Friday, November 6, 2015

Bria Skonberg

While at the clothes shop looking for a dress for a fall wedding, the mister sent me a text message about a show he wanted to watch at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in downtown. I thought it'll be on the weekend, but it'll be in about two hours from the moment he told me---at 7:30 pm that same evening. I hadn't prepared dinner yet, and was in fact on my way to the grocery store to get more ingredients for my baked spaghetti.

I scrapped the spaghetti, and I just steamed frozen pork siomai and boiled eggs to go with it instead. He told me about who was playing at the show and asked me to search her on YouTube. But I hadn't had the time since I was chatting with my daughter while fixing dinner.

On our way to the show, he said; "Ganahan jud ka ani!" (You'll really like this!)

Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled

Oh my G! The moment they started playing, I really smiled from ear to ear. I remembered that feeling when the first time I stepped inside Disney World in 1998. I couldn't believe that we were in it, and not just seen it in the movies, on TV or in a magazine. I wanted to cry because I just wished my siblings and my closed friends in the Philippines were with me at that very moment. Yes, I felt that exact kind of mixed emotions last night, and multiply that ten times more.

Four men in vest and suits, and a lady in dark blue wiggle dress came on stage and started playing, ,and then all I knew I was in heaven. I instantly thought of my children specially the boy. He sleeps during the orchestra around that time when my daughter played violin in high school, but he's fully awake when the high school jazz band is on. I also thought of my brother, Ayuki; brother-in-law, Pep; my little sister, Charmaine; and our neighbor, Nancy. I knew they would love to watch The Bria Skonberg Quintet. Bria Skonberg is an amazing trumpeter and a vocalist. She and the band brought soul, jazz, and the big band to Frederick last night.

Untitled Untitled

Check Bria on YouTube, or click thisthis, this, or this. She's absolutely amazing.

I woke up this morning still high from their music.  I'm just so happy the mister dragged me to Weinberg last night. It was our first to watch a show there, but definitely not the last.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Siopao Fail

Hello from my kitchen. I really need to perfect my siopao (steamed buns) dough recipe. I have no problem with my meat filling recipe, but the dough, however, seems like for me is a failure. There must be something wrong with how I steam them or probably the ingredients I am using.

Why? Why? Why? Why does my buns aren't as fluffy compare to the ones that I've tasted. Last week, I tried a second recipe and still, I was not contented with it. The mister and the boy's rating is "just okay", which is never okay for me.


I am trying another recipe today, and that also includes another cooking technique. I hope this new recipe is a keeper.

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Day in The Life of Francheska: Tour Life

I sent a private message to my friend, Nancy a few weeks ago. I asked her if she'd seen the movie, Spy since I knew she also likes Melissa McCarthy who starred in the movie. The movie's DVD and Blue Ray was released late last month already. I also told her some trivia about it--that the band, Bad Seed Rising sang the song at the end credit of the movie.

Bad Seed Rising is a band based in Maryland. It is, I've read, the youngest band signed by a record label. The vocals, Francheska Pastor is from Frederick and is the eldest child of our friends, Jupiter and Cristina (both from Cebu, Philippines). Cheska, as her family and friends fondly call her, turned 18 in August, and was 14 when she started in the band. She was born in the Philippines, but her family moved here in Maryland when she was barely a year old. All of the members are still in their teens. She went to the same elementary with my kids and with Nancy's daughter too, Yellow Springs Elementary School, and for high school, to Frederick High. They have been Frederick residents since 2002.

Nancy reads the paper regularly, "I can't believe I've not read about her in the paper! You would think Frederick would be bragging about her!"  

I agree with Nancy. Not a lot of people in Frederick knew about Francheska and the band. In the press, it is always written that the band is based in Baltimore, Maryland, and not a lot of information about Cheska that she's from our town. Her family still lives in Frederick. I have been meaning to feature her in my blog since about two years ago, but she's busy travelling with the band. I was really thankful that she agreed to write for this special blog post before she left the other Sunday again for her band tour. By the way, Aiden Maceron, their drummer is from Thurmont.

Bad Seed Rising members: Francheska Pastor, 18 (vocals), Mason Gainer, 15 (guitar), Aiden Marceron, 13 (drums), and Louey Peraza, 17 (bass) 11037338_573219092781640_8989884005362342356_o
I wake up in the right upper bunk of our 1980’s Winnebago at approximately 10 o’ clock every morning with the RV already running. I occasionally wake up with make up smeared around my face, because I passed out forgetting to get ready for bed the night before. I stare out the window and watch as we pass trees and mountains for about 10 minutes, then check my phone to see where we are. After about thirty minutes of catching up on the internet, I try to jump down from my bunk hoping we don’t hit a bump in the road and accidentally falling on our photographer. Go to relieve myself, then head to the front where and sit down to watch more scenery. Sometimes Mason or Louey is up before me but we don’t talk because it’s “too early” for us to interact. I normally don’t talk for hour or two when I wake up, unless I have something important to say. I sometimes write notes in my book or on the walls of the RV about how I feel, trying to put my feelings and experiences into words. Sometimes we make pit stops in the mornings for gas and morning station snacks. It’s really unhealthy, but it’s per diem friendly. Then I wash my face, brush my teeth and throw baby powder in my hair while we still have a bathroom. Once we’re all good, we’re off.

Rides normally take three, eight, or sixteen hours, and we normally have to be at the venue for load in at three. So I have to spend my time trying to distract myself. For about a full hour combined throughout the ride, I end up thinking about time, how long things take, how many hours left, and checking my phone. Other than that, I sing to myself and clean the bus, or write, or search the internet about our previous show and think of tactics to improve our show, and merch game.
photo by cheska
Francheska loves to take photographs as a hobby, and for commission as well. She took this photo in one of their stops during tour.
The band doesn’t really talk too much during rides. No one does, we all do separate work away from each other in a healthy way. Then somehow everyday we have end up right next to each other. The headphones come off and talk and laugh about everything all at once for about one two hours, then go back to listening to music. It’s difficult having to sit for hours waiting for 3:00 to come. It’s better than driving though, and sometimes the views are nice. Caitlyn and I play games together a lot, like Ninja (a hand slapping game), or tic tac toe. Other than that, I watch her edit photos and we try to think of things to capture and what would be good to post for the band.
A photo from their It's My Time official video shoot. It was shot in their home in Frederick.
Once we reach the venue, we all change into day clothes and unload. That’s kind of a lie, we hardly unload. I try to help, but sometimes I miss unloading cause I do my makeup and Caitlyn’s too. It probably sound like a long time but I actually do my make up in 15 minutes and caitlyn’s in 5. By then everything’s unloaded. So normally I check the venue, scope out the stage, prepare my mind and think of idea’s that I can do for the show. Then Caitlyn and I grab merch and set it up. Talk about merch tactics for a few minutes, then when everything’s done I check my phone for places to go. We’re not the type of people to stay in the venue or bus, so we walk around, find food, and search for cool places. Like abandoned, shops, or cool scenery. Take pictures, joke about some douchebag from the night before and then head back to the venue for when doors open.
A photo posted by not really anyone (@halfnhash) on

A lot of times, depending on if the other bands are nice, we like to hang out with them before the show. Pretty much just hang and talk. We did that a lot on the Tell Em What The F*ck They Missed tour with Adelita’s Way. They’re real great dudes, and they don’t chill in their room all the time like a lot of bands. We all kind of just wait for the show to start.
 Once the show starts I like to check out all the local bands, and walk around a lot. No one really knows us when we visit new cities, so I like to do this thing where I look as girly as possible and have people assume that I’m just a band girlfriend or just a merch girl. And so once I get off stage, people come up to me and say those things, along with “I didn’t think you were apart of the band and that you could actually play!!”. It’s a cool feeling to defy people’s perceptions of me. 
Before our set, we all warm up. Aiden drums, Mason and Louey play guitar, I do 15 minutes of vocal warm ups, then I sing my favorite songs. I sing Dance Gavin Dance, or anything kind of challenging. My favorite one to warm up to is Halo by BeyoncĂ©. Another good one to warm up to is the Star Spangled Banner. It’s really tricky and it warms up every part of your range. Once I’m done warming up, I stretch and try to get my adrenaline pumping. We do our pre show chant and then hit the stage once the lights go off and our intro starts.
After the set, I like to jump off the front of the stage and draw people to our merch table. I stay there and sign until people stop coming. Then I take my CD box and start selling to people in the crowd. I only do this in between sets, and I continue to do this until everyone has left the venue. Once the entire show is over, I count the sales and the money and give it to our TM. Then I help load out and head back into the bus. From there I wait till the bus starts running to fall asleep. I find it easy to have the motor running. Normally we stop driving at a truck stop at 2 or 3am for our driver to rest, then I wake up and brush my teeth and wash my face. Then I head back and fall asleep again.
 Tour is an amazing experience getting to travel, meeting new people, and sharing our music. Our days are filled with a ton of waiting, but it’s worth getting to do what we do and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I love all their songs but I have favorites--Hey KidIt's My Time and Bad Seed Rising!

Trivia: No one called me Lili until she and her sister did when they moved to Frederick near our house. From then on, I became their Tita (Aunt) Lili.

Get updates on their tour dates here.
Like their Facebook page here.
Follow her on Instagram here.
Follow her photography Facebook page here.