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.