The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Emergence of Emong Payaso

November 24, 2006

At last, we wrapped up today our recording session for the "Karnabal" project. All that remain are two more sessions to be dedicated to the mixing of the entire content of The Woes of Emong Payaso maxi-single. Finalizing the content of the CD, I decided to present it as one long nonstop single track consisting of four parts, making it a tetralogy: "Mahiwagang sapatos ni Emong Payaso," "Parang karnabal (ganyan ang buhay ng tao)," "Tuluy-tuloy ang palabas sa entablado," and "Sa likod ng bawat tagumpay ay kalbaryo," with the third part being the main song.

In the beginning of the project, my collaborator wanted to remain anonymous, to be known only as Emong Payaso, chiefly because he initially felt that the musical project we were making does not represent his genre. His chief genre is Progressive Rock, the likes of Yes and Rush; so he felt that making an Alternative Rock / New Wave project might hurt his style, thus the anonymity. However, as we progressed, he began to accept that whatever we might have been embarking on, regardless of the style, is still, after all, a product of our own creativity. Actually, after one year (on and off) of making the project, it no longer remained only categorizable as New Wave. I can safely describe the project as an amalgamation of Alternative Rock / New Wave, Classical music, and Progressive Rock, with a touch of Folk. I just made sure that the result would not veer away from the style of the music of my former band Half Life Half Death, chiefly because I wanted to maintain my trademark sound. And after hearing the results, I could say that I'm satisfied.

Emong Payaso is satisfied as well, making him finally reveal himself. He is actually a friend of mine, named Abelardo "Ardie" Sarao, a very talented musician who began playing music since the late '70s.

I'm now in a rush to finish the album covers because our CD launching concert is slated on December 15, at Howard Johnson Hotel. Ardie and I will perform the contents of the album. Aside from this performace, I will also perform with my alternating live band, haLf man haLf eLf, which comprises of the band members of Studio 69.

Anyway, some more developments soon.

For the meantime, I should be going back to my ward now. I'm here at Riverview Health Centre, doing a day shift on a snowy Sunday. Fortunately, work today is relatively easy. Add to that, I'm always blessed for having nice coworkers.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

It's never too late to become what you could have been"

November 19, 2006

8:30 p.m., I just awoke from a few hours' nap, but still I'm feeling tired. I played some New Wave, and this is enough to perk me up.

Rupert Everett - "Generation of Loneliness"
Billy Bragg - "Greetings to the New Brunette"
New Model Army - "White Coats"
Flesh for Lulu - "Time and Space"
Flaming Mussolinis - "My Cleopatra"
A House - "Always Be Grateful"
The Jesus and Mary Chain - "April Skies"
Jimmy Jimmy - "I Met Her in Paris"
The Killers - "Mr. Brightside"
Kaiser Chiefs - "Modern Way"
Kitchens of Distinction - "Smiling"
Koo De Tah - " Too Young for Promises"
Kon Kan - "I Beg Your Pardon"
The Lilac Time - "And the Ship Sails On"
Lloyd Cole & the Commotions - "Brand New Friend"
The Cure - "How Beautiful You Are"
The Cult Heroes - "I'm a Cult Hero"
Hot Hot Heat - "Middle of Nowhere"
Silos - "Things Within"
Dean's December - "It Doesn't Snow in Manila"

Today, Sunday, I worked only the morning shift, 7:30 to 3:45 p.m., at Riverview Health Centre. Around 11:00 a.m. the agency called, asking if I could do a double shift; meaning, work straight up till 11:45 p.m., which I usually do. I said no, I needed a Sunday rest. As soon as I got home, around 5, I hugged the pillows.

Last Wednesday, November 20, I took the English Benchmarking Test at the Immigration's Adult Language Centre. It was a three-hour session which I was able to finish in about an hour. The test consisted of a written, reading comprehension, listening, and interview portion. In the essay writing, I committed two grammatical blunders, whereas in the rest I got perfect scores!

My mistakes:
"In the countryside, there are not much pollution and buzz...."
According to the examiner, I should have used is. I no longer rebutted her. I used are because I treated "pollution" and "buzz" as two separate subjects.

"Some people prefer living in the city, where there are much activities...."
I missed this! Yeah, it should have been many, because "activities" is a countable noun. Much is used for uncountable nouns.

According to the examiner, I could have gotten a benchmark of 11 (highest is 12), but that they couldn't give me that mark because the highest score they could award an immigrant like me is only 8. In short, I got the highest allowable score of 8. I need this benchmark when I enroll for a refresher course or study again at a university, which I intend to do in the near future. Aside from pursuing my nursing career, I plan to take a certificate course at University of Winnipeg, any writing-related course.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A well-nigh perfect work it is,

November 14, 2006

Almost every time I open my e-mail accounts, a message or two would surprise me--usually letters from fellow enthusiasts of New Wave music, admirers of my former band Half Life Half Death, or people I don't know who appreciate what I write on my blog site.

Today, I received an e-mail message from a very important person. Important, yes, simply because she's a daughter of the legendary Filipino literary couple Abelardo Subido and Trinidad Tarrosa--poet and poetess whose works I truly admire, as evidensed by the tribute article I wrote of them, posted on my blog site last year, on January 22, 2005.

Until now I couldn't believe that many people feel moved by the thoughts and ideas that I continually write here on my blog site. As I always say, I write more to express what I think or feel than to impress people. This is the reason, every time I receive messages of appreciation and admiration, I become more inspired and humble than proud.


Here's the e-mail message written by Maya Walker, a daughter of Abelardo Subido and Trinidad Tarrosa:

Tue, 14 Nov 2006

Very Dear Elf,

Maraming, maraming salamat.

I accidentally stumbled on your blog post today honoring Papa and Mommy. Yes, Abelardo Subido is Papa, and Trinidad Tarrosa is Mommy. Isn't it remarkable that Filipinas never cease to call their parents by their childhood terms of endearment even after many, many, many decades past?

Tears streamed down my face as I read your post and heard once again Papa & Mommy's words stirring within, two voices in harmony, always in harmony. I am blessed to have their DNA. Their words are all I need to enliven me. As a child Mommy recited her poems to me during our garden walks, and Papa read his to a dictaphone with the theme of "Bonanza" in the background--a particularly funny and vivid memory.

Maraming salamat uli. I have been feeling a great gravitational pull to glorify my parents and am coming to the inevitable...a novel dedicated to them. The book you're reading in the photo dated January 21, 2005 was published by my siblings back in Manila, Philippines. For the last 28 years I've been living in Berkeley/Oakland, CA, but just moved to Vallejo, a huge Pinoy town, 35 miles up north of the San Francisco Bay. Pancit, lumpia, and pan de sal are sold practically every quarter mile. If you ever find yourself in this part of town, tawag ka... let's commune over halo-halo.

I enclose a picture. I am a perfect combinatorial clone of Tarrosa-Subido.

Maya Walker


Like your parents before you, you inspired my literary pen once again. I thank you for that, especially that these days when I'm so much preoccupied by my jobs here in Canada, I have so little time to spend on my literary pursuits. And messages like yours are enough to compel me to make love with my Muses even during the most exhausting nights.

Yes, I'll certainly flutter by your door in case my wings bring me to where you are.



Lest I forget, I must thank my fianceé, Charlotte Belialba, without whom I would have not known the poetry of the Subido couple in the first place. Charlotte was the one who gifted me, in 2004, with the books Private Edition (Sonnets and Other Poems) by Trinidad Tarrosa Subido and Sonnets from a Gardener (And Other Poems) by Abelardo Subido. Hon, thanks again.


A quick reply from Maya:

Tue, 14 Nov 2006


In warp speed I clicked on your entry today. Your lyricism feels kindred. You must be a long-lost brother. I am going to devour your past and future entries henceforth! Can I get an RSS feed from your blog? [My pleasure!]

My younger sister Mayita (google Kristina Subido) writes songs in Tagalog and has translated many of Mommy's poems. She's the driving force behind Milestone Publications. [Is this a sign? I've been looking for a publishing company who will happily publish my fantasy-fiction book Engkanto. Hint...hint.]

Like most divinely-inspired artists -- Picasso, Matisse, et al. -- Mommy cross-created in other media, like oils, acrylics, sumi-e. So you must be just as divinely-inspired with your poetry and music.

I wish you massive success in all that you do!


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

We'll be as we are, when all the fools that doubt us fade away

November 7, 2006

Yesterday, after my work at A&W (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) I went to Service Canada and followed up something. This has something to do with the unemployment claims which I filed for the months (June and July) that I was officially unemployed. Fortunately, it got approved; however, I received only a small amount of money--less than what I was expecting. I found out that since I'm holding now two jobs and that I'm currently earning more than the minimum wage, I was no longer eligible to the maximum pay. That's all right. More important is, I have now jobs.

Yesterday, after my trip to Service Canada, I passed by the HMV store at Portage Place (a mall in downtown). I remembered friend Jessel's telling me that there's an ongoing sale on CDs and DVDs. I went home with a couple of DVDs: Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, E.T., and Edward Scissorhands. I already have these on VCDs, but since they were on sale, I might as well have them on DVDs; besides, the editions that I got were the remastered versions with additional features.

Oops, I have to go back to my work now. I'm here at Riverview Health Centre and I'm just on my first break time.

Monday, November 06, 2006

There's no need to be afraid

Christmas season is coming once again. In the Philippines, I'm sure that the spirit of the holidays can already be felt everywhere, especially in the malls--where Christmas decors and carols fill the air.

Here in Canada where I am, no much fanfare in the malls; the only reminder that Christmas is here is the fact that Winter snow had begun to fall once again several days ago. The streets and the roofs of houses are immaculate white once again.


Yes, of course, especially to someone like me who grew up in a tropical country, where Winter and snow are usually seen (not felt) only in movies and on postcards and other holiday greeting cards.

In reality, Winter snow is nice to behold only when you're indoors (where it's warm), through the windows--especially when you're solitary and when staring at the sight outside makes you feel like you're staring at a Christmas greeting card.

As a longtime enthusiast of New Wave music, I usually regard Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" as my favorite Christmas song.

Trivially, many people thought that the British collaborative group Band Aid only followed what USA for Africa ("We Are the World") did. However, the fact is, Band-aid was the forerunner of collaborative musical projects intended for charity, usually released during Christmas season. Yes, USA for Africa was the one that imitated what Band-aid undertook. In fact, USA for Africa even consulted and invited Sir Bob Geldof of The Boomtown Rats (one of the brains behind Band Aid) to get involved in their project, to which the latter happily obliged.

Anyway, who did it first no longer matter in the end. What's important is that big collaborative groups like Band Aid and USA for Africa set a trend in music recording--in which members of various bands, including solo artists, get together to record a song for a cause.

Most of the songs below are examples of such collaborative musical projects. Although, a few are not intended for Christmas or charity--like England United's and Pulp's. Nevertheless, I always associate all of these songs with the holidays. Also, a few below are results of my researches about songs similar to "Do They Know It's Christmas?", like "Nackt im Wind" and "Do They Know It's Halloween?"

Band Aid - "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
Northern Lights - "Tears Are Not Enough"
USA for Africa - "We Are the World"
North American Hallowe'en Prevention, Inc. - "Do They Know It's Hallowe'en?"
England United - "(How Does It Feel to Be) On Top of The World?"
Pulp - "Bad Cover Version"
Band Aid 20 - "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
Band Aid II - Do They Know It's Christmas?"
Band für Afrika - "Nackt im Wind ('Naked in the Wind')"
Captain Sensible (of The Damned) - "One Christmas Catalogue"
The Pogues - "Fairytale in New York"
Carter USM - "Christmas Shoppers Paradise"
Carter USM - "Lonely This Christmas"
The Farm - "Altogether Now"
The Lightning Seeds - "Three Lions"
Hear 'n Aid - "Stars"
Chanteurs Sans Frontieres - "Ethiopie"
Forente Artister - "Sammen for livet"
Nanna - "Afrika"
Feel free to download MP3s of these songs from my Multiply site.

Friday, November 03, 2006

In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not

November 3, 2006

Last Friday, I finally took another important step concerning my professional career. I contacted College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba and inquired about my chances in challenging the provincial nursing registration examination. I gave a few basic details of my case: that I finished a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 1992; passed the Nursing Licensure Examination in the same year, making me a Registered Nurse in the process; but that I never did practice the profession; instead I ended up working as a pharmaceutical representative for one year, as a document analyst and coding supervisor for three years, and as an editor/writer of scholastic publications for several years.

The receptionist told me that CRNM would recognize both my educational background and my work record, and that the toughest thing that I may have to undergo is to take a few subjects, depending on their assessment of my credentials and other related documents. They would send me an application package. So, by now I should begin collating all the necessary and related documents which would have to accompany it.

I already have copies of my transcript of record and college diploma. My PRC (Professional Regulation Commission) card expired in 2004, so I need someone in the Philippines to renew it for me. Charlotte already inquired at the PRC office. She said that I need to prepare passport-size photographs, an authorization letter and special power of attorney, and money for the penalty fee for failing to renew it promptly.

Despite my being busy with my jobs, I always try to make the most out of every opportunity that is just lying on my path.

I know...I know that luck is not enough. Above all, I should be the one to take the initiative to get things going. As in Invictus, by the British poet William Ernest Henley:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the budgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how straight the gait,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Some more August pictures

Siakol tour in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, August 27, 2006
Chester Pangan (deejay at CKJS AM and 100.3 Cafe FM radio stations), James Rodriguez (Siakol's drummer), Noel Palomo (Siakol's vocalist), Jason Paredes (FourSight's band leader and producer of the Siakol concert in Winnipeg), Ardie Sarao (one of the highly regarded guitarists in the Filipino band scene in Winnipeg), Miniong Cervantes (Siakol's guitarist), I, Jason Gerodias (Siakol's manager), Lyn (Ritchie's wife), Maning, Jaizen (Jason's eldest son), Wowie Flores (Siakol's bassist), DJ Duke, and Ritchie
Jen; Siakol's James, Miniong, and Noel; Roy Gutierrez; Siakol's Wowie; Jason G.; I; Hare (of AB Noize from Toronto, Ontario); Abet; Boy; Ten-ten; and Jimmy Olais
I with friends Let, Hazel, and Arabella
haLf man haLf eLf and FourSight with friends
The burning-red passion of haLf man haLf eLf

"A legacy so far removed / One day will be improved / Eternal rights we left behind / We were the better kind"

Para bang cotton candy na ubod ng tamis

November 2, 2006

Finally, I devoted time to spend on my well-deserved and necessary shopping. I didn't accept an evening shift yesterday (Tuesday) and today (Wednesday), so I could go to the mall and other shopping places.

Yesterday, my destination was Computer Boulevard on St. James. I bought an Internet-connection cable, blank CD-Rs and DVD-Rs, 130 G external HDD, Nexstar-3 external HDD enclosure, and wireless headphones (which I will return because it was grounded; I'd instead buy an extension cable for my existing wired headphones.

Today, after dropping by at the office of my healthcare-aide agency to submit my timesheets, I went to the nearby Portage Place (shopping centre). I bought a Winter jacket, a dark-brown working shoes, a pair of thinsulate gloves, black furry slippers (for inside the house), and white Sorel heavy-duty Winter boots.

I spent a hefty amount of money, but I was satisfied with the things I bought, except for the Winter jacket. When he saw it, my friend Ardie said that the jacket would not be warm enough during the coldest days of Winter. He recommended a particular store which specializes in work clothes and stuff, Mark Warehaus, where I will surely find better Winter jackets that could withstand a -35 degC and below. I'll just return the jacket that I bought.

Emong Payaso and I resumed our Karnabal project. Finally, we are finished with the introductory piece to the main song, entitled "Mahiwagang sapatos ni Emong Payaso." I'm satisfied with the result, which is what I originally had in mind when I first conceptualized the idea of making a trilogy of interrelated songs.

To those who haven't sampled the main song yet, here, have a listen:

"Parang karnabal--ganyan ang buhay ng tao" by haLf man haLf eLf