Confession of a non-Michael Jackson fan

Photo credit: Yahoo!


June 26, breakfast (Philippine time). Upon turning on the TV to catch up on the local TV morning show that we regularly watch, the news about someone being rushed to the hospital in the US caught my attention. In my half-conscious state I heard the name Michael Jackson. The news updates that followed became bleak and certain – it says a pop icon is dead? “Who died again?”, my mind was still trying to process what was going on then and trying to make sense why all of a sudden the world seem to be glued to the boob tube.

Upon switching to CNN and other International news network on cable TV my question was finally answered. It’s THE Michael Jackson indeed. It is the king of pop. It is one of the most influential and controversial artist who ever lived. And he’s now dead.

Honestly, I felt bad of course after learning about the news. Someone passing away isn’t after all a good news and the fact that this isn’t just a mere someone makes it all sadder. And for his avid fans, needless to say, this is the saddest that it will ever be. (Un)Fortunately, I’m not among them.

I’ve tapped my fingers to his songs, I’ve moved my head up and down to his beats and yes, I’ve even had one padded-shoulder jacket once (not by choice but by fad). And who knows, some might have even seen me do a pathetic moonwalk before. But I’m just never a big fan.

Now with the death of Michael Jackson and everyone almost mourning, I all of a sudden find myself the only one not doing so. All of a sudden I felt left out. All of a sudden, people whom I didn’t expect to be Michael Jackson fans began pouring out their sentiments about what happened to the king of pop. All of a sudden I felt guilty that my avid memories of Michael Jackson are about the jokes that people told and made about him.

I’m now questioning myself where are the people who sent me emails about the black to white transformation of Michael Jackson. Where are the people who joked that the cub scouts need to watch out for the Bad singer (pun intended) rather the bears in the woods. Where are the people who laughed at the hilarious MJ lines of Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno. Where are the peole whose one of their memorable parts (if not the most) of the George Clooney movie, Three Kings, is when one of the villains said MJ’s famous song line, “huhu, hihi”. Where are you now people? Please speak up.

So as I now wait for these friends, contacts, online buddies, etcetera to go out in the open and share what they really feel now that they’ve lost one ice-breaker material, I might as well be on my own and brace myself to be visited and hounded by a ghost coming from the Neverland ranch owner. The problem though that I have right now is whether I’d be on the look out for one that’s black or or one that’s white. Ti abi.


Mood: 4/10 Honks!

Love congress. Hate videoke.

How do you spot a Filipino among the crowd? He is staring at your mic.” – Russel Peters


Hallelujah! It’s an unlikely declaration but I’m now among the thousands of Filipinos rejoicing right now after watching the evening news. At last something sensible came out of the Philippine congress when one of those we used to tag as pork-barrel-hungry-politician finally proposed a bill to ban the videoke and other noise pollution sources.

I’ve blogged about it for a number of times already. In fact, I mentioned about it once again yesterday. Every time I hear one from afar or worse coming straight out from a neighbor’s house, I freak out; it always test my patience and tolerance and often times I can’t help but curse whoever invented it…including the one holding the mic. Now, my hope and wish for banning this ubiquitous gadget is at least coming to reality. Although to be honest, I never expected that redemption will come from our government’s legislative body; I’ve got used to seeing them bickering about anything but for the common good. At least, they’re now working (but why do I have this feeling that election time is just around the corner).

Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not for the full annihilation (the best word I can get) of this infamous musical box. On the contrary, I’d like to have it retained but under several conditions since I know a lot of people and friends who can sing with it fairly well. And as much as I hate to accept it or agree with most of its supporters, parties will indeed have that uncomfortable void without it. That’s because most of us Filipinos have this penchant to sing; unfortunately, even those who can’t even produce a decent tune. This love of singing has made the videoke become a necessary party tool and it is loved by everyone from all walks of life: from the hotels to the very unlikely corner of the slum areas, one will find this iconic box whether one likes it or not. And this is when I think the problem begins. It is all about location, location, location.

Alcohol and videoke does mix. At least if done in resorts...and if this picture doesnt get through your wifes facebook.

Alcohol and videoke does mix. At least if done in resorts...and hopefully this picture doesn't get through your wife's facebook.


I haven’t listened intently to the news about it as I was almost in nirvana the moment I heard its introduction. I actually thought for a moment if I was dreaming about it. But yes, one congressman finally opened his ears and listened to the rising sentiments against the videoke. This musical box composed of a monitor, player, microphone and an array of large speakers is now very much available that one can even rent it for Php 500 (USD 11) and can already torture his unfortunate neighbors for 24 hours. It’s times like this that I can’t help but compare the videoke to a gun – in the wrong hands it just can do unnecessary damage. So just imagine how many peace loving people cheered (and kneeled) when they heard the proposal to ban it.

Last week, I heard the head of the senate proposing to have additional congressman. I was among those who reacted, “What the….?” But hey, what if it was part of the plan to have more pork-barrel-hungry-politician to back up the videoke regulation bill? Well, if that’s the case, get more of them now, feed them pork and I won’t even care…as long as they pass this bill soon.


I can’t get enough about this videoke thing that I actually have some wild ideas to control it (which I made up just yesterday after hearing our neighbors desperate covers):

  1. Like driving, possession or rental of a videoke should be licensed. Those applying should undergo test in front of demeaning judges like they do in the American Idol.
  2. Testing will include sobriety test. But this time instead of testing if the applicant is drunk, here he will be required to drink alcohol. And if the applicant shrieks once he/she hits the high note, he/she automatically is rejected and will have to retake the exam after a year.
  3. Homeowners association should not allow any parties with a videoke.
    1. In case a homeowner insists to have one, he/she will be required to soundproof his/her house and that singing will be strictly done indoors;
    2. His/her neighbor in turn will be given a 24 hour gun permit-to-carry with a clause that allows him to fire at will if soundproofing is breached and ignored.
  4. Makers of the videoke will be required to have a stringent scoring software installed. It should sense a bad singer even just midway of the song. If the singer incurs two successive low scores it will automatically disable the whole machine. In case of attempts to enable it, the videoke will dial the nearest police desk for immediate arrest.
  5. Makers of the videoke should include a remote control which will be distributed to all neighbors within the 50 meter radius where the party is being held. Each neighbor can then anonymously push a button to score the singer. Each remote control however should have a mandatory shut off button – in case one gets tired of scoring and have decided to have an uninterrupted sleep instead.


Happy singing everyone…but please sing responsibly!



Mood: 2/10 Honks!

Journey live in Manila

Journey band with their Filipino front man - Arnel Pineda

Journey band with their Filipino front man - Arnel Pineda. Photo by: mde1225

This post’s purpose is twofold. First, just give tribute to the band Journey who will be performing live tonight in MOA – I just can imagine the traffic jam on all roads going to that area right now. Second, is to test one feature of Blogger that isn’t available in WordPress – posting pictures coming directly from Photobucket (one should have an account to be able to do so).

It only requires three steps to do it:

  1. Point the mouse arrow to the image of choice.
  2. Click on Blogger’s icon.

    Why isnt WordPress among the option?

    Why isn't WordPress among the options?

  3. Enter your Blogger account info (user name and password) and the title of your blog.
Again, why cant I see a W icon here.

Calling WordPress admins, can you do something to have that "W" icon included.

The problem here however is that only the title and image will appear on your blogspot. To post text (comments, insights, rants, etc.), the blog needs to be edited and re-published. But if you don’t mind words to come with the image, then so be it. Whatever option you take, this is still one good thing about having Blogger – I just wish there will be more.


There’s no question about Journey’s popularity. In fact, in my WordPress blog alone, both of my Journey blogs are top post number 1 and 2…followed by people checking Who is the “Time-Killer”?. Hmmm.


Does this shows that the Time-Killer as popular as Journey? I wish.

Does this show that the Time-Killer is as popular as Journey? I wish.



 (note: This post was originally intended for Blogger)


Photo credit: mde1225


Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Practicality = Piracy


I couldnt say any better. Photo by: vikrameb

I couldn't say it any better. Photo by: vikrameb

Yesterday while I was on my way to work, the discussion over the radio got me so immersed into it that I had to maintain the minimum focus required to drive safely. And how can I not, the condition was perfect: there’s nice summer sun outside, I was tuned to Magic 89.9 FM’s morning show with Mo, Mojo and Grace Lee and they’re talking about my favorite topic – piracy.

I have a love-hate relationship with this show. But more often than not, I’m tuned in to this station as I find this lively trio very great companion especially when driving alone…and sleepy. Some people call or classify such show as talk radio because most the time there’s incessant blabbing about almost everything under the sun. And when I say everything, it really does mean almost everything. Thus, making the show as one of, if not the only, the most controversial morning shows.

Among the trio, the most dominant character is Mo who’s not only a fast talker but who is likewise full of ideas that some of it are out of this world, downright offending (at least to me) and some are just not even fit to be discussed during a morning show wherein every mom, dad, uncle, aunt and other mature individuals may be listening and may be with kids at the same time. I’ve heard him discuss about premarital sex, religion, politics, lesbianism and other taboo stuffs, and of course, piracy.

So yesterday was no exemption. The moment I heard him mention the word piracy, I slowed down and I listened – the discussion among the group and their exchanges with the callers were interesting albeit I find some of it just irritating.

Mo was once again defending and reiterating his stand that although he doesn’t directly promote piracy on his (their) radio show, he sees a lot of advantage and benefit out of it – other than the obvious difference in price between the licensed and the bootleg. One of the things he pointed out is about the movie industry. According to him, because of piracy which started several years ago, the original films have become available in the Philippines almost at the same time when it is released from its country of origin.

Mo said that years ago, it would take one film to reach the Philippines almost a couple of months after Hollywood, for example, releases it to cinemas in the US. And this is where piracy comes in handy. Most probably while the film is rolling somewhere in the US, some unscrupulous cinema insider (or viewer) is recording an illicit copy of the film and immediately distributes it to their contacts from the other country. Now these contacts sell the film’s copy to people who are so eager to watch it. So when the time comes for the original film to be shown in theaters, the revenue flops. Of course, who wants to pay and watch a re-run? – Simple reasoning, yet rude and yet practical. And this, according to Mo, is when producers eventually learned and realized that they need to compete or they’ll lose their market share to those illegal distributors. At this point of the argument, I caught myself nodding in conformity.

Another case that Mo presented or re-presented (as I heard about it a couple of times already) is about computer software piracy. He believes that it is the only way for poor nations, like ours, and its people to compete and put them at par with the rest of the world when it comes to computer literacy. Although, I agree with the need to compete, I don’t however agree with how it is achieved by piracy.

As much as I hated it, Mo’s point got me thinking. Quite frankly, I’ve been pondering lately if I’m cursed for knowing that piracy is stealing. Often times some people, like most of my friends, see it as plain practicality and the need to learn about one software is one good justification to get hold of its bootleg counterpart. I’m not saying that these people are bad – or thieves for this matter. I might say though that they are misinformed or has chosen to keep a blind eye about it.

As I end my driving until I got out of Intel’s parking lot, my mind was occupied with so many questions just from the 20 minutes I spent listening to the radio.

So am I not being practical then?

Am I stupid to believe that I shouldn’t be buying any of these bootleg stuffs? Or am I now alone with this belief or advocacy?

Will my next employer reject me because I did not learn as much software as I can because I don’t have the guts to buy a pirated copy?

Am I going to be left behind then in the end?

Do I have to steal to learn?

Is it a good thing that while I teach my boy about good manners and right conduct, he’s watching a pirated educational DVD?

Do I need to seek professional advice to get over with my firm stand against it?

Maybe I’ll think all about it. Although I’m still hoping that in the end all of my answers will still be a big NO – unless they change the law against it. And hopefully whatever the reasons are why most people patronize pirated products, I still hope (or is wish a correct term?) that soon enough the fight against piracy will win because I really believe that behind those cheap illegal goods that some of us enjoy others are suffering just because of it.



Photo credit: vikrameb




Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Kids and lyrics


Just as I have anticipated when we got married (wifey and I waits for a few more months before we become a decade-old married couple this coming June), I have eventually become an overprotective and strict father. Our 9-month old son’s presence confirmed all traits that since then I knew I would be or would like to be when fatherhood comes in.


I really don’t know if I’m doing a good job, but deep inside I feel that I’m at least meeting expectation. Wait, that last two words remind me of work. Maybe it’s because the absence of work, or at least its regular routine, that my missing the attendance tracking of my staff, conducting shiftly huddles, checking with my persistent upstream and downstream customers and everything else about work has made me more aware of everything about baby stuffs. Worries about work has been replaced with which nipples goes to which bottle, if milk scoops are exact to the brim, if formula ratio has been properly mixed, which baby DVD has been played already…and this is just to mention a few (trust me). Did I just mention DVD?


One of those baby things that I’ve actually been keeping tab is the baby music’s lyrics which I’ve been hearing so often again and again that the last regular “adult” LSS I can remember is the Journey’s Only the Young Can Sing. Now my ears have been attuned to Barney’s Mr. Sun and I can very well remember the video of Flying in an Airplane that I’m now beginning to think that it’s the Barney videos that are unconsciously encouraging gayhood or lesbianism. But maybe it’s just me and besides it would require a long separate blog for that topic. By the way, don’t get me wrong and let me make these two things clear: 

1. I love the songs but I hate the video.

2. I personally have nothing against the members of the third sex…and Barney.


Ok now? So let me continue, but still the following maybe as thought-provoking as questions like who is capitalizing from all these recession and layoffs? Will Vietnam’s Intel factory perform just like the Philppines (pun intended)? And so many other questions currently and continuously bothering my mind.


Having an LSS of music for babies does seem to trouble me more than having Usher’s Trading Places lyrics play over and over again inside my head. This is because I’m now very careful with what our baby boy might be hearing and if the message it sends isn’t something that will plant harmful ideas to his innocent memory ready to break loose anytime during his adolescence. I don’t know if it’s paranoia on my part but I’m not taking any chances. And besides, remember the word “subliminal”? Scary, huh!


Let me start checking some of it now. Here’s the first, titled Ice cream Sunday. Isn’t this a call to obesity? I wonder if Ronald McDonald composed this lyrics:

“Ice cream Sunday it’s my number one day…

Monday is not a fun day, mom makes broccoli…

Thursday is the worst day, there’s liver on that dish

Friday is a cry day, ‘coz then we all get fish…”


How about this one, Fiddle-de-dee? This one reminds me of anything but children song. If I remember it right I saw one Body Snatchers episode in the Discovery channel about a bee or wasp planting its eggs inside a fly:

“Fiddle-de-dee, Fiddle-de-dee,
The Fly has married the Bumble Bee,
Says the fly, says he,
“Will you marry me?
And live with me, sweet Bumble Bee?”
Fiddle-de-dee, Fiddle-de-dee,
Oh, I love you, and you love me!”


How about a song that teaches our kids to stereotype? There’s probably one, it’s titled There Was a Crooked Man:


“There was a crooked man,
And he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence
Upon a crooked stile:
He bought a crooked cat,
Which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together
In a crooked little house.”


How about one that suggests animal cruelty? Now I find that the famous idiom, “curiosity killed the cat” is after all missing a word before it. The complete one would be, “Kid’s curiosity killed the cat.” And we parents should not wonder why in the first place, because of the song The Cat Came Back:


“Old Mister Johnson had troubles of his own
He had a yellow cat which wouldn’t leave its home;
He tried and he tried to give the cat away,
He gave it to a man goin’ far, far away.

            But the cat came back the very next day,
            The cat came back, we thought he was a goner
            But the cat came back; it just couldn’t stay away”


Thankfully, there’s one song that would give hope to those cat lovers and this happens to be one of my favorite kiddie songs. I heard this when I was a kindergarten and 30 years after I was surprised that I can actually remember the tune. What’s more surprising was that after I googled and saw the lyrics I was able to sing it with pride in front of our baby. But, I’m still wondering if this one has some hidden message in it…like love and death? Well here’s the full lyrics of the song Senor Don Gator. You go figure.


“Oh Senor Don Gato was a cat
On a high red roof Don Gato sat
He went there to read a letter,
Meow, meow, meow
Where the reading light was better,
Meow, meow, meow
‘Twas a love note for Don Gato

            I adore you wrote the lady cat
            Who was fluffy, white and nice and fat
            There was not a sweeter kitty,
            Meow, meow, meow
            In the country or the city,
            Meow, meow, meow
            And she said she’d wed Don Gato

            Oh, Don Gato jumped so happily
            He fell off the roof and broke his knee
            Broke his ribs and all his whiskers,
            Meow, meow, meow
            And his little solar plexus,
            Meow, meow, meow
            Ay Caramba cried Don Gato

           Then the doctors all came on the run
           Just to see if something could be done
           And they held a consultation,
           Meow, meow, meow
           About how to save their patient,
           Meow, meow, meow
           How to save Senor Don Gato

           But in spite of everything they tried
           Poor Senor Don Gato up and died
           And it wasn’t very merry,
           Meow, meow, meow
           Going to the cemetery,
           Meow, meow, meow
           For the ending of Don Gato

           When the funeral passed the market square
           Such a smell of fish was in the air
           Though his burial was slated,
           Meow, meow, meow
           He became reanimated,
           Meow, meow, meow
           He came back to life, Don Gato”


Oh by the way, if you’re wondering how on earth this song sounds, you may check And if you’re a bit disappointed (like I was last December) after hearing every available version, please tell me and that would be my cue to record and release my own. Hahaha.





Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Riding With Journey


On my way out from work I noticed that this afternoon’s weather isn’t motorcycle-friendly. The dark clouds dominated the skyline. The rain poured hard. The road is soaked. Times like these I appreciate the fact that I got a car to drive. So I was thinking then, “What would be a great driving music to go along with the wet ride home…?” Lo and behold, some Rock ‘n Roll god guided my discretion, it handed me the CD, Journey: Revelation – its CD 2 slid effortlessly into the disk player.


We bought this CD last week and I have played it right after and I’ve been trying to make sense of it since then. But this afternoon’s gloomy weather seemed to have made the setting right enough for me to appreciate it better than before. The cool and humid breeze completed the nostalgia that I was about to go through.


All of a sudden the firm steering wheel of the Honda seems to vanish right out of my grip. The illuminated dashboard gauges blurred and faded all the way. The feeling of firmly seated in the driver’s seat and the security of the seat belt went away as well. Surprisingly, during that very moment I cared less at each every minute that the Journey CD continued to play as if trying to give in to an unforeseen force.


With each track of the CD playing one after the other, I found myself inside a rather boxy vehicle with both of my hands holding the bar located right on top of my head. I felt the blaring of the 15-inch speakers under my very seat and its heavy bass thumping and the high treble trying to cope up with it while some rock band send spine chilling riffs. The black lights inside made the white shirts around me to glow like some magic tricks thus completing the out-of-this-world sensation. I tried to peek out to check were on earth I’m currently at and I soon realize that the speeding vehicle has its rectangular windows wide open. Another head movement and I saw that its rear door is likewise ajar like those in airplanes with skydivers waiting for the red light to go green. Turning my gaze in front, I saw a long-haired driver carelessly enjoying the music while speeding past sugarcane-filled trucks. So where am I exactly? Well, I’m actually in a Jeepney and I’m in tattered jeans, faded shirt and a pair of scuffed Chuck Taylor shoes. I am in college once again.

Filipinos, buy this!

Filipinos, buy the original please! Photo:


And that’s the unavoidable effect this Journey CD has on me. The classic rhythm of the guitars, drums and keyboards blasted me right back to the past. The vocals this time though isn’t from its original vocalist Steve Perry anymore. This time its from Arnel Pineda, a pure Filipino talent who despite his small size relative to the other band members has such powerful voice that if you’ve heard each of the Journey’s songs only once years ago, you’ll for sure say that it still has the same vocalists. 
Arnel’s rendition of most of the original Journey songs is unmistakably that of Steve Perry. And hearing those I would call “melodic shriek” made me sometimes wonder if the myth that tight leather pants do make Rock ‘n Rollers achieve that impossible pitch is true. Go figure.


After listening to almost everything over and over again, I’m now concluding that Arnel did a really really good job in his first album with Journey. Except for Open Arms (CD 2 track 9) which in my opinion is a disappointment because I actually don’t know if Arnel tried to impose his own singing style in this song by deviating to what was done by Steve. If he did, well, I just don’t like it. Or maybe I’ll get used to it soon. Whatever. Anyway, before the Pineda fans start throwing thrash emails, I’d like to say that of all the 23 songs in the album (CD1 & 2 combined), this is the only song that I’m having second thoughts listening. Other than this, the rest are just perfect for those who love the classic Rock ‘n Roll feel.


My personal favorites in this album are: Never Walk Away, Let It Take You Back, Only The Young and of course, Faithfully. I love this last song a lot that it had me clicking on the disk player’s repeat track button several times while hopelessly trying to sing along with it in the confines of our car and to the ire of the only person inside with me that time – our Wisconsin football team bobhead. Poor guy it’s been bouncing up in down, front and back that I snapped out of my in-the-jeepney-ride nostalgia.



Tomorrow, it might rain again; I might have to cover bobhead with a hanky this time for my full uninterrupted journey with Journey back to the past.

Bobhead loves videoke singers more than the author. Bad bobhead.

Bobhead loves videoke singers more than the author. Bad bobhead.










Spending Wisely

They say there are only two things in life that’s certain – these are death and taxes. But come to think of it spending may be added as well. Besides, it is where taxes will come from.

Since the dawn of civilization or at least when people started using money, spending by people for things they both need and want has been as predictable as clock work. Of course with the infamous wealth distribution pyramid, the outflow of money differs from one social class order to another. Fairly, everyone (i.e., rich, middle or lower class) has their own set of financial worries – The Ayalas may worry what Cadillac color to get, The average Juan Dela Cruzes worry which one is a good bang for the buck – Vios or City, while the less privilege worry when the next jeepney fair price hike will happen. All are worries nevertheless. Parang patas, pero hindi (Looks fair yet not).

But before I fully transform (though I truly wish) my blog into something like Francis Kong’s business article, I’d like to share some of my tips with regards to spending wisely – at least I believe so.

·         Obsolete items have to go. The unstoppable electricity bill made me decide to sell (another of my online selling adventure) our old air conditioner and replace it with a new one that has a timer so it can switch the electric fan at a specified time without me having to perform a half-sleepwalk just to reach and turn the air con off.

·         Be on the lookout for best 2nd hand (used) deals. My wife showed her haggling talent and got a 5-month old Canon IXUS 70 at 25 percent less than the original price – Not bad. But I banned her on my ebay’s buyers list – I can’t handle such hagglers.

·         Drive as if you’re participating in Petron’s Extra Mile challenge. Been doing it lately and I’m seeing an improvement both to my sanity and fuel economy. It’s also one way to discourage your friends from riding with you – who wants to be in a new car without an air conditioning on? Hahaha. Just kidding.

·         Watch only good movies (Catch the bad ones in HBO). Last week we watched “What Happens in Vegas” and we quite had a good laugh at it. Cinema: P240, Watching Aston Kutcher and Cameron Diaz: Priceless.  

·         Read restaurant reviews before dining in. This is what we learned with Fish & Co. where I read in some forums that even those known rich people find it overpriced. Too bad I read about it late enough. Last week was a different story; we had our sweet revenge in Bollywood. I enjoyed our dinner (but my wife didn’t) in this Indian cuisine restaurant and that made me dream of going to India to savor more of their foods. I’m wondering if there’s any other way we can commute there other than their trains – I have some “issues” with it. If there is, Bombay, count me in.

·         Pay and download only the music you like.  When I heard about it from my wife, I immediately agree with the idea; rather than buying a full CD (single artist) and feeling shortchanged later on after learning that your favorite artist himself has actually only one favorite song in his own album. Ti abi. But then again, I’d like to emphasize that this is not a reason to patronize pirated music. Buying pirated materials is not spending wisely. It is stealing. Period.

·         Grab every chance to join a raffle or contest. My wife got her pair of limited edition Havaianas 7 Waves for free after being included in the first 70 entries for their contest.  That will keep her from buying another Spartan enemy…for now. I’m thinking if I can sell this pair in ebay. Shhh.


There’s a rule to having a successful diet – do not deny yourself of your cravings as doing so will just make you binge in the end. Instead, eat everything (those obviously not hazardous) in moderation. Spending is no different. Cutting every expense out at once will have its repercussion. It is better to moderate it at first and depending on the availability of resources – i.e., money – try eliminating the unnecessary ones one at a time. Good luck.



The Rock Star in Me

“…Well we all just wanna be big rockstars And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars…” – Nickelback, Rockstar

“…Under the big top world We all need the clowns To make us smile…” – Journey, Faithfully

Other than being Pilots, most boys for sure dreamed of being Rock Stars. It must have something to do with being free, being able to get that high. How that “high” is achieved, depends on how far one is willing to go for it. I know most teenagers will discover that in no time if you know what I mean.

And most kids of course have somehow heard of fairy tales…whether they like it or not. These fairy tales every kid will sooner or later discovers that it is what everyone calls fiction. In short, it is not true. Does not and will not happen. At least for some, fiction does happen. They do become Rock Stars.

For Arnel Pineda, this is what exactly happened. He is the Filipino equivalent of the character Chris Cole (Mark Wahlberg) in the movie Rock Star. If you check the film bit by bit, the resemblance of his and Arnel’s story is almost the same, as far as I know:

• Chris Cole was discovered by Steel Dragon’s guitarist thru a tape recorded performance of his cover band Blood Pollution. Arnel Pineda was discovered by Journey’s Neal Schon thru a video of his band Zoo performing the song Faithfully.

• Chris Cole was called by a band member and dismissed the first call as a hoax. Arnel Pineda reacted just the same.

• Both characters eventually became lead vocalist of the band they just used to idolize and copy after being invited (and flown in) for an audition and passed.

Watching Arnel’s cover of Faithfully (shot in Hard Rock Café) in YouTube sends goose bumps thru my skin as I’d always remember the scene from Rock Star when Chris Cole did his cover of Stand Up. Both stories are a Rock Star wannabee must-know.

So if tomorrow, anyone by chance sees a bald driver doing air guitars and some hopeless head bangs while stuck in traffic, most likely that would be me.

*** See Arnel Pineda’s debut performance here:

I love her, I love her Not…

Chill out wifey…this petal-picking cliché is not for you. Well sort off. It’s for one of man’s invention which until know I wonder if there was a necessity for it to be invented but since it’s already here, I have to deal with it.

If I could have been asked of a list of one of my hated things, the videoke will surely be there. But then again just like any other things on earth this will have to depend on when or where I encountered it.  In short I have a love-hate relationship with this…let me call it embarrassing machine.

For me the videoke is actually like the eye. For me it’s the window the one’s self. I’ve discovered a liking to some people when I learned and heard them sing.  And my wife can decently sing any of The Coors song. And of course, synonymous to appreciating others sing the lines – appearing as foreground to mostly naked women gyrating on the background which usually challenges myself whether I’d hate it or not – is the loathing that I usually felt once most people starts singing their selected piece.

I’ve almost despise friends once I learned they’ve been into videokes. Just this December while on vacation I had a drinking session with my high school best friend and I almost scrambled out of the bar when I saw him checking the song list. “Oh, my lord…he must be kidding!”  But he’s not. Well to give him the benefit of the doubt I anxiously waited while the waitress punches in the magic numbers. I think I heard drum rolls when the song on queue started.

U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday was his selection. I secretly glance at my friend just to give a quick check if he’s somewhat similar to Bono. Hmmm. Obviously not. The song’s intro finally signaled the start of the song. And then it happened. I almost cursed in protest and have actually wondered if my friend can be sued by U2 for performing their song in a public place. It wasn’t Sunday, but I’m sure it was Bloody – as the Brits will surely say. I’m sure I was drunk that time but the alcohol didn’t give me a favorable opinion.

Now I’m being hounded again by the presence of this singing machine. Just outside and in front of our house is a party in progress. And the magic box with TV monitor , round colored keys and 15-inch speakers was  just delivered. “Uh oh, we’re in for a long night.” My only hope right now is that no drunken male visitor will sing a Celine Dion song while we’re trying to sleep tonight. That is if we can actually sleep. Whoever invented this machine, I hope you’re in the “hot” place right now.

By the way, possessed by the spirit of alcohol I’ve actually sung a couple of songs on a videoke. And my fave are The Righteous Brothers’ You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling and 500 by the Proclaimers. Ti abi. Sometimes the good guy will have to give his revenge.


Tis The Season to be Jolly

“Don’t be afraid to be weak
Don’t be too proud to be strong
Just look into your heart my friend
That will be the return to yourself” – Enigma. Return to Innocence

The ‘ber’ months must have some effect on everyone if not to the Filipinos alone. Once the very 1st day of September sets it everything seems to intensify or gets exaggerated. As if some switch gets turned on right after the midnight of August 31.

Different ages react differently to this transition. For most adult this is the start of expenses pouring in. Everything seems gets listed in the “needs” section of the budget list. The “wants” list more often becomes empty – blame it on consumerism? For most children however, this is the season to be Jolly, period.

I can still remember my excitement – when l was kid – every time when the calendar reaches September. As if the calendar page between August and September is a musical card that plays a song when opened, “…Santa Claus is coming to town…” And unknown to me then, this Santa Claus are those adult that gets weary and anxious when these ‘ber’ months sets it. They are either our parents or our “unlucky” ninongs and ninangs (godparents). After 20 years, I’m now one of them.

It was as if just a couple days ago when someone reminded me to start buying gifts to avoid the shopping rush. In fact that was months ago. Just like any broken vinyl record this irritatingly skips and repeats. Sadly the holiday rush doesn’t skip. It just repeats. The farthest I can remember panicking at this level is since I started having my own pay check. (Now I’m confused if having a paycheck should either get celebrated or cursed.) My wife and I normally kid each other usually around every January to start buying Christmas trees and gifts by this time. But before I know it, the ‘ber’ months are in, again. Now I’m behind 2 months already. It’s now November.

The mall sales now get more frequent than before. The bonuses are coming in (or shall I say passing through). The yuletide songs are as common as jeepney noise. The dreaded traffic gets worst. The horrifying thought of the inaanaks (godchildren) knocking at the front door getting realized as December nears. It’s funny but when someone says now “Christmas is just around the corner”, this is now like a windtalker’s code that someone is out to get you.

Hey, did I just realize I’m now a Grinch? During this season most adults are, I guess. Well it must be the cycle of life I guess. Some call it karma. The act gets repeated but the recipients change. If before I was thankfully receiving crisp bills, now I’m…I’m not giving one. Beside, the crisp bills now are of less value. Now that’s justified (miser smile).

Every time I’m in this situation I think of an old Filipino song (by Asin) with the following lyrics:

Itanong mo sa mga bata (Ask the children)
Ano ang kanilang nakikita (What they see)
Sa buhay na hawak nila (At the life they have)
Masdan mo ang mga bata (Observe the children)
Sila ang tunay na pinagpala (They are the lucky ones)
Kaya dapat nating pahalagahan (We should appreciate them)
Dapat din kayang kainggitan? (Shouldn’t we envy them)

Although this is not a Christmas song, this clearly describes and shows how having the innocence just like the small ones becomes a very big deal. More often, taking the simple meaning of an event or season is what matters most. Children love summer for the vacation. Children love Christmas for Santa Claus. If they love it for Christ’s birth, the better of course. But that’s where our adult explanation comes into play (and it’s another long story or blog).

So if only most adults, including me, can see this significance just as it is (even just during December), then I think this is when we can wholeheartedly join the children in saying, “Tis the season to be jolly”.