Lost at iBlog 4

There are certain things to do when attending blogger events. Basically, you should expand your network by meeting new bloggers. You listen to talks, take down notes. Bring calling cards, or anything that will leave a good impression on everyone (chicken costume, anyone?); a calling card will do. If there’s a chance to broadcast your URL (the open mic session), grab it.

I did none of those things at iBlog 4.

Sure, I did listen to most (not all, unfortunately) of the talks, though my attention drifted from time to time. From the magician-like presentation by Juned Sonido to the wonderful and entertaining videos by Ms. Aileen Apolo and Coy Caballes to Ria Jose‘s funny asides to Mam Noemi Dado‘s presentation on online advocacies, one thought lingered in my mind. And no, I am not telling yah about it. Ok, maybe in another post.

Breaktimes were spent chatting with Dra. Tess Termulo and The Jester-in-Exile (whose cover was blown, no thanks to Juned); then with Manuel L. Quezon III, Dra. Tess, Jester, Eugene, Juned, and Benj.

I was actually looking forward to the Chicken Mafia‘s stunt, and what I thought to be a farce turned out to be true: Philos did come, and wore that chicken costume. And it was a hit! Everyone groped Philos for pictures, and I’m sure Joyfulchicken is envious ha ha ha! Imagine all those girls!

I finally got to fondlehandle a DSLR camera – and got to shoot two pics! – thanks to Dhon Jason. I will get one soon. If the economy improves, of course.

Oh, when Marcelle Fabie hit the stage, he was looking for me to be his “assistant.” It was thoughtful of him; one time, I complained that he did not show me his tricks, and so last Saturday was his chance. Too bad call of nature intervened. All was not lost however; he did show me SEVERAL tricks during the after-party, and he scares me, really (that’s my way of saying he’s awesome).

Seen at iBlog: Ade (isnabero sa personal), AJ (who came with Ernie, of course), Dexter, Fritz (too busy with someone), George, Jane, Marck, Shari.

The iBlog format this year is I think better than last year. What I mean is, the topics were better. There were still complaints, though, from other people, and saw Mam Janette Toral having to explain how the format came to be. I did saw one post that totally pissed me off, but not enough to rant about it. Anyway, for next year’s iBlog, here is my suggestion. This is not original, OK? I saw this format in action at The Varsitarian’s Thomasian Journalism Fellowship (I had attended the inaugural and the next two). Originally, it followed this year’s iBlog format, where all participants stay in one venue, listening to speakers. And since journalism is a wide field, the organizers thought of a variation of the iBlog 2 format: there were plenary sessions, one session in the morning and another one in the afternoon; and then concurrent sessions in between plenaries, grouped by subject, where participants can choose.

Of course, that would mean someone might want to sit in two sessions that share the same schedule. It can’t be helped, unless sessions are scheduled way in advance. (I hate Operations Research.)

And then there’s a complaint about Blogging 101. We can’t please everyone, I know, but that complaint has a point, in the eyes of those who were blogging since Freddie Mercury was still alive. That is why I believe the separate-track-and-plenary format is perfect for iBlog – to tailor the summit for everyone who wants to attend.

As for me, I attend iBlog for the community, to get to know new bloggers. Unfortunately for this year, it did not happen. No thanks to that preoccupation.


A perfect gift for a Hello Kitty fangirl

If you have a daughter/girl friend/niece/sister who is getting married and a huge Hello Kitty fan, I suggest giving her this as a wedding present (if you are the generous type, that is):

Hello Kitty Washing Machine

I am just not sure if it will really make her clothes clean. Or make her husband look cute.

(Image from Hello Kitty Hell)


What. A. Day.

Every Thursday and Friday, I wear jeans. Early today, annoyed that there was no pressed pair to wear. Was about to wear slacks when mom took out a new pair, which did not need pressing. Several minutes wasted.

Then on the usual corner, I hailed this AUV. As my usual, I went towards the front seat. I let this woman get in first, and then the driver told me to sit at the back instead, even if the front seat can sit another. Disgusted, I took another AUV.

And then the MRT. I know for certain that many were late today because of it.

Arriving at the office, my brother sent me a text message, informing me that one of the hamster pups died.

What a day. And that’s just the morning.

How’s your day today?


My hamster puppies

My hamster Berta gave birth last Holy Thursday. Mom was about to change her cage’s bedding when she saw some critters crawling.

“Ay, ano ito, bulate?” Mom shouted in alarm. (Ay, what are these, worms?)

Later, she recognized these to be small hamsters. It was a surprise for all of us, since we did not know she was pregnant. I was alarmed, though, that there were only three, since the average for teddy bear hamsters is seven (Berto and Berta’s batch was ten, though one died).

While the mother tended to be over-productive, we could not help but take a look every time, to see their progress. In their second week, one of them managed to slip in the mother’s milk bowl. Good thing there was only less than half a millimeter of milk. We had to get Berta’s attention, since we couldn’t touch them yet (the mother might get rattled and eat them).

Last Thursday, they reached three weeks, so it was safe to touch the pups. Time to change the bedding, which we did Saturday morning. They are so malikot, I had a hard time putting them back into their mother’s cage. They could always wiggle away from my hands. Here are some pictures:
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Expressing hate in Wikipedia

I was busy browsing Wikipedia (reading on World War II leaders, then on British monarchs), and I found a picture that I had not seen in most WWII-related books. So I clicked on the picture, and I was surprised when I saw this:

That person must really hate everyone to post his hate message in Wikipedia, though he is coward enough to hide it in the bowels of an image page.


Altar Boyz: Raise the Praise Tour Manila Leg

I think not everyone knows that I dig Japanese boy bands. They are so funny and corny and hilarious, that I cannot help but laugh or at least smile. Unfortunately that does not apply to Western boy bands. Don’t get me wrong. I passed through that time when Backstreet Boys and Westlife were kings of the airwaves, though there was Hanson and the Moffats. But yeah, I’m stuck with Japanese boy bands. They make me laugh still. Proof? Look at this one. Hilarious.

So, when I heard about Altar Boyz, my reaction was, watzdat? I mean, it sounded like a gangsta group of altar boys, and oh boy, no wonder Ratzinger was elected Pope. So googling around, I found that it was actually a musical that attempted to answer a simple question (so simple that I smacked my forehead and said “oo nga no?”): what if there is a Christian boy band?

So there I was at Onstage Greenbelt last night, seated at center for a preview, and a rather cheeky voice blared something cheeky, announcing that the Altar Boyz would electrify audiences within two minutes. There I became confused: is this a musical or is this a concert? Dummy, my rational side chided me, it was the concept of the play. Yeah, must be due to an empty stomach.

So the lights were turned off, the band started playing, and five guys began singing and dancing. And then it was laughter galore, thanks to the members of the Altar Boyz.

The play-within-a-concert (or is it a concert-within-a-play) is entertaining, funny, and hilarious but with a serious undertone, as satires should. It plays on the boyband stereotypes, from matinee idol leader, to a gay member, to an ethnic member. Add religion to the mix, and you get satire at its best.

There were some points when I couldn’t understand the lyrics; it really is hard to sing while dancing, and the reason why I like Japanese boy bands – they do that all the time. Also, it must be due to the mic that the actors were using, though during spoken parts, I could hear them clearly. And it is not the acoustics, either. So yeah, it must be the dancing routine. For someone who had neither of both talents, I was amazed by the song-and-dance routines – a testament to the talent of the actors. And in this regard, Altar Boyz are more like Japanese boybands than Western.

Note that most boy bands don’t have good singing voices. Some of the actors might not have good voice, but I think I can’t say that with conviction. After all, it was a preview, so as in any undertaking, the first time is always hard. So maybe the next show there will be improvements.

The stage is simple, no-frills affair, which is uncharacteristic of boy band concerts. It decreases the believability factor, but it is not really that essential to the story. Besides, KISS principle is a good maxim to live by, even in design.

The choreography was awesome, more akin to Japanese boy bands. Cmon, Western boy bands don’t dance like that very much, though in this production, I think over-danced ha ha ha. Jason Zamora (of the Manoeuvers fame) did the choreography for Altar Boyz, and no wonder it was extreme (as compared to current/past boy bands).

Matthew is the leader, has the matinee idol looks, though at the show, he looked subdued, or maybe he was overshadowed by the other characters. For example, when Matthew was singing a love song, everyone was laughing because of Mark’s antics. PJ Valerio plays as Matthew.
Mark might be the token gay member, but he is a scene stealer. His solo song was hilarious, and the delivery was superb. Red Concepcion is a theater veteran, and his talent shines, giving justice to Mark’s character all throughout the concert/play/whatever you want to call it I don’t care.
Juan is the ethnic member (Mexican), he has the funnier lines, specially when he is pointing at someone in the audience. Making him sport curly hair worked to emphasize his Mexican image. He had some funny moments, too. This is Reb Atadero’s first professional play, and not bad for the rookie.
There’s this stereotype of dumb but good looking people, and Luke represents this image. He is also the Britney Spears-Lindsay Lohan-Paris Hilton of the bunch, complete with the use of “exhaustion” as euphemism for psychological disorder. He also reminds me of Ty Pennington for sheer hyperactiveness. I couldn’t understand his lines that much, maybe because it was slang. But his exaggerated delivery, together with the gestures, worked for me. Reuben Uy was once a member of a boy band (Akafellas) himself, though his character Luke is almost antithesis to the Akafellas image.
Abraham is the odd-man out, being Jewish. At first I wondered why he was even in the play. Aside from being a plot device later on (sorry, no spoilers), he had his funny moments too. Chevy Mercado plays Abraham, and he danced so well that it was a surprise that he is not a dancer.

Did I like it? Very much. The play is funny, the actors did well, and the choreography extreme. You will enjoy watching, it gives a good laugh. I may have to remind you that if you are a fundamentalist Christian, leave your faith outside the theater before watching this play. For one time, just enjoy, mk?

And no, my views about boy bands have not changed a bit. Incidentally, New Kids on the Block is reuniting. Yay.

Altar Boyz plays at the Onstage Theater Greenbelt 1 from April 4 to 27, 2008. Shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3:30pm. Tickets are at Php550, Php350, and Php 250. For tickets, reservations, and information call the Rep office at 8870710 or Ticketworld at 891999. You may also log on to www.repertory-philippines.com or www.ticketworld.com.ph. Tickets are also available at the REP office located at 2316 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City and at the gate before every performance.

Supporting Repertory Philippines for this production are the City of Makati, Ayala Malls, Nu Skin Enterprises, and Bubba Gump in cooperation with Make Up For Ever, Clickthecity.com, Business Mirror, Lane Moving and Storage, Gourmet’s Coffee, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Crossover 105.1, 92.3 XFM, Jam 88.3, Mellow 94.7, NU 107, Spicy Fingers, Human, Basement Salon, Sarabia Optical, LMK Commercial, and Mayflower 1620 Enterprise.


Mr. T brings patient out of coma

Who’s afraid of Mr. T? Apparently, coma is afraid of Mr. T.

Mr. T, known for his tough guy roles (in The A-Team and WWE), apparently has mystical powers:

Former The A-Team star Mr. T once stunned a sick child’s family by bringing him out of a coma – after doctors begged the actor for help.

The poorly kid fell unconscious in Detroit, Michigan in the mid-1980s – and the only physical movement he made was in response to hearing Mr. T’s name.

And when the mohawked star was in town, he stopped by the hospital to visit the ill boy – with miraculous results.

He tells Empire magazine, “His family put toys around him and one of them was a Mr. T doll. And whenever my name came up, the boy moved his arm.

“Somebody told the doctors I was in town, so they called me down there. I closed the curtains and prayed. Then, as I was walking down the hall, the kid suddenly came out of the coma and hollered out.

“That was my supernatural moment.”

It must be the mohawk. And all that bling-bling.


Aoi Teshima – The Rose

Dedicated to a friend, who is currently broken-hearted.

The Rose
Version by Aoi Teshima

Some say love it is a river
that drowns the tender reed
Some say love it is a razor
that leaves your soul to bleed

Some say love it is a hunger
an endless aching need
I say love it is a flower
and you its only seed

It’s a heart afraid of breaking
that never learns to dance
It’s the dream afraid of waking
that never takes the chance
It’s the one who won’t be taken
who cannot seem to give
and the soul afraid of dying
that never learns to live

When the night has been too lonely
and the road has been too long
and you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter
far beneath the bitter snows
lies the seed that with the sun’s love
in the spring becomes the rose


How Holy Week was spent before and after 2003

When my paternal grandmother was still alive, Holy Week meant trooping to her house in Novaliches. There was no Mindanao Avenue Extension back then, and the traffic was horrendous – it was like physical penitence there and then.

She moved to Novaliches during my elementary years – that means after EDSA 1. The space was a compound shaped like a hexagon, with two sides being walls, a gate, and three as houses attached to each other. The said compound was provided by an engineering and metal works company where my father worked as a lathe machine operator (and foreman in the later years until the company folded up, victim of the 1997 Asian financial crisis) for more than 20 years. My dad chose to house my grandmother (together with an aunt) there, while we stayed at the production compound, so that my mother could tend to the cafeteria business.

An uncle was able to work in South Korea, and had earned enough to buy a 120-square-meter house and lot also at Novaliches. The area looked like it was in the province – unpaved and narrow road, lots of plants and trees, and vacant lots at three sides of the house. It was a good bargain back then, too good to be true. And it was.

Anyway, despite the change in scenery, our three-day Holy Week stay remained the same – hot, humid, and boring. My grandmother being cerrado Catolico (well, not really) and spendthrift, we had nothing to do at all. And being a brood of five males, nothing to do meant boredom. We actually looked forward to going home.

There was a TV, but watching was not allowed (except for religious rituals being shown on TV, and besides, there’s no cable). There was a radio, but only being used by grandmother during Angelus. There was nothing much to read either – back then, I was not yet enamored to books, and I was incapable of getting any – except for some cheap comics. These are back issues that you could get at one peso per each copy.

combatronComics back then was different from what the current generation is used to. Titles include Aliwan, Funny Comics, Wakasan. Each issue contained either short story comics, or the latest installment in the novel. An issue could contain at most five stories. My favorite then was Funny Comics, because of Combatron. I used to buy new issues every Friday. Lost interest when the story was ended.

Going back, we were subject to traditional beliefs, specially on Good Fridays. No meat till Sunday, no bathing after 3PM of Good Friday till Easter Sunday, no TV, no radio. Sleeping was the only recourse we had. Oh, I do remember brick games (actually a variation of Tetris), which were the rage during the blackout years of late Cory Aquino-early Fidel Ramos era. They were good time wasters, and mom had to buy two, though I was not really good at it.

Around year 2002, things had changed. The tranquil place that was my grandmother’s house became squatter hell – the notorious lots (which I had written about here). Then my grandmother, then a robust old woman of 70, became sickly. She got little sleep; a cat running on the roof would wake her up.

Her death brought to end the traditional yearly hike to Novaliches. It also brought an end to quaint beliefs. Now, I spent the long holiday watching TV and uploading some new plugins. Unfortunately, I am becoming addicted to Korean drama. But that’s another story.


Contact is lost

I had updated my phone’s firmware, and the stupid me forgot that I should back up my contacts first. Hence my phone carries no phone numbers.

If I had your contact numbers before, can you please give them to me again? You can send me a text message or a direct message via Twitter. KTHXBAI.