Or, How I Learned How To Stop Worrying And Love The Fact That Spent Half My Monthly Paycheck To Go See Ezra Koenig.
I’ve been putting off writing this entry for a while. Partly because I am denial that the day I had been waiting for for a few months now is finally over. This was some far-off point in time that I kept reminding myself about whenever things got a little rough. It was something to look forward to, and now, it’s become something to look back at.
I know people write Vampire Weekend off as hipster shit, seeming to lack longevity in the music scene. Even more people think that they are just pretentious hacks, because they all went to Columbia, and write about sons of diplomats, exotic milky drinks, cultural obscurities, and punctuation marks with specific uses. But I love them. A lot. I loved them enough to do something I had never really done, which was to quite literally go the distance.
(Plus, I don’t think anyone else can write about the subtleties of difference between the flavors of English Breakfast and Darjeeling tea quite like they do.)
I know Singapore isn’t really that far away from Manila, and I suppose that’s why I decided to fly out in the first place. It was, to me, a glimmering opportunity to live out a dream that was always too far away to grasp. My favorite bands seem to like skipping out on Manila on tours, sometimes even skipping out on Asia altogether (
The National, I am looking at you JK, they just literally posted a date for Tokyo. YOU MUST COME TO MANILA), so this was such a tempting situation that I voluntarily got myself into. And it was frakking worth it.
I still get chills and a jolt in my heart whenever I think about how I actually saw them play. I know that when you lay it out, it really doesn’t make any sense. “What’s the big deal?” you are probably asking yourself, but I really don’t know how to explain it. How do I explain that I can probably live off this post-concert high until the end of the year? How do I concretely prove to you that seeing them play songs I’ve looped endlessly and sang along with in showers and hummed and shared with girls I wanted to be friends with and put on mixes for boys I like-liked gave me such a rare and pure sense of joy and excitement?
For more than half the show, I was holding on to my camera, trying to capture the entire thing, trying to pixelize my proof: “I was there, and this is what I felt,” I wanted to be able to say. But then I realized that I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Certainly not my feelings. Certainly not my “religious experience,” the real fun and joy I felt, seeing one of my favorite bands up there, sharing what must be this tiny little thing to them with their fans, whose lives are probably changing, even for just a little bit, for just a little while.
My friend, Jamie, is one of the biggest Vampire Weekend fans I know. This is one of the many things that we share with each other—along with a Boy Band That Must Not Be Named, Dunkin Donuts coffee, and a Harry Potter ‘ship—something foundational to our friendship, if you will. I consider her one of my good friends, even though she lives in Oahu and even though we’ve never met. I can count on her to “get” me when I talk about things like this. I can count on her to “get” it and understand that I mean it when I say that seeing this show meant the world to me, how it counts as one of the greatest days of my life. Even though I was rows upon rows of people away. Even though I lost my phone. Even though I have a burning hole in my pocket from paying for the trip. Even though I am now in danger of being fired, since I wasn’t able to do much work while I was away (and because I didn’t really tell anybody).
I know Jamie gets it, and I know some of you might, too. And now, without further ado and without (much) further rambling, here’s the proper concert update that some people have been waiting for.
Vampire Weekend’s setlist. I made an iTunes playlist because that is how I sometimes roll. The last three are the ones from their encore. My brother said Ezra referred to “Walcott” as “Cape Cod,” though I cannot confirm nor deny these allegations, as I was too busy ogling his lovely face.
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa, aka one of my favorite songs of theirs.
It reminds me of some of the nicest things is why.
This was during “Cousins.” I can tell because of the lights,
which by the way were really awesome, appropriate, and properly-timed.
We really might as well have been watching a light show. I was so impressed.
More photos under the cut. I think you will be able to tell who the (obvious) favorite is, but I just want to say, for the record, I love all of them a lot. Continue reading Vampire Weekend on a Weekday….
Postponed lunch on Monday (with Anne, Mikka, Rico, Amanda, Raymond, and Den) to Wednesday because of the weather. Wednesday weather turned out to be kind of bad, too. But not so bad that we couldn’t take photos in the park! There are no photos of Rico and Mikka because I am dumb and forgot. :(
Over at Pasto! Anne, Den and Amanda. :)
Anne, in repose. HAHAHAHA. Ily.
More photos under the cut! I miss taking pictures, actually, so I guess this is a good thing. Continue reading A Kind Of Sunny Day….
Jacques Costeau book on a sidetable in the restaurant I will tell you about in a bit!
Hello, backlog of photographs! It’s kind of funny how I don’t go out much, and yet I still cannot manage to regularly post here. This has been alive for about a year and a half and I find that I still have trouble finding the right rhythm for posting regularity. But anyway, digression from the main point of this post!
These were taken last Saturday. Rico and Raymond passed by the hood (LOL West Avenue) to look at my collages, despite the rain, etc. We were going to meet up again later that night to go to Rose’s birthday gathering (post on that is coming and I am already LOL-ing), but Raymond and I decided to just get a bite to eat first.
Like I said, I’m more of a hermit than anything. I’m only up-to-date with online-related things, and I work from home, so yeah. I’m kind of behind when it comes to new~ places. This place isn’t even new, but it’s good! It’s called Nomnomnom. Our Awesome Planet blogged about them in 2009. That is how late I am to the program.
V.S.T. aka Very Succulent Tomatoes. These are stuffed with mushrooms and cheese.
Mushrooms and cheese! What even. Who thinks of these things. I would like to hug them.
Roughly around two weeks ago, on October 9, I went to see the Spanish galleon that docked on the port area in Manila. The first attempt was thwarted because my parents and I were discouraged by the long line that had already formed outside the registration area at around 9 A.M. This made me more resolute in getting there earlier the next day, which I did with Rico, who was gracious enough to drive me. We were meeting up with Anne there, and it sounded like a good plan, but the universe saw our plan and decided to hit us with a line that was almost twice as long as the line from the previous day. We got there three hours earlier, which is pretty ridiculous in itself, but I digress.
After a couple of struggling and lining up and waiting and waiting and waiting, we finally got to see the darned boat. It was smaller than I had imagined, and it was hard to appreciate the boat itself when there were so many people there with you. It was even harder to take photos because they had to keep the line flowing to be able to facilitate as much people as they could, so you couldn’t really get a good shot. (People were reportedly very near a stampede-y state, so the organizers really tried to deal with crowd control.)
If I knew we were going to be waiting close to four hours in line just to see the boat, I probably wouldn’t've gone to see. I don’t think it’s the fault of the organizers—a lot of people were just interested, and they didn’t expect such a great response to it. It was a nice experience, though. Dealing with so many people in such a different environment than what I am used to was quite an experience. Also, I got to spend the day with awesome people (i.e. Abi, who was part of the team that brought everything together) and was introduced to the best thing in the world since an actual burrito:
Army Navy’s breakfast burrito!
I think that what astonished me the most is the idea that they actually sail this ship around to get to where they need to be. It’s got actual ropes and sails and an anchor, a wheel. A kitchen, some cabins… they even have a flat screen T.V. set! It made me want to take up sailing and see the world for myself.
After eating the excellent breakfast burrito, Rico and I kind of drove around, trying to find a different route at home. The scenic route turned way too scenic, and we ended up being on the road for a pretty long time. I honestly didn’t really mind, though, because it’s always nice getting to know people, and perhaps because I had not been the one driving.
I think it placed me in such a great state for thinking. During this time, I’d been having difficulties dealing with some things… and the time away from distractions other than quiet conversation really gave me the space to confront what had been bothering me, albeit only internally.
Rico dropped me off at home, after a long and tiring drive, and I began to realize that in the middle of getting lost, I learned how to think of other things. And that realization really made me feel instantly better, despite the long periods of waiting and the numerous uncertainties that were scattered across the day.
(I took some photos with a film camera, but I haven’t gotten around to getting the roll developed.)
October has been the most confusing, frustrating, exciting, fantastic, boring month, so far, this year. I have resisted the urge to punch people in the face, and sob uncontrollably (which is to say, I guess I controlled that urge pretty well), and kick and scream at nothing, sometimes about nothing at all. But it has also been one of the best months, if we are going to talk about blessings alone.
When I try to think about what has been happening in October, they all congeal into this indeterminate blob of either ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ depending on what kind of day I am having. On paper, it really seems like a stellar month.
- A piece I had written a few months ago got published in a magazine that I honestly don’t regularly read (on account of I am usually poor LOL) but I deeply respect. It’s also about something that I’m really attached to and interested in, so, way to go, right?
- I mounted a show with only my favorite artists ever. (No kidding, here is a list: Juan Alcazaren, Roberto Chabet, Nilo Ilarde, Bernardo Pacquing, Soler Santos (lol my dad) and Gerardo Tan. “What even!” is all I can say. Also, that yes, I have died. already, thanks.)
- I got offered a pretty sweet position at a new company with a pretty sweet idea and mission that I really feel personally close to.
(Yeah, I mostly put all of that there to brag and plug, but still, pretty good month, considering, yes? Please get the October 2010 Issue of UNO magazine! And drop by the exhibit; it’s up until November 6.)
October 2010 remains one of the most harrowing months I have ever had to live through. I was sad for no specific reason, and whenever I tried to talk to other people about it, I couldn’t really give definitive answers, because, to be honest, I couldn’t think of any. Whenever I tried to put words into what I felt, they sounded wrong, and pathetic, and came across as measly, little problems that people whined about when they ran out of things to be sad about. But the feelings were real, and they were eating me up, and I didn’t know what to do about them.
One of the things I was upset about was my general listlessness when it came to “achieving” and “productivity.” It’s no secret to most of my closest friends that what I want for myself in life is to matter. That’s why I write, and that’s why I’m always so focused on making things. I used to think that maybe this fixation on ‘getting my name out there’ pointed to me wanting be popular and famous, and that thought really upset me because I didn’t want that to be my ultimate dream. How selfish and self-absorbed, I thought.
I think that the “not getting very far with what I had been doing” is what made me panic. And this panic bubbled into something I can’t even try to name. Sitting here, thinking about the month that still is, I have arrived at the realization that, perhaps, I’m not working hard enough, and I’m not spending my time as I should be, if I wanted to really make things that will mean something to people. If I really wanted my life to matter in the way that I wanted it to.
I’m sitting on an article due tomorrow morning, that I haven’t written, and I’m going to steal one of the quotes from my friend, Nash: ” i think [certain things] after college really taught me to stay away from the sad things for awhile.” I have a feeling that October is the month where I will try and teach myself to stay away from sad things. It’s been opening my eyes, slowly, to seeing that I needed to spend time on other things that I loved, and steer myself away from the little failures and disappointments that have been so liberally scattered recently.
A conversation with Abi made me realize how dumb it is to fixate on one aspect of my life that was going wrong at the time. When I saw her for the first time in months, I was visibly sad and upset. “How’s work?,” she asked. “Pretty good,” I said.
“Quite well, actually.”
She didn’t say anything, because she’s such a good friend, but I could see her thought process, and it became clear to me how stupid it was to devote so many hours of my day to being upset over something I couldn’t control. It weighted so heavily on me, and I couldn’t shake these bad thoughts and bad feelings away. But I think it might have been because, up until that point, I didn’t really try very hard. And then, quite suddenly, the clouds seemed to part, and then it became easier for me to look at the other parts of myself that were working out well (and celebrate them!) and work on the things that I could.
Nick Hornby wrote, in 31 Songs (a book I have been in the middle of reading for the last eight years), “One has so many more opinions about what has gone wrong than about what is perfect.” And it’s true. From another high school staple, Megan McCafferty’s Second Helpings goes, “Tragedy was part of our daily routine. But through it all, I never understood the point of being sad when I could choose to be happy.” It’s been all around me all this time, and it took me a pretty frakking long time to get it.
What you choose to spend your time on is what’s going to matter in the future. That’s what’s I’m slowly learning. That it’s not good for certain things, especially those that are surrounded by negativity, to take up too much time and space in your life. That by giving these things an entire continuum, you ignore the other parts of your life that you could be happy, proud, excited about.
It seemed appropriate.
I’ve always been the kind of person who is propelled into action by the overwhelming sense of pressure. School taught me how to speed-write a paper an hour before it is due, and still get passing, if not excellent marks on it. I know how to cram a paper, edit a report, make a presentation in record frakking time, but what I’m learning right now is to be patient and to really spend time on the things that matter to you. Your relationships, your work, your craft—even reading books (as Atwood’s “The Blind Assassin” is kicking my ass so hard right now).
Some things can’t be rushed and need to be coaxed to grow and bloom and what-have-you. Sometimes, you really need to make time for them. Other things need to be left alone for a little while and be given some space to breathe. The trick that I’m trying to master, I guess, is which parts need to be looked after and which ones need to be aired out.
Meritxell, Marikina has been housing marginalized and abandoned girls ages 3 -16 years old since 2007. Those who are old enough to study are sent to private schools for education. Ateneo has recently listed them as one of their NSTP areas. In order for them to further improve their studies, they need more educational books for review. This Saturday, there will be a book swap event to collect books for the girls. If we gather more than 200 books, 3 more orphanages will benefit.
What is Book Swap?
- To participate you need to bring at least 1 educational book or children’s book + your unwanted books.
- The educational books go directly to the abandoned girls of Meritxell
- You may choose from books other people bought and you can bring home the same number of books as the amount of unwanted books your brought.
When? October 23, Saturday, 10 am – 6pm
Where? “The Balcony” 110 Dona Angela Bldg., Carlos Palanca St., Makati City
See you there and Spread the word!