Sunday, April 20, 2008

Dreams, Deadlines and Dreamlines

Dreams mean work. I've posted a couple of stories on my all-time favorite Coelho quote, particularly when I worked on my last PBBY-Salanga and Palanca entries. Now, I have the perfect line to complete this quote and I see it every morning as I drive to work. An RCBC billboard screams out in bright blue and white: Dreams should have a deadline. I completely agree. Dreams without a deadline will be nothing more than wishful thinking. Deadlines push me to work harder, yet nothing beats the sweet satisfaction of ticking things off my Life's To-Do List.

Yesterday I had coffee (well, pink guava juice really) and dinner with an old friend from college. What started out as a let's-catch-up-on-the-last-six-months-of-our-lives turned out to be a brainstorming and project planning meeting for the next big dream (and yes, potential bestseller!). Our project plan includes a detailed timetable (in an outline form though, not a Gantt chart just yet) and a deadline: a book launch by February 2009.

Today was my deadline for the first draft of Part 2 of Jollitown's Season Finale and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. Episode 2 was on GMA7 this morning and I found myself with happy goosebumps as I listened to the song on imagination. (Shameless plug: Watch Jollitown on Channel 7 at 9:30 AM on May 4, June 15, July 6 and 13 for the episodes I wrote!)

Tomorrow marks the 30-day countdown to my 30th birthday. I promised myself that I'd come up with a list of 30 things I want to do to celebrate the last three decades. Tomorrow will be my deadline.

As I log off to work on an article for work (admittedly, I'm late for this deadline - I was supposed to submit it last Wednesday! - but they were kind enough to extend until the weekend), I remember the term dreamlines from The 4-Hour Workweek. I have yet to set a deadline to plot out my life's dreamline in detail. Let me put that on my to-do list...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Beyond Borders... and Beyond My Wildest Dreams

Just a little over a year ago, I was surprised to see my second book on the shelves of a bookstore. Khan: A Teacher of Everything, a book about a Pakistani community developer who won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, was launched in August 2007. I remember signing a book for a gentleman from the Pakistani Embassy, happy that he bought my story celebrating one of his country's modern heroes.

Today I received an email from Bookmark that caught me completely by surprise. They will be printing 100,000 copies of the book in English, Urdu and other Pakistani languages!!! WOW!!! That's 100,000 more children who will read about the story of Shoaib Sultan Khan! I can't even imagine how high a stack of 100,000 books are, and I also can't imagine seeing the story translated. I am thrilled beyond imagination - and I can't say thank you enough for yet another blessing. And with this unexpected dream comes a seed for another possibility: What if I were to fuse my love for travel and my passion for writing children's stories? Hmmm. Now there's an interesting idea... I'll keep you posted.

To the gentleman from the Pakistani Embassy: If you had anything to do with this wonderful surprise, I thank you from the bottom of my overwhelmed heart.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Jollibee and Friends Make Their TV Debut

Jollitown, the new kids' show on GMA7 featuring the fun and insightful adventures of Jollibee, Yum, Hetty, Popo and Twirlie. Each week, the five friends interact with the children who live with them in Jollitown through stories and music... Click here to read more and see the mascots.

The pilot episode is tomorrow, Sunday, April 13 at 9:30 AM on GMA7.

Some of you may remember that in late February, I posted about my "best" Jollibee experience. It wasn't their peach mango pie (yummy!) or their longganisa breakfast (sarap!), but that "special spot" meant a very special TV spot! It was the day I watched a few hours of a Jollitown shoot for Episode #4... because I wrote the script for it! It was so cool to see the mascots acting out what I had imagined. I wrote a second script (not sure which Episode yet) and I'll be working on the season finale this weekend. Wooohooo! How fun!

It has been such a joy to write for this show (and I'm so happy I can actually share the great news about Jollitown with friends now!) - it's about time Filipino kids have something worthwhile to watch on local television.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Three Scripts and a Dream

I learned something new this year: I can write scripts! I'm sure there are still a lot of technical terms to learn aside from the few that I've learned to use (ie. SFX, dissolve to, on cam, etc.) but essentially, scriptwriting is a form of storytelling too.

I recently wrote scripts for two 20-minute episodes for a children's TV show: one about throwing trash out properly and the other about getting to know your friendly neighbors. I think it's great that the producers purposely chose new people to be part of the show. I insisted from the very beginning that 1) I've never written a script before, and 2) I don't have any formal background for film or television. All the better, they said. They really wanted a completely fresh perspective. I'm so excited to see the show really, really soon. I will definitely announce and blog about when to expect it on GMA7.

Now I'm being asked to write a third - and it's for the two-part finale episode! I shouldn't even think about it, right? I should just write for the love of storytelling... and the extra cash it will give me to take a vacation this summer. Hee-hee. Besides, it will become part of my "dreamline" (a great term I picked up from the book I'm currently reading, The 4-Hour Workweek) as I work towards the ultimate dream: to retire on royalties, travel the world, write and blog all I want, and of course, I can still do part-time consulting projects.

Be careful what you wish for, Nikki...

One Spot at a Time

Okay, so I found out about my skin condition last November 2006 but I was still stubborn about it. I got frustrated with that last derma (I thought she was an angel, but I guess not. Hmph.) and went on a bahala-na, sort of self-medication bout: wrong move. My rosacea only worsened. It got so bad last week - I was tomato-red, triggered by a bad cold! - that I knew I really had to ask for help. I swallowed my pride and finally got the guts up to look up a new doctor at the nearby Asian Hospital. I found the only doctor who specialized in immunodermatology with a Saturday schedule and prayed that she be friendly lest I get frustrated and cynical again.

Dr. Nicolas turned out to be a blessing! I have seen several dermatologists and most have misdiagnosed my rosacea for acne, dermatitis, eczema, etc. She was the very first one who actually touched my face... and noticed that it was indeed warm, a sure sign of rosacea. She was practical and straightforward, but warm and sincere. I saw her again yesterday after a week and my face is noticeably less inflamed and much smoother than I've seen it in months (years?). I'm still pinkish and it still acts up because of the heat.

If I'm serious about looking fabulous for my upcoming 30th birthday (!) then I do have to take microsteps, such as:
  • No more coffee. I have to switch to green tea. (It's a good thing I actually like the Green Tea Latte at Starbucks!)
  • No more alcohol. Drinks lots and lots of water instead.
  • Eat a lot of salmon and flaxseed with Omega-3 to decrease inflammation.
  • No strenuous exercise. Bye-bye, boxing. Hello Yoga, you're here to stay.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures. Hot/humid and cold/dry weather are both triggers for flare-ups. I've noticed my face gets all flushed and warm whenever I get out of the car (cold with the aircon) in the parking lot (hot and humid) and into the office (super cold with the aircon again). I need to figure out how to manage this.
  • Avoid stress. Yikes. Ommmm...
As if that's not enough. She linked my rosacea-aggravating acne with high testosterone levels which we confirmed through a blood test I did last week. The normal female range is between 0.1 and 0.75... my testosterone count is 0.88! She requested that I get an ultrasound to zero in on the problem which unfortunately, we confirmed again: polycystic ovaries. Eeeep.

It's frustrating; my out-of-whack hormones get me moody and bad flare-up days make me even more cranky. But with the medications, proper diet and exercise, and management of my triggers, I will get better - one spot at a time!