Saturday, April 30, 2005

The one with how I am now a single parent

As I type this, my wife is probably listening to preaching from one of the Hope of God pastors at the international church camp in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She left last Thursday morning with her mother, and will return on Thursday afternoon next week.

For the first time in our more than two-year marriage, I am alone - and a single parent, to boot. I mean, sure, I've got Susan, but suddenly I'm so much more acutely aware of the awesome responsibilities facing me for the next seven days. Nathan is literally depending on me completely for his survival.


Actually, last night, after the prayer meeting, I found myself wondering what I was going to do. Normally, after the meeting, I would go and fetch Cathy, then we'd have a late dinner. Now, I had the option to go straight home... and watch TV, because Nathan would surely be asleep. Not having Cathy beside me when I went to bed was discomfiting... I ended up falling asleep at half past two, mindlessly channel surfing and wondering what she was doing, whether she missed me insanely as I was missing her, and whether she was sleeping in a bug-infested bed at Rompo Mansion.

So I had a Chickenjoy dinner, went home, and consoled myself with designs and deletions and CD burning.

I have got to start relying on God. I shouldn't feel this empty now without Cathy because God should fill me up. It's hard, though - I miss my baby. *sniff*

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The one with my new job

Effective May 5, my Academic Proficiency Program teaching days will be over, and I begin my new employment as copy editor of...

... Uno Magazine.


I know what you're thinking (or at least I think I know). How can I work for a magazine like Uno? What kind of justification can I possibly have to work for a men's magazine that appears to objectify women, and seems to promote all the wrong values?

There is no justification, frankly. I can't even start. The economics of my situation make it extremely difficult to not resist the offer. It literally went like this: I submitted my resume, was introduced to the publishers and editor, and chatted with them a bit. An hour later, I got a callback and was told I was being offered the job.

I won't lie and say I'm not even in the least bit excited for this opportunity, because it is a big opportunity to see how things work in the magazine industry, something I mayn't have done too well in the past. At least working in a magazine as active as Uno will give me a great chance to see what I didn't do quite right with LIVEtheLIFE so I can make it better should God see fit to give me another chance (and God is a God of second, third, infinitessimal chances).

And, to be completely honest, I like Uno tons better than FHM, the leading men's magazine and purveyor of smut extravaganza. The articles read better, the pictures aren't remotely as smutty, and it's locally made, so kahit papaano, there's a relatively decent Filipino mentality to it, rather than all the articles FHM Philippines lifts off its foreign counterparts.

I told them I'd be ready to work by end of next week, but I continue to wait on God, because a wise woman once told me that if a decision is God-sent, you will feel the most amazing peace upon you, and right now, I can't say I'm completely peaceful. Excited, but a bit discomfited. Here's to another avenue. I do hope I find my niche soon.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The one with the ruminations

Today was a joyous occasion for the Hope of God Manila church, as our pastor, Soradej Meesaengtham, married Eunice Tan, in simply ceremonies at Fernwood Garden in Quezon City. It's a beautiful place, with swans and cygnets frolicking with carp in pools scattered throughout the garden, and parakeets, cockatoos, and peacocks observing the festivities from tree branches hanging overhead. It went exquisitely well. I sang a song slightly offkey, forgivable, I trust and hope, given that the wrong version was played by the sound system technicians, and hosted the reception ceremonies with my beautiful wife Cathy.

A second celebration was held from 5-7PM at the Hope Church along Aurora Boulevard. I sang three other songs there; I also hosted a special number prepared by the church subdistrict to which I belong.

That's the good news.

The bad news is this: in the middle of the second song, my head began to ache. It got progressively worse until it felt like my head was a peanut being crushed underfoot by a 350-pound football player. I continued to sing, though, and acknowledged a third song requested by the couple. I got through that, but stepping backstage, I felt like my head was going to explode.

It was a pain I'd never ever experienced before. I wanted to cry so badly, but didn't want to worry the other members of the band (too late, though - they noticed me clutching my temples in pain and rushed out to get Cathy). She came in and asked if I was okay - which I wasn't. I told her that my head was in a huge amount of pain, and she moved me to the table where she was seated - with the other pastors and visitors from Thailand. I couldn't let them see that I was suffering, so I put up a brave face. Later on, I hosted that special number I mentioned earlier, and during one of the spiels, I actually said, "Ow, ow, ow" without thinking about it. Nuts.

As I type this at Netopia while waiting for Cathy to finish her shopping and my head feeling slightly better, I wonder if this is my wakeup call, the sign that, like everyone else in the world, I am not immortal. I could wake up the next morning, prepare for praise and worship, and make myself a cup of coffee, telling myself, "this'll be fine with a croissant," and God could say, "Okay, fine, have your croissant, but afterwards, that's it." And I collapse on the kitchen floor.

I mean, come on, I genuinely thought some blood vessel burst in my head and I was going to die! To think this at 28 is sad. I'm supposed to have my life ahead of me, but then again, God does make things happen for a reason. I'm scheduled for a checkup next week, and I gotta admit, I'm a little unnerved. What if I discover some kind of tumor in my head? What if I find out that all those chocolates and ice cream have taken their toll, and I'm now diabetic? What if I find that I've got cancer of the [insert body part here]?

I used to think I'm a superblessed kid, and I still know I'm superblessed, but I'm not a kid anymore, I'm a 28-year-old who has a hard time bending over because I'm too obese for my own good. While my head was pounding, I noticed I actually wasn't breathing normally: I'd breathe, then I stopped breathing until I actually needed to take a breath from lack of air. In light of my medical history, I could be chronic for something, I don't know what, and I'm unnerved, not out of fear of death, but more of what my family would do without me,

This is all my fault, and I blame KitKat Chunky White. LOL

What happens if I die? My insurance is paid, so Cathy and Nathan won't be left without anything, but there are questions. If I get a stroke or something, and become a vegetable, will I become a Terri Shiavo? [Pull the plug.] Will my son actually remember me if I die at this point in his life? [Mental note: take more videos with you in the frame, Ganns.] Will Cathy remarry? [She has my wishes to.] Will Nathan grow up without a father figure? [As if I'm the template! Hello!] Will Wilson Phillips ever reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 ever again? [No.]

Mortality sucks balls to begin with, and it sucks more when it's your mortality of which you're aware. Meanwhile, I continue to pray, and if you've time, a little prayer for me and my checkup'd be nice. Be superblessed, y'all.

Friday, April 22, 2005

The one about some great guy singers you should take note of

The past few weeks, I've been listening to a lot of acoustic music in preparation for my show (!) on Jam 88.3, and I've found it a thrill to discover all this great talent just sitting in the wings (or flying, but not to my knowledge, haha).

If you've time, do check out the following:
Brian Littrell. Wait a minute, you say. That name sounds familiar. Isn't he a Backstreet Boy? LOL Yes, he is. He's also founder of Healthy Hearts, a nonprofit organization for children. Since BSB went on hiatus, he's also gone into recording his first album of Christian music, and the first Christian pop-country single, In Christ Alone, is featured on Wow #1's, released April 5 in the US, an amazing collection of hits ("31 of the greatest Christian music hits ever!"). Want the MP3? Email me.

Ryan Cabrera. I've been listening to True nonstop for days. Between True and Reliant K's Getting Into You, I've found two guitar ballads that make me cry daily. That can't be good for my lachrymals.H is album Take It All Away is flawless, and listening to On the Way Down makes me actually think there are Christian overtones to this man. And oh, his hair rocks.

John David Webster. Ooh, this guy's good! Driven piano lines combined with a Southern rock sensibility make Webster's music easily accessible, fantastically radio-friendly, and remarkably holy. First single Miracle is now climbing the top 20 of the Billboard Christian charts, and he's certainly got a lot going for him. This superblessed singer is also annoyingly good-looking. Why must some people have all the blessings?

Matthew West. West's debut single, More, was the first Contemporary Christian song to debut at #1 on the Christian charts. What makes it even more remarkable was the fact that was a debut single as well! West's passionate vocal over irresistible guitar riffs makes for an unforgettable gospel-rock experience. While he was shut out at the recent Dove Awards, West's five nominations means that he certainly will be around for years to come.

Gavin DeGraw. Stole my name for the show from this incredibly talented young man. He's a pianist slash vocalist whose I Don't Wanna Be, off the One Tree Hill OST, cracked the Billboard Hot 100's Top 10 a few months ago, and went gold as a single. I don't have his album (it's not available locally), but I have listened to other tracks, including Belief, Dreams, and Chariot. He's really amazing, you should give him a shot. Note: not Christian music.

Aside from these people, other amazing, albeit established, male singers you would do well to check out include Chris Rice, Michael W. Smith, and one of my personal favorites, an amazing singer, songwriter and storyteller who makes me cry every time I hear a new track, Mark Schultz.

The one where Scott continues to baffle and annoy

In a surprising turn of events, Scott Savol survives to "sing" another night on American Idol, as the vitriolic, unappreciative, uncharismatic "gospel" singer squeezes past early favorite Anwar Robinson, who goes home in a blaze of faux femme fire.

This changes things much.
6. Anthony
5. Scott
4. Vonzell
3. Bo
2. Constantine
1. Carrie

My personal preferences:
6. Scott
5. Anthony
4. Bo
3. Carrie
2. Constantine
1. Vonzell

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The one with all the sex scandals

Why are there so many sex scandals coming out now? There's a La Salle scandal, a Boardinghouse scandal, a Benilde scandal, a Dumaguete scandal...!

This is a sign of the degradation of morality in this country. When people just shoot each other using mobile phones or digital cameras while engaged in premarital nookie, there's something radically wrong here.

Meanwhile, married couples can shoot themselves as much as they want. LOL

The one with how proud I am of my wife

Effective the next school year, Cathy is going to be DLS-College of Saint Benilde's Admissions Director! I'm so proud of my honey! May God use her for His glory.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The one with Nina's show

Last Saturday, Cathy and I caught the Hard Rock show of Nina sponsored by 96.3 WRock (Cathy's favorite station - she won't admit it, but it so obviously is). When the show began, we didn't have high hopes; as a matter of fact, Cathy whispered in my ear, "we can leave early if it gets boring."

It was one of the best shows we'd ever seen.

Apparently, Nina's voice can't be captured in its glory by mere recording, which is a shame. On her three albums, she sounds good, but slightly nasal, and I didn't exactly like her voice. However, when she sings live, it's something completely different.

She was unbelievably good! Her rapport with the audience was head-on, with her gamely posing for camera phones, digital cameras, and videocams, posing coquettish one second, smiling sweetly the next. She seemed genuinely humble, and really gave back to her fans, greeting people happy birthday, and encouraging everyone to have a good time. I liked her voice control, and when she let go on some of the later songs, there wasn't one hair on my arms and neck left unstanding. Her range was excellent, and her choice of songs (most of which were also available on Nina Live!, her best-selling live album) was stellar. She was outstanding!

Oh, did I mention Nyoy Volante, the chipper acoustic singer famous in his own right, showed up and sang Fallen with her at the end of the show? Free tickets and a free duet with Nyoy and Nina! Who's superblessed now?! :)

Okay, so she didn't sing any of her originals. She doesn't write her own songs, apparently, and her choice of outfit was a little too racy for my taste. After this show, I definitely think she's one of the more talented musicians in the local scene, and I'd watch another show of hers in a heartbeat. Galing, galing.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The one with the Nadia and the developments on American Idol

Last night's developments on American Idol - Nadia Turner getting the boot, Bo Bice in the bottom two - tells me one thing: nothing is sureball on this show. Any chance of people hinting at the possible rigged results should be thrown out the can for several reasons, the least of which is that Scott Savol continues to shock me by remaining in the running.

With the ouster of Nadia, it appears to be the contestants who seemed like shoo-ins at the beginning of the competition aren't necessarily shoo-ins after all, and those who were expected to be voted out get better every week.

As of this writing, for instance, only two singers - Constantine Maroulis and Carrie Underwood - have yet to taste Bottom Three status. Everyone else - Anwar Robinson, Anthony Federov, Vonzell Solomon, Bo, and Scott - has been in the Bottom Three at least once (Scott twice!), with Scott, Bo, and Anwar experiencing the nerve-wracking Bottom Two. This may or may not bode well for Connie and Carrie, but as shown by Nadia and Bo last night and Anwar three weeks ago, early favorites are not immune from being voted out this early in the game.

I agree with Randy that consistency is key, and with Simon that song selection is crucial (Paula is nothing more than a glorified cheerleader). Right now, the most consistently pleasing performances, arguably, of course, belong to Carrie (whose Love is a Battlefield was her most appalling in weeks) and Constantine, who has shown considerably improvement, culminating in a breathtaking take on Bohemian Rhapsody.

Next week, unless he turns in a remarkably stellar performance, I think Scott is next to go. It's a little too early to tell, but both Cathy and I think Bo said the stupidest things last night, and that is definitely going to affect his votes (you don't insult your fans by saying you did this whole thing for a bet! What's going on with these AI contestants? Mario then Bo? Hello, people spend money on you, be grateful!).

Barring show stopping performances, my latest fearless forecast is as follows:
7. Scott
6. Bo
5. Anthony
4. Anwar
3. Vonzell
2. Constantine
1. Carrie

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The one with the search for a nanny

After a year and almost six months with us, Nathan's first nanny has informed us she would like to return to school, in effect, resigning from her position.

While this saddens us, we're faced with the immense problem that faces many working parents in the Philippines: where do we get a yaya?!

If y'all know of someone, please refer them to us, 0920.907.3962. Starting salary is P2,500.00, room and board included.

Update: Praise God! We've found one! Her name is Susan, and from all accounts, she looks to be even better than Maricel. Praise God!

Friday, April 08, 2005

The one on LIFTED!

God remains faithful. :)

Last night, I met up with a talented and funny individual named Eric Perpetua, assistant program director over at my favorite station, Jam 88.3. A few weeks ago, I sent a proposal to Joe D'Mango, the station manager, for a show I tentatively titled Lifted!, seen as a show for acoustic Contemporary Christian music. I prayed for it, but was not very optimistic it would get approval; only one station, NU107, airs Christian music, and the show, Against the Flow, is Christian rock, and they air it Sundays at 1030PM. In effect, there was really no avenue for some of the more rhythmic acoustic Christian music available, which I think has a better chance of crossing over and touching the lives of Filipino teens and young adults.

Yet God remains faithful.

Mr. Perpetua was an open-minded and intelligent man, as is Mr. Mango (that's an odd name - how else should we address him? Dear Joe?). We laughed much during the course of our conversation, and he informed me that Jam 88.3 was willing to take a chance on Lifted!, in effect making Jam 88.3 the first major Metro Manila station to have a full-fledged Contemporary Christian music show!

God is faithful!

Lifted! will air for 30 minutes on Sunday with a replay Sunday evening. It will feature great acoustic guitar and piano songs by some of CCM's most vibrant artists, and will have uplifting quotes and inspiring stories. "Music to lift your spirits and soothe your soul."

God is truly faithful!

I'm hosting it. SOB! It makes me want to cry. After LIVEtheLIFE wrote 30, I didn't know what else to do to reach out. God made a way, and I'm going to run with it and make a difference for Christ.

We're back doing great things for God! Can't nobody hold a Christian down!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The one with the latest apology

My apologies to the three of you who've swung by in the past few days. ;) I've been ridiculously busy. Things are well. Update soon. :) God remains faithful.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The one where we bid Terri goodbye

Goodbye, Miss Shiavo. I hope you're enjoying great food and are talkin' up a storm in heaven. :)

Friday, April 01, 2005

The one with the correct prediction

So far, I've gone two our of three: I've correctly predicted the ouster of Lindsey and Jessica. Mikalah was the only hitch; Scott is proving himself resilient. ;)