Monthly Archives: September 2006

Carlo The Crook

Edit: Carlo has taken down his site. I’ve put up a cached ver­sion. Thanks to every­one for the sup­port — goes to show that a voice can count for some­thing on the internet.

Carlo, who lives some­where in Metro Manila and some­times, not most of the time, in Pangasinan, Philippines, has stolen from me. There are oth­ers who steal my work, but this is usu­ally the pic­tures I take, which they use as back­grounds for their own sites (most com­monly the starry sky at Bancroft). I try not to take offence to this; the file sizes are com­monly small, so it doesn’t make much of a dent in my monthly band­width. There are also peo­ple like Sophia, who has made her pres­ence known to me, and uses my words every so often in her own writ­ing as a flat­ter­ing gesture.

Carlo is different.

He’s taken one of my entries and passed it off as his own.
Word for word.

This entry, which I strug­gled days to write, into which I poured my heart, was posted on his blog a day after mine. He did change the title, although I think this hardly ame­lio­rates his actions. He also used my Petal Game pic­ture (per­haps with­out notic­ing my water­mark in the lower right-hand cor­ner), as well as a line from my post inspired by Eternal Sunshine, for a dif­fer­ent entry.

It sad­dens me to think not of how eas­ily some­one can steal things on the inter­net, but how will­ing they are to do it. I can only won­der how many other peo­ple have stolen from me. Lorelle, who offers some great points on what to do if some­one steals your con­tent, sug­gests open com­mu­ni­ca­tion, in com­bi­na­tion with as a let­ter of cease and decist. And while I’m in com­plete agree­ment with this, I felt that for the first time I should write about it instead, to make it pub­lic, so that oth­ers may be aware of their own works. There are peo­ple who will quote with­out ref­er­enc­ing. There are peo­ple who will take with­out returning.

Because what’s the point of blog­ging, when one’s words aren’t one’s own?

Autumn Recall

Fall approaches. The trees have yet to shift their colours along the spec­trum, but the tem­per­a­ture has begun to drop. Even when the air is calm it’s a play­ful shiver down the spine.

One of my favourite things to do around this time of year, before I quit, would be some wake and bake to start the day. After smok­ing a joint, I’d open the win­dows, turn up the music, and let the breeze drift inside. Sometimes I would go for a walk with my iPod before the sun fully showed itself. When the beat was right, the hard­est thing to do was not to move my body to the music, to groove embar­ras­ingly, and grind and sing and twirl.

With enough weed in the lungs, any­one will dance.

I won’t say that I don’t miss that lifestyle, because it was a way I could view things from a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive. My thoughts would run freely on those early autumn walks. Music would sound bet­ter. Girls, cov­er­ing up in sweaters and long sleeves, would look nicer. It was a pre­scrip­tion I would need every week.

The expe­ri­ence isn’t the same until it’s this time of the year. Smothering sum­mer heat dulls the senses. Winter over­stim­u­lates them into sobri­ety, and even after a full bowl, all one can feel is cold. It’s only in the fall, in the per­fect weather, that brings one to ones’ senses. The green air, full of that cold con­crete smell, gives a rush to the head.

Until I walked out­side this morn­ing, with !!! pound­ing in my ears, I never thought I could feel this way again.

The approach of fall has brought this back to me.

To Steep

Thumbnail: Bacon grease

Thumbnail: Breakfast

Thumbnail: Dolly's milk treat

All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a lit­tle stronger with each year that passes.

—George Orwell

On Saturday morn­ings I wake up a lit­tle past seven, no mat­ter how late I was up on Friday. Get dressed, check the mail, read the news, go upstairs to cook break­fast in a pan of grease. Everything is timed per­fectly. The toast is started two min­utes before the eggs are bro­ken into the pan, but only after the bacon is done. The tea starts steep­ing two min­utes before that. Everything is ready and warm within 25 minutes.

Dolly gets a treat on the week­end morn­ings: a bit of Fancy Feast, or half-and-half mixed with water. Cats are lac­tose intol­er­ant, so they can’t drink straight milk, but they’re drawn the fat that their noses can smell.

Bacon, bread, egg, bacon, bread, egg. I eat my break­fast in order, going clock­wise around the plate, but I always save a few sips of tea for the end. Even though I’ve given up the Hong Kong style milk tea, Orange Pekeoe is an appro­pri­ate black leaf sub­sti­tute, round­ing out the meal.

It’s a lit­tle rit­ual that keeps me sane. At the end of break­fast, sat­is­fied and full, I can reflect and recharge, down to the dregs.

Every year, as I grow older, I find that I let my tea steep a lit­tle longer. Maybe life has got­ten a lit­tle too com­pli­cated, and I need the tea as a dis­trac­tion, or per­haps life has become too sim­ple, and I need the com­pan­ion­ship of a rich mug to stim­u­late me.

Strange how a teapot can rep­re­sent at the same time the com­forts of soli­tude and the plea­sures of company.

And I’ve never needed this more than I do now.

The Beginning To The End

This was the week­end we first met.

The first time we kissed. The first time we held each other. The first time we slept with arms entwined, bod­ies bare and buried under the covers.

It was before the snow melted on the verge of spring, when I would open the win­dows to dry the sweat from our skin.

I put on a song that made me cry, because she said that it turned her on, and with the tears welling up in my lids, we stared into each oth­ers’ eyes.

From the moment we touched, there was never any awk­ward­ness. Only a com­plete trust, a com­fort­ing famil­iar­ity, as if we’d known each other for years, a gen­tle nuz­zle of the nose from my baby-faced doll.

And now it’s over.

Someone who saw this video sent me this very touch­ing let­ter about her story of rape and recovery.

Musical Context

For years, I lis­tened to music based on my mood. Playlists were well suited for this. I had one full of sad songs for my sad days, days that would last months at a time. I had one with only quick-paced, aggres­sive gui­tar riffs and lung-spitting screams, for the pock­ets of rage I’d encounter every now and then. One that was mostly elec­tronic inspi­ra­tion — songs that would move me when I needed to move. One for the par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult days, con­sist­ing of stoic melodies that could fill me with grit deter­mi­na­tion. There was even one for the bit­ter­sweet moments, per­fect for a post-show buzz. Every song served a par­tic­u­lar purpose.

This mot­ley group­ing of sin­gle tracks may have been the result of the way I dis­cov­ered new music. Tenaciously, with ears always open, I would record as much as I could that caught my fancy, jot­ting down any dis­cernible lyrics I could use as a basis for a search, and never stop­ping until I could find the song. Hysteria, by Muse, is just one exam­ple, which I hap­pened to dis­cover while watch­ing an awards show. For a long time, it remained a song I’ve enjoyed on my for it’s sub­tle build-up, and ener­getic, nearly chaotic, synth-inspired bass lines.

Things changed when I lived with Trolley. He exposed me to bands of dif­fer­ent gen­res, and being a musi­cal col­lec­tor, this expo­sure took the form of com­plete albums. One of them hap­pened to be Absolution.

Now that I have the entire album, Hysteria is known to me as track 7, com­ing after the pen­sive Interlude, but before the gen­tle, ethe­real, Blackout. In this con­text, pre­ceded and suc­ceeded by two equally sig­nif­i­cant tracks, the song doesn’t sound the same.

Eventually, none of my playlists were appro­pri­ate for what I was feel­ing. At first, I thought that this was the result of increas­ingly sub­tle or com­plex emo­tions, but I’ve come to real­ize that it’s sim­ply because I’ve matured, and as a result, my emo­tions have evened out. With the wis­dom and seren­ity asso­ci­ated with grow­ing older, came the loss of emo­tional highs and lows that would inspire me.

Now it’s become dif­fi­cult to lis­ten to a song in a playlist. Every album has an order. Every track has its place. Listening to a song out of its musi­cal con­text may be hard, but lis­ten­ing to music with­out the rush of inspi­ra­tion is harder.

And this has become my musi­cal context.