Saturday, May 30, 2009

Receiving Some Gifts

Unexpectedly, a daughter of my former high school classmate and cousin is here in town. She was with her girl friends all of them nurses from Canada. This cousin immigrated to Canada way before (I can't really remember when exactly) together with his family and worked with an airline company. Some 30 years after our high school graduation, gosh we're that old already; we still keep in touch with each other and with some of our classmates. We set up an eGroup under and this served as our venue to update each other, share some thoughts and ideas or just plainly communicating with each other. This cousin of mine have invited me to visit Vancouver, Canada where he and the family are based, but I kept on postponing the idea. I think he wanted to put some pressure on me to go through the plan, that he sent some gifts to me through his daughter. I met for the first time his daughter and after a quick lunch in a Chinese noodle house, she gave me the gifts from her dad. I was quite embarrassed since I did not have anything to give back to my cousin since it was such a short notice. I got a white t-shirt with Team Canada Hockey logo on it and a bottle of maple syrup in which Canada is famous for. Even how simple these gifts are, the thoughtfulness and the gesture count the most and I appreciate it so much. I am planning to send something to him to return the kind gesture or better yet, I just go to Vancouver and surprise him but of course bring something from Las Vegas as a gift.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Before And After Marriage??

I got this funny email just today from a friend in Florida. Its quite funny but I guess if you try to think of it, posed a serious threat to any relationship. It means the longer you are together the worse it would become? I just hope my good friends here in the blogging community who are married, a couple or in a relationship should remain in love with each other and intensify further as the time goes by.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Rekindling The Passion That Is “Les Mis”

I browsed through my DVD collection one day looking for something that I've been missing. At last I found it; it's the 10th Anniversary Concert of LES MISÉRABLES. This gala concert was held last October 8, 1995 at the Royal Albert Hall in London in celebration of its 10th year anniversary of its world premiere. This concert starred the original "Jean ValJean", Colm Wilkinson, who led a company of 250 artists and 100 musicians. To top it all, our very own Lea Salonga played the role of Eponine. This is the main reason why I bought this DVD before, because my idol is part of it. The 10th anniversary concert was filmed for television and has since been seen by over 4 Million viewers in the United Kingdom. The video has gone on to sell over 1.4 million copies worldwide, including over 555,000 copies in the UK.

Produced by Cameron Mac Kintosh and written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg, LES MISÉRABLES is widely recognized as the world's most popular musical, touching millions of lives over its history-making run. With this DVD, the full magnificence of its captivating score is revealed like never before. This concert featured 150 voice choir, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and many of the most celebrated stars who have appeared in the show worldwide. The specially arranged finale featured 17 different "Jean Valjeans" singing in many of the languages in which the show has been performed.

Whenever I watched this DVD, I always turn on the subtitles so that I could sing along with the artists thereby grasp the whole storyline of the show. Lea Salonga was superb in her portrayal as Eponine with her signature solo number "On My Own". Lea became the first Asian actress ever to play Eponine on Broadway in LES MISÉRABLES in 1993, reprising that performance in the London production, in Hawaii, and in this legendary 10th Anniversary Concert. In 2006, she returned to Broadway as Fantine in the new production of LES MISÉRABLES and stayed on until the summer of 2007.

I can't say more about this phenomenon called LES MISÉRABLES but I guess most of you are familiar with the two most popular songs from this musical: "I Dream A Dream" and "On My Own". Searching the Internet, I've found some of the facts and figures about this show and here is more of the information:

  • 56 professional companies have opened Les Misérables in various countries and cities worldwide.
  • Productions have played in 38 countries and 223 cities.
  • Les Misérables has been translated into 21 different languages.
  • The production has played over 38,000 professional performances worldwide giving a total audience figure of more than 51 million people.
  • There have been 31 cast recordings of Les Misérables (including albums, singles and the symphonic).
  • Les Misérables has won over 50 major theatre awards, a Grammy for the Broadway cast album and a Triple Platinum Disc for the London cast album which has now sold over 1,030,000 copies in the U.K. The highlights album has gone gold in the UK and Australia and the Les Misérables in Concert album has gone gold in the UK.
  • A song from the show, "One Day More", was used for Bill Clinton's 1992 US Presidential Campaign. "Do You Hear the People Sing" was played over TV newscast from the student protest in Tiananmen Square. "Bring Him Home" was officially requested by the US State Department to use as background for promotional material about the US troops engaged in the Gulf war.
  • There are approximately 101 cast and crew directly involved in every performance not including front of house staff, and the huge back up services including ticket sales, advertising, wardrobe staff, set contractors, maintenance, office staff, advertising and publicity.
  • Each performance entails some 392 complete costumes consisting of some 1782 items of clothing and 31 wigs.
  • The longest running production is in London where it played 7,602 performances at the Palace Theatre before transferring to the Queen's Theatre where it opened on 3 April 2004. It is the longest running musical both at the Palace Theatre and in the west end.
  • On 25 January 2002 the New York production overtook A Chorus Line to become the second longest running show in Broadway history. A record that it held until 4 February 2004 when it was overtaken by the Phantom of the Opera.

The facts and figures that I presented in this post were taken from online searches particularly

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thank You Dennis…

This is an overdue acknowledgement for my kind blogger friend Dennis of "Ako Si Dencio" and "The Absurb Mind". He passed on to me the "Interesting Blog" and "I Love Your Blog" tags. Because of my busy schedules at work, I did not thank him on time formally in my own blog but I did left a thank you note on his blog.

To follow Dennis' examples, I would like to grant these tags/awards to my blogger friends who in one way or another inspired me to continue this work called blogging. I'm humbled that these friends spent some time to visit, read and leave comments on my blog entries. To my friends, this is for you. You might have been tagged by Dennis or by other friends in the blogging community but nevertheless I still want to tag you as a sign of my gratitude and appreciation.

I would like to pass on these tag awards to Goddy, Ron, RhonB, Kablogie, Sherwin, Mac, Ande, Reyane & Hari ng Sablay. These bloggers and including Dennis, of course, have been leaving comments and messages on my postings. Thank you guys.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

To My Best Friend

Sometimes you never know yourself, but with almost two (2) years of having you as a friend I think I know much about you already. I thank you for trusting me all the way because that's one of the foundations of a good lasting friendship…TRUST. Because you trusted me, you told me almost everything about yourself including the affairs of your heart. You told me about the past, the present and your plans and vision for tomorrow. You are very specific of what you want and who you want to be with in the future. I admired you for that, a good visionary. Sometimes bad things happen and affecting your life now. Unfortunately you had a problem of sorting out the past from the present. I can see that your past is still haunting you and caused you so much pain. I've been telling you to forget, forgive and move on. You assured me that you've been doing that but I can't see that you were. Meeting new friends is a good way to forget the past and open some doors for new opportunities but so far everything was short lived. You immediately closed the doors when it was not really fully opened yet. I can understand why you failed on this, because sad to say, you are still dealing with the past. You have the tendency to compare the new opportunities with the past. You can never find the exact person again in another body. You've been asking the question why that person cannot love you in return when you've given almost everything you got. I can't answer that. It can only be answered by that person alone. You can never change a person, the way that person treated you, it would be impossible.

As your loyal friend, I can only do as much to help you. Everything is all up to you. I am a shoulder to cry on, my ears and heart ready to listen and my arms all wide open to hold you, but that's only up to that point. Only when you realize and accept the fact that the past belong to the past and you learn to forget, then you are ready to face the future, opening new doors wide open and seize that opportunity. It may be difficult and a slow process but just keep on going. The only good thing that you can get from the past are the good memories and the lessons learned the hard way. Yes, life's journey is full of risks but that's the way life should be. That's what makes life more interesting and worth living. There are maybe more heartaches along the way but life should go on and don't lose your sight on that goal, that pursuit of happiness. I can only promise that as you move along, I'm always here for you ready to be your cushion every time you fall.

Ok Cabron? Let's hit the bars and toast for the future….hik!

Charice’s First Single “Note To God”

I rarely blog about celebrities in show business may they be Filipinos or Hollywood stars but I can't help to take notice some phenomenal talents in the likes of Lea Salonga, Arnel Pineda now with Journey, Vincent Bueno and Manny Pacquiao in the field of sports. When I opened my email late today, I happened to receive an email about Charice releasing her first single entitled "Note To God". She had her premier performance of the song at Oprah and I found the video of that performance in YouTube. This song is now available for download at iTunes and If you buy and download this song, you will help her song hit number 1. Right now after a day of release, it hit number 2 at and number 8 at iTunes. Let's help Charice's song hit number 1 and be proud for being a Pinoy. Just like the Brits' overwhelming support for Susan Boyle, let's all do the same to this talented Pinay. Let us show the world that in sports and in music we Pinoys is just as good as the world's best.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Who Deserves To Win?

I want to blog about one of my favorite TV shows, Dancing With The Stars, a reality show featuring celebrities partnered with professional ballroom dancers compete each other. Their scores comprised 50% of the studio judges' scores and the other half from the audience and TV viewers voting for their favorite pair through phone calls, text messaging and through online voting.

The show is now on its 8th season and today is the season finale. The remaining three (3) competing celebrities: Olympic gymnast and gold medalist Shawn Johnson partnered with Mark Ballas, reality-TV star Melissa Rycroft partnered with Tony Dovolani and actor/model Gilles Marini partnered with Cheryl Burke, danced their hearts out for the coveted crystal ball trophy and the title as the Season 8 winner. The first dance was the Paso doble where the three couples danced back-to-back-to-back with the same music, "So What" by Pink. I would say they all nailed it. They were competing against each other and yet they performed as a team. It was one of the best scripted routines I've ever seen in a DWTS finale. The second dance routine that the competing couples had to do was the most awaited "freestyle" number. Each of their professional partners had to showcase the strength of their celebrities in this dance routine where there are no rules to follow. How they scored with the judges? In their first dance, Gilles and Cheryl got a perfect score of 30 and in the second routine; Shawn and Mark got the perfect score of 30 as well.

Tomorrow will be the results show and we will know who will take home the trophy for Season 8. Remember, the judges' scores only comprised 50% of the final score for each couple, the other half came from the viewers. So who will win? Looking at their scores, any couple will win. Their scores were close enough that it won't matter anymore once the viewers' votes were added for the final scores. I have my favorite but to play it safe, I would say that any couple deserves to win.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In My Brother’s Opinion

The last post that I made described my brother's near disaster health crisis that caused the family a certain amount of panic. After that experience, my brother decided to cut short his vacation here in America because aside from his concerns on his health, he was not totally impressed with the quality of health care he received from the hospital where he was confined for some five days.

According to my brother, who is by the way a physician back in the Philippines, technology and equipments used in the American healthcare system is way advanced as compared to a developing country like the Philippines but it came short with the basic doctor-patient relationship. The patient is always part of the treatment process and having the patient included in the loop in terms of communication and planning is essential. In the case of my brother, he was on a daily contact with his resident primary physician and the nurses, but the nephrologist assigned to him had visited him only once. A nephrologist is a physician who has been trained in the diagnosis and management of kidney disease. He was the one who ordered a series of dialysis treatments for my brother. Normally, whenever a procedure or dialysis in my brother's case is performed, blood tests will follow and the results should be discussed with the patient including the next plan of action to be performed. My brother never had this kind of meeting with his nephrologist in-between dialysis treatments. He would ask his primary resident physician but the doctor will still have to refer to the nephrologist for the results. My brother would take some initiative to pressure his nurses to have the results read to him so that he would know his status. He would just be surprised that a dialysis technician would come to his room and perform the treatments without him knowing in advance. Eventually, my brother told his primary physician and the nurses about his predicament. He told them that he was not questioning his nephrologist's capability and ability to handle his case but all he asked for was only transparency. His nephrologist should be transparent enough to him about all the results and what to do next or the plan of action after a procedure. My brother told them that this is not the way he and his fellow doctors manage their patients back in the Philippines. He also noted that with all the buttons to push in all the hi-tech equipments, he was wondering if they will be able to diagnose and come up with a treatment plan when any of these are not available and just use the very basic techniques in managing the disease.

My brother is doing fine right now and we even went to San Diego over the weekend. My mother wanted him to undergo another dialysis treatment before he travels back to the Philippines but he declined. He would rather see his nephrologist back home and perform his follow up treatments there. At least in there, he knew his doctors well and he will feel at ease with them. His vacation here will be cut short by 3 weeks.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Vacation Thrills

As I mentioned in my past blog posting, my brother's visit to Las Vegas is a dream come true for our parents. This is some sort of a family reunion for us. When they were still on their way from the Philippines, my dad and I put up some plans as to where to bring my brother and his family to maximize their vacation stay here. Our first itinerary was to visit Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Last April 26 right after my work, we headed to Anaheim, CA and stayed at Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites. We went to Disney's California Adventure first on the day we arrived and spent the whole day of Day 2 at Disneyland. We tried almost all the thrill rides in the park and my nephew was having a blast.

During this time, we noticed that the health of my brother was deteriorating. He developed some kind of swelling on his legs and he was coughing. We thought it was caused by his less functional kidneys due to his diabetes. My brother was diagnosed with this disease when he was still 30 yrs old and since then he was focused on controlling his diet specially his intake of sugar. He regularly monitored his blood sugar level. Before he left the Philippines, his doctors were more focused on his creatinine levels to determine if his kidneys were functioning properly. Creatinine by the way is a breakdown product of creatine phosphate in the muscle. Creatinine is filtered out from the blood by the kidneys therefore its level in the blood is an indication whether the kidneys are working efficiently.

On our 3rd day stay in California, we went to Universal Studios. My nephew had some fun trying all the fun rides as well as touring the back lot studios where all sets for the filming of major movies and television shows took place. All this time, my brother was obviously very tired. Aside from the swelling not getting any better, he was already suffering shortness of breath. We decided to cut short our vacation and move back immediately to Las Vegas to see a doctor. I drove from Anaheim to Las Vegas for just 4 hours flat which normally takes 5 to 6 hours. We immediately checked him at UMC (University Medical Center) and all the tests were being performed. He was diagnosed with pulmonary edema, a fluid accumulation in the lungs. It leads to impaired gas exchange and may cause respiratory failure. That was the reason why he had a hard time breathing. His kidneys were no longer functioning properly that it was no longer able to control the flow of fluid in the body. Because of this, the lungs were affected. Checking my brother's creatinine levels was dangerously high that it was recommended that my brother should undergo a series of dialysis. Dialysis is primarily used to provide an artificial replacement for lost kidney function due to renal failure. He underwent 4 series of dialysis treatments to replace some of the kidney functions through diffusion (waste removal) and ultra filtration (fluid removal). After all these dialysis treatments, the swelling and edema of his lungs as well as on his extremities subsided dramatically.

After four (4) days in the hospital, my brother was discharged and he was getting better. With regular treatments, ample rest and very controlled diet (food and fluid intake), he should be ready to continue his disrupted vacation. According to my mom, it was a blessing in disguise that this all happened here in America as he was able to avail of the best medical care possible, but the fact remains that my brother would regularly undergo dialysis treatments to help clean his blood for the rest of his life.