Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Best Songs of 2006 Part I

Pity that I should have discovered blogging earlier, so I could have published (and preserved) my year-end music list. Nevertheless, here we are celebrating the most loved, most played, and most sung songs of this year.

Previous winners include Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind (1997), You Get What You Give by New Radicals (1998), Yellow by Coldplay (2001), Breathe by Michelle Branch (2003), Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard (2004) and last year, Hard-Fi took it for Hard to Beat. There are some lapses in between, and that's where this blog helps.

This is the first of two parts, and I'll only be featuring 40 songs. I have of course downloaded, purchased, and copied more than that, but these 40 songs have been the staple residents of my W800i. I truly hope that you enjoyed listening to these songs, and more importantly, I hope that these song has served in one way or another, as a mental bookmark for all the important things that happened this 2006.

21 Much Has Been Said - Bamboo
22 Half Light - Athlete
23 Too Little, Too Late - Jojo
24 Sexyback - Justin Timberlake
25 The Mixed Tape - Jack's Mannequin
26 Everything - Kaskade
27 Listen To Your Heart - DHT featuring Edmee
28 Boston - Augustana
29 All I Have - Snow Patrol
30 Wires - Athlete
31 Dirty Little Secret - All American Rejects
32 Feel The Vibe - Axwell
33 Get Together - Madonna
34 Watchin' - Freemasons featuring Ananda Wilson
35 Waiting On The World To Change - John Mayer
36 Faster Kill Pussycat - Paul Oakenfold featuring Brittany Murphy
37 Jump - Madonna
38 Nevermind - Texas
39 Believe Me - Fort Minor
40 Into The Sun - Chris Martin and Michael Stipe
Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

My neck hurts so bad, I can barely turn without wincing. Tsk! That's a very nice gift, don't you think? Anyhoo, hope your holidays turn out to be a blast!
Monday, December 18, 2006

You Are Time's Person Of The Year

Yes. You. And me too.

In a rapidly changing world of diversified individualism, there is no more appropriate person to take the stage and be the person of the year.
Proud to have made a significant contribution this year!
You've made the blogs, uploaded the videos, downloaded the songs. Now, more than ever, is the time for us, be ourselves, and share it to the world. And isn't that the spirit of being Person of the Year anyway?
Friday, December 08, 2006

The Best Songs of 2006

My choice, of course. I've listed down the top 30 or so songs, and do post your comments. You'd actually be surprised which ones would land in the Top 10. *wink*

7 Minutes In Heaven (Atavan Halen) by Fall Out Boy
All I Have by Snow Patrol
Believe Me by Fort Minor
Boston by Augustana
Catch Your Wave by Click Five
Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
Everything by Kaskade
Faster Kill Pussycat by Paul Oakenfold featuring Brittany Murphy
Forever Young by Youth Group
Get Together by Madonna
Half Light by Athlete
Hallelujah by Bamboo
Hands Open by Snow Patrol
How To Save A Life by The Fray
I'm Not Missing You by Stacie Orrico
In The Sun by Michael Stipe and Chris Martin
It Ends Tonight by All American Rejects
I've Got A Dark Alley…(Summer Song) by Fall Out Boy
Jump by Madonna
Listen To Your Heart by DHT featuring Edmee
Move Along by All American Rejects
Much Has Been Said by Bamboo
Open Your Eyes by Snow Patrol
Over My Head (Cable Car) by The Fray
Sexyback by Justin Timberlake
Song For A Friend by Jason Mraz
Statues by Low Millions
Stunt by Raindrops
Talk by Coldplay
The Mixed Tape by Jack's Mannequin
Thinking About You by Ivy
Too Little, Too Late by Jojo
Truth by Bamboo
Waiting On The World To Change by John Mayer
Watchin' by Freemasons featuring Ananda Wilson
Wires by Athlete
Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Go North!

Yes, I know it’s pretty embarrassing to trek the country with a Lonely Planet, and have foreigners tell you how to explore your own land, but it provides security in terms of having default accommodation. This was Horse-draw carriages are still much in use here...of most use to me when I went to the Ilocos Region and did the Vigan-Laoag trek.

Let me start with this – Laoag International Airport has officially dethroned Zamboanga as the nicest looking regional airport. Laoag’s terminal was made of red brick, with distinctive Ilocano furnishings, and even the control tower reminded me of lighthouses that surround the general area. A regional airport should give you a taste of things to come – it should give a flavor of how the area looks, feels, and all right, smells like. The Laoag terminal differentiates itself from the flock of nondescript, dingy terminals around the country. Too bad I don’t have a picture here.

I love Ilocos country – not too much nature-y things to do, but lots of architectural marvels that reflect our Spanish heritage. There are lots of churches, bell towers, and pretty government institutions. Vigan’s Historical Center was a revelation (even though I’ve already gone here before), in the sense that I’m more of an architectural-slash-historical traveler. But heck, with these gorgeous sites, you’ll immediately forget white sand beaches and a canopy of palm trees.

Lady, you're in my shot!On the way from Paoay (as the picture here proves) to the sand dunes in Laoag, my handy tricycle driver brought me here: Also known as “the middle of nowhere”, at least I was lucky to locate a nearby shoreline, a familiar house, and a dab of luxury called Fort Ilocandia. Hit the beach in pants, sneakers, then came out of the change room after 15 seconds in flip flops and board shorts – fastI got lost right here. enough to make Clark Kent in a phone booth look like a wimp. Again, no brownie points for forgetting to take pictures of the coastline.

So I landed over at a swish, rustic casino. Nice! The downside, my flight got delayed by 4 hours, and my early evening trip back home got converted into a red eye flight, thus missing a concert. But the stay at Ilocos region surely made up for it. Plus, I took home Vigan longganisa. Yummy.

Caballeros will greet you at Fort Ilocandia

The pictures are here: Ilocos and Palawan
Monday, December 04, 2006

A New Blog Again!

I got a new space over at , and it's going to hold all (okay, most) of the music featured on this blog. Moreover, it's going to keep my pictures (yehey!).

Yun muna, nakatingin sa akin ang boss ko e. Hehe.
Friday, November 24, 2006

My Travel Therapy

*also known as Ivy's In The Clear album review

The travel bug bit me (together with the karma police), so to ease my pain, I maximised my business trips and did a Lonely Planet trekking and just knocked myself out.

First pit stop was the lovely island of Palawan. It's my first time here, and I must say, Puerto Princesa is a fantastic city - the streets were immaculately clean, and should the mayor catch you littering, he would immediately alight from his vehicle and slap you himself.

A minty, wispy addition to your CD collectionA perfect match to the flight to Palawan (or soundtrack to boat rides) would be Ivy's 2005 release, In The Clear. They may not be mainstream, but they've been quite around sometime (check out their 1999 single Edge Of The Ocean, performed in the TV series Roswell). They can be pegged as a DSound prototype, sans the smoky-jazzy sound, replaced with an airy, citrus-y feel.

The hazy clouds dancing around velveteen mountains, is a dreamy visual, and the song Thinking About You enhances that. There is a certain sense from flight coming from the album, whether its a drifting sensation, or just the mere phrasing of the songs. Other songs that provide this undulating vibe include Nothing But The Sky, Ocean City Girl, and Feel So Free.

Lest I forget that this was meant primarily to be a travelogue, I'll just end with In The Clear is one of the best finds I've found this year. Ivy definitely outshines the other "not-so-known" artists I've adopted for my collection. Like a lemon-infused air mist, this CD will definitely refresh your ears in a surprising way.

To listen more on In The Clear, check out my new Multiply site. I've uploaded the mp3s there.


Sorry, I got carried away.

I didn't have much time to do all the Palawan-y things to do, so I was asked to choose: Will it be the nature-lover's Underground River, or the beachcomber's special, hopping islands at Honda Bay. Since I was advised that the quintessential Palawan experience would be the former, I decided to go spelunking instead. Besides, I left my sun block at home.

The road to Sabang was hideous, and Mr. Minnesota riding with me in the tour van couldn't stop himself from getting carsick and eventually hurling. After two and a half hours of traveling, we winded down the port of Sabang and took a boat to the Subterranean River National Park fifteen minutes away. The view of limestones were just amazing, and the cliffs were not to be seen anywhere else in the country.

Underground River entrance

Inside the caves were mostly bat droppings, but the mineral formations were a geological wonder to behold. Stalactites and what-have-you formed figures that represented The Nativity, various fruits and vegetables, lions, snakes, even crispy-fried bacon. There were narrow passages, winding curves, and ceilings varying from 3m to 600 meters tall. Sadly, my brother’s camera (which is much better than mine) couldn’t share the precious pictures taken, so this picture of the cave entrance will have to suffice.

We had lunch at the national park, where park keepers warned us of monitor lizards and wily monkeys stealing away your food. They were not wrong. All I have here is me braving (if you call it that) a monitor lizard, conspicuously in front of its name tag. What you’re not seeing here is me wrestling with a monkey for a fried chicken thigh. You will also not see me panting my lungs while going up the 2-hour jungle trail. My lower torso ached from the steep stairs – Mr Minnesota was worried that the wooden planks were made from sturdy teak, instead, I told him that it was actually antique. Suffice to say, he was not amused. Tsk!

Taunting reptiles at the nature park

There was a mini city tour after Sabang, and it included a drop to the Vietnamese Village. It’s really strange that the first house simply plays Viet music, but nothing else. Mostly everyone had migrated to the United States, and those that stayed were the ones denied a visa. Hmm.

A shrine at the Viet Village

There, you have to forgive me, these blog entries of mine are reallllllly long. Perhaps next time, I’ll provide a brief narrative.
Thursday, November 23, 2006

You Know It's Christmas When...

No, this will not be a hearwarming post, no fuzzy-warmness here.

You know it's christmas when crimes start going up. At the very onset of the "-ber" months, two of my friends got nabbed of their phones. Last week, my brother got mugged and shot, a mere 10 minutes away from our house. That is crap.

Just a note to everyone. Though it may be the perfect reason and time to be inebriated, party like dogs, and perhaps shop all night, there are a lot of people there planning to get their "Christmas Bonus" in a not-so-nice way. Just be careful.

ps. My brother is recovering in a hospital. And hopefully, will be out in two week's time.
Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Sony Ericsson Advert

Anybody seen the new Sony Ericsson Walkman Phone ad? The moment that they released the walkman phones, I knew I found the right gadget for me, and now that they released the heartwarming (at least for me) video, it further affirms their battlecry, I love music.

The video shows the following affirmations, along with images of people loving their music.

I love the rain.
I love my long commute.
I love the company.
I love it loud.
I love shopping.
I love to unwind.
I love being a substitute.
I love working late.
I love losing myself.
I love missing the last bus home.

For me, I fully appreciate 'it loud', 'losing myself' and 'missing the last bus home'.

Lose yourself!

The image of the guy alone on a sand dune, with music plugs on, dancing, is a wonderful idea, of living life. My version? The hell with the security camera, it's fun to do this inside an elevator.

Walking with my Walkman!

How many times have I missed a commute, said "the hell with it, I'll just walk", and just strapped my earphones on? Countless, starting from high school. Still do, by the way. Along the crowded streets of Quiapo, crossing borders in Thailand, sliding up escalators in Makati, basically anywhere.

I love their advert, I love my music. To see the video in its entirety, see here:
Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I Got Tagged Part 2

I couldn't resist. Sorry! Normally, I've been sleeping like a log, whether it's from sheer exhaustion or whatnot, I get a normal load of snores in order to muster enough energy to drag my sorry little ass to work on a daily basis. Well, lkooking at the time of this post, today, I'm a couple of Zs short.

So I've decide yo do another round of that post I did earlier this afternoon. A total change of playlist that I'm loading to my newly-acquired FM transmitter-connected phone.

1. Two Star by Everything But The Girl
2. Colorblind by Counting Crows
3. Never Is A Promise
4. Breathe by Michelle Branch
5. We Never Change by Coldplay

There. That's just five, but it's all mine - I'm keeping this all to myself. No tags whatsooever, ha.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Seven Songs Tag

Thanks Ina, but 7000 seems awfully a lot - but soon. Ha.

The instructions are:
List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.

1. In The Sun - Joseph Arthur
May God's love be with you. Not to sound too preachy, but this song is just so great. There's also a version of this song sung by Chris Martin and Michael Stipe.

2. Thinking About You - Ivy
They're an old band, and I owe them a decent/fulll album review, but really, I haven the time. So I'll just part with saying that they're like DSound, minus the jazz, but with citrus-y feel.

3. Exit To Exit - Ryan Cabrera
Who would've thought that his album would be great? Not too much bubblegum right there.

4. On Fire - Modjo
Too bad they split up, they made really great music. There's a similar note on them below.

5. New Agenda - Janet Jackson
After years of searching I finally found a copy of the janet. album. It's timeless and a vivid vision of how Janet was in her prime.

6. Time Of Year - Better Than Ezra
Saw a BTE song in Ina's list, and well, loved this one. I wish I could find their old CDs somewhere....

7. Over My Head - The Fray
Must. Get. Album. Any reviews?

I'm coming up with a list of my favorite songs for 2006, I'm just waiting for November to end so I can accommodate late entries. Previous "Song of the Year" winners include Ace of Base, New Radicals, Michelle Branch, Yellowcard and Hard-Fi. Watch out for it.

I'm going to tag the following for this:
1. Jam
2. Lex
3. pay_see (dude, where's your blog?)
4. Mayller (where's your blog too?)
5. PJ
6. my sister Michelle
7. Benj
Thursday, November 02, 2006

Where's My Squeaky Floor

I love beach houses but...

I think I've posted some pictures of these before, but the beaches just look great. The basic pet peeve I have for them is not the potential sunburn you might have, nor is it the salt stinging your eyes, but the sand coating the bottom of your feet - causing you to frisk it off, while never really getting a totally clean sensation on your soles. I really hate that feeling, that's why I love the squeaky feeling of our marble floor. That's been long gone, my feet have been coasting through millimeters of dust continuously settling inside our house.

The good news is, our house is being expanded, adding a new wing at the back end of our lot. Ever since I moved back, we never really fit that well in our 2-bedroom domicile (who uses this word, other than lawyers, really?). The kitchen wall has been knocked down, the roofing laid out, and right now, I'm just waiting for the tiles to be planted, the walls to be painted, and the ceiling to be installed. Then we can do with the furnishing.

I have plans, like having a really nice bookcase, a larger closet space, and a really funky lava lamp. But right now, all I want is the squeaky floor back.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006

So Busy

...And ironic that J is on her way to Boracay right now. Oh well, you get what you pay for.

Will blog soon, whether they'd be reviews of the last couple of CDs I bought (Ryan Cabrera, Turin Brakes, Doves, Kaskade, Morcheeba), last book I finished (Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer), or the last places I've been to. I'm thinking of the latter, just wait until I get my Lonely Planet Philippines.

In the meantime, I'm still not over mr Grey's Anatomy phase.
Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sampling Samples

Soup For One

That's a sample of Chic's Soup For One. You may know them with a more popular song called "Le Freak". But listen to that song, it may sound a little more familiar than you think.

I recently bought a long-lost record, the eponymous debit by Modjo. Electronica meets meets soul meets funk. Hmm, so happy foudn this one in the discount section. Whee.

Here's the refurbished (though olden) version of that song - Lady (Hear Me Tonight).
Thursday, October 05, 2006

Blogging From Work

You've most probably heard of Typhoon Milenyo, and how much damaged it has caused - toppled billboards, flooded streets, uprooted foliage, flying cars. Right now, Makati is totally without power, and all you'll hear from the streets is the hum of generators wheezing their way to bring airconditioners, computer servers and coffee makers to life.

Our building currently has enough energy to power our computers, lights, but not airconditioners. Save me, I'm broiling here.
Monday, October 02, 2006

Dead Stars On DVD

Ever seen the series Roswell? Recently purchased all three seasons on DVD upon my sister's recommendation (she was a fan of RPN Primetime - Ally McBeal on Tuesdays, Felicity on Thursdays and this show on Wednesdays). The short of it: Love the series.

Just like their home planet, the TV series faded into oblivion...

Roswell is the story of three teenage aliens, searching for a way back home, but more importantly, searching for themselves in an place that has come to be their home. While the theme is individualistic, the show appeals to me on a different plane: time.

The show first aired in 1999, and lasted three seasons into 2002. What truly strikes me the most was how I missed out on such a show, now that I spend evenings and weekends watching Smallville, The OC and One Tree Hill (My friends and I divide and conquer shows on DVD - one is in charge of CSI, Bones and the like; another covers House, Grey's Anatomy and Nip/Tuck; I take care of the teen soaps and Scrubs).

So, what was I doing in 1999-2002? I failed my first class (the only one), got too caught up watching Rurouni Kenshin (yey Anime!), volunteered for student council, and did reasearch work for school. So, that's where all my time went. Clincher alert, it has already been 7 freaking years since that. Whoa, whoa, whoa!

It's kind of strange to look at things you have just discovered and realise that they are already gone - I'm marveling at this nice show, and at the same accepting that the show is already cancelled. Reminds me of the short story Dead Stars - you're looking at the sparklke of a star, but it took light years to reach you and by the time it does, it's already gone.

ps. Damn, lots of pretty girls in Roswell - Shiri Appleby is so nice to look at, Majandra Delfino ain't bad either, but Katherine Heigl. Now that's a woman! Makanood na nga ng Grey's Anatomy, may shower scene sila dun, nakapost sa blog ni Jam.

Luscious Katherine Heigl even more lovely with the short hair.

pps. It may not be laden with archives of music, but there are great finds in the movie as well. Sensefield contributes a nice song to the original soundtrack, but the greats are I Shall Believe by Sheryl Crow (they aired this one 7 years after the album Tuesday Night Music Club was released - and I saw it 7 years after! Talk about delays.) and Walk On by U2 from the Season 2 Finale. I'm trying to install a music player to my blog so you can hear it as well.
Before I completely throw out my watered out orange trip planning book (here's what happened it *link*), there's one last story I'd like to share. Since it was my first day in Singapore, I'd naturally take a long walk to get a mental layout of the city. Went around Chinatown, Orchard Road and ended at Clemenceau near good old Shell House Singapore.

Naturally, I'd check the destination of the bus and its intended route marked on the waiting sheds, but this specific stop did not have the said poster. Anyway, I threw all care to the wind (I know it's just a metaphor, but exactly how do you do that?), and boarded the bus that I knew was going to Marina Square.

The first 30 minutes was suburb-scenic: well manicured gardens leading to well maintained housing settlements, clean roadways and orderly traffic. The thing was, I was running late for the concert and still needed to claim my tickets. After the first 30 minutes, things started to become eerie - the bus was going around in familiar loops, and I saw the same establishments and the same roadsigns. Apparently, I've boarded the Blair Witch Singapore Bus Ride - it's the same log, err it's the same IKEA store! Worried for missing the concert of a lifetime, I stepped out somewhere, boarded the subway, and got to the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Freaky bus ride, seeing the same landmarks over and over again. However, the concert was spectacular, and that one I don't mind seeing all over again. In fact here are some pictures from the Coldplay concert.

In My's with the fans!

The Fix You Finale
I recently took a flight recently and I should warn everyone that the paranoia is increasing. Pre-flight ceremonies have become overly meticulous, if not over-the-top. The whole body frisking paired with the strip tease at the boarding gates is annoying already. They make you take your shoes and belt off, empty your pockets, and frisk you worse than an apprehended pickpocket.

Just an advice, come to the airport early for your flight, and don't play Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing" while doing the strip-and-frisk.
Monday, September 25, 2006

A List Of Errands

Okay, lots of things to do. Apart from work-related stuff. Just so I don't forget.

1. Exercise. Hahaha.
2. Finish two books - Once While Travelling by Tony and Maureen Wheeler and The Book Of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera. Why must you be so hard to read Monsieur Kundera? When I mean finish, I've already started reading them, but not quite close to ending.
3. Finish 2nd and 3rd season of Roswell. Guilty pleasure right now. More on this later.
4. I've got about 3 pending stuff to write for the blog, this one not included. For a free preview, one should be about #3 above, one for the Blair Witch Bus Ride and one I can't seem to remember right now. Hmm....
5. I think I have DVDs of Lucky Number Slevin to watch. Probably will be borrowing Seasons 1 and 2 of Grey's Anatomy, buying The Office (UK) and Little Britain. Must start watching before the season of TV shows come rolling in.
6. Next CD buys would include Dido, Ryan Cabrera, Travis, and Moloko. Still looking for Final Straw by Snow Patrol. but none is available.
7. Finish off the remaining books on my bedside table: Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman and High Fidelity by Nick Hornby.
8. Buy a Lonely Planet Guidebook for Vietnam and Macau-Hongkong. Looks like my next trip is headed there.
9. Go to Home Depot for tile/paint/doorknob shopping for our new room.
10. Start Christmas shopping. Scratch that. Must wait for Christmas bonus.
Friday, September 22, 2006

Fortune Cookies

I don't not like lawyers. Really, it's my father who thinks that they're the supreme source of all bureaucracy and red tape, and he was just a year off from finishing his law degree. With that in mind, I wasn't too convinced with joining J for a volunteer night - sure, it was at a swish hotel by Manila Bay, but the actual thought of slaving instead of watching a movie might not have been the best way to spend a weekend. A movie, nice dinner and sweet dessert sounds definitely more interesting than being slaves to future possibly-arrogant and demeaning lawyers.

But, having been a volunteer for school orgs, council works and what-not in college, the answer was a 'sure, why not'.

We packed drinks, medicines, and snacks into the loot bags for the barristers, but the most interesting piece inserted was three fortune cookies. Pity, I was hoping that they'd have the messages types in some Chinese sweatshop, but they sounded they were lifted from the Purpose Driven Life website. Tsk. I read "Take chances and place your faith in God", when I was expecting "Later chance bucket throw chicken" or something.

Sounds like fun? Yeah it was, I'm just a little scared that if it's a lot of work now that J isn't taking the bar yet, what more would it be if she was going to take it. I'm stacking up on those fortune cookies.
Friday, September 15, 2006

New Music Week!

Well, there are also old ones in the mix. You already know that I picked up Eyes Open by Snow Patrol, and feasting on the delectable music from that album, decided to sample more music available from both Music and Recto One. Hee.

The end result, I have Ex-Girlfriends by Low Millions, Tourist by Athlete, and to round out the old, Chariot/Chariot Stripped by Gavin DeGraw and Move Along by The All American Rejects. Throw in a bunch of recent downloads from The Fray, Panic! At The Disco and Jack's Mannequin, I'm hoping to have a steady stream of new music that'll last me for a couple of weeks.

Let's start with Athlete: I've heard of this groups about once from PJ, and sampled their video "Wires" from YouTube. The general tempo of the album is melancholy, and a lovely sadness it quite is. Listen to the semi-happy Half Light, Twenty Four Hours and I Love. The general idea here is it's fantastic music to listen to while walking through London rain, mirthless, but never sorrowful, and all together, melodious.

Smoky and airy songs from Athlete

Low Millions' claim to fame is probably having the lead singer the son of celebrated songwriter Leonard Cohen (Hallelujah). I've only heard one song from them once over at LaunchCast, and it really didn't register - I'm not too sure which song it was, honestly. This album is definitely more radio-friendly that Athlete, but the novelty of a "theme" record is simply wowing me.
To all the girls they have loved before...
The album is called Ex-Girlfriends, with songs titled Eleanor, Julia, Nikki and Hey Jane, it's quite witty with the way they lay it out. My favorites include Hey Jane, Mockingbird and 100 Blouses. Strangely, I can sort of hear the similarities with Adam Cohen's voice with that of Michael Hutchence (RIP) of INXS.

Should have bought Gavin DeGraw's album much much earlier. The album is pop, with easy to get along music, and with truly heartfelt lyrics. However, I will admit that I got the influence from marathoning the three seasons of One Tree Hill on my DVD player. More Than Anyone would be a great wedding song; (Nice To Meet You) Anyway is a wonderfully written turn-down song (hehe), but my favorite would be the title track. That 'chocolate covered cherry' and 'seedless watermelon' line is just so...hmmm.. delicious. Chariot is all about hope, and listening to it gives me that.
Chariot, give me your strength

Lastly, All American Rejects is barely alternative, but more on pop. Imagine Click Five drinking Yoohoos, and AAR drinking gin tonic. Rock out to Move Along, Change Your Mind and Night Drive, but more importantly feel It Ends Tonight. Like I said in my other blog, liked Dirty Little Secret, loved Move Along, totally adored It Ends Tonight. Check out the video for this one too, the fireworks are just amazing.
Power pop!

Enough with the albums. I'm listening to Jack's Mannequin as well, whose crazed piano tunes are emo-worthy. But more of that when I actually get a copy of the CD.

*** Whew! Sorry long post everyone, looks like somebody's broke from CD shopping.
Thursday, September 07, 2006

US Open 2006 Quarterfinals - Men's Draw

Sorry, it's late. Nagmamadali ang organisers ng US Open e.

Federer vs Blake
Top ranked American versus the game's top dog, clearly will be the marquee match of the round. This will be the defending champion's first brutal test, yet given the form he's been coasting through the draw, and Blake's spotty Eastern hardcourt season, this should be a straight set finish. However, the New York crowd will be in full force, and perhaps extend this one to a four set victory for the Swiss.

Haas vs Davydenko
It could have been an all-Russian affair, but Haas was able to edge out Safin in the 5th set. I'd like to give Davydenko the hardest working (and quietest) player on tour the nod for a first Flushing Meadows semifinal appearance for two reasons: shorter time on court, and beating Murray, the US Open Series breakthrough player. Five sets still, most probably.

Roddick vs Hewitt
In a match of previous champions, history would lean towards the Thunder from Down Under. However, a Masters Series title in Cincy, and a win at the US Open Series (and an extra million bucks!) would be more than enough determination for Andy Roddick to salvage a rather lackluster 2006 Grand Slam performance. Five sets to the American - but factor in Hewitt's early morning 5-setter to Gasquet, this should be just four sets, maybe straight sets even.

Youzhny vs Nadal
Finally, a strong showing for Russia's 2003 Davis Cup hero. Sadly, Nadal seems to be in form all year - garning good showings on all surfaces. Straight sets.

Semifinals and Final
Much thanks to Jimmy Connors, Roddick will last all the way to the final, where a Roger Federer will be waiting in the wings. Granted that both players are playing extremely good tennis recently, this match will put the 2006 US Open to be a great event, not just The One Where Agassi Bids Adieu - with the Swiss maestro taking Slam Number 9.

I Love New York! Jimmy Connors, help me! Oh wait, he already did.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Women's Quarterfinals

Amelie vs Dinara
Major points for the top seed for Serena Williams who is this year's player to beat. and that should be enough for Amelie to wrap this up easily. Still, expect quite a fight from Dinara (which reminds me, the both siblings are still in the tournament!), as Amelie may have bouts of mental lapses in the match. Otherwise, a straight set victory.

Maria vs Tatiana
It's about time that the Tati take a Slam QF appearance, it's just sad that she's lined up against the hardcourt season's hottest player (Clijsters would have been a contestant, had she not pulled out). Sharapova's comeuppance may be right here - she wouldn't be having quite a lot of resistance from Golovin. Straight sets.

Jelena vs Elena
Similar names, similar games. The momentum should be with Jankovic, in her first GS quarterfinal match, she took out Nicole and Svetlana, both with great hardcourt records. The Russian, on the other hand, missed out on Venus and a host of other seeds. This should be fairly tight, 3 sets, with a slight edge to the Serbian.

Lindsay vs Justine
Pity, I really would give Lindsay still a fighting chance had she been in another quarter - she hasn't beaten Justine in the last six meetings, and it ain't about to change now. I remember Melbourne 04 where Lindsay blasted winners on both wings, found the edges of the line, and stormed to a 5-1 lead. She lost the set, and eventually the match in straight sets, because Justine was stronger, faster and is not with an injury. It's pretty hard not to see that happening now - straight sets.

Semifinals and Final
This year's surprise finalist will be the Serbian Jankovic, but it'll end there - JHH will be to wily, and ruthless, besides, she wants to appear on all Grand Slam finals this year. Amelie will not get her way with 3 slam titles (you're not Federer!), not for lack of trying, but because Sharapova is much hungrier for a Slam win. And she will get it, what a tasty final this should be.

About time! Runner up again!
Before I proceed with the rest of the US Open predictions, it's time to do one of those quizzes, and tag my four of my blog friend with it. Before I took the test, I kind of figured out which disorders had my name on it.

Paranoid Personality Disorder:Low
Schizoid Personality Disorder:High
Schizotypal Personality Disorder:Moderate
Antisocial Personality Disorder:Moderate
Borderline Personality Disorder:Low
Histrionic Personality Disorder:High
Narcissistic Personality Disorder:High
Avoidant Personality Disorder:High
Dependent Personality Disorder:Moderate
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:High

-- Take the Personality Disorder Test --
-- Personality Disorder Info --

Now, let's tag Alvin, Trish, Jam and PJ with this one.
Saturday, August 26, 2006

US Open 2006

Women's Singles
Defending Champion: Kim Clijsters

Quarter I
Let's start with the most brutal part of the draw - top seed and two-time Grand Slam winner this year alone, Amelie is out to a Roger(05)/Martina (97), win everything but Roland Garros in a calendar year. She has the most difficult part of the draw, but didn't we say that for Roger last Wimbledon and he lost just a set en route to Slam Number 8?

Challengers that may rise to the occassion include Montreal and US Open Series winner Ana Ivanovic, Dinara Safina, showing he steely nerve on the hardcourts of North America; but more importantly on this year's comeback kids Serena and Martina. It's a good mix of past and present, of guile and power, of fitness and patience. All I'm asking for now is that the order of play fit my schedule appropriately.

QF Match: Amelie vs Martina

Quarter II
Maria Sharapova may have a difficult match against the other little sister in the opening round, but from then on, it should be smooth sailing - her draw is littered with injured players that it's almost going to be a forfeit: Mary, Nadia, Anna, plus Anastasia who, other than her claycourt final in hardcourt season, hasn't been playing well of late. But, I'm more likely to pick a player who can play badly over a player who might not be playing at all.

QF Match: Maria vs Anastasia

Quarter III
In contrast to QI, which featured great players that drew in the buzz, this section is gifted with players of the same talent, but of less stellar power. Of Svetlana, Jelena, Samantha, Anna-Lena and Elena, i truly doubt that a good deal of them will be station at the Arthur Ashe anytime. However, that will be no excuse for fantastic plays, if only they could all be consistent. The only player who has been consistent is Venus, who recently withdrew due to a wrist injury.

Do watch out for the opener with Chanda and Nicole, it would be nice to see Rubin play again.

QF Match: Nicole vs Elena

Quarter IV
It makes you wonder if how long will Lindsay still go on - I do hope that she still believes that that last Slam will come to her - pity that there are two relatively easy quarters, and she got the one that'll meet Justine in the QF. I'm sure that the schedulers will give her extra time to rest after New Haven, but she'd probably need more to get past the number two seed who hasn't missed a Grand Slam final appearance all year.

QF match: Lindsay vs Justine


Men's Singles
Defending Champion: Roger Federer

Quarter I
The Fed is fast approaching Pistol Pete's Slam record and looking forward to number 9, and that loss in Cincinnati just made him hungrier to win. No problems, until he meets Ferrero who finally got his game back on by reaching the Cincy Masters final (about darned rotten time!).

Four qualifiers are fitted in the bottom part, with James Blake, who started the year on high, but recently has been stifling through tournaments. Im expecting a Berdych-Blake matchup in R16, and Blake will win just to appease the crowd.

Do watch out for the all Brit-affair of Henman vs Rusedski. Winner gets tea time with Roger in 2R.

QF Match: Federer vs Blake

Quarter II
Perhaps my favorite part of the draw - it will always be drama considering Safin and Coria back in the mix, Nalbandian and Davydenko trying to salvage a good follow-up year, and this season's US Open Series standouts Andy Murray ang Fernando Gonzalez.

Gonzo has had his breakthrough in Flushing Meadows 02, but hasn't really gone all the way; Murray on the other hand gets a boost for defeating Fed and joins the company of Nadal as a member of the "I've beaten Roger"-class of 2006. Too bad though, they're slated to meet in 3R.

Haas has been quietly going working through the year with minimal fanfare, and perhaps with the draw opening up, this could be his time to shine.

QF Match: Haas vs Murray

Quarter III
Given the draw, the Andre Agassi farewell tour will not have the same pretty fairytale ending as the Pete Sampras Written Off-Resurrection gig of 2002. His first major task would be Pavel, then Melbourne runner-up Baghdatis. Expect a delightful match right there, and a tribute.

Life will go on with the rest of the draw though, a rejuvinated Roddick (thank you, Jimmy Connors) will find his footing after crashing out in Day One last year, Gasquet will rebound from a horrid first half 2006, Hewitt will outplay Fish in 3R, but it will be Ljubicic that will get on board the last 8.

QF Match: Roddick vs Ljubicic

Quarter IV
Honestly, there isn't much to choose from this quarter, save for Nadal. Ferrer would have been a good choice and would probably live up to his seeding, but the latest results don't bode well. Robredo has yet to prove himself on American soil, and Monfils' debut party hasn't exactly happened yet.

I'd love to put my money on Nieminen the Finn, he's much improved over the last year, but a pass to the final 8 is blocked by Nadal.

QF Match: Ferrer vs Nadal
Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ears Covered In Snow

Similar to what I wrote in my music blog - which is just more of a list, rather than an actual narrative - a warm cool breeze just swept into my CD collection, and it was all covered in snow.

No, I haven't seen the finale of Grey's Anatomy, but from what I've heard, it rocked. All I know was, they played this song by Snow Patrol - upon officemate Mau's suggestion, I decided to download it and pay attention. She was looking for somber, dramatic alternative bands, and, well I was just welcome to new music. Voila - fresh music off Eyes Open was just what I needed.

Have I actually mentioned on how I test music if it's good? In my books, there are two criteria in checking it: the driving test, and the earphones test. The driving test is pretty obvious, it's got to sound good in the car, either while you're going for a spin, or just in stasis due to the traffic jam. The earphones test means loading the songs into your portable music player (iPod, MP3 player, or whatever gadget you have), then taking it for a walk, a commute, or a simple sit.

This may sound a little too sensitive, but music has got to make you feel something. Listening to "Open Your Eyes" while riding an escalator has got to do more than take you to the second floor, but emotionally make you feel that your drifting - at least it works that way for me. The driving test compares the adrenaline rush of driving fast, with the energy and pace of the song; in traffic it juxtaposes the slow pace of emotions unravelling against the no-go flow of traffic.

Weird they might say, but it works for me.

ps. Best places to do the experience-music acid test? Airport. Trust me on this one.


Snow knows hot to play brrrrilliant music!

Eyes Open by Snow Patrol is awesome, and definitely ranks up there with the best buys of the year. Apart from the hits "You're All I Have", "Hands Open" and "Chasing Cars", other worthwhile tracks include "Shut Your Eyes", "You Could Be Happy" and "Open Your Eyes".

The lyrics are brilliantly written, the music delicately played. The duet was unique, as Matha Wainwright sang every line in unison with Gary Lightbody. One of my favorite songs, would be this one:

Take my hand, knot your fingers through mine
We'll walk from this dark room for the last time
I want so much to open your eyes
Cause I need you to look into mine

They are not the new Coldplay - they're much different. The sound plays between Keane and Switchfoot, but distinctly different. Now I'm really contemplating on getting Hopes and Fears.
Friday, August 18, 2006

Pictures, More Of Them!

Finally, the pictures are here! Do take some time out to check out my travel partner's Flick account, compare them with mine - then it will be obvious which one of us works for a multimedia outfit. Hehe.

monsterboy's photos
Joanne's photos

I've replaced the links. Do drop a line if they still don't work. =)
Monday, August 14, 2006

CD Shopping, Again

I did the semi-annual CD inventory last week, and I was somehow disappointed to know that I do not have 250 CDs. Not even close.

I'll be posting all of them, with a mini-review, or to add more traffic in my music blog, I'll probably just post it there. So, in order to add to CD drawer collection, I picked up the following over the weekend:

As The Music Plays by Bamboo
Why Try Harder by Fatboy Slim
Live 2003 by Coldplay
Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not by Arctic Monkeys
Bleed Like Me by Garbage

I think it boosted my CD stash to somewhere around 170.
I wish I had known that there was a direct flight from SIN to REP, otherwise, I wouldn't have ventured to KL to stay the night in. No regrets though, chalk this up to experience - besides, the panorama crossing Johor Bahru to KL was worth it.

So I said goodbye to my genial host, walked the perimeters of Ban San Terminal, picked up my ticket, and prepared to board. I met an English Couple, Rob and Natalie, who seem to be following the Coldplay World Tour, without ever catching them. While waiting for the bus to leave, Rob, Natalie and I picked up some food for th 6-hour bus ride. I got myself some dried mangoes and bottled water, while Rob got some cashews, and Natalie some dried apricots, which she decidedly called 'earlobes'.

Waiting my rocket, err bus to come. Note the hot-air balloon in the corner.

The earlobes were all right, but the dried mangoes were terrible - they tasted as sweet as the Subway plastic that wrapped my lunch this morning, with the texture of styrofoam that wrapped my congee snack 2 days ago. I sure hope that Natalie wasn't being polite when she said that she loved them. Rob on the other hand almost choked on his handful of cashew when I told them they weren't cooked. There goes my quota for spreading food terror on my first bus ride.

The sign says Welcome To Malaysia, but I say Goodbye snooty Singapore rules!

Fast forward to dinner, met up with Eu and Kat, who treated me to posh Bangsar, just off the KL city grid. Loved the banana leaf dinner, but not the papadums, sorry! After dinner was a bunch of drinks down the Bukit Bintang area, where we stood witness to some sort of robbery/break-in at a local pawnshop of sorts. My, their police works pretty fast out there, more fanfare though, but looks like they do a thorough investigation, so it was a bit worth it.

Dinner at Bangsar.

Number 8 Guesthouse - trendy, reasonably priced, much recommended!

I had really wanted to get some sleep in before my early flight the following morning, but two British people were chatting loudly in our dorm room - one of them wasn't even from our room! Let's call them Judi Dench the dorm-room-trespasser, who was busy talking with Monkey Boy. Their story was a bit a warning for travellers - Monkey Boy here was slipped some sort of date-rape drug while touring the Batu Caves. All he remembers was that he was fumbling at the police station, then lying back in the dorm room. Insert Judi Dench horrified face here.

Watch out for monkeys at Batu Caves!

Been to the caves last year, and all I can say is that 'Dem monkeys did it!'. Seriously, if those monkeys can pull down skirts, snatch your water bottles, and pose for cameras, they sure can slip drugs into your drink. Really.
Monday, August 07, 2006

Intermission: The Two-Week Soundtrack

Similar to what I did for Shanghai, I compiled a list of the music I listened to on the trip. I believe one way to enforce your memories is not only by preserving images and sounds, but attaching them to songs you can play over and over again. I still think of sharks and a moving walkway whenever I hear "Don't Panic".

Yellow by Coldplay - Bright yellow balloons dancing in the concert, and riding a hot air balloon

Damaged by Plumb - first heard at Han's house, went on to give walking around the Bayon a mystic ambiance

Stunt by Raindrops and Push The Limits (ATB Remix) by Enigma - nothing better than club music to add adrenaline to walking city tours

Love On The Run by Chicane - gunning highways and chasing sunsets around Thailand

In My Place by Coldplay - Sunset at Hat Rin

Life Is Beautiful by Jason Mraz - catching my breath from city walking

Song For A Friend by Jason Mraz and Say Goodnight by Click Five - my goodnight songs

Porcelain by Moby, 24/7 by Artful Dodger/Melanie Blatt and No More Tears by Modjo - standard sunbathing songs

Colorblind by Counting Crows, Remember To Breathe by Dashboard Confessional and Listen To Your Heart (Unplugged Edit) by DHT - music to play during downtime

Just some of my personal tips on creating a playlist for a trip include: Also choose songs you're not familiar with - this would create a totally new perspective on what you hear and see on a first time basis.
It's not what you think it is,but that really sounds interesting, doesn't it? But the roadtrip to Aranyaprathet, wasn't as amusing as you'd think it is. Let's see.

Let's start with "I'm a planner". Everything that I needed, I placed in a hardcover orange notebook. Hardcover, because I anticipated writing immigration cards, journal entries and incurred costs without the need for a table. It had photocopies of all my plane reservations, hostel accommodations, locality maps and preferred guesthouses. This little wonder was my best friend during the trip.

The road to Bangkok is afoot with dust and clay...

So, my trip to Bangkok from Siam Reap was very nice. The roads were non-existent, dusty, I felt that the the cramped minivan we rode in on was like a giant 8-ball being shaken by a kid waiting for a "Yes!", when all of us were shouting a thunderous "NO!!!!" everytime we landed on a pothole. Now you're asking, where is the nice in that?

Entrance to Bantay Srei. Note mademoiselle down in front.

Well, the day before, I was eyeing some very beautiful tourists at Bantay Srei. Bantay Srei is one of the out-of-the-way ruins from the temple and took about an hour to get to. The ruins maybe small, but what they lack in size, they make up in the beauty of its details. Anyway, there were four beautiful women roaming around the grounds, and from their accent, figured they were French.

Painstakingly beautiful carvings at Bantay Srei

There were four of them, the twins, with dark hair, Miss Nose Ring, and Miss Blonde. Miss Blonde was the prettiest of them all, pity that I wasn't able to a picture of her. Anyway, they sat beside me in the minivan - and changed seats everytime we had a stopover. In short, I got to sit beside all of them - hooray! I also had the chance of offering Miss France Blonde a wafer stick: "We alzo haf zees on Frawns" she says.

Painstakingly beautiful tourists at Bantay Srei

The only sustenance I had for that day was that pack of wafer sticks and a bottle of water. Since the ladies were busy playing musical chairs to get to sit beside me (haha), and I was furiously anticipating the results, I shoved the water bottle in my bag placed on my lap. Next thing I know, my pants were wet. Now, imagine me trying to dry myself beside those ladies. Not too embarrassing, because I don't think they noticed, but orange-notebook-that-holds-everything felt the deluge inside my bag . My journal entries that were barely legible scribbles were reduced to unreadable smears, and Lonely Planet Bangkok was soaking like Thailand during monsoon season.

Other than that, I followed the English couple that started the day wearing white shirts that now had the color of Cambodian clay stamped on their clothes,face and hair, to D and D Inn along the Khao San, backpacker ground zero for Southeast Asia.
Monday, July 31, 2006

I Guess That's How It Works, Huh?

Bangkok was pure fun, really. Thank goodness I was done with the temples on my last visit, and it was time to party. I haven't been to a danceclub in a very long time, so figures that hanging out in Bed Supperclub would be a nice idea. It was. No shopping, no Buddha-hopping, no elephant riding; just streetfood-swiping, late-night dancing, and cocktail-sipping. Whee.


Met a bunch of people in Siam Reap, staying at the same guesthouse as I was, and about 48 hours later, met them in Bangkok! I was snapping some pictures along Khao San Road, turn around then find 2 familiar faces. The feeling was strange, they're not your friends, you've chat with them for a couple of minutes, but the relief of finding familiar faces after traveling for more than a week alone was priceless. Strange. To quote Laura, I guess that's how it works.

Khao San afire in lights
Laura, me and Ann. Thanks for taking the pic, Yas!
Sunday, July 30, 2006

A 24-hour Journey, With Smelly Feet

19 July

For 1350 Baht, I managed to score taxi-boat-bus-minivan-bus transfer from Hat Rin to Kuala Lumpur - if calculated correctly, that would be some 1000km by land. The travel time was 24 hours that started at 6am.

While the boat was a real sleep-in, the bus to Surat Thani was not - my stomach acted up. Was it all the chicken sandwich at Hat Rin? Or was it an over dose of last night bucket of vodka-Red Bull-orange juice? Either way, my tummy was feeling a revolution that would put the Vietnam War to shame.

That aside, I felt like I (along with a dozen other travellers) felt like we were being hustled by the locals, as we were all transferred by bus, tuktuk, motorbike from one travel agent to another. Everyone had at least two travel-agent-interchange, while I said the whole hello-goodbye-where-the-fuck-are-you-taking-me-now thrice. There was no scam involved, but it was their own way of getting to know tourist and agitating them at the same time. Apparently, with so many tourists in Thailand, they've done this one to perfection.

So finally, minivan to Hat Yai arrived, only to stop 15 minutes in the roadtrip. Our driver spoke no word of English, but he managed to tell us that the van stank of smelly feet. Let's see, 11 persons travelling for 2 weeks, from the beach, 8 hours late in the day...that would lead to the conclusion that WE ALL FRIGGING STANK! The only solution was to douse the whole van with air freshener. At least we all felt Meadow Spring-fresh almost instantly.

We arrived in Hat Yai at 6pm, then transferred to another minivan that will drop us off at Butterworth. Arrived in Butterworth at 11pm to catch the bus to KL. Arrived in KL at 6am. After this bit, the 6-hour bus ride to Baguio should be easy as pie.

NB. The buses are very comfortable though - I personally think that the buses had seats that were wider and reclined more than PAL's Mabuhay class. In all honesty, my bus rides were more comfortable than my plane ride back home.
Saturday, July 29, 2006

Notes from Backpacking - Part One

I fully intend to create a long winding series of how my travel around SEA came to be, but readers might actually be knitting their eyebrows at the mere mention of the word trip. I promise this to be painless. Really.

First, congratulations are in order to me: For watching Coldplay (WOOHOO!), being on budget (after major shuffling, reallocation and passing on costs), finding CDs that has been on my must-buy list for more than 6 years already (Version 2.0, Walking Wounded) or 6 months (Garden State OST, No Name Face), and most of all, having a wonderful time.

Much thanks must be handed out to Jam for lending me her backpack - backpacking wouldn't have the same impact had I brought luggage. Thanks to Eu and Kat for ekeing out time from their busy schedules to show me the better side of KL. Thanks to Han for being my host in Singapore - man, that song by Plumb has really stuck to me.

There. End credits muna. I'll try to recall more when I get back. Work karma is definitely a bitch. But I'll leave some pics to share for the meantime.

Coldplay is now my favorite band - see article below!

Catching the morning rays on a boat to Ko Phangan

Sunrise at Angkor Wat
Sunday, July 23, 2006

Things I Never Got Used To On My Trip

1. Right-hand drive roads. I've already lost count the number of times I've been almost hit because I was looking on the other side of the road for vehicles. I mean, which way do they come from, really?

2. Squat toilets. My dear fellow Filipinos, we are lucky not to have prevalent squat toilets - instead, we have been blessed with porcelain thrones. Even the swanky KLCC in Malaysia has a 1 to 1 allocation of squat toilets. This is a disadvatange for me, since my aim is not that good. And my legs/thighs hurt. Thank goodness I'm home, it's always the best seat in the house, all the time. Whew!

3. How do the floors go anyway? One thing I'm on the ground floor, then on the first floor. Do you start from floor zero? And what is a concourse floor anyway?
I'm almost home, and passing time around my last stop in Singapore. Ironically, I'm spending the last few minutes of my budget-backpacking trip in a swish airport lounge.

Just a run-down of the things that happened in the last two weeks:

1. Singapore is bloody expensive.
2. Coldplay is the best band on earth/universe.
3. Angkor Wat (and all its sister temple ruins) is truly a world heritage, and much much larger than you think they would be.
4. Bangkok definitely is the ground zero for the backpackers of the world.
5. Believe it or not, I spent less on the Thai beaches than I did in Puerto Galera.
6. IKEA has got to put a store in the Philippines.
7. Over budget? Definitely, but I think I can shuffle some costs and reallocate them for CAPEX/OPEX uses.


Pictures must wait, work backlog of 2 weeks has been waiting, plus a bunch more waiting for pasalubong.
Thursday, July 13, 2006

Greetings From Angkor Wat

Hello everyone! I'm logging in Siam Reap right now, so can't blog much long, but this backpacking bit is truly fun. Cheap hostel, great sights, and different cultures.

The Angkor Wat is just absolutely massive, and will take me about 2 days tro explore the whole temple complex. Am actually half-expecting to see Lara Croft here. Haha.

Will definitely post pictures once I get back. Until then!
They used to be one of my favorite bands, but only for a certain era. Wala pang concert yan. :p

Speed of Sound, Talk and Swallowed In The Sea are my picks for best tracks in their best album yet, X and Y.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Estop and Go

Coming from a personal Code Red last Friday, I fumbled out of my car at 1 am, while it rolled out of the garage with the door open. The door hit the garage post, and effectively ripped the door from the car. My poor Carbert. it was as painful as watching your car slam to a wall at slow motion.

I failed to complete an estop (Ha! Look at a dictionary, it's a legal term) and my car failed to stop. Tsk, when it rains, it pours.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Wimbledon 2006 - Quarterfinals

Amelie Vs Anastasia
Inasmuch as I'd like to see Anastasia win this one, Amelie's trademark power game, aided by a capacity to serve-and-volley no the lawns, there's no way I can bet against the World Number 1. Amelie in straight sets.

Elena vs Maria
I don't know if I've become picky or what, but Maria's game is all power and no brains. Bagay kayo ni Andy. Pennetta showed a dazzling display of ball-retrieving last night, and it was on sheer power that Maria won. Elena, now is more unpredictable than London Rain. I'll take a gamble here and hope that Elena see through Maria's weaknesses. The lower-seeded Russian will cause an upset, by varying the pace of the game. 3 long sets.

Justine vs Severine
Ooh, a new comer - but don't expect Justine to take this lightly. Straight sets.

Kim vs Na
Hooray, and a Chinese player has finally reached the quarters of a Slam. Honestly, I haven't seen Kim play, but I do hope she squeaks out of this one in straight sets.

Semifinals and Final
A replay of Melbourne will be on the way, but this time, Justine will be in full force. Hey, that's a career slam, just in case we're forgetting.

Career Slam! Not bad for 2006


Federer vs Ancic
Marquee match of the round, considering the history. One would think that this would be Federer's big test on his way to his 4th Wimbledon crown, but after Ancic flip-flopped last night, this should be a comprehensive win for the defending champion. Having tough opponents in the early round tested Federer's dedication to the game, and passed in flying colours. Straight sets.

Stepanek vs Bjorkman
Ah, a wildcard section of the draw. I'm favoring doubles specialist, and grass lover Bjorkman in 4, to make up for Johanssons's semifinal appearance last year.

Hewitt vs Baghdatis
Fightin' Lleyton needs to follow up a rather lackluster year, but with another win on grass. We're going to see how he stacks up against Oz Open finalist Marcos. Expect long rallies reaching deep in the 5th, and perhaps an upset. Still, rooting for the Aussie in 4.

Niemenen vs Nadal
Nadal has probably shown us that he can compete on grass, and made the transition look so effortless. That win over Agassi further strengthened his belief on grass, and should not stop him in a semifinal run. Straight sets.

Semifinals and Final
Grand Slam number 8 for Roger Federer, to be contested by Lleyton Hewitt. While Roger's road to the final was easy, Hewitt will recover his olden days of glory by ekeing out a win over Rafael Nadal.

Slam Number 8 keeps me at par with Andre! What must I do to defeat Roger? I've tried flying!
Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bryan Singer, I Forgive You

1. I forgive you for dumping the X-Men franchise for Superman Returns. The former had the setup perfect: a good script, fancy new mutants, a strong cast, and a director with a respectable resume. Alas, the result was a tepid, underwhelming movie - it was fairly decent, but X-Men United set the bar really high. Tsk.

2. I forgive you for starring in a Star Trek movie. I'm not a Trekkie, nor have I seen any of its movies. However, your photo floats over the net like a chugging Enterprise. No.


Superman Returns is easily the best summer movie I've seen, well, all summer. Kate Bosworth is absolutely luscious as Lois Lane (she could've used more spunk though); Brandon Routh is a refreshing face to a well-known franchise (but I still see the late Christopher Reeve) and Kevin Spacey is just a thrill to watch as Lex Luthor (but a bit too sassy for my taste. Neurotic, but too sassy.)

Interestingly enough, it also was the funniest movie I've seen all summer. There was slapstick-funny (Kitty), witty-funny (It's a bird, plane/Looking for me? bit), even Naked Gun funny (Kevin Spacey asking "Are you sure?"). Bit of a warning though, there's a limit to the humor, unless you're really doing comedy.

As expected, the graphics were fantastic, I particularly loved thte rising crystals, and the shattering buildings. A little close to The Day After Tomorrow, but definitely better.

All in all, I'd give it an 8.5. In comparison, MI3 is an 8 (3 points were contributed by Maggie Q), X3 was a 6, and The Da Vinci Code was a 3. Bonus points to be awarded when I see the IMAX version.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Almost Ready To Board!

Between doing work, doing sideline, covering Wimbledon for the blog and its corollary Fantasy League, I am still planning a backpacking trip (see previous post). It's great that I am almost done. Lest I forget, I must write the remaining tasks I have to do before finally boarding that plane.

1. Get your free ticket. Must do this ASAP.
2. Get clearance. I will not let those snobbish Immigration people at the gate ruin my trip.
3. Buy shoes. I know, but having sturdy, reliable footwear when you're on the go is a must.
4. Buy CDs to load in my phone. The proposed repertoire is as follows: X and Y by Coldplay (for the concert, of course), As The Music Plays by Bamboo, and a little splashing of whatever is loaded in my PC.
5. Get Cambodia Lonely Planet Guide from Yayie.
6. Photocopy portions of my travel guides into my notebook for ease of carriage.
7. Create a packing list and make sure it fits in 1 backpack and 1 daypack.
8. From above, get a daypack.

Whew! That's not everything yet, but it's a start. Better get moving.
Sunday, June 25, 2006

Wimbledon 2006

Ladies' Singles
Defending Champion: Venus Williams

Quarter I
World's top dog Amelie should easily dispose her opponents on the way to the quarters, but she would be meeting defending champion Venus there. Given that a Williams has reached the grass finals the last six years, this ought to be the QF match to see.

QF Match: Amelie vs Venus

Quarter II
Lucky lucky Maria, she has the easiest draw of them all - her iron will should bring her easily to 4R, where she could meet Shahar Peer. Interesting Israeli made a good splash at Paris, but grass is definitely the Russian's domain.

If the weather holds up, along with Dementieva's serve, we could end up an all-Russian quarters.

QF Match: Maria vs Elena D

Quarter III
An all-Swiss affair is in the works, as Martina the Younger sets up a match with crafty Patty. However, I'm quite not too sure with Hingis' chances here - she lost in the opening round twice before. Justine on the other hand, is ready to reap ranking points, as she lost to Daniilidou last year. I would expect her to reach another Grand Slam final.

QF Match: Martina vs Justine

Quarter IV
Svetlana and Nicole will slug it out again in R16, but would probably expect Svet to win this one again.

QF Match: Svetlana vs Kim


Gentlemen's Singles
Defending Champion:Roger Federer

Quarter I
Tough draw for Roger Federer. Wimbledon opens up with a trciky match against RIchard Gasquest, and should the defending champion end up victorious on that, will most probably be meeting Tiger Tim in his final Wimbledon bid. Give him a couple of days rest, and he's going to meet Mario Ancic, the last person to beat him on grass. My, it definitely wasn't ROger's day at the draws - a 4th win here will definitely be a stunning feather on his cap, a whole peacock even.

QF Match: Federer vs Ancic

Quarter II
Nalbandian vs Blake in the quarters, but Thomas Johansson could spring an upset in 4R. Hey, what ever happened to the other Johansson (Joachim, not Scarlett)?

QF Match: Nalbandian vs Blake

Quarter III
Interesting bloody draw here - The last 7 years of Queen's Club has gone to either Andy or Lleyton, and they're due to meet in the quarters. But look, we've got grass-court specialists Grosjean and Rusedski in the mix, throw in a crazy unpredictable weather called Safin, and we have the definite must watch section of the draw.

QF Match: Hewitt vs Roddick

Quarter IV
Yes, while it's been much noted that Ljubicic hasn't gone past 2R here, and it could be quite interesting to see that Lopez, the only Spanish player with a reputation for liking the lawm is his first round opponent. Should be a toughie.

Although Agassi is set to meet Nadal in 3R, this should be no problem for the second seed. Just probably interesting to watch, though - Agassi is the exact opposite of Nadal.

QF Match: Ljubicic vs Nadal
Monday, June 19, 2006

Summer Escapade 2006

Just wanted to post, that after three years of planning, natuloy din kami. Here is proof:

Next year, jubilarian na kami!
Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Time For Some Coldplay

Thanks to Tartan for posting in my chatterbox - my Damien Rice experience will not come to pass again. I promise to watch the Coldplay concert in Singapore, all I have to do is come in a day early. Not bad!

Now, can anybody point me to where the tickets are?
Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Yes, That Johari Window

I know it's been late, but I'd really like to hear what you guys think. :p

Created by the Interactive Johari Window on 7.6.2006, using data from 2 respondents.
You can make your own Johari Window, or view ronniegatsby's full data.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Roland Garros 2006 - Men's Quarterfinals

Men's Quarterfinals

Federer vs Ancic
With Ancic pulling a Sampras (complete with the waterworks and cramps in the 5th set), he was able to eliminate the 2nd hottest player on clay, Robredo. However, there will be no stopping the pursuit Federer in his Roger-Slam. 4 sets.

Nalbandian vs Davydenko
Hooray, got this quarter right. This will go the distance, with both players having an even chance of reaching the finals. Argentina over Russia here, 5 long sets.

Benneteau vc Ljubicic
Similar to my comments with Vaidisova, Ljubicic has been a a force to be reckoned with on tour, but not on clay - it's nice to see him follow up his Melbourne QF with another one. He will crush the Frenchman's hope in 4 sets.

Djokovic vs Nadal
It's the 'New Balls Please Part 2" crowd in this quarter, and it's fantastic to see the young guns put a stamp on the court over the veterans. I don't see Nadal faltering in this match, but expect a match similar to the Mathieu challenge, but less of the craftiness, more of the hard-wrought groundstrokes. Nadal might give up a set, but most probably none.

Semifinals and Final
Federer will be warmed up by Nalbandian, in preparation for clay season's dashing finale, where a he will finally be victorious on clay, hold all Grand Slams, and end Nadal's winning streak in 5 long sets.

Roger Slam!

The record will remain at 59
Monday, June 05, 2006

Roland Garros 2006 - Quarterfinals

Women's Quarterfinals

Nicole vs Venus
While nobody was shocked to see Amelie say 'Au revoir' in 4R, it was a pleasant surprise to see Nicole breakthrough in her least-favored surface. On the other hand, Venus seems to have regained her new-found confidence on clay. Both rallied from difficult opponents, but it's going to be such a slugfest to garner a place in the semis. Now that Venus seems to be the veteran, I would expect her to win here - two tight sets.

Dinara vs Svetlana
Interestingly, the last two Russians will meet in a quarterfinal. Svet has lost to the eventual champion here the last two years, while Dinara had a good run in Rome. While Svetlana has the goods to rally around clay (having 3-time RG winner Arantxa as a coach is definitely a plus), Dinara has the momentum right now (Give the girl some credit, she climbed from 1-5 down against Sharapova). I would pick Lil Sis to earn her Grand Slam semifinal debut in 3 sets.

Justine vs Anna Lena
With Nadia faltering on opening day, our hopes of a gritty claycourt showdown were also rained out. Anna Lena has her best singles showing in any slam, but I'm afraid that that will be the end of it. Justine, the queen of clay will push through in straight sets.

Martina vs Kim
They last met in Melbourne, with 2005's Comeback Queen getting the better of 2006's Comeback Queen in 3 nailbiting sets. Finally, a showcase match for Paris! Kim will try to blast Martina out of the court, while the latter will try to play around the tricky clay. I hope this reaches 3 glorious sets, with Martina reaching the semis.

Semifinals and Finals
Venus vs Dinara - I would pick Dinara still. Justine vs Martina - Just the thought of having them out-think each other on the playful clay is simply delicious. Winner of this match will hold the trophy on Sunday. My heart wants Martina, but my gut says Justine.

Three-peat! Take that, Big Brother!
While waiting for the Men's fourth round to finish, I'm just dropping in to say that I went CD shopping yesterday. Picked up the following:

Under My Skin by Avril Lavigne
Franz Ferdinand
Light. Peace. Love. by Bamboo
Don't Bore Us, Get To The Chorus - Roxette's Greatest Hits
Mr. A-Z by Jason Mraz
Collected by Massive Attack

Was about to pick up Mandy Moore's Greatest Hits but J gave me a stern look, so there. Hey, I like Cry. Just some notes, Bamboo's sophomore album is great - the general sound is like Maroon 5 sans the cheesiness; Massive Attack is good, but I feel trip-hop is out of my league (however, Protection is still one of my favorite songs ever - now I have 3 copies of it); and Franz Ferdinand is similar to The Killers, minus the pop/dancehall sensibilities.

Now, Trish, any other requests? :D
Sunday, May 28, 2006

Roland Garros 2006

Men's Singles
Defending Champion: Rafael Nadal

Q1: Believe it or not, after three years of leading the tour, Roger Federer is actually the underdog in this Slam. Trailing Nadal 1-4 (4 of which were on clay, and 3 of those were just this year), it seems that there is someone better than Federer in the red courts of Roland Garros. Don't worry, the top seed has probably done his homework, but should not worry about Nadal until he reaches the finals.

A lot of work needs to be done, with an improving Ancic, and recent AMS Hamburg winner Tommy Robredo hanging around in his quarter of the draw. Should be elementary for the game's top dog until the quarters, where things should get interesting.

QF Match: Federer vs Robredo

Q2: Nalbandian for the upper half, but tight choices for the lower portion of this quarter.

Three previous champions are littered below, but which one will make it to the quarter finals? 1998 Winner Carlos Moya? His prime has long passed. 2003 Champion Juan Carlos Ferrero? The road to recovery for him seems to be leading nowhere. Or will Gaston Gaudio, successful in 2004, still contend for the final eight? Logic would say neither of them 3 would make it, Davydenko played in Austria last year and won, and still made it to the semis, if he can do that before, I don't see why not again this year, he's already won Austria again anyway.

QF Match: Nalbandian vs Davydenko

Q3: Andy Roddick still seems to be teasing the media with his sore foot, but the bottom line of it is "Who cares, you're going to win 2 matches at most, anyway." So forget about that. I'm not entirely sure as to how well Ljubicic performs on clay, but I would like to think that hardcourts would be his favorite. Expect the surprise/debutant quarter/semi/finalist from this draw.

QF Match: Rochus vs Ferrer

Q4: James Blake is the last US hope in the men's championships, and don't expect it to last very long. There's Haas, Safin and maybe Monfils in his side of the quarters. I'd choose Monfils over Blake, and Haas over Safin, assuming the Russian gets past Gonzalez in the opening round. And yes, Nadal too.

QF Match: Haas vs Nadal


Women's Championship
Defending Champion: Justine Henin-Hardenne

Q1: Ever since Amelie won her maiden Slam in Melbourne earlier this year, all of a sudden, she gets a tremendous amount of respect. Hopefully, that for her, it translates into self-confidence that she can win, especially in front of her fickle countrymen. Expect easy wins, even over Nicole Vaidisova, but not against Patty or Venus in the quarters.

QF Match: Amelie vs Venus

Q2: Same question as the men's draw, but replace "past champions" with "Russian teenager." Let's see. Maria - is she in top physical condition? Svetlana - has her coach Arantxa given her good training for clay? Dinara? Aah, nice showing in Rome. This one please.

Francesca over Svetlana, judging on previous performance.

QF Match: Dinara vs Francesca

Q3: This season's top claycourt players are in this draw, so expect a good workout from this quarter. Justine against Ana and Makiri versus Nadia in R16 before the main battle begins.

QF Match: Justine vs Nadia

Q4: All eyes are on Martina Hingis as she tries to reclaim the only Slam she hasn't won. She's already proven that she can still play on clay, with her win in Rome. She reached the QF in Melbourne fresh from retirement, why not in clay, where she should outplay most of her opponents. I'm just wondering how her resistance would hold up. No problems for Kim, but depending on the mood, Elena might outhit Martina in 4R.

QF Match: Martina vs Kim
Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Plans, plans, plans

There is one thing sure right now - I will be on vacation, outside of the country, in July. Exactly where, that is the problem. I'm trying to fit in as many holidays into this trip, but the plan is still vague. Let's just say, it's an Amazing Race challenge - tight budget, lots of cities, and all modes of transport.

Not to sound cliche, but the Peninsular Malaysia coupled with Thailand, with a dash of Cambodia sounds nice. Hey, it's inexpensive, safe (those bird flu outbreaks were relatively isolated cases), and well-traveled by tourists.

Here's the general plan, fly to Singapore, meet friends in both KL and SG, then I'm off on my own. Melaka and Penang in Malaysia, Koh Samui, Krabi and Phuket in Southern Thailand (ah basta, beach!), partying in Bangkok, and ruin-hunting in Cambodia.

Planning the trip is just about as fun as traveling, so I'm enjoying the moment as it is. I'm currently looking at train schedules, and hordes of travel guides (2 for Thailand, 2 for Bangkok, 1 for KL, 1 for Malaysia and a bunch of brochures for Singapore). Other than that, I'm doing a packing list that should fit in one bag. And picking about a hundred songs to squish in my Wlakman phone for the ride.

Now, any ideas on any of those?
Saturday, May 20, 2006

It's Been A Long Day I Tell You

There's this Scrubs episode that says "Every 4.8 seconds a man says something stupid." Great. Not offering an excuse here, I'm running on 3 hours of sleep, legs in pain that I feel paralysed from the hip down, and an amazing-race like itinerary that will drive you nuts. Gaaah. There, there.
Monday, May 08, 2006

I Can See Clearly Now

With every birthday comes a challenge - yeah, it's kind of too late for a birthday epiphany, but I meant to write this one earlier. As I was saying, with every birthday comes a challenge, and I've made a resolution that I will do something scary for my birthday. Don't worry, it won't be against moral dictum, and mostly within legal bounds. I said mostly.

How about driving up Baguio City in my car, at night. Mission accomplished. Too easy! So, I reverted to my original plan - how about wearing contact lenses? I had initially wanted to wear contact lenses at around November of last year, so I can wear sunglasses while preserving my perfect-albeit-corrected 20/20 vision (ah, vanity, my favorite sin). The moment the optometrist demonstrated the how-to's of contact lenses maintenance I got freaked out. It looked like she was going to take out her eyeballs. Ugh.

Last weekend, I mustered enough bravado (haha) and EQ (including enough not to go homicidal on that idiot who stole my parking space after waiting for 15 minutes-the nerve!) to try on contact lenses. Thanks to J for coming along and bringing the pity, apart from standing the optometrist's sungit and my almost forever squinting.

I can see clearly now. In more ways than I had intentionally wanted to.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Search Is On!

Interesting to note, that last week's after-hours spree was consumed by Word Factory. Now, before you go all nerd-pointing at me and my friends, WF has been a long standing competition between my high school friends, now known as people I've known half my lifetime.

It's absolutely amazing, you don't see each other for about 5 years or so, but the memories, stories, and more importantly, tirade of jokes and insults fit to a tee. Take note, I was mostly not with the people I graduated with, nor the ones I did my research paper with, but the first handful of people I met in my first days of school.

Short of calling this the Kathie Jamasali Memorial Cup (I do hear wild objections in my sleep), we'd like to thank Jam for suggesting the game while looking for an appropriate activity to match our booze-chugging in Baguio. We plan on making this a regular meet-up, with theme nights and such.

Not even the embarrassment of WF-ing in the middle of GB3 can stop us.

Here's what the sample board looks like.

Come join us!

Did you see the word 'reraises'? If you did, come join the club. There is a link for Word Factory at the sideboard of this blog.

Now you can start nerd-pointing.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Punkd On My Birthday

It's not what you think, I'm not a celebrity anyway. As a birthday treat to myself, I went CD shopping - since it's the only thing I can afford to gift myself. (Your gifts are welcome too... *wink).


I got this: Musique Vol 1: 1993-2005 by Daft Punk. Definitely the best electronica group of my generation. They caught my attention with their video Around The World, and I got instantly hooked. I mean, the video is not special effects-laden, it just features people dancing around in a circle, but there was something about the synth-vocals and the funny dance troupe. The proper genre is called "French House" - should I call it "la maison" then?

Anyway, great buy for beat-hunting music junkies; the album features the choppped-lyrics "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" (If you're going to hear this song for the first time, listen to the lyrics of the first two verses, then put them together. I promise, it'll be fun); the iPod advert song "Technologic" and several remixes.

Currently listening to Alive and Revolution 909 ;)


Website find of the week: Lots of remixes from this team - Should've known they were brilliant the moment they chose EBTG to sing The Future of the Future. Check out the jukebox, you can create your own playlist from a great selection of songs, and my favorites, remixes. Remixes for Dido, Janet, Gabrielle, Justin Timberlake and iio are on the site. Bonus trivia, I didn't know they were Iranians. I'm now a fan.