Friday, December 26, 2008

Still on my favorite Christmas song

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is one of the songs in that David Cook playlist I posted below. It was a performance he did at the Rockefeller Tree Lighting Ceremony on Dec. 3. He sang the song again for a Disney Christmas special which aired yesterday in the US, and this one is even better. My favorite line in the song is "Hang a shining star upon the highest bough" - Cook does it differently here. Whereas at Rockefeller he did it in his signature rock manner, at Disney he did a soft falsetto, and it's disarmingly beautiful, watch and listen:

I've always loved the song because it is both melancholy and hopeful. I have this vague recollection of a line that goes "Until then we'll have to muddle through somehow", and of a Judy Garland version. So I did a little search, and found that Judy Garland actually is tied to the history of the song (I think I've read of the movie Meet Me in St. Louis in relation to the song, but yeah, trust my brain to file that correctly in my memory banks). It turns out that the "Until then..." line was replaced with "Hang a shining star upon the highest bough". Read all about it here. Given this, Cook's version becomes all the more poignant and affecting.

In any case, I can't end this blog without sharing this too. Here's the Judy Garland version, watch and weep:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Acoustic Cookie: consider this a gift

Yuletide is upon us and I'm still not done shopping. And this blog has not been updated for some time. Will do that during the Christmas break, but for now, consider this a gift. David Cook is at his best when he sings acoustically. Effing fantastic, I tell `ya. Here's a playlist I made (yes what, I have a youtube account. Blame Cook.) - it starts with his cover of Lennon's Happy Christmas (War is Over), then Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (my favorite Christmas song, whee!). For a bonus, I added in live performances (also acoustic) of songs from his new album (which btw, reached Gold status this week): my favorite, Life on the Moon, then Lie (also my favorite, made me cry the first time I heard it), and lastly, his single Light On.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It ain't called Grand for nothing

Somewhere along the Rim Trail, The Grand Canyon. October 23, 2008.

I take my customary feet-on-the-scene pic as my family looks nervously on. My dad, who vehemently opposed my act of sitting on the one-foot-wide-or-so ledge, is holding on to the tip of my jacket's hoodie (as if that would stop a mile deep fall, heh) as my brother takes a pic of us. Onlookers giggle as they pass by.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Hiro's nose knows

Bright-eyed and wet-nosed, that's my Hiro. He's so fun to photograph. Seems I haven't been taking pics of anything other than dogs and cats these days. See?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Un-privatized at flickr

I had forgotten about this image which I had initially set to private in my flickr gallery. My laptop monitor was uncalibrated at the time when I uploaded it, so I wasn't sure if this was too dark or not. To date, the monitor is still uncalibrated, but now I've made this image public.

Night falls on the Golden Gate. San Francisco, 2005.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


This scrawny kitty was abandoned near the Petrellis' house about two weeks ago. Poor critter was shivering and meowing to the high heavens for it had just rained. So my dad took it and I named it Ianto, after a Torchwood character. (I've only recently discovered Torchwood, a British sci-fi spin-off of the Dr. Who TV series.) But it turns out it's a girl, hee! Well, no matter. Ianto in the show is bisexual anyhow. Ianto felt at home very quickly. Her eyes are so huge she looks alien (fits right in with Torchwood, heh). She struts around the yard like nobody's business. The Petrellis hate her guts.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Zhang Yimou and the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics

Surely you caught even a little bit of the Olympics Opening Ceremonies last Friday? What a magnificent showcase of culture and arts! The concept of the scroll was fabulous. I loved loved that sequence where dancers brought an ink and wash painting to life with their bodies. And I loved the drummers, and the oarsmen, and the Han dynasty performers, and the movable-type blocks, and the globe with people running and dancing around it (so fascinating I didn't mind Sarah Brightman's airy delivery of the cheesy theme song). Wow! So much detail I didn't know where to look. And we didn't even get to see everything (too many commercials, gah!). Below is a short clip about Zhang Yimou and the preparations for the opening and closing ceremonies (OMG can you imagine how so much more spectacular the closing ceremonies will be!). Yimou is the same director who brought us the fabulous films Not One Less, The Road Home, Hero, and House of Flying Daggers.

I didn't get to see it through to the end though, so I didn't see the lighting of the cauldron. Which is why I'm searching for a file to download right after this (hello torrents!).

Itching to get Globe's iPhone 3G? Hold your horses.

Since Globe announced that it would be accepting reservations for the! people have been scrambling to their nearest Globe service center to make sure they will have the new phone in their hands by August 22. Just to give you an idea of how ridiculously overpriced the thing is, a prepaid kit costs Php 41,899 for the 8GB model, and Php 48,899 for the 16GB. Well alright, that's the extreme. To see a matrix of Globe's iphone plans, go here.

It's really nice and sleek and sosyal, with a lot of bells and whistles, but do you really need all that? Internet access, iPod, youtube, GPS, tons of applications and I don't know what else. What, is it so crucial to have youtube access in your pocket? The only thing that might tip me over is if one can buy music from iTunes (can somebody please tell me?). And then again, it's easy to talk myself out of it. There are other ways to get iTunes-available music after all (I'm talking about iTunes gift cards, lower your eyebrows). It's a 3G phone, nifty. It will allow you to make video calls. But a lot of other phones have 3G already, minus the hefty price tag. How advanced is 3G technology here in the Philippines anyway? (My K800i is 3G capable but I've never bothered to use it. And poo, turning it on uses up the battery faster.) GPS? Sure is handy, but how practical is it to use in the Philippines? It can't read the MMDA's myriad of u-turns, can it?

If you want to get the iPhone for a lower price you can opt to buy it from *cough* other places, but be aware that you will most probably have to have it unlocked to be able to use it. The software might have been hacked already and you can't use all the other services apart from making calls and texting. And you have to go back to those *cough* other places if you want your firmware upgraded (assuming they can do that), and then be charged with a ridiculous fee for something you should have gotten for free. And oh, for all those hi-tech features, last I heard iPhone doesn't have MMS support. What's worse, you can't even forward or copy-and-paste text messages. You have to get a third-party application (like this or this workaround). Gee, what a cute quirk. (Oh lookee, I found this just now: 10 Things the 3G iPhone is Still Missing.)

If that's not enough to make you think twice, you ought to know that there are alternatives out there that might turn out to be better choices. It always pays to check out the competition - other brands might actually offer more value for money. (For me that's actually my basic assumption: that I can get better for a more reasonable price. In the end I almost always go for the competitor of the perceived leading brand.) You might like to check the Samsung Omnia, for instance. If, after watching a load of Samsung commercials during RPN's Olympics Opening Ceremony you already felt like wanting to buy the Samsung F480, hold on, the Omnia is actually a newer model. (Check out more pics here, and the specs, here.)

I haven't actually studied all the specs or read the reviews to be able to make a comparison and conclude that the Omnia (or something else) is indeed a better choice. I think I'll do that when Sony Ericsson's Xperia X1 comes out. Because heh, check out how sleek it is. Oh dear. (Check out the full specs here.)

It won't be available til late this year, so if you can wait, why don't cha? Me, I don't really need a new phone right now, no. In a couple of years perhaps, when prices are more stable and glitches in the technology have improved. In the meantime I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised if I ride the tricycle and the driver makes a quick stop to take a call on his iphone. Last time that happened it was a Nokia N-series phone. Sheesh.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Curious indeed

I came across the trailer of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button a few days ago, and I can't wait to watch it.

It is based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who is born with the body of a 70-year old and grows backwards, that is, younger, as the years pass. Director David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac) says of the film: "It's dark, it's romantic, and it also deals with mortality in a pretty unflattering way. Button is born in 1919 - with the film itself beginning in World War I, traveling around the world and carrying on all the way through to the year 2000." According to wiki, Fincher used a camera system called Contour (developed by Steve Perlman) to capture facial deformation data from the actors' performances. A character rigging system called AnEmotion was then used to recreate synthetic actors to illustrate Brad Pitt's reverse aging. Awesomeness.

We will have to wait quite a while though. The movie is set for release in December. In the meantime, you might want to read the story here. Or listen to an audio version at

I knew it would happen, just not this soon. OMG!

(Photochop by flygirl24 of

According to David Cook himself in an interview with 104.5 Chum FM (a Canadian radio station; the American Idol tour played Toronto yesterday), he has just booked his first solo gig: January 27th in the Philippines. Huzzah! Happy birthday, me! Still, I'm waiting for an official announcement from local media.

Of all the countries on earth, why the Philippines? <-- sort of a timeline tracing David Cook's popularity in the Philippines. Yeah I documented it.

Note: I noticed just now, I ran out of bandwidth (my media players are ugly waah). Sucks to have a free account. Oh well, come back after 20 days, Cook fans. I know you did it. ;-)

Monday, July 21, 2008

David CookFEST at Campus 99.5 FM: Encore

The 2-hour special, for everyone's enjoyment. I do think last week's CookFEST was better, though. In this encore, the DJs played a number of songs twice (gah, there are so many more songs to choose! I even pointed them to The World I Know from the Taste for A Cure event, sheesh.), there were more and longer commercial breaks and whatnot (hello, even 6 Cycle Mind's Saludo was in there somewhere; I thought it was supposed to be 2 hours of cookification? On second thought, maybe it was because of the OPM rule? What do I know, I hardly listen to radio.), there weren't enough shout-outs and messages from listeners and fans, and their research sucks: they said David did not acknowledge right off that he would sing Chris Cornell's cover of Billie Jean during Top 10 night (Ryan Seacrest announced it right before David performed), and that he is currently working with Ryan Tedder of One Republic for his album (outdated info - Tedder has since denied this).

(Photo from; faux-lomofication by me.)

Download the whole file (mp3, 79.7 MB)

Friday, July 18, 2008

You have about 2 days left to watch Joss Whedon’s epic. supervillain. musical!

Joss Whedon, geek/writer/director/producer extraordinaire, creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and Serenity, has unleashed Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, a 3-part miniseries available only in the internet until midnight of July 20. Why? You’re asking why? Here, read his Master Plan.

Neil Patrick Harris stars as a mad scientist applying for membership in the Evil League of Evil. In Act I we see him planning his next heist (hello freeze ray!) while mooning over a girl from the laundromat. Naturally, he breaks into song! We also get to see his arch nemesis, the wonderfully self-absorbed Captain Hammer (played by Nathan Fillion). I don’t know what happens in Act II because I haven’t seen it yet. Which is why I have to wrap this up. So. Click on Dr. Horrible below to go to the official website:

I’ll bend the world to my will, and time will stand still… with my freeze ray I will stop the world

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Creative comes out with a new one

Check it out, Creative's newest media player:

The Zen X-Fi. Really noice and sleek and spiffy. No, it's not quite like the iPod Touch, but what do I care, I'm not an iPod'er. I don't care about the status symbol, but functionality. Creative gives me more value for my money. And it actually sounds better. A fellow poster at compares Creative players and iPods like so: The former have a warm, clear sound, while the latter have sharp, tinny sound. Warm and clear is exactly how I like my music. And with the X-Fi Crystalizer turned on? It becomes even crisper and richer. Aah heaven! (Don't think for a second that I can actually grasp what an X-Fi Crystalizer is, I'm just taking this reviewer's word.) There are other features that come with this model but they aren't that much of an advancement over the current Zen. The wireless feature actually only means you can access the music in your computer without having to use a cable. Duh, it's not internet-capable.

I don't know why I'm even talking about this though. I just got me a Zen Vision W a month ago. And I had resisted buying it since it came out what, 2 or 3 years ago! Sheesh. I'm enjoying it, check out the large screen:

And whee, with Media Monkey I can even load album art. Sweet!

Plus, I can even load the contents of my compact flash card onto it, very nifty when travelling. And because it's a hard disk drive, I can also load data into it like a portable drive. In any case, they still have to work out some kinks with the X-Fi. In a year or two perhaps, it will be much much better. My other Zen's still working anyhow. *justifies to self*

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

In anticipation of Hellboy II: The Golden Army

So yeah, I enjoyed the first Hellboy movie very much. (And I've come to lurve Guillermo del Toro. ) Hellboy II should be showing soon in these parts, yay. As if the trailer weren't enough to pique my curiosity, this promotional video turned up on the web. It's an animated prologue that tells the backstory of the Golden Army. Gorgeous visuals!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cookification 101 at Campus 99.5 FM

I’ve been writing in LJ about how Philippine radio has been getting cookified since Always Be My Baby shot to #2 at Magic 89.9, mere hours after it was released on iTunes. Since then David Cook has been all over the radio (it’s still charting to this day, along with the magic rainbow song er I mean Time Of My Life), and his music has been floating around in uh *whisper* you know, those places where you can find stuff you can’t get anywhere else around here. (Thank goodness for my fellow royalmisfits who gifted me with iTunes songs, yay.)

Anyway, here’s further proof of cookification. Over the weekend, Campus 99.5 had a 3-parter David Cook special: 3 solid hours of Cook music including his AI live performances and studio recordings, plus songs from his indie album Analog Heart. Songs were interspersed with bits from various interviews. It’s a veritable introduction to cookification, heh!

Although live streaming was available, I recorded the CookFEST since I know a majority of the fans on the other side of the world would be sound asleep as the program aired. These are for you, Word Nerds, Cookies, Cooktards, Cougars, Cook-kulets. Enjoy!

(Thanks to livehead16 for the video from which I made the screencap above.
Played with it a bit in Photoshop.)

I just heard that they will have another CookFEST on Sunday, July 20 at 5-7pm (Manila time). Here's the live streaming link for you to bookmark. Btw, they have been playing Cook songs (every hour if I heard correctly) for the past week til now, still as part of the David CookFEST.

(Note: I’m posting this inline player to serve as a preview, for those who are wary of downloading the files. I’m not even sure the flash player can handle these large files. Maybe Cooky will break it, or my blog. Coz he's been known to break things *fan inside joke*

Download: Part 1 (57MB) Part 2 (58MB) Part 3 (49MB)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Check it out, I got Mraz

Let's start this right, with my favorite song of the moment.

That song, my friends, is featured in Jason Mraz's new album called We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things.

I finally got to listen, and these are my thoughts on each track:

Make It Mine. I like the first version I heard better (as heard in my flash player a few posts back). This seems subdued. Like the 1st one is brash and exuberant, but this one sounds like uh, I don't know, like it's been castrated. Hate the tinkly instrument at about the 2nd minute mark.

I'm Yours. Eh, this one sounds blander also compared to the first versions I've heard.

Lucky w/ Colbie Caillat. Nice and laid back. Lovely to listen to on a lazy day on the beach with a cold drink in your hand. Or in bed on a rainy day. Kinda snoozy, not entirely in a bad way.

Butterfly. If it wasn't obvious by how I began this entry, then let me spell it out: I just love everything about this song. I shouldn't say anymore lest I embarrass myself. *cough*

Live High. Message-y but not so preachy as to turn you off. Clever lines: The call of the wild is still an ordination/In the order of primates/All the politics are too late/Oh my, the congregation in my mind/Is an assembly selling gratitude/And practicing the loving of you

Love for A Child. Not my favorite melody, but the story the song tells is poignant, and quite moving.

Details in the Fabric, the much-vaunted collaboration with James Morrison. Now this is poetry. Seriously. A quiet contemplation of the fabric of one's existence. It's one of those things which one can either find very sad, even verging on depressing, or hopeful. To me it's the latter. The chorus is beautiful in its simplicity: Hold your own/Know your name/And go your own way

Coyotes. I was too distracted by the previous track to listen to this more carefully, but I gotta say, I didn't love it the first time. I don't get it.

Only Human. Again one of the tracks that sounds castrated compared to the live versions.

The Dynamo of Volition. Ah, I know what it is about these studio tracks that throws me off. They sound too clean, too smooth. Dynamo is one of the songs I've come to enjoy a lot, I don't dig this version as much as the live ones. And I miss the guitar intro, I loved that! Harrumph.

If It Kills Me. One of the tracks I'm liking more and more. And of course a lot of people can relate to the story on this - it's very movie soundtrack-ish. And I just realized, I miss Toca! (Toca does Jason's back-up vocals for his live performances.) There isn't enough Toca in this album (is he even there? I have to check.).

A Beautiful Mess. I love love this track - this right here is lovely, especially the harmony near the end, but imo, the one from the We Sing EP version is the loveliest one yet. In fact, every single one of the songs that appear in all the EPs is a better version than the tracks in this studio recording. I lurve the EPs.

I would still recommend that people buy this album - my "disappointment" with some of the tracks is largely because I've already heard live versions long before the album release. That doesn't necessarily mean the studio versions are bad. With Jason Mraz, it isn't at all surprising to slightly feel let down by his studio albums. And because I'm starting to sound like I'm pulling your leg, I offer proof. Here's some more Mraz - a recording of a webcast concert at the AT&T Blueroom last May. I have this on my Zen, and I tell you, the entire concert, it's earworm!

(Note: If all you see in front of you is a rectangular colored block instead of a player, that means either or both of two things: you will have to use Firefox or Netscape - you should be using Firefox already anyhow (coz it rules!) - and/or you need to have Flash Player 9 installed. Go download it, it's free.)

It's an mp3 player, y'all

Seriously. Bwah!

" The thing has 1GB internal memory, built in speaker and charges through USB. The USB port is very conveniently placed in the dog's butt and the headphone jack is located in the front. It might be worth the $18.67 shipped just as a conversational starter, after all how many times have you seen a table with a plastic dog and a USB plug up it's butt playing "I will survive"? "


Turns out the creature is not a dog, but an alien character from a HongKong movie, CJ7, from the creator of Kungfu Hussle and Shaolin Soccer.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Back after a hiatus

I haven't blogged nor taken pics in ages. So I figured I'd remedy that with one fell post. Here are a couple of images I made last Saturday with my cameraphone.

List of services at Amigo's Barber Shop, somewhere in Bulacan. Haircuts cost Php 40, with hot towel included. (O ha!)

Yes, this is a dog. Mohinder chomping on a favorite chewy treat.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mrazmerizing Acoustics

Lately I've been listening to this guy. Fantastic vocals, very well-crafted songs, and a whole lot of style. What's more, he sounds even better live. So I collected some tracks and made a playlist. All but one of these are from live performances.

Make It Mine. This is the opening track of Jason's upcoming 3rd album. Performed at Park City Utah during the Where Music Meets Film event last January 26. I just love this, it's sort of Beatles-y.
1000 Things. My favorite Mraz song of all, recorded live at The Eagles Ballroom in 2004.
Clockwatching. Just Jason and his guitar, recorded in Ile St. Louis in Paris. I extracted the audio from the wonderful bonus take away show video by Valerie Toumayan. (The video I posted in my last entry below was from the same series.)
Warming Up. More than half-way through Jason hesitates, seems he forgot what's next, haha. I believe it was a very new song at the time when he performed this at Lestat's in 2004. To my knowledge this song does not appear in any of Jason's albums.
Rainbow Connection. A cover of a well-loved song, recorded at Cafe Dackhammer in Berlin last year. I like this as much as Kermit the Frog's rendition.
Dynamo of Volition. No one would have figured me for a fan of this style of music (almost like rap), but I'm just amazed how he can sing all those words! This song is also reportedly included in the new album. Also recorded live at Cafe Dackhhammer.
I'm Yours. Jason and his band have been playing this at concerts for years. Finally they recorded it for the new album. I'm not sure if this is that very studio version.

The new album I keep mentioning will be released on May 20. It is called We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things. Prior to that, 3 exclusive EPs will be released. We Sing will be out March 18, and We Dance on April 15. We Steal Things will be available on March 20 as a digital bundle with the purchase of the album through iTunes. Kinda confusing, but I gotta figure out how to get my hands on all these.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A lovely day indeed

Jason Mraz does an improvisation while walking the streets of Paris. At the start he tries to say "C'est une belle journée." (trans. "It's a lovely day."), and he gets the pronunciation wrong (hee!). As he walks farther he meets a Bulgarian busker, and together they make music. This is truly awesome.

There are 4 more videos from this series - 2 can be viewed at, and 2 more can be downloaded from