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Black Friday

1 Dec

With no partner to tag and plan, I refused to go solo in the late night Black Friday madness this year. Despite, the change of tradition, I still found a way to drive myself to the point of exhaustion and delirium with the ones I love.

12:00am: Did some damage on Amazon.com SHOPPIN’! but mostly for gifts…

1:30 am: Sleep.

7:30am: Drove up to a Target store not knowing what to expect. The store was empty, and all the Black Friday deals I needed wanted were still around. WOO!

9:00am: Picked up Kristal and met up with some friends at Millennium Dance Complex in Hollywood, namely Ferly Prado and Manny Streetz.

11:00am: After dancing, Kristal and I decided to do some shopping at the Bev Center in Beverly Hills.

As soon as we were about to grab some lunch, Justin Bieber’s Mistletoe was playing in mall, and we were “surprised” to see Manny again…and well…

…WE MOBBED!

It’s crazy how a flash mob can just drag you in like a whirlpool. I mean…why fight it when you could just be a part of the movement? Plus you’ll end up on all the Justin Bieber fansites ;)

I am thankful for Manny, Kristal, and Ferly dreaming up big and for the friends and fam who came down to support and document the whole thing.

Famished, we eventually got lunch, but no shopping done for ourselves. Thankful for this!

The rest of my Black Friday was a blur with the exception of the time spent with close friends, including my hilarious old friends at the theater, The Muppets. If I had some wheel of morality to spin, it would land on “The most memorable times in life are spent with the ones you love most regardless of what you’re doing…blah blah blah…”

 

 

 

 

Hearts Be Light

28 Nov

DISNEYLAND:

  • No strollers…
  • Dancing with Goofy…
  • No lines…
  • “Shuffling” with Chip & Dale…
  • No people (well…a few)…
  • “Snow…”
  • Christmas music blaring throughout the park…

…compliments of KOST-FM.

All Christmas and Disney sentiment consumed us. We acted like there wasn’t a problem in the world…nor did we speak of the fact that we had work within the next 5 hours. We were kids again.

Engaged

19 Feb

So I got engaged.

Don’t worry. It wasn’t TOO mushy.

ENJOY.

Another Year

31 Dec

“Everything happens for a reason.”

Hmmm. Based on my experiences this year, I’d say that some things happen for a reason, but not all things.

There are certain things in life that may never be explained or comprehended, leaving humanity always asking “Why?”

But in the question lies the quest, and in that quest is a hope. We strive for redemption, a new chance at things; a new outlook. We keep striving.

Though 2010 was tough for many of us with a lack of work, health, relationships, we have all experience growth in one way or another.

So I challenge you to reflect on the year, and be honest with yourself on how much you have learned about yourself and others. You are still here, surviving and making headway to reason and purpose.

So here’s to another year, 2011. Things happen for a reason, most you have control over and some you don’t. Let’s take advantage of the things we have control over and make the most of them. CHEERS!

Comfort and Joy

12 Dec

SO…It’s the holiday season, and Christmas songs are currently playing everywhere you go. We sing them so flippantly and melodically. It’s almost automatic.

As I was driving in my car a couple of days ago, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen was playing on a cd in my car, and I actually took the time to think about the lyrics “…oohh tidings of comfort and joy.”

Comfort and joy…is exactly what I need to hear right now as my migraines and neurological issues are constantly robbing me of my peace.

Comfort and joy…in the fact that God is always there for me no matter where I am.

Comfort and joy…in knowing that my life is full of blessings, and that I cannot sacrifice enough for the sake others.

Comfort and joy…in believing that I have a purpose that goes beyond my own life.

Comfort and joy…in Jesus.

I love Sarah McLachlan’s voice in this Barenaked Ladies’ folky bluegrass version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen:

Have a listen.

New Orleans

14 Nov

I recently returned from a two-week business trip to New Orleans. The one free weekend we had there held Halloween, Voodoo Music Festival and the Saints/Steelers NFL game. It was crowded and chaotic all weekend, and I’m glad that my newly found co-worker buddies and I got to experience it the way we did. I would definitely revisit New Orleans!

Jazz Band on a corner of Frenchman

"Spontaneous band combustion" everywhere you go in N.O.

Bourbon Street Halloween Night

Greenwood Cemetery

My observations and experience in the city had me excited at first, but upon leaving, I was honestly heartbroken and even empty. I fell in love with the city but as the two weeks panned out, I began to distance myself as there ended up being eight known murders. I asked myself: “There has to be more to New Orleans than ‘this’ right?”
Taken from my hotel window in Metairie

I Wish I Knew

Was there light before dark?

Spirit before flesh?

Love before lust?

I wish I knew you

Before she drowned your heart

Scattered your seed

leaving you half empty

Now what is left?

What is your identity

when all I hear is ‘Who dat?’

I wish I knew you

So much history, culture, music,

soul

Does anyone know that part?

Did she take it away?

Maybe she added one more battle scar to be blue

I wish I knew you

before saints were more than just a team in a dome

Before citizens were without guilt by association with the name of a city

without infamous renown

Louis Armstrong sang it loud

played it proud

Oh how he’d want them saints to come marching in

and come back home

Maybe one day

Who knows?

I wish I knew.

You have more to offer than shiny plastic beads

voodoo magic

hand grenade drinks

soul-food eats

and unwarranted streets

Your people have to come back to more than this

What hope do they have in you?

Somebody tell me what is hope for New Orleans

I wish I knew.

– Marlon Reynoso


Family

22 Sep

Two shows that I fell in love with this past decade, well at least the first two seasons of each, were The WB’s Smallville and NBC’s Heroes. It is safe to say that what captivated me and my peers was not only the intriguing characters and relevant plot twists, but also the strive for these extraordinary people to live a normal family life.


For example in Smallville, Clark Kent, in his adolescence always counted on his earth family for values and difficult decisions in his life. In Heroes, Claire Bennet, the indestructible cheerleader played by Hayden Panettiere, had to deal with balancing out her high school experiences, her life’s purpose, and role in her family. Keep in mind that she’s just one of the many in that show that had to learn to keep the family together while having superhuman abilities.

So why did I disconnect after two (and a half) seasons? There are a few reasons I can say, but the underlying reason is that both shows slowly drifted away from the concept of family, and the struggle that comes with keeping harmony in the family. Smallville started to jump on the “Sex Sell” bandwagon and also introduced cheesy superhero costumes, and Heroes went in a million directions with their character development, failing to tie loose ends.

I’m looking forward to next Tuesday as ABC is premiering a new series about a family of super heroes where the focus of the show is to stress the importance of…yes that’s right…FAMILY. While the definition of family has changed over the years, I’m glad there are still writers out there instilling its value.
Here’s the pilot trailer for ABC’s No Ordinary Family:

I’m hoping this show doesn’t deviate too far from its original intent.

I have always been a huge fan of 80′s and 90′s family sitcoms like The Cosby Show, Growing Pains, Full House, Family Matters, Home Improvement, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and the like. These shows had substance and humor, and they brought up everyday family conflict that empathized with kids and adults across America. I have to admit that it was tough to sit through some of the sappy piano moments when the apologies and regret were thrown around, but in reality, I believe that’s what everyone strives for in their lives especially in their family: harmony.

REAL QUICK: Though I gave up during season 3 and 4, I’m happy to know that they’re finally putting an end to Smallville this 10th season (that’s right: 10th), but Heroes didn’t even get a proper burial. NBC just cancelled the show after last season (It’s 4th I believe).

Substance

29 Jul

This is my spoken word about most (not all) of today’s pop music.

Almost all of it sounds the same. Almost none of it is fruitful. 
In December 2009, I came up with the idea, wrote some lines, and then moved on in my writing journal. I then wrote the “original” version in Spring 2010 as inspiration from the profound music of Paper Route. I was even able to recite the very first version in front of a couple of the Paper Route band members.
As I was reviewing my writing journal a few days ago, I came upon what I had written in December. It fit perfectly as the beginning to the original version.
So I put the two together and recited it publicly for the first time this week in Covina Park.  (The camera was too far to tell, but Mike (guitarist) and I both coincidentally wore Paper Route shirts. I’m also rocking my red PR wristband). I <3 Paper Route.


or watch it on Vimeo in full resolution.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a hater. It’s just that “I need good moral fiber for a spiritual bowel movement.”

Life Is…Not A Female Dog

16 Jul

But people say the opposite.

You’ve heard it. “Life’s a b****. Then You Die.”

Agree? Disagree?

There are times in life when you just can’t catch a break. Lately, I’ve been in the doldrums where it’s easy to play the victim. Here in this slump, I’ve found it very convenient to judge others, point fingers, and isolate myself for too long of a time. Motivation and inspiration are put on the back burner, and the hot weather this time of year keeps me indoors with the A/C blasting, cocooned in indifference. Needful to say, I’m bogged down by lies and presumptions. It’s all in my head.

If I were a celebrity, I’d g…

::hold::

…SO…

In the midst of my writing about how life may be filled with one depressing thing after another, my brother comes in from the peculiar, 100-degree stormy weather outside and says “There’s a full rainbow outside.” I got up to capture such a rare moment:

I didn’t notice the second rainbow until I uploaded the photo onto my computer.

Polychrome-Dome


I was originally going to show you a video from BBC Earth’s Life series about these Komodo Dragons that bite the ankles of animals. These dragons then follow the animal around for days waiting for the venomous bite to weaken their prey. When the poison kicks in, the prey drops, and the dragons feast. I was also going to write about how celebrity deaths are so tragic, but no one seems to note how the media and we the public bite the ankles of these celebrities so much, they just give up on life. Symbolic in a way, yes.

But after seeing that rainbow today, I was reminded of promises and encouraging words that were spoken to me throughout my life and the priceless support system of my friends and family that back up those promises and encouraging words. That rainbow was exactly what I needed to see in these oddly weathered days of mine: color in the grey; vividness in the dullness.

So while others can look at me and say “Life’s a bi…” (well you know), I can say “Yeah maybe for a bit, but I have a hope that keeps me going.” While there are times I can express that life may seem unfair or merciless, I’m reminded of this quote by the famous Chicago columnist, Sydney J. Harris:

When I hear someone say ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’

Sydney J. Harris

Maybe you’re still looking for your rainbow, your sign of hope, or you need to be reminded of the good things about your life, and yes, there are such things about your life. My burden is that you realize the hope among us and how it keeps our fibers meshed preventing a total meltdown. What’s great about Life Is… is that life is. Again, you’re still here. This series is ending, and today’s a new start. We can all hope that tomorrow will be better. Be.

Manila Machine – Los Angeles

5 Jul

::We interrupt this Life Is… series to bring you…FOOD!::

Food entrepreneurs are hitting the streets of LA, redeeming the unappealing term “roach coach.”

That’s right: Los Angeles food trucks are currently the hottest thing around. The diversity of Los Angeles is reflected by the diversity of the types of food trucks out there. There’s a grilled cheese truck, a crepe truck, a weenie wagon, a Kogi truck (Korean BBQ tacos), kabobs, and the variety is endless!

Being a Filipino-American in Los Angeles, I have been craving for a Filipino food truck that hits the spot. Well to much relief and excitement, it emerged four weeks ago.

THE MANILA MACHINE

I’ve been following the Manila Machine on Twitter and finally encountered it this week at Good Samaritan Hospital off of the 110 freeway.

The great news is that both Filipino and non-Filipino customers were already lined up waiting for it to open! IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT!

It’s only been three weeks, and word-of-mouth has been the Manila Machine’s greatest marketing. So here I write:

GO TRY IT!

The menu has the basic Filipino foods done in a creative and contemporary way. For example you can order the famous Chicken Adobo with fried rice and green onion OR you can get it shredded with caramelized onions in a pan de sal roll with adobo dipping sauce! YUM :P

Enough with the writing… here’s a video of my experience. I hope it gets your taste buds going!


I cannot wait for my next encounter with The Manila Machine. I’m hoping that I can get an informative interview with manager and front-woman Nastassia Johnson to find out more about her passion for food and service. It wouldn’t be a surprise, however, if she’s so busy with an endless line of hungry customers. That’s a good problem right?!

I’m happy for the Manila Machine, and I wish it great success in feeding the L.A. community with unique, delicious food and hospitable customer service. This is a common trait among the Filipino culture. Once you have a taste of the Manila Machine experience, you’ll be speaking Tagalog saying:

MASARAP! (Delicious)!

WEB: www.manilamachine.com

Twitter: @manilamachine