La da da da da

28 08 2009

Pitchfork, the only music criticism anyone should believe, has come up with its best 500 tracks of the 2000s. OutKastĀ  (with B.O.B at no. 1) and LCD Soundsystem (All My Friends at no. 2) top the list. Here are the songs from my playlist that made it in the top 40 (and they also happen to be dear favorites).

#3. Paper Planes (M.I.A.)
#6. Maps (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) – Yeah! Hay…
#8. Idioteque (Radiohead)
#9. My Girls (Animal Collective)
#10. Neighborhood #1 (Arcade Fire)
#24. Everything In It’s Right Place (Radiohead)
#30. Seven Nation Army (White Stripes)
#34. Galang (M.I.A.)
#35. Fireworks (Animal Collective)
#39. Float On (Modest Mouse)
#40. Since I Left You (Avalanches)

Although Pitchfork is an indie music snob, they often include really good pop hits in their lists, like: Crazy in Love by Beyonce (#4), One More Time by Daft Punk (#5), Get Ur Freak On by Missy Elliott (#7), Crazy by Gnarls Barkley (#11), Ignition by R. Kelly (#19), Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson (#21), Umbrella by Rihanna (#25) and Can’t Get You Out of My Head by Kylie (#37).

Speaking of pop songs, local radio stations have been my only source of new music here in College Station. With the possible exception of two, all of them unfortunately are not to my taste. I have always claimed how certain songs are intricately linked with a particular time and therefore with all the cognate memories as well. And so oftentimes, innocent pop songs can turn me into a nostalgic ball of cheese. And one (see title) was close to doing just that today. Good thing doing laundry is the perfect antidote to anything ethereal and melodramatic.

In other news, classes start next week! Hello tons of readings!



25 08 2009

One of the few good things about scorching summers is that you can place frozen chicken out in the balcony and expect them to defrost in a couple of minutes. So while I’m waiting for the Texas summer to do just that, I’ll write an entry.

I feel fortunate to have met a community of Pinoy grad students here in College Station and one couple in particular has been invaluable in helping me settle down. It’s like having parents here, and that’s always a good thing. After the 7pm Mass, I also struck a conversation with a guy who happened to be a dorm mate in Narra back in 2001. I vaguely remember him as one of the Narra regulars who would intimidate newbies and rarely seen dormers. He described me to the fellow Pinoys as one of the quiet ones who were especially difficult to bully because I was never affected and didn’t really care. One point for kebsists.

ETA: After three hours of preparations, the chicken adobo plus rice and lettuce and orange juice meal is finished finally. And although salty (too much Silver Swan soy sauce), it turned out quite delicious. I’m so proud of myself. I think I like cooking now. Next up: pasta!

Meanwhile, we all know how geographers never underestimate the power of distance. I know I don’t. [Insert unspoken histrionic statement here.]

But you just look away in the distance

-Tori Amos, China


20 08 2009

The move to a new, more permanent home is finally making my blood run again and is slowly thawing the icy detachment I’ve maintained since I got here. Attending to the lesser urgent household matters with trips to specialty stores and groceries (where I saw Jufran, Silver Swan, Ligo and Knorr Sinigang Mix) has made me, for a while at least, a little homesick. HEB is very nice but it’s no clap-clap-happy-to-serve SM Hypermarket.

College Station is slowly beginning to come to life after having arrived here on the eve of a very hot and humid summer break weekend when the campus was devoid of people. I’ve also discovered other good places to eat (best burritos in the world is in Texas) though still looking for a cool place to hang out. College Station is a nice (if a bit typically boring American) small city with quiet neighborhoods and some parks. I just wished there were more outdoor opportunities and it was a little cooler (in both senses).

Although living there costs a fortune and the state finances are in disarray, I would definitely choose to move to beautiful San Francisco Bay Area in a heartbeat. Proof.

I’m not sure if I would want this current zombie disposition to go away completely. There may be an absence of excitement and care but at least there is little nostalgic introspection and no more trace of that nonsense business of the past months (so yeah, there we go again). Anyhow, keep reading and stay in touch y’all (I’m actually slowly picking up that drawl).


13 08 2009

Flights were long and tiring via Tokyo and Salt Lake City before finally landing in Oakland. California is niceĀ  and sunny and cool and we will finally get the chance to see beautiful Bay Area tomorrow.

Flying to Texas, where it will be scorching, on Friday. Still in an emotional limbo.


9 08 2009

The pain doesn’t go away. You just get used to it.

-Boy Abunda, The Buzz


Flight is in a few hours! And I realized that leaving is hard not really because of distance decay with family/friends but because of the irreversibility that this end of a life phase marks. It’s sad how the incredibly exciting recent past might never happen again. And I have also been meaning to write a grand theatrical piece before departure to purge myself of all leftover emotional baggage hidden in the various places of my anatomy but I have yet to muster the energy to mount a struggle against the resistant wall of rationality that I have painstakingly built over the last few months. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Epiphany of the day: Sometimes, letting go of, moving on from, and getting over something is just not possible.

Anyways, I’ll be seeing you all in a few years! Expect topophiliac posts in the next few weeks or, God forbid, months!


7 08 2009

Days and nights have been long for the past few days and even though I feel like I don’t deserve all the support (since I am a cold-hearted jerk), I am deeply grateful. Ay, I will miss you all. Seriously.


5 08 2009

During dinner at Technohub (an unabashedly neoliberalist landscape, according to a now academically-radical friend), someone was spilling the beans about the difficulties of dealing with people in a different cultural context. We eventually came to the conclusion, however, that at least the one universal thing common to all (aside from chismis) is the sense of ambiguity in human relationships.

In the same dinner, I was also able to coin the new term ‘kebsism’ to describe the inner workings of certain corundum-hearted creatures. Kebsist philosophy is an amalgam of influences from Buddhism, Stoicism, Taoism, postmodernism and the collective experiences of passive, indifferent psyches. If anyone wants to learn more about being a kebsist, send me a message, although I cannot promise that I would actually care if you do.

Dinner-mates were also placing wagers on whether I would have a buckling moment at the airport on Monday like they did previously. But ermm, sorry, kebsists do not have moments.

Meanwhile, perhaps the coolest single and music video of the decade: the short, sweet and loud Fell In Love With A Girl by The White Stripes.

Fell in love with a girl
I fell in love once and almost completely
She’s in love with the world
But sometimes these feelings
Can be so misleading

Joss Stone’s equally cool funky version.