blog 2nd subtitle caption

- earnest, meaningful and slightly sarcastic -

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Role Models: Corinne Bailey Rae

  Corinne Bailey Rae's music speaks to me. I find myself bopping my head to her tuneful songs, and her voice and lyrics leave the impression that she could be only a talented and insightful musician. She's not quite the big name celebrity, but she seems to possess a quiet confidence of a musician who lets her music speak for itself without any rabid desire for popular validation. I really admire that. It's more about expressing less about performing. But she's great performer too, I loved watching her live. For her latest album, she created six podcasts about her insights about being aware of ourselves, our surroundings and other deep meaningful things. Her approach is very feelings-oriented, as she is in the creative/artistic field, but for someone who prefers facts and is simply cynical like I am, the podcasts still resonated with me and I found them very valuable.

And here's her music video for Been to the Moon



Isn't it great?! The lyrics, the horns in the background and gold lasercut jumpsuit. Hello! She has an enviable fashion sense. MatchesFashion.com even interviewed her and she revealed that she's friends with Garance Dore, thus confirming her fashion cred, among many interesting tidbits. This is my favorite quote from the interview: "The shapes are very classic… but it doesn’t take itself too seriously and has a sort of strangeness to it, a kind of surrealness, and an awareness of uniform." Sounds like something right up my alley!

There are so many other reasons to admire Corinne Bailey Rae and I hope you check out her work and life.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

SITE UNDER CONSTRUCTION

I'm hoping to revive my blog with a stylish design and cohesive content very soon!

Cheers, Tracy

Sunday, January 17, 2016

My Relationship with Food [Quick Take]

  Growing up, I've always been the piggy of the family. I can't say why I liked food growing up and why I ate so much, but nowadays the reason is it's soothing. Eating food--the biting, the chomping-- feels cathartic. When I am overwhelmed with life in general or a specific task one thing I know, and know how to do is eat.

  Funnily enough I don't really care for expensive meals. I always judge food relative to price. When something gets too expensive for me, I lose my appetite and no flavor can outshine the bill. Also, I'm not interested in the latest food trend. Maybe it's a defense mechanism for all the lonely lunches I continue to eat to this day. Like I don't want to join the crowd that I shunned or shunned me.

  At home, I like mindfully composed meals. Food, the preparation and partaking, is more habit than anything else for me. Possibly because growing up my mother slapped everything together in a mad whirl. Cooking the best meals at home follows a simple checklist of elements: a salad with lots of lettuce, a veggie-ish main with a carb, protein and green leafy veg, and a dessert.

  I'm kind of getting tired of sweets, but hey, they're always cool stored in the fridge, have no bones, shells or skins to discard except for plastic wrap that easily slides off and into the trash it easily goes.

  I like hot and spicy food which is surprising considering that I didn't really grow up eating that.

  Hmm... I've noticed a lot of things about my "relationship with food." I'll add to and fix this up once I have more. I'm quite proud of myself for being self-aware. This post was inspired by Emily Schumer's My Relationship with Food on Cupcakes and Cashmere.

Topics to include:
Conspicuous consumption
Food as reward... food as soothing
creative outlet
domain for likely pursuit of perfection - composing the perfect meal, controlled environment, has beginning and end
social aspect of food

I love the shopping part. I love the abundance and choice and variety. I wish I could spend as much as I could and stock my cupboards with all the oils and spices and tinned fish my heart desires.
my lack of Money is an impt factor too.

Avoid using the kitchen because it's kinda crappy.

tepid because of mom and her attitude
food isn't a passion of mine - it's a quick shallow pleasure hit

Monday, December 7, 2015

iZombie The Hurt Stalker S02E08: Show Inconsistencies & My Questions SPOILERS

It's a cute show with many bromance in-jokes, but...

1. Babineaux's Stolen Gun
Babineaux seemed unfazed that his gun was stolen, only revealing that information at the murder scene. Don't gun laws require some sort of reporting when your gun is stolen? Especially when you're a cop? It's kind of a big deal when your gun goes missing. Or just report a theft in general?

2. Fingerprints on Gun
That should have exculpated Babineaux from the get go.

3, Timeline of Regina's Badge Bunny Relationships
Ravi concluded that Regina's fantasy wedding album version Matthew Voss was thrown off the bridge only a few days ago because it was still dry when a few days ago it rained.

Dale Bassio confirmed that the package Regina left in the last episode cliff hanger ending was Regina's album for Clive.

I assume that Captain Walt Price also received his album recently like the other two.

Kinda weird that she'd send them their albums all at once. I mean, sure recycling the design is fine (ain't nobody got no time for that and all), but I don't really understand Regina's perspective. Did she date them sequentially or concurrently? If she dated them the way nice girls do (one at a time) why did she wait to end 3 relationships before giving the first guy her album? If she multi-tasked and dated them at the same time, wellll OK then.

4. Capt. Walt Price's phone conversation with Det. Cavanaugh
Not so clear why Capt. Price was worked up over Clive's album. Did he think that his affair could be found out based on the picture of him (his body actually) that Regina photoshopped?

5. What did Happen to Clive's Album?
Who stole it from Cavanaugh's desk? No seriously, who stole it? But is it significant?

6. Did Babineaux meet Regina in Matthew & Uma Voss's wedding???
Clive said he met Regina at a wedding and hit it off. Matthew Voss is in the police like Babineaux, so maybe Clive got invited to Matthew's wedding as a colleague? That's kind of incriminating on Clive considering according to Uma Regina showed up drunk and puked all over Uma's dress (and tried to kiss Matthew if I recall correctly).

7. Uma's Stolen Wedding Ring
If Regina stole Clive's gun, why would she steal Uma's engagement ring? Wouldn't Regina prefer to steal something that belonged to Matthew?

8. Gilda/Rita Discovery
Like everyone else I don't memorize phone numbers anymore, but wasn't there a possibility that Liv would have recognized Gilda's number?

So many questions... and that's just the mystery of the week and doesn't include points about Liv & Major's relationship, Max Rager, Gilda/Rita issue, etc!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Value of Fame

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck announced the end of their marriage a day after their 10-year anniversary.

If beautiful rich famous people can't make it, what about us mere mortals?

While I was whipping up this super snappy comment, I had trouble with producing the third adjective. Famous. Why is being famous so desirable? Beautiful is a no-brainer because the whole point of beauty is to attract; rich makes life more fun or at least removes banal stressful everyday life things like worrying about money or doing banal stressful everyday things (personal assistant).

But fame? I had never understood it. For a long time I thought it was just something that extroverts wanted, like if you're famous you go to a lot of parties with a lot of people screaming and dancing with music loud in the background and light bulbs flashing everywhere. But I think I finally kind of understand it now. Fame isn't about having your name in lights. It's about being loved and wanted. People love you so much that they want to know what you think, what you wear, what you feel, what you eat. Fame is when people value you whether for your big achievements, banal everyday life things, or both. I think it took the social media age for me to understand fame. It feels great to get so many likes. It feels validating.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

The words were capitalized and black against the book's white spine. I spotted them from the threshold and like how a straight line is the shortest distance between two points, I closed in on the space between the entrance of the bookstore and the back wall. This trip to the bookstore was a quick happy easy success.
(clockwise from top left) my copy of The Marriage Plot; a sweet line from the book; the back cover of my copy; the former owner's marginalia





    The Marriage Plot chronicles the college and post-graduate lives of the protagonists told in alternating perspectives: the books they read ; their romantic partners; and their progress through the marriage plot of their lives. In the novel, Mitchell Grammaticus is a thoughtful all-Greek-American student at Brown. He is sincerely searching for wisdom "with a capital W" in majoring in religious studies. He's a masterly student, basically guaranteed by his professor admission to his choice from Harvard, Yale or Princeton's divinity schools, but he's still the kid from the Midwest, rhapsodizing over exotic ice cream flavors like rum raisin.

  On the other hand, Leonard Bankhead's lousy childhood and mental health set a cynical edge to his confidence, but just like Mitchell he too ponders the big questions in life, though instead of religious studies philosophy is his method of inquiry, which leads him to semiotics class and to Madeleine Hanna for whom he falls in love, also just like Mitchell does.

  In Mitchell’s case, not only is he in love with Madeleine, he is convinced he will marry her. This bit of information completely detoured my reading and evaluation of the entire novel.

  See, in a spell of post-holiday blues, I reread Curtis Sittenfeld’s Man of My Dreams to revive any feeling left inside of me. The central premise of Man of My Dreams is that Hannah Gavener is in love with Henry, her cousin Fig’s college boyfriend, and is convinced that one day, she will in fact marry him—just like Mitchell with Madeleine. There are other similarities between the two novels: two coming of age novels; two campus and post-grad settings, and importantly, two protagonists who believe themselves destined for persons who don’t quite share their views. The comparison to me is inescapable. Early in both novels, Mitchell and Hannah envisioned being married to and having a family with their respective romantic interests: Mitchell while playing Scrabble with Madeleine and her parents, while Hannah during a long drive to Cape Cod with Henry. This feeling directs both the novels.

The very idea behind The Marriage Plot to me is just a more literary refinement of Man of My Dreams. As opposed to celebrity gossip and Hannah’s family members’ love lives, The Marriage Plot uses Austen, Eliot and the Brontes as a template for romantic relationships for Mitchell, Madeleine and Leonard to follow, or not to follow. Even characters’ names are similar: Hannah Gavener and Madeleine Hanna.

  More substantially, both Hannah and Mitchell go through their pursuit of love as a wholly transformative process. Hannah has to overcome the effect of her parents’ bad marriage, her own less than satisfactory relationships with them and quite a bunch of other people and her very understanding and beliefs about human relationships if she wants to be in love. Mitchell has more of a religious quest alongside his romantic pursuit. He goes to catechism, reads books by saints and volunteers at Mother Teresa’s home for the sick in India. Even though Mitchell’s appears more serious, he actually gets to have fun. He travels the world with his best friend Larry, whereas Hannah’s life is eventless except for a lot of painful moments. Hannah seemed alone in the world except maybe for Fig her cousin who does love her but could treat her more carefully. Basically, Hannah comes across tortured whereas Mitchell had a degree of youthful euphoria that comes from love even when unreturned.

  In both cases, youth was portrayed honestly. There’s a lot of self-doubt and insecurity wondering where we stand in relationships, but at the same time the young (including me?) can be so unquestionably sure about their feelings. There’s the moodiness, a kind of receptivity to every emotional stimuli. There are also the great friendships. There’s a part where Mitchell in spite of his anger at Larry for duping him and ruining their party quickly forgives him because “Larry was his best friend, they were going to India together and Mitchell had no choice.” Fig could put more effort in making Hannah comfortable but Fig accepts Hannah and doesn’t judge her (even though Hannah might believe otherwise). The petty and significant are all jumbled up and thrown at the young all together and teasing out what matters—be it your pride, the love of your life or long-held beliefs—and what to throw out makes a great coming of age novel. There are many ways to read The Marriage Plot, there are after all two more major characters and the thesis of the marriage plot. In the end, I loved how both novels ended and I loved how both authors treated their characters with so evident care. Being young is painful and exhausting and I’m glad the characters got their due.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Movie Report: Mockingjay

  It's refreshing to be in a movie theatre after all these years. Yes, that's right, I haven't watched a movie in a movie theatre in years. I haven't even watched a new movie from start to finish in a long time either. The last new movie I watched was on business class mid-haul Singapore Airlines (ahhh). It was a Star Trek movie. Not bad. But that's for another entry.

  My company was a sponsor for a local premier night, thus free tickets. The local premier night was was interesting in itself. A new events company organized it; I had always assumed organizers were either the movie theatre chain or the local distributor of the movie. I'm interested in the business of it, especially since anomalously, this premier night was not actually premier at all. The movie was released the day before, November 20. Anyway, other sponsors besides the company I work for gave out samples including a coupon from a food ordering website which I might actually use; another coupon for studio photography (I wonder how business is); a bar of Cadbury chocolate, unfortunately regionally produced in Malaysia I think. It was crap like all other licensed made in Malaysia chocolate. It was soft, waxy, chewy, not snappy, not glossy, but I still ate it after being proud of my restraint and  eating only around half of the popcorn. There were raffles with prizes from other sponsors. My ticket almost won a prize from a spa. Too bad; it was only 5 numbers up from the winning ticket number.

Some of my co-workers fell asleep. Overworked and underpaid. Haha. Also getting old.

Oh, the movie itself wasn't bad at all, but wasn't so great. It started off with some corny jokes, kind of cheap shots that people in the theatre nonetheless lapped up. For someone who has a rudimentary understanding of the story, having never watched the first two movies let alone read the books, I was able to follow it and was interested and entertained. I was surprised to see Philip Seymour Hoffman, may the man and brilliant artist rest in peace, as well as Julianne Moore. To me, the presence of two actors hinted that this is a decent production and I should sit up and pay attention. It was also surprising to recognize actors like Anne Boleyn from The Tudors, lately of Game of Thrones. This just shows how out of the loop I am.  The actual story wasn't very interesting; in three parts they were convincing Katniss to be the Mockingjay; filming videos of Katniss and lastly; suddenly saving Peeta and the other Hunger Games players when the opportunity arose.

  The striking thing about this movie that I can't decide whether it makes the movie bad or good is that I spent the first half of the movie wondering why there was such a huge emphasis on filming propoganda, how Katniss has to wear a special costume, how she's bad on a filming set and has to be on the ground. Does this movie, YA and dystopian society stories in general reflect contemporary society? Is it supposed to be an oblique reference to our self-obsessed society of image, Kardashians,  selfies, Youtube videos and all that jazz? Is it genius or inadvertent mimicry?

  Additionally, the indirect conflict between Peeta and Katniss essentially fought through TV reminds me of petty middle school quarrels. Perfect immaculately white teacher's pet Peeta against underground righteous rebel Katniss. Is this supposed to be a reflection of that?

  District 13 was beautiful. I loved the set design especially the dining hall lights with its table lights. It created a beautiful atmosphere, almost contemporary modern. The old Everdeen house and the Capitol were also beautiful, in an English manor kind of way.

  Where the movie people decided to end this part was a good decision. It was enough to give finality to this segment but still be curious about what will happen next. I will be looking for a copy of the books and maybe even the first two movies, though I wouldn't recommend paying for the movie ;-)


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Words Banned from 2015

  Oh god, the year is winding down. I hate this time of year for multiple reasons. But trying to keep positive, this is the time of year that heavily features one of my favorite things: lists. Mostly Christmas gift guides, but also retrospective "The Best of..." lists are a favorite. Being a little naughty and cynical, I'm compiling my own version of "Worst words of 2014". But being proactive and forward looking, I'm doing the honors of banning them. :)

  Words Banned from 2015
1. bucket list
So rampant is this compound word, though I can't remember a single time I've heard the originating idiom used here in Manila. I fully believe that most people who use it in Manila do not know what bucket they're talking about, let alone why kicking this particular container has come to mean death.
It's a completely meaningless word in this context, you might as well use 0199480ia list.

Please let's revert back to "life goals"


2. peg
Same as above. One chooses words for clarity and accuracy. Do not strip a word of its original meaning and slap one on it. How can peg be a shorthand for inspiration or model when in this country we pin rather than peg pictures to cork boards to begin with? Unquestioning wholesale import of slang is an uncomfortable reminder of colonial mentality.


3. disrupt, also disruptive innovation & disruptive technology
Stop self-aggrandizing.

More to come once I think of them...

Friday, October 31, 2014

Word of the Day, Political Edition

  1. Irredentism
  2. Irredentism (from Italian irredento, "unredeemed") is any position of a state advocating annexation of territories administered by another state, or the independence of those territories, on the grounds of common ethnicity or prior historical possession, actual or alleged.
  3. Irredentism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irredentism
    Wikipedia
I can't remember what I was reading, but I bet it was about Russia's irredentism of Crimea.

Monday, October 27, 2014

How I want to die

 One of the things I learned during my time at university was how I wanted to die. It was the summer after my freshman year, I stayed in my college town and was living in a co-op house with 20+ other students. During the lull between the spring semester and the start of summer term, a professor died. I've read and heard about that professor before, he was a Big Name not just on campus but in national political scene. His family were political elite; the main airport in Washington D.C. is named after his father, grandfather or uncle. I can't remember. He also seemed to be quite a character. When smoking was finally banned on campus shockingly late sometime in the late 80s to early 90s, he moved his office to the privately-owned dormitory tower across the street from the humanities quad. He supposedly could be seen either riding a bicycle or a scooter from the off-campus dorm to his office. I never did catch him but I wondered if he rented a dorm room inside the residence portion of Dobie or a stall in the ground floor mini-mall and wondered at the idea that his smoke was gassing up a dormitory.

  Anyway, one of my 20+ housemates was signed up for his summer class and when news came out of the professor's death, we good-humoredly wondered what will happen to her class, although seriously, it was going to get canceled: it wasn't as if some other professor could have filled it in. In this particular class by this particular professor, you signed up for the professor and not the class. Anyway, he was really really old. Like 90+ years old. And he was still actively teaching. His students loved him. And he was still actively working to the very end. That was how I wanted to die.

  I want to die well into my 90s while still working doing work that I love. I don't ever want to retire. I want to do work that I love that I get better at as I age. I want to have that good health that everyone wishes for in order to not spend my last years slowly dying going in and out of the hospital.  New York Times Magazine's Old Masters at the Top of Their Game just reminded me of this goal. It's quite uplifting to see people in their 80s and 90s doing just that. I didn't realize that Senator Diane Feinstein was 81. I knew that Tony Bennett was old, but I always forget just how old: 88! Frank Gehry is 85 and international landmark architecture is a stressful business I reckon, but he still does it and even has a problem delegating! There was a mini theme running through each interview. They all feel the same as they did 30, 40, 50 years ago. And in a way, I can see that, or more accurately I can't differentiate them physically from someone in their 50s, 60s and 70s. And it's not as if I don't interact with elderly people, I do quite a bit for work, but the people in The Times Magazine just don't look and definitely do not act their age. And they are just continuing at the level of success someone in his/her 50s would do. They are permanently stuck in time in a way. Anyway, I'll stop it here for now. I've got to work on having that good health bit right now.


http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/23/magazine/old-masters-at-top-of-their-game.html

Thursday, September 25, 2014

So Damn Sleepy

I'm in front of my laptop because I need to stay awake but I'm really sleepy.

I need to stay awake because I need to get shit down but I can barely stay awake and do anything.

Anything that is to mindlessly browse the web.

So now I'm awake.

I'm neither asleep or getting shit done.

Which means when I go to work in a few hours, I'll be falling asleep everywhere and not get anything done.

Oh shit.

It's a cruel cruel cycle.

No, it's not. Just muster up all the energy that I've spent in the past 4 hours staying awake into a burst of energy of just 30 minutes.

Will to power.

I don't know anything about Nietschze.

Except that.

But including spelling his name.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Busy at Work


Even when I'm able to carve a half an hour from work, my mind is still shell-shocked from stress that I can't think of anything I want to blog about. It's as if the gears of my brain were cranking on overtime, then a wrench was thrown in and caused springs and cogs to pop out. 

But the good thing is that I'm back reading. I used to be so stressed that I couldn't focus on what I was reading. Now I need something to cancel out the noise of stress, but I do not yet have the energy to do something as active as writing a coherent blog post. I'm reading Brideshead Revisted. I don't understand what the fuss is about. Well a little. But I don't understand why it's so popular. I sympathize with the characters and their motives, but how did this become so iconically British?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Music's latent influence on me

  I've realized that music is quite the propeller of consumer technology. Through the years, because of music people have all kinds of technology in their homes: vinyl records and record players, cassette tapes, CDs, iPods and MP3 players, and one main function of a smartphone and its data connection is to stream music. And that's just in the last 30ish years. Going further back in time, and adding the technology from musical instruments the list grows much longer. Growing up in a music and technology indifferent home (ie mother), I feel doubly missed out.

  My first memory of music was music playing during car rides to school. Usually my mother would have the news on, which was beneficial for my smartypants reputation. To this day, I still get surprised when I am in someone's car and s/he plays and FM station. I feel like this is so silly, like I'm in a movie about American teenagers with James Dean complexes.

  My mother didn't always turn to radio news. Eery Christmas, she'd play her tapes of Christmas-themed music. Some were actual liturgical music, but the one that stood out was the Carpenters Christmas Album. I still remember the cover: plain white background and a cartoon drawing of some people in red sleeping caps. The cartoon style reminds me of Dilbert: same squiggly lines, but more human-like illustration. Like as if you had a caricature portrait done. But in an old-timey style.  Let me find a picture of it. Anyway, the music wasn't really that great. For Christmas music, it was pretty weepy and sad. It felt as if the singer had the Judy Garland treatment--drugs to wake you up, drugs to put you to sleep--and was shaken out of bed and forced to sing half asleep. What made it all the more memorable for the wrong reason was that my mom told me that Karen Carpenter, the singer with the sad voice, killed herself. She wrote her suicide note on a mirror with lipstick: "Nobody loves me." Merry Christmas indeed.

Oh oops, my memory conflated the elements of the picture. Taken from genekellyfans.com


(to be continued)