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New music — 8 tracks

(But first: a short update on the last post—I did end up going, I made him make a finger heart, I wrote about it, and I gave him a book.)

I’m not sure when it started, but I’ve been making an effort with regards to listening to new music as they come, instead of waiting for the songs and albums to turn into toddlers. I don’t usually talk about new music anymore, aside from unabashed gushing, but here’s… something. It’s an exercise in writing about music and things I enjoy… or more verbose unabashed gushing, probably, I don’t know.

“The Louvre” by Lorde

Easily my favorite track off of Melodrama, which I love despite all the Jack Antonoff, “The Louvre” is deceptively playful and upbeat, betraying a tangible sheen of melancholy that runs all throughout the album. “The Louvre” is big, grand gestures and dangerous all-consuming love, but it’s also about the loss it leaves behind when the fire burns out. (Listen here.)

(If you’re curious, my second favorite is “Hard Feelings/Loveless,” which has a pretty amazing Vevo x Lorde session. The bridge kills me every time.)

“Appointments” by Julien Baker

Pleasantly surprised that the first single off of the to-be-released sophomore album, Turn Out the Lights, is one that I hadn’t heard yet. “Appointments” starts off slow, a bit like it’s leaching into you, bit by bit, and when you resurface, you realize how much of you it already has in its hands. At the end, she sings “Maybe it’s all going to turn out alright / And I know that it’s not / But I have to believe that it is,” and it’s super fucking bleak, but the way she sings it, you’d sing along, thinking it was a hymn. (Listen here.)

“Can’t Get It Out” by Brand New

The second track off of Brand New’s surprise album drop (so surprising that I only found out about it because Petra sent it to my email), “Can’t Get It Out” is the one that’s stuck to me the most and it’s the song that I “bonded with” immediately. Jesse Lacey, with fuzzy guitars and an ominous whistle, managed an approximation of how heavy-laden I feel on most days. (Listen here.)

“Carin at the Liquor Store” by The National

So far, The National’s released four new tracks off of Sleep Well Beast, which they’re aiming to release by the 8th of September. This is probably my favorite, and it’s not because it has all six letters of my name in the correct order; it feels the most melodic, the most intimate and personal. Like an end-of-the-day song, the soundtrack to you, taking off your day-to-day masks in front of someone you love. (Listen here.)

“Minimize” by BP Valenzuela

I’m patiently waiting for BP’s new album, but this is such a gorgeous lead up to it. She’s stated that “Minimize” is about being “resigned to imagining what it’d be like to just want someone happy, whether it’s with you or not.” Her languid vocals are soothing, paired with a sadness she’s come to terms with, like a person who’s used to loss and solitude. (Listen here.)

“Motion Sickness” by Phoebe Bridgers

I’ve been waiting for new music from Phoebe Bridgers for a while. Even as she sings about betrayal and a falling out, there’s a steady sad calmness to the song, her rage tempered, somehow, with resignation. (Listen here.)

“Provider” by Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean was someone I’d avoided listening to for a long time, and I’m still not sure what is it about his music that resonates with me. “Provider” sounds like the calmness of a night on a beach washing over you. (Listen here.)

“You’re Dreaming” by Wolf Parade

You know how, when you’re too attached to old music and the artist releases new stuff and you can’t quite get around to liking it right away. Well, this is a super convoluted way of saying that that’s not what happened here with me, haha. Wolf Parade’s Apologies to the Queen Mary is one of the albums I keep harping on and on about until now, 12 years later.

A new Wolf Parade album is coming out on October 6th and if the rest of it’s going to sound like “You’re Dreaming,” I can’t wait. (Listen here, though the video is great.)

In search of the Sourwolf

Let me explain.

In 2011, MTV released a “remake” of Teen Wolf—Michael J. Fox’s werewolf extravaganza, released in 1985—where the main character was played by JLo’s kid in Maid in Manhattan.

Except it wasn’t exactly a remake because it deviated from the source material a lot. Like, a lot lot. In many good ways, at least, for me. So, since 2011, I’ve been watching—both with adoring eyes and loathe-filled necessity, depending on the storyline—the series, and although I’ve thought many times about dropping it, but I didn’t.

This Tyler Posey tweet is essentially all of my feelings on the matter:

Anyway, so I learned that Tyler Hoechlin—Derek Hale—is going to be at Asia POP Comic Con this year and I have gone through so many roller coasters made of pure emotions because a) he will be here!!, and b) there will be a meet and greet!!

Tyler H. hasn’t been on Teen Wolf for like, a season and a half, but he’s been in a Linklater movie and is currently the live action!Superman in Supergirl world (which, honestly… he’s a pretty fucken perfect Clark Kent). So, like, I’ve had doses of “Derek” in my periphery, but catching up on Teen Wolf 6B? AND CATCHING A GLIMPSE OF HIS FIDGET SPINNER TATTOO?

Well, I fell into that pit fandom that I unwittingly avoided at the height of my wolfy love. So, essentially, I’m in love with Derek Hale, and it’s not 2011-2014.

Anyway, although you may be fooled into thinking that I am actually going to the meet and greet because of the exciting way that I have announced it, I’ve resolved that I probably won’t be able to make it. Probably. I think. (And trust me, I did try—shamelessly—but alas. I will probably have to fork over actual money I shouldn’t be spending on this. I’d like to think that my run-ins with the people I love, so far, have been serendipitous, but a number of them have involved me spending some cash, so I guess fate is fake.)

Here are some questions I would probably ask if I were to end up going and not chickening out of conversation:

  1. What do you do in your free time? (AKA PLZ update your social media more, I am desperate.)
  2. Is your favorite project, thus far, the porn-y dudebro Linklater movie, or is it the porn-y dudebro Linklater movie?
  3. What was it like jumping from broody alpha werewolf with PTSD and abandonment issues to porny dudebro athlete to actual ball of sunshine, Clark Kent-slash-Superman?
  4. WHY WON’T YOU TALK ABOUT STEREK ANYMORE? WAS ANY OF IT REAL? (Although, probably not. But I’ll think this one really, really, really hard. Maybe he’ll hear me.)

Then I’d probably ask for a hug or something.

LOOK, I just saw the Teen Wolf 6B trailer the other day and I’m just so fucking happy that Derek and Stiles are back, every episode I watch is like a damn stakeout for Sterek, tangled in love’s embrace or not. It’s all probably going to be in the last twenty minutes of the SERIES FINALE, too, so I don’t know why I bother with hoping.

Whatever, it doesn’t matter. I just miss Derek. (And Isaac… and Allison… and Stiles… Fine, maybe even Jackson.)

P.S. Speaking of, in the last episode I saw, Liam was all “BE LIKE CLARK KENT, REMEMBER?” to like, manage his anger or something, and I swear I died a little bit.


August at Artinformal

I haven’t been posting art shows here recently (obviously), but I do try to take photos of the ones I go to. Try, operative word, etc. etc. Here are some photos of a really gorgeous set of simultaneous shows that opened at Artinformal last week.

When an exhibit works out well, it’s all the more enjoyable, but when the individual shows happen in one space and they seem to be having a good conversation with one another, it almost feels like magic.

Alvin Zafra’s Hi-Way 54

Done with white stone over sandpaper, Alvin Zafra’s work is an exercise both in patience and in perspective. When your subjects are so heavy on straight lines and require precision, it’s hard enough trying to render them as true-to-life as possible. Doing it in reverse feels like a little more than a small victory.


Costantino Zicarelli’s ot / a/ biillno/ aersy years \billion \a \to

In Cos’ exhibit notes (written by Itos Ledesma), there’s talk about chance apparitions, where meaning is ascribed to things that very may well mean nothing. What I enjoy about his work is the commitment to pushing the boundaries of a material or an image or a method, and though I’ve been familiar with his work and its evolution the past few years, I almost never know what to expect.


Nice Buenaventura’s Wave Drawings No. 11-12

There is something awe-inducing when you realize that the gradients in Nice Buenaventura’s work are rendered by the artist’s hand. The work may initially come off as cold: variations of black and white and shade, but the basis of the drawings is personal—recorded vibrations of the artist’s hand—as is the sculptures/objects that accompany them. The green salt blocks represent negative space in Nice’s home; their existence is where “the absent is made present.”


How to deal

Today was particularly taxing for no particular reason, but I soon realized that I have been in a prolonged state of unease. Then, I realized, too, that my main way of coping when I’m angry (which has been happening a lot, but it’s probably because of high stress levels, and high sadness levels, and then mixed in with all the things you can’t control but wish you could) is to eat a lot.

And it made me think of the other methods I’ve employed to remedy my messy-self situation (and mind you, this isn’t actually a how to…), because, well, you can only eat so much.

  1. Further exacerbating the situation by thinking of other things beyond my scope of control.
  2. Playing Stardew Valley, because the pointlessness of being sometimes extends to fictional farming, especially when your gameplay has plateaued, which unfortunately is the case for me. But, like, at least my farmer knows when to sleep.
  3. Forcing my dogs into cuddles. Noah is a more easily persuaded candidate, if you can believe that.
  4. Watching trashy fantasy T.V.
  5. Watching YouTube until I feel so ill about the life and times of other people that I feel better. Or until I feel so woefully envious of other people that I pass out and/or kick my butt into action. (A much rarer occurrence, but it happens.)
  6. Naps-that-aren’t-really-naps because my body won’t give in to exhaustion when it’s paired with rage.
  7. Looking for things to buy online.
  8. Thinking about One Direction: This is Us, because rewatching it in my fragile state would be too sad.
  9. Thinking about all the things I ought to do because doing them feels impossible. Expertly skilled in avoidance.
  10. Cleaning small portions of my room while messing up the other already-clean portions.

I’m freaking out about so many things (on the inside), and sometimes, all I can think about is how much I don’t want to be anywhere.

(This sounds bad, but I’m fine, I’ll get through this swamp of shit, but it just takes a bit longer than I’d like sometimes. The only way to get through the bad stuff is to go through it.)

How about a holiday in the islands of grief?

It’s been a while and I think I just need to get rid of the notion/thought that I need a reason to post here because a) I used to just post whatever I wanted, and b) I should just do that again. And the lack of updates usually indicates Too Much Shit Happening, rather than the opposite.

If I didn’t have anything to deal with, I’d probably be on here 24/7, but then again, that’s what Twitter is for.

I’m in the middle of several tornadoes (I think, anyway), but I guess the biggest, worst one is my dad’s dad dying last June 10. He had been sick, bedridden, and unresponsive for a few years, so for me, his actual death was kind of like a second mourning. Like, it still caught me off-guard, but the rational part of me is a dick and is like, “Well, why are you so surprised?”

When he was still alive, I kept thinking about how I missed him, which was always followed by the thought that I probably shouldn’t post that caption or tweet—that I missed him—because it made it seem like he was dead, even though he wasn’t. Not yet, then, anyway. Not technically.

I was in Chicago for his last birthday. I couldn’t make it home in time. And then I lost my passport and had to stay there just a bit longer. I told myself I’d make it up to him when I got back, but I don’t even remember the last time I went to go visit him. Which, frankly, makes me feel like shit, but that’s just a thing that happened that I can’t take back.

Honestly, he was one of the best, most magical people. I also think that this view of him I have is probably influenced by how highly other people speak of him. To me, he was just Tatay, my lolo who I owe a lot of myself to, who didn’t care if he ate corn on the cob messily, who cut too-tight shirt collars neatly down the middle (only to reattach both sides together again with a strip of masking tape), who liked crushing Ritz Bits and sprinkling them over Cookies and Cream ice cream, who’d rather do the inconvenient thing than hurt people he considered his family, who spoke brazenly about the things he knew to be true.

In another, less gooby, part of my brain, I’m held in awe. When catch myself being a shitty person, I think about him and how he’d probably handle the many messes in his life, in his deeply flawed, human way, and it helps me be a slightly less shitty person. When it feels so, so easy for me to give up and be lazy, I think about how those were things he never did, and pulling through feels a little easier to do.

When he started losing his memory, my dad would quiz him a little, just tests here and there.

“Who is Akira Kurosawa?”
“A filmmaker.”

“Naaalala niyo pa po ba si Ina?”
“‘Yung mahilig magbasa.”

I think there is something quite nice to be found in the thought that, to someone, you’re frozen in time forever, in theory. Tatay never really saw me get involved in art, which I don’t think is something he wanted us to be a part of, necessarily. He never knew me apart from “Reader” and “Writer,” his apo with a short fuse, funny hair, misplaced angst. There are so many things I’d like to say to him about work, our dogs. I miss hearing him laugh, even if it wasn’t usually at any of my jokes.

It’s just weird when I think about all the different versions of me he never got to know. I don’t know how it’s possible, but I miss the conversations we never even got to have. A bit of a strange feeling, I guess.

I think that’s where most of my grief comes from. He never really got to know me as I am now (or the people I’d been in the last ten or so years), and I don’t think I tried hard enough to get to know him beyond how I knew him. I still keep finding new things about him that I didn’t know about before. It’s strange and sad in a way that I suppose deaths are, most of the time.

I keep accidentally finding parallels in both of our lives. Like how he did graphic design and worked in publishing before becoming a full-time artist. Like how he painted on the side, while he waited for things to happen. And these small, probably inconsequential, discoveries—because I can’t share them with him—makes him feel both closer and farther away.

I don’t really know how to write about it “properly.” The more I think about him, the sadder about it I get. Which probably explains why I’ve been hunting for diversions. Just when I thought I’d filled every crevice of myself with stuff to do or learn or read or write or Google, a cavernous void opened up, and I don’t know what to do except to find more stuff to do.

There are waves of grief. Or, more accurately, pulses of it, which hit me when I least expect them to find me. I don’t know how to shake them off, make them go away, but lately I’ve been feeling a little bit like maybe I don’t want to stop feeling the sadness. What I feel is that this grief is all I have left of him, and I don’t want to lose that, too.