> Another Michael

I am one of those Michaels who may not necessarily been named after him but wouldn’t mind being tagged as one. After all, who wouldn’t wish to be like him? When I heard Myah saying the news, I immediately confirmed/googled it. Everyone expressed how they feel bad about it and how in some way or another, his legacy, his music created an impact on their lives.

Michael Jackson’s half century was lived almost wholly in the glare of the media searchlight, so hardly surprising that his death yesterday is causing a real stir. It’s odd, really.

Obviously I’ve never met him, never even seen him in concert. But the news of his death has definitely made an impact. The means of news spreading in the early 21st. century has ensured that his death was first tentatively announced on a showbiz website, spread quickly across the blogs, was given coverage before it was confirmed on 24 hour news sites like Sky and the more cautious BBC, and has resulted in loads of status comments on facebook. The status comments are both ones of shock [usually a brief RIP], some regret, and quite a deal of humour and references to the controversies of his legal battles over his actions with under-age boys.

Clearly not everyone feels the same about the eccentric artist. Regardless of how you feel about him, one has to recognize the man was a great musician, talented beyond belief and suffered greatly, as many artists do. His unexpected death is going to give all of his fans a hard blow. He touched millions, and that in and of itself is a feat on it’s own. He changed the face of music, not only his own but also how music was presented including choreography and costumes as well as music video presentation, particularly the “Thriller” album video production.

I’m more than touched by the sad loss of a controversial person who also held many treasured memories in my childhood. He may have had a rocky life but he gave so many so much and he paid for it dearly in the press, who loved to make him the sacrificial pig. He will dearly be missed. He is the next John Lenon, Elvis Presley, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix. The ones who leave us before their time is due and before the public has begun to get enough of them.

“If you enter this world knowing you are loved and you leave this world knowing the same, then everything that happens in between can be dealt with.” – Michael Jackson

I do not think that I could truly and honestly put into words what Michael Jackson meant to me, but I can tell you that it was something more then words can describe. Some of my earliest and fondest memories involve the performer, the legend, and the man they call the King of Pop. The fact that this extraordinary man has passed has still not hit me in full, but I already cannot help but wonder why such an inspirational talent was taken much too soon.

Michael Jackson was one of the few performers in this world who had been to hell and back and still possess the rare ability to rise above the ashes, like a phoenix, and be able to inspire and move millions in this world. He will be greatly missed by those millions of fans, including me. I write this with a heavy-heart and tear-streaked cheeks, knowing that the ache that has manifested itself within my heart will remain as the world and I come to terms with this terrible loss.

To you Katukayo Michael, you are gone, but will not be forgotten.

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> Old? Are You?

Last weekend, my cousins came over our place to celebrate my younger brother’s birthday. It was one of those rare ocassion that we get to bond and to hear about each other’s WTFs [pun intended].

It’s funny to realize how time already affected our thoughts about life, what we enjoy and what we pursue. It’s eerie when you have one of those “I’m getting too old for this shit” moments. You tell yourself that you aren’t getting old. Your sister or brother, or cousins smirk when you say it, and you know that you aren’t “that” old. Are you?

You’re preparing for a few rounds of beer pong at a kegger and suddenly you realize that you’re getting to be the old guy at the party. Not the really old guy, but that’s coming too. Everybody’s calling me Kuya already. I’m already the oldest in the family [from my Mother’s side] who’s left unmarried. So when the hell did this happen? Why just yesterday you were in college boozing it up with your buddies, being the favorite young apo of your Lolo and now it’s… damn. It’s more than four years later and you’re wondering if all that boozing is finally beginning to catch up with you. You can’t quite figure out when all that time passed.

There’ll be times where you come to a party alone you end up partnering up with some little shit whose pants are hanging so low that you can see six inches of his boxer shorts and a clear outline of his buttocks whether you want to or not. He’s wearing a wifebeater and he’s got the faintest trace of a five o’clock shadow where his excuse-for-a-mustache is attempting to grown in. This is commonly referred to as a Glen Burnie Stache.

I am beginning to realize now what my parents were thinking when I left the house in my teenage years, although I swear that my pants were never “that” low around my waist. At worst I would be showing an inch of boxers, buttocks fully contained within the pants.

When you recover from your trip down memory lane, the youngster is busy raving about how he can drink all night without hangovers. Concurrently he is halfway through a fifth of gin, a 30-pack of Marlboro Lights, three 40’s of Winston Lights.. and tells you that it’s no problem, he’s had more with supper.

Right. I remember those days, proclaiming that I was indestructable with my Ka-Baste’98 in tow, immune to hangovers, invincible, waterproof, and invisible… all at the same time. I was right, too. No hangovers for whatever reason, no matter what sludge [that was passed for booze] was consumed the previous days. The invisibility came in handy too.

These days, two beers and it’s hangover time in the morning. It doesn’t matter how much you attempt to rehydrate yourself the night before, you still wake up feeling like ass. Those younger days are over, even if they were only a year or two ago. Pass the Advil, please.

> He’s Over

I was really surprised yesterday when I received a message from Skad. He asked me to call him, and so I obliged. It has been quite a while since we had a converstaion. How-are-yous and what-has-beens have been uttered until we came to the point of talking about what made us connected or the person which serves as our common denominator [Kiko].

With every relationship, there is always the anxiety of whether it will last long or be cut short by unpleasant circumstances or unwanted events. People go through varied breakups and anguish of a lost love. Though unfavorable in itself, the degree of each happening is diverse. It can be amicable or it can be rough for individuals involved. Regardless of how each relationship ends, no one certainly wants to go through such phase. Getting over a lost love is dealt with differently by various people. There are those who are strong enough to face the pain, while others beg for strength to cope. Nevertheless, to get over a lost love, you must learn to comprehend and accept all that had happened.

It was a relief that finally, he’s emotionally stable and can just smile about the things that happened. It’s quite encouraging how he can now look back in his lost relationship and examine closely what happened and why they happened. I just like what I usually say, do not entirely blame yourself for what happened. It may not be completely your fault or was never really your fault. By really thinking of all the reasons why it all ended will help you fully understand that it definitely takes two individuals to build a relationship. Yet at times, one antagonistic person is enough to destroy and end it.

It’s funny how your “supposedly committed” couple-friends end up “pursuing” each other’s partner. And then there will be the issue of trust, infidelity, betrayal and selfishness. It is essential for you to take the time to identify which area or areas in your past relationship that you failed or somehow contributed to its demise to aid you in your future relationship for you to avoid the same missteps.

Accepting the pain of a lost love will help you recover more easily rather than not facing the painful truth. Cry if you feel like it. Getting over a lost love does not go by without shedding tears, feeling hurt and alone and sometimes, it even feels like you messed up. Accept your share of mistakes in the relationship. Taking such responsibility is healthy, but also keep in mind that you are a great person who is worthy to be loved. Denial is also natural but acceptance will better help you recover and move on.

I’ll be seeing him this weekend and I know there will be more stories to tell. For now I’ll just be happy for having another friend “getting over” the dillema of breaking up.

> One Liter Of Gratitude

I love writing, reading books, watching movies or even simple stories.

The past few weeks, I have been doing a lot of reading and TV watching. I love everything that touches the heart and soul in a variety of ways. Some may make you feel uplifted, others angry or frustrated, and still others may make you feel sad or melancholy. I can still remember Paulo Coelho as a writer who can change the way you think. After reading his Alchemist I became an ardent fan of his. In this book I found him to be one of the most gifted writers of our time. He has portrayed the life of a guileless village girl who by force of circumstances becomes a prostitute. The way she accepts the life of a courtesan not out of choice but out of compulsions beyond her control. The narrative makes us feel sorry for that hapless girl, no hatred. In such a story there is no vulgarity any where. Great writers of Paulo Coelho’s class only can do it. My heart was so heavy when I finished that novel. What a practical girl she becomes after so much of experience and decides to take the plunge into family life also with ease. Fantastic novel. If you have not read it please read it. It is worth reading.

Another story caught my “currently” sentimental state. Have you heard about the Japanese Tele Novela – One Liter of Tears?

This beautifully moving drama is based on the real-life struggles of a 15-year-old girl named Aya who suffered from an incurable disease, but lived life to the fullest until her death at 25. The script is based on the diary Aya kept writing until she could no longer hold a pen.

Aya’s only wish was “to live.” By carefully depicting Aya’s earnest desire to live, and the love of her family, friends, and lover, the drama, “One Litre of Tears” wishes to deliver her simple but strong message: “Just being alive is such a lovely and wonderful thing.”

These made me realize that there are really so many thing we should be thankful for. We wake up in every morning in an age of unprecedented comfort. We live in luxury that would have been the envy of kings.

We enjoy freedom of thought, conscience and religion few in history were ever allowed. In many ways we really do have it good. So much of the modern convenience we take for granted did not exist a few generations ago.

Our lives and relationships will be blessed if we can instill gratitude into our character. Our thankfulness needs to sink to a deeper, more personal level. That’s what happens when we recognize the grace of Christ and our indebtedness for His atonement.

Gratitude unburdens our spirit from negative emotions and gives room for charity in our hearts. It opens the windows of heaven to work miracles in our lives. It shines light in our caring for others.

Our expressions of thanks should be specific. Vague wording and broad generalizations don’t serve much useful purpose. Expressing gratitude for particular attributes and actions can motivate character growth in those areas. And on a personal level, gratitude instills in our own hearts proper feelings of respect for each other which makes enduring love possible.

The series is rather short compared to other dramas. It is definitely worth watching and I would recommend it to anyone. The theme song, Walang Hanggan by Wency Cornejo featuring Cookie Chua, fits well with the drama and the emotions that the characters go through. Overall, it’s an incredibly emotional drama series that will definitely touch your heart.

Walang Hanggan (One Liter Of Tears OST) – Wency Cornejo feat Cookie Chua

> Fulfilling Weekend

This weekend was so relaxing. I felt like I accomplished everything I set out to do, but only the fun stuff, which was a nice change of pace.

I spent time watching and catching up with so much of my TV addiction stuff which of course I always find enjoyable. I had the chance to bond with some friends for lunch and mall strolling.

Got some new reading at the bookstore. This book that I’ve been eyeing for a while was finally marked down and I had to get it. I just love the cutout cover. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it really is beautiful. The book itself is enjoyable too.

I got so sick of all same old-same old I’ve been wearing, that I went out and purchased a new pang-porma pair. I needed a dose of spring and just went for it, even if I suspect that it makes me look a little too easter basket-y [you know I dig plaids].

I woke up early and did the grocery shopping. It was all fun and it felt really good. I think I’ll be doing that again very soon. It was my follow-up attempt to be a more responsible Kuya to my younger siblings and I’m proud of myself that it turned out so well. My mother will be so proud.

I have decided to get ourselves a new computer set this week and to continue on accomplishing my “to do list”. Hurrah! I love happy endings.

So after taking a few days to recharge my physical and mental batteries, I’m again back on the blogging wagon.  I really didn’t have anything new to share the last couple of days as I still suffer from post Boracay blues. I thought I would sit back, take it all in, and let it process. Surprisingly, nothing that exciting happened. I have come to realize that I lead a pretty structured and scheduled, spontaneous life. What? Yeah, I’m really good at deciding to do something on a whim, however they are the same things almost every time. I could sit and stare at the TV for hours and then all of a sudden “lets go out”.  I’m glad the whole Boracay escapade happened and some others jumped on the wagon too. Now, I think it would be nice to get dressed up with a bunch of friends and go out for dinner. I don’t mean dressed up like last yesterday, I mean shirt and tie stuff. Although going out in public with someone new would be great too! Edit this part please.

And yeah, I’m having this photo space for Jo-Ann because I wasn’t been able to attend her surprise birthday party. 

JO-ANN

> Boracay ’09

The initial plan was to visit Singapore, Malaysia and nearby countries. But we kept putting it off. So when Al [yes, we have the same name] texted me about the change of plan, I hesitated at first.

I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea that I’ll be with his friends [like they were more than 20?] I barely knew. I have met most of them from a birthday party before but was not given the chance to truly bond.

When the plan pursued, weather forecast started to bother me. The hassles of the travel made me feel anxious. First, I did not think that the weather will cooperate for a perfect Boracay trip and the transfers from plane to land vehicle to boat to land vehicle didn’t sound like child’s play. Then, the work loads, the finances and other stuffs started to pile up. Then, we transferred place, new gadgets and plane tickets sounded too much of a luxury. But all of that is now behind us and we finally went last week.

Sure, the sun shown and the fine white sand on the beach didn’t scorch my feet even under the midday heat.

Sure, the sunset was picture pretty. But as our first day in Boracay drew to a close, I was more than ready to voice out my disappointment. I wasn’t impressed, I didn’t find it relaxing, I didn’t understand what the big deal was. I didn’t feel how it used to be there. I suppose it’s just fashionable to be seen in Boracay. It’s hip to be with the hip crowd, that sort of thing. Vlads [first timer] even mentioned that Boracay was just over rated. Really, I felt no excitement at the fact that I had to jostle my way through the crowded beach.

But then again, I have to admit that it was too early at that point to judge Boracay after having seen nothing but White Beach. By dinner time, I was willing to concede that the tables on the brightly lit beach did have a charm all their own. Still, I don’t feel the previous Boracay feeling, I kept wishing there will be more to Boracay than what I have been seeing so far. Good thing we played cards [lucky nine] where the one who loses will be painted with “uling” all over the face. I then realized, it’s not all the Boracay thing-y that I need, but the company of good and friendly people. The night was then filled with laughters and cheers.

There’ll be no perfect way to describe the next few days but through these photos.

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Thank you Reno, Joan, Chester, Steff, Rizza, Marvin, Ton, Al, Josef, Doy, Vlads, Andrew, Takay, Ciay, Aira, Charlie, MV and Maan’s Group. You rock!

> Post-Bora

I had a great unplugged-from-the-grid long weekend, from which I finally got back from late last Tuesday. This morning I actually sat in front of my computer and, though I had a million things to say, couldn’t seem to get them down right on the blog.

Instead, here are some pictures of me spending time with great friends and enjoying the analog life.

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I might have the brains to write down the details tomorrow.