Saturday, March 31, 2007

from AZ to NV

Almost six hours, with a few more minutes spent during stops. That’s how much time we spent driving from Phoenix, AZ to Las Vegas, NV.

On our way, we dropped by the Hoover Dam, 30 miles outside Las Vegas. I was here more than 5 years ago so I wasn’t that excited. Okay, I’m lying. I was excited. I’ve always been fascinated by this marvelous engineering feat.

Checked in at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino as soon as we arrived in Las Vegas. It was a long and tiring trip but it was all worth it.


Friday, March 30, 2007

awed by 'O'

Had a bit of free time last night and I went to a couple of casinos to check on their offerings. First up was Caesar’s Palace to see if they still have tickets for Celine Dion. Newspaper announcements have trumpeted that this is her third and last year on the strip.

Wow. Three years have passed and I have not seen the show yet. So I went to the box-office and c hecked if they had single tickets available. Turns out Celine’s on vacation and will be back by April 12. They had Elton John’s “Red Piano” show but will be available only Friday and Saturday. Boo-hoo.

I trekked back to the Bellagio and I saw this stand-by line for tickets to the 730 pm show. It was a long line and obviously, I was the last. The line was moving slowly and I was losing my patience and my hope. One young-ish looking guy approached me and asked if I was looking for single tickets.

“Yes,” I replied and he fished out a ticket from his pocket. “I can’t watch the show so I am selling my ticket, face value,” he responded.

I asked how much. He told me it was on the third row, almost center. “$165, face value,” he said.

Thought for a while and I told him that I’ll take my chance on the line to see if there are cheaper seats. “$130,” he offered. I didn’t budge. I fished out my hundred dollar from my pocket and said, “This is my budget, sorry.”

He left and few minutes later, he returned. “Okay, one hundred bucks,” he said.

Then it hit me. What if this guy was a con man. What if the ticket’s fake? I’ll have no way of finding out and no way as well to hunt him down. He sensed my hesitation. “Hey bro, this is real. I won’t screw you,” he said. Not the exact words I wanted to hear. I was sold.

I rushed to the theater and I was ushered to my seat. This was going to be a freaking good show. I’m on the third row!


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

off to arizona!

two words: road trip!

it has been awhile since i ventured into a road trip. last time was a couple of years ago, when my friends and i went to the grand canyon. this new year's las vegas trip or even long drives to san francisco do not count. driving from california to another state (except nevada!) is a road trip.

i don't care if this is an official trip. i don't care of i am going to this trip with a couple of co-workers. i. don't. care. all i know is that i am due for a nice road trip and i am so looking forward to this one.

we're leaving in less than 5 hours and i haven't even packed yet. surprise, surprise. j & s had a little tea time at urth cafe in beverly hills and before we all knew it, it was already around 9. when i got home, i had to watch my recorded prison break and 24. i had to turn my computer on and update this blog. hahaha. skewed priorities.

so we're off to phoenix & scottsdale in arizona. we'll probably make a quick trip to tucson, then pass by tempe, mesa, gilbert and chandler (nice names for their cities, huh?). then by thursday, we're driving from arizona to las vegas. i've been to arizona before but this is the first time to drive from az to nv. excited. babaw ko.


Monday, March 26, 2007

america's love affair with the underdogs

who knew that at the end of the journey to crown the lead stars of 'grease, the musical,' we would see not just one, but two underdogs winning the votes?

max crumm was the unlikely danny zuko because of his looks. he was up against austin in the final 2 and as billy bush, the host, himself said, it was a battle between tom cruise and ben stiller. right there and then, i thought, max crumm's the new danny. i mean, tom cruise? did they think austin was going to be happy with the comparison?

laura osnes is also an unlikely sandy because, well, she's not blonde. hah! i don't have anything against her. she's cute and she sings well.

the show premiered in january and because of my trip to manila, i lost track of it until today when i got hooked again and watched the marathon on bravo before the 8 pm live finale sunday night. i have no idea if they got the idea (the reality show part) from bbc's "how do you solve a problem like maria?," a uk-based show looking for the lady who's going to play maria on the west end's "sound of music". caught a couple of episodes back in august when i was in london and i was instantly hooked. scoured the torrents for a few more but i am missing the final 3 or 4 episodes.

anyhow, this is what happens when producers make a reality show ("you're the one that i want" aired on nbc) out of their audition process. i honestly thought that austin had it in the bag since he has been doing musicalls all his life and he seemed to be the perfect danny. i just hope that max and laura be able to sell tickets. good luck.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

durian shake, anyone?

i've never had durian shake in my life so when the chance presented itself yesterday, i took it.

over late lunch at pho 57 in the outskirts of chinatown, i noticed the "durien shake" in the menu. i was hooked. i had to have it. i've had durian ice cream, durian pastillas, durian anything during my endless trips to davao eons ago and i've somehow fallen in like with the fruit (probably one of the very few).

r ordered guyabano shake and w had jackfruit shake. wow. the funny thing is w, an irish guy doesn't even know what a jackfruit is. or a guyabano. he's heard of durian, i think. we told him the 3 fruits are somehow related. like cousins. and jackfruit is the fragrant one while durian is the stinky one.

those are the only 3 fruit shakes available at the restaurant. i think i'm coming back for more.

lunch was good. had the traditional pork chop (done vietnamese style), baked egg, shredded pork and sunny side up on top. really good.


spring cleaning

For no apparent reason, I decided to redesign.

I let go of my previous template, and chose this new one.

Spring arrived earlier this week, yet the weather tells me it's still winter. There lies the irony. According to some published reports, this has been the warmest winter on record! I don't know about that.

The year's first quarter is about to end. Next thing we know, it'd already be 2008! But before that, the May elections. I'm a bit dismayed at the quality of people running for senator. As they would say on Grey's Anatomy, "Seriously? Seriously!" A lengthier post on this one in a couple of days...


Saturday, March 24, 2007

pinkberry addiction

my name is momar and i'm a pinkberry addict.

hahaha. i discovered pinkberry earlier this year but i didn't find time to blog about it. back then, it was just a once a week thingie, nothing regular. my fixation to the thing evolved into addiction slowly until i found myself literally craving for it. now, i need to have my pinkberry fix twice or thrice a week.

what's pinkberry you say? it's fro-yo, frozen yogurt. it's really, really good. the company is originally from seoul, i think, and this year, the company invaded the us of a, specifically california and new york. right now, they have around 8 in the u.s. and i'm quite lucky to have one near where i live. woohoo.

one of my favorite combination of toppings: cookies & cream and strawberry

photography is prohibited, i don't know why, but i managed to take some photos. this one's by the counter.

my other favorite: strawberry and blueberry. pinkberry offers just two flavors: original and green tea flavor and about 16 toppings, 8 fruits (strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, pineapple, banana, mango, kiwi and one more) and 8 non-fruits (including cookies & cream, cap n crunch, pebbles, white chocolate, coconut something, carobs and one more).

the interior of pinkberry. nice and funky chairs, well-designed space.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

starvation for sanjaya

apparently, some people have decided to starve themselves while sanjaya is still in ai. wow. that's uhm weird crazy wow.

So until the day that Sanjya is no longer American Idol, I will be going on a hunger strike. This means I will refuse to eat anything until American Idol voters wise up, and stop voting Sanjya through each week.
well, that and an endless exchange in some blogs about him. like this one. and this one. and yeah, this one, too.


sanjaya sails through

as i predicted (hahaha!), sanjaya malakar sailed through to the top 10 of this season. and on his path to american idol glory lay one more dream, shattered to bits. goodbye stephanie, i hardly knew ye.

my bottom 3: sanjaya, phil and stephanie
ai's bottom 2: chris and stephanie

at least i got the stephanie part. boohoo. chris looked scared though. what happened to his fanbase? they didn't like his mellow performance? but simon said it was probably his best so far.

p & r picked me up for dinner, so i missed the live show. i just finished watching it and i just feel bad that they don't even allow the booted contestant to sing his/her swan song. and they also do not ask for the judges' reaction anymore. why? probably because as early as top 24, the line "this is a singing competition" has been overused that the producers have probably decided to retire the line.

and sanjaya? unless you put on a decent performance in the coming weeks, you will always be in my bottom 3.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

heroes, interrupted

i'm a huge fan of heroes. i am.

i was on board the heroes train after i watched their pilot a couple of months ago. unfortunately, travel interrupted my weekly does of the show, so i was not able to sustain my interest. last january, before another trip, i did a heroes marathon and within two days, i was on board the train once again.

i was not about to let the possibility of seeing the cast in person when i found out that the show is included in this year's paley television festival, a project of the beverly hills-based museum of television and radio. so i inquired. turns out tickets for heroes have been sold out. awww.

fast forward to the night when my friend shau and i went to the brothers and sisters event. (this should be another post!) we met a lovely filipina who was working at the museum and she was very kind to hook us up with tickets for heroes!

so that saturday, we trooped to the directors guild of america on sunset boulevard to be at the heroes event. the creator selects an episode to show to the audience, then the entire cast goes onstage for a discussion. afterwards, the audience is given the chance to ask questions. how lovely.

i tried to get all of them in one photo but it was just too wide, so i cut creator tim kring (left) and the guy playing ali larter's wife and the moderator, access hollywood anchor tony potts (right). so those in photo are (goodness, i am not too sure about their names. hahaha. i know the characters they portray in the show!) isaac mendes (the artist who can paint the future), suresh (the son of the indian professor who compiled the list of all the people who have special "gifts"), mr. bennett (claire's father), parkman (he reads people's minds), claire bennett (the cheerleader whose power is spontaneous regeneration, which means that she's not going to die. ever!), hiro (he teleports and he can manipulate the time-space continuum), peter petrelli (the absorber. he absorbs the power of people around him), nathan petrelli (he flies!), niki sanders (has an alter-ego with a superhuman strength), micah sanders (communicates with machines). phew.

heroes is currently in hiatus and will be back on april 23. four more weeks!


Monday, March 19, 2007


"There is this mindset, which I think is so passe, that says: "The country is in shambles and the country is having a hard time and you are out there partying. But this generation is guiltless when it comes to that."
And the award for the 'Most Sweeping Generalization of the Year' goes to Tim Yap!

Yup, that was Mr. Yap's quote, in this Reuters article I came across earlier. It talks about the return of the urban elite to the "scene". Yes, THE scene. Think Imeldific. Think excesses.

I'm quite ambivalent with Mr. Yap's all-too-sweeping generalization of his generation being "guiltless" by partying when the country is having a hard time. Was he misquoted? Or did he really want the world to know that his generation (is it already Gen Y? or Gen Why?) is the 'work-hard and party-hard' generation?


Saturday, March 17, 2007


i made a quick trip to sacramento middle of this week to escape southern california's getting-to-be-warm weather. monday and tuesday were a bit on the really warm side. and it's only march.

the short one hour flight was uneventful. headed to my hotel to check-in and to prepare for the first phoner. yes, i flew all the way to the state's capital for a phoner. hahaha. this was to brief us for the event the foolowing day. anyhow, after that, i strolled a bit and found myself walking near the capitol. some of the streets are lined up with really beautiful flower-bearing trees. f says they are cherry blossoms but i am not convinced yet.

f arrived after about an hour and we strolled further to old town. this was 28 acres of the old sacramento and they were able to preserve it well. it actually looked as if i was inside the universal studios backlot. had dinner at this crab shack called joe's and it was full of people. on a weekday! i found out that this was one of the best seafood places in town.

the following day, j picked me up from san francisco. i was able to change my flight back to los angeles from sacramento to oakland so i could visit my riends in our sf office. m, j & i had dinner at san bruno ihawan, a really nice place that serves really delicious food. we ordered sinampalukang manok, pork sisg and crispy tadyang. woohoo. their sisg's not your usual sisig. it's actually pork inihaw in small cubes served on a sizzling plate. it's very, very good.

bought coffee in burlingame and hung out at m's apartment. around past 1, j and i went home. by 8, we were awake. we had to go to the ofc for me to finish the story i covered. we had plans to have lunch in downtown sf but since my story was a bit more important (hah!), we skipped lunch altogether and he just brought me to the airport around 1:30 to catch my 3 pm flight.

i was in LA around past 4, got to my ofc around 5ish. had a lovely dinner with some friends at palms in hollywood. r's dinner treat because he was promoted as their company's director of operations. yay! congratulations!


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

uninspired, uninteresting

hahaha! i am liveblogging the american idol!

my title refers to one of the judges' descriptions of chris sligh's (aka jack osbourne) out-of-this-world rendition of the classic 'endless love'. randy said it was kinda coldplay-ish speed of sound-ish and paul said chris should stop trying to fit and hip. hahaha. agree, agree. spot-on observations. can we eliminate him now?

earlier, melinda doolittle (my nasty friends call her carding, the other half of the reycards duet. if you're not filipino, sorry, can't explain it right now) did 'home' and she's quite good. she brought tears to paula's eyes. what is she on tonight? (paula, not melinda)

and oh, i don't remember the first guy's name. jared? okay. boring. he's the back-up singer, like melinda. sang can't hurry love. so unoriginal. wow. here's another one who can leave tomorrow. okay, so his name is brandon. jared left last week. hahaha. silly me.

wtf? pronunciate? is that even a word, ms. diana ross? 'you must pronunciate,' she told gina glocksen (aka pink wanna-be). she's singing 'love child' and she seems okay. i really liked her last week when she did evanescence's 'sober.' pitcy and boring, says randy. paula feels that melinda "is much better than you did tonight" and talked about enunciation. "not terrible, not fantastic, a little bit forgettable," says simon.

sanjaya malakar. hahaha. dude's singing ain't no mountain high enough, i think. another wtf moment. the fact that sanjaya's still here's just wrong. aj should still be here. or sundance. and i don't even like sundance. damn. i wonder how sanjaya's doing it. i read somewhere (one of the theories while he made it to the top 12. the votes were "outsourced" daw. hahaha. can the people working in call centers in india call the 1-866 numbers? can someone find out please?)

goodbye sanjaya. bring jared and chris sligh with you. sanjaya's currently channeling his inner diana. he's definitely gonna get a beating from the judges. "i don't even know what to say," sabi ni randy. thank god for the back-up singers. hahaha. hair's rockin. who cares randy? his smile doesn't warm my heart paula. his smile is scary. seriously. plastic. hahaha. yes simon, i can hear diana ross wailing from her beverly hills manse. hahaha. courageous sanjaya. goodness, america, put this kid out of his misery or he'll be scarred for life.

hayley's next. oh gee. another forgettable act, i'm sure. i'd trade this girl over sabrina sloan anytime of the day. sabrina was robbed. she's the fourth person whom i am not too much invested in. hahaha. i wish ai had an eliminate-4-week. hmmmm. she's actually sounding okay tonight. a bit subdued. and then she started wailing and flailing. oh girl, i thought you were doin good. back on my hate list. lol. okay, not-so-liked list. get your act together and i'll probably, probably change my mind.

what's with these people forgetting their lyrics? people! week 2 during the hollywood round, contestants get eliminated quickly. damn. "the audience doesn't know..." sabi ni paula. we're hot stupid, miss abdul. we fucking know. shmuck! please don't underestimate us.

phil stacy (aka lex luthor), the military guy. i'm gonna make you love me. kinda like it. he gave the song a fresh perspective. i've heard the song a number of times, and all of those times, women singers sang the song. okay, you're still gonna be here next week lex. pretty good, yeah. vocals were crystal-clear. hahaha. he shouts daw when he tries to hit the high notes. just like we pinoys love it. hahaha. admit it. when pinoy singers make birit and they shout till kingdom come and we cheer.

lakisha's up next. yay! her momma calls lakisha kiki. funny. ang galing ni kiki. that didn't sound right. lol. she's singing god bless the child. she's really big, and wearing that white gown didn't help at all. i'm still waiting (unless the judges said it during the auditions, i was in manila and was not able to watch all) for the jusges to tell her to lose weight because she doesn't look like an Idol. the same way they told j-hud to lose some weight a couple of seasons back.

controlled. kiki showed her control over her booming voice and delivered a felt performance. girl's really got it.

blake's 'you keep me hanging on' is fresh. first time i hear such version and such treatment. this guy's going to be here for a long time. blake versus chris richardson versus kiki versus melinda. final four. lol. unless they divide the vote and cancel each other out. chris and blake will cancel the screaming fangirls' vote, kiki and melinda will cancel the black vote. who's gonna win it all? uh-oh. sanjaya!

kuya dick, aka stephanie edwards forgot some of her lyrics too. completely outsung bu kiki and melinda. hmmm. poor third. among them black ladies. hehehe.

last one. jt-look alike, chris richardson. simon says it's dreadful and terrible. i didn't get to see most of it since i was chatting with friends. hahaha. excuses.

last one: jordin. hahaha. omg moment. was chatting with my hs friend, and told her that jordin's singing our graduation song. that i didn't know diana ross sang it. hahaha. ang sama ko. nde ko alam. alam ko na sa land before time yun, but i didn't realize diana sang it. sorry po. lol. yeah, this was our high school graduation song. hindi farewell. nyahahaha. lol.

okay, so my top 5 is complete. (paula is not familiar with the song? huwaat?) jordin, kiki, melinda, blake and chris. ang agang mag top 5. lol.


Monday, March 12, 2007


that's how rob & amber, my all-time favorite team ever, spelled my dear philippines during today's edition of the amazing race. that actually cost them the entire race. for the past 3 weeks, they finished the legs first. on this fourth leg, they bumbled. and they bumbled some more.

they had to list, using a map, the countries where ferdinand magellan went before, starting with seville, spain. wrong spelling wrong, and the person who checks the sequence won't tell the contestants if they had their spelling wrong or the sequence. rob & amber and dustin and kandice (yay! my other favorite time. hahaha) wasted their time here, and the sad thing is, they didn't even find out what was wrong with what they were doing.

so it was a foot race between charla & mirna and rob & amber, with the latter getting the boot! hahahha. yay! how the mighty have fallen.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

bench versus hollister

or should it be hollister versus bench?

hollister is sister company of abercrombie & fitch and sells some of the coolest shirts and pants in town. it wasn't as famous as a&f before but through the years, it has developed a loyal clientele.

last year, i bought a couple of shirts (from hollister) which i planned to bring to the philippines on my next trip. one of them was this shirt --

bench is a philippine-owned company and is probably its most popular. when i visited their mall of asia branch last november, i was surprised to see the same design (and same color at that!) on the shirt that i bought from hollister.

i took a couple of shots.

who copied who?


Friday, March 02, 2007

guilty redux!

okay, okay. not another guilty post.

aj tabaldo is out of american idol competition, and i am a bit guilty about it. for the record, i am apologizing to mr. tabaldo for not voting for him and not supporting his dream.

tuesday night we watched him. he was good, "nearly very good" even, according to simon cowell. i saw in him the confidence of a good singer and the flexibility. he tackled a nina simone song for crying out loud, and he soared. one of my co-workers admitted voting for about a hundred times and feared that aj was not getting enough votes since all her calls were getting through. my roomie said he voted about 20 times. he asked me if i voted, and i said no. "ang damot mo naman," he quipped.

i was not being "madamot," in fact, i was confident that he was sailing through the next round because he was good and he really delivered and this was, still, a singing competition. there were people (yes, sanjaya, i am looking, no, scratch that, STARING at you) who didn't perform at par last tuesday who deserved the boot. i'm not writing this rant because aj's pinoy or fil-am or mutt with filipino blood. i'm writing this because i honestly believe that he should be in the top 12. or top 14 even. he's steps ahead of sway penala (who, like aj now, got the boot during the second week of competitions).

i usually get attached to the contestants of ai when there are only 12 of them left but since i saw aj deliver an above average performance last week, i thought he was going to make it and that pinoys will have a new sensation. it's been so long since jasmine trias united the pinoys in voting.

oh well. sorry, aj. maybe next year?