Empty Bench Revisited

I made a video 5 years ago and posted it here on January 5, 2011. It was titled “The Empty Bench.”

This bench at the front yard of our home, was the favorite place where my mother and my mother-in-law would sit, especially early in the day to catch the morning sunshine, whenever they came to visit us here in Iowa.

My mother passed away November 2014, and my mother-in-law passed away a week ago. I’m reposting this video in their loving memory.

Thank you both for the love and the memories.

iPhone Meets iFawn

If you have read my previous post, you know that my iPhone drowned in the ocean.

So I got myself a new iPhone. And I like it. Not because it is bigger, but because it can do more. Except swim, I guess.

I took the following video a few days ago during my morning run. Then my son played with my new phone and he turned this video into a film. He put music, words, and edited it with very little assistance from me, all via the iPhone. Smart kid!

Hope you enjoy.

 

(*Tapa is cured meat; a favorite Filipino breakfast, usually served with eggs and garlic rice.)

 

 

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Even when I was much younger, I am used to having music on most of the time. In my room in Sampaloc, when I was in high school thru college, I had a small stereo radio with a cassette player that sits near my bed. It played instrumental music or light jazz when I am studying (I avoid music that will cause me to break into a song or make me sing-along when I am reading for that will disturb my concentration), and soft mellow music when I am ready to sleep.

If I am not studying or sleeping, my music can range from folk, rock, country, pop, gospel, and OPM’s (to which I freely sing-along). The music will drown the noise from our street, and most of the time, I would fall asleep with the radio on. The radio playing did not bother me at all, in fact it lulled me to sleep, especially during nights when sleep did not come so easily.

I don’t sleep with the radio on anymore. I have to consider the one I’m sharing the bed with now. My wife is a light sleeper and she easily gets awakened with noises, and a radio on will not let her sleep at all. Too bad she has to sleep with the noise of my snoring though. However, there are still nights that I cannot turn off my mind, or I can become restless, and sleep will not come to me. On these occasions, I put my earphones with my i-Pod or i-Phone on, and listen to my favorite music that will transcend me to La La land.

For a very long time, it has been observed that music can affect human behavior. In Biblical times, it was recorded that King Saul would call for David to play him his harp to soothe his troubled spirit.

In more modern times, research has shown that music with a strong beat can stimulate brainwaves to resonate in sync with the beat, with faster beats resulting sharper concentration and more alert thinking, while a slower tempo promotes a calm, meditative state. Music therapy is a growing field in health care and had been used in pain management, children with Attention Deficit Disorder, and even in ICU to help pacify patients. For some reason music appears to calm my restless leg syndrome as good as medication.

Not too long ago, I heard a version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” sang by this certain singer, that I really like. Then when we were in Hawaii several months ago, the tour guide mentioned this singer and I learned that he was from that island. He is Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (yes, that’s definitely an Hawaiian name).

It was sad though to learn that he passed away at an early age of 38, in 1997. He had health problems stemming from his weight, which at one point was more than 750 pounds. But that did not stop me from downloading his songs in my i-Phone. His “What a Wonderful World” is another favorite of mine, and he now sings me lullaby when I cannot sleep.

More recently, I heard from the radio a version of “Fields of Golds” that was an original song of Sting, who by the way is one of my favorite singers. But this specific rendition of the song captivated me, and so I looked for it and downloaded it also in my i-Phone.

I was intrigue why I have not heard of this female singer before, so I searched for her other songs in i-Tunes and I found most of them were really beautiful. Then I also found out that she had died back in 1996 from a malignant melanoma at such a young age of 33. Her name is Eva Cassidy.

What’s with me and dead singers? We’ll I guess I just like their songs, and it does not matter whether they are dead or alive. Eva Cassidy also now rocks me gently to sleep in my restless nights.

Here is Eva and Israel in their different versions of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Yes, both of them are really somewhere over there.

(videos from youtube)

The Empty Bench

There is one item in our home that is a favorite subject for photography. After looking at all the countless pictures we have taken of it, I decided to make a movie out of them.

This movie is dedicated to all who have loved and lost. Having loved and lost is still better though than never have loved at all.

“Chairs. Why do there have to be chairs? It shows it’s empty now, there’s no one there.” — Michael Johnson

In Memoriam

My brother-in-law passed away suddenly a few days ago, which saddened us all. He was 44 years old.

I know he likes playing guitar. My wife told me that he started playing guitar even before he entered grade school and he learned it by just watching his older brother and his friends.

Here is the first guitar piece that he learned to play. He was so young at that time that the guitar was as big as he was and he cannot even pronounce the title. He called it “Pordidem Deyms” (Forbidden Games).

Here’s to you my brother. (Classical guitar played by Laucke)

Never Alone

For more than 2 weeks now, I have been by myself here in Iowa, as my kids are currently in California and my wife is across the Pacific. I am not used to being alone anymore. But the other day, I witnessed a wonderful thing that reminded me…… I’m never alone.

My wife and kids will be home with me in a few days. In the mean time…….. I have plenty of company.