Saturday, October 31, 2009

Jack Is Wack

Since this is Halloween, I thought I might give you guys something truly frightful.

And if the fates stop raining on the Halloween parades, maybe you can bust these moves in Bed.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Nessun Dorma

Possibly one of the most famous arias ever, "Nessun Dorma" (meaning "None shall sleep"), is taken from the Puccini opera "Turandot." It is sung by Calaf, il principe ignoto (the unknown prince), who falls in love at first sight with the beautiful but cold Princess Turandot. However, any man who wishes to wed Turandot must first answer her three riddles. If he fails, he will be beheaded.*

"None shall sleep" is also the motto of anyone who burns the midnight oil working, such as myself and other agents of darkness, who will also be beheaded if they do not meet their deadlines.

Ironically, opera tends to put most people to sleep instead of keeping them awake. Anyone who's suffered through an entire Wagnerian opus can attest to that. And there's no two ways about it: opera is a construct of the elite, and therefore can be very pretentious and intimidating.

It doesn't help matters any that most famous operas are sung in either Italian, French, or German. Unless one is fluent enough in those languages, one would have to consult the libretto to understand what the hell the fat lady in the blond braids is screaming about. It's like watching a foreign film while reading the subtitles: it's distracting and detracts from your full appreciation and enjoyment of what's going on.

But in the same manner that great films can transcend language and convey powerful universal messages, great music needs no lyrics to soothe the savage beast. At its finest, the notes themselves carry genuine emotions through the air, bypassing the head and going straight to the heart.

Which is why I will never tire of this portly, unkempt gentleman with bad teeth springing a wondrous surprise with his rendition of said aria:

Unsurprisingly, purists have lambasted Potts' rendition, criticizing everything from his enunciation to his occasional flat notes. But as a layman, I find the juxtaposition of elements in this particular moment moving: his dowdy appearance, so far removed from the tuxedoed tenors of La Scala; the low expectations of the audience and judges; and when he finally opens his mouth to sing - the denouement.

It is pure opera: Potts is the underdog, the underestimated hero, but once he sings, the true magic of music takes hold and transports all who listen to a beautiful, rarefied place.

True, his rendition is far from perfect. But mawkish as this may sound, it was because he sang from the heart that his voice pierced through everyone's pre-conceived notions and literally moved them to tears.

It was one of those moments trained professionals spend their lives dreaming of.

Nessun Dorma indeed.

(Since embedding for this video has been disabled by request *shakes fist at Simon Cowell*, it took me a good while to track this one down. If it's removed, you can watch Paul Potts sing Nessun Dorma here. )

Enjoy. I know I did.

* Wiki , as always, is your friend.

P.S. A German telecoms company obtained the rights to this footage and turned it into one of the more edifying commercials I've seen. You can view it here.

P.S.2.: Grazie, Eternal Wanderer, for the inspiration for this post. You and your Bituing Marikit.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's Raining Meteors

More good news from your impending Apocalypse.

Twenty days ago, according to the Telegraph , "scientists had no clue a thirty-foot meteor was hurtling toward the Earth until it exploded with the force of 50,000 tons of TNT, in the atmosphere."

Scientists are concerned that it was not spotted by any telescopes, and that had it been larger it could have caused a disaster.

Luckily, due to the height of the explosion – estimated at between 15 and 20 km (nine to 12 miles) above sea level – no damage was caused on the ground.

However, if the object had been slightly larger – 20 to 30 metres (60 to 90ft) across – it could easily have caused extensive damage and loss of life, say researchers.

Very few objects smaller than 100 meters (300ft) across have been spotted and catalogued by astronomers.

Looks like this is a good time as any to review your Bucket Lists. Or snag that elusive boyfriend. Or finally decide if you're gay, straight, curious, bi, confused, or mineral.

Me, I'm going to look at cars.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The B-Side

Bonus Beyonce. And the last you'll hear of F1, promise.

From The Mirror's item on Beyonce at the F1 Rocks! concert:

"On stage, Beyonce had 12 wind machines to keep her cool 
and one of her £250,000 diamond earrings flew off."

Ahhh, kaya naman pala: 

What the eff?


If you liked it, then you shoulda put an earring on it.

If you lost it, then you gotta start to look for it.

Woh-oh-oh, woh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, woh-oh-oh!

Sige, mag-Whipping Wanda* ka pa. 

*Whipping Wanda: The term used to describe a whirling, rapid circular motion of the head, thereby "whipping" one's hair around. Normally done by burlesque dancers, strippers, and former lead singers of American R&B girl groups. Also a reliable way to lose £250,000 diamond earrings and possibly, one's hair extensions.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Formula Fierce

Oh, B-haaaaaaaaaaaaave!

Post-script pics on Beyonce at F1 Rocks Singapore!

Although she didn't perform as her insufferable alter-ego Sasha Fierce, Beyonce's schizo double did manage to make an appearance on her Sweet Dream Or A Beautiful Nightmare video interlude.

To be fair, homegirl looked good in the artsy-fartsy vid - in a Robot-Maria-from-Metropolis -meets-Diana Ross-on-the-way-to-a-remake-of-I, Robot sort of way.

Janet, c'est-toi?

Ah, non? Mme. Ross, est cela vous?

C-3PO in drag.

Beyonce gives good face.

"Beyonce?!? Mon nom n'est pas Beyonce!!!"



Friday, October 23, 2009

Le Grand Prix

 The calm before the storm.

This was it.

The final night of F1 Rocks! And you could tell, too. For starters, the gatekeepers were far stricter inspecting VIP lists this time around. And no wonder - we got to the venue at 7 p.m. and there was already a massive crowd gathered, unlike the previous night when it took awhile for the audience to reach critical mass.

The crowding was evident even in the VIP lounges, where we had to fight tooth and manicured nail to secure a spot. Luckily one of us was able to stake out a nice cozy divan, where we plopped our belongings as placemarkers and stationed a couple of guys from our entourage to stand guard.

Barbarians at the gates.

Even the balconies were full of already-tipsy revelers, and there was much jostling and shoving of beautiful people. As the evening progressed, it didn't matter if the VIP lounges were populated by some of Singapore's local elites and expats. Svelte models and slinky socialites hungrily eyed our divan as they clutched their drinks. Their burly escorts tried to muscle in on our territory by grabbing seats we already said were reserved, or plopping their asses down unceremoniously on our divan without so much as a "May I?" It was a classic display of Singaporean kiasu.*We had to go for drink runs one by one, in order not to lose our precious spot.

The crowd was pumped and ready to rumble.

Outside, the Black-Eyed Peas got the party started with - what else? - Let's Get It Started. It was nice to see Allan Pineda aka ("Dude, Pinoy, pareeeee!!!" ) whipping the crowd into a frenzy with Where Is The Love? Foxy Fergie  - back to her brunette roots, thank God -  fueled the fire with Don't Funk With My Heart, before the group launched into Boom Boom Pow! Things got really wild by the time they got to their latest smash -I Got A Feeling - at which point I, too, got a feeling. A feeling that I wanted a drink, doctor's orders be damned.

After the black eyes, there was no peace.

And so it passed that I violated my short alcohol abstinence via two tall, cold glasses of Heineken. The taste of alcohol felt strange on my lips after months of sobriety, and while it was refreshing to actually drink at a party - especially one such as this - I realized I didn't really miss it that much.

Mistah Boombastics, with pyroclastics.

I didn't invade the buffet table that night, having been force-fed a heavy dinner before proceeding to the venue. Besides, I was in no mood to elbow Calcarrie models lunging for salad and salmon. In the concert pit, after Fergie and the rest of the BEP had finished their set with jets of confetti and fanfare, intermission entertainment consisted of a few guys getting into shoving matches. I can't say I was surprised; if the air-conditioned lounges had turned into carpeted saunas due to sheer body warmth, I could only imagine the steaming temperatures and flaring tempers in the jampacked open field.

Fergie revving up the revelers.

There was also much jockeying for position in the balconies where we also managed to secure strategic strongholds - how fitting that the venue used to be a battlefort. But the combatants there were not starving models, but fellow photographers hungry for a good shot. From cell phone snappers to professionals with huge telescopic lenses, we all hawk-eyed one another's vantage points like snipers.

Domo arigato, Mister Robotos.

Finally, as the clock struck midnight, the stage lights went dark, signaling that our common target would soon  be in sight:

From stage darkness, there were diva lights.

The crowd - 10,000 strong by official count - roared as Beyonce, in her first-ever performance in Singapore, shone solo in the spotlight.

 The Queen B.

The midnight star opened with a bootylicious version of Crazy In Love, and oh, what a naughty, naughty girl she was!

The Golden Girl, front and center.


To the left, to the left.

Beyonce continued whipping the audience into a frenzy by launching into a series of crowd-pleasers: If I Were A Boy, which she cleverly interspersed with stanzas from Alanis' You Oughtta Know.

Ohhh, mercy, mercy, B?

 No one else Knowles how to whip those weaves.

A medley of Destiny's Child hits was next, followed by a couple of ballads, some tribute to Michael Jackson, then a couple of fast numbers I wasn't familiar with.

Oh, these steps remind me of Orlando.

 Will she stumble?

Will she fall? 

Fall, damn you, fall!

There's still time to fall, Bey.


Of course, the crowd went nuts when the Bey Babe asked them to sing along for her smash hit Irreplaceable. Having the audience sing the chorus of the very popular song also helped her catch her breath in between her livewire performance. Clever girl.

 "Now whatchu'all lookin' at?"

 "Oops! There goes my skirt, right over my knees, oh my!"

Naturally, when the YouTube video montage of internet camwhores doing their versions of Single Ladies came on, the place just combusted. Beyonce then re-emerged to do a live version of that worldwide hit, whose video prompted that Kanye West meltdown on the VMAs.

"Where'll all mah independent women at?"

"Shake yo' head, shake that thang!"

"Stop! In the name of love!"

And just like the previous night, having seen what we had come here to see, my entourage wisely decided to avoid the hordes of departing concert-goers by exiting before Beyonce gave her encore.

Bye-bye, Bey.

It had been swell. But now it was time to rest, and the next day, off to home.

Home where another force of nature was taking the country by storm.

*Kiasu: Hokkien adjective literally meaning, "afraid of losing". A highly pejorative description beloved of Singaporeans, and possibly their defining national characteristic. The nearest English equivalent is "dog in a manger", though even that is pretty mild.This word is so widely used by Singaporeans and Malaysians that it is incorporated into their English vocabulary (in the form of Singlish). It is often used in describing the social attitudes of people, especially about South East Asian society and its values. Its widespread use is often because these attitudes are common—to not lose out in a highly competitive society, or to the extent of parents imposing heavy study labour on their children in their wish to make them at the very top of all other students. Growing up with this attitude, these students often become ambitious businesspeople, with the desire to be on top in wealth and prestige regardless of whether the most prestigious careers are aligned with their true capabilities. From Wiki and TalkingCock.

And no, TalkingCock doesn't mean what you're thinking. Roughly, it's a Singlish term for gossip, slang, or idle talk. Imagine cocks crowing. Or hens clucking. It's a lot like that.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Da Dong Show

Taken in Chinatown, Singapore, September 09.

While I might reject tasting da occasional dong,
I just can't say no to a fatty weng.

Especially a group of them.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Holy dancing queens.

On our second day in Singapore, the itinerary dictated a half-day city tour in the morning. Having been there many times before, I was tempted to skip it in lieu of staying in bed - but good thing I didn't, otherwise I'd have missed the once-in-a-lifetime chance to grab Gwen Stefani's waist.

Anyhow, after our fortuitous run-in with Stefani in Little India, it was off to Chinatown. As you know, Singapore is made up of three main ethnicities: Chinese, Malay, and Indian. Since there is a Chinatown anywhere in the world, I would've wanted to visit the Malay quarters instead, but itineraries are itineraries.

I wasn't in a shopping mood, so I spent my time just looking around and taking these pictures:

Holy man?

 Holy light.

Holy smokes!

While the rest of my group worshipped at the bustling bazaars, I was drawn in by the quiet serenity of a nearby Chinese temple. I  lit a joss stick, dropped a token contribution, and offered a silent prayer. Had we known about the gathering tempest in Manila at that time, I would've said a prayer for everyone else. But we wouldn't hear of it until that night, and so my prayer was personal, and private.

Holy house.

A short distance away, I stopped at the doors of a Hindu temple, where a marriage was quietly taking place.

Holy matrimony.

Temples are peaceful and calm. Oases for the tempests life brings. Sanctuaries for our souls.

Holy cow!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Destiny's Child

Life is full of serendipity.

We were on the first stop of a half-day city tour that I almost didn't join, wanting to grab some zzzs in bed the whole morning instead. But not wanting to be a killjoy, I resigned myself to a half-day of boredom and presently found myself strolling through a quaint bazaar in Little India. Deepavali, the Festival of Lights, was just around the corner, and the quarter was being kitted up for the religious holiday.

My initial disinterested mood took a turn for the better, as it was relaxing and pleasant to just take in the colorful sights and sounds after the previous day's hectic schedule. Tantric mantras and Hindi prayer chants wafted through the air, as the scent of joss sticks filled my head with idle thoughts of karma , destiny, and fate.

We marveled at these fabulous trinkets:

These beautiful items:

And these fascinating objects:

Until we chanced upon this lovely icon:

Was it just a girl?

There was no doubt .

It was GWENFrickinSTEFANI, whose concert
set we had walked out on just the night before!!!

Never let it be said that this rudeboy doesn't know how to seize an opportunity. Throwing away all notions of hiya out the window, we basically jumped Stefani and bullied her into posing for pics, as the clueless Indian vendors stood up and wondered what this sudden disturbance in the cosmos was all about.

Mrs. Rossdale was pleasantly sweet about it, no uppity star snubs, and gamely posed with us before she begged off, saying "Thank you! I don't have much time, I have to do some shopping. Thank you!"

I got to stand right beside Gwen Stefani! I even touched the small of her back as we posed - I should never wash my right hand ever again! And best of all, I had my picture taken with one of my generation's biggest pop stars!

And no, I'm not going to show it to you.

Don't doubt.

Jelliz ha8ers. >: p