Sabado, Pebrero 11, 2012

'Cuz Catholic school boys rock!

Tho I came from a poor family, my parents--who were both government employees--had me take piano lessons in grade school after class. Being a Catholic school boy, my first piano teacher was an old nun who used to slap my fingers with a wooden ruler when they fumbled on the keys. For some strange reason, her hitting my hands with a stick did wonders to my fingers so now they have a mind of their own whenever I play. After sixth grade, I went to a public high school 'cuz it was much cheaper there. Being a certified nerd, I continued my piano lessons under my mother's co-teacher and went to their house every Saturday. Around that time I was also into new wave music and discovering that there was another species called girls. Thus, when my second piano teacher asked her daughter--who was four years my senior, aesthetically pleasing and partial to wearing shorts--to fill in for her, I lost my concentration, sweated bullets and fidgeted uncomfortably on the chair. This went on til junior high when I fell in love with the guitar--'cuz it's got more curves than my third and last piano teacher. In place of classical music, I learned punk rock, heavy metal and campus activism in college. To the detriment of my already embarassing academic standing, I joined a number of garage bands who never got to play gigs, except in friends' birthday parties and a few underground concerts. After spending an eternity in college getting wasted and transferring majors/ schools, I finally got to graduate and got into temp jobs that could barely pay for guitar strings. Aside from being a geek, I'm also a certified asshole who pissed people off, so I finally forsook playing in a band, learned other instruments and dabbled in do-it-yourself/ make-your-own home recording. And then I got married and my preoccupation with playing stuff live to an audience had somehow waned, but that didn't stop me from making independent music in the comforts of my bedroom--with computer sequencer/ mixer in one hand and keyboard synthesizer/ drum machine in the other. Now if I only took voice lessons instead of learning the piano.

Unplugged at The Fort with melodica in hand, second from left

Learning the ropes thru the years

A piano recital back in innocent days

Click here for some of my recent works/the fruits of my boredom

Huwebes, Pebrero 9, 2012

Seven #2: I'm not the ring around your finger

White walls, white sheets, cramped room, airconned. Aimlessly, Estela stares at the ceiling grinning. In the bathroom, her boss speaks lies. A small box lies on the pillow. Its contents now hang from her ears. "Gotta go home, honey, wifey's gone nuts." Mr. Hsu leaves with 30 minutes left.

(Seven-word flash fiction in 7 sentences. A collection of 77 stories on what-nots)

Miyerkules, Pebrero 8, 2012

Seven #1: When 7 words is more than enough

"You're not exactly my type," she said. Donato picks one petal off his roses. "She loves me, she loves me not." The dried flowers crumble at his touch. A box remains unopened under the bed. It was for Estela's birthday last week. "Will it sell on Ebay?" he thought.

(Seven-word flash fiction in 7 sentences. A collection of 77 stories on what-nots)

Biyernes, Pebrero 3, 2012

Facebooked: Operative word is PUNK!

"You're not an asshole Mark, you're just trying too hard to be one."

Within a couple of days, Facebook (FB) is rumored to sell stocks (IPO) to the public--that means you, me and the rest of "us" or the not "them" (read: rich kid$, bright kid$, the elite/burgi$). FB has itself valued at around $100B I think. That's almost twice the valuation of computer giant Hewlett-Packard and 1/2 the valuation of refrigerator-maker General Electric. Wow! That's a lot of money. Now here's the catch: What does FB own? If you buy into their IPO what will you own? A printer? A fridge? For all I care, "their" website could literally go under tomorrow (along with your hard-earned money). What did people who invested in Myspace (MS) come away with? And where is MS today? I for one moved from MS (and Friendster) to FB after most of my [garage] musician and [suffering] artist friends moved to it. Just as I moved my yattering from Geocities to Blogspot 'cuz it's no longer the "in" thing. Now, would you pay $1/P42 a month should they start charging your FB account? And how many online ads have you clicked recently on the website? Bought any FB/game credits lately with your Paypal? Unlike Ebay goods (and toys hehehe), FB offers nothing tangible and I don't see any long-term investment. Mark Zuckerberg's inner circle of private investor$ (read: them) has already milked his FB cow and what "they" are looking for now with the IPO are zuckers to buy up the ¢rumbs as it goes downhill from there.

But you got to hand it to Zuckerberg, he created something out of nothing with other people's ideas and money. If you'd recall in Social Network (yup, the FB movie), some of his first funding and intitial concepts at Harvard U came from fellow students. Which brings us to the operative word of three (four on the original) on probably the last remaining tarpaulin poster of the 2010 film, thanks to MRT station Cubao.

PUNK: Although the movie's score was done by industrial rock god Trent Reznor of NIN fame, you'd hear the raw hardcore punk sound of the Dead Kennedys's "California Uber Alles" (a personal slampit fave) in the background of that drinking contest scene with the interns coding. Then there were the jukebox songs by psychobillies The Cramps and garage rockers The White Stripes--during the opening bar scene, but sadly all three aren't included in the "official" soundtrack. That's corporate rock (still sucks) for you! If there's one track that ought to be included, it's got to be the Ramones's "Outsider" 'cuz that's what the film is all about. It's not about how the internet's largest (anti)social-networking site [which killed off most real-life, face-to-face social interaction and privacy] came to be, nor how to become the world's youngest billionaire without investing your own money. It's about being alone and the basic human need for acceptance within a group, be it the exclusive Ivy League Phoenix boys' club or the weekly TGIF/TGIP (TanGina It's Friday/Payday) drinking session. It's about doing-it-yourself (DIY), be it writing code for a website that could potentially connect everyone on the planet or writing your own songs and releasing an indie album without major label support. Now if that isn't punk then I don't know what is. Of course, there's also the question of selling out--when the outsider becomes part of the establishment he despises. And then what? Guess I'll sit this one out til the next big thing.

Oh, and just when you thought that FB was only a website and a movie, it also sells users' personal information to third-party apps, internet-tracking companies, advertisers/ marketers, and the government/ intelligence agencies (read: CIA data mining). Ever wonder why it's free? Ever read FB's ever-changing privacy policy and terms of use recently?