Friday, September 27, 2002

Current snack | Tropical Fruit Lifesavers

I've never done this before....

What Stone Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Current Music | Stay by Alison Krauss

Hidden Treasures

Treated my cousin out to a belated birthday dinner wednesday night; after that we went off to watch a movie at Rockwell Before the movie began we were browsing at Odyssey on the top floor where I discovered a surprising number of good bargains.

I was overjoyed to find Alison Krauss’ 1999 album Forget About it for a mere P150. I don’t know if this is serendipity or not, but I’ve just started taking an interest in her music starting from an old SPIN magazine I bought from Annette mentioning her as the only refreshing thing to come out of 1995. Considering that a neo-hipster mag like Spin calls a folkartist that is noteworthy, in my view.

The album is just beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I take a more holistic approach to enjoying music, letting the CD spin and allowing the hooks reach out to me rather than listening intently myself. It's only when an artist has proven his or her 'mettle' so to speak do I study their work more carefully. She has a lovely voice; sweet but not wispy. Beautiful harmonies, and wonderful ballads. I am seriously loving this album and drinking in every bit of it I can.

One of the pleasures about music is the joy of discovering an artist that you adore, and taking it upon yourself to complete her body of work. Whenever I enter a music store I’ll be looking her up. Consider me a convert.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Road Tripping

As we moved down the road in Angono going home Tears for Fears was on the tape player. Nelz and I talked about what kind of songs would best be appropriate for long journeys, which we eagerly plan on making a regular part of our life together.

The plan is for Nelz to DL and burn those songs into a CD (or series of CDs) and for me to take them and copy them onto tape for consumption in my car. The only guidelines that we had for a good road trip song were that:

1) It had to be something that kept your energy up on the road as you listened to it (nothing too slow or depressing) but not TOO fast (no 32-beat dance tracks either) a good, buoyant groove that relieves the weariness generated by hours and hours of sitting in a vehicle.

2) It's subject matter had to be connected to travelling, destination, journeys, or just cars. Something with a great chorus that both of us could sing out loud together as we drive down the highway.

We've compiled a short list of songs so far, and this is what we came up with:
1) Overdrive by the Eraserheads
2) Life is a Highway by Tom Cochrane
3) Everyday is a Winding Road by Sheryl Crow
4) My Favorite Game by the Cardigans (the imagery of the video is what qualifies it)
5) Get Out the Map by the Indigo Girls
6) Power of Two by the Indigo Girls
7) Sky Fits Heaven by Madonna
8) Rearviewmirror by Pearl Jam
9) Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears (the intro is what does it for me)
10) Roam by the B-52s
11) Love Shack by the B-52s ("I'm headin' down the Atlanta highway.....")

This is barely enough for a 120-minute tape, and most road trips easily surpass that. This is where I'm asking for help from you guys. I'd like each and every road song suggestion that you have. Post it in the comments column where I'll compile them all and Nelz and I will make the final selection. My own musical knowledge is admittedly still small so I'm counting on the diverse interests of other readers to suggest songs I'm not familiar with. I'd also like to include more OPM in there.

Start suggesting! :)

Diplomatic Quote of the Day

"You're looking rather indulgent!" (translation: Tumataba ka!!)
- Professor Joseph Fortin, on a recent visit to the UP Film Center

I need to stop eating for a bit.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Fare Thee Well

Yzma passed away yesterday inside Nelz's cozy apartment where he had spent most of his short life. He liked to eat tuna, sardines, and his most recent favorite, Mackerel. He had simple pleasures, and was happiest when he was perched on someone's lap, purring contentedly. He was mutahin, calling for constant care of his eyes, which my lover dutifully performed.

Taking care of Yzma was often a thankless job. When I brought him home some three months ago, he kept both of us awake in our respective homes late into the night with his incessant mewling. He hated baths, and covered poor Nelz's hands with claw-marks signalling his discomfort. Although he used the litterbox for his poo, his urine was another matter as he would pee in the most inconventient of places. Once, the little bugger even peed onto the hood of Nelz's jacket.

Nelz took all of this in stride in caring for Yzma, tolerating things a less patient man (read:me) would have blown his top over a long time ago. Pets are considered a sort of test of how well a person would be able to handle raising a child, and if you go by how carefully he nurtured the little kitten, I'd say he passed with flying colors. That's really, really nice to know.

They say that if a pet dies, it's because something bad was heading towards their owner, and they died their master's death. I'm not really sure how much of that is true, and how much of it is just to make people feel better when these things happen. I'm not the most spiritual guy, but I do believe that when a person (or in this case, a pet) passes on that energies are released, and the place where one expires can't help but be imbued by some of that mojo.

Nelz's house was already inhabited by the ghosts of kittens that expired trapped inbetween the roof and the ceiling. The idea of having the spirits of baby animals lurking in the annals of your house seems comforting somehow. But now they are joined by the ghost of something he had a direct hand in nurturing. To have the ghost of your faithful pet watching over you; keeping away hostile spirits as you sleep? I like the sound of that.

Rest in peace Yzma. I hope you found the playmates in the afterlife that you sought in this one.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Bertie Bott's Every-Flavor Beans

Along with the treasure trove of Reese's Peanut Butter goodies my Tita got me, I also got a nice bag of Fannie May jellybeans. When Forrest Gump was talking about "you never know what you're gonna get", he may as well have been talking about jellybeans instead of chocolates.

You honestly don't know what flavor the little buggers are until you actually put them in your mouth. It can be an utter delight, or absolutely disgusting. So far I've chewed on watermelon, something really gross that I can't recognize (it could be licorice... I HATE licorice) and chocolate. The anticipation before you pop it into your mouth, not knowing, is actually part of the fun.

I'm sealing up the bag now to share with Nelz; either tonight or tomorrow. :)

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...... coffee.....

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Neil Gaiman Overload

Tita Beng came in from the states last night with the requisite pasalubong. I asked for an array of Reese's Peanut butter products for Nelz (which I shall not elaborate on... that's for you to find out on your own, baby! hahahaha! ) and Neil Gaiman books for me.

Since the older Gaiman stuff is rather difficult to come by, so i was very pleased to see that she brought me Smoke and Mirrors (a short story anhtology), Good Omens (a comedy with with Terry Pratchett), Stardust (fantasy) and his latest, a children's tale in the spirit of Through the Looking Glass; Coraline.

Add to that the books I picked up a few weeks ago from the bookfair (Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell and Twisted 6 by Jessica Zafra) and I've devoured more books in the past month than I have all year. I've been reading more and more lately, and that's never a bad thing. :)

Get the word out

Nelz's updated homesite is finally up! And although I may be a tiny bit biased, may I say he did a specTACular job. *grins*

Please do click on www.nelz.org and see for yourselves.

Kill Bill Feature

Check this out.

Note Uma Thurman's Game of Death jumpsuit. I swear, this movie is going to be sooooooooooooooooo cool. The buzz on it has been unbelievable so far. People are dying to get behind a Quentin Tarantino flick again.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Hungry Hungry Hungry Hungry Hungry

Went to bed early last night, around 10 pm because my Tita Beng is coming from the states tonight. Her flight arrives at 10:30, so we'll be picking her up and probably making kwentuhan to the wee hours. Wanted to log in a surplus of sleep hours for tonight, but I ended up just getting up earlier than usual (just before 6 am).

Had a breakfast of oatmeal around 6:20 (which is in itself unusual because I usually skip breakfast) and surfed the net and blogged til around 7:30, at which point my little-only-in-prinicple 5'11" brother Marco eats his breakfast of bacon, rice and pineapple.

Shit. One of the greatest smells ever in the history of the world is bacon, crispy fried, sizzling. The taste itself is kind of ordinary (crispy, salty strips of whatever) but the smell.............. heavenly.

Now all of a sudden I have this huge need for food. not just any food, but protein. MEAT. Need it. Now. Vienna sausage and scrambled egg and garlic rice. Protein and carbs. Because I am HUNGRY. I must EAT.

I think I'm going to sleep at my regular time from now on.....

Song Share

by Where's Joe?

{verse 1}
I thought I would never find the strength to smile again
But now we're together I'm so glad that you're my friend
'Cause you helped me to see the light and give up my foolish pride
And you helped me remember how good it feels to laugh inside

With your presence I was gifted
and my clouds were finally lifted
Just when I started to believe they never would

(verse 2}
Before I met you I'd always been a selfish bastard
And I had no inkling how I came up to your standard
'Cause you're so much purer than anyone I've ever known
And I can't figure out how a boy would have me so thrown

I would deal emotional blows
Then I'd be acting all morose
You saw the worst of me and you understood
I feel Good

You turned the dark into the day
Retuned the white into my grey
Your smile it takes my breath away
I was lost... but now I'm okay

{verse 3}
I could always find a reason to be scared and so I ran
But with you all I find are ways to be a better man
I was lost in a dream by myself and you were there to guide me
I opened my eyes to find you lying there beside me

Well you delivered me
To my responsibility
Now I'm ready to love you they way I should
I feel good

You turned my world around me as I stood
And I feel good

You really do, Nelz.

Dream Diary

Had a reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally wierd dream last night. I'm sure I've had wierder, but what's different is how clearly I remember this one. Started out as your garden-variety strange dream then kept escalating into never ending levels of whuh?? To wit:

It starts off on the tail end of an unseen episode of Star Trek Voyager. Several of the crew are leaving the ship to go live on this planet whose inhabitants they ended up really, really liking. They have to travel in these suspended animation tubes (think Galaxy Quest). Included in the entrourage however, is a double agent, someone who is actually a cybernetic spy (but NOT a borg), when observed under a scanner reveals an orange Evangelion face (why the person manning the scanner does nothing about this I don't know).

They man the tubes and are sent to the planet, but the twist is that time moves quicker on this planet than it does on Voyager, so all the people that they had made first contact with were dead and gone, and indeed, there was nothing beautiful forest and lush greenery where cities should be. Twilight Zone twist ending.


It's not done. Aforementioned double agent, (who now really does look like Seven of Nine) reacting to something unforeseen in the atmosphere, undergoes some kind of seizure and expires. She dies in the arms of one of her colleages, but not before giving a few parting enigmatic words. Standard death scene.

This is where it gets bizzarre. As she dies, a bunch of tiny leprechaun-type creatures slowly emerge from the ground singing and playing musical instruments. Unnoticed by the rest of the crew, and they 'summon' the decesed crewmember's soul to come with them. The irony of the episode is that the planet's inhabitants have evolved into a higher plane of existence and their dead crewmember is the only one who ends up making contact.

Somehow I go from being a viewer at this point to being the crewmember in question. The leader of the elves; a grey-haired dwarf challenges me to a footrace, in celebration of being newly alive again. Complete with sweeping camera angles shot from a helicopter, I run across this sprawling green field alongside the old man.

It feels great, I'm running faster than I can ever dream to run in real life. The wind is in my hair and the air is fresh. I feel no fatigue, only exhilaration at the joy of movement. The old man cannot keep up with me. He overtakes me at some points by having the inside track, but I quickly regain the lead every time. That's when he calls his horse, this brown stallion, and continues chasing me. We enter a forest now, weaving in and out of the trees. But I'm still faster.

Then, I don't know from where, he summons a car which goes on top of the horse, Anime-style. I have no idea how this is supposed to make him faster, but I don't care. I keep on running. The forest has changed into some kind of boardwalk on the seaside complete with people. I remember my feet hitting the wooden slats and rushing past people as I run to escape the old man, who has disappeared into the car. There is no sensation of fear or terror here; all I can think of is to run, run run. My dream turns into a Warner Brothers cartoon as the old man conjures up a VAN that his car enters, that goes on top of the Horse.


And still he keeps chasing me. I'm making huge jumps in the air like those car chases set in San Francisco, and I see seagulls in the apex of my leaps. I'm still on the boardwalk, and I know that if I slowed down enough to look, I would see people in shades and shorts walking along the beach, eating hotdogs and cotton candy. But I'm still running from the van-car-horse combo. That's when I wake up via the maid entering my room to take my laundry. My pulse is racing from all the adrenaline.

I'd like to see Freud decipher that.

Monday, September 16, 2002

Diarrhea of the Mind

You know that scene in movies or TV where the protagonist directly addresses the audience, but to the rest of the characters it looks like he's talking to himself, and they all think he's a little nuts? I concede to having done that myself on more than a few occasions, always for comedic effect.

Today was the first time that I actually did it for real. I was driving to work with my fellow employees, with last night's events weighing on my mind. The tiniest of non-gestures, compounded and replayed and brooded on. My thoughts like motorcycles in those giant metal globes; circling and circling inside my head. Each turn increasing in speed and volume; so much so that the line between what is thought and what is said aloud is blurred.

Bits of conversations replayed and rehearsed:


"I won't say it anymore"

"Good night"

It was a full five seconds after I had said it that I slowly realized I had said "good night" out loud. I can only imagine what my co-workers must have thought. Of course they didn't say anything.

Needless to say the rest of the trip was driven in silence.

I guess I really am a faggot. Frigging Drama Queen. It's times like this that I wish I was a 'real man' in the stereotypical sense, so these things wouldn't bother me, because I wouldn't care.

How can the not saying of one little thing matter so much?

Why the Church fucking pisses me off sometimes

The Catcholic Church is apparently using mafia-style intimidation tactics to pressure 7-11s to remove Condoms from sale in their campaign against all forms of contraception, which is of course unnatural and sinful.

To HELL with the fact that the Rhythm Method is at best a hit or miss affair. It's wrong, it's against God, and that's that.

To HELL with the burden on poor families.

To HELL with whether or not our ecology can actually sustain that many people.

To HELL with the fact that people will keep having sex no matter how much you try to criminalize it; the best examples being provided by the Catholic Church itself.

The worst part about it though, is that they're succeeding. Which will only embolden them to go out and try to do more in "God's" name. Check out the story on PDI's site here.

Before I get any hate mail, let me point out that I defend anyone's right to follow whatever faith they believe in, with all the tenets that come with it, no matter how conservative or extreme. But when you start to force YOUR views on ME, affecting how I live, that's when I go to war.

Screw the church. I believe in my soul that God does not support this particular view, and is probably little pissed that they're using his name to further their narrow-minded, puritanical, ultimately self-destructive agenda. That's what i believe, but ultimately, I don't know what God thinks.

And neither does anyone else, for that matter. So they should just. Shut. The hell. UP.

Man, I'm just brimming with vitriol today, aren't I?

Sometimes I think too Goddamned much

I swear, my downfall is going to stem from an episode just like this.

Song Share

by Fleetwood Mac

I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills
'Til the landslide brought it down

Mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
I don't know.

Well I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older too

Oh take my love, take it down
Climb a mountain and turn around
And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Well the landslide will bring it down

And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Well the landslide will bring it down
The landslide will bring it down

Wonderful lyrics, elegantly obtuse. Unlike pop songs, which try to reach everyone through shallow experience, the lack of specificity allows a more intimate connection with the masses; becoming their song as it tailors itself to whatever experience it rings closest to in their life. In being about nothing it particular, it can become everything to the listener.

What do the lyrics mean to you?

Destiny my ass

Got this off an acquaintance's blog:

it really does seem that I am destined to be single. Perhaps have lovers that pass through like seasonal winds, yes, but on the whole, I seem to be destined to be alone.

One makes his own destiny.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Beyond your limits

Anything I come up with today is going to be too depressing, so I’m pasting up something I got from Ain’t-it-cool-news.com. They’re doing an on-site feature on Quentin Tarrantino’s next film Kill Bill (due next year) which, if nothing goes wrong, will be one of the coolest martial art films ever made. I'm not the only one that thinks so. Hell, TIME magazine did a story on it in this week’s issue, and it’s more than a year away from completion!

I’ve dabbled in Martial arts but never had the discipline to truly pursue it. But the basic tenets of self-improvement and pushing one’s limits are qualities that I’ve applied into weightlifting. One of the movie’s stars Michael Jai White (who played Spawn) said something about Martial Arts which made an impression on me:

"Ok… Say I can kick a 1000 times before wearing out, and you (Andrew) can kick 300 times before getting to the same place"

Hiromi (That Miramax Lady) interrupts with, "And I can kick 2 times"

Michael continues, "Ok and you can kick 2 times before tiring. Well in Martial Arts, my training wouldn’t really begin to kick number 1001, yours (Andrew) would be at 301 and Hiromi’s would be at 3."

"Now lets say I kick in my training to 1005, but you (Andrew) kick to 320… In the discipline it took to go farther past your limitations, who is the better martial artist. You are. It’s about being able to know your limits and going past them, to realizing that though you have your limits, you will push past them."

Defeating that internal fear and conquering that physical limitation was built on a personal inner strength that is at the exact core of what Martial Arts is about.


Bad Day Rising

Woke up in an existential angst this morning. No real reason to be feeling the way I am, but I still do. Maybe it's because of last night.

Went to an Ukay-ukay (garage sale) at Big Sky last night which held some stuff formerly owned by people like Annette Ortiz, Buddy & Earnest Zabala and others. Got some tapes from Annette's paramour Mica, a funky pair of multi-lensed shades from Buddy, a retro-cool Eheads poster (Circus-era) and a Spin Magazine with Madonna on the cover for Nelz.

Annette mentioned to me that she has to get rid of a lot of her old junk because she would be moving to the States next year along with her family, permanently. Coming home only to attend Donna's wedding. Naturally, I was saddened, but het, life goes on, and we gotta do what we can to better our lives and all, right?

Naturally, the biggest disappointment for me was the demise of the Fatal Posporos when she leaves. But, perhaps that already happened the moment Kris Gorra decided to become the new vocalist of the Eheads. To wit: When I jokingly asked Annette about how I was gonna get my FP fix from now on, she said in all seriousness: "Nagsali naman si Kris sa Eheads e.”

Oooooookay. I’m not even going to touch that one.

Made me sad for Fatal Posporos, a band which I truly feel should have gotten more recognition and success than they ultimately ended up with. They had all the tools to be huge: Talent, good looks, boatloads of charisma, and great hook-filled songs. They were the band that got me into OPM, into meeting half the people I consider my friends now, and into what I consider my current life’s goal.

But whether it was bad marketing, bad timing, whatever, they never got beyond a certain point that I know Kris, Annette and Donna wish they had surpassed. And that makes me frustrated. In a selfish way for me; but also for all of the wonderful, talented people in this fricking country. How people like Annette have to move to another country just to have more opportunities for a better life.

It's not just in music either. One of the most important people in my life; infinitely more talented than me and has the skills to be at the top of whatever field he chooses, is frustrated with his current direction. Right out of college, he easily got into McCann-Ericssonn. And although this was a highly coveted spot for him to be in, he discovered that advertising wasn't the place for him. Are creative people destined for financial frustration unless they submit themselves to jobs they dislike? (or are fortunate enough to truly enjoy doing?)

Hell, consider Imago’s Aia de Leon. This is a woman who has pretty much done it all in the scene. One of the best voices in the music industry, bar none. Has crafted great music, cut a successful album, played at the NU rock awards, made a music video, appeared on the Philippine MTV Vmas. Aside from that, she is one of the sweetest, most wonderful people you'll ever meet. If she was in America (or Japan, or Europe, etc.), she’d be fricking rich and set for life. Here she wakes up at 4 am every day for a day job which she herself has told me she wishes paid more.

The Philippines is not a good place for musicians. Being blessed with the gift of music, where you are driven to write and sing and perform because you love it, is a curse in this country. Where our best artists have to struggle to make ends meet. Where audiences aren't educated enough to appreciate truly good music. Where piracy is rampant and people are too poor to care. Where there are no financial incentives that --with just a few exceptions-- keep it from being anything more than a sleep-depriving hobby. Time used for making music could have gone towards your furthering one’s career, or building a relationship. Music is a passion that demands so much from you and gives back so little. I hate this fucking country.

And this is the field that I want to achieve in? What I am devoting my time and effort to? Am I on the threshold of a decision that I will look back upon with regret, wishing that I had chosen something else?

Am I making the wrong decision for my life?

I hope this funk is temporary.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Don't give up five minutes before the miracle

Believe me, I do know how you feel. The frustration with oneself, not being sure what to do next. I know you have a policy of not wallowing in self pity, and that's a good thing; That way I don't worry about you. I realize this is something that you have to do on your own, and all I can do is be there for you. That if you do need help or someone to lean on, I'm here.

That's one of the perks of being in a relationship, not having to endure things alone. I know how fiercely independent you are, and you've been dealing with stuff like this long before you met me. Hopefully just the knowledge that I'm here for you is enough.

I love you.

Simple Pleasures

The Fluffernutter Sandwich: Lady's Choice Chunky peanut butter and Marshmallow Kreme fluff on white bread. Sweet, gooey, crunchy, salty, smooth and chewy all at once.


Friday, September 06, 2002

Grace Over Karma

I had first come across this statement a few months ago from U2's Bono, who was giving the commencement speech at Harvard University. I didn't quite understand the line at first, but I had an inkling. Then I got my copy of All That You Can't Leave Behind and listened to Grace, and I Got It. Ever since then I've tried hard to live my life following this simple tenet:

Karma is doing good with the hope that it will come back to you.

Grace is doing good even if Karma doesn't exist.

Follow Grace. She travels outside of Karma.


I've been losing my temper quite a bit lately. For brief flashes, I've been becoming someone again that I promised myself I had moved beyond. Someone who was ruled by emotions; who got angry first and apologized afterwards. But even with forgiveness, there will always be the memory of the fury, of your hurting them with words that won't easily go away.

Last night's dream was a manifestation of that. I don't remember much of the details, but there was anger, rage, losing my temper.....and an overwhelming feeling of sadness that I had let myself down; that I had thrown away all the progress that I had made.

I had lost my Grace.

I'm not going to let that happen. I've lost my focus for awhile, letting new adjustments into my life take precedent. It's not a case of having to choose one thing over another, I just have to learn how to manage it all.

I am not going to have that dream again.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

You can't go wrong with the Classics

Last Monday, Where’s Joe? had an audition gig at KAFE for the “T@#&-!#@ It’s Monday!” show. I’m happy to say that the gig went rather well. I felt much better coming off the stage during this gig than I did at Freedom Bar. It was a combination of no major mistakes on anyone’s part and of lowering my own expectations about ‘blowing people away’, instead just deciding to concentrate on doing the music the best I can and leave it to the audience to decide whether or not to accept it. That’s all any performer can ask for, really.

Before we got onstage we discussed the setlist. Planning out the sequence of what songs to sing is an utterly mundane task, but doing it exhilarated me. Sticking that little piece of paper on the microphone stand detailing the song sequence that I had already memorized and couldn’t forget if I tried gave me a tingle of excitement. Taking part in the little rituals that all musicians did, felt like I was finally part of the circle that I had admired and respected for so long; not as an admirer but as a peer, a fellow musician.

After the gig Jay Salas (the organizer of the gig and Strawberry Fields’ manager) shook my hand and congratulated me on the set, and told me that there would be a slot awaiting Where’s Joe? at the next T.I.M. show. As a regular, I assume. Methinks we passed the audition. Go me!

Other bands we played with that night was a band called Nada who had a friend of Adam and Charmaine whose name escapes me at the moment but was a brother (I think of Fatal Posporos' Annette Ortiz. I had never heard of them before but they were very tight, with a vocalist who had a distinct singing style. Never wavering beyond a fixed range, it was more like rapping than singing. Nothing that I’ve heard before, which is always a good thing.

The next group after them was Red Ink. They were clearly still a young band, doing an equal number of covers and originals. Cedric had some good-natured fun by decipehering which songs their originals sounded like. Just like us, they were an up-and-coming band. It will be interesting to see how they develop as time goes on, as they are breaking in at pretty much the same time we are. Hell, Parokya ni Edgar and Fatal Posporos debuted at Club Dredd the same night, so you never really know who’s gonna hit it big in this business.

Girl in Park was next, fronted by Jaja from Pinup Girls. Actually, GiP is her real band and she was just ‘borrowed’ by Pinup to sub for one of their members who went abroad. Jaja and I had a nice conversation about each others’ sets, and it was nice to meet a familiar face. Stuff like that reminds me that the music circle -- when it works -- is not about competition or who’s better; it’s about a bunch of people passionate about music, who offer support and encouragement to each other.

Finally, Strawberry Fields took to the stage and rocked the house. They’ve been around for a while, and were set to release an album under Warner. I don’t really know what the status of that is, but I imagine their vocalist leaving/being replaced probably had something to do with it. Personally, I think their new singer is a LOT better, as their old vocalist placed them in the same girlie pop-rock territory as moonstar88. This girl has some real edge; with a slight rasp to her voice that is absolutely perfect for rock, and a consummate performer to boot.

They performed some originals, including off the top of my head, a song called “Hatinggabi” (which was very, very good) but what really got the crowd cheering were their covers from Led Zeppelin, Patti Smith and even Letters to Cleo, all classic or progressive rock, made up of good, meaty old-school rock riffs and anthem-like choruses that were all about having fun rather than angst and yelling.

Hell, when the opening notes to “Because the Night’ started playing even I had to start singing. The version I was familiar with was of course the 10,00 Manaics cover but what made the song showed through. Some songs simpy sound great no matter how you do them.

Strawberry Field’s set -- and the audience’s response -- got me to thinking. I’ve been focusing on producing original material, but I haven’t been feeding myself new music or influences that I can learn from. My growth has been stunted as of late, and I think it’s time for me to change that. Hell, even as a cook I’ve been growing more because I take it upon myself to try out whatever new food I can find, from the masa (Chicken McDo) to the unusual (Quail Egg Balut).

Whatever your chosen field of creativity, you can only grow by constantly feeding your pool of experiences. By all means, focus on original material, but nothing grows in a vacuum, and you can’t go wrong with the classics. There’s a reason these songs have withstood the test of time, and any musician could do worse than to both analyze and enjoy these songs.

For that reason, I’ve compiled a list of songs, folk and otherwise, that would like to cover and study:

Landslide by Fleetwood Mac
Give me one Reason by Tracy Chapman
Happy Together by The Turtles
Tuwing Umuulan At Kapiling Ka by Ryan Cayabyab

Not the most ambitious of lists, I know, but it’s a start. I also want to do a song by Joni Mitchell, as she is the Idol of my Idol Emily Saliers, and if Ms. Mitchell influenced her, then I might as well drink from the source myself and see what I can pick up. I’m already practicing Landslide. The Travis fingerpicking method is daunting at the start, but the results are beautiful.

Music. Aint it great?

In a Rut

A lot of things have happened this week, both good and bad and all blog-worthy, but I haven't felt the drive to write about it. In fact, this whole week, I haven't been able to get myself excited about anything really, even though it's friday.

Like that Jewel song, I think I'm stuck on 'survive' right now...

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Papa and Son

This is the first time I'm putting photos in an entry, and unless Nelz pulled a fast one on me, you should see a pic of me and Ewok above. So what do y'all think? Isn't he just absolutely adorable??

And the puppy is cute too.

Monday, September 02, 2002

Pop Quiz

....Assuming the rest of the day goes great, would you prefer to start the morning badly, potentially souring your mood for the rest of the day; Or would you rather have something shitty happen just as you go to bed, putting an lousy cap to an otherwise pleasant day?

Seeing as I've had CRUD on both ends of what was a pretty good day yesterday, I'm not really sure which is better.....

Movie Scoresheet

This is the third fricking time I’m typing this (this time on Word with autosave!) so hopefully nothing’s gonna happen this time. Here we go….

xXx - The movie’s hype machine has tried to sell this as the James Bond franchise of the new millenium, but really, it’s just more of the same thing, with just a lot more tattoos and a rocking soundtrack. Diesel’s character pulls off eye-popping stunts all throughout the film with such ease that by the time he gets to the final sequence you don’t really doubt that he'll prevail. It’s like having the best stuff on foreplay, leaving you spent for the climax.

The story is average; nothing wrong per se, just nothing we havent seen before. The dialogue is the most glaring flaw, with “witty” banter between Diesel and Samuel L. Jackson’s character that must have taken 3 minutes to think up. Also, Vin shares a kiss with Asia Argento that ranks alonsgside Michael Jackson and Imman in his Remember the Time video (read: utterly lacking in passion), that does nothing to dispel growing rumors that he’s gay. A fact that I’m sure pleases certain people to no end. It's disappointing, because Vin Diesel is capable of so much more.

Rating: Enjoyable, if you go into it without expecting too much.

Austin Powers in Goldmember - As a devout fan of the first one and someone who enjoyed the second (although it was a little derivative) I really, really wanted to enjoy this movie. But after the first five minutes which was loaded with cameos from A-List celebrities, I spent the rest of the film just staring up at the screen with a blank expression on my face.

Myers has apparently given up on trying to be inventive like he was in the groundbreaking first movie, and has decided instead to see how many gross-out gags he can throw at the audience in 90 minutes. He recycles jokes from both previous Austin movies, which makes them a lot less funnier the third time around (even lifting a skit from another franchise altogether; Wayne’s World 2). He even makes a gag about the fact that they’ve reused gags, which is a sad testament to his bankruptcy.

The Austin Powers character has been stretched as far as it can go, and my prediction is that if they do go for a fourht, it will be a bomb due to all the people that got burned by this one.

Rating: Suckadelic. Awful, baby, just awful.

Signs- after those two disappointments I was so ready to give up on the summer movie season altogether until I saw this film. Thank you, Mr. Shyamalan. This film tells the story of a reverend who is dealing with a crisis of faith, agaisnt the backdrop of a War of the Worlds-style invasion. What impressed me the most is the structure of the film; random bits of detail seemingly thrown in for texture all come together in the movie's climax, which answers the question Gibson’s character has been struggling with all throughout the film: Do events occur randomly, or does everything happen for a reason?

The alien itself, when it is finally revealed, is rather low-key. Something that could have been lifted out of any supermarket tabloid. But this was done on purpose; In the age of CG, Shyamalan could have had any design he wanted, but knew that a kewl alien might detract from the story he wanted to tell about these characters. The retro design of the alien is a testament to Manoj’s (the ‘M’ in M. Night) eye for detail.

This movie debuted at number one in the states, moved down when xXx premiered, then moved back up to the top again due purely to word of mouth, something that almost never happens in Hollywood anymore.If Shyamalan keeps making movies like this he will be the Spielberg of our generation, if he hasn’t become so already.

Rating: Intelligent and Excellent. Do yourself a favor and go see it.

Sunday, September 01, 2002

If I my inspiration comes from angst, may I never be able to write again

No matter how much I already feel for you, I love you a little more each day.

My love for you is a quantum theory: Moving towards Infinity.

It's our third month together. Happy Anniversary, Nelz.

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