Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Quick update

  • I've been speed reading. Been losing sleep for YA fiction (the main reason why I haven't been updating this small virtual space). :P If only class readings are this interesting... I must admit though that I've been reading a lot of class readings too. The past three semesters have been straight forward journal articles for me. Now, it's different. I've read The Odyssey so far and found that Odysseus is kinda full of himself. Read Antigone too and thought that she's mighty brave for going against Creon's edict. (more of these fun reads when I get around to writing it over the break)
  • Will be going home on the 17th and is super excited to see le familia again. Hope I can squeeze in a few meet-ups with high school classmates I enjoy spending time with. Looking forward too to some down time at home... Watch movies. Look at the cobwebs on our ceiling. Talk to my grandparents. 
  • Found some voluntary stint for me that will start next year. I must admit that even though I'm excited about it, I'm also a bit scared. What if my skills won't be enough? What if they won't benefit from my existence? Oh well... I have the whole holiday break to prepare myself. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Eating books again

I'm back in the game. I've been reading fiction again. I didn't know how much I miss being an emotionally engrossed observer snooping into the literary lives of make-believe characters until I finished several books. Oh yes, I've been speed reading (the perks of having to read so many things for different subjects is that it actually increases reading speed without compromising comprehension).

For a while, I shied away from fiction in favor of journal articles and the history of this and that type of books. General knowledge and a deeper understanding on how real-life issues, not to mention course-related work, was how I ended up not making time at all for fictional stories.

Yada yada.

Is this a sign that I'm slowly finding my way to valid literary outputs in the future? I hope so. But for now,  I'd really just like to sink my teeth into these pieces of joy. :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Many people, including me before I realized that i'll never be the hot indie chick, avoid Sunday music like the plague because;
(a) it has cheesy lyrics that go predictably like "I can't live without you" "why did you leave me" "baby come back" in its 'in yo face' form without the slightest effort to disguise it into something a bit cryptic that would need a little more brainpower and imagination [hello Arctic Monkeys, you there?]
(b) there's no other way to interpret the lyrics except that they're... uh well... what they have to say that they are
(c) chances are you'll hear one song played multiple times in any radio station at any time of the day (do an experiment and count how many times King and Queen of Hearts is played, will you?)
(d) it's just not cool okay?! *i don't kare (idk) face... get the joke? hahaha.
(e) [insert own sentiment here].

This by the way is not, in all counts, an entry to agitate any of these people (1) the indie people who just can't bring themselves to listen to Sunday music on the radio (2) the people who don't know what a radio is because all they knew ever since were the i(ed) contraptions (3) all the other people who just don't like music, period (4) a mix of these (take your pick 1 & 2, 1 & 3, or until you exhaust all the possible combinations) (5) [insert what kind of awesome you think you are].
I have friends who are any of the categories or a mix of it and music never really got in the way of our friendship. Peace and love!

Rather than making this look like an outline to some expository essay with all the unelaborated points, let me present some of the Sunday songs that I overlooked before in my eagerness to join the cool person bandwagon (my very demented concept of cool that is).

1. Can't Fight This Feeling (by Reo Speedwagon released in the 80s)
Before everyone decided that people who like Glee are so clueless because it became so mainstream (partly guilty of this offense... but it's more like school got in the way *thesis daw* and it doesn't have enough story to make me come back if not to listen to the songs they make covers of), Finn Hudson made this mainstream  (again) by singing this in the shower. Some time in 2005 it was featured in a Hallmark card Valentine advertisement, a testimony of its cheese overload.

Seriously speaking though, Can't Fight This Feeling is about the decision made by a long time friend to "cross the border" after trying so hard to "fight the feeling". This can have queer interpretations, take your pick. So for imagination's sake, try making up as much interpretations for these lines (all cherry picked to make my point about the queer theory). But then, really, I wanna take Barthes' route and the Russian formalists' defamiliarization crusade and try to capture the very colorful modern-day romances that defies sex, age, race, etc. And who says this is all about romance? For all we know, this is just about a person trying so hard to find a comfort room!

By far my most loved rendition of this. Simple, mellowed down, and good ol' sincerity jumping out the song.

I can't fight this feeling any longer. 

And yet I'm still afraid to let it flow. 

I told myself I can't hold out any longer.

I only wish I had the strength to let it show. 
My life has been such a whirlwind since I saw you. 
You make everything so clear.

2. I'd Really Love To See You Tonight aka Let's Have Some Uncomplicated Hanky Panky Tonight* (by England Dan and John Ford Coley released in the 70s)
This song is the most honest, romantic way of telling a person that you just want to be next to a warm body because you are hormonal or the guy version of that. Of course this song could have some celibate, PG13 interpretations. But then again, how else could these lines mean? 
I guess I really just wanted to talk to you.
And I was thinking maybe later on, 
We could get together for a while.

And for the uncomplicated hanky panky part;

I'm not talking 'bout moving in, 

And I don't want to change your life.

(la la la)
I won't ask for promises, 
So you don't have to lie.

In a language that appeals less to prurient interest, the song is really just a hook-up hymn among two people who aren't so sure yet of their feelings for each other so they just decide to keep it unproblematic by just being together for a night without talking about the future. WARNING: This kind of thing shouldn't really be done by people who aren't ready to face THE consequences yet. 

3. Carolina In My Mind (by James Taylor released in the '70s)
After pheromone-loaded songs, I'm gonna talk about nostos (return journey) now. Carolina In My Mind is the perfect soundtrack as Odysseus and his crew sail on the violent sea and go up and against Poseidon's wrath caused by Odysseus blinding his one-eyed son, Polyphemus. Picture this: a clear day for Odysseus and his crew with this song in the background as a dark cloud slowly builds up or a group of sharks oh so slowly tail them waiting for the perfect timing. Odysseus has been away from home (well... his splendid kingdom) for more or less 20 years!  (we talk nostos in detail some other entry or just Google it) 

Back to longing, the song's a perfect music for OFWs after a day's work in a foreign land as they ceremoniously pack their things to prepare to head to their temporary quarters, the sun setting simultaneously as they organize what little thing they have. 

So what does Odysseus and the OFWs have in common**? The longing for home. Though there certainly are differences in their situation (Odysseus is rich! He had to leave home for the Trojan War. The OFWs had to leave because it was difficult for them to find well-compensated jobs here). These lines perfectly capture what they miss so much about home:
Dark and silent last last night
I think I might have heard the highway calling 
Gees in flight and dogs that bite 
Signs that might be omens say I going, going
I'm goin' to Carolina in my mind 

A very young (and handsome in a starving artist kind of way) James Taylor complete with catchy whistling in the intro

Random trivia: Clay Aiken of American Idol fame (or infamy?) covered this song as well as Alison Krauss.

Why these songs deserve 5 minutes of your day or the full on more or less 15 minutes of your life to contemplate on these songs in marathon-mode: 
a. It happened to be on the radio. Instead of changing the station, you opt to just give it a go and enjoy the charming quality of old songs. 
b. I've tried so hard to pique prurient/artistic/emo interests. So there. Please cooperate and listen to the song already. Plus they really have serious merits that you music connoisseurs could write about or think about on the very least. 
c. If only to imagine James Taylor singing Carolina in my Mind during his glory days, fine! 

If these frontliners aren't enough to get the unexcitable crowd excited, I don't know what is. But I'd be faithfully posting some more Sunday mainstream radio songs. :)

Until the next three songs! 

* this is in no way to degrade the short-story inspiring song. Blase translation was made to interest that kiddo who thinks that honesty is so "last season"
**gleaned from a lecture by Prof. Jose Duke Bagulaya