Wednesday, April 20, 2005

New Year Baby Fundraiser

Attended a fundraiser at the White Rabbit in the Lower East Side for a documentary film that's in the process of getting created called New Year Baby. It's the story of a Cambodian American family who survived the genocide of the Khmer Rhouge and started again in the United States. It's a touching and very poignant story of love, courage, and sacrifice.

I used to be involved in the production team but then I started grad school and I knew something had to give. Unfortunately, it had to be New Year Baby so I told Soch, the director that I could no longer be part of the team.

But tonight, I came out to support the project and all the amazing people are working to make this film happen. I even won a silent auction prize in the process -- a beautiful blue Cambodian silk scarf, matching purse, and wallet -- all for the low price of $60 -- that went to a good cause. MoJo was just coming on with a sore throat so he went home early. I stayed and schmoozed to support the film and encouraged others to support it too.

I believe in this project and would not be the least surpirsed if it aired on PBS or at your local independent theater in the near future. For more information, check out the New Year Baby website.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Erasure: New Wave Music -- ahhh, the memories!

I just got back from a Erasure concert at Irving Plaza in NYC -- and I am sooo pumped!!! They did not disappoint their loyal fans since they played all of their top hits (all the songs I wished to hear, they played!) and Andy Bell is quite a flamboyant performer! They opened with Bell in little tightie whities and a nude colored top with silver glitter and wearing angel wings while his back up singers were wearing fairy wings. They sang Heavenly Action. When he finished singing, Bell proclaimed in a high falsetto voice, "Welcome to Fairyland!" The crowd went nuts!!!

He changed two more times; his second act was an outfit that seemed to be in tribute to Liberace because his first song was Ave Maria with a piano accompaniment in the background. His last outfit was merely silver sequined boy shorts and a bare chest!! He entered with a big pink feather fan in both hands! He threw glitter, danced his familiar moves, and threw paper airplines in the crowd. I had so much fun! And it was great to hear men singing and dancing throughout the audience, many were gay. I felt like I was at an Indigo Girls concert, but in reverse! LOL - it was great!

But Bell's flamboyance is not how I remember them back when I was 11. All I cared about was their music and their unique beat (I'm not sure if Bell was even out back in 1987). Erasure and other bands like New Order (Bizarre Love Triangle is my cell phone's ring tone), the Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, and OMD defined my musical interests as an early teenager. We called it "New Wave"!!! And I loved it!!! *sigh* I remember listening to these bands so intently in junior high school, when my bangs were teased high to the ceiling and all I wore was black, black, and black. All my friends at the time listened to the same music and it was great to go to tonight's concert with Karen, an elementary & junior high school friend who I recently reconnected with.

In spite of the fact that Erasure was so significant to me at such a young age, it was my first time to see them in concert. Tonight was FINALLY my opportunity to see a concert I was prevented from seeing as a teenager since I grew up in a really strict household. My mom never let me go out!! So tonight, I made up for lost time! Erasure's music, especially their old school stuff, reminded me so much of the happy 80s, a decade that I am proudly a child of..

Erasure's Andy Bell & Vince Clark Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Almost there...the big 2-9!!!!

Happy Birthday to me. It's the last year of living in my 20s.

Overall, I feel very good and I am happy about turning 29. No major crisis, no freak-outs. I am at peace with my wonderful age and the wisdom I have acquired thus far in life. Looking back on the eve of a new decade, I thankfully, have no regrets. I have taken incredible risks that reaped amazing rewards.

I've learned that:

  • Life is a gift. Remain open in mind and spirit because life is full of surprises and every challenge may be seen as an opportunity.
  • The journeys in life are more important than reaching the intended destinations.
  • Seeking out mentors who can act as guides and role models are necessary for success.
  • Happiness is not a goal, it's an attitude.
My birthday was full of love -- so many people called or emailed or sent birthday greetings. I felt so loved by everyone. Two colleagues bought me tulips and MoJo surprised me by stopping by in the late morning to drop off a calla lily plant (calla lilies are my favorite flowers!). He told me that he had no idea what a calla lily looked like so he had to look it up online. In spite of his lack of knowledge, he cheerfully said, "See, I listen!" He decided to buy me a plant so that it would last longer than just the flower -- so practical is he! I felt like the luckiest girl in the planet!

My co-workers took me out to lunch and then in the evening, MoJo took me to one of my favorite restaurants in the city, The Blue Water Grill. There, I indulged in half a dozen oysters, wine, and a wonderful organic Scottish salmon that was to die for! A jazz trio played while we dined in candlelight. All in all, a wonderful birthday!

A very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my maternal grandmother, DD, who celebrates her birthday today, April 7, with me. She turns 98! May God bless her!!!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Pope John Paul II, 1920-2005 - Welcome Home

For anyone who knows me, they know that my faith in God is very important to me, that I have chosen to remain an active participant of the Roman Catholic Church, that I struggle daily with the Church's teachings as made clear by Pope John Paul II, and that I rarely wear my faith on my sleeve. I have never been one to proselytize my faith to others, partly because I believe everyone is entitled to their religious ideas and need not hear what I have to say about mine but more importantly, I believe that the best expression of my faith is through living a life of love, trust, forgiveness, with a call to social justice.

I rarely would use my blog to discuss something that is so personal to me, as is my relationship to God and my relationship to the Catholic Church. But today, on the death of Pope John Paul II, the only Pope that I've ever known in my life, I felt that I could make an exception and put forth what my heart feels today.

Having been raised in a Catholic home whose family is from the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country where the line between church and state does not exist, I have been exposed to the Church since I was born. It was only during my college years that I turned from the Church, eager to get away from what I experienced as a stifling tradition. Without my mother's influence and gaze, I did not attend Mass on Sundays and shed all sorts of practices that I associated with Catholicism.

But God does indeed work in the most mysterious and the MOST GENTLEST of ways. Even though Sunday was filled with food, friends and good times, I felt like something was missing. I truly can't explain it...except looking back now, all I know is that it was God's Grace at work. So I tried going back to church and attended Mass on campus. I was struck by all the women who attended Mass out of their own accord without being dragged by parents and I witnessed how my peers incorporated their faith into their lives as students, as young women, daughters, and sisters.

Since 1994, I believe my faith has grown incredibly in due part because of my daily struggle with it, in questioning it, and in practicing it. Despite many painful disagreements with my Church, I still believe at the end of the day, that it is through Mass and the practice of the Catholic faith that I maintain my personal relationship with God, with others, and with myself.

I did not necessarily agree with all of Pope John Paul II's conservative ideology but I do believe that he has been a wonderful example of how one can lead a moral life. I have to respect a man who holds fast to his convictions and beliefs and has not once swayed from them in the context of a fast changing and "modern" world. His impact on others through his selfless and loving actions, is a wonderful model for us as Catholics, and ultimately, as human beings. His life example transcended Catholicism yet it epitomized perfectly the teachings of Jesus Christ. He taught us how to live faithfully, how to give our wills up to the will of God, how to accept pain and suffering in life, in illness, and ultimately in death, and how to fight for what we believe to be right -- to speak out and act on behalf of the disenfranchised, the poor, and the forgotten.

For these reasons, I am thankful to God for more the 20+ years of service this Pope provided. I am thankful for his life example. And I am thankful that he now is resting in eternal peace, free from human suffering and pain. The crux of my faith is the belief that death is not the end of life, but merely a transition to something better, something bigger, something so incredible that our own humanity will never have the capacity to fully understand it -- the promise of eternal life. This is what I believe. Although Pope John Paul II leaves behind a great void in me, and perhaps in all of our hearts, I rejoice at his coming home. I will miss his incredible perservance, his fight for justice, his love for humanity, and his example to us all.

Pope John Paul II FORGIVES his would be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, December 1983 Posted by Hello

Ambassadors of Love & Peace

Pope John Paull II & Mother Teresa, 1986 Posted by Hello

Friday, April 01, 2005

Happy Birthday Gmail!

What to my surprise when I open my gmail account this morning, I discover that Gmail is celebrating its 1st birthday. According to the site, they are going to "roll-out our new and top secret Infinity+1 storage plan" along with a corresponding graph.

Now I'm not a techie so I have no clue what that all means. But I do know one thing. Gmail is adding ONE MORE GIGABYTE to our mail storage for A TOTAL OF 2G!!!! Wahoo!!! How pathetic was I when I fretted that I would run out of storage space when I only had 1G. I should've know these Gmail folks would be ahead of the curve.

Hooray! Happy Birthday Gmail!!!