Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Run" by Snow Patrol

Snow Patrol's "Run" was released back in 2004 but this beautiful song didn't enter my consciousness until this week. Maybe it's because this is one of those songs that you need to digest or listen to a couple of times before realizing just how great it is. So I encourage you to take another listen if you don't think you like it at first.

video uploaded in youtube by user topgearhannah2k6

I "discovered" the song on Monday, when I was chatting with Sep. We were talking about a couple of songs that our band is trying to learn - Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" and Collective Soul's "Run". He suggested that we take our cue in learning these songs from live versions that Snow Patrol and Collective Soul do. Which made sense so I decided to look up the vids on youtube. While typing in "Snow Patrol" in youtube, the text predicter suggested 'Snow Patrol Run'. Interesting coincidence, I thought, and I decided to check out the video. At first I thought it was okay but not wow. And as I read the comments, I realized Leona Lewis had a version. So I checked it out. It was good, but I realized I preferred the emotion in the original version. So I listened to it again, but this time I checked the lyrics out as well.

And suddenly, it home. For me, the perfect song is one where the melody, the lyric, the instrumentation, the flow and build up of the song, and the vocal interpretation and delivery all work together to deliver the same message. And that is exactly what you get in this song. It has now been elevated to one of my favorite songs of all time and I haven't stopped listening to it since I discovered it. I've even checked out some live versions that they've done. And of all I've seen on youtube, this one is my favorite. Mainly because of how intensely the crowd sing back the final chorus to the band (happens at around the 5:05 mark)

video uploaded in youtube by user rhyniemx

And the greatest thing about this is, I apparently have this song in my ipod!! It was in one of those compilation albums I got more than a year ago which had about 5 or 6 songs that I knew and kept listening to. Can't believe this gem was in that same CD all this time!!

"Light up, light up
As if you have a choice
Even if you cannot hear my voice
I'll be right beside you dear"


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Great weekend of sports!

I can't believe how things turned out in the English Premiership over the weekend. As of Friday, Liverpool were 4 points behind league leaders Manchester United. Chelsea had the same number of points but boasted a better goal difference which put them at second place.

Then things started to get interesting. On Saturday, Fulham pulled the shock of the weekend with a 2-0 win over Man U. Tottenham followed suit and beat Chelsea 1-0. Then Liverpool took full advantage of the opportunity and blasted 5 goals against Aston Villa. The rout was made even sweeter by the hat trick that Stevie Gerrard scored. Go Stevie!

This means that Liverpool are now only 1 point behind Man U and have leapfrogged Chelsea into second place. What's even better is that Liverpool now have the best goal difference in the league. This means that if they end up at the top of the league on equal points with Man U and/or Chelsea, they will take home the championship.

It's still Man U's to lose though, especially since they have a game in hand. But the dynamic has definitely changed somewhat, and Liverpool still have a shot.


On the other side of the world, Rafa Nadal routed Andy Murray in the finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells to win his second title of the season, and his 13th Masters 1000 Event. With Murray defeating Roger Federer for the 4th straight time in the semifinals, Nadal's victory means he increases his lead at the top of the rankings, making it tougher for everyone else to catch him.

I hope that Nadal can continue his good form through to the clay court season and win his 5th French Open title. If that happens, who knows what other results can follow this year.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bad, bad traffic day

I hate being stuck in traffic. But when you live in Manila, it's one of the things you learn to deal with. You come to know where in the city, and at which times during the day, the traffic is bad and how long it will take to get from one place to another during these bad traffic moments. I still get pissed off when stuck in traffic every now and then, but I can kinda let it roll off my back for the most part.

The sucky thing really is when you are not expecting any traffic at all and it hits you squarely in the face. And that's exactly what happened to me yesterday.

I was heading to Manila for band practice at 3pm. I left my place at 2:15pm, fully expecting to be at the studio in time for band practice. But at 245pm, I realized that I had been stuck at the same stretch of road for about 15 minutes already and had barely moved. I thought it was just something going on at the stoplight and text my bandmates that I will be late. But as I cross the stoplight, I realize the traffic is still horribly bad. At the worst point of the jam, it actually took me about half an hour to move 500 meters!! I honestly don't recall the last time I was stuck in a traffic jam that bad.

I decide to get off the road I'm on and take a different route. It turns out the traffic on that road is just as bad. I was now half an hour late for band practice and nowhere near the studio yet. If I had run from my place to the studio, I would probably have gotten there already!!

As it turns out, there was some anti-drug rally in Roxas Boulevard and it caused the traffic horror in Manila that day. It took me almost 3 hours (2:45) to get to the studio. We spent three hours practicing before heading home (during which time the traffic had lifted but there were still a couple of bad spots). But at least we got to practice a few songs - including three new ones that we plan to do in our next gig.

I was supposed to head to dinner afterwards. Kathy was throwing a surprise birthday party for John. While driving home, I was still fully planning to head there. However, I had to head home first. Thing is, when I got home, it hit me that I was totally exhausted and couldn't muster the energy anymore to head out. I gave Kathy and John a call to apologize and they were very nice about it. I do hope I get to meet up with them some time this week for dinner since I missed the party.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Missed chance...

Last March 12, I logged in to (at 10am UK time) to try and get myself a ticket to the Graf-Agassi-Henman-Clijsters exhibition in Wimbledon on May 17. I had trouble launching the page - the first few minutes I was trying to access it, I kept seeing a message saying that the event didn't exist. I knew it must've been a glitch so I kept on trying.

After several minutes, the page finally appeared. I reckon there must have been some delay in making tickets available. So I try to get a ticket and I manage to snag a really good one at that, it was in the section right next to the court. I was thinking whether I should book it when I noticed that it would cost me an extra £18.50 for ticket delivery since I wasn't based in the UK. The additional cost threw me off for a minute, and since I preferred a seat at the back of the court rather than the side (that way, I wouldn't have to keep turning my head left and right during points), I decided to let the ticket go. In any case, I figured that since I was able to get a courtside seat quickly enough, then it should be easy enough to get another one if I wanted to.

Moments after I let it go, I realize that the extra £18.50 wasn't too bad (it's a full tank of gas and a good lunch) so I try getting another ticket.

And as I tried getting another ticket, I realized that all my assumptions were way off base.

I spent the next half hour trying to get another ticket but couldn't. When I finally get one, it was at the worst possible section - the topmost corner. It didn't seem worth it for me to pay almost PHP5,000 for a bad seat where the players would look like ants to me. So I decided not to get the ticket, and essentially drop my plans of heading to London in May. Which means I missed my chance of watching Steffi Graf play live on Wimbledon. Sucks!!

Moral of the story: don't be greedy and want a better seat than you already have (especially when the one you have is a pretty damn good one!). And when you are talking about once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, don't scrimp. You can always earn back the money but you won't get back the missed chance. Oh well...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Brilliant performance!!

Liverpool followed up their awesome midweek display against Real Madrid with a very inspired 4-1 win over Manchester United. Four goals scored against two of the best clubs in Europe (heck, in the world!) and all done in five days. Unbelievable.

I watched that match last Saturday and I have to admit that after Man U went up 1-0 about 20 minutes into the match, I switched the channel LOL. I know, I know, if you are a fan, then you should stand by your team win or lose. But I guess I was really worried that Man U would win after that. After all, they were playing at Old Trafford and Man U are pretty good front runners. So when I switched channels again at half time, I found out that Liverpool has somehow scored two goals before the end of the first half to take the lead. Apparently, Torres tied it up and Gerrard put Liverpool ahead. Once again, the dynamic duo rescue the club!

Two more amazing goal - one a free kick from Aurelio and another a very late goal from Dossena - sealed the deal for Liverpool and narrowed the gap that Man U have atop the league table to four points. Granted, Man U have a game in hand and can widen the gap to seven points. And with not too many games left in the season, Man U are still heavy favorites to win the league. But the important thing now is that Liverpool have done their part. After Man U's opening goal, Liverpool could very well have been 10 points behind instead of just four.

It's too bad that Liverpool have delivered the goods against the top squads in Europe this season - They beat Real Madrid twice, Chelsea twice, and Manchester United twice - and yet seemed to lose points to lesser teams (like Middlesbrough, against whom Pool lost 0-2 recently!). If only they could have maintained their level throughout the season, they'd still be atop the league right now. Ah well. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Let's go, Liverpool!

I never thought I would see the day. Liverpool made history by blasting four goals against the legendary Real Madrid and handing the Galácticos their worst defeat in the Champions League.

I had high hopes for Liverpool to make it through to quarterfinals after they took a 1-0 advantage in the first leg of their clash with Real Madrid. But a 4-0 win was definitely not something I expected. So it was an incredibly pleasant surprise when I checked the news out this morning. What makes it even better is Torres and Gerrard both scored goals (Gerrard actually scored two) and when the dynamic duo of Liverpool are in scoring form, it's a good sign for the entire team.

I hope that they can take their Champions League success back home to England. They have a massive clash against Manchester United on Saturday, and a win will reduce the lead that Man U currently have as they sit comfortably at the top of the league table. I am still hoping Liverpool can go on a massive winning streak in England and take the Premiership title this season. Not the best odds of that happening but I will be keeping my fingers crossed...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Alicia Keys: "No One" (Stripped version)

Here's an awesome, stripped version of no One as performed by Alicia Keys.

video uploaded in youtube by user gleicarol

I got a link to this video from one of the forums I visit and I thought it was awesome. I think Alicia's voice, as great as it is, sounds quite strained in the album version of "No One". Her voice in this live performance, however, is clearer and more effortless. Much better than the recording IMHO.

But what makes this number stand out for me are the amazing back-up singers. At 3:23, they do these incredible descending scales that sounds so smooth and flawless that you think it's pretty easy to do. Then I tried singing it myself and I realized it was NOT as straightforward as I initially thought! Those back up singers are truly awesome!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Speed typing

My friend M sent me a link to this website, to which she claims she is addicted now. I took a look and it's indeed a fun site. You are supposed to type the words that appear and you are then scored on how many words and characters you can type in a minute.

I'm not sure what the average typing speed is but I thought I did pretty well. Haven't scored below 60 (one word per second) in all my tries so far. Here's my current best result:

84 words

Typing Test

Not bad. I know someone whose best score is 89 and I know someone else whose best score is 75. So I guess all in all I'm not bad (I used to think I was a lot slower than I apparently am). I'm not quite addicted to it yet but I do find it quite fun to try out every now and then.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Elliott Yamin's new single: "Fight for love"

Two years after he released his self-titled debut album, Elliott Yamin releases his new single, "Fight for Love". Woo-hoo!!!

The single was released in the US around Valentine's Day (I think it premiered on AOL on Feb 13). I've heard that it wasn't supposed to be released yet but the song somehow leaked. But in the end it kinda made sense coz it's a romantic song and a coming-out party on the Valentine's day is quite appropriate. You can listen to the full song in the Croshal Entertainment Group website.

"Fight for Love" is a really catchy song and the first time I heard it, I ended up listening to it over and over again (still do, actually LOL). Not only is the song very radio-friendly but it showcases Elliott's smooth vocals and soulful vibe. He seems to have increased his range as well as he hits a couple of really high notes that he didn't hit in his first album.

His new album is supposed to be released in the US on May 5th. The single hasn't been released in the Philippines yet, and no date has been set on international album release either. But considering his past success here, I hope it won't be long. Who knows, maybe he decides to make another trip to Manila soon to promote his new album.

Hopefully, the new album does just as well as the first one, if not better. Would be great if Elliott becomes a platinum recording artist.