Two great reasons to listen to Jam 88.3

My favorite radio station, Jam 88.3, has two new shows that you have got to listen to!

The first show is titled Nightlife: The Rick and Patti Show! Hosted by DJs Rick Rude and Patti, it’s a regular morning show… but at night! The show airs 9PM – 12MN, and it’s a talk show that listeners can call in to share their opinions on the topics of the evening. Phone line is 6318803. All you call center people and the rest of us who listen to the radio at night, this is pretty much for us!

I don’t have complete information on the second show yet, but I’ve heard INCREDIBLE things about it. It’ll air on Sundays, no time slot yet, and it’ll air positive, uplifting songs (including some praise songs, or so I’ve heard). More info to come, so please stand by. And tune in to Nightlife!

Meanwhile, here’s a song I wish they would play on Jam 88.3: my Single of the Year for 2006, Grammy Award-nominated Ayiesha Woods’ debut single, Happy!

[audio:Happy.mp3]

We’re having a girl! Her name is…

gannsyes.gifCathy had an ultrasound today, and it’s official: we’re having a girl! It’s my birthday wish come true! (Although I’m still holding out for a bathroom scale, a 300-CD holder/booklet, and Cathy’s allowing me to get a fourth tattoo.)

We’re particularly psyched because girls are very, very rare in our family. Cathy’s the only girl in her family, we have no girls in ours, and all Nathan’s cousins are boys save one (the daughter of a half-brother of mine).

Earlier today, Cathy had a bit of a scare, with blood present in her latest phlegmy cough. We went to Olivarez Hospital, where her very capable ob-gyne Dr. Lea Loteyro practices, and got a clean bill of health from Dr. Loteyro. Turns out Cathy scratched her throat. The doctor prescribed some antacids to deal with her achy-breaky stomach, then we went to get an ultrasound.

Not soon after, the doctor found the ‘hamburger,’ which verified my second child is going to be a girl! I KNEW IT!

As a postscript, we also have a name for our soon-to-be-born daughter. As soon as the doctor told Cathy she was having a girl, a name popped into Cathy’s head. She told me afterward, explaining why that name was what flashed in her mind, and I, thoroughly touched, approved of it.

Pending further revision, our daughter’s name is Nicola Jean (pronounced NI-kuhluh, not ni-KOE-luh, then JEEN, not jhawn). It means “victorious and gracious.”

Why Nicola Jean? Nicola, in honor of my father, Nicholas; Jean, in honor of both our mothers (Jean and Jane).

My father managed to reach Nathan, but he passed away before he met his second granddaughter. I think he would’ve been proud.

And Baby Deen #2 is going to be a…

… girl or boy.

Sorry, bitin ba?

I’m not sure yet, but we’ll get the doctor’s request for an ultrasound today, and we may know Baby Deen #2’s gender by tomorrow! Keep posted on what gender Nathan’s sibling is going to have, and what name will finally be given to this future hero(ine) of God!

Update: Cathy and I opted to postpone the ultrasound so we’ll find out Baby Deen #2’s gender on my birthday. :D

Memory boxes and my awesome wife

Sometimes, I can’t believe there actually is a woman who loves me for me.

Last night, I went through Cathy’s and my ‘memory boxes.’ A memory box is a box that, well, houses your precious memories, and Cathy and I each have one. In these boxes we have stored cards, knick knacks, and keepsakes from all our years together.

I had such a rush of emotions going through the boxes. Reading the cards with the terrible poetry and the mushy sentiment. Reading through the lines during that four-month period of separation when I left DLS-CSB to work at MyPhilippines, when we almost broke up but didn’t. Reading and reminiscing, grateful to God for His Hand that kept us together.

I can’t believe it’s been almost nine years. I met Cathy June 1998. We became a couple September 12, 1998, and wed December 7, 2002. Next year, we’ll actually celebrate ten years of knowing each other.

Ten years. Only by God’s grace.

I remember there were people who felt it would never work. Like that guidance counselor whose reaction to Cathy’s telling her that she and I were a couple was nothing short of offensive shock. Like those family members who perhaps somehow hoped I’d end up with someone different, or that Cathy married a pure Chinese man. Like those people whose fairytale lives are marred somewhat by the thought that a person like me could actually attract someone like Cathy.

Then I remember the good times. And the not-so-good times. And it boils down to three values, all of which show themselves prominent in our memory boxes.

The first is we communicate. Our cards aren’t empty. They are full of stories, of emotions, of our life together, the direction where we headed and where we continued to go. We spoke of what we wanted, what we didn’t want, and the desire to communicate because we knew this would make our relationship open and strong.

The second is we grow. You can see the growth in our cards. My earlier communications had the occasional expletive and sexual innuendo; you could see the change I am so grateful to Cathy for bringing me to a relationship with Jesus, and grateful for her prayers everyday.

The third is we trust. I am human, and flawed, and Cathy knows that. Nevertheless, she continued to trust that I would remain faithful to her – and I continue to do so. Through the years, I may have stumbled on pornography, self-stimulation, and doing things behind Cathy’s back, including bingeing on chips and soda. Each time, I came back to admit these faults to her, and she’s forgiven me.

The biggest hurdle was when I entered a costly venture that, all summed up, virtually wiped out our nest eggs. Any lesser woman would have left her husband by then. Not Cathy. She trusted God to provide, and trusted I would bounce back. A godly woman who stands by their not-so-perfect husband sends a message of love and positivity out to the world, saying “I promised this man for richer and poorer, better or worse, and I’m standing by it.

Looking through my memory box, I am in awe of God’s goodness. Sure, there may not be millions in the bank, and day-to-day living can be stressful more often than not, but everyday, I wake up to the three biggest blessings of all: a godly woman for a wife, a beautiful family, and a brand-new day I can use to make good memories for myself and others. And that’s what counts.

Baby Name Finalists

Cathy and I discussed our baby name shortlist (which included some of your suggestions), and these are the finalists:

Girl

  • Catharine Jean (Pure + God is Gracious); potential nicknames include Cat, Catharine, and ang walang kamatayang CJ)
  • Chloe Jo (Young and Blossoming + God’s Gracious Gift); potential nicknames include Chloe, Jo, and ang walang kamatayang CJ)
  • Caitlin Faith (Pure Soul + Loyal); potential nicknames include Cate, Catie, Cat, Caitlin, and Faith)
  • Charlize (Beautiful Star); potential nicknames include Charlize, Charlie, Lizzie, and Liz)

Boy

  • Nicklaus/Nicholas/Nikolai John (Victorious + God is Good); potential nicknames include Nick, Nicky, Nicko, and ang walang kamatayang NJ)
  • Nicholas Jon (Victorious + God’s Gift, because Jon is a derivative of Jonathan, not John) potential nicknames include Nick, Nicky, Nicko, and ang walang kamatayang NJ)
  • Noah (Rest); only one potential nickname here: Noah

What do you think? Vote in the Comments box (or until I can install a poll box)!

I’m a porn star!

gannswhat.gifCan you believe it? James Deen is a porn star!

Leave it to my wife to find a 20-year-old adult actor with a big wang, equally big sideburns, and friends named Chico Wang, Johnny B. Goode, and Brian Surewood. The only thing this actor has in common with me is that we share the same name.

But come on! I came first (pun not intended)! I’m 29 years old! I should get dibs on the name James Deen. Just because the guy’s in better shape than I am, and hung like a horse doesn’t mean… doesn’t mean…

Oh what the heck. People know me as Ganns Deen anyway. I am so glad I gave ‘James Deen’ up after leaving the education industry.

How to get your SSS card (or die trying)

Today, Cathy and I took a day off from work to process our application for our digitized Social Security System (SSS) cards; we also intended to secure registration for our Revo and get CTCs from the local barangay hall. Later in the day, if there was time, passport photo shots for us and Nathan. That was the plan.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the SSS now requires the card to claim maternity leave benefits and/or salary loans, among other “benefits.” We had no choice – we had to take time to get these cards, to claim something from the government that takes away a significant chunk of our income every month.

If you’re ready to hear the horror story that unfolded and ate up our day, read on. Continue reading “How to get your SSS card (or die trying)”

Saving Philippine Idol (Part 2)

My hits went through the roof yesterday after I posted my thoughts about free phone calls for voting for Philippine Idol. It was a pleasant surprise, and I received both positive and negative comments, on-blog and through email, about my thoughts on saving Philippine Idol. Well, such is a democracy, and I’m just pleased that we can get people to at least thinking about ways of saving the show, because it is a darn good show, and it deserves to be saved.

Philippine Idol deserves a Season Two.

I am no marketing genius, nor am I some word-of-mouth guru, but I believe I speak for a significant number of people who watch the show locally and are aghast with how it’s been performing so far. In this day and age, especially with the Internet playing a significant role, to not consider working with the fans is virtual suicide. ABS-CBN and GMA7 all know, to an extent, what kind of power the fans wield, and what kind of power word-of-mouth can do for an artist’s career.

Given that we know of certain legal entanglements that prohibit Philippine Idol candidates from singing anywhere else save for the show – even if eliminated, I imagine – until after the show’s winner is crowned, if you will, here are some other low-budget, high-profile suggestions that can raise WOM for Philippine Idol:

  • Join the media circus – and not just on ABC-5. Sam Milby was the big winner of the first edition of Pinoy Big Brother, not Nene Whateverherfamilynamewas. Why so? He looked good and he was allowed to run the gamut of media mileage, doing endorsements and TV shows even before the winner was announced. In the USA, eliminated contestants figured in talk show appearances throughout the week after their elimination, and not even on Fox. Constantine Maroulis performed on SIX talk shows after his ejection from American Idol. A contestant doing the rounds of TV and print (and not just the Philippine Daily Inquirer) boosts a person’s image – and that of the show.
  • Tie in with the fansites. Why shun the Internet? IfABC-5 were really serious about creating buzz for the show, especially amongst the AB and upper C markets (who have the mighty peso to spend for their candidates, since right now, there is no other way to vote), they should channel their candidates towards Philippine Idol fansites. Philippine Idol Updates, for instance, did an interview with Jhonalene Sison – the Voltes V Anime Girl – that got the girl with the strange green hair a lot more mileage than, say, Christian Masaga. Do the Google search. So tie in with the fans. Allow email interviews. Visit PinoyExchange.com and other forums to get an idea of what the fans think.
  • Make official profile pages for the candidates on MySpace and Friendster. You want to create fans? Create MySpace and Friendster pages for the candidates! In a world where musicians are dying to acquire fans, MySpace and Friendster allow free opportunities for the avid fan to get closer to the artist. Imagine how many fans feel closer to Drae Ybanez and Jan Nieto, whose Friendster profiles are pretty easy to find? I’ll tell you – A LOT. Maybe not enough to save Drae, but we’ll see whose career lasts longer between Drae and other singers – either on Idol or on other reality shows – who have more money to send votes in but less fans.
  • Stick with a time slot, and don’t mix sports and music! American Idol and the Philippine Basketball Association don’t mix. The fans are different, the social classes are different, they’re completely different programs with completely different programming needs. Separate the two because they don’t work. So enough with the shifting (and oftentimes unpredictable) time slots, and give people a set schedule they can work with. In the US, it’s Wednesday for performance night and Thursday for results; here, that may just work (because more people are home on weekdays). If you want to go with a weekend, I think a Saturday 7-9 (already an hour too long – American Idol is tightly edited to fit an hour) performance night is good, with a results night at 930PM the next day. Yes, it’s late, but I think people would rather stay up and be ready for the show, rather than tune in at 830PM and sit through interminable hours of basketball. It’s nothing against the PBA, but again, they’re two different programs with little in common.
  • Finally, something really radical, but a real possibility, if ABC-5 refuses to allow free phone calls: Two-hour windows for voting. If you won’t allow free phone calls, consider the possibility of two-hour voting, just like in American Idol. That way, time becomes the great equalizer. Those with money (and those without) will all scramble to get their votes in during the two-hour window, and increases the chances of those with more fans to get their votes in, versus those with less fans who have the luxury of texting the whole 24 hours.