Monday, April 30, 2007

Of Spoiled Surprises, an Over-Eager Cousin and a Solicitous Aunt

In a nutshell, the surprise birthday party that my brother and I (with the help of a lot of accomplices) planned so meticulously went well, except for some kinks. An over-eager cousin being one of them.

I arrived a day before my mom’s birthday so I had to stay somewhere and make my homecoming on the actual day. My brother picked me up. We were 15 minutes away from our home when my brother’s cell phone beeped. Then he cracked. He said that the surprise has been ruined. I was beginning to get pissed.

His phone rang, He responded it. After a few sentences were exchanged, he began to laugh. I didn’t find it amusing. It turns out that my cousin from California called up to greet my mom, and asked if I had already arrived. Ugh.

So, my arrival in front of our driveway was not as dramatic as I had envisioned. The entire plan was preempted. My arrival was, pure and simple, anti-climactic.

My mom cried when I got off the car. I greeted her a Happy Birthday and hugged her real hard. The other car arrived, and out came the balloons (my niece was mocking her father, my brother, asking if we were having a children’s party), the lechon and some other pre-ordered food. My mom couldn’t believe her eyes. She thought I was the only surprise. She didn’t know that a grand party was about to unfold.

One by one, the visitors started arriving. My mom’s only living sibling, her elder sister, arrived from Tarlac in a van filled with all but 3 of her grand-children. It was my first time meeting some of them.

My mom’s cousins and her friends also arrived as well. Quoted from mi madre: “This is the happiest birthday ever!” I’m happy.

And oh yeah, the aunt. One of my aunts cornered and asked me, no, make that ordered me to get married soon. “Hijo, you’re not getting any younger. You should get married soon. Soon!” she commanded. I looked at her and couldn’t help but manage a very dry smile. Like, what-do-you-care smile. Or a what-are-you-on smile.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

happy camper

...because 'heroes' is back, and it rocked!

who knew? linderman's one of them, and so is gramps. i just don't know what her special talent is. i feel sad that isaac mendez is sorta dead. i'm excited about what's going to happen next week. you versus me, the old hiro versus the future hiro. damn. peter petrelli's not dead and he's not gonna die ever. good for him and claire! (during the last museum of tv and radio event that i attended, the cast said that they get worried when they get their scripts because they do not know as to when they are going to die. the same sentiments said by the cast of 24 a few days later.)

one more reason i'm happy?

i'm off to manila. again. for the third time in the past six months. yay!

i'm surprising my mom. it's her birthday on the 28th and i conspired with my brother. we're making a big surprise birthday party for her and i can't wait. i'm leaving tomorrow.

and there's a third reason why i am happy. but this one's not just happy but a mix of happy/excited/challenged. the whole story in a month.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

spinning, and not the exercise kind

and it's also not the washing machine kind. it's my schedule and my world.

i'm in las vegas right now to cover an event. whew. went around the red rock hotel/casino/resort and i have to say i'm quite impressed with the way the hotel was done - from the ornate ceiling to the well-planned floor. its interiors are tastefully designed and it really looked pretty.

the hotel has 2 starbucks cafes, lots of restaurants, a bowling alley (with 72 lanes!), a cineplex with 16 cinemas, an arcade and lots and lots of well, space. nice!

but that's not where we're staying. boo-hoo. we're at the trusted marriott courtyard because the trip was last-minute and most of the strip hotels are booked because of some conventions and if ever there are available rooms, the prices are quite prohibitive. like almost $500-prohibitive. not good.

i love marriott courtyards because their beds are great; they have free internet access in the rooms and parking is free. hahaha. i hate hotels that charge $9.99 to $14.99 per day for internet access. that's just not cool.

by the way, had dinner at the casino's (red rock) buffet resto and had a really good dinner. i had some rib-eye steak and so much gelato i could still taste the espresso flavor i had. and they had a bulalo-type oxtail soup. and lots of no sugar added desserts.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

scenes from manhattan

Trees without leaves. Taken @ West New York, overlooking the Manhattan skyline.

r2d2: live at Times Square -
this is what happens when the usps celebrates 30 years of star wars.

it's all about the subway. this station on 42nd street had 9 lines passing through it. 9!


Sunday, April 15, 2007

i heart jfk

jfk the airport, that is. it's like i was deprived of wi-fi access for the past few days that i was like a kid in disneyland when we arrived at the jfk airport yesterday to check in for our evening flight.

becaause of a storm that was going east, our flight was delayed by about an hour but the pilot was good that he probably oversped up there, if it was all possible.

so i'm back in la-la-land. the weather last night was a bit cold and today's a wee bit too windy. i slept until around noon. i really need this rest to recharge, for tomorrow's the start of yet another hectic work-week.

i'm going to make some important steps in the near future and my mind's still quite muddled. i'll write about it as soon as i get more details. in the meantime, i need to do some catching up.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

one. singular sensation.

that's currently my lss (last song syndrome po) because i just finished watching 'a chorus line' on broadway because i was able to score a ticket from tkts. i originally wanted to catch monty python's spamalot but it was already sold out by the time i reached the box-office. so i settled for 'a chorus line'.

now this one is totally different from the previous musicals i've seen. while others dazzled me with their costumes and complex stage designs, 'a chorus line' gave me a closer look into what happens during a broadway audition. it was smorgasbord casting and not one character could come forward to claim that s/he owned the show.

except for diana.

diana morales. she's a puerto rican character whose passion in life is dancing and she's auditioning to become a part of a chorus line. with no costumes or stage engineering to catch the audience's attention, the characters have no one but themselves to depend on to.

this character diana performed two of what could be the most famous songs to ever come out of this production - nothing and what i did for love, and she did so by not over-singing the songs and the audience clearly felt that she was singing from the heart. (lea salonga performed 'nothing' during her ccp concert last month in manila and it was fun to see her change the lyrics as she changed 'diana morales' to 'lea salonga'. anyhow.)

it's still a cold 30s here in manhattan and i think it's going to rain (with some flurry) tomorrow. so much for cold weather. i am so looking forward to basking in california sunshine.


spring awakening

i was in search for a musical to watch on broadway and i had no idea about the new ones that recently opened. tops on my list of course, is the return of les miz and a chorus line, two classics, then there's my drowsy chaperone, there's the pirate queen (by alain boublil and michael schonberg, the guys behind les miz and miss saigon) and then there's spring awakening.

at the eugene o'neill theater on 47th street

i normally buy my tickets at tkts, the discount place for tickets to broadway shows, both musicals and plays. anyhow, not a lot of shows were listed on monday or maybe i was just a bit late in lining up. for this day, i was torn between watching rent again (to check out frenchie) or catch a new one (whatever). spring awakening caught my attention so i strolled to where it was playing just to see what it was all about.

the first poster i saw proclaimed, "Music by Duncan Sheik". I was in. I ran back to tkts to buy my ticket. Luckily, there were a couple more.

just like my previous trips, i stayed on outside to catch the cast sign autographs. i didn't have them sign my playbill but i took a couple of photos.

if you ever watch 24 (yes, the series on fox), this guy (named miles on the show) was one of the baddies (not the terrorist type baddies though).


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

i love new york

new york city never fails to amaze, inspire and fascinate me. that's why i had no second thoughts when my boss told me that we're off to the big apple for a couple of weeks. yay!

not to preempt any official announcements, we are expanding our operations to cover new york city! finally! i'm quite excited to be doing the preliminary work here, in the same way that we prepared and worked hard when we opend our san francisco office in 2002 and manila in 2005. it's really challenging and mind-boggling at the same time.

lovely, lovely view. taken @ 9:45 eastern time.

took the red-eye from burbank airport last night and arrived at jfk before 6 this morning. we rested a bit after checking in our ultra-super swank hotel at the hyatt regency hudson. ayluvet. hehehe. our room has a long porch that stretches to the hudson river which gives us a million-dollar view of manhattan's skyline. awesome!

had early dinner at krystal's, a filipino turo-turo in queens. it was around 5ish in the afternoon and we were just supposed to have snacks but we were surprised to see a lot of people (full house, almost) already eating dinner. what the heck. we had sinampalukang manok (yumyum. no restaurant in LA cooks sinampalukan like this), grilled galunggong, grilled eggplant, daing na bangus. uh-oh. foooood!

photos to follow. (of the killer view from our nice room, not of the sinampalukang manok and galunggong!)


Monday, April 02, 2007

random rambling

just finished watching a 2-hour episode of the amazing race: all-stars. i am totally, totally onboard this season and i have never missed an episode. charla and mirna's winning streak was cut abruptly because they had a bad, bad day. to think that they were ahead by almost a day over the other teams because they took the risk of flying from maputo to johannesburg then a connecting flight (risky, since the flights were full and they were just on stand-by) to tanzania.

then when they were in tanzania, some mysterious "weather disturbance" did not allow them to travel to the island of zanzibar, allowing oswald and danny to catch-up. anyhow. i don't have clear favorites out of the remaining teams, but joyce and uchenna are top on my list because they play well, they don't shout at each other that much and they have much respect for the other teams.

the same cannot be said of charla and mirna, although they make for really good television. just tonight, i had laugh-out-loud moments just watching them. and the beauty queens? oh, don't get me started on them. i find them kinda superficial. but they also make for good tv because of their "beauty queen moments."

the two gay teams, well, i'm quite ambivalent. the guidos are way too dramatic and danny and oswald, well, they're kinda likeable. which leaves me with the last remaining team on the race: danielle and eric. i'm not invested. i don't care if they get eliminated but i won't be happy if they win.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

april fools

wow. i can't believe it. the first quarter of 2007 is over.

anyhow, got back from my trip to arizona and nevada friday night. then yesterday, i had to cover the los angeles premiere of paraiso, the gawad kalinga movie.

that's maricel soriano chatting with butch jimenez

i got an interview with maricel soriano, one of the stars of the film and butch jimenez, one of the movie's producers. the program/cocktail reception started around 4 pm but the actual movie started around 730 because they had a program where they explained about gawad kalinga.

the movie's quite good. it's a trilogy and each of the stories focused on people who have been directly or indirectly helped by the organization. the first one had a tacky title, umiyak man ang langit, but it was the bext among the 3. it's just, it was kinda heavy and a bit depressing. well, any movie that focused on the leyte landslides in 2003 would be deemed heavy. this one starred maricel.

the second one was light, and it starred michael v and carmi martin. it focused on a boy who eats rocks/stones. they later explained that this is a psychological disorder among neglected children. it had its funny moments.

the third one starred cesar montano as a new york-based fil-am who donated to gk in honor of her wife's memory. i don't know what it is since i can't seem to pinpoint it but there's something about this one that didn't work for me. probably because they were establishing the fact that the couple (cesar and his caucasian wife) were already married for 25 years and yet they cast an actress who looked like she's just in her late-20s or early 30s. and they didn't even exert an effort to make her look older through make up. it was just unbelievable and quite a stretch. other than that, the story-line was quite thin and not-at-all compelling.

this film will be shown in manila mid-June, when the elction ban would have been lifted. cesar montano is running for senator and that for that reason alone, the producers have decided to show the film in the philippines after the elections.



no, not the racing kind. it's my tv/movie marathon slash addiction.

i recently discovered more sites (aside from youtube) that show tv shows and various movies. this means that over the past 2 weekends, i've watched a number of movies already. let me count: last week - my first romance (haha!) and kasal, kasali, kasalo. this weekend - anak, the classic and 300. yes, 300! i'm quite surprised myself. it's still showing at the neighborhood cinema near my place and since i've been hearing only good word about it, i was planning to see the film this weekend. but then, veoh came along.

i loved the movie. gerald butler is good but rodrigo santoro as king xerxes rocked! he looked like a gay dennis rodman, and that's a good thing. haha! the effects were magnificent, the fight scenes were awesome, the costume, well, who's complaining? lol.

more capsule reviews: i liked the classic. it's a korean film and i heard about it when i was in my "my sassy girl" phase because of their deft use of johan pachelbel's "canon in d" which i love so dearly. this one i watched through crunchy roll, which specializes in asian cinema. thanks r, for sharing the site with me. the only caveat, unless you earn points, you can only watch using their 2 x 3 screen. this was totally fine by me since i have been searching for this movie everywhere (it's not on veoh) and even in local video stores. maybe i should have extered more effort and went to k-town. but then, i don't think they'd be releasing sub-titled movies in k-town. but maybe they did, for the english-speaking koreans. well.

kasal, kasali, kasalo is one wonderful movie i'd recommend to all my filipino friends here. it was the topgrosser in last year's metro manila film festival and starred real-life couple ryan agoncillo & judy ann santos. the story was very realistic and the dialogue very crisp & fresh. kudos to joey reyes for coming up with a heart-warming and poignant look at newly-married life. judy ann's character is a barangay kagawad from cabanatuan city and a batotay magnate and she is played with a lot of flair by veteran actress gina pareno. (batotay is the famous cabanatuan beef longganisa. i prefer the really garlicky versions and everytime i am home, my mom cooks it for breakfast). ryan's mom is played by gloria diaz and she's also quite good in this film as a rich woman who lives in the u.s.

heard there's going to be a sequel and they're going to call it sakal, sakali, saklolo. it's gonna be hard to top the first one so they better make sure that the story-line and the dialogue and oh yes, the characters are all in sync.