Saturday, May 31, 2008

20 Days in the Philippines

I was supposed to say "Last 20 days in the Philippines," but then I would make it sound as if I’m no longer coming back.

I will return, that’s for sure. I just hope I’ll return with much pride I wish carry back with me.

No, I haven’t packed anything yet. I just have my list of things to bring and things to buy and bring. I think it’ll work best for me if I just cram. By doing so, I get to enjoy my remaining days to spend in my native land. (Naks!)

Packing early makes me feel like I’m dying, like knowing that I’m dying. The pressure of ending loads of unfinished businesses haunts me.

Here I go again with my morbid comparisons!

Anyway, given 20 days, I think I’m ready to get ready.

I’ll have a jam-packed Monday to help me get in the road to preparation.

I’ll be ready, I know I will.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Kids On the Block

The Jonas Brothers, that’s what they’re called. It’s not difficult to explain why. They’re the sons of Mr. Jonas, hence the three are brothers. Couldn’t they have gone for something as simple as “Jonas” the way the Hansons and the Moffats did? Or they could have followed the footsteps of Jackson 5 and call themselves “Jonas 3”…yuck! OK I take that back.

Contrary to my title, these kids aren’t all too new. They’ve been around since 2005, making tours along with big names like Kelly Clarkson, the Backstreet Boys, and The Click Five. But back then, they called themselves—get ready for this—The Sons of Jonas. Now I appreciate “Jonas Brothers”!

I was just not aware of their existence until recently when my 15-year-old brother mentioned them with such pride, the kind which implies that you’re cool if you know them. I didn’t know them. And frankly, I don’t dig their songs.

I know that admitting to this magnifies the generation gap between me and my brother. But this is my effort to reach out. I’ve done some research and I’m actually writing about a band who plays the juvenile kind of music—not really my thing.

In fairness, the Jonas Brothers is a legit band, at least for the old school standards. They play instruments which is what a band is supposed to do. I still am baffled why Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync, Westlife, etc. fall under the boyband category when they only have their voices to boot.

Fifteen-year-old Nicholas Jerry Jonas, a.k.a. Nick Jonas, the youngest among the three plays drums, guitar and piano.

Joseph Adams Jonas or Joe Jonas plays the guitar, piano and percussion, specifically the tambourine. This boy is 18.

On the other hand, the oldest, 20-year-old Paul Kevin Jonas II—Kevin Jonas, for short—plays the guitar.

One interesting Jonas Brothers trivia I stumbled upon is that about them each wearing a purity ring on their left-hand ring finger. And by wearing these rings, they promise to stay pure until they get married. Yeah right! What with all the groupies at their trail by this time?! Good luck to them!

I have yet to listen to these boys’ songs to say something solid about their music. Maybe if I’m sure I’m not predisposed to having a migraine I will. Right now their high-pitched boy voices wouldn’t do me any good. It doesn’t matter if these boys have their Broadway background to credit their singing. I’d rather stay clear from them after this.

* * *

Read more about the Jonas Brothers at:

* * *

Surfing the net for infos and photos of the Jonas Brothers made me realize how lucky the kids of today are. Their favorite personalities are just a click away! It makes stalking their idols so easy!

Friday, May 23, 2008

He had me at Hello

David Cook may not have started off as a crowd favorite for American Idol’s seventh season, especially after his encounter with Simon Cowell where the harsh, truth-telling judge told Cook, “you’re problem is you don’t have a lot of charisma.”

Much to Cowell’s dismay (and may be even some of the viewers'), Cook tried defending himself by saying, “Fortunately I don’t have to win you over with my charisma. I have to win this people [points to the crowd] over. ”

Cowell couldn’t help but be ticked off by Cook’s quip which ultimately, rebutted his supposed “constructive criticism.” But the week ended and David Cook was safe. Actually, it’s a foreshadowing of the weeks to come.

Cook may not have the charisma but he sure has the voice and the knack for choosing the right songs. A non-American Idol follower officemate could hardly believe how possible it is for someone to have a scarcity of charisma. I helped her picture Cook’s predicament by saying, “Imagine Gabby Eigenman with talent.”

He’s got talent, alright. David Cook, I mean. And his performance of Lionel Richie’s Hello proudly punctuates his gift. That’s how he had me at "hello." After witnessing such strong performance, I had to say, “He’s gonna win!” [I said it the way Ms. Rhode Islands told Gracielou Freebush the same thing. Think Ms. Congeniality. My comment was annoyingly sincere.]

But Cook’s lack of charisma seems to always get in the way. During the top 12 week where he rendered an impressive Eleonor Rigby version, Simon Cowell told him something like, “if this were a talent show rather than a popularity contest, you can actually with this.” Cook deserved the compliment about winning the show for his talent. Week after week, he showed up on stage with “molten-hot” numbers!

About his looks, the department where he seems weak, let’s just say come the top 9 week, the Dolly Parton week, the haircut he had did him wonders. No more of that emo white boy (Baduy!) singing on stage. He was magically transformed into a man who doesn’t look bad at all. Thank heavens for makeovers!

By the time the contenders were reduced to the top two, there’s no doubt Cook deserved the throne more than the young David, David Archuleta. Of course the main thing that stopped Cook supporters from rejoicing prematurely over his probable win is if the young voting demographics and, maybe even the moms and grandmas, who’re more likely to vote for Archie, outnumber them.

After weeks of watching one vocal exhibition after another, America has voted. David Cook emerges as the American Idol.

It’s pretty much comforting. There may be hope for American voters, afterall.

As for David Cook, congratulations to him, I guess. And if it is worth anything, I wish him a stellar future with his singing career.

* * *

A Jason Castro Quickie (no pun can possibly be intended)

OK, so I didn’t foresee the chances that Jason Castro will forget his lyrics when I wrote my American Idol: Fearful Forecast right after the top 4 were announced. Hence, he had to say goodbye earlier than Sayesha.

Yes, Sayesha deserved to stay longer as she seemed to have wanted to win more badly than Jason. But I would have LOVED, “love” being the operative term, seeing more of Jason.

Oh well, at least he had a solo number during the finals night. Halleluiah for that!

* * *

Cook's Hello

Monday, May 19, 2008

Premigration Jitters

Being reminded by my brother of my impeding flight roughly a month from now, sends the butterflies in my guts fluttering everywhere.

I’m jumping in a land where I’d be devoid of security, physical availability of friends and a lucrative means of livelihood but, hey, who said risks are not nerve wracking? Plus, it may be the adventure I’ve been living for. I wouldn’t know until I finally plunge in, right?

So I’m trying to convince myself that I’ll survive hence my list of the brighter side of my soon-to-be life-altering…

1. I’d be living in a house with a baby. Babies are cute and refreshing. And the baby I’be living with happens to be extra pretty than others! (Hah, said with much pride!)

2. I’d be away from pollution and terrible traffic (or so they say), both of which I loathe.

3. I’d have the chance to start fresh in a place where only a few people know me—not that a lot of people know me here but I’d sure be glad to bask in anonymity anytime of the day. It only means I’m swimming in a bigger pond.

4. I wouldn’t be riding a bus, a jeepney, a train, a cab or a tricycle to start my trip. I’d be riding on a plane. How hardcore is that?

5. If ever I thirst for my local entertainment, GMA 7 shows are just a remote control click away. (Yes, I wouldn’t be reduced to TFC!)

6. My spoken English will be put to the ultimate test. (Now this, I mean with a bit of disdain especially after a certain someone implied that I’m not at all good at speaking the language. Hmp!)

7. I’d have a whole new culture to observe and write about. And there’d be new faces to see and new places to explore.

8. I’d have the opportunity to…ulk…earn more. (Oh, God, I hope I will!) Perhaps I may help in uplifting the Philippine economy in my pursuit to wealth. (Naks! Well, I wish I will even minutely do so.)

9. I’d have a closer access to gadgets sold at a lower price which I go crazy over—that'll be fun, granting I get myself a job first.

10. And finally, I may have the chance to provide a better life for people I care about.

And the jitters persist!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Nichi

Nichi’s turning 14.

We had two choices: to act as if it were any ordinary day and individually wallow in the pool of unspoken pain, or to celebrate the day the way we would if Nichi were still around and take comfort in each other’s company.

We went for the second option.

Mommy cooked fettuccini in white sauce, one of Nichi’s favorites—the bacon is key. I made beef enchilada, a variety of the menu Nichi requested during his birthday last year. Nichi’s ninang brought cake—not the Red Ribbon Ube Roll Nichi would have requested but it was swell. Jowin prepared JUICE. (The word JUICE is special to us.)

Initially mommy was thinking of preparing spaghetti. But I killed the idea by saying, “ano yon, for long life?”

Nichi’s ninang wondered if she should get a candle for the cake.

I guess option two isn’t all too easy. After all, the birthday celebrator is no longer around.

* * *

We asked some of Nichi’s friends to come over. Andrea, a classmate, was kind enough to help me contact their friends. Dad, went to get Nichi’s best friend who, luckily wasn’t doing anything very important in their house. A total of eight kids came to celebrate with us. [Note: another classmate passed by the house 12 days after Nichi’s birthday.]

It’s priceless how they made us feel as if Nichi were still around. I for one saw Nichi in them—his youth, his wit, his innocence, his life. I know Nichi was sitting with them while they were watching their old videos together.

Those kids, they didn’t hesitate sharing how they remember Nichi. It feels good to know that Nichi had the ability to touch their young lives.

We brought them, at least the six kids, with us at the ossuary. I’m guessing they said, “Hi!” to their friend.

* * *

It is constricting to feel that we’re alone at this. At losing Nichi. But every once in a while, circumstances remind us that we, Nichi’s family, are not the only ones who lost him and miss him.

In the web of relationships all connected to Nichi, it is not only us who lost a leg. Nichi’s passing away affected his peers, too. And in their young state, they had to deal with the loss of a good friend—someone their age, someone who should be exploring life the same way they are now. I’m hoping that Nichi’s demise will prompt them to live their lives the best way they can.

And then there are my parent’s friends who are parents themselves. They know how painful it must be to lose one’s child. And they can only wish that they be spared of the agony, not out of selfishness but at least out of their love of their children.

The same goes to others who knew Nichi. His death may have left a dent in their lives. Dent which is all worth the trouble if it works to make them better persons and to allow them to appreciate life even more.

And if only for that, Nichi’s death would mean something.

I already know that his life meant a lot.

* * *

I will no longer speculate how things could have been if Nichi were still around.

I will just end by saying that Nichi is missed, especially during his birthday which, for the first time, he can’t spend with us--physically . But having the witnesses to his life over the house was very much comforting.

And just as Ate Win often say, Nichi is smiling down on us, especially at moments like this.

Happy Birthday, Nichi!

How You Remind Me

No ectoplasmic version of my brother has ever appeared before me. Perhaps I am not really a ghost kind of person. I have a feeling that the alleged spirits of the dead that some people claim to see are more of the departed loved one’s essence which the bereaved refuse to let go of. And in hanging on, these essences take shape. It works the same way as psychosomatic ailments go: What should not be there becomes “present.”

It’s not that I am no longer hanging on to my brother’s available bits of memories. In fact, I am one who seems fixated. And although, these days, I can think of him and smile, my subconscious reminds me that I am still in a pseudo-battle in letting him go. I sometimes dream about him still and in those dreams, the present is like the good ol’ times.

However, it is far from passive, my efforts to move on. I say sorry to whoever deserves it every time I catch myself wishing that he weren’t dead because I know that is just plain selfish.

* * *

They communicate to us, you know? Not through some over decorated gypsy, peeking at a crystal ball or going into a trans. They tell us what we need to know in a way that only we could understand.

I remember how, a few weeks after Nichi passed away, I felt really sad, I decided to cry under a running stream of water falling down from the shower. That way, I thought, I wouldn’t know which ones were my tears. I then glanced at the direction where bottles of shampoo were kept. It was then when I got the message.

“No more tears,” it said. Nichi’s baby shampoo was staring at me right in front of my face. I was drowning in tears to have noticed it sooner. He hates it when I go dramatic.

Several instances such as this one have happened to me. Perhaps I should have written them down. Those are priceless moments which I tend to forget.

* * *

Forgetting is the worst thing we could do to our dear departed. We may forget how bad their last days went but we should not forget them, otherwise their lives, no matter how long or short they may be, will all be in vain.

Sometimes I fear that if all of us move on completely, we will forget Nichi. It may sound like a remote idea right now but it is possible. I guess this explains why, people like me, often inject “Nichi” stories in normal conversations with anyone, including those outside Nichi’s circle. If only to keep them alive, we’d tell our dead’s stories to those willing to listen.

I have a few cute Nichi stories to put on record, in case my memory wanes.

My mom, my two brothers and I were looking for someone at the EDSA Shangri-la hotel. Nichi was around four years old then. While we were walking, he couldn’t resist commenting on how grand and perfect the hotel was. He bent his knees (walking in a squat-like manner), savored the smell from down below him and said, “Ang bango ng sahig!

We call our dad, “Daddy/dad” while our dad’s dad, “tatay.” Once when dad fetched Nichi from school, a classmate asked him, “Nichole, tatay mo?”

Hindi, ah, patay na ang tatay ko!” [Note: Tatay, our lolo, was already dead at that time.]

Hindi magandang biro yan,” Nichi’s classmate said.

I can imagine Nichi smirking. He found the humor in the situation.

Nichi and dad have a special connection. Perhaps after I had outgrown being daddy’s little girl, Nichi took over. Only, he’s no little girl. But he is as sweet as can be to dad.

Nichi once promised dad that if dad grows old, Nichi will buy him a wheelchair and a car that both come with a videoke system.

Like normal kids do, Nichi played with our kid neighbors along with his kuya. They also had a moment, like most of us did, when they asked each other hypothetical questions which, since they were children, they answered honestly and purely.

Kung may pwede kang baguhin sa sarili mo, ano yon?

I couldn’t help but over hear Nichi’s answer, “
wala na akong babaguhin sa sarili ko.” I thought, “wow, my brother, despite his condition, he doesn’t think less of himself. He is content with who he is!”

Of course, Nichi wasn’t all too perfect. He has his naughty side—naughty enough to have a classmate slam an empty bilao on his head. It left a mark (he was completely bald then) but the thing is, we understood how his classmate could have lost it and have run after him to hit him with the thing. Magaling rin kasi mang-asar si Nichi. It’s one of his gifts.

It was last year when Nichi, talked me into accompanying him to the Spiderman drawing contest held at the Megamall. I had to go on a leave of absence from work for that. And the cute thing about this story is, while he was trying to explain to me the contest, he pulled out from his pocket the newspaper ad featuring the event so that it will do the talking for him. It was not a clipped ad he showed me. He had the folded broadsheet tucked in his pocket all along.

Full of surprises, that’s who he was. And so I was surprised when he told me he wanted a copy of the movie, Saving Private Ryan. He was almost raving about it.

Saan mo naman nalaman na maganda yon?” I asked.

He handed me the VCD case of Enemy at the Gates. “Nakalagay kasi dito, ‘The most triumphant war movie since Saving Private Ryan.’ Eh nagandadahan ako dito [sa Enemy at the Gates].”

I think it was dad who got him the Saving Private Ryan DVD.
Nichi never learned to ride a bike. Mom bought him a 3-wheeled bike when he was around 2-3 years old. But he never mustered the guts to let go of the ground and push the pedals with both of his feet. Oh, Nichi is such a whimp! Yeah, right!
* * *

It never ceases to feel weird every time I realize that it’s been 10 months since I last held Nichi, since I last saw him in the flesh. It is even weirder to think that I will never touch him and see him again.

One will never know that a thing like this ever happens to real life until it does.

It sucks it happened to us, at Nichi’s expense. I remain bitter at that fact.

But all is not lost. I still have memories to replay inside my head at times when I miss Nichi badly. The good and the bad—they are all part of the Nichi story which I, despite the pain, am glad I witnessed.

Above all, I consider it a miracle how life has its way of becoming better even after a major loss. Pains get healed while memories become more precious.

I’ll take that.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mama Mia!

Mama Mia! Mahirap maging isang ina!

Hindi ko keri.

Yung tipong isusubo mo na lang, iko-consider mo pang ibigay sa anak mo. Ang lufet. Yung buhay mo hindi na iikot sa iyo kasi mayroon kang maliit na version mo na kailangan mong i-nurture to the best of your abilities. Bawal ang segue sa priorities. Number one lagi dapat si baby.

Hindi na pwede yung, “I like those shoes…swipe!” Paano na lang ang gatas ng growing kid?

Hay, the things moms have to endure. Walang tulugan habang mulat ang sanggol at, kung pwede nga, wala na ring tulugan kahit tulog ang baby para sure na di madadapuan ng lamok si biby.

Mahirap yun. Nanonood ka ng TV pero yung attention mo na kay baby. Paano na ang poignant line na bibitawan ng favorite character mo? “Gugu-gigi,” na lang. Tinranslate na kasi ni baby.

Gusto mo ng freshly served food sa plato mo pero hindi na lang kasi sayang naman yung leftover ng anak mo. Hihintayin mo na lang siya matapos kumain bago ka bumira. O kaya naman busog ka na pero kakainin mo yung tira ng anak mo. Marami kasing nagugutom sa Somalia.

Hay…kaya naman nakakapagtaka para sa akin kung bakit ang daming nabubuntis. Hindi ba sila natatakot? I mean, if not sa nine months na at risk ang buhay mo or sa big day kung saan hihiwain ka either DOON o sa may bandang ibabaw NOON, e yung sa forever na responsibilidad.


Life-altering moment ang positive sign. Yung iba napapasubo lang. Yung iba, buong buhay nila pinaghahandaan yon.

Sa way kung papaano nila paninindigan yung cause ng positive sign, dun nagkakatalo.

Pero sa end of it all, mama mia! Mahirap maging isang ina!

Yung iba keri nila. Ang galing!

Happy mother’s day na lang sa mga mudras.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Walking Around with Dilated Pupils

“Can you help me get in the cab, I have dilated pupils, you see.”

It’s not really something you’d say everyday, not even while coming out of a hospital by yourself. And I was so close to saying it this afternoon to the friendly guard turned “commuter’s valet.” (Is that an apt term?) I was just afraid I’d get a big fat, “huh?!”

So what was my most recent medical misadventure all about?

Rewind two Saturdays ago, I was doing some serious proofreading when I noticed I’m seeing some speck with my right eye. I excused myself to the washroom to cleanse my contact lens, the primary suspect for the noise in my vision. I’ve got to say, eye lubricants acting in place of contact lens solution, those liquid hurt!

The speck didn’t go away and I discovered this last Friday while doing some product quality check. Of course the poor contact lens was to be blamed. I planned to have it checked by the same optical shop that issued/sold them to me. However, come this morning, while staring at the white door of our toilet, I saw the persistent speck again.

I just got out of bed. For a second I thought I forgot to remove my contact lens the night before.

My naked eye seeing the speck, it brought me to a state of panic, the usual paranoia of a hypochondriac. With no second thoughts, I cancelled a scheduled proofreading job to see an ophthalmologist ASAP.

Of course he is no ordinary eye doctor, I went to the eye specialist trusted by our family for years.

“The last time he checked me was more than 10 years ago. It was in the old building.” I explained to the doctor’s assistant when she asked me if I had any record with them. Obviously, my file has been long gone by now.

I remember I was in 6th grade or (7th) when my mom brought me there for headache complains. The doctor said my eyes were fine and the headache which had been sending me to bed early, thereby making me miss dinner, must be the adolescent girl in me trying to go on a Christine Jacob diet. It’s the one where you don’t eat after six. The doctor most definitely knows nothing about me.

“Is it OK if you have to wait for 2 ½ hours?” the assistant boldly asked to which I replied a less than reluctant, “Yeah, it’s fine. I’ll wait.” I’m clearly determined to find out why I am not seeing clearly.

Two and a half hours is quite a long time to kill, mind you. But I came prepared, being that I know how famous the doctor is. He has lots and lots of patients! You have to be patient when you are his patient—haha. I brought a hardbound book—a famous title and is allegedly easy-to-read but for some reason, it ain’t easy for me. And so when boredom kicked in, I had to take a stroll after making a quick stop for a dimsum brunch at the hospital’s fastfood center. (It’s like a mall in there!)

Yes, I know I was specifically instructed not to spend on anything unimportant these days but it just made me want to spend more. (Damn!) Anyway, it was a twist of fate that the two books I’ve been eyeing for are available in the bookstand inside the hospital. I couldn’t resist charging them to my credit card, not that they are super expensive, it’s just that they’re not in my budget. Plus I said pass to what-could-have-been-my-day’s-paid-work in order to get checked by the doctor.

Then again, if they’re the last thing I’d buy before my eye gets ruined, they’re those books. Believe me, poetic justice is the works here.

Back to the doctor’s queue, I was juggling three books—a novel, a comic book and a compiled set of essays. Not bad in battling my sleepiness. The MP3 player plugged to my ears helped, too. I just had to give it up for fear of losing my turn with the doctor by not hearing my name when I get called. The 2 ½ hours will all be in vain, then, wouldn’t it?

I sat on the couch inside the doctor’s clinic (versus earlier when I was at the corridor at the 3rd floor then to the one at the eighth—yes I opted to work my way up, literally, if only to add variety in waiting) when I was immediately next in line. I was torn whether to introduce myself to the doctor’s assistant as my mom’s daughter—they know each other—but that might mean I have to remind her that my dad’s nanay and tatay were doc’s patients, along with my dad’s tatay’s sisters and even my youngest brother. But then if she asks how they are, I’d have to say they’re all dead.

Wait, I should have done that 2 ½ hours earlier, then doc’s patients would have scrammed! I could have skipped the part where they died of cancer, old age and leukemia, and deliberately capitalized on the fact that they were his patients and now they’re dead. That could have saved me time. Oh well.

Doc placed two drops of what-have-you at my left eye and three at my right. In between, he touched/poked my eyeball with something—I obviously didn’t see what it was. I couldn’t help but ask doc what exactly he was doing. He said he was just checking my eye’s pressure. He warned me that the third eyedrop would dilate my pupil, therefore I would be extra sensitive to light along with having an extra blurred vision.

He asked me to step aside while the chemicals seep through my eye as if I were some meat being marinated. He entertained three more patients while I aged. But soon I was back in the clinic proper for further tests. I was so close to freaking out when he used that almost pointy thing with blue light nearly touching my eyeball. Then he held a lens in front of my eye while subjecting me to an extreme dose of bright light in his search for what could be wrong with me.

I think doctors like that. They get a kick out of anomalies in the human body. Well why wouldn’t they? If everyone’s health were perfect, doctors would be out of job!

“Floaters.” That was doc’s findings. Apparently, our eyes have those tiny fibers floating inside them. And under certain lighting conditions, those fibers may make themselves visible. There’s no cure for them he says and proceeded on comforting me by saying that they’d go away. I should worry if they fill my vision and if I start seeing flashes of light. Oh, I will worry, I can assure him that. After all it’s what I’m good at.

My original plan was to take a jeepney and an FX or to take two FX ride home to save cash but as soon as I stepped out of the hospital building, the sun’s glory blinded me. Even if I had to do a super squint, light abundantly entered my eyes. It’s like I was looking at a pool of white and light. Where are my sunglasses when I need them?

After waiting in line, this time for a cab, I entrusted my life to a friendly driver who told me how he once cried blood due to extreme heat while he was in Kuwait or Iraq. And so off we went driving home, talking about eye problems while my eyes were in between squint and shut.

Mr. cab driver pulled over in front of our house and send me off with a sincere, “sana gumaling na ang mata mo.”

I got out of his cab and then, everything faded to white.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mourning Meltdown

“When a good person dies, there should be an impact on the world. Somebody should notice. Somebody should be upset.”
–Cameron, “Acceptance” Season 2, Episode 1 of House

I feel the impact. I notice. And, yes, I get upset.

I’ve banned myself from watching medical TV shows, not even the funny ones, to avoid finding scenes and lines that will hit me hard where my wounds haven’t healed. Still, the exact thing I was running away from found me.

It’s a tricky thing losing someone you love. One minute you feel fine, the next minute it’s hell. You constantly fear how misery can easily swallow you any minute. And despite how you put up a positive attitude about your loss, your life just turn into a sort of a ticking clock, waiting for the best time to explode, to unleash pure unadulterated grief.

Believe it or not, I’m not for it. The mess that is misery. Because if you think about it, once you succumb to it, there may be no coming back.

Plus, feeling sad and angry would be selfish.

But I guess, people like me are entitled to selfishness every now and then. Selfishness displayed when the presence of the loved one who passed away is badly missed, when what-used-to-be-is-a-special-day becomes empty, when making new memories is frustratingly impossible, when bitter lines have to be dropped—lines pertaining to death and how it sucks.

May 12 is a special day. Nichi’s turning 14. He may be taller than me. And his voice may be lower.

I could only speculate how things may be.

I have a long way to go to reach “acceptance”. And I sure do agree the road I’d trudge to get there would definitely be rough. This one you see here is a phase.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

American Idol: My Fearful Forecast

From my complimentary copy of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, I was able to read Nestor Torre’s fearless forecast regarding American Idol’s probable winner. I don’t find it surprising, however, how I agreed to most, if not all, of his opinions.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m no AI expert. The only AI season I religiously watched, apart from the current one, was that of Taylor Hicks beating Katharine McPhee. But I just have got to demand my turn to talk about it. American Idol season 7, that is.

Allow me to go through it starting from the first guy to be eliminated from the top 12 finalist.

David Hernandez was first to leave. They, the American voters, may attribute Hernandez’ lack of popularity to his flamboyant performances all they want but I think it has a lot to do with the scandal he found himself in during the week when they had to perform Lennon-McCarthy songs. It’s the mess regarding him being a gay lap dancer at one time in his life. I still feel sorry for this guy.

Amanda Overmyer was next to go. This one, I believe, is well deserved. I just don’t dig Amanda’s attempts to rock. It is, to me, what “trying hard” means. And, just like Simon, I don’t understand a thing Amanda is saying when she sings. Her inability to enunciate her words properly must have played a huge part to her downfall, after all what is a Beatles song without words?

Poor Chikezie had to leave third. Why? He wasn’t popular, that’s why. He forgot to offer something new to the audience with his rendition of a song that came out during the year he was born. We’ve got to admit, it really was a bit too boy band-y.

Little Ramiele Malubay, every Pinoy’s primordial bet, said the fourth goodbye. Not that Dolly Parton songs didn’t do her good. Actually it seemed to be a matter of losing focus on the contest at hand. As it often translates, Ramiele’s concern rested on making friends and losing them. It appeared like she lost the drive to compete, thus taking away her voice’s wow factor.

Perhaps the most surprising elimination was that of Michael Johns’ who was fifth to take a bow. He was doing well and he wasn’t that bad with his inspirational song. Could it be that he joined the wrong franchise to this contest? He’s Australian, you know.

Everyone was relieved when Kristy Lee Cook’s time to leave finally came. She’s the pretty girl with nine lives, always finding herself at the bottom three but always manages to get away. In fairness to her, her Mariah Carey song is her only performance which I liked. Ironically it caused her her AI spot. She should just join Miss America next.

It is disappointing to see a contestant leaving when she did great prior to the elimination night. Although Carly Smithson isn't really my favorite (you may attribute this to her flair for gigil performances), her Andrew Loyd Webber song was not bad at all, but her road to the Idol throne ended with it. Conspiracy theory alert: Carly is Irish. Wrong AI franchise again? If there's any consolation, Carly left with something good to boast.

I didn’t think Brooke White’s journey will end at top five early in the contest, especially when she did her winning “Let It Be” number. But because of her less than impressive performances that followed, Brooke deserved to leave before Carly, maybe even before Kristy. (OA na.) Brooke was eventually bound to lose her magic given her sporadic performance blunders. It's quite disappointing. Her Neil Diamond performance, specifically the second one wasn’t that bad but after somehow stealing Carly’s slot, Brooke just had to go.

By now we are reduced to four contestants:

The two Davids, Archuleta and Cook; the guy with the dreads, Jason Castro, and the remaining rose among them thorns, Sayesha Mercado.

I’m predicting Sayesha will leave next in the event that she doesn’t come up with a spectacular performance, not that she is incapable, in fact she’s good. It’s just that unlike some blacks, Sayesha isn’t very charming. To tell the truth, she ain't my favorite. And the way things are going, Sayesha has become the new Kristy. It is only a matter of time before her nine lives get extinguished.

Now, Jason Castro, I don’t think he’d make it to top two. I’d be surprised if he did and I’d like it if he did--in fact, I wouldn't mind if he wins (may halong kilig yan)--but, you see, he’s going to have to leave sometime soon. He’s cute and all, and his “girls” (that’s how I call his fans/supporters) may vote like crazy for him but I don’t think he’s got what it takes to be the idol. He deserves credit for taking a stand where his type of music is concerned. But his vocal range has its limits. We've seen that when he struggled with Cat's "Memory". Although I have to admit, kinilig ako doon! Still Jason deserves a spot in Hollywood after all he is good at his preferred roster of songs, he is almost an original, he is charming, he has a lot of fans and, yes, he is sexy.

As Nestor Torre predicts it, it is most likely that the two Davids will go head to head on the finals night. Both are talented alright but of course I prefer one over the other.

The young David (Archuleta) is indeed raw. He lacks confidence and character. While watching him, you get the feeling that he’s a contender at some singing contest. It is hard to imagine how he'd sing outside a contest. His movements are stiff and studied. He’s just so tensed! Before he becomes the idol, he should get over his “contestant performance”. He should start performing like a star, drawing his spontaneous emotions from the heart. As it is, he seems to be swimming at the pool of uncertainty about himself. I don’t think he’s just being modest whenever he sighs when Ryan tells him he’s safe and that he can now sit on the couch. For these reasons, Archuleta isn’t convincing me that he is the next American Idol. The huge number of his fans may place him in the throne, though. Honestly, if ever that happens, I wouldn’t be happy about it.

For all its worth, I believe that the older David (Cook) deserves to win because he’s got the talent and is bold enough to know it. Allow him to go on a concert and he’d know how to handle his audience. I am aware that this guy doesn’t seem to be the most humble-looking wannabe on earth (just check out his big head, you can go literal on that) but he’s trying. He lacks the charm Archuleta is oozing with but he does something about this shortcoming by actually interacting/connecting with his audience. And as Paula says, Cook is not afraid to take risks. Unlike others who’d rather stroll along the safe zone, Cook dares to take a balance stick and cross a thin wire even during the toughest stage of the competition. And the good part is, he pulls off the stunts he orchestrates. Now that is an idol!

I just fear Cook, my bet talent-wise, will have to say goodbye because he isn’t the prettiest or cutest boy in America. But I’m sure one American record company will be smart enough to sign him up. If hearing his Mariah Carey song playing on Philippine airwaves (proof that Cook is crossing oceans) is no indication how bankable his voice is, I don’t know what is.

Good luck to America if they let Archuleta win.

Oh well, they'd live through it. They're surviving Bush, aren't they?

***All images are from

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Googling Me

To keep my fingers busy, I thought of typing and searching my name in Google. The second part of my first name, that is.

And interesting enough, I found this site :

The site didn't give me enough information about my name as I hope it would but I am still amused to have found this site.

The following is the little information I got:

The girl's name Tyrene \t(y)-re-ne\ is a variant of Tyra.

The baby name Tyrene sounds like Tyrena, Trine, Dorene, Taren, Terena, Terrene, Terenne, Tarena and Trena. Other similar baby names are Cyrene, Kyrene and Tyree.

Tyrene is a very rare female first name and a very rare surname (source: 1990 U.S. Census).

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I still believe that seeing my nickname on plate numbers of any vehicle is a sign of good luck.

So, this one's for luck: