Thursday, June 29, 2006


John Mayer's new album "Continuum" drops in 75 days. Judging by the new single "Waiting on the World to Change," I think it's going to be quite a departure from his acoustic, bubblegum-pop days in "Room for Squares" and tentative foray into more bluesy territory in "Heavier Things."

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I, for one, cannot wait.

Wimbledon Dreams

While channel-surfing a couple of nights ago, I chanced upon a replay of the historic Wimbledon final of 2001 (apparently, Star Sports was showing that because rain forced organizers to suspend matches in day one of this year's Wimbledon Championships). It was between Australia's Patrick Rafter and one of my all-time tennis idols (along with Andre Agassi), Goran Ivanisevic. People can learn a thing or two about ambition and perseverance from this guy. I know I have.

In 1990, two years after turning pro, Ivanisevic made it to the semifinals at Wimbledon, where he was beaten by the legendary Boris Becker in four sets. (The Croatian earlier knocked out Becker in the first round of that year's French Open, where the latter reportedly commented that "even God could not have played any better)." It was after that match that Becker predicted Ivanisevic would eventually become a Wimbledon champion.

Two years later, Ivanisevic would get his first chance at the championship, when he made it to the final against Agassi. The American would eventually triumph and win his first Grand Slam title, but not before an epic five-set battle against Ivanisevic.

In 1994, Ivanisevic again found himself in the Wimbledon final, this time against Pete Sampras. The seven-time champion completely outclassed Ivanisevic, pounding him in straight sets. Despite the setback, the oftentimes hotheaded Croat with a penchant for sticking his tongue out during matches and weird hairstyles was ranked number two in the world that year, the highest of his professional career.

It was an Ivanisevic-Sampras final yet again in 1998. This time, the former pushed the American to five sets before finally bowing to him. Knowing it has always been his dream to become champion at Wimbledon, I can only imagine the frustration and heartbreak he felt after being that close to his dream and suffering the agony of defeat for the third time. It was around this time, I think, that I first became a fan of Goran. I felt like I could relate to his constant struggle to prove himself, especially in the big leagues.

Ivanisevic's ranking fell after being sidelined with a shoulder injury for most of 1999 to 2000. Despite being ranked 125th in the world, Wimbledon officials gave him a wildcard entry in the 2001 edition of the championships. On the road to the finals, he beat players like Carlos Moya (2nd round), then up-and-coming hotshot Andy Roddick (3rd round), Greg Rusedski (4th round) and Tim Henman (SF). And once again, Ivanisevic found himself on Centre Court battling for the Wimbledon title and a place in history. Never before had a wildcard entry gotten past the semifinal round in Wimbledon. I remember watching the final alone in my room, screaming my lungs out everytime Ivanisevic scored a point against Rafter. The two were pretty much even competitors, but in the end, I think it came down to who wanted the title more. The fifth and deciding set was as close as it came, and with bated breath, I and countless tennis fans around the world watched as Ivanisevic served out the match in a tiebreak. Rafter failed to return, and just like that, after almost three hours of play, the "best player never to have won a grand slam title" finally won a grand slam title.

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Dreams do come true

It was an overwhelming feeling, watching someone you've been rooting for overcome the odds and win. After years of struggling, Goran Ivanisevic achieved the near-impossible. It was so intense I had to call a friend on my cellphone just to share with her the feeling of triumph and jubilation. And watching it again this week, the feelings all came rushing back. I think I had a lump in my throat after that last point, with Goran first lying down on the grass then jumping up to look for what I think were his parents and coach up in the stands. Sure beats inane sitcoms and reruns of Blind Date and The Fifth Wheel.

"Wimbledon" the movie was on HBO last night. The story of an ageing tennis player receiving a wildcard at Wimbledon and overcoming the odds to win the title seems vaguely familiar (although I'm not sure Goran managed to find time for romance on the grasscourts during his time. Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if he did).

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

In the Band

This one's for the books.

Remember this photo I posted in an earlier entry:

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Me with OnL

Apparently, some enterprising person ripped this photo and used it as promo material for a show the band did in SM Pampanga last month. Mcoy and the rest of the band kidded me about it the last time I saw them, but I hardly gave it a thought. But then an officemate who lives in Pampanga (thanks myla) saw it for herself and took this photo with her mobile phone:

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Suddenly, I am part of the band.

I think it's hilarious. I ought to sue for copyright infringement or something. But nah...I'd settle if they gave me one of those tarps.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Yet Again

What can I say? The beach bug bit, and it bit HARD. Funds were limited but I just couldn't resist catching the last vestiges of summer 2006 on the white, powder-fine sand beaches of Boracay. Last time I was there, I was with 8 other people. This time, there were only three of us. Result: we got a lot more things done.

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I took this purty picture!

We took the PAL flight from Manila to Roxas City to take advantage of the sumptuous meals prepared for us by my friend's family. It's just too bad I'm not a big fan of seafood, because being in the seafood capital of the Philippines, where i could have had all the crabs, shrimps, prawns, scallops, and various other kinds of fish and shellfish we could eat, I barely touched the stuff. After breakfast, we took the four-hour land trip to Caticlan. It was pretty much uneventful, except it was during that trip that a friend texted me that my boy Taylor Hicks won American Idol. Woohoo!

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At puka beach

We hired a paraw to take us to puka beach. The ride there was pretty cool: the wind in my hair, the sun on my back, the sea spray on my face. When we weren't island-hopping, we spent most of the time on our favorite spot on the front beach, right in front of Lea's bar, just lounging around, waiting for happy hour so we can sip our shakes or guzzle our San Mig Light and enjoy the sunset...

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Taekwondo-jins out on a late afternoon jog

The definite highlight of the trip, though, was our parasailing adventure Saturday afternoon. One word to describe the experience: awesome. Talk about getting "high."

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I had to calm freaked-out Ryan while we were up in the air.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a shake at Jonah's. I highly recommend the banana-papaya. Yum.

Our last supper on the island actually felt like our last supper ever. There was a buy one, take one promo on ALL food and drinks at one of the Italian restaurants in Station 2. We ordered a pasta, a pizza, chicken wings and drinks. Multiply all that by 2 and we had enough chow for six or seven people. Whew. Sometimes I think I can still taste the puttanesca....

Then it was off to the bars. We couldn't leave without having Jam Jars at Cocomangas, which are pretty pricey now at P150 a jar. Highway robbery, if you ask me. We also had ourselves one of those water pipes, common in the middle east, or at least, middle eastern-themed bars. I'd post a photo, but, nah, I'm sure nobody needs to see me smoke shisha.

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Willy's rock.

The Bora trip was over before I could get a decent tan. I once heard somebody say that one should always take vacations whether one can afford them or not; the memories, he said, will be priceless. Sounds like copy for an advertising campaign, but I have to admit I've taken it to heart. The Bora memories from this trip should last me a lifetime. Or at least, until the next great vacation.