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27 September 2009 @ 10:12 pm
I haven't been able to bring myself to write a proper entry for the longest time. I've mostly been writing in a journal - paper & ink! gasp! - in an attempt to gain some insight into the clusterfuck that represents my life. (Shrinks are expensive; a really nice notebook is about all I can afford right now.)

Using pen and paper forces me to organize my thoughts before I do any actual writing. I have an annoying habit of editing myself - sometimes in mid-thought - and used to tear out pages from my notebooks because I didn't like the way my handwriting looked, or because I'd crossed out too many sentences. The really nice notebook helps because each time I feel like tearing out a page, I remind myself how much the damn thing cost.

Twitter hasn't helped. I like Twitter, but micro-blogging does not help my laziness. (Although I suppose it has somewhat curbed my tendency to be long-winded.) Anyway, I may have fallen off the wagon, blogging-wise, but I'm trying to get back on again. Moving to another blogging platform might help, so I got me one them Tumblr things:

Be Here Now (2.0)

A word of warning: I'm still tweaking it, because I can't for the life of me do HTML or CSS, and I still haven't written anything worth reading. And I still don't know if I'll be locking up my LJ or abandoning it completely. Let me just see if the change of scenery works.

Current Mood: sleepysleepy
Current Music: Phoenix ~ Playground Love
11 August 2009 @ 10:16 pm
I haven't been to a rock show in years, so it was rather fitting that my return to the fold came during last week's Nine Inch Nails concert.

I listened to NIN in high school and college, when I was an angry young thing. Then the corporate world swallowed me whole and the NIN songs languished in my iPod, except when a song or two made it to a particularly angry/miserable playlist -- usually 'Head Like A Hole', 'Closer' or 'Something I Can Never Have'.

I went to the concert with my two bestest friends in the whole wide world, Cristina and Cristina (yes, we are all named Cristina, except mine is spelled with a 'K') and we emerged from the venue parched, hoarse, and completely blown away after two solid hours of industrial-strength, heart-pounding, foot-stomping rock. 

I'd almost forgotten what it was like to feel the drums and bass pounding in my chest, and the energy of a crowd swept up in the music. NIN was everything I'd hoped it would be, and then some. It was brutal and raw and cathartic, and when it was over my ears were ringing, my shoes were soaked with iced tea and beer, and I was exhausted in the best way possible. I was purged, stripped clean, and felt better than I have in a long time.

It didn't take much coaxing for the band to return to the stage for an encore of 'Hurt'. The lighters and cellphones came out, so I dutifully took out my trusty Cricket, which gave a few feeble flickers before dying. So much for that. We all swayed along anyway as Trent sang in that familiar voice, halfway between a snarl and a whimper: "What have I become?/My sweetest friend/Everyone I know goes away in the end/You could have it all/My empire of dirt/I will let you down/I will make you hurt."

The funny thing is, I half-expected to be transported back to high school, to that period of angst and confusion and inarticulate rage, but it wasn't like that at all. It feels good to know that I am no longer an angry young thing -- on my good days, anyway. I was grinning dementedly from ear to ear the entire time.

* * *
There is a postscript to this story.

Johnny Cash did a cover of 'Hurt' about a year before he died. I remember seeing the video but never paid attention to it, not being a country music fan. I thought it would be cheesy or weird, but I finally gave it a good listen today and holy hell, it brought a lump to my throat.

Trent Reznor's version is characteristically bleak, but it seethes with anger and pain. Johnny Cash's version is different, but no less beautiful. I think I like it even better than the original. Coming from a man in the winter of his life, it takes on an entirely different meaning: he's battled countless demons and come out on the other side, scarred and burned but alive -- but only just barely. It sounds almost like a dirge -- sorrowful and lovely and sad.

It's a fitting epitaph. 

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Johnny Cash ~ Hurt
18 June 2009 @ 04:18 pm
The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature. Here is the basic Proust Questionnaire. 

* * *

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I've always equated happiness with contentment, and no one is ever content, so I suppose no one can ever truly be happy.

What is your current state of mind?
Unfocused, confused.

What is your greatest fear?
Rats! I'm trying to think of a profound answer here...see number 1.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
The narcissistic tendency to make things all about Me.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
The narcissistic tendency to make things all about Them. I think we're all guilty of being self-absorbed to a certain degree.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Shoes, books, food. Not necessarily in that order.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

What is it that you most dislike?

On what occasion do you lie?
When I have to.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
I'm generally happy with myself. I mean, I wish that I would gain ten pounds, or have more junk in my trunk or less stick-like arms, but it's nothing I lose sleep over.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
I like strong women -  and not just the ball-busters they call bitches.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
"Okay", "The thing is..." and "Fiiiiine"

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My family and dearest friends.

When and where were you happiest?

Which talent would you most like to have?
Singing. And it would be nice to have some math skills.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I don't think I've done anything that I would consider a 'great achievement'. Get back to me in ten years.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Two things: my woefully deficient attention span and the aforementioned lack of discernible math skills.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what do you think it would be?
A cat! A pampered housecat, cos I ain't coming back as siopao meat.

What is your most treasured possession?
My MacBook, Macphisto.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
The kind you wrap yourself in, like a cocoon from which you never want to emerge.

What is your most marked characteristic?
Verbal diarrhea at the most inappropriate times. I suffer from temporary mental retardation at crucial moments - like when I have to sound intelligent.

What do you most value in your friends?

Who are your favorite writers?
Haruki Murakami, Arundhati Roy, J.D. Salinger, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Bob Dylan, John Lennon.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
I have a soft spot for Murakami's and Salinger's characters. I love Zooey Glass and Toru from 'Norwegian Wood'.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Oooh, Bob Dylan and Lou Reed. And my grandpa, because he lived like a member of the Rat Pack. For real.

What are your favorite names?
Julian, Imogen, Liam

What is your greatest regret?
Communication Arts. 'Nuff said.

How would you like to die?
Like a rock star.
Current Mood: blahblah
Current Music: Like A Rolling Stone ~ Bob Dylan
24 March 2009 @ 10:45 am
Day 9 without my trusty MacPhisto. It's not so bad, actually: I've been able to make a small (okay, miniscule) dent in my reading backlog and I've been watching more Spanish DVDs, which should help my listening skills. I've been learning Spanish for a little over a year now and it still frustrates me how difficult it is to understand the native speakers - they speak so fast! And in a myriad of accents!

Spanish is a lovely language though. (It's also a very colorful language, with many, many, many ways to call someone's mother a whore, or an idiot, and (this seems to be a Spanish specialty) alternative names for bodily functions and the more delicate parts of one's anatomy. It's highly entertaining, not to mention educational. Right now, my favorite is 'gilipollas' - the worst kind of idiot you can call someone. Hee-li-po-yas.) Despite its fourteen tenses (as opposed to the English language's six), and assigning a gender for every-frickin'-thing, and the hair-tearingly difficult task of trying to figure out when to use the pretérito vs the imperfecto, or the subjuntivo, or the pluscuamperfecto, among other thorny grammatical conundrums, it's still - dare I say it? - enjoyable. Probably because after eight levels I have finally learned enough to read an article in El País in its entirety and understand it - while consulting the dictionary of course, because my Spanish vocabulary leaves a lot to be desired (in other words, an eight-year-old Spanish kid would leave me in the dust). Also, a few levels back, my classmates and I had an epiphany-like experience: we actually understood what our teacher was saying. Quite an achievement, let me tell you. We were no longer left open-mouthed and speechless, shooting each other 'what-on-earth did he/she just say?' looks. I still don't understand everything, of course, but more than enough to get by.

(At this point, I should give a shout-out to my compañeros, because hauling my carcass to T.M. Kalaw every Saturday wouldn't be as much fun without them and our post-class study sessions pig-outs/chikahan. In Tagalog, English, and the occasional Spanish.)

The next goal: to carry on an actual conversation without 'uhhh' and '¿como se dice [insert word here]?' punctuating my sentences. This is why I like writing better than speaking. When I write, I have time to think things through, consult the dictionary, and check the text for grammatical errors or a missing tilde (accent). Sometimes when I speak, the time it takes for my brain to form a sentence (in English) and translate it to Spanish (grope for the right words, conjugate the verbs, figure out if I'm using the correct tense, etc.) is so excruciatingly long I'm beginning to wonder if I'm just slow. Seriously. It's like the continental drift up in my head.

I'm not used to this rare silence, this inability to properly articulate what I'm thinking. I know I should study more, delve into the grammar, watch more films (with Spanish subtitles instead of English, ideally) but like a lot of things I set my mind to, I seem to have no time for all these. Which I know isn't true - I have time to blog, don't I? And update my Facebook and Twitter and catch up on the latest snark they're serving up at Gawker, not to mention the blogs I follow.

And so, even if I don't do resolutions, here is mine: less time on teh Interwebs and more time on, uh, more edifying pursuits. Like watching 'Fuera de Carta' and 'El Crimen Ferpecto' on DVD and finally learning when exactly to use that damned pretérito and imperfecto, which I should've figured out two levels ago.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Let's see how long this lasts.
Current Mood: okayokay
Current Music: El Cuarto de Tula - Buena Vista Social Club
02 March 2009 @ 11:06 pm
Word of the day:

    tessellate - to fit together exactly, without leaving any spaces

When I was younger, I would look through my trusty thesaurus and jot down interesting words in my notebooks. Whenever I unearth an old notebook from high school (I'm a bit of a pack rat) I go to the last few pages to see what sort of idiocy I'd been up to while not listening to the teacher: 'pulchritude'; 'Liam loves me'; 'Oasis'; 'You are so obtuse.' I no longer remember to whom the last scribble was directed; probably the teacher. (I apologize now for being such a heinous little bitch.)

In any case, those years of underachievement gave me plenty of time to read, and as a result, I had a pretty good vocabulary for a fifteen-year-old.

I no longer pore over the thesaurus, but every once in a while I'll encounter a word that makes me stop and think about how it looks on the page, or how it rolls off the tongue. I'll turn it over and over in my head and think of ways to work it into a normal conversation without looking like an ass.

This week, that word is 'tessellate'. It also happens to be a Tokyo Police Club song, so I suppose I could work it into a conversation this way:

"Dude, you have to listen to this song, 'Tessellate!'"


"Yeah, by Tokyo Police Club!"


(Note to self: have this conversation with someone who has the same taste in music so as not to appear slow or stoned.)

More than the way it sounds, I like the idea of tessellation: fitting broken pieces together to form a whole. I've been feeling restless lately and I've taken to wandering around aimlessly; under normal circumstances I would be perfectly happy to be alone with my thoughts, but right now my mind is one huge clusterfuck and I don't know how to begin sorting things out.

I feel a bit like Humpty Dumpty: knocked off my comfortable perch and broken into thousands of little pieces. And all the king's horses and all the king's men are pretty much useless - I do not want to be the type who looks to someone else to do the fixing for me. (Although sometimes I am sorely tempted to, I don't know if anyone can fix my head.)

* * *

What I'm hoping for is that one day I will look back on all this internal drama and detach myself from it, as though this were a movie, or a parallel universe I'm observing from a control room in the farther reaches of the galaxy.

Memory, after all, is a tricky little bitch. Reminiscences, shaded by nostalgia, take on a strange movie-like quality: these things happened to you, but the person you were back then is no longer the person you are now. Enough time passes and these memories become mere snapshots in sepia, frozen in time, preserved in amber.

In the meantime, I have this song on repeat in my iPod:

I've been set free and I've been bound
Let me tell you people what I've found
I saw my head laughing, rolling on the ground
And now I'm set free.

(I'm Set Free, Lou Reed)
Current Mood: restlessrestless
Current Music: I'm Set Free - The Velvet Underground
10 February 2009 @ 10:09 pm
I have come to the conclusion – based on empirical evidence, of course – that my default weight is around 100 lbs. Which sounds okay until you take into account the fact that I’m about five feet six inches tall – then 100 lbs teeters dangerously on the precipice of an eating disorder. My brother pointed out recently that I am now as thin as I was in college, which is to say, borderline anorexic.

I didn’t notice it until late last year, when my jeans started sagging over my hips and my pelvic bone (the subject of one memorable post – yes, I once devoted so much time and thought into the state of that particular part of my anatomy that I wrote an entire post about it) resurfaced. And I thought I was doing so well! At my heaviest, I tipped the scale at 113, so it came as a shock to realize that the skinny jeans I filled out reasonably well up until four months ago suddenly felt loose.

After a couple of weeks of differentials* I finally figured it out: breakfast. More specifically, not enough of it. For about six months last year, I’d foregone my regular breakfast (two, actually: one small meal at home, and a full one at the office) for junk food. Instant noodles, usually, or the occasional sandwich. At one point, I actually lost my appetite for rice, my absolute favorite food in the world – I, who under normal circumstances can shovel rice down my throat like a construction worker, was finding it difficult to finish one measly cup!

That was when I really started to worry. So I’ve been taking my vitamins like a good girl and I’m happy to report that I am once again shoveling rice down my throat with the best of them, and going for seconds. I’ve also resumed my old habit of snacking in between meals and I’ve been trying to eat everything edible in sight, like a human vacuum cleaner. I suppose I could also start drinking beer for that charming beer belly effect, but we’ll see if I can do this without turning into a raging alcoholic.

My natural tendency, I think, is to lose weight. It took me about three years to gain those extra 13 lbs, so you can imagine how frustrating it is to have to gain it all back. My body’s weird, I know. Most people have to deprive themselves of nourishment to lose a few pounds; I subsist on a diet of junk for a few months and lose a stone.**

*House reference!
**for Krysty, because you would get the British thing

* * *
So I'm watching the video for Silverchair's 'Straight Lines' and hot damn, Daniel Johns is quite a sight to behold. I don't normally like pretty boys but daaaaaaaamn, he looks like a scruffy angel, and I'm a sucker for scruff.

Wait...where was I? Oh right, the song. I've mentioned it here before but I think it bears repeating: I really, really, really love this song. I've been in a bit of a funk lately, physically and emotionally, and hearing 'Straight Lines' again actually made me smile. It came to me that I never seem to notice the extent of my depression - or melancholy - until I start to emerge from it, and it surprised me (although I suppose it shouldn't have) that all it took was a song to snap me back to reality.

When I first heard 'Straight Lines' two years ago, I didn't expect to like it this much. It has none of the angst that Silverchair used to be associated with; this one is actually pretty upbeat and - dare I say it? - happy. (I must admit that age and time have had a mellowing effect on me. While I am still given to rantage, I've found that the angry songs that were on constant rotation in my Discman, and then my iPod, now lack the visceral punch they used to have. Yup, I've been quarter-lived.) So here I am, watching Daniel Johns doing that god-awful dance and smiling like an idiot because hearing him belt out, "Set me on fire in the evening/Everything will be fine/Waking up strong in the morning/Walking in a straight line/Lately I'm a desperate believer/But walking in a straight line" actually makes me want to get up in the morning. Walking in a straight line.

There's a long way to go. But I've been hearing the word 'hope' bandied about a lot lately, and I don't suppose it would hurt to hold out just a little bit more.

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Straight Lines - Silverchair
06 January 2009 @ 09:20 pm
I want this shirt.
(click to enlarge)

It reads: "Paradoxical. Reckless. Bad-mannered. Good-natured. Philosophical. Courageous. Daredevil."

Well. Some of it sounds like me. And hey! I share the same zodiac sign as Jimi Hendrix!

But there ain't no way I'm paying $40 for a t-shirt. (Especially one that thin. And yellow.)

27 November 2008 @ 09:36 pm
No, I don't celebrate the holiday that commemorates the pillaging and plundering of vast tracts of Native American land, but this kind of makes me want to:

This lovely Thanksgiving greeting is supposedly from Rahm Emanuel, future White House Chief of Staff and my current favorite fingerless freak.

I'm not even American, but I can't wait for these two guys to occupy the White House:

Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend ~ The Ramones
24 November 2008 @ 09:47 pm
My keyboard has suddenly decided to go haywire on me. The letter p doesn't work all the time (oh there it just did) and I have yet to figure out a way to clean this damn thing. (Yes, I've already tried turning him u*side down and shaking him, and I was afraid his innards would fall out.) By 'him' I mean Macphisto, of course. If I didn't love Macphisto so much (and if he didn't cost me and arm and a leg) I'd - I don't know - I'd go back to my trusty old iBook G4. That runs on *anther! (There, it decided not to work again.) Thank God the letters F, U, C, and K are all right. In times of extreme frustration and hel*lesness, there's nothing like a steady stream of  *rofanity to kee* me calm. 

*ardon the asterisks, the letter * refuses to work no matter how hard I *ound on it.

* * *

I did find this cool new application, though.  Poladroid turns your *hotos into - duh - *olaroids. I've been doing this with *hotosho* but this app is quick, easy, and fun. I know nothing beats the real thing, but this isn't bad at all.

A few sam*les:

Current Mood: pissed offpissed off
Current Music: Ruby Tuesday ~ The Rolling Stones
17 November 2008 @ 10:01 pm

I received a message from Rexxx earlier today about something called 'Carnival of Light'. I'm slightly ashamed to admit I had no idea what it was despite the fact that I'm a demented Beatles fan and addicted to the Internet. I don't know how I could've missed it given how much time I spend on the Web going through the most random Internet junk. (Perhaps I should take someone's advice and spend less time on Dlisted and Gawker.)

Anyway, he informed me that 'Carnival of Light' is a 14-minute experimental track the Beatles recorded in 1967 but never released. According to my exhaustive research (okay, Wikipedia) the song includes “distorted, hypnotic drum and organ sounds, a distorted lead guitar, the sound of a church organ, various effects (water gargling was one) and perhaps most intimidating of all John (Lennon) and Paul screaming dementedly and bawling aloud random phrases like “Are you alright?” and “Barcelona!

The Beatles were no strangers to experimentation but they thought the track was too "adventurous" at the time and eventually scrapped it to finish 'Penny Lane'. It was briefly considered for inclusion in 1996's Anthology but according to Paul McCartney, the other guys nixed the idea, brushing it off as rubbish.

It would be impossible for me to approach anything that involves the Fab Four with a semblance of objectivity, so I won't even try. Suffice it to say that if and when they ('they' being Paul, Ringo, Yoko Ono, and Olivia Harrison) decide to release it, I will be online - switching between Daily Intel and Gawker, perhaps - looking for the mp3. Or, you know, actually buying the track because I'm a sucker when it comes to those guys. Because really, how can a real fan resist?

Current Mood: excitedexcited
Current Music: A Day in the Life ~ The Beatles