G Live: The BODYJAM Main Event

Over the last four years I’ve written again and again about BODYJAM, a pre-choreographed dance party workout I teach at a local gym. In the years since I’ve become an instructor of the program, I’ve written about it less and less, simply because as an employee of the gym I don’t want to let too much of the mystique out of the bag (and because any occasional whining about work conditions might get me called to “the principal’s office”).

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, which is teaching BODYJAM. Last week, I had one more reason to love my job more, and that reason’s name is Gandalf Archer.

G Live: Gandalf Archer
otherwise known as “G”

No, this is not Gandalf from Lord of the Rings (although I think he’s just as cool =p). G is the program director, choreographer, and worldwide face of BODYJAM. He’s based in Auckland, New Zealand, and travels every quarter to take the experience of BODYJAM to instructors around the world.

This month, on his way home from those travels, he dropped by Manila. He’d been hearing a lot about how passionate we are about the program, and how Filipinos love to dance. So, last Monday night we BODYJAM instructors had a little meet-and-greet with him.

We usually get choreography for BODYJAM through DVD, and many of us had only seen him on our TV screens. So meeting him in the flesh was a completely different experience. My mind is still in denial, actually. It all feels like I was watching it on TV.

G Live: Photo Op
OMG. OMG! *hyperventilates*

I had my copy of BODYJAM 43 (my training release) signed by him. It was strange because I was starstruck up until I walked up to him and started talking to him. And then something switched on in my brain and I was just chatty all of a sudden. I was with a fellow instructor, Ryan, who had been having posters autographed for the past few minutes.

The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi. Sorry to bother you…
G: Oh, it’s not a bother.
Me: (holding my hand out) I’m Noelle, and I think you know Ryan. He’s back with another poster, I think he’s gone into business selling them…
Ryan: (laughs)
G: Well, it’s going to be a short-lived business, like, it’ll be over in five minutes.
Me: Would you mind signing my training release?
G: Sure. (scribbles)
Me: It was ten releases ago.
G: That’s a lot of releases.

We had a question-and-answer period; my trainer Arnold Warren told us to make it interactive, so we had to think up of some questions to ask G.

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I asked him “the hardest question” (4:07)

And then he wanted to dance with us a little. Once the music started playing, we just went wild, and we just lost ourselves in the experience.

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dance, dance like it’s the last, last night of your life

That wasn’t the end of it. The next night, we had arranged for a big event, called “G Live: The BODYJAM Main Event”. People could buy tickets to enter what we had billed as a two-and-a-half hour dance workout, led by G. He taught the upcoming release, BODYJAM 54, plus something he billed as “55” but was actually a freestyle routine. Fan-freaking-tastic.

G Live: Kicks
kicking it

G Live: Dancing
dancing up a storm

G Live: When the Beat Drops
hit it!

There was a part of me that had gone to sleep and had just been going through the motions. It took an encounter with G, someone who lives a really creative life bringing BODYJAM to life, to wake me up again. The time he spent with us told us that we do matter, we do make a difference, we have something to be proud of. It was something I badly needed, and since then I’ve been supercharged.

The Philippines loves you, G. Come back soon!

No Need for Lasers

Last Wednesday, I found myself at one of Makati’s night spots, lit up with flashing lights, drinking cocktails, and listening to awesome house music.

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus: Society LoungeClinique Repairwear Laser Focus: Moet
TOOGS TOOGS TOOGS

There’s nothing too odd about that, except it was 2 in the afternoon, there was no alcohol in the cocktail, and we weren’t there to party, but to learn about Clinique’s latest anti-aging serum.

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus
Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus

I have dermatologist friends who use lasers in procedures to lighten birthmarks and spots on the skin, even out acne pockmarks, and reduce the depth of wrinkles. This happens because the lasers lightly “wound” the skin at the cellular level, jumpstarting the healing process and thus producing more youthful-looking skin. Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus seeks to produce similar effects without the commitment and cost of laser procedures.

The serum’s threefold action of jumpstarting repair with antioxidants, boosting collagen with peptides, and strengthening skin with enzymes enhances the skin’s natural repair ability. Clinique promises visible results in 12 weeks: softening of lines, wrinkles, and sun damage.

Tita Jane, Tita Noemi, and Liz were also present at the event, and even as I joked that I needed the serum soon (being in my late 20’s and frequently engaging in outdoor sports isn’t doing my skin any favors), I was glad that there was such a product already on the market. Who knows, maybe in 5 years I’ll snap this up off the counter. It certainly beats being on the lighted end of a laser wand.

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Open Letter Re: Bonifacio High Street Parking

Dear Ayala Property Management Corporation,

I am a regular patron of Bonifacio High Street, one of your properties within Bonifacio Global City. Aside from its accessibility and availability as a training ground for runners, I also just love spending time shopping at its establishments and enjoying its park-like atmosphere.

When you raised parking fees last June from P25 for 3 hours and P5 for succeeding hours to the current rate of P30 for 3 hours, P10 succeeding, I continued to patronize the open parking area despite no improvements made to the parking facilities. (In fact, you decreased the total number of paved parking slots and charged the same increased rate for the unpaved parking areas around BHS.)

However, recent events have given me cause to write this open letter, because I have been overcharged for parking not once, but twice already. Tonight, as I exited the elevated parking area behind R.O.X., the cashier charged me 50 pesos for 5 hours of parking. I do not normally distrust cashiers, but after I paid and left, I checked my parking stub and realized I had only been parked for 4 hours.

BHS Open Parking stub
my parking stub

I had entered the parking area at 1744 hours (5:44pm), and exited at 2135 hours (9:35pm). At 6:44, that was one hour of parking. At 7:44, two hours. 8:44, three hours. I had exited before 9:44, but that fraction of an hour counts as one hour. That’s a grand total of FOUR hours. Why did the cashier charge me for FIVE hours?

Your cashier does not know how to count. I should have argued with her, since this is not the first time one of your cashiers has assessed me an extra hour of parking.

The first time this happened (some time in July), I was on my toes and feeling combative, so I argued with that cashier and paid the proper amount. Tonight, however, I was off-guard. When I realized the mistake, I wanted to go back to the cashier and ask for my 10 pesos back.

Instead I chose to sit down and write this open letter because I am sure other people have fallen for the same thing. I believe it’s my civic duty to expose this practice and make people aware that they may be getting overcharged and scammed at your parking facility.

There is one reason this problem occurs time and again. Manual, non-computerized ticketing and charging.

  1. Upon entry, the parking cashier handwrites the plate number and time of entry on a ticket stub, which has been manually stamped with the date.
  2. Upon exit, the cashier writes the time of exit on the stub, mentally counts the number of hours the car has been parked, and requests an amount for payment.
  3. Upon payment, the cashier tears off half the parking stub and gives it back to the car driver. There is no written record on the parking stub of the amount that was charged.

One would think that with the parking fee increase, Ayala Property Management Corp. could afford to use a computerized ticketing system. If not, you could at least educate and/or screen the people you hire to be your cashiers to make sure they know how to compute parking correctly.

There are two implications should you allow this practice of overcharging to continue.

  1. If you are not aware that the cashiers are doing this, and you argue that the cashiers pocket the extra hour’s worth of parking charge, know that your company’s name is on the line. People will still think that you are complicit.
  2. If you are aware of this practice, you will most certainly be pocketing the extra money. That makes your company’s parking practices dishonest, and that is unacceptable.

I think your company can afford to use a register that prints receipts recording the amount being charged, at the very least. I hold Ayala commercial areas in high regard and know you will do the right thing, which is to put into place safeguards against overcharging. We are willing to pay, but let it be the correct amount.

Sincerely,
Noelle De Guzman

On the Radio, Oh Oh Oh

I don’t think you’d remember, but I auditioned for RX 93.1’s “Radio Idol”, back in 2007 — you know, it’s a yearly competition where the winner gets to be a DJ for the radio station. Anyway, I crashed out in the second round because I got asked to talk about OPM, which I know nothing about. I opened my mouth, and no words came out. Oh, well. There went my chance for DJ stardom.

Radio Idol: internalizing
Hello? Is this thing on?

In the past three weeks though, I’ve had the chance to live out my radio dreams anyway. I was asked to guest in “Fit Radio” on 99.5 RT two Wednesdays ago to promote my TV show, RunnerSpeak and talk a little bit about the running scene in the Philippines. It was a very short but sweet segment, but I have to say the radio mics do wonders for people’s voices.

Anyway a friend of mine, Vince Golangco, asked if I were free to come on his show on Mellow 94.7 called “The G-Spot” to do a segment called “Edumacate Me”. Since I liked being on radio so much the last time, I accepted the invitation gladly, and showed up at the station today.

Radio Guesting on Mellow 94.7Radio Guesting on Mellow 94.7
All we hear is radio gaga

We talked about my website, KikayRunner.com, and about the things you need to do when you start running. In between all of that I was able to insert some plugs for the magazines I have articles in this month: Runner’s World and Total Fitness. It was really so much fun, especially since I knew what I was talking about in general.

I guess that’s the trick to being successful on radio: you’ve got to be a little bit knowledgeable about a lot of things so you can talk your way through. You’ve got to be a wide reader and brush up on pop culture. I’m just lucky that running is a part of pop culture these days. Ü

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