I was within two feet, in the flesh, of one of my cinematic idols this afternoon. Another small life goal done. My one regret is I didn't get a picture taken with the man; my memories will have to suffice.

I just find it so mind-numbingly surreal to have met filmmaker Quentin Tarantino Cubao.

Truth is really stranger than fiction sometimes.

Peeve of the Week

I don't know if it's just because I've been in a blue funk for the past few weeks, but damn if I'm not picking on everything in sight.

My top peeve at the moment is listening to Atty. Katrina Legarda on the radio.

I mean, she's smart and all, and no reflection on her as a lawyer or what she's saying - is it just me, but doesn't she sound so off-putting on the air, voice and delivery-wise?

Hey, I'm all for manly, deep voices, even for certain women, but when I hear her on Legal Log, her 5-minute program on 105.1 Crossover, I can't help but focus on how she sounds like a man trying to sound like a woman. It's creepy. Nothing personal now, but there are really some people who should never be put on the radio.

She's on Mondays to Fridays at 7 and 9am, 12nn and 5, 7 and 9pm, on DWBM-FM 105.1.

And please don't get me started on Manny and Pie Calayan.

Serendipity 2

Man, it gets creepier.

In the last post I casually mentioned I was a finalist in the Metropop way back when.

This afternoon in the comment section for the post, my friend Karen asked which song it was in the competition, and I gamely replied which one it was - Out In The Open, co-written with my friend Bob Serrano of Tux, sung by Zebedee and Angelica, back in the 1996 Metropop Song Festival. It was a finalist, and even if it didn't make it to the top 3 spots, it was in the CD that year, and it got a bit of radio airplay after that. People sort of liked it, and then it quietly faded into oblivion, as pop songs are wont to do.

I hadn't thought about the song for quite a while now (it's ancient history, and from another life), but it was pleasant to relive the memories of being on stage at the Araneta Coliseum and being on TV and all that, all because of Karen's curiosity about it this afternoon.

The song didn't win but my personal satisfaction lay in just making it to the finals - that, and judge Ryan Cayabyab taking me aside backstage and commenting that he loved the song. Ryan said that the competition had sort of taken a different turn and had become partly a singer's competition, not a song-writing one, and if the contest had stayed true to its intent, we should have at least placed.

I don't know if he was just trying to make me feel better, but hearing that coming from THE Ryan Cayabyab, and the very slim possibility that he was at least half-serious, was good enough for me; it was as if we had already won.

But back to the present.

As I said, like the Hajji thing, I hadn't thought of the song for ages. And then I mention it in the blog last night, and in a bit more detail in the comment section this afternoon.

Tonight, mere hours later, I get this in the mail, from out of the blue:

Hi there, Adel.

Sorry to barge into your inbox univited. I'm wordering if you have a
copy of Out in the Open. The first time heard of the song was during
the 1996 Metropop Festival, and somehow it stuck with me. I searched
the major record stores the last time I went to Manila, but came up
with nothing. Of all the songs in the album, this is the one I had to

Now after some (extended) searching on Google, a 2003 PhilMUG post
identified you and Bob Serrano as the songwriters. I can't find Mr.
Serrano, so I'm really hoping you would still have a copy of the song,
and willing to share it with me. Thanks. (Actually, if you happen to
have the album, I wouldn't mind having the others, too.)

Albert Ching

I was again dumbstruck. I could not believe it. Coincidence again?

He must have read my blog today and thought to write me for a copy. Yes, that must be it.

So I write him back immediately to ask precisely that.

Mr. Ching wrote back right away: I found the info via Google, specifically this link:

I ask you, is that weird or what?

Of all the days to get an email about a song I wrote more than a decade ago and haven't thought of much in the intervening time. And on the heels of the previous coincidence with Hajji Alejandro, this is a bit much.

Needless to say, I sent him a copy right away (which is perfectly legal since Bob and I own the song and I can do what I damn well please with it.)

I guess these kinds of coincidences happen, but twice in a row? And is it serendipitous? I don't know what God is trying to tell me. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it. It's an understatement to say I'm thoroughly creeped out by all this.


It's another word for coincidence, but the nice kind. I'm not sure what the word is for the bad kind. I'm not quite sure how to categorize this one I just had, but just the same, serendipity was the word that popped into my head.

During dinner at home Sunday night, the TV was blaring in the living room, tuned to Sharon on ABS-CBN by the maids. They were doing a musical feature on the Metropop on the show, and my ears perked up because once upon a time I was a finalist; otherwise it's usually pink noise to me. They got some of the original singers to do the songs they originally did for the Metropop, and one of them was Hajji Alejandro, the original Kilabot ng Mga Colegiala from the 70s, doing his old classic Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika.

My attention was diverted from the chicken because Hajji was singing spectacularly off-key, and I took notice even more closely. I can't sing to save my life, but I can tell if someone was pitchy, even if he was off by just an eighth of a note. He was struggling with his own song, and I remarked to my wife, "Listen, Sweetie, he can't even sing his own song anymore. Either he's lost it, or he doesn't care anymore. They should've gotten someone else to do it. Tsk tsk," and went back to munching on my chicken.

Fast forward to two hours later. We were at our usual weekend evening haunt in Eastwood, coffee and surfing at Coffee Bean, with Rico, Mano and a couple of our friends. Mano and the girls chat up a storm over this and that, so I plop myself at a separate table with Rico so I can surf on the T43 in peace.

The wifi was flaky and I had trouble getting online and staying on; the signal dropped often, and it was a struggle getting it back. So my mind wandered and among my idle thoughts I thought about listening to Hajji Alejandro on TV back home earlier and wondered about how he felt about how he's turned out, what he's become today compared to how he was in the seventies. If he's unhappy doing these retro things on TV shows and singing the stuff that he's probably sick of doing all his life. And then I thought about myself and what I've done with my own life, that sort of thing. Then the wifi came back and I promptly forgot all about Hajji.

Close to midnight, the place is almost empty, and in walks a couple.

The guy walks over to the counter to order, and the girl comes and sits down at a table near us. She looks familiar but I couldn't quite place her.

Rico, friendly dog that he is, saunters over and starts being his friendly self. The girl is delighted and pets him, gushing. She starts to chat me up and talks about how Rico is probably smelling her dogs on her which is why he's overly friendly. They have two big dogs, she says, and five poodles, blah blah blah. Pleasant pet owner talk.

The guy finishes ordering and goes to her table. The girl introduces him to Rico, and then to me. "This is my husband, Hajji."

I am momentarily speechless. I mean, what were the chances? Man.

I mumble pleasantries, still flustered at the coincidence. We chat a little, and then Mano and the girls motion to us that it was time to go home. Rico, who understands human speech more than I give him credit for, runs to the door; he'd been wanting to go home for a while already.

So I say goodbye to the couple, nice meeting you, and leave. Walking away I wonder if I should've talked to Hajji somehow. But about what, exactly? I wondered what I would said: "Hey, you'll never believe this, I was just thinking about you thirty minutes ago, and in you walk through the door. What is that about?" Or maybe, "Caught you on TV tonight. Did you know you were spectacularly sintonado?" Hmm, I don't think so.

It's baffling - you never think of the guy, you practically forget about him, you've never met him before in your life, you're even indifferent about his music, and then the one day you hear him on TV and make a snide comment, he shows up on that very day, hours later, to meet you, apparently apropo of nothing at all. Baffling but true, and totally useless. Couldn't I have just won the lotto?

I don't know what this was supposed to have meant, but you'll have to agree it was a hell of a coincidence.

Coming out

If you've been reading my Mac blog (Mac-A-Doodle), you'll know I'm dabbling in the Dark Side and using an IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad T43 for work. Mostly I leave it in the office and just bring it home on weekends, and my reputation as a Mac User and Terminal Apple Fanboy would generally be safe because if it's not in my office it's in the bag.

Now though I'm writing this entry on the T43 in public, at a branch of Starbucks on Katipunan. Mano usually does the groceries here while Rico and I chill in the coffee shop and I just surf on the Mac. Today it's different; I left the Powerbook at home. I feel distinctly ill at ease doing this. Then again, I know intellectually that no one would notice or care, but being a proud fanboy I feel I have a reputation and an image to keep up, even if it's all in my imagination.

Stupid to feel this way, I know, and you'd be right a thousand times over for calling me an ass about it. But I can't help it. I guess I'll get used to it. Just taking time out to mention it here. Now back to work. On a Windows PC. In public. *shudder*


Oh for joy!

They finally wised up. Variety reports that Warner Bros has optioned one of my all-time favorites, Frank Miller's Ronin, to turn it into a 300-style potboiler/samurai/sci-fi epic.

I. Can't. Wait.

Can The Dark Knight Returns be far behind?