Saturday, December 31, 2016

Colors spin

So there I was… The last day of 2016. Man, it’s been a crazy year. Some of it was foreseen and some just crazy out of the blue stuff! All of it was life changing… all of it. Unfortunately we lost Timmy Wolf of Rhinocerotic. I never thought Id write anything like that but the year did take an upturn after that tragic event. My wife and I started out as a couple, became a  family in April with a trip to the Philippines, I was hired as the frontman of local tribute band U2Zoo, and was joined in that band by Don Hazlett from Rhinocerotic. Musically I haven’t had a lot of time to put out much as far as originals this year due to all these events but I hope to release some singles or a best of album next year.
I’m excited to see what happens with U2Zoo particularly. Shows are being booked every month and in some interesting places. Turner HallShank Hall, Lake Geneva, Summerfest, an airplane hanger, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and more…  Should be wild year.  Stay tuned and sign up at for updated info. Cheers!

Sunday, October 9, 2016


Click 4 Pics!

The summer has passed quickly. The U2Zoo experience is still new but promising. Singing in a tribute band is definitely not the same as a cover band. There is a lot of fluidity and opportunity to sing as Bono would and not just strictly duplicates a song. So far one of the coolest things is that Don Hazlett from Rhinocerotic has joined the band! We have many years of chemistry and history. Lots of stories too... Combining this history with Brian and Mike, who have been friends since high school, will be a recipe for a killer sound. I think we are all getting comfortable with each other. I will say that it is a little weird having me on the lead vocals instead of guitar. BTW, I'm still working on some new tunes for a sort of goth album...
Both Don and I received some classic phone calls from Johnny Stevenson of Rhinocerotic. It seems that Timmy Wolf's nephew may be learning some Rhino tunes. Not a lot of info yet on this one but it is an interesting turn of events. Maybe a couple new songs?.. Don't know yet but I've just released Glamorous Star and the Rhinocerotic black album digitally only on CDBaby if there is a demand we will get it out on other sites as well. 

Back to U2Zoo. We performed our first full show with Don (my first huge show, 29 songs) at the Brass Tap for their Tap-Toberfest event. Great crowd, friendly, and knowledgeable on their U2 songs! Did I mention super responsive... When I'm singing '40' they are coming right back at me. Awesomeness! Don and I were both saying what a great crowd dude... We hit deep with some 'Spanish Eyes', 'One Tree Hill',  and the most dangerous 'Bad' along with 'The Unforgetable Fire', and 'A Sort of Homecoming'. Definitely going old school in the new vibe for U2Zoo.

Check out our schedule HERE
We will be heavily focused on the earlier era of the band. It's sounding promising at practice. Stay tuned for what happen next!  

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Welcome to the Zoo

Now this might sound more like a sermon or something of that nature. It's not. It's still a blogpost but with an extraordinary story. Two weeks ago I was wondering how I could get back out there on stage in front of an audience. I've been away from the live stage for a year due to life really. Nothing was looking very promising  on musician classified sites and I didn't have any decent musician connections that were viable. I prayed about finding the right people to hook up with and start back into the rock and roll. After totally giving it to God in prayer I had the idea to look on Craigslist. Now this is not the place I would normally think to find musicians but I was running out of ideas. I saw an ad mentioning a great U2 tribute band that I had seen many years earlier. They were looking for a new Bono. I've sung Bono parts professionally before in the past and been accused of sounding a bit much like U2 on my earlier  CD's. This was worth a shot, at least to contact these guys. I've pretty much studied the band for 30 years and Bono was really my main inspiration as a singer.

I reached U2Zoo by email and literally heard from Brian the guitar player within a half hour. Talk about the power of prayer. Later that afternoon Brian called and we talked for a bit. He said that he went to, listened to about 4 seconds of a song, and called the bass player. The next thing I know he's asking me if I want to play Summerfest 2016 in front of around 6,000 people. Whoa... dude. I know my U2 songs quite well but not every word. He was talking about 90 minute set. There was a few things to think about but I was feeling the pull to say yes. We practiced once just to get a feel for things and I decided to just go for it. Jesus said that with God anything is possible. Well, that's what went through my head and I said let's do it. Why start doing things normal at this point in my life. First show as a lead singer singing Bono in front of thousands? OK, that's rock and roll right. Crazy... a day later I developed a wicked sinus infection. There went my voice. Crap. I started taking every medication I could think of, tea, honey, etc. We were able to have one more semi practice where I was singing kind of quietly. Still no voice. I was starting to get nervous but kept the faith regardless. I was not able to make a 3rd practice with the guys due to my vocal situation but got an appointment with my ENT. This guy is great. He's worked with Skillet as far as the same kind of problem and he trained under Celine Dion's ENT. Heavy meds for a couple days seemed to really help. Not 100% but way better. I had purchased some singer's throat spray and lozenges. I was ready to walk out in faith and give this one to God. You can do that without being in church. It's still praise man. We hung out in the dressing room for a bit and prepared for the show. 

The crowd was huge and I'm glad that Mike brought a few libations. It was a great feeling to see such a crowd and responsive at that. The guitar for I Will Follow kicked in and we were off. All my gears switched into Bono mode. This felt good despite my slight vocal handicap. I was able to bring it pretty good thanks to the my faith and God's power. I was so super thankful for the opportunity and the experience and felt renewed both spiritually and performance-wise. To top it off, our new adopted son was able to see dad on stage do his thing. This will be the start of a new chapter in my musical career. Who saw this one coming? Two weeks and what a change. #Thankful. Stay tuned for the new adventure!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Zero Hour

A New Chapter. Everything has changed… and that’s fine. I’ve been out of the music scene for a year due to the adoption and all that goes with it. Rhinocerotic is permanently put to rest due to the passing of Timmy Wolf and I’m still having a hard time with that one. I’m working on some new styles of music but getting anxious to play live again. Currently I’m looking to start either a goth/blues band or guitar/dance hybrid. It’s not as easy to find musicians my age to collaborate on innovative ideas. People usually give up or play in “old man weekend warrior” bands. Sorry, I will never play ‘Mustang Sally’. This will be a challenge to move ahead, clear the slate, and re-imagine my relationship with music. Time for a new approach? Stay tuned... news is on the way!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Time Travel : The End of the Philippine Adventure
(Click the photo for pictures)
It's 3:18 in the morning partly on the way to Korea. There is turbulence and I'm watching Macbeth. I do not care for turbulence and do get quite nervous. I'm sure I'm not the only one. I do however like Shakespeare... very much. I do currently wish I had some whisky. We put our lives in God's hands and hope that he will protect us in safe travel. We have been very blessed on this trip with safety and the good people that God has put in our path. We are thankful.
The airport in Seoul was pretty empty on the walk through immigration and to the gate. That was great. The 4 hour wait was rough. Still no sleep for me. Liza and Joshua were able to grab a few winks but I kept awake with a few cups of coffee. The airport was cold and irritating this time. Announcements were going off all the time, r's were used in place of L's (sorry, but after no sleep for over a day it's not amusing), and airport staff was definitely not as helpful and friendly as in the Philippines. Aside from that stuff, we were looking good.  That's just a long time to wait and it's cold in here. After a mini cowboy meal of beef jerky and coffee I was ready to go. We finally were allowed to board and I was ready to throw party. Sleep deprivation and oxygen in the cabin are a great combination, plus we got slippers on this flight. Sweet...
3:11 PM? AM? I don't know but we have been having the worst turbulence I've ever experienced. Poor Joshua has been sick and probably scared. I can't say that the rest of us feel much better. Still 8 hours to go. This is the day that will never end. I was able to get s brief amount of sleep but I'm afraid that's it. This has been a rough one. I'm looking very much forward to landing at O'Hare Lord willing. I know you've probably never heard anybody say that. Just meditate on that one for a sec. One of the flight attendants on Korea Air gave us a pill for Joshua's upset stomach. These attendants are awesome, pro all around and we can't say enough. Now at the same time we get the overhead announcement for turbulence at least every half an hour. I think a more appropriate announcement would be,"Hey, it's going to be smooth for a few minutes".  I would rather hear that one.

We did arrive safe and sound in Chicago but I've got to tell ya, the turbulence was remarkable. Yes, those bags in front of the seat do work... We were so thankful to get on the ground. After being treated like some kind of threat by our immigration, we finally were allowed to leave the airport an hour and a half after we landed. Seriously, the things we had to go through at the airport were ridiculous. Yes we arrived with an innocent 15 year old boy. Really guys? I could write several posts about this episode. We were picked up by a limo (don't get used to it kid) and driven back to Wind Point where we deliriously overtired people had..... McDonalds (that's really the only reason, plus the kid was asking for it). From Macbeth to McDonalds.Yep, now the real adventure begins.... back home, back to the gazebo, back to the lake....

Go Here for Music: 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Last Day in the Philippines
(Click the photo for pictures)

Time travel. It's what we do when traveling from one end of the world to the other. 
We met a very nice women named Marie who must be some sort of manager here. We shared a little bit of our story with her and she shared a story about her daughter with us. The Philippine people are the best man. Nobody is perfect anywhere of course, but people have been kind and friendly at most of our stops. 
We headed over to the pool for some last day swimming. Who cares about my sunburn. We are heading back to WI people! We had some halo halo by the pool and headed in to clean up for checkout. We paid for access to the exclusive club lounge of Windows on Manila Bay 19th floor and that was definitely the way to spend 5 hours. They set Joshua up with The Avengers movie and we just enjoyed the view with their afternoon tea. Amazing view and I dig afternoon teas, no seriously I dig tea. I'm going to miss the Philippines but not necessarily Manila. There are a lot of things going on right now in the South Pacific and I'm ready to get the hell out. Things are escalating with the Philippines and China, the US is sending commandos in for war games and our Secretary of State is here to support the Philippine military. There were just 2 major earthquakes in Japan so we are thankful to God that we have to land in Korea instead of the original plan for Japan. In addition, there are volcanos beginning to erupt. My thought is seriously, let's get the hell out like the A-Team
After a few movies, 5 hours in a cool lounge, and some light snacking we met up with Mr. Art for the trip to Manila airport. Before this however I have to tell you again about Marie and what a wonderful person she is. We had about 1 1/2 hours before our ride arrived and decided to order something to eat. Something must have not worked out in the communication because we had about 40 minutes left and still nothing. Marie absolutely went out of her way to see that we got what we ordered before leaving. Joshua had ordered sinigang which is s Filipino comfort dish. She personally stepped in and made sure that he had it before leaving his country. She absolutely went out of her way to make our experience great. We were so impressed with her and her staff. I don't believe we have had treatment like this even at 4 star places in the US. It would certainly be hard to top this experience with the Hotel Jen staff so thank you so very much! 

We arrived at the airport and found the right gate thanks to Mr. Art and proceeded to stand in line... You know, airport stuff. We did move through immigration and all that fairly quick. 
We had some extra pesos and found ourselves spending them on random snacks, drinks (not tea at this point- long flight), what have you. Finally we boarded the Korean Air flight. So began the longest day ever... we boarded the plane around midnight...

For the MUSIC

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

 (Click the Picture for photos)
This is our last full day in Manila. Pool day! As far as I'm concerned, the hotel pool is the best place in Manila. No, this is not the most exciting blogpost. Yes, there is a loud festival going on down the street, construction of 2 buildings next door, sea planes, constant honking, barking, smooth jazz, but relaxing all the same. The Hotel Jen staff has been amazing and way over the top from what we would get in the US. Joshua has been having some stomach problems and well, dad knows those quite well. It's called nerves and it's just one of the joys of travel. That's aside from moving to a new country with a new family. The manager Hannah personally escorted us to the clinic where the hotel doctor examined him. Nothing out of the ordinary but man this staff is good. Our room was also moved due to some leaking in the bathroom. This too was handled well by staff.  Out to hang by the pool we went. The ocean wind seemed to blow the smog back into Manila clearing the way for some sun. We swam for a few hours, ate lunch, and then out of nowhere the hotel had a lifeguard drowning drill. What a surprise for Joshua who was observing in amazement and possibly fear. By the time we were finished, 5 hours had passed and I had a rather nice sunburn. We chilled in the room for awhile and got ready for Kitsho, a Japanese sushi and sake restaurant in the hotel. Dinner was unexpectedly not crowded. I  read write ups on this place not understanding how they could not be a reservation only restaurant. Well, seems that aside from the high prices, our waitress/hostess was not very attentive and there were sections on the menu not even available. Robert Irvine would have a field day with this one. Looked very nice, but not outstanding in any other way. Everything was good but we had better sushi experiences in the US. In Kenosha nonetheless... We headed upstairs to watch some foolish Planet of the Apes movie and fell asleep. Yes, dad was tired enough to agree to watch it. We are leaving late tomorrow... very late.


Water Water Everywhere
(Click photo for pictures)
We woke up around 6am, which has become the normal time here, and looked out at the hazy port of Manila. The air quality is quite bad with both air and noise pollution. Did I mention that summer just started. Man, the heat is actually a news story! Today is the big day at Ocean Park. The Aliwan Fiesta is beginning today across the street. This is a giant fiesta celebrating all the smaller celebrations in the provinces. Maybe we will check it out, but the hotel pool seems way more inviting on such an incredibly hot day. 
Sir Art, Mr. Ramon's counterpart drove us over to Ocean Park. It might be in Manila and in pesos, but to us but it is still quite the traditional theme park atmosphere. Pay for a little, get a certain amount of access, pay for the big kahuna, get slightly more. We went big. The heat made the outdoor areas rough and many inside areas were not much different. We were actually relieved to visit the Arctic penguin exhibit. We had to put coats on to enter and there was actual snow. Probably was the first snow the boy has seen and it won't be the last, that's for sure. Welcome to Wisconsin kid. This will look like home in 7 months. We saw a few really cool things including a jellyfish exhibit and a Philippine eagle exhibit where they were just flying around us. After lunch at a legit Asian restaurant inside Ocean Park which had choices of Pinoy food, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, you name it. 
We were picked  up by Mr. Art and went back to the hotel for more sun and swimming. After a little rest we visited the 19th floor of Hotel Jen called Windows by the Bay. Liza & Joshua were getting a little nervous as the window sitting area extended a bit out. Great view and nice chilled out place. We ordered a nice cheese plate, charcuterie plate, and a pizza puff plate. Joshua mostly made faces at it so we ordered him a ham and pineapple pizza. I've noticed that this kid digs the Hawaiian pizzas yet is ironically scared of cheese. We were pretty tired after the full day and ordered the in room Avenger movie. Everyone fell asleep. One more full day in Manila...


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

 (Click picture to see photos)

Today is all about the Inter-Country Adoption Board. We woke up early again and headed down for the breakfast buffet. I still felt a bit full after the crispy pata last night.  Joshua didn't really dig the buffet and we never eat enough to be worth the money. Hoping for the best as far as lukewarm buffet food in Southeast Asia... or anywhere really anyway. Who really likes buffets? Well, we've been okay so far and the food is very good at Hotel Jen.  Excellent staff as well.

Mang Ramon picked us up from the hotel and we were on our way through the early morning streets of Manila. We arrived at ICAB about an hour early and finished shortly after for signing and receiving the final paperwork in the Philippines. ICAB was professional and friendly, not nearly as stressful as I anticipated. Whew... (wiping brow) Diggin the Filipinos.
In between time, Mang Ramon drove us through Intramuros and past some notable sights in Manila including Rizal Park, The Manila Hotel (General MacArthur fame), The Coconut Palace, San Agustin Church (original doors from 1607) and other sights. We really enjoyed seeing the historical buildings, what you don't see in the pictures is the extreme poverty. There were people sleeping by the roadside, mothers feeding babies, dogs eating garbage, people eating and sleeping in garbage, and this was in about 100 degree weather. There are the super rich but mostly the impoverished in Manila. We are very blessed in America. Maybe I should have taken pictures of these things. They are hard to look it and absorb. Mang Ramon took us back to the hotel and introduced our driver for tomorrow, Mang Art. He would be the one to take us to Ocean Park, which everyone is excited to see.   

So, off we were to The Mall of Asia to grab some more clothes for Joshua and to check out one of the biggest malls in this part of the world. Trying on clothes is so much fun in gigantic malls... I'm not sure if I really need to even write anything here. We did get a shuttle over from Hotel Jen and planned our time for pickup. Security at this mall is no joke. Guns and everything, but I suppose that's a good idea in today's world. We were okay with it. We had some crappy mall food (Pizza Hut... we were hungry) and snapped a few pictures outside before our pickup time. Back to relax at the hotel...


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Farewell to SP
 (Click the picture to see photos)

It is both Joshua's birthday and the day that he leaves SP. Talk about intense. Writing this at 5AM. None of us can sleep. I hope it gets light soon. 
We all sat outside in the courtyard talking as a car pulled up. Out of the car stepped Mr. Marc who flew in from Japan. He flew back in hopes to see Joshua before he left. Joshua has probably been at SP longer than any other kid. It's been ten years of his life and now that is all going to change, We had a good talk for awhile and then stepped in for some pan de sal and adobo flakes while continuing our discussion about pretty much everything. As usual, the food has been great. We will miss that. Marc is a solid guy and this place that he built is amazing and filled with God's love and great people. I would suggest checking out their orphanage and mission and really consider adopting from SP if you are really ready to do such a thing. We consider them family and I know that this will be a very hard day for everyone. 
We packed our bags and headed over to take some pictures in unit 2 with the house parents and kids. For lunch we had some awesome homemade pancit and lumpia with Mama Gena, Papa Joe, and the kids in unit 1 where Joshua lived. Joshua's house parent's and family at Samaritans Place were awesome people. We were only there for 3 days but really got along well and will miss them for sure. They told us stories from their home in Mindanao and then about their way of life in that area. Simplicity is the key. I think that translates through all cultures.We all get so wrapped up in the stress and complexities of life that we don't take a step back and enjoy the basic things that are actually fulfilling. 
After lunch we had a short Skype session with Mrs. Marilen, Marc's wife. She was very close to Joshua and was unfortunately not abe to be there for the farewell. The entire day was very emotional including the Skype session. Mrs. Marilen seems like a great lady as well. Mang Ramon pulled up in his car and we grabbed our bags. We had a very emotional picture taking session and goodbyes. It's really hard to explain or document this moment so I've been struggling on how to write it. How do you put the emotion of so many people all of different ages and experiences into words? How do you compress 20 minutes of extreme feeling together and somehow express it? Well, we still get a little teary when we look back on some of the pictures from that day. I can only imagine how he must feel.
We pulled away slowly, as if Mang Ramon knew something we didn't, and rounded the block. As we slowly passed where the the SP jeepney was parked, we saw the whole crowd waving goodbye. That was a nice touch, and as you can imagine, lot's of tears... from everybody in the car. Up the hill and out through the gate. We were on our way back to Manila.

go to

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

2 Parties, 1 Day.
(Click the picture for photos)
Hope I don't get too deep on this one...
(The last day at Samaritans Place)
It was morning after another good night of sleep. Seems like waking up around 6AM is becoming normal here. After a good round of bacon and pancakes, we signed some legal documents for the adoption and headed into town to see the lawyer. It must have been around 9AM in the morning and this town was hopping man.  I have never seen people drive in all the lanes at the same time but somehow they make it work with less accidents than we have.  Kuya Joe drove Ate Ahyee and us to the lawyer to get our paperwork notarized. It was a small crowded office with signs and paperwork everywhere. Looked like something out of the movies. We signed the documents, got the notarized stamp, and met with the attorney briefly. Boom, done with that bit. We headed off to the SM Mall in Dasmarinas again to find Joshua a few more clothes, and also a couple cool shirts for dad and mom. 
 The malls are crowded and similar to ours, except very Asian in vibe. A lot of electronics, a huge emphasis on fashion, and probably more food stops than actual stores is what popped out at us foreigners. Got the shopping done and grabbed a quick slice of pizza and halo halo before returning to SP. We took a little downtime and then met with Ate Dulce, Ate Ahyee, Papa Joe, Mama Gena, and Solveig (a volunteer from the states). During this session we talked about concerns, personal behaviors of Joshua, and things he might need help with or that we should know about. Shortly after, Josh's birthday party was held in the play yard of SP with pancit, pancit, pancit! We also dug into the cake that we bought for the kids and staff. There was a lot of laughing and silliness, but then there seems to be that element always. This is quite possibly the happiest place I've ever experienced. I'll talk about that more later. 
There was more volleyball, jumping on the trampoline, and me playing "pig" at the basketball hoop with Joshua's neighborhood friend Alisa. Some time passed in between and we freshened up for dinner with Ate Dulce and Ate Ahyee. My stomach was still full from the "snack" we had before. I fear that I may have gained a few pounds on this trip. The food is so good and we have been eating a lot of it. Ate Daisy, who cooks the food here, is an excellent cook by the way. We sat down for tilapia (fried crispy with the head intact), lumpia, and rice. Again, everything was so good. I feel like I'm still stuffed at 4:11AM as I write this. 
After dinner the staff put together a presentation show for us at Joshua's going away party. All the kids piled over and the fun began. I had kids in every arm and on my lap asking me questions and checking out my rings and tattoo. This was much like other times we had been around the kids except even more interaction. I can't tell you how cute these guys are.  I can only show pictures, which don't capture their different little personalities nearly as much as in person. We watched a presentation with pictures of Joshua through the years; some singing and dancing from the kids; and thoughts from staff and the house parents of Joshua (Papa Joe and Mama Gena). It was a very happy and silly time with a lot of laughter and fellowship. It was also a time filled with many tears. Staff and kids were wishing Joshua well on the next part of his life. Liza and I were asked to sing as well. I played Joshua's favorite song "God Gave Me You" and my song "The World" to the best, loudest, and sweetest crowd I've every played to. The night ended with a lot of hugs and a big prayer with a circle formed around Liza,  Joshua, and me by the staff and all the kids.  It was a very powerful and emotional prayer by Ate Dulce.  I love the prayers in Tagalog... especially when Francis, the oldest boy prayed. They are very sincere and thankful to our Father.  It's a wonderful language to listen to and amazing to be a part of their prayers. If God is to hear any prayers, it would be these.  I don't know how anyone could hurt these kids or disregard and abandon them, seriously.  That is certainly one of the greatest examples of sin in the world. Being here in this place filled with love, strength, laughs, support, and the feeling of family shows the greatest example of God's power and love in this world. I feel that this is a preview into the next world when children of every color come together as a family again. 

Go here for the MUSIC:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Day 2 @ Samaritans Place
(click the picture for photos)


We woke up around 6AM for breakfast and church at 8. We were so excited that Samaritans Place had their own jeepney and we were able to ride in it to church with the kids! Several remembered us from the previous afternoon of playing hoops and table tennis. These could be the cutest kids ever and we hope they all are adopted by good parents (seriously, I can't express it enough). 
Papa Joe, one of Joshua's house parents, drove a van while another one of the house parents drove us in the jeepney. We were excited to ride in one of these cool "tricked out" Filipino vehicles to church. Talk about riding in style... with a bunch of sweet kids. 
Church was a cool experience and very similar to one of our modern style services, only it was in Tagalog. Praising God is something that has no language or culture and we could really feel it that day. We met the pastor after the service and headed out to Yellow Cab pizza in Taygaytay. Now a pizza place overlooking an active volcano is a cool thing... A real cool thing. The ride there and back was great too especially because Papa Joe was driving and we were not. The driving here is an art form. Many visitors probably close their eyes. Next we were off to the mall in Desmarinas. 
A mall is a mall no matter what country. I wanted out as soon as we went in... seriously.  We were able to get most things that we went for but still need to buy Joshua a few other things to wear. Hey, we are starting from square one. No clothes man and this kid needs some drawers, shirts, pants, kicks, you name it. After returning to SP we took a walk around the neighborhood with a few house parents and kids. After a dinner of some awesome fish sticks, veggies, rice, and onion rings we watched Narnia with the kids. It was a special night night where they were allowed to stay up. Did I mention how cute they are? Tomorrow is Joshua's going away/birthday party. He has been here for 10 years and it will be both happy and sad. 
For the latest music visit:

Monday, May 23, 2016

Meeting Day!

 I was awakened by sirens, constant barking dogs, whistles, and crazy traffic horns.  This is at 6:15 AM mind you...  ah Manila. We had quite the view of Manila bay but apparently there was some kind of running event across the street for The Day of Valor,  a new holiday to us Westerners. The jeepneys, motorbikes, taxis,  and even a few bikes were out in full force. This is the same place that was still boomin 4 hours ago in the dark right? This place is absolutely unreal. This seriously is a city that never sleeps. I'm looking forward to seeing more of it but probably won't catch much rest here. 
We grabbed breakfast at the Hotel Jen buffet  (not too bad btw) and checked out the hotel pool before Ramon picked us up for our big day. On the way to Samaritans Place Ramon told us about Th Day of Valor, some facts about Manila and the area of Silang, and facts about traditional Filipino life. 
We stopped at a Korean restaurant, yes we've been eating more Korean food than anything, before entering the gated community where SP is located. 
The gates were guarded by some serous looking security guards, and that's good. We pulled up between 2 large gated buildings and Ramon said,"We are here".  Liza and I were pretty nervous and I'm sure that Joshua was too. We met several members of the staff and they seemed very friendly and caring.  There were cameras out and people taking video of the big event as we walked into the area where Joshua and his "house parents" were.  There were hugs, tears, and lots of awkward excitement. It was a strange but wonderful thing to meet our 14 yr old son do the first time. We all knew that it would take time to get to know each other but we were finally together after almost 2 years! 
We spent the ext few hours in the play yard with Joshua, the other kids, and the rest of the staff. Everyone was playing volleyball, basketball, Ping pong, and anything else in sight. It was an amazing experience playing with all these cute kids that we wish we could take home as well. There are so many good kids at this place and the Samaritan's Place and staff are such an amazing blessing. I really can't say enough. They really are a family and take very good care of the children. I'm finding that I really love Filipino values, food, culture, and everything I've encountered. We  had Joshua's favorite "American" dinner of fried chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, and fresh mixed veggies with a few staff members. We were so tired that we hit the sack around 9 in our specially prepared room. Joshua had his own bunk bed in the room. What a day. We were all exhausted.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A little bit of Seoul

Here goes (long series of adventures in the Philippines, sort of real time):

An early morning limo ride to O'Hare started our day. 
Man... just a little bit of nerves but having a driver was a killer way to get to the airport. The Korean Air counter area was filled with people but everyone just seemed really chilled out and relaxed. This was a good thing because I know that I wasn't. Our trip through ticketing was also easy and even through security. We were wondering if we were in fact at O'Hare. Weird man, But cool. So as any international flight we got there several hours early. This was going to be a VERY long day. Actually, I don't know if it's day or night as I'm writing this.
 The food has been amazing. Man, give me some bi bim bap any day. I'm all over it and it's my new favorite dish.  Not bad for airline food. So anyway, I think we are flying over Russia. That is not something I can usually write in these adventures.  Can't get any sleep on the plane yet. 6 more hours to Korea. We should be in rare form for our 4 HR layover in Seoul. 
The Incheon airport was hopping. It was clean and pretty nice, but busy.  A lot of duty free stores and food just like many other international airports. We couldn't read a few of the names but found a Taco Bell that served beer. Interesting idea but it's still Taco Bell so we kept walking to a little pub by the gate. Tried a Korean beer called Kloud that tasted pretty much like an MGD. Enough said. The time was around 6pm and for the first time this trip we saw it getting dark.
We were exhausted and already up for 21 hours. We hopped on the plane for Manila, just 3 more hours away. At this point I can't tell what day it is... Or night now. Our guide, Ramon, picked us up after a hot and slightly confusing outdoor traffic/pedestrian system. Their immigration and customs were surprisingly easy to move through although it was 11:30 at night. Down the hot humid brightly lit traffic filled streets to Hotel Jen. It's late at this point, 1AM but we gotta unwind after the day plus work of travel. Man, this is crazy. Off to Silang Cavite tomorrow to meet our son...

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Death, Goth, and Reality.
There has been a lot of death in my life lately. A band mate, feels like my youth sometimes, certain attitudes, and the freedom to do whatever I want whenever I want (that sounds horrible eh?) but that's OK. I gave up some freedom getting married but adopting and becoming an instant dad is a whole new thing. I'm really looking forward to this next adventure so don't misunderstand. It does seem like the death of my old self, what I am used to, but the thing about death is that there is life on the other side... A new life.

Liza and I are super excited to adopt our son. It's been a very long, expensive, and mentally taxing process. We are ready for that new life. I think of seeing all the old things that we have experienced through a new set of eyes. Things that we take for granted like God's natural creations of earth and sky, places we have been, family and people that we know etc... Everything will be new to him and I'm looking forward to seeing those things through his eyes and experiencing them in a brand new way.

Providing that we have a safe trip there and back, I'm looking forward to getting back to some of my musical roots and totally redeveloping my musical identity. Goth band? Blues? Guitar rock?  I'll save that for later posts. Right now I'm more concerned with flying into Seoul South Korea and on into Manila. Yeah, sounds like some of the safest places in the world at this point in time... Wars and rumors of wars... ? Anyway, keep us in your prayers if you're the praying type. Alright, I'm off to work on some new goth rock...  The good stuff like The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Mission, Sisters of Mercy etc... Tomorrow we are traveling to the other end of the world you know. This will be the biggest and most amazing adventure yet! Stay tuned to this blog/diary post for the latest from the Philippines.
 Much Luv, TPK

Friday, March 18, 2016

From the Stone Temple to the Sea

So how does a 40 something rock dude go from the daily grind of an indie musician with a day job to a Philippine teenagers dad in just under two years? Right…I didn’t see any of this coming just a few years ago, but I’ve got to say it’s pretty cool. However I find it ironic that our son is so excited to say the pledge of allegiance, yet our government is the one really delaying our legal adoption.     

(Danger: Rant area) I say legal because it seems to be easier to enter this country illegally, yet bible believing tax paying citizens run into roadblocks and obstacles when adopting abroad. I’ll admit it, I’m a bit angry (sugar coated). There is so much red tape, miscommunication, and expense that it is amazing that any foreign children are ever adopted. On the flip, we are so excited and blessed by God to be adopting. We have been Skyping with our son for about 12 weeks now and we are all anxious to meet for the first time! Listen, I like to keep my personal life private. I’m not into the whole “here’s what I’m doing now, look at me” aspect of social media. This event however is worth detailing and sharing.

At the same time, I’m submitting material to STP as they are looking for a new frontman! It’s a super long shot and crazy, but I’m up for it. They are an amazing band and Scott Weiland’s vocals are in my range. I'm glad they are not trying to fill his shoes but looking to continue to grow in different directions. The guy was a crazy good frontman. There will be voting involved. I am not usually interested in those popularity contests for musicians because I don’t think of music as a contest, but I believe the band will actually listen to submissions. Anything is possible with God? Yes. All I am really hoping for is a good showing and some attention back to It really was cool and surreal singing in my studio with tracks I’ve listened to for many years. I’ve got to say it is a great experience just singing those tunes with the actual tracks at the very least.
So, Please do me a favor and vote for me so I can at least get a solid showing in the contest. I'll let you know the details... Much thanks in advance! More news on the way!