Thursday, September 02, 2010

Tribute to Kuya Toni

My mother's youngest brother died yesterday. This is my way of saying goodbye to him. Why you might ask, is he close to you? In the last few decades of his life, not really, to be honest. But I do remember well growing up with him always around. He came to stay with us as soon as he started high school in Arellano High School in Pasay City. Even when he started working he stayed with us on weekdays and went home to my Lola Ebia on weekends. Most of neighbours thought he was our eldest sibling. It seems like it because he's always there especially in our younger days.

What he really imparted to me is appreciation of the contemporary music scenes during the early 70s. Firstly, me and my younger siblings would line up behind Kuya Toni and we would copy all the funky moves of the Jackson 5 whenever we see them on the telly.

The young teenage Kuya Toni was really cool in his choice of music. He definitely influenced me in my appreciation of folk and pop music. I believe the first album he bought is After The Gold Rush (Neil Young).

Then he bought more of Neil Young's - the Harvest album. At first I love it but after a while I was given to stuffing my fingers in my ears from constantly hearing the same voice singing the same songs over and over again. Arggghhh! I have to console myself that at least Neil sings in tune unlike Bob Dylan. Now that would have driven me over the edge.

Thankfully, he bought a more 'girly' album next that was as excellent as the two previous ones. I know this is not Carole's original but it is nonetheless my favourite in that album:

What's funny when I was assembling the above videos I was singing along to all of them even though I haven't heard them for decades. Funny what can be embedded in a 7-year-old's head with the constant repetition of Neil Young's music and the memorisation of all of Tapestry song's lyrics simply because they were at the back of the album cover!

There's also one other album I remember - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's Deja Vu album. That one I didn't appreciate it at the time. It was only later in my teenage years that I re-discovered it. This is only 1 of the songs that I like in it:

That was just the start of it. Did I tell you of his (and subsequently mine) Beatles phase? He pratically bought all of the Beatles albums and like before I was there to sample and adore them wholesale. The one track that gave me second thoughts in playing again was A Day In A Life in Sgt. Pepper's album. I decided to chill out after coming home from my 3rd year high school classes. So I put on that Beatle album and set the stereo volume to VERY LOUD. But when it came to the A Day In A Life song I became quite agitated. Towards the end of the track as the music became louder and louder and the pitch going higher and higher I was convinced that it was going to explode! So I turned off the stereo right there and then. Hahaha.

Thank you for the music, Kuya Toni. You will always be in our hearts. Bon voyage on your journey to the great beyond. We love you ...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Formula One Debacle

I have to admit I have been watching Formula One racing only for the last 4 years. Actually only when Lewis Hamilton emerged in the series in 2007. During the mid-1990s I tried watching but was just bored to tears of the endless processions of cars and constantly hearing Michael Schumacher declared as the winner. I thought, screw that I'll just follow some other sports.

Now, especially the beginning of the 2010 season, F1 has become immensely exciting due to the emergence of three contending teams at the top (Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren) and most of all the unpredictability in the driver championships with a possibility of a five-way battle to the top (Hamilton, Alonso, Button, Vettel, Webber).

Normally I would get really excited and be trawling the F1 forums whenever my favourite driver (Hammy) is involved. Knowing how aggressive he is in the car controversy seems to always follow him. Surprisingly, the just concluded German Grand Prix in Hockenheim produced no less than a furore about the apparent team orders to Massa to let Alonso pass. The blatant way that this was executed really incensed a lot of the fans including myself.

I've read more than a dozen articles about this brouhaha but the best one that I believe analysed it well and most reflects my stand is Joe Saward's Blog.

Maybe I should start watching Moto GP or GP2 or Touring car races.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Jim Richardson on Landscape Photography -- National Geographic

Jim Richardson on Landscape Photography -- National Geographic

So that's how they do it !
Boy, I didn't know these beautiful landscape photographs took A LOT of effort. But just look at it ... so so gorgeous.

Friday, October 16, 2009

MG Update - Oct 2009

Had a consultation with Dr.W this time in Selly Oaks Hospital. Thank goodness I don’t have to wait for 6 months before I can see him. I told him of my problems early September where I had a virus infection or a flu. It made my myasthenia worse making my breathing laboured and feeling increasing weakness all around. My GP Dr. P increased the dosage of my Prednisolone from 10mg daily to alternate 15mg/10mg daily. Problem is, it makes it hard for me to sleep at night which in turn reduces my rest and makes me tired which then makes my MG worse. Catch 22.

So it’s timely that Dr.W saw me 2 days ago who told me to increase my Azathioprine to 50mg 3 times a day. Plus he gave me a logbook for my blood tests, which I should have prior to seeing him, in order to monitor it more closely. He also told me to avoid taking sleeping aids like Piriton if I can help it.

Here are my dosages as of 16/10/2009:

Prednisolone – alternate 10mg/15mg per day
Azathioprine – 50mg x 3 per day
Levothiroxine – 50mcg per day
Metformin – 500mg per day
Sodium Alendronate – 70 mg per week

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


At last a sci-fi TV series that is only a few days late from the airing in the US. With FlashForward, we’re more or less in sync with the US. Fortunately, it is not the same as what happened to Heroes where we here in UK have to wait for months after the US airing. During which time I have to carefully avoid any websites that gives spoilers of episodes.

FlashForward is a story of a supposed worldwide occurrence where everyone blacked out (or sort of fell asleep) for precisely 2 min. and 17 secs. Everyone had a glimpse of what will happen to them 6 months in the future. For some what they saw was bad, while others were hopeful of a good future. The phenomenon is being investigated by an FBI team headed by Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) who himself is in personal turmoil over what he saw in his future.

I won’t give any spoilers here. I just want to say that this is a highly recommended sci-fi thriller TV show. Me and my family can’t wait for the next episode to roll in. Our Monday evenings definitely includes sitting in front of the telly and finding out what happened to Mark, his wife Olivia, his daughter Charlie, and what his FBI team uncovers about the mystery.

Monday, August 17, 2009

MG Update - Aug 2008

Well it looks like my MG is getting pretty persistent. I'm having shortness of breath and limb weakness again despite having my steroids increased more than 3 weeks ago. So today I went back to my GP to aske for his help. This time he told me to increase my steroids to alternate 15mg/10mg per day while keeping the rest of my medications the same. I do hope it will stabilise my MG. The last thing I want is for it to flare up into a major episode.

My GP also assured me that he will contact my neurologist about my condition and told me to come back after two weeks. Here are my current dosages:

prednisolone - 15mg/10mg alternate daily
azathioprine - 50mg x2 daily
levothyroxine - 50 mcg daily
metformin - 100mg daily
alendronic acid - 70mg once a week

Monday, August 10, 2009

Three Years Too Late

I'm sorry folks, I tried, God knows I tried. Middle-aged people are supposed to be listening to pop or reception-lounge-easy-listening music. Nothing to raise your high blood pressure and such. But I just can't help being a rocker and even I myself am surprised that I am capable of appreciating indie rock music. Imagine that!

I've chosen to ignore the Arctic Monkeys ever since all that hype came out three years ago. I was thinking - surely they're not as good as what the media make them out to be. Since then I've always dismissed them as all hype and no substance. You know how much the air the British tabloid media is capable of. Though I should not have been so flippant since I haven't really listened to them at length except from some snippets one hears from BBC Radio 1. As it turned out one night when I usually have an hour of quiet to myself, I chanced upon Channel 4 airing their Live at the Apollo concert (recorded more than a year ago) because there was nothing else to watch. I thought I'd grit my teeth and bear it out 'til I become sleepy.

Well whaddayaknow, listening to their high energy music I was mesmerised, sat up and took notice and the more I listened the more I like what I was hearing - you know their music. So this is the Arctic Monkey they were talking about. I trawled YouTube for more of their other songs and like some infatuated teenager they got me hooked. I was telling my husband if I were a teenager now I would be head over heels obsessed with them.

I love their catchy riffs, the punk rock -like energy, and the fact that their contemporary lyrics speak of their everyday experiences in their own words not some flowery poetic bland verses of abstract ideas. Love also the fact that they retained their Sheffield accent even in their songs. Just listen to their first hit "I Bet You Look Good In The Dance Floor". The Glastonbury Festival of 2007 almost turned into a giant karaoke session with everyone singing and dancing along.

Notable in the band is their songwriter and lead guitarist (usually) Alex Turner and Jamie Hedges who can spew out great beats in the drums. In terms of musicianship, the first things I noticed are those two - lead guitar and drums.

"When The Sun Goes Down" is their first song that I liked while my youngest, who's only 8 years old, loved Mardy Bum. Other songs of theirs I love are: "Flourescent Adolescent", "Certain Romance", and "Teddy Picker" among others. Now I'm eagerly awaiting for their new album that going to be released next month August 2009. Go on and search for the Arctic Monkeys. They're good live performers as well if I may say so.

So there you go, I'm one rocking middle-aged momma. I wouldn't have any other way ... really.

I think I'll post my Led Zep piece next to keep the theme running. Hehehe!