Sunday, May 25, 2008

Could I be so affected, will I stay on your mind

Nung Wednesday, nasa SaGuijo ako kasama nina Karl at Mimi para sa Admit One gig, kung saan naka-schedule tumugtog ang Pedicab, Sandwich, Cambio, at Sugarfree. Hindi ko namukhaan yung bandang nag-se-setup, kaya tinanong ko si Karl kung sino sila.

Me: "Pare, sino yang emo band na 'yan?"

Karl: "'Di ba Chicosci yan?"

Me: "Oo nga no. Akala ko ba vampire na sila?"

Karl: "Vampire pa rin naman, pero emo din."

Me: "Ah. Baka emotional vampire na sila ngayon."

Pero ayos naman. Tinugtog nila yung Paris, na sobrang astig pa rin.


Thursday, May 15, 2008


Nasa Pilipinas ang kabarkada naming si Lans, kaya nag-plano kaming magkita-kita. Sa mga ganitong okasyon, ako yung nagiging punong-abala, na hindi ko alam kung bakit dahil hindi naman ako yung class secretary nung high school (lagi nga akong absent). Anyway, tinext ko si Lans kagabi para i-confirm ang mga plano namin.

Lans: "Sino pa mga pupunta?"

Me: "Sina [mga pangalan ng mga taong pupunta], sure na. Sina [mga pangalan ng mga taong hindi pa siguradong pupunta], mag-co-confirm bukas. In-email ko rin yung listahan."

Lans: "Ok pala eh. See you tomorrow! Sana makapunta pa yung mga alanganin."

Me: "Si Urk, alanganin, pero siguradong pupunta."

Lans: "Hahaha. Nice one!"

Naalala ko tuloy, sa ROTC nung college, pumasok ako sa Community Welfare Service (CWS) program sa CWS. Halos lahat ng second-year cadets, pumapasok sa CWS. Papaano ba naman, ang sarap ng buhay sa CWS kumpara sa regular na RO. Sa RO, nagsisimula ang training ng alas-siyete ng umaga at nagtatapos ng pasado ala-una ng tanghali. Sa CWS, nagsisimula kami ng alas-nuwebe at natatapos na ng alas-onse. Sa aircon na auditorium kami nag-mi-meet, at hindi na sa field. Walang martsa sa araw at ulan, walang gapangan sa putik sa field, walang mabibigat na rifle, at wala nang jogging paakyat ng bundok ng Makiling.

Kontrobersiyal ang head ng CWS program sa LB noon, ang Dean of Student Affairs na si Vivian Gonzales na kaaway ng mga militanteng grupo sa campus. Dahil praning ang lola mo, pagktapos ng isang semester ng CWS, nag-desisyon siya na magkaroon ng purge sa mga CWS cadets dahil may balita siyang merong mga komunistang kasali dito. Pinasulat niya kaming lahat ng mga essay para malaman kung bakit dapat kaming manatili sa CWS, at nagpa-schedule din siya ng mga interview.

Inilabas ang listahan ng mga marka ng mga essay namin. Nasa listahan yung mga siguradong pasok na, at yung mga "waitlisted" para ma-interview ng dean kung papapasukin pa sa program.

Nakapila yung platoon namin sa may listahan, at sumigaw yung kadete sa harap ko pagkatapos niyang tingnan ang papel. "Tangina, pare, alanganin ako!"

Nagtawanan kaming lahat. May ilang minuto na, clueless pa rin si gago kung bakit namin siya pinagtatawanan. Tanong naman siya ng tanong, "Ikaw pare, alanganin ka ba?" Lahat ng tanungin niya, tumatawa at sumasagot na hinde.

Merong dalawang kadete sa platoon namin na bading, na pinagtatawanan din siya. Nang tanungin ang dalawang ito, sumagot sila nang hindi pa tumitingin sa papel, "Ah, oo, alanganin kami."

Na-gets lang niya kung ano yung pinagtatawanan namin nang sumagot ang huling kadete sa tanong na, "Pare, alanganin ka ba?"

"Hinde! Lalaking-lalake ako!"


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

With no regard for human life

I know not everyone shares this opinion, but Kevin Harlan's my favorite NBA play-by-play guy because of his over-the-top calls. It's unfortunate that he's been paired for the past few years with Doug Collins, who's the sportscasting equivalent of a wet blanket girlfriend.

Harlan was at his best this morning during the Cavs-Celtics game, making the signature call after King James's monster dunk over KG: "LeBron James... WITH NO REGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE!!!" Awful Announcing has the video.

My favorite Harlan line is the one he uses for dagger three-pointers, "RIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES!!!" Here's the only video I could find on YouTube (also starring LeBron, I'm turning into quite the witness, aren't I?):

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He's just a teenage dirtbag baby

Last night, while waiting for Entourage to come on, I ended up watching Loser on HBO. I've seen it a bunch of times on HBO before in passing, and while it's decidedly mediocre, it goes down easy enough so I get sucked in everytime. I guess there's a level of comfort with watching all these teenybopper movies that came out during the late '90s/early 2000s, with their predictable plots and catchy bubblegum soundtracks.

Anyway, I've seen the movie enough times to have a favorite scene. It's the one where Jason Biggs and Mena Suvari were just about to kiss as the opening lines to Tal Bachman's "She's So High" play in the background, and in an ordinary movie with an ordinary song, Amy Heckerling manufactures a perfect moment that hints at her genius.

O siya, tama na, mamaya magba-blog na ako tungkol sa Simple Plan niyan eh. I'm trying to forget that I'm addicted to you, heartbreaker, heartbreaker, I'm addicted to you!

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Office talk

I really don't know why I keep writing about The Office, because off the top of my head, I know only one person who reads this blog who also watches the show regularly.

I just feel compelled to try to turn as many people onto the show as I could, because it's a really brilliant show. I'm serious-- I have every episode and I'll gladly give anyone a copy.

I'm especially stoked about the episodes that have come out after the writer's strike, not only because the shows were excellent, but because there was renewed focus on the support characters. In particular, Ed Helms's Andy Bernard has really come into his own; at this point, I'm cracking up at every little thing he does. In the last episode, the best moments belonged to him:

I'm also loving Kevin, Stanley, and Kelly, whose "How dare you?" line in "Night Out" was probably my favorite line ever.

The last episode of the fourth season airs Thursday night (Friday morning Manila time, curious timing). Oh man, Pam's totally breaking Jim's heart again.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Balikbayan Box

Legendary Eraserheads producer Robin Rivera wrote a very interesting email to the band's mailing list a couple of days ago. Posting it here to share and to make it easy for me to find later on:

Balikbayan Box revisited

I'm on another extended lunch break from work, so I have some spare time to write to you all. One of the CDs I'm analyzing in my dissertation just happens to be "Stickerhappy". It's the first time I've listened to it in many years, and it brought back fond memories.

I've read much about how many people have identified the early albums of the Eraserheads as their "definitive" works, due to the style, content, and commercial success of the first three albums. This was reinforced by the recent MYX feature that included only "Ultra...", "Circus", and "Cutterpillow". But having produced all their albums except "Ultraelectromagneticpop", I've always felt that their later works were just as significant as the early ones. So allow me this opportunity to reminisce about one particular song from "Stickerhappy" that never got the attention I felt it deserved.

Most fans will remember the euphoria that accompanied the MTV Asia viewers choice award for "El Bimbo". But that period was also a difficult one. The band had its share of turbulence, and were adapting to new experiences and lifestyles that came with age and travels. From the moment I heard the demos of the songs that would be included in the new album, I knew that change was in the air. But instead of suppressing the new contexts that they had been thrust into, I wholeheartedly allowed them the latitude to write about what they were going through at the time. Change is a part of growth, and I refused to trap them in a time warp. But some things don't change. One of the things the band remained good at until their demise was to come up with witty, amusing songs, with a dose of melancholia to balance it off. This is exactly what I found in the song "Balikbayan Box".

While we were already in the middle of recording what was to become "Stickerhappy", I remember telling the band that I felt there was something missing in the album's repertoire, but I couldn't put my finger on what it was. Then one day, the band barged into the studio and said they had a new song that had only come together the previous day. With all four members huddled around a table in the Tracks main recording studio, Raimund excitedly whipped out a drum machine and laid down the basic drum track. It wasn't programmed from start to finish, so everyone had to help push buttons of the drum machine to go from one pattern to the next, all in "real time". Each of them then took turns laying down bass parts on different sections of the song. If you check the credits, all four of them played bass on that song. (A nice game for listeners would be to guess who played which section. But don't ask me because I myself don't remember anymore.) The next day, the rest of the band eagerly added the guitar parts. The vocals and everything else was laid down a few days later. The performances were typical of the band, slightly quirky and twangy, but confident. Angee Rozul's mix was spot on, wonderfully delicate and detailed. It all came very quick, and seemingly effortless, from the song writing to the mixing. The song turned out to be the missing piece I was looking for, and I was elated that they had come up with it just in time for it to be included in the album. I absolutely loved the song for its local color, understated dynamics, textured arrangement, and bittersweet narrative.

When we submitted the album to BMG, the people in the office immediately gravitated to it. Long before the album was released, everyone in the office was already singing "uuwi na tayo" at the end of their workday. To this day I wonder why BMG never really promoted it. It had some of the characteristics that fans were used to from previous albums, but was produced and framed in a way that reflected what was the band's state of mind and field of experience at the time. And like most of their other memorable songs, it has remained as relevant now as it was when it was written.

I've always felt that each album was special. Unfortunately, changing fashions and loyalties, coupled with the resulting shift in promotional and marketing strategies caused many to overlook the band's latter works. Its only recently that I have begun to hear people regard post-Cutterpillow songs with the same reverence as those in their earlier albums. I hope people can revisit this song as I did, and realize that this is just the tip of the iceberg of how substantial the EHeads material was after "El Bimbo".


Here's a copy of the song, if you're interested.

Speaking of Stickhappy, a few weeks ago, we were at 70s Bistro to watch Sandwich and Sugarfree. Having arrived early, we were killing time and drinking beer when I noticed something I hadn't noticed before. In the lounge where the performers hung out, at the back, there was a piano full of stickers. I'm not entirely sure, but it had to be the Sticker Happy piano right?

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I was channel-surfing this weekend while waiting for the game to come on when I chanced upon an episode of Maynila. It starred Ryza Cenon as a teenager trying to balance her lovelife against the restrictions of her parents, played by Christian Vasquez and Mariz. Anyway, Mariz was listed in the credits as 'Mariz Ricketts' and I thought to myself, Hey that's nice, she didn't just get a husband when she married Ronnie Ricketts, she finally got a surname too!

(So I guess there's hope yet for Kyla, Nina, and Sitti.)

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