Monday, March 31, 2008

Baby Laughter For The Win...

I had a not so good weekend these past few days. Not only was I essentially working through the weekend, but my PC got whacked by a virus, album recording tanked, and some personal issues came up as well. The only saving graces from last weekend was lunch with my Dad at Duo in Serendra (my Dad loves it when I treat him out to some steaks), the belated Christmas and Birthday gifts from my sisters, and weirdly enough, baby laughter.

I seriously thought I was going crazy because I started watching YouTube videos of babies laughing their guts out last night. I'll just post the ones that I found absolutely hilarious. Check them out below.

This video was shown to me by my Flipnation friend Chad. "WHATEVAH!" LOL!

This next videos shows a baby that's easily amused by any sounds that his Dad makes. The baby just wouldn't stop laughing for over two minutes. LOL!

This is my favorite one out of the many I watched last night. Wow, I'm actually envious that a baby is capable of laughing their head off like that. The baby even fell down in laughter. LOL!

Now whenever I tell a friend about me going on a baby laughter YouTube video spree, they all seem to think I'm secretly wanting to have a kid of my own already. To be honest, I'm not sure. I suppose this is me telling myself I want a child of my own. But all I can really say for sure, is that I've been finding real joy in babies and little kids the past few months. Dealing with babies/kids at times is a relieving experience. It's because they're genuine and have none of the complicated issues that older people go through. So when you play and laugh with kids, that's the purest form of happiness you will ever find. I suppose that's what peaks my interest in babies/kids lately. That's as far as I can explain myself at this point.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Blue Man Group...

The last time I watched these guys was 2-3 years ago, when my sister took me to Ashton Theater in New York. I kinda knew who they were from their funny Intel commercial marketing the (back then) new Pentium 4 processor. My sister and I claimed our reserved tickets at the booth and proceeded inside. Our seats were at the 3rd row and I noticed that the 1st 3 rows had clear plastic jackets that you apparently have to wear for the duration of the show. That got me both scared and excited because this must mean that the 1st 3 rows of the theather will definitely get wet. I won't tell you if we actually got wet or not. But I will tell you that the jackets definitely serve a purpose as part of the overall feel of the show. Oh that, and tons of toilet paper (LOL!). When the show started I was amazed of the show from start to finish.

The Blue Man Group is essentially a trio of blue skinned, bald aliens that express themselves through rock music with melodic percussion. Since they're aliens, they are free to put a quirky spin on anything that's trivial and routinary to us humans such as eating, chewing gum, etc. The melodic percussion they play utilize many non-traditional make-shift instruments. The instruments I like the most are the ones that are put together with dozens of PVC tubing. Each open tube is a note that resonates really well when you strike it with a stick or paddle.

No matter how much I describe it, you will only really get how good this show is if you watch it yourself. They got so popular that they've even gone on rock tours. And currently, they have many satellite Blue Man Groups around the world such as Berlin, Tokyo, etc. They even have two albums out in music stores. I bought both of them and their concert DVD of course.

Just to give you a preview, below are some YouTube videos of portions of their performance that I love. Check them out. This is a video of "Drumbone. It's really hilarious but way cool at the same time.

This is a video of "It's Time To Start". I was doing all the rock movements when I watched them live.

And lastly, for all you Who fans out there, this is video of a cover they did of "Baba O'Riley".

I wanna be a Blue Man. I really do. LOL!


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Blues Skies Engrish...

Last Easter Sunday, I decided to get a haircut in the nearby Bruno's barbershop. After my haircut, my neck was killing me. So I headed back to my appartment building. As I was about to enter my building from the back, I saw the "Blue Skies" sign. Blue Skies is a massage parlor in my building. And no, it's not the massage parlor you're thinking of. They give "legit" massages. I proceeded inside Blue Skies and asked for a 1 hour and 30 minute massage. But before I went into the room they designated me to get my massage, I asked if I can use their bathroom. After I took a piss, I noticed that there was a sign behind the door. You can only really see the sign if you closed the bathroom door from inside. Anyway, without further ado.

I'm not even gonna explain why I took a picture of the sign and why I'm blogging about it. I just laughed my head off when I read it. LOL!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Vexille... It's so Beautiful... Sniff Sniff...

My friend and prolific writer, Ayen Rivera, and I have been recommending to each other anime or TV series that is guarranteed to blow our minds. Knowing Ayen, I only recommend anything that's cerebral tinged with eerieness. I recommended this anime called Death Note and this TV series called Dexter; both of which involved a serial killer. What Ayen threw at me was not similar along the lines of what I recommended him, but it equally amazed me all the same.

The CG anime movie Ayen recommended is titled Vexille. For you Final Fantasy: Advent Children fans out there, this is right up your alley in terms of graphical beauty and complexity. However, what separates this from the oozingly kirei CG of Advent Children, is that the people and characters in Vexille were stylized to provide an anime feel. The cell-shading effect on the people were amazing, up against the backdrop of everything else being surreally photorealistic.

The story is great too. From the background tale of repeated isolanationism of Japan, to the Appleseed/Ghost in the Shell type of technology and setting.

Some of the most awesome scenes involve a borrowed theme from Dune with a very tasteful future technology twist. I won't say what it is. It's best to get the movie and watch it.

Just to wet your taste buds, below is a YouTube video showing all 3 trailers aired in Japan of this movie. It's subbed in English. So you won't have trouble understanding the commentary and movie dialogue. Enjoy!

Now go get the damn movie! I got the 720p version of it and watched it in all its high-def splendor. I'm so glad I bought my Samsung 32' LCD TV.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Re-recording Burned and Failing Days Vocals...

Briggs texted me late yesterday afternoon, saying she just woke up and will be coming over to place to record. We weren't clear about what exactly we're doing for the album prior to Saturday. So I wasn't sure if I should be scheduling Roland or not for another mixing session. We just decided to do additional recording instead since recent events/feedback kind of caused us to shift gears a little. We now have to revisit some previously recorded parts, like the vocal and bass guitar tracks.

Briggs arrived a few hours later. We bought Tanduay and some Coke in the nearby Ministop. Once we got the supply run out of the way. We listened to some songs in my MP3 archives that were related to the kind of sound we wanted for the vocal track of Burned. The feedback that we've been getting is that Briggs' previous vocal recordings lack grit. So we listened to Soundgarden and Bush, among other artists. I suppose the grunge/rock grit in a female voice is what people were looking for when they gave us that feedback.

Briggs and I weren't able to buy the pop filter/"muff" that we wanted to get to re-record vocals. So we had to improvise. Briggs varied her distance from the mic, so as to avoid clipping while recording and ensure that she can still sing at the top of her lungs. Too close, and it clips. Too far, and the natural echo of my appartment starts being evident in the vocal track recording.

Once we got the right distance from the mic down, we recorded a number of vocal of which we kept ditching. We figured that we should only keep takes that we were comfortable with. One slight doubt about a take, delete it. Briggs only looked to change the non-verse parts. Since the verse parts were meant to be dramatic/low-key.

I suppose using one's 32" LCD TV as a second monitor helps with recording. At least Briggs could see the tracks while she's singing. And to have a visual representation of what her vocal recording looks like. So it helps in both timing and discerning if a take is good or not.

After layering 3 different takes each for every chorus and the last vocal part at the end. Briggs decided to add some back-up vocals to the many that are already in there to begin with. She also re-recorded the first line of the song with a cuss word to emphasize the "inconvenience/hassle" rather than sadness or anger that the song Burned previously suggests with the existing recorded tracks. I wasn't too sure about it. But I played along.

We proceeded to re-recording the vocals of Failing Days. She wanted to add a plethora of vocal tracks that resemble the back-up vocals of Stereophonics. It doesn't sound the same. And you won't even notice it once everything is cleaned up and mixed. She also replaced the vocal tracks of the choruses and the last part of the song like in Burned.

We started around 10:00PM and we finished around 3:00AM. Briggs and I chilled out for a bit just to give ourselves a break before calling it a night. The genuis of glassware with a large chamber (sigh, lol!) is it's effectiveness. When Briggs left, I decided to snap a few more pictures using the crappy camera on my Treo 650 around my appartment. Why? Because I couldn't think of anything better to do while zonked.

I couldn't sleep until around 5:00AM-6:00AM. The last thing I did before I hit the sack was play around with this picture I took in Photoshop. It came out pretty good, in my opinion. The picture is now the picture posted over there on the right in the "Random Glimpse" section.

I queued up Foo Fighters "On The Mend", Incubus "Dig", and Coldplay "Trouble". Queued them up several times. Clicked on Play and hit the sack. Music still makes me sleep easier.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Dane Cook and the Concept of Crying...

Last night, I had trouble sleeping. So I decided to look through some videos on YouTube to get myself tired. However, the opposite happened. I came across some video clips of Dane Cook doing stand-up comedy. You know that you're really entertained by a comedian, when you not only laugh your head off, but end up clapping instinctively at the same time.

Although I haven't watched a clip of Dane Cook that I didn't find absolutely funny, there were a few that stood out. My favorite one, so far, is a Dane Cook clip where he talks about the concept of crying. I am incapable of physically shedding tears these days. But Dane Cook's themes surrounding crying sound so familiar. That as he injects his extreme witty sarcasm into it, remembering the times that I was crying made it seem so much lighter.

Below is the Dane Cook clip on "crying". It's so hilarious.

Below is my second favorite clip, this time Dane talks about why women win fights 99.9% of the time. Brain ninjas! I love it.

I needed a good laugh for weeks. Thanks Dane Cook.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Blizzard Studio Tour...

A fellow ISM grad and officemate, Will, sent me a link to this YouTube video of a tour of Blizzard Entertainment Studios. Blizzard, for those of you who are not geeky enough to know them, have released a gazillion hot PC titles such as Diablo 1/2, Starcraft, Warcraft 1/2/3, World of Warcraft, to name a few.

Damn, I'd give anything to work there. I'd visit their museum every day for months if I did.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Coldplay Song...

I came across this song by Coldplay entitled "Clocks" for the first time in Rockstar Supernova. It was being performed by one of the contestants. I loved the song so much that I ended up downloading all of Coldplay's albums. The piano parts of the song give me goosebumps. This is one of those songs where I love the instrumental construction of the song more than the song's lyrical meaning. But I love the lyrics of the song as well. So I thought I would share it with all of you here.

As always, I try to find the music video of the song in YouTube, coupled with the lyrics of the song.


by Coldplay

Lights go out and I can't be saved
Tides that I tried to swim against
You've put me down upon my knees
Oh I beg, I beg and plead (singing)
Come out of things unsaid, shoot an apple off my head (and a)
Trouble that can't be named, a tiger's waiting to be tamed (singing)
You are, you are

Confusion never stops, closing walls and ticking clocks (gonna)
Come back and take you home, I could not stop that you now know (singing)
Come out upon my seas, curse missed opportunities (am I)
A part of the cure, or am I part of the disease (singing)

You are [4x] (singing)
You are [2x]
And nothing else compares
Oh no nothing else compares
Oh and nothing else compares

You are [continues in background]
Home, home, where I wanted to go [2x](I went)
Home, home, where I wanted to go (I went)
Home, home, where I wanted to go

The song is actually best listened/watched live. Damn, I wish I was that good of a musician to get up on stage like that and perform so well. How I wish. Check out the live version below.


Sunday, March 16, 2008


I don't exactly know whether this is a song or a poem or what not. I just started jotting down my thoughts and feelings the past 10 minutes. I just had to let it out. So here goes.

by Aldous Castro

You constantly tell me I'm someone that I'm not.
Even though I'm just being real.
If I am indeed doing what you say I do,
Then at least I would like to reap the benefits of it.
But sadly I don't,
Even if I tried.

I know I'm pathetic.
I know I'm worth nothing.
I don't need yet another person
To paint a picture of me that's worse.

I am less than nothing.
I try to be confident
And boast about my skills.
But when I get complimented,
I think they're all lies.
At least when I say something about someone,
It's genuine.

I know I'm pathetic.
I know I'm worth nothing.
I don't need yet another person
To paint a picture of me that's worse.

If I have done the same thing to other people,
Then I would like to apologize.
I only say those things for humor's sake.
Please whack me over the head,
If it is doing any harm.

I know I'm pathetic.
I know I'm worth nothing.
I don't need yet another person
To paint a picture of me that's worse.

I know I'm pathetic.
I know I'm worth nothing.
Please leave me to my insignificant existence.
And look for someone else to draw entertainment from.

I know I'm pathetic.
I know I'm worth nothing.
I don't need another person
To tell me I'm uglier than I am.


RJ Underground Gig and Flipnation Quasi-EB...

Saturday finally came around after an arduous work week. I was so anticipating this gig all week. Hoping to purge the stress demons out of my system. My band decided during the week to run practice before the gig.

So at around 6:00PM, Briggs passed by for me and we proceeded to Pipeline Studios on Jupiter St., so we can practice. The others were late as always, but it was fine because there was some showband occupying the practice studio at our timeslot. The people running Pipeline at the time thought we were those guys who showed up first. So after waiting until 7:30PM, the rest of our band showed up and we started our practice.

I decided not bring out my gig bag and set up my rig. I just pulled out my congas and just imagine practicing playing all the toys that are supposed to be hoisted on my rig. I usually practice like that anyway. And it's just less hassle given that there are just so many parts to my rig that I have to clamp on like chimes, jam blocks, cowbell, etc.

Our practice ended around 8:30PM, so we all decided to part ways first and meet up in RJ Underground at around 9:45PM. Balot came along with me to hang at my place. Love that guy. Always cool to hang out with Balot. Balot got into playing Medal of Honor on my Nintendo Wii, when Briggs called saying she's already there. So I had to pry Balot away from my Wii so we can head for the gig venue.

We arrived at the gig venue and the place was only 1/3 full. The drink stubs only got you Pale Pilsen. So I had to just chug on that. But the organizers were nice enough to reserve a table for us to sit at and stash our gear. For some reason I was zoned out the whole time. I didn't really notice anybody in the crowd other than my bandmates. My apologies to the people that called me out and I didn't pay any attention to any of you. I suppose 5 Pale Pilsens hits harder than it used to be. Gawd, I'm getting old.

We played our set. It wasn't one of our better sets. But I was having fun playing. My congas took a beating that night. They were the receiving end of a catharsis or purgation of stress stored up from the past work week. Sorry my babies. But good job on taking that beating. One of the MCs was trying to interview me as I was packing up. To be honest, I was getting kinda annoyed. I hope I wasn't rude with my answers to her questions.

I finally ran into Jhonjee, Vince, Ivan, Blue, and lo and behold Kreta and Angel from Flipnation. I wasn't expecting any of them to show up. So it was indeed a pleasent surprise when I finally saw them there after stashing away my gear in some corner.

The group decided to relocate to some bar in QC. Vince was okay with stashing my gear in the trunk of his car and giving me a ride home after we were done in QC. So I decided to tag along with them and drink some more.

We got to the bar and just kept drinking and talking about all the drama/fun that goes on in Flipchat. Everybody sharing their thoughts about stuff that happened in Flipchat was hilarious. You get their thoughts that they didn't mention in the chatroom itself. So that added perspective made the story-telling much more entertaining.

Russel joined us after a while coming from another gimmik. It was nice of the Lord of the Flips to join us. We tried as much as possible to reserve our comments and feedback about Flipnation for Russel's sake. But we ended up telling him what we thought anyway. Poor Russel.

At around 3:00AM, we called it a night. Vince displayed his drunken driving prowess on the way home. But instead of gripping the handle of the car door tight and getting stressed at the fact that we might crash. I just let go, enjoyed the music and the breeze coming in due to the speed.

After the grueling task of lugging my percussion gear back up to my appartment in my drunken stupor, I logged in online in true Flip-Addict fashion. I watched the latest episode of Bleach and Naruto Shippuden. But I passed out and ended up not finishing the Shippuden episode I was watching.

Apparently I slept like a baby because I woke up around 1:00PM-2:00PM. Fellow Flipchatters were already there talking about all the stuff that happened last night. I needed that gig, all the story-tellling that came after, right down to letting go of my fears in the car ride home. I felt alive. I need more of that.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Incubus Song...

I came across this song while searching for another song that was apparently not even sung by Incubus. That particular song I was looking for, I will post later on. Anyway, even though Incubus has gotten incredibly cheesy post-S.C.I.E.N.C.E., I still like their music. And this particular song off of their album called "Light Grenades" hit me like a ton of bricks tonight. The song is entitled "Dig".

I found the music video of the song in YouTube. And I must say I can really identify with even the visuals. It's as if I identified myself as the drawing of that boy. I wish a girl would make the effort to metaphorically do that to me too some day. Check out the video below along with the song's lyrics.


by Incubus

We all have a weakness.
But, some of ours are easy to identify.
Look me in the eye.
And ask for forgiveness
We'll make a pact to never speak that word again.
Yes, you are my friend.

We all have something that digs in us,
at least we dig each other.
So when weakness turns my ego up
I know you'll count on the me from yesterday.

If I turn into another
Dig me up from under what is covering
The better part of me.
Sing this song
Remind me that we'll always have each other
When everything else is gone.

We all have a sickness
that cleverly attaches and multiplies
No matter how we try.
We all have someone that digs in us,
at least we dig each other.

So when sickness turns my ego up
I know you'll act as a clever medicine.
If I turn into another,
Dig me up from under what is covering
The better part of me.
Sing this song!
Remind me that we'll always have each other
When everything else is gone.
Oh, each other when everything else is gone.


If I turn into another
Dig me up from under what is covering
the better part of me.
Sing this song
Remind me that we'll always have each other
When everything else is gone.

Oh, each other when everything else is gone. (x2)

I found a live version on YouTube as well. So here it is. How I wish I had their lives.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Listening/Mixing Session for "Failing Days"...

This past Saturday was dedicated to our listening/mixing session of our song called "Failing Days". As always, Roland Sacerdoti (Sound Engineer, EggRoom Studios) and Briggs Baritugo (SunDownMuse Vocalist/Guitarist) were in attendance aside from myself.

We had a slow start because of some inherent laziness in ourselves. We ended up watching an acoustic concert DVD of the Foo Fighters called "Skin and Bones". When we finished watching the DVD, we were well stocked with beer and then some, in order to begin our listening/mixing session.

Briggs' friends, Pam and Eduardo, wanted to come over just to hang-out. Of course, they were more than welcome to join us. Pam apparently used to go to ISM like Roland and I. When we graduated from ISM, she apparently got to highschool the year after. So we completely missed each other in ISM. Eduardo came in sporting an elaborate tattoo design of a phoenix, on his right arm up to a portion of his chest. I must say, the feathering was indeed extremely detailed. I've never seen a tattoo that detailed in my life. The two pretty much just read my my men's magazines practically all night, while giving some input to the mixing session here and there.

"Failing Days" is by far one of the more complicated songs to mix because of the sheer number of guitar tracks it has. For the rhythm guitar section alone, there are 2 electric guitar tracks (one distorted, one clean), and two acoustic guitar tracks. Not to mention the many layered guitar cracks on the solo portion of the song. I personally decided to hold back my percussion recording for the song to just congas and chimes tracks. This is because I wanted the guitars to shine in the song.

As meticulous as we were with "Burned" we were even more so meticulous with each and every guitar track in "Failing Days". We felt that the verse parts of the song should have the acoustic guitar tracks more present, while the transition to the chorus parts should be heavy on Charles' distortion guitars.

We then proceeded to focusing on the drum tracks but only for a short while. Basically we wanted to here more attack on the snare drum track ("TAK!" is what is should sound like for lack of a better descriptor).

As always, I will highlight one of the cool ideas I come up with for every song when we mix them. This time is the added "Wah" effect on the lead guitars during a portion of the solo. I first tried singing the effect while the song was playing so that Roland and Briggs can have an idea how it sounds. They liked it. So Roland worked his magic and managed to come close to the sound I was thinking of. Well done, Rol.

We started around 9:00PM and ended around 3:00AM or 4:00AM in the morning. We decided to table the song for the second mixing run because we finished mixing the meat of the song anyway, and our ears were starting to ring already despite ear breaks.

Briggs left when we concluded the session. Roland decided to stay and try out some of the new Nintendo Wii games I just bought. We ended up playing "Trauma Center: New Blood" an arcadey medical operation game that now allows you to do operations in Co-op mode (2 players). After that, Roland went on home to rest his ears. I went to sleep a few hours later. Slept like a baby in my Tanduay rhum drunken stupor, with a smile on my face due to a very productive and FUN night.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Citizen Cope...

Briggs introduced me to this artist who goes by the stage name "Citizen Cope" a few months ago. She lent me one of his albums, "The Clarence Greenwood Recordings". She told me to listen to one songs there called "Sideways" because she feels it's so relevant to me at the time. I listened to the song and I loved it.

I found a music video that someone made of "Sideways" by splicing some footage of Citizen Cope both live music store footage and from his other music videos. The YouTube video is below along with the lyrics of the song.

by Citizen Cope

You know it ain't easy
For these thoughts here to leave me
There's no words to describe it
In French or in English

Well, diamonds they fade
And flowers they bloom
And I'm telling you

These feelings won't go away
They've been knockin' me sideways
They've been knockin' me out lately
Whenever you come around me

These feelings won't go away
They've been knockin' me sideways
I keep thinking in a moment that
Time will take them away
But these feelings won't go away

Citizen Cope was previously a DJ for a hiphop group called Basehead and since gone solo. So you'll see hints of his hiphop influence in a number of his songs. Below is a video of another one of his songs called "Son's Gonna Rise" from the same album. You'll notice his hiphop influences in this particular song. I couldn't find the music video for the song. So this bootleg video of a live performance of the song will have to do.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Listening/Mixing Session for "Burned"...

Briggs (my band's vocalist/guitarist), Roland (sound engineer extraordinaire), and I all gathered at my appartment last Saturday night, to listen and make some tweaks to a mixed version of the song "Burned". Which, of course, will make its way to our album.

Islaw (our bassist), was there for a while as well. But he really just came over to get his gig money from the Citibank Office Party gig, and to borrow my downloaded episodes of Prison Break Season 3. What a leech that guy. But I have so much love for that leech. :)

We spent the whole night scrutinizing every instrument and every track; adjusting volumes, adding effects, etc. The one part we really kept knit-picking on, was the break. Briggs wanted the percussions to be up loud. She wanted to add some definition to the "kaskas" of her rhythm guitar. We came up with the idea of panning Charles' (our lead guitarist) guitar part left to right and back, throughout the break segment. This added a more "spacey" vibe to Charles' guitar part for the section.

We made a number of tweaks that night. But the best ideas we came up with were two things. The first was while fixing the back-up vocal tracks. I got an idea of panning the first "Everytime" all the way to the left and the second "Everytime" all the way to the right. So it's like there are three Briggs' singing. That came out very nicely actually.

The second tweak, which I'm really proud of, is the reverse vocals effect we tried to do on a particular line of Briggs' vocals going into the break. Basically, I asked Roland to reverse each syllable in that line, add some reverb and tack it on the beginnning of each syllable in the lead vocal track. It gave it a very spacey/eerie vibe. I still kept listening to that part over and over again 2 days after our mixing session.

All this most probably doesn't make sense right now. But you will eventually when we release our album. Which we are hoping will come out in the next few months. I'm not going to say when exactly it will be released because we've already been down that path of setting a deadline and not hitting it.

We've been recording for 3 years now. We haven't finished yet due to mishaps with 6Underground studios back when they were still in C. Palanca St. in Makati, schedule conflicts due our day jobs, certain personal hardships that happened in the past, etc. But now, we're almost done recording, and we're starting to enter into the mixing stage. So we're almost there. I can't wait for our album to come out.