Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Music List (Not Late!)

Here you go, and this year, I'm on time!

1 Zedd featuring Matthew Korma and Miriam Bryant Find You
2 Duke Dumont  I Got You
3 Birds of Tokyo Lanterns
4 Ed Sheeran I See Fire
5 Nonono Pumpin Blood
6 Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne Rather Be
7 Strange Talk Young Hearts 
8 Katy Perry Birthday (Cash Cash Remix)
9 Basic Vacation I Believe
10 Shift K3y Touch
11 Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud
12 The Royal Concept  Goldrushed
13 Cash Cash featuring Bebe Rexha Take Me Home
14 Coldplay Sky Full Of Stars
15 Kelly Clarkson Catch My Breath (Cash Cash Remix)
16 Gorgon City featuring Laura Welsh Here For You
17 Haim The Wire/If I Could Change Your Mind
18 Justin Timberlake Not A Bad Thing
19 Echosmith Cool Kids
20 Crystal Fighters You and I 
21 Mausi Move
22 Ella Henderson Ghost
23 Timeflies I Choose You
24 Go Wolf Voices
25 Clean Bandit Mozart's House
26 Bombay Bicycle Club Home By Now
27 Kiesza Hideaway
28 Maroon 5 Maps 
29 Walk The Moon Shut Up and Dance
30 Mausi My Friend Has A Swimming Pool
31 Timeflies All The Way
32 Route 94 featuring Jess Glynne My Love
33 Sam Smith Stay With Me
34 Audien featuring Michael S Leaving You
35 Chloe Howl Paper Heart
36 Fitz and the Tantrums The Walker
37 Sons Et Al Day By Day
38 Alex Metric featuring Stefan Storm Heart Weighs A Ton
39 Charli XCX Boom Clap
40 Tokyo Police Club Hot Tonight
41 Sam Smith Money On My Mind
42 Mr Probz Waves (Robin Schulz remix)
43 Milky Chance Stolen Dance
44 Ariana Grande featuring Zedd Break Free
45 Rita Ora I Will Never Let You Down
46 Twin Atlantic Hold On
47 Katy Perry This Is How We Do
48 Bear Hands Giants
49 Damien Rice I Don't Want To Change You
50 New Politics Harlem
51 Gorgon City featuring MNEK Ready For Your Love
52 Nick Mulvey Nitrous
53 Lights Up We Go/Meteorites
54 John Mayer featuring Katy Perry Who You Love
55 Crystal Fighters Love Natural
56 Phantogram Fall In Love
57 Alesso featuring Tove Lo Heroes
58 Thumpers Unkinder
59 Subfocus Tidal Wave/Turn It Around
60 Cash Cash featuring Johnny Rzeznik Lightning
Saturday, December 06, 2014

The 2013 Music List, A Year Late

Just to close out last year's list, and before I start the one for 2014...

1 Zedd featuring Foxes Clarity
2 Foals My Number
3 The 1975 Chocolate
4 Foals Late Night
5 Sammy Adams All Night Longer
6 One Republic Catching Stars
7 Haim Forever
8 All Star Weekend Not Your Birthday
9 The 1975 Robbers
10 Matisyahu Sunshine
11 The Royal Concept On Our Way
12 Justin Bieber featuring Nicki Minaj Beauty and a Beat
13 Cody Simpson featuring Becky G Wish U Were Here
14 One Republic Burning Bridges
15 Ellie Goulding Burn
16 Macklemore & Lewis featuring Mary Lambert Same Love
17 Sammy Adams featuring Mike Posner LA Story
18 Tom Odell Hold Me
19 Arctic Monkeys One For The Road
20 The Naked and Famous Hearts Like Ours

Monday, December 16, 2013

The 2013 Music List Part 2

A big fan of Disclosure. Nice to see that they've morphed drum and bass and expanded it to cater to wider audience. Helping them out in this track is the sultry Aluna from AlunaGeorge.

Here are songs from 21 to 40:

21 The 1975 Girls
22 Foals Bad Habit
23 Zedd featuring Hayley Williams Stay The Night
24 Disclosure featuring Ed McFarlane Defeated No More
25 Grouplove Ways To Go
27 Arctic Monkeys Why Do You Only Call Me When You're High
28 Enrique Iglesias featuring Sammy Adams Finally Found You
29 Disclosure featuring Alunageorge White Noise
30 Foals Out Of The Woods
31 Sammy Adams Big Lights
32 Bastille Pompeii
33 Matisyahu Live Like A Warrior
34 The XX Fiction
35 Atlas Genius Trojans
36 Capital Cities Safe and Sound
37 The 1975 Heart Out
38 Tom Odell Can't Pretend
39 Classified featuring David Myles Inner Ninja
40 Zedd featuring Ryan Tedder Lost At Sea

Yup there's a list on Facebook, but Im keeping one here too. I'll sneak in a couple of not so famous tracks, then publish the whole list in entirety.

#60 Jessie Ware featuring A$AP Rocky - Wildest Moments

So far, this is what we have:

41 One Republic If I Lose Myself
42 Alunageorge Your Drums, Your Love
43 Alt-J Tessellate
44 Arctic Monkeys R U Mine
45 Rhye Open
46 The XX Sunset
47 Avicii vs Nicki Romero  I Could Be The One
48 Daft Punk featuring Pharell Williams Get Lucky
49 Jessie Ware Imagine It Was Us
50 Ellie Goulding I Know You Care
51 Tom Odell Another Love
52 All Star Weekend Dance Forever
53 Icona Pop featuring Charli XCX I Love It
54 Avicii You Make Me
55 Martin Solveig Hey Now
56 Pink Blow Me (One Last Kiss)
57 Empire of the Sun Alive
58 Disclosure featuring Sam Smith When A Fire Starts To Burn
59 One Direction Best Song Ever 
60 Jessie Ware featuring A$AP Rocky Wildest Moments
61 Ra Ra Riot Dance With Me
62 Vampire Weekend Everlasting Arms
63 Ellie Goulding Goodness Gracious
64 Biffy Clyro Black Chandelier
65 Taylor Swift featuring Ed Sheeran Everything Has Changed
66 The Naked and Famous I Kill Giants
67 CHVRCHES The Mother We Share
68 Kodaline High Hopes
69 Frightened Rabbit The Woodpile
70 Arcade Fire Reflektor
Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The Rest of 2011's Music List

1. Nicki Minaj/The Downtown Fiction - Super Bass
2. Cut Copy - Saturdays 2011
3. Sara Bareilles - Uncharted
4. Ra Ra Riot - Boy
5. Friendly Fires - Blue Cassette
6. The Naked And Famous - Young Blood
7. The Script - Nothing
8. Martin Solveig - Hello
9. Birds Of Tokyo - Plans
10. Sara Bareilles - Breathe Again

11. Linkin Park - Iridescent
12. Adele - Someone Like You
13. Yellowcard - Hang You Up
14. Coldplay - Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall
15. Ra Ra Riot - Too Dramatic
16. Panic At The Disco - Ready To Go
17. Foster The People - Pumped Up Kicks
18. Mumford and Sons - White Blank Page
19. Avicii - Levels
20. Jay Sean featuring Nicki Minaj - 2012

21. Jessie J - Domino
22. Foster The People - Helena Beat
23. Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera - Moves Like Jagger
24. Taken By Cars - Unidentified
25. Pink - Raise Your Glass
I think I've posted a lot of music lists here that it's quite difficult to flush them down the drain. And it's time for the list of 2013...when I haven't really finished the list for 2011! Well, what can I say, post-grad school happened :)
Monday, December 12, 2011

My 2011 Music List

I still think I missed out on a lot of bands this year, as the 2011 list looks more pop than usual.

This is the first half of the list, and the Top 25 songs I will reveal slowly, before the year ends :)

26 One Republic Good Life
27 Atomic Tom Take Me Out
28 Kings of Leon Radioactive
29 Nicki Minaj featuring Drake Moment for Life
30 Alphabeat DJ (I Could Be Dancing)
31 Sara Bareilles Hold My Heart
32 Crystal Castles featuring Robert Smith Not In Love
33 Cut Copy Take Me Over
34 The Wombats Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)
35 Rihanna and Calvin Harris We Found Love
36 The Script Science and Faith
37 The Naked And Famous Punching In A Dream
38 The Wombats Anti-D
39 Frankmusik featuring Far East Movement Do It In The AM
40 Gotye featuring Kimbra Somebody That I Used To Know
41 Selena Gomez Who Says
42 Kesha We R Who We R
43 The Downtown Fiction Thanks For Nothing
44 Calvin Harris Feel So Close
45 The Wombats Jump Into The Fog/1996
46 Tim Berg featuring Amanda Wilson Seek Bromance
47 Arcade Fire Ready To Start
48 Cut Copy Need You Now
49 Enrique Iglesias and Nicole Scherzinger Heartbeat
50 Martin Solveig The Night Out
Thursday, November 24, 2011

A new blog!

Yes, I have a new blog - Two Vacations A Year dedicated solely to travel. I haven't posted much here, as I have been quite the busy person lately. Shouldn't be calling it lately as I'm halfway through my postgrad program, but meh.

Soooo....I'll still be keeping this blog, though I foresee that this will only hold the year-end music countdowns (something I've kept (though not in blog form) since the late 90s). Which reminds me, that should be in a month's time.

See you guys at TVAY, it's a listing of pocket itineraries for the business traveler, or for that has no time and would like to modularise his/her trips.
Friday, March 04, 2011

China and Japan, Heads Up!

Similar to what I did in 2007, I'm running a poll where you decide where I will be heading for a vacation. I've already booked Korea this year, plus pending trips to Indonesia, India, and wherever our team meeting will be in Europe. I'm no longer counting Singapore, Malaysia since I never do anything there anyway.

So. The last poll ended with Brisbane winning over Hobart (Queensland vs Tasmania). This time, the poll is China vs Japan. My friend's miles are expiring, and I'd like to use it. I've been to both, spending almost a month in each in total.

Option 1: Japan in January 2012.

The thing with Japan, is I spent almost a month there during Hanami and generally did the major highlights. However, since it's my favourite country to visit, why not do it all over again. The planned itinerary is:

Kyoto for 2 days (no shortage of temples to visit there), skiing, and a visit to Ghibli Museum (missed it the last time). Sapporo up north or Hiroshima down south is an excursion option.

The crowds in Tokyo is a sight in itself

Option2: China sometime in 2011.

Xian has always been on my list, pity that I didn't have the time during my last visit. So, time to work on that. Though the terracotta army is not really on my list of things to see, I might as well.

My itinerary will be a short Beijing-Xian-Chengde.

Traditional temples contend for architectural attention in Beijing

So, what will it be? Vote away at the top left of this blog - I need to decide by 20th March as the miles are expiring!
Monday, January 24, 2011

AO 2011: Quarterfinals

Well looky here, a little chance to blog on how awesome the first Grand Slam of the year is. I can't believe that it's been 3 years already since I got to wander around Melbourne Park, and the landscape (of players) has changed immensely.

Just in case you haven't noticed. The ladies have been stealing the show all week in Melbourne: From Caroline's interview candor, Fran & Svetlana's epic match, Kim's dominance, and even Andrea's little jig. What Serena, you weren't there? I think we already forgot.

Men's QF
Nadal vs Ferrer
Dolgopolov vs Murray
Berdych vs Djokovic
Wawrinka vs Federer

Really nothing to worry for Nadal's SF spot, until he runs into Murray. That should be an interesting Friday match, too bad I'll miss it! Murray is in fine form, with no troubles winning a set, and so has been Nadal. We'll see how that goes.

I'll also miss out on the Federer-Djokovic showdown (no thank you night classes!). Hope Federer wins, but rooting for Djokovic. I want a new winner to Aussie Open 2011, but wins by the top 3 players are also welcome.

Women's QF
Caroline vs Francesca
Na vs Andrea
Agnieszka vs Kim
Petra vs Vera

At least by this time, we already know that a new Queen in Melbourne will be crowned Saturday. It would be a vindicating one for Caroline, a long-overdue one for Kim, a geographically-appropriate (and political statement) one for Na, and a surprise for the rest. My guess is a Na-Kim for the most Korean-sounding final in Melbourne.
The CS Manila Edition!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The 2010 Music List

Yeah, well so I haven't been blogging; but I'm not letting such a tradition be broken. Here's a rundown of the most played songs on my player for 2010, and the rest will be tweeted starting tomorrow. Hope your music list was as awesome as the year that has gone by.

21 Stornoway - Zorbing
22 Kesha featuring 3OH!3 - Blah Blah Blah
23 Justin Bieber and Sean Kingston - Eenie Meenie
24 The Drums - Let's Go Surfing
25 The Script - For The First Time
26 Kesha - Your Love Is My Drug
27 Neon Trees - Animal
29 Mike Posner - Cooler Than Me
30 Flo Rida and David Guetta - Club Can't Handle Me
31 Matisyahu - One Day
32 Alpha Rev - New Morning
33 Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg - California Gurls
34 Owl City - Vanilla Twilight
35 30 Seconds to Mars - Closer to the Edge
36 Toni Braxton featuring Sean Paul - Looking At Me
37 OneRepublic - Marching On
38 The Hoosiers - Choices
39 Timbaland featuring Katy Perry - If We Ever Meet Again
40 Forever The Sickest Kids - What Do You Want From Me
41 The Radio Dept - Heaven's On Fire
42 Taio Cruz featuring Ludacris - Break Your Heart
43 Ellie Goulding - Under the Sheets
44 The Avett Brothers - Kick Drum Heart
45 Kesha - Tik Tok
46 Daft Punk - Derezzed
47 John Legend featuring The Roots - Wake Up
48 Jay Sean featuring Sean Paul - Do You Remember
49 Shout Out Louds - Fall Hard
50 Delphic - Doubt
51 Disco Biscuits - On Time
52 Professor Green - Need You Tonight
53 The Futureheads - Heartbeat Song
54 Minus The Bear - Summer Angel
55 The Courteeners - Take Over The World
56 LCD Soundsystem - Can Change/Home
57 Stars - Fixed/Dead Hearts
58 Cee Lo Green - Forget (F^##) You
59 Minus The Bear - My Time
60 John Mayer - Heartbreak Warfare
Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Repost a Report

Ive posted one before, so this is an update - the plan is to be A by next year at the latest. I think I'm close.

My Lakbayan grade is B+!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar. my favorite director. Wait - let me just clear the cobwebs from this blog. There.

Yep, I'm alive. I've got several excuses (travel, work, no internet, zombie invasion, you know the drill), but none of it matters now. I've seen the deliriously good Inception by Christopher Nolan, and it is now confirmed: He is my favorite movie director.

As previously tweeted, Inception is the movie to see this summer: an arresting panorama of visuals, a sensational ensemble (always a gathering of acting heavyweights), but the core of it? A mind-blowing script. Franchise here, reboot there, a trilogy's about time someone came up with a devastatingly novel idea.

The idea of Inception is relatively complex, but you'd be surprised on how straightforward the stroytelling is. Then again, halfway through the movie, you realise that you're not there just to watch the film, you're there to admire it. It's like an elegantly dancing Rubik's cube or an infinitely changing Mandelbrot (forgive the nerd in me). However way you splice it, Inception is just intellectually gorgeous, in structure, in delivery, and in conception.

And if you look at Nolan's resume, his movies aren't too far off in formula: The reverse storyline coupled with short-term memory loss in Memento, one-upmanship and the (for lack of a better word) prestige in The Prestige, and the beautifully organised chaos in The Joker's mind in The Dark Knight. Where M Night has grabbed our attention in The Sixth Sense yet failed to deliver in consistency, Nolan has soared and kept on improving his craft.

Oh here's something not so original - remember that hotel fight scene with JGL? Though it's a definite shoo-in for MTV's Best Fight Award, I've seen it before. It's about time someone use this idea from 12 years ago!

Best Fight!

Yup, that's Justin Timberlake and the gang in Bye Bye Bye c.1998!
Oooh, long time. I don't even remember doing this for the Australian Open. I didn't even have enough time to write about that Japan trip, back-to-back summer shenanigans, but tennis. Yes, you, you've been nice to me, so time to pay back.

Women's Quarterfinals

Serena vs Sam
It's easy to go with Serena, here, but were talking clay. Apart from the fact that Slammin Sammy held her nerve to take out Henin in three sets. If this turns out to be a serving duel like what happened in Melbourne in January, this is a Serena show. I'm counting on the clay to boost Sam's chances, so I'll give it 3 sets, for an upset.

Yaroslava vs Jelena
Roland Garros is usually a good platform for surprise quarterfinalists, but hopefully this only becomes as a springboard for Shvedova. It was a convincing with for Jankovic over Hantuchova, and I really hope she pulls herself together, because to be honest, she is a contender for this title, apart from the fact that this may be the surface where she has the best chance to do so. Straight sets for the Serbian golden retriever (I'm talking about her game).

Francesca vs Caroline
While Caroline is a solid baseliner and can probably has more in the tank to propel herself to the semis, I'm a bit wary of the Italian veteran. She's got the skills, the guile, and the physique to see her through. 3 sets for Francesca?

Elena vs Nadia
A battle of veterans, is most likely going to be a battle of headcases as well. Rooting for Nadia, she's been doing well at the slams, but she defeated Venus with much conviction at the previous round. Having said that, a SF for Elena (or a probable final) isn't as bad as well. I'll go straight sets for Petrova.

Semis and Final
Long shot but hey, Jelena over Petrova in the final.

GS final. Headcase no more!

Maiden slam? Hopefully so. I hope she fixed her serve just in time.


Men's Quarterfinals

Federer vs Soderling
Tricky call this one. Apart from Federer and Nadal, no one has looked more daunting than Soderling. He's out to prove that his historical upset last year was no fluke, so, and he attempts to score another monumental upset this year. I would think that pity Sod, he could actually go deeper in the draw, but not with Federer polishiong his 14 straight win over the Swede.

Youzhny vs Berdych
Finally, a good GS showing for the tall Czech! It's been a genial claycourt season for him, but as always, it's been a mixed bag of results for him. Which provides no help in calling out this match. But this should be a good 5-set duel on Lenglen.

Melzer vs Djokovic
Again, Djokovic has been considered the sleeper hit in Paris. While the Roger-Rafa rivalry has been reignited, Nole has been quietly living up to his seeding, and nothing more. The draw gods have opened up his quuarter fairly well, and that should boost his chances if he wants to get past Nadal in the succeeding round. Good serving, and even better scrambling from the Serb should earn him a 3-set pass to the semis.

Almagro vs Nadal
Last time this happened, I thought it was going to be a good match. Almagro went home with three breadsticks that day. With the way Nadal has been dominating the red dirt all over Europe, don't expect anything to change this time around.

Semis and Final
This will mark Roger's 2819th straight GS final. Yes, we know. However, look at that mouthwatering Semis between Nole and Rafa. Friday night lights showdown! I'll catch that after class, and better be a good one.

Suunday, will be a rematch of 2008, but don't expect the result of 2009. It would be nice for Roger to claim (and retain) the Coupe de Mousquetaires at the expense of Nadal, but most unlikely. Sure hope I'm wrong (I love vendettas), but Nadal is king on clay, and with those knees running full steam ahead, there's no stopping the Spanish juggernaut for his 5th crown.

Not this year..Wimbledon next?

King once again
This May. See you!

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Japan Soundtrack

First things first, as usual, most trips have the sights, smells and feel; and it's always up to me to provide the sounds. This year's vacation is has been aurally brought to you by the BBC Sound of 2010 (see previous article below) plus some old goodies.

Recommended tracks for your summer listening pleasure:
1. Let's Go Surfing, Saddest Summer, and I Felt Stupid by The Drums.
2. I'll Hold My Breath, Under The Sheets, and Your Biggest Mistake by Ellie Goulding
3. Fireflies, Hot Air Balloon, and Vanilla Twilight by Owl City (just saw the concert before I left - an excellent way to spend a warm summer evening)
4. Giving Up The Gun, Run, Cousins by Vampire Weekend
5. Mountains, Bubbles and Many of Horror by Biffy Clyro
6. Remain, Doubt and Red Lights by Delphic
7. And I played pop hits from Jay-Z/ Alicia Keys, 5ive, Lady Gaga (featuring Marilyn Manson! Who knew that a collaboration might actually exist!), and Dominos by The Big Pink.

So that completes my summer soundtrack for 2010. As a parting shot, here's the happiest tune of them all for this year. To the basement people, so many surprises await you!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Where Have The Days Gone?!

Crap - I may be travelling a bit too much for my own good. I ended with Paris, and forgot about the rest. Anyway, I'll just put it down as a summary: Belgium was nice, quick and lovely, but I still don't know what's the deal with the Manneken Pis. Though I miss those waffles though.

Then I went to the Netherlands. Delft is a great city! And Amsterdam had the prettiest girls in all of Europe - and that's not even counting the ones by the windows. Suffice to say, my most enjoyed moment was Amsterdam, and couldn't wipe that smile off my face for two straight days. Good thing I don't have to blog about it, it may not be print worthy, wink wink.

So...why have things been quiet the past month? Japan, baby! On the next update though.
Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ahhhh, Paris.

Yes, Paris aka the City of Lights, but more popularly known as the City of Love is over rated. When you're there, it's feels "just all right", but perhaps it's me expecting to be overwhelmed by grandeur and culture.

Barren Tuileries in autumn still looks lovely.

Maybe I guess I was spoiled being incognito in Asia, deadpanned in London, but I was harrased the moment I got out of Gare du Nord. I was still adjusting my bearings when someonone tried to sell me Metro tickets, even if I insisted on getting them from the booth. Moreover, I got caught between the Metro gates (totally my fault). Good thing my friend Marc lived near a Metro station, I didn't have to walk too much with my luggage. Running across St. Pancras and back with 40kg of luggage is not to be repeated again.

Montmartre, seen from Centre Georges Pompidou

But having said that, it cannot be denied that Paris is gorgeous. Eiffel Tower is inspiring, both up close and at a distance, the subways are filled with performers and streets are littered with art. The photos are amazing, if I do say so myself, and it's definitely an experience to spend a week in Paris. So scratch that first paragraph I wrote.

Arc de Triomphe, the largest roudnabout in the world!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Halloween Pub Crawl

So, where was I? Before getting interrupted by Aussie Open and holiday season, I was talking about how awesome London was. On top of the freebie museums, I happened to be there on Halloween, where people took it seriously. Plenty of Joker (Heath Ledger version 2008) and zombie wannabes, so I joined in the fun with some fake blood.

On top of celebrating Halloween, we did it Pub Crawl Style! No better way to enjoy 31 Oct than this; wait, we were the 2nd most fun activity that night in all of London, next to Halloween Costume Pub Crawl in Roller Blades, which I saw on the way to the pub.

So, nothing wrong with runner-up, but before I sound like one of those paid up PR schmaltz on the newspapers, I'll just post some photos instead.

Deric! Too bad the photos died on your camera, mine sucks!

So there I was...


She asked me what I thought her costume was. I said Liza Minelli. Look at my photo above, that's not fake blood; her costume was supposed to be a barfly.

There's the leader of the band all dressed up in his monkey costume, right beside Mr. Vorhees.
Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's A Hot Day In Melbourne!

I remember a ritual involving writing predictions for every tennis Grand Slam. But my, 2010 is shaping to be quite a busy year, and we're just in the first 20 days of it. Missed out on the prediction from the get go, but here's what I got right: breakthroughs for Vika, Marin and Jie; and what I did not get right: Kim's demolition, and Sharapova's flameout. Plus, Dementieva's spirited loss against Henin. It's shaping to be an excellent tourney yet again in Australia, so let's get the predictions on.

Federer vs Davydenko
I've never rooted for Davydenko, and I would've cheered for him (tout him as a favorite, even). Tough part of the draw as he meets Federer as early as the QF; this could've been a final, IMO.

While Davydenko showed chinks in his armor, Federer upped his game against Hewitt. Sure does pay to know each other's game very well. Same fate lies for Davydenko, but expect a fight. Four sets for Federer.

Djokovic vs Tsonga
Has anyone noticed that no one has noticed Djokovic? He's one of 3 ex-champs here in Melbourne, but all eyes have been on the comeback ladies and the question marks on Nadal (fitness) and Murray (when is that slam coming?). Nole takes on a rematch of his 2008 win against Tsonga, who looked demoralised fending off streaky Almagro in the previous round. A tired Tsonga will bounce his way out of the tournament thanks to a fine straight set win from Djokovic.

Roddick vs Cilic
If I'm going to call an upset, this would be it. While the tall lanky Croat stringed a mature win over US Open champ JMDP, Marin's method was still shaky and unconvincing at some points. Roddick's style has gone from one-sided to consistently explosive, and using maturity now as an added weapon.

Both players won their warmup tourneys in Brissy and Chennai, and someone will end his streak here. I call Marin to step up tp the plate, and defeat Roddick by out-acing and out-pacing him. Roddick, now faster than ever will catch up with some of them, but expect those backhand returns to be dealt with pain. Another 5 setter in the works.

Murray vs Nadal

This round's marquee match. A blazing Nadal will square off a bulked-up (yet again) Murray. Will Murray choke (Hopman Cup anyone), or have a repeat of his run to the final? Speed-wise, it's a pretty even match, but for power, the advantage belongs to the Spaniard. I would like to vote Nadal here in 4, but why do I get this sinking feeling that this'll end in straight sets for Andy?

Semis and Final
Federer. Djokovic. Grand Slam semifinal. Didn't we see this before? Yawn. Murray-Cilic? Well that's new. And so is this: Novak will make the finals, and so will Murray. Only because I've been waiting for this matchup for quite a while now. Maiden slam for Murray? Nah, Australia's not really his strongest suit.




Serena vs Vika
This should be an explosive match. Serena is playing untouchable tennis, serving impeccably and demolishingly precise. Vika is a true firecracker, clawing her way out of a big hole to make it to the quarters.

We'll see a lot of rallies here, and a side to side wiping of both players. If Azarenka can manage to get past the Serena serve, she'll have a chance (like she did last year, before retiring due to food poisoning). However, from Serena form of late, everyone is just scrambling for that runner-up plate. I say straight sets. If Vika gets past Serena, then it's Azarenka FTW.

Na vs Venus
Venus could've tumbled earlier, but she didn't. Must be the wisdom of maturity that's anchoring her fantastic run in Oz. She never tends to do well here, but I'll give her a shot at the all-Williams clash by getting past China's Na in 3 tight sets.

Justine vs Nadia
With so many people to choose from this quarter, did we really end up with this match up? Drat, should've put my money on Justine instead of Elena for my FL picks.
I'd love to see Nadia breakthrough here. Anyone who humiliates the the last GS winner by surrendering only 1 game, deserves some praise. Nadia also took our reigning RG winner Sveta in the previous round. I want to see how that hot streak fares against this Grand Slam episode's comeback queen Justine. I'll vote on the Nadia train for 2 sets; if goes to a third expect Henin to squeak out of that.

Jie vs Maria
Wow, who would've thought it. China represent! No ide where this one will go, but I'm hoping that Jie makes a second SF appearance in a Grandslam. Besides, it's the slam of the Asia-Pacific; nice to see two Chinese players out there.

Semis and Final
Serena. There's no denying that she's head and shoulders above the pile, and enjoying it. And oh, welcome back Justine. I smell a rivalry revived.

15 Slams for Roger? We'll see who's got more in a couple of years...

Welcome back!
Now that the rundown of 2009 is over, it's time to look ahead of what we should be looking forward to in 2010, music-wise. I'm a big fan of BBC's Sound Of... series, and judging from last year's list, it's quite obvious.

While the Sound of 2010 has stepped away from last year's electro-frenzy (Little Boots, Lady Gaga, Frankmusik), this year's mix is a bit more varied, though still with a bias for synth. You've heard about Two Door Cinema Club, and everyone has been rapt with Owl City, so let's proceed with artists that not a lot of people have heard of yet. From the long list of 15, here are my favorites.

1. Stornoway - This probably fits my kind of alternative. Clever lyrics, hints of folk, and a good ambient sound done live. They should - this ensemble features an ecologist, Russian lit specialist, and trumpets! Looking forward to see more of them this year.

2. Elie Goulding - Winner of the critics' list, radio-friendly and a continuation of the 2009 electro-princess trend.
3. The Drums - Summer soundtrack, get ready, it's the Beach Boys for Gen Z.
4. Delphic - This year's version of Temper Trap, or an updated New Order. Less cheery, and darker undertones, but definitely interesting still.

Look who's back, they're the follow up albums we might see this year:
1. LCD Soundsystem - A raving masterpiece that Sound of Silver was. The anthemic All My Friends needs an encore, so welcome back James Murphy.

2. Vampire Weekend - Contra has already been released, and their Africa-tinged melodies are filling the airwaves once more.

3. Justin Timberlake - You got to admit, that FutureSex/Lovesounds album was groundbreaking, and established that JT has talent. Let's see what other tricks he's got on his sleeve.
4. Gorillaz - It's been quite a while Damon Albarn. Blur reunion take up mnost of your time?
Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Best Tennis Matches Of The Aughts

This is Sports Illustrated's best matches of the past decade. I have been fortunate enough to see 8 of them, and I do agree that they were truly the crowning glory of the sport. A bit of American bias though, Ivanisevic's championship win over Rafter at Wimbledon 2001 should've been here.

1. 2008 Wimbledon men's final
Rafael Nadal def. Roger Federer, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7

Saw this in HK. There was strawberries and cream (thanks Mida!) for the duration of the whole match including rain delays. Phenomenal stuff, saw the crack of dawn to cap off the best match of all time. I probably won't be hearing a lot of disagreements with this one.

2. 2001 U.S. Open men's quarterfinals Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi, 6-7(7), 7-6(2), 7-6(2), 7-6(5)

Four tiebreaks, and two legends battling it out. A carryover of the 90's, this was to usher in the new age of tennis.

3. 2005 Australian Open men's semifinals
Marat Safin def. Roger Federer, 5-7, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(6), 9-7

I remember being in a party in BKK, and skipping out to watch this. Further proof that Safin is next to Federer as best natural ball striker out there. During Federer's prime, where no one could come close to his dominance, only one man stood out to steal a hardcourt major from him, the mercurial Marat Safin.

4. 2005 Wimbledon women's final
Venus Williams def. Lindsay Davenport, 4-6, 7-6(4), 9-7

Most heartbreaking match on the list. A spectacular 25-shot rally drained the life out of Lindsay costing her the match.

5. 2009 Wimbledon men's final
Roger Federer def. Andy Roddick, 5-7, 7-6(6), 7-6(5), 3-6, 16-14

Almost, almost. By 12-all in the fifth, I was saying 'ridiculous, shades of Aussie 03 again, Andy?". Wimbledon, though not as fan-friendly, never fails to disappoint turning out with the best matches.

6. 2002 Australian Open women's final
Jennifer Capriati def. Martina Hingis, 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-2

The match that transformed me from casual viewer to all-out addict. This will be the last time Hingis will contest a Grand Slam championship. I miss you Martina!

7. 2004 French Open men's first round
Fabrice Santoro def. Arnaud Clement, 6-4, 6-3, 6-7 (7-5), 3-6, 16-14

No, I didn't see this, though I probably did see clips of it, since it went on for more than 6 hours and over 2 days.

8. 2006 Rome Masters men's final
Rafael Nadal def. Roger Federer, 6-7(0), 7-6(5), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5)

No, I don't remember this, but I know I saw it. I wonder why.

9. 2003 U.S. Open women's semifinals
Justine Henin-Hardenne def. Jennifer Capriati, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(4)

The match the gave Hawkeye the critical mass to be implemented. JHH was gone by the end of the match, but still able to recompose herself and win the whole thing.

10. 2005 Tennis Masters Cup final
David Nalbandian def. Roger Federer, 6-7(4), 6-7(11), 6-2, 6-1, 7-6(3)

Ha, I was at this event! Yey. Though I did not see the final itself as I was in transit, at least I was able to attend most of the tennis.

See the match highlights compiled here.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Best Music List of 2009 Part 2

The Top Ten

As previously mentioned, it's an almost all-British affair for the top 10, save for a new act from Melbourne. This list is updated once per day until 2010 comes in.


10. Athlete - Superhuman Touch
Athlete leaves behind its melancholy wares and trades it in for a little playful synthesizer. Their 4th studio album, Black Swan Song, interestingly improves on their already rich discography.

9. Snow Patrol - Set Down Your Glass
and I'm shaken, and I'm still
when your eyes meet mine, I lose simple skills

Not an official single per se, but there is something calming, yet disarming about this song. I hope nobody steals this song for his/her wedding, I'm saving this one for mine.

8. Stars - 14 Forever
10000 drunken kids on field can't be wrong
the song must've been beautiful or they wouldn't sing along

This one played to my nostalgia of youth and one thing I missed out on: music festivals. Take me to Coachella, Glastonbury, Burning Man! Wish I had done that when I was young though, and as the song says, this song is indeed beautiful.

7. Coldplay - Lovers In Japan
This year's most spirited song; totally soaring Coldplay and salvaging an otherwise forgettable album. Brilliant seen live, with paper butterflies.

6. Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition
To be honest, the placement of the song in the movie didn't help, but they were fantastic taken independently. Best soundtrack of the year, and this is it's crown offering.

5. Frankmusik - Better Off As 2
This year's most deserving new artist, and one of the most played in my walkman. This song tells all the electro-pop ladies that men can sing-dance-remix this genre too.

4. Frankmusik - 3 Little Words
A little Tom Hanks tribute in the video, a little ode to A-Ha in the music, and whole lot of 80s lighted the major music trend of 2009. Check out the debut album - it comes in 3 flavors: orginal, remix and acoustic.

3. Johnny Foreigner - Salt, Peppa and Spinderella
Rockout/headbang song of the year. Starts quiet, finishes with a bang. Remember being all heady for a night out in town? This is the anthem to start your night right.

2. Snow Patrol - Crack The Shutters
The powerful yet comforting voice from Snow Patrol is complemented by their awesome songwriting skills. Here, they paint a heartwarming picture of being in bed, waking up beside the one you love.

1. Friendly Fires - Skeleton Boy
A gooey beat, a strange electro-shoegaze feel, and an kickass performance seen at Battersea Power Station. Most played and most loved song of the year indeed!
Monday, December 28, 2009

Best Music List of 2009 Part 1

This year has been one of the strongest years in music by a considerable margin. 2009's crop was definitely littered with powerful performances with the following highlights: strong 80s revival, neon techno, and a lot of emphasis on indie and well crafted lyrics.

Something in it for everyone, whether it's reliable Athlete or Jack's Mannequin, or emo favorites Dashboard Confessional, pop favorites Katy Perry (heck there's even Lady Gaga on this list!), I'm sure you're going to love this rundown.

Top ten recap to be released tomorrow, and let it be known, that no US artist made it to elite status.


11 Asher Roth - I Love College
12 Cobra Starship featuring Leighton Meester - Good Girls Go Bad
13 Black Eyed Peas - I Got A Feeling
14 Owl City - The Saltwater Room
15 Florence And The Machine - Dog Days Are Over
16 Kids In Glass Houses - Easy Tiger
17 Alphabeat - Fascination
18 Passion Pit - Little Secrets
19 Red Light Company - Arts And Crafts
20 Calvin Harris - I'm Not Alone
21 The Limousines - Very Busy People
22 Anberlin - Retrace
23 Jack's Mannequin - The Resolution
24 Hockey - Song Away
25 Pez - The Festival Song
26 Dashboard Confessional - Belle Of The Boulevard
27 Empire Of The Sun - Walking On A Dream
28 Phoenix - 1901
29 Just Jack - The Day I Died
30 Ladyhawke - Back Of The Van
31 La Roux - Bulletproof
32 Matt Nathanson - Come On Get Higher
33 Kids In Glass Houses - Give Me What I Want
34 Jack's Mannequin - Spinning
35 Passion Pit - Sleepyhead
36 FM Static - Take Me As I Am
37 Katy Perry - Waking Up In Vegas
38 Sam Sparro - 21st Century Life
39 Phoenix - Lisztomania
40 James Morrison - Please Don't Stop The Rain
41 The Raveonettes - Last Dance
42 All American Rejects - I Wanna
43 Little Boots - Remedy
44 Army Navy - Silvery Sleds
45 Paramore - I Caught Myself
46 The Fray - Never Say Never
47 We Are Scientists - After Hours
48 Athlete - Rubik's Cube
49 Train - Hey Soul Sister
50 Friendly Fires - Relationships
51 Lady Gaga - Just Dance
52 Shakira - She Wolf
53 Empire Of The Sun - Half Mast
54 The Virgins - Rich Girls/Teen Lovers
55 Imogen Heap - First Train Home
56 Howie Day - Be There
57 Arctic Monkeys - Crying Lightning
58 Jesse McCartney featuring Ludacris - How Do You Sleep
59 Yeah Yeah Yeah - Zero
60 Two Door Cinema Club - Something Good Can Work
Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Holy Grail Of Tennis

Yup, after a long rainy day, frustrating train rides (the London undergound has routine maintenance service on the weekends, upgrading their facilities in time for 2012 - the Olympics, not the end of the world), I made it to SW19. In more simple terms, I finally got my arse over to Wimbledon.

Warning - Wimbledon is some 30+ minutes southwest of central London, and do not get off the Wimbledon stations. You hop off Southfields, and take a long-ish walk to The All England Lawn Tennis Club. It's a bit of a walk, and you can only imagine how massive the queues here during competition week.

That's Sharapova right there

The visit was a short one, as I spent the morning coasting around rainy London, and daylight was definitely fading. AELTC upped their tennis museum, showing the winners' trophies and the apparel worn during the tournaments. There's not a lot on offer with the museum, but there's a 200-degree theatre showcasing the science of tennis (Sharapova is athlete specimen), a 3d rendition of McEnroe, and video highlights from the singles finals from the last 30 years or so, with matching Rolex-style display boards.

To cap that little trip, here's a not so awesome view of Centre Court, with the roof.

too dark

well at least there was still enough light for this photo
Friday, December 04, 2009

The British Museum

My first reaction upon entering the British Museum was: Aha, Norman Foster! In reference to the brocaded circular roof radiating from the center court of the museum.

Norman Foster giving ancient civilisation a modern home

The second? "Ah, no wonder Egypt and Greece are so mad at the British Museum" The exhibits on displays were massive - as big as houses, and makes me wonder on how the transported and installed them. Starting off from walls and walls of Assyrian statues (got to love the beard), the gigantic bust of Ramesses, the Parthenon marbles, and ruins from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.

That's one big horse!

This is my favorite museum so far - whilst antiquities and ancient civilisations are definitely not my strongest suit, this vast array on display is meant to wow any regular museum goer. Did I mention that this museum is free?

Lord Elgin's big marbles. If lost, return them to Greece!
Tuesday, December 01, 2009

London Museums

Everybody says it, London is expensive. However, people fail to highlight that most of London's museums are free. Bundle that with the abundance of parks (London is the greenest city on the planet - more space dedicated to parks and trees than anywhere else), you can fill in itinerary for three full days on the cheap.

Intense colours at St. James Park

Since my days were limited, I had to play my cards right and skip the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum as they were on the other side of town. Same fate went to Tate Gallery , as most of the sights I focused on were on the eastern bit.

A slapdash tour of The National Gallery on my last night in London was greeted by street performers, and the gallery I first entered hit the spot: Impressionism. At least half a day is needed to appreciate the masterpieces of Degas, Renoir, and Monet. There's a whole section for Titian, Italian Renaissance paintings, and other vast artworks in the massive building located on Trafalgar Square.

Steps leading to The National Gallery

I also managed to go into the Tate Modern, which houses the best collection of modern art I've seen so far. Beating out GOMA in Brisbane, Powerhouse in Sydney and Centre Pompidou in Paris (MOMA NYC, your fate will have to wait). Picasso, Lichtenstein, Mondrian are some of the work you'll find inside.

Last for this entry is the Westminster Abbey, which isn't technically a museum (duh, it's an abbey), but it's actually closer to a crypt. It's not free, but for 15 GBP, you get the tombs of English royalty while being assisted by Sir Jeremy Irons on the audio guide. Tombs of Elizabeth I sit side by side with her sister Mary I, and right across is her main rival, Mary Queen of Scots, her cousin. Also of note is the Poet's Corner, where tombs of Charles Dickens, Geofrrey Chaucer, Robert Browning, among others lay.

Westminster Abbey
Monday, November 30, 2009

Skipped The London Eye To Go To Work

After the wallet-rollercoaster ride incident, it's back to work for me. Work had kidnapped my boss into a meeting out of town, leaving me alone in the afternoon to write up my annual performance review.

Writing it should be easy (unlike to some folks who had to add a little sizzle in their steak, if you know what I mean), but with sweeping views from my desk like these, its very, very easy to be distracted.

With long queues at the London Eye, the choice was clear to stay in the office and ahem, work.

Believe it or not, that's lunch for me. Boo...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanks Moazzam!

-continued from previous post-

First things first - cancel the credit card. Firefighting mode done, let's look for
that wallet.

Called the airline, nothing. Called the airport, still nothing. Slight glimmer of hope, they said that it takes 24 hours for a clean sweep of their satellite offices, but to me, that's just prolonging the agony.

I called the Heathrow office 2 days later, and, by Jove, someone had registered my wallet as found! A certain Mr. Khawaja had left his phone number with the airport authorities, and said that he had my wallet. So I immediately called the number, had a good talk with Moazzam Khawaja, and agreed to meet him in one of the tube stations outside the city.

After verifying that it was indeed I trying to claim my wallet, he handed everything to me, without a single cent lost! He works at the airport running a private car service, and he picked up the wallet in the parking lot dedicated to private carhires, where I must have dropped it as I boarded my car ride.

Trying to keep a grown man from crying in one of the busy streets of West London, I had to switch gears and gave Moazzam my standard CS hospitality gift: a replica jeepney. He said thanks, and simply requested to pray for his family.

I would like to think that I had racked up good karma points while in CouchSurfing but to have something like this happen to me is wildly unimaginable. So much gratitude, much thanks to Moazzam, and most of my trip wouldn't have been such an awesome experience if it weren't for him.

There is much to celebrate - that in this day and age, little acts of kindness steers our faith back to the human side of humanity. I'm normally overwhelmed by kindness by the end of my trip, but to start a trip with such a rollercoaster experience, I was sure that the next three weeks would be beyond awesome.