The last time I was so looking forward to a local staging of a play was when Repertory Philippines did “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” I was so addicted to the cast recording that it was on loop ad infinitum in the car. (and I could sing a lot of the songs from memory)
This time, the subject of such anticipation was Flaherty and Ahren’s “Seussical” – a musical mishmash of the books of Dr. Seuss. The duo also did the book and music of “Once On This Island”. I loved the carribean vibe of this play. Loved it so much that watching the Rep production back in the 1990’s was one of the best ever nights I’ve had in a theater. The Seussical cast recording has the catchy tunes and the brilliant book of “Once…”. Combine this with the lyrical rhyme of Dr. Seuss and you get a gem of a musical.
With expectations through the roof, I dragged some friends to the preview of Seussical.
Repertory Philippines’ production of Seussical is typical Rep. The production design, sets, costumes are a feast for the eyes. The productions seen on YouTube are PEDESTRIAN compared to what’s on stage. Slow Claps for the way they pulled off the clover field and Gertrude’s tail!
The Rep children’s theater has been known for giving new theater actors stage time to earn their acting legs. It was nice to note that Seussical has its share of theater vets headed by Bituin Escalante as the Sour Kangaroo. Veterans share the limelight with upcoming stars.
There were some technical quibbles with the sound. A shame, really. Ahren’s and Flaherty’s book is a such a joy to listen to. This ended up garbled and muffled from where we ended up sitting. This somewhat brought down the enjoyment of the play. I just hope that they fix this before the actual run.
I wasn’t content seeing (or hearing) it this way. I will watch this again during the regular run.
One last thing, this is actually Seussical Jr. (aka Seussical for Younger Audiences), it’s Seussical without some of the more adult themes cut out. For those who have listened to the cast recording, the parts (and songs performed) where Jojo gets “drafted” into military school have been omitted. Still a minor quibble.
Repertory Philippines’ production captures the magic of Dr. Seuss. I dare anyone to listen to this and NOT break out into “Aaaawwww”s when the line “And I found your clover toooooo….” is sung.
Highly recommended for people who are in touch with their inner child. And even MORE highly recommended for people who desperately NEED to get in touch with their inner child, (You know who you are!)
“Seussical” runs until December 18 at OnStage Greenbelt 1. Check out www.repertory.ph or call (632) 571-6926 or 571-4941 for showdates and times.
I was 90 pounds overweight when I started running. Because of this, I was really careful, bordering on paranoid, on choosing equipment.
Particularly with shoes. It took me a long time to finally decide what running shoes to get. I did my homework by getting my foot analyzed at RUNNR. The internet is a godsend for looking for proper equipment. I scoured the Runner’s World websites for shoe reviews. Turns out that best brands (according to them at least) were Asics, Newtons, Brooks and Saucony. Besides being really expensive, Newtons had no stability shoes so that took them out of my shortlist. I knew that Asics shoes were wayyy beyond my budget. I knew that Saucony and Brooks didn’t have distributors in Manila (then) and just delayed getting them. A couple of months later, Brooks finally showed up in Manila. And I proceeded to get a pair of Adrenaline Xs.
I’m very happy with them. I’ve logged 276km on them since getting them late last year. No knee pain or major running injuries.
I ran 15k in the Brooks Run Happy event. It was my first 15k in memory of our Toastmaster’s mentor, Brooks Loomis. The eerie thing about this run was that it was announced right after the day he was cremated. I thought it a sign to do something special for this run. It was nice that the rest of the Makati Toastmasters Club took me up on the offer to run this event too. Some running their first ever 3ks or 5ks.
I personally was not in good shape for this run. I didn’t train enough. Longest run was 11-12k during a training run 3 weeks before the race. I thought I could compensate for the lack of training by getting some quality sleep before the run. Talk about Murphy’s law! I was in bed by 8pm only to be woken up at 10pm for some really trivial matter. I couldn’t get back to sleep after that due to irritation.
Yes, foolish me. I ran my first 15k without any sleep the previous night. If this wasn’t a special run, I woulda just not left the house and proceeded with my late appointment with the sandman.
My target was 2hrs for my first 15km. In my condition, I thought I’d be lucky to go below 2hrs 10min. Ended up 2hrs 8min. (Chip time was 2hrs 13m. Still bad.) I was one of the last people to cross the finish line.
Just a coupla problems with the run:
The run started late. Since I got no sleep the night before, I was at the venue very early. It was a bad omen that at 5am, the sun was already peeking over the horizon. At 5:30 am, the sun was really high up in the sky. For a run during a really hot summer, this became a really big problem particularly for 15k runners because the latter part of the route was largely open and unshaded. I heard that this was because the 15k water stations were not set up yet. It’s just a good thing that they didn’t push the pre-race warm-ups.
Compounding the overheating problem at the mid part of the 15k route, the water stations were spaced wayyy too far apart after the 7.5 k mark. Water station was after the 7.5k mark was at 10.25k. There was one at around the I had a hydration pack with me and I didn’t load up when I got to the stations before this. And then the cramps started
While it was nice that they had medals for all the finishers. There really should have been different medals for each distance. Getting my first 15k medal only to find out my other friends got the SAME medal for finishing their first 3k kinda took something out of the achievement.
The results took some time to publish. RFID tags are supposed to make result publishing instantaneous. I thought that the results could have been better formatted. The names could have been been included with the bib numbers. Another important piece of data which was not included (though I’m sorta glad it wasn’t published because of my pathetic performance) was finish order. There also could have been an option to sort the results since they were published from a database driven site.
Lastly, I heard that there was a route problem with the 3k run. There was no signage along the route and the 3k became a 1.5k. I think this problem could have been averted by including the route map in the kit. If the route maps were not final yet when the kits were given out, the maps could also have been included with the singlets when they were distributed the week before the race.
Honestly, the race organizer really did Brooks a disservice with this run. Brooks is up there as one of THE running brands abroad. Mistakes like these really won’t contribute to the brand’s gaining footing in a country dominated by Nike and Adidas.
Nitpicking aside, I was also sleepless (even sick!) when I ran my first 10k during the Condura Skyway run early February. A first 15k IS a first 15k (or 14.31k). I think Brooks is the only shoe brand along with Adidas who gave out original singlets (not rebranded knock-offs, you know who you are :p) for their runs. The singlet was really nice and was really comfortable. The run was reasonably priced costing about half of the retail price of the singlet alone. Singlet was correctly sized at 2XL (2XL means 2XL. NOT L, NOT M. But that’s for another blog entry.)
Sadly, I was wayyyy too slow to enjoy the post race festivities though I heard from my first time runner friends that they did enjoy themselves. Brooks Distributor, Sports Resources Inc was out in full force with booths for all their run related products (what?? no PRINCE rackets? 😀 )
I hope there’ll be a Brooks event next year. It wasn’t a perfect run but just like my performance, I do hope we’ll all do better next time. I do hope I’ll be using Adrenaline XII’s by then too. 🙂
Nope, this isn’t a Japanese doomsday prophecy. Rather it’s the new droolworthy shoe from Mizuno. Master Sports, the Philippine distributor of Mizuno was showing this off during the blogger’s event for the 2011 Mizuno Infinity Run.
I’ve always been a big fan of the Mizuno Wave cushioning system. I’ve always used them for badminton. Badminton is wayyy more demanding from footwear than running. Unlike running, there is no way to avoid heel strike in badminton. Mizunos, so far, are the only indoor shoes that have ample cushioning and support for the heel WITHOUT sacrificing agility. I have gotten injured on these but it’s really more of (a lot of) excess weight than shoe failure. I’ve had more downtime on other shoes than these. My WAVE JUMPS are on their third year of use (of at least 2x a week on-court use) and are beginning to fall apart.
Yes, I am unashamedly a Mizuno Indoor shoe fanboy.
For the Mizuno running shoes, I wasn’t really too interested because I have wide feet. Most of the Mizuno running shoes were narrow so it wasn’t really my brand of choice. Like every other brand, they had generous heel support but had moderate forefoot support.
Until this version of the Prophecy.
It’s the Mizuno Wave! For Forefoot cushioning! If looks can give you a PB every time you go out in the road, I’d be doing 5 minute 5ks two weeks from now. This shoe looks AWESOME.
The weird thing about the specs is this is supposed to be for heavier runner (Wait a minute, I AM a heavier runner). Yet it’s a neutral shoe. Most heavy runners need stability shoes. The only reason I could think of for this is that Mizuno assumes that the heavy runner has already transitioned into forefoot/midfoot striking and would not need that much stability in the rear.
I’m also not sure about the wear and tear of the sole. The rubber beneath the forefoot spring looks a bit thin. Wonder how this will affect the lifespan of the Prophecy.
Checking the mizuno USA site, this is retailing for 199 USD in the States. Will be released in the Philippines soon.
Alas, I’m not in the market for new running shoes anytime soon. I just want to know when the 2011 or 2012 edition of the Wave Jump is coming out!
A run around the Walled City instead of the Global City? Awesome! Sign me up!
KAISA, the Filipino-Chinese civic group who put this thing together ought to be congratulated for putting up one hell of a run. The Intramuros Heritage Run really should be an annual event. Aside from the really cheap fee (350 bucks) which included a singlet and some really awesome freebies (more on this later). The route was unique and the organization was not lacking. Water stations were abundant though the water wasn’t cold.
Loved the scenery, went past the Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church, Luneta, the Manila Hotel, the old customs house and the Lyceum and Mapua inside Intramuros. Wish they’d do this again next year. They need a longer route so that they don’t need to do 2 laps for the 10k. Perhaps they can include the Luneta Grandstand in next year’s route.
My only gripe about this run was that it started 20 minutes late. The sun was already high up in the sky at 5:30am. It was a really hot morning and there was just no wind that day. There were some stretches were there was no shade which took away some minutes from my time. Was worried about the short stretch of cobblestones but turned out they were already smoothened out and there was no way they can cause a foot injury.
Still, the heat dashed any hope of a PB. I was expecting a PR here because I was setting a pace 30 seconds faster than my usual 8-7:30 for the first 2.5k. Then that stretch in front of the Manila Hotel where runners had to contend with no shade and diesel fumes from jeepneys, trucks and buses.
Was sort of disappointed seeing my time knowing I was way slower than my PB. The route was 5.51km, though. Half a km longer than advertised. Looking at the telemetry later on. Was relieved to see that I wasn’t that much slower than the pace I set for my PB run.
Oh yeah, before I forget. The awesome post race freebies. That deserves another blog’s blog entry altogether.
During the 2011 Toastmasters District convention in Manila, Division C (as in CEBU) governor Jorjames casually told me he brought running gear and wanted to run while he was in Manila.
So we did what any good host would do and closed down Roxas Boulevard just for this running addict to run. Not only did we close down Roxas Boulevard, we also had Pocari Sweat stations to make sure James was well hydrated during his morning run.
I met Cathy (of Executive TMC) at Hotel h2O at around 6am. I did not realize that at 6am, the sun was high up in the sky and it was HOT. James met us near the Museo Pambata and we proceeded to do a pleasant 5.55k run thorough Roxas Boulevard up to CCP then back to the Quirino Grandstand.
Kidding aside, we lucked out on the World Youth Day run. It started from the CCP complex and looped to the US Embassy and back. We caught the tail end of the run. There were a few stragglers on the road, but aside from that, Roxas Boulevard was ours.
This was a dream run. It’s always nice when two life passions find some way to converge. It was just about three Toastmasters bonding while pounding pavement with the requisite photo-ops along the way. (Apologies to Mr. Sajulla, the media did not arrive on time. :p )
Gudjab Cathy and James (and me!) We should do this every convention! And may be find more fellow runners to join us on the road. Boracay and Samal Island run, anyone? 🙂
I didn’t know what to expect from Senior Year. I’m not really a fan of mushy local movies.
The movie projectionist made a gaff by showing the UI of the digital projector. It looked a lot like one of those home DIV/X players. After several minutes of fiddling (with snarky comments about downloading the movie through torrents), they finally got the movie rolling.
SENIOR YEAR opens with a “10-years-later” high school reunion. We get introduced to the class valedictorian who’s sitting in his car really not wanting to go in. And amidst his angst, we get transported back to high school. We get to know his classmates and teachers and we get to know what led them to that high school reunion.
First off, it’s a beautiful movie. The digital HD format is Godsend to indie filmmakers. SENIOR YEAR was crystal clear where we saw it and it just helped to make those out-of-the-ordinary shots shine even more. The shots used in this movie are uncommon in local cinema. The big studios can learn a thing or two (or three) from these guys. I was struggling to find a similar local movie and the best I could come up with were the real-world sequences of RPG:Metanoia. They used establishing shots to set the mood of scenes. A few seconds seemingly wasted on a shot of the roof with clouds going by made a nice transition to a following poignant scene.
The film is cinema verité-ish in the sense that the audience feels that they are students casually mingling with the cast or some uzisero who’s just observing these characters live their lives.
Casting wise, they couldn’t have done better. The kids are so real. The teachers are so real. No big name stars though I recognized some PETA people whom we saw at CareDivas. Though i felt at times that the cast of characters was so large that I couldn’t keep track of everybody.
I like the fact that these guys didn’t idealize high school. They showed the pettiness, the pseudo-politics, the overall weirdness of that phase. (though that location where they shot this movie, That was a pretty school!)
This movie reminds me of a little known singaporean movie – “The Teenage Textbook Movie” shown back in the 1990’s. TTTM Almost has the same feel but was more comedic in tone. Where Senior Year makes it mark by being real, the Singaporean movie sometimes lapses into absurd comedy. Still a nice way to while away a couple of hours, TTTM should be floating around in YouTube somewhere.
Oh yeah, another similarity between The Teenage Textbook Movie and Senior Year is that they both have really nice soundtracks. Nothing wild or anything but nice poignant acoustic songs
SENIOR YEAR is triumph in local indie filmmaking. These guys have shown that indie need not be esoteric and unreachable.
Even if your high school experience was a memory better left forgotten, SENIOR YEAR makes remembering worthwhile.
I define a favorite place to eat as somewhere I’d go back to again and again. It’s somewhere where I’d drag people to go particiularly if they’ve never been there. It’s that fine balance of price, taste, quality and quantity that earns it it’s place in this list. Will keep on adding if there are any noteworthy additions.
Som’s Noodle House(Rockwell Gilid) – Red Curry Tofu and Thai Iced Tea. Better taken out because it’s good for two and three. Any leftover curry can be serendiptized into red curry fried rice. The thai tea is remarkably potent too. You can water it down and will be good for at least three full glasses of tea.
Shwarma Snack Center (R. Salas, Manila) – Garlic sauce so deadly you need industrial strength mouthwash the following day. Open 24 hours. Probably the only place I will order a Coke to go along with the food.
Man-Nang’s (MOA and Megamall) – The Filipino sibling of Man-Hann. Tofu sisig rules! The Sinigang na Corned Beef Rocks too!
Superbowls of China (all over) – I only get one thing here. Any of the Super Solo meal with Veggie Fried Rice. Hits the spot for around about 130 bucks.
Chowking (all over) – Halo-halo. ‘Nuff said.
Cowboy Grill Express (somewhere in BGC near Dunkin Donuts Café) – Angus Tapsilog for 110 bucks. You just have to make sure you tell the people at the counter you want your egg malasado. That state where you break the yolk on top of the rice to make it some sort of sauce.
Chicken Inato (T. Morato) – Much better than any of the other Inasal places. The chicken is a bit tastier and juicier. Unlimited rice, chicken oil and garlic is nice too. 😀
Charlie’s Wonton House(Somewhere near Shaw, Mandaluyong City) – Note that there are no “NO MSG” signs here. The Beef Wonton here is awesome! Usually order two at a time because I’m rarely in this area of town.
Aling Lucing’s(Riles, Pampanga) – The place to go for cholesterol loading. I die a little when I eat here but I if do drop dead, I’m sure it’s gonna be with a big goofy smile on my face.
Banana Leaf Café (Rockwell, Robinson’s Place, SM The Block) –Not to be confused with the non-Café version. The café version has solo servings (which are still pretty big) Hainanese Chicken Laksa FTW!
When GREENTENNIAL RUN announced the RUN FOR JAPAN, I just knew I was going to run in that event.
I was a photographer with the PIJazzFest crew when they did the JAM FOR JAPAN early April at the Ayala Museum. A benefit concert for our Japanese Kindred that raised 13Million Pesos. It was a cause that was worthy of support.
I liked that RunnersRunner took on registration duties to help out the organizers making use of their system at no cost to the runners (except for delivery). I heard the response was overwhelming when they announced the run.
For 350 bucks, the organization was not bad. They ran out of singlet sizes early on. But then, this was a run for a cause. The singlet was more of a bonus than part of the race pack.
It was a bare bones run. No timing chip. No fancy schmanzy giveaways. But it worked. I thought they could use more hydration stations, but it was still ok.
One thing about Greentennial Run’s runs (duhh) is that they have certain gimmicks that make the races really their own. They had jump zones where runners do jump shots with waiting photographers. (they didn’t catch me though 🙁 ) I liked their Japanese post race backdrops where instead of having the distance and race route, they had the distance and Japanese scenery for runners. And that awesome COSPLAY contest where they had runners dressed like Ragnarok, Naruto and Tsubasa chronicles characters. Hats off to the peeps in the Tsubasa Chronicles outfits. Awesome!
It’s both a plus and a minus. But I liked that they didn’t shoo away the runners in front of the finish line taking group pictures. Was thinking that this was a cheap run and there were probably a lot of first timers getting their photo ops. The atmosphere in front of that finish line was nice. So nice that I didn’t mind weaving through the crowd to get to the finish line. The organizers might want to clear a lane or two for runners finishing though.
I beat my PB by 3 minutes. The 10k was actually 9.75k which was done sub 1hr 20m. Considering that Condura was 1hr 29m. BIIIGG improvement.
I should NOT have jumped at the jump zone 1km from the finish. Instant cramps! I asked one of the organizers why the Jump Zones were at the end of the run instead of at the start or midway. Would have made more sense since runners were not too worn out. He said that it would be too dark and that the runners would be too clustered together and might make the jump zones more dangerous. Come to think of it, he’s right.
Overall, I enjoyed that run. Now where’d I put my Akatsuki cap?
The following is an article (with some personal excerpts) I wrote for the 2011 District Convention souvenir program honoring the Makati Toastmasters beloved Mentor, Brooks Loomis.
Farewell, buddy. You will be remembered and you will be missed.
When I found out Brooks passed away, I tried to write a eulogy to mourn his death… but I couldn’t. How can one write something so sad about someone who not only lived loving what he was doing, but died sharing what he was most passionate about to the world?
My first encounter with Brooks was when I attended a Speechcraft seminar way back in 1995. I really didn’t expect to get anything out of Toastmasters. I thought I knew enough about communication. It took a lot of cajoling to get me to attend the first session. I really had no intention of going back. Then I met Brooks Loomis, and he made me realize that what I thought I knew about public speaking and presentations were sorely lacking.
It turns out that at that point, Brooks had been in Manila for some time and he had been a Toastmaster for much longer. His Toastmasters career began in the US Navy while he was stationed in Spain. He joined to improve his ability to represent the navy in public forums. His favorite story from this era was that he used to keep speeches around just in case nobody delivers. He would get his norms in record time this way.
Brooks always had a penchant for leadership. He retired as Master Chief Petty Officer from the US Navy. His retirement ceremony was one of the most well-attended ever in the history of the US Navy. His leadership style endeared him to peers and subordinates alike.
In the Toastmaster movement, he became District Governor of District 7, comprising the states of Maryland and Delaware. His number one mentor was the late Past International President Ted Wood, DTM.
Brooks had an opportunity to be the Toastmasters International President. He was being groomed to be the first international president of the new millenium. However, a romantic twist of fate changed all that. He met Dinah Santos who was running for an international position back in the 1990s. They got married in 1992 in California and that’s when Brooks moved to the Philippines.
In his younger years, Brooks, together with Dinah, organized, sponsored and mentored at least 35 new clubs around Metro Manila. Several of those clubs have become inactive, but those that are active are still growing and benefit from the training Brooks and Dinah have imparted to them.
Brooks pushed for initiatives like the MIPIT (Most Important Person In Toastmasters) addition to the officers training sessions. This stressed the importance of the member as the most important cog in the Toastmasters machinery. He wanted this as a way to educated the members of the District.
He was constantly called on to be chief contest judge. Besides having encyclopedic knowledge and unquestioned integrity, Brooks’ wrath when it came to biased judging was legendary. Woe to any judge who dared cross him.
As a pillar of the Makati Toastmasters Club, he was a dear mentor, a member and a friend. Even in his late years, he would still make the effort to attend meetings, struggling through Manila’s nightmarish traffic. He wasn’t selfish about sharing his knowledge on public speaking, communication, leadership and everything else. His “STGO/Something To Grow On” evaluations are always encouraging and the style has trickled down to all of the clubs he’s supported.
But even with the lofty heights that Brooks has scaled, he was still a down-to-earth regular Joe. He didn’t mind being the target of the jokes. He laughed with us as we made fun of his age and his being the evaluator of the Loomis household (Dinah was the General Evaluator).
Brooks took this duty of excellence even outside the Toastmaster’s meeting room. He made the best pasta bolognese I’ve ever had claiming it to be a recipe by the great Italian opera singer, Enrico Caruso. He claimed that to make the sauce perfectly, one needed to simmer the sauce for hours to extract all the flavors from the ground beef and herbs.
He was a kick-ass mentor and he taught by example. I had a problem getting credentials from Toastmasters International. I was in hibernation for about ten years and I wanted to continue where I left off. He told me who to write to in California. When I got my certification done, he was one of the first people I broke the news to. And he texts back “Congratulations AC-B Jeeves. At the rate you’re going, I’ll probably be DEAD before you reach DTM.” (Note: DTM/Distinguished Toastmaster is the highest rank that can be achieved in the Toastmasters movement) You can bet that that was enough motivation for me to finish soon.
On January 30, 2011, the Makati Toastmasters Club threw a birthday bash in honor of what we thought was his 80th birthday. Turned out that it was just his 79th birthday and we were one year ahead. Barely a month later on March 12, 2011, Brooks Loomis passed away as he was being interviewed for a TV show about leadership and communication.
It was a noble death befitting a noble life lived by a noble man. His wake became a collection of happy moments where mourners came together to remember, celebrate and make fun of the man, the Toastmaster, and the friend that was R. Brooks Loomis. He leaves behind a family that loved him, a global community that respected him and friends that he infected with his love of Toastmasters to continue his great work.
And we say to R.Brooks Loomis, wherever he may be. “Go with fair winds and following seas, my friend. You will be missed.”
You can’t get more inexpensive than the HYUNDAI Run. It was FREE! It was organized to celebrate Hyundai’s 10th year anniversary here in the Philippines. As expected, runners from all over joined in droves.
For a run with no entry fee, the organization was kick-ass. First, the singlet sizes were correct. Most runs would size their singlets one or even two sizes below. Thus an L would actually be an M or even S. (C’mon guys who the hell are you kidding?) They had a timing chip.
The organization on the day itself was impressive. Waved starts. Marshalls every 50 or so meters. Ever present first aid stations. Generous water stations with Hyundai Branded water bottles. Photographers everywhere. Unlimited water at the finish line.
I also liked the route. The 10k route started near the Quirino Grandstand. Right at Roxas Boulevard until EDSA than back through Luneta and back to the Grandstand.
One nitpick may be that the bottles were sealed and not opened for the runners and it was a hassle opening it for people who were chasing down a PB. The distance was a bit longer than the advertised 10k (about 11k). The extra couple of hundred meters was going through Luneta to go past Manila Hotel on the way to the Finish Line. The scenery was well worth the extra effort.
I’m not complaining. Again, this was a free run!
Some stats from a friend:
Over 24,000 runners
3 waves of 10K runners
5 waves of 5K runners
100 Professional Medics
50 Roving Medics
14 Medic Stations
75 Metro Aides
200 Start/Finish Line Personnel
500 Route Marshals
150 Police Traffic Enforcement Officers
2 Fire Trucks with 12 Fire Fighters
126,000 bottled Hyundai water
Activemoments.net did race photography and I was happy with the pictures that day.
Personally, I didn’t do too well. I was up until 3am doing covering the Jam For Japan the previous night. I started near the start of my wave and eneded up going wayyy too fast in the first couple of km. And thus cramped during the last 3 km. Coulda been a DNF but powered on to a slow 11km.
But, I enjoyed myself immensely.
Runners really shouldn’t shoulder the expenses of companies using runs as a marketing initiative. I wouldn’t mind shelling out money if there was some cause attached to the run. But then again, the Hyundai Run was for the benefit of 3 charities. I think that besides the expenses to organize the event, they still donated an amount per runner. This makes that case against the skyrocketing prices of runs. This was a well organized event AND it was a run for a cause. Will rant some more later.
Anyway, Good Job Hyundai! I heard there’s going to be a part 2. Sign me up!