bilao. The Wacky wings from Greenwich was a surprise find – they were actually quite good, and was the only food item that was fully consumed. People were too stuffed to eat all the siomai and dessert although some of us still managed to have cake ala mode – tiramisu meltdown with Double Dutch and strawberry ice cream on the side.

Then we just chilled out and indulged in a lot of fun conversation and friendly banter. Before the night ended, though, we had a gift-opening ceremony. What made it great was that I managed to get quite a few items from my birthday wishlist which I posted a few weeks ago.

What I got – the Best of U2 1990-2000, a band necklace, Sister Act widescreen DVD, a book on bedroom household management for men (perfect for when I move to my new condo unit in a few weeks), several Starbucks GCs, a couple of Suriya Spa Spot Tension Release back massage vouchers, and Body Shop
Aftershave gel.

So all in all, a fantastic birthday celebration. Wouldn’t have happened if my friends didn’t come: Hannah, Marga, Pia, Che, Paulo, Giselle, Raffa, Joh, Mike, Chris, Shar, John Q, Elaine, Tim, Gio, Peegee, and Nats. The downside was that Meann missed it due to an evening meeting that finished very late, and Simon due to issues at work. But it was still a blast and was a great way to start the upcoming year. =)