Edit: Sorry, Forgot to Put a Title

Well, it’s a little late. But better late than sorry, I always say.

Ishha,

An ode has been written about what makes you awesome. But this one’s celebrating one of your little flaws. May something good come of it in the future.

Here’s to you.

PS

I’ve had this idea ever since I noticed your tendency to forget just about anything in school, but I couldn’t figure it all out until I found out you were leaving.

Come Back for It

Every time you turn to go

Are you sure, do you really know

And every time you go away

Do you know exactly what you’ll say

Is your heart keeping to speed

Do you have everything you need

Or are you running up the stairs

Trying to remember where

So tell me if you forget something

Do you promise to come back for it

And just in case someday you remember

Will you turn around right that minute

Looking back at all the days

Wondering if every one of them is meant to fade away

An eternity of youth

Must give in to a painful truth

Forever’s coming to an end

Trying to remember when

*

And come back here someday

Everybody’s waiting and no one will ever forget

*

Do you promise to come back for it

*

(Please tell me if you forget something you will come back)

(Someday will you turn around will you turn around)

And come back here

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A Day at Work with the Avengers

I’m very excited about the upcoming Avengers movie. It’s quite a big thing for someone who grew up reading all these superhero comic books to see movie adaptations that do them enough justice (I mean, after a long line of failures). I’d like to channel all that positive energy now to help dispel the appalling memories of a day whose potential for productivity was completely pissed away.

It happened on his day, a Thursday. I really wanted to fling Mjolnir at some people, if only to knock some sense into their heads.

I'm still bewildered why shields were up. WTH? Some of us really were in suspended animation. And those who weren't felt like it took almost 70 years.

It's more like Irony, Man! The need to practice what you preach just went up to a whole new level.

I personally felt piercing arrows. But they totally missed what they were shooting for.

In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. But only if you're in the kingdom of the blind.

In Soviet Russia, the wolves would have come to eat them waaaay before lunch time.

RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!!!

Geek Rock

The geeks of rock.

I know it has only been 2 days after my last music post, but that was for the previous week. As I’m waiting for my breakfast to cool, let’s tak about Weezer.

Weezer is a rock band that was formed in 1992. Their first gig was opening for Keanu Reeves’ band at that time. They’ve released 9 studio albums, a bunch of EPs, and have had some change in the lineup since then. Older people will probably know them most for songs from their self-titled debut album, which most people call Blue, but young ‘uns probably know them from the later-released self-titled album, which most people call Red. They also have a Green album. All the album nicknames are from the color of the album covers.

1. Island in the Sun

This one is from the Green album. It’s one of the songs that I associate with summer. And the cute animals! You have got to love the cute animals!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0C3zgYW_FAM&ob=av2e”

2. El Scorcho

A single from their second album, Pinkerton. It’s THE geek love song. And don’t you just love the energy in this video?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okthJIVbi6g&ob=av2e”

3. Across the Sea

Also from Pinkerton. Though not a released single, this is my favorite Weezer song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mxEoA3G9Wg”

From Cover to Cover

This comes to you very late. At the end of the week, in fact. But never mind that. Let’s just look at this week’s three.

1. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Tori Amos (Nirvana Cover)

A rather interesting take on the song. What’s cool is that Tori Amos still makes it come across with intensity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcHNZVrxEts&feature=related”

2. Stay by The Smashing Pumpkins (U2 Cover)

One of my favorite bands covering my favorite U2 song. What else could you ask for? … Well, if they let D’Arcy sing too, that would have been just perfect. (pun not intended)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Sq3D039JCY”

3. Hit Me Baby One More Time by Travis (Britney Spears Cover)

This is the one that actually started this post idea. My wife showed it to me more than a week ago. It’s just awesome! Fran Healy’s the man! And Dougie Payne’s second voice is just killer!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NwqN-xj9Xs”

I Think I Just Hit the Album’s Opening Track

I just finished this a few minutes ago and I’m pretty proud of it. (But keep in mind that I’m still not a real singer)

  1. When I came up with the intro riff a few years ago, I knew it was going to sound good.
  2. It took me from then until last May to complete the guitar riff.
  3. I finally found out how the Smashing Pumpkins do those walls of droning guitar sounds! Well, a close approximation, but that’s close enough!
  4. I got to play around with Fender Rhodes, choir voice, old radio, and vinyl sims!
  5. I’m pretty convinced this track should open the album.

Bakas

Lyrics and the English translation can be found here. Again, some changes have been made since they were posted there.

Blasts from the Past for the Soon-to-Be-Blasted Into the Past

My summer break is ending! As much as I want to deny it, the end cannot be escaped. I will have to work. But before that happens…

I want to offer three songs in future memory of my soon-to-be-dead summer break. And what better way to summarize and honor it than with a music genre that is likewise dearly departed, but whose ghost haunts the hallways of memory and can never ever be completely exorcised. In fact, the scorn for it that grunge and alternative rock brought about will fade into oblivion before the sweet, sweet nostalgia that is inherent to it.

Gone are the days of big hair and tight leather pants on straight men! But long live glam metal! Glam forever!

1. Winds of Change by Scorpions

Awareness…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4RjJKxsamQ”

2. Wasted Time by Skid Row

Regret…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnbAOXtFJyM”

3. Paradise City by Guns ‘n’ Roses

Outright denial.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rbm6GXllBiw”

This Much Is Done

It took a while, but I finally got a working version of this one. Forgive the shortcomings (in trying to sing, most of all). Also, it’s quite long. I already shortened it as much as I can by scrapping the intro. Feedback is most welcome.

Here’s to my children, for whom this was written.

And here’s to my former students, with whom it was shared.

This Much I Know

Lyrics can be found here. Do note that there have been some changes to the lyrics since they were posted there.

Just Three

These are just three songs that came to my head. Each of these songs had their respective seasons of heavy airplay back in the day. Good times. Good times.

1. Shimmer by Fuel

Fuel is a band that has its roots as far back as 1989. The band Small the Joy was formed at that time in Tennessee, but the name Fuel wouldn’t be in place until 1994. Shimmer is their first single from their first album, Sunburn , which came out in 1998. I listened to it a lot when it came out. It was #1 in the daily countdown of NU107 for several weeks. And this was actually the first song that my friends and I played as a full band. But alas, Sony Music does not want Filipinos to see this video on Youtube, so Dailymotion it is.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xj9qu_fuel-shimmer_music”

2. Time Ago by Black Lab

Black Lab is a band from Berkley, California that was formed in 1996. After leaving major labels in the late ’90s, they have been unsigned since. They have released an EP and a couple of albums independently. This one is from their first major label release, 1997’s Your Body Above Mine. I didn’t listen to this one as much as Shimmer when it came out, but I still like listening to it from time to time. I especially love the guitar in the intro. I actually never saw what Black Lab looks like until this post. Now I know. The guy looks like Willem Dafoe. And I rhyme for show.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI_Y4hgsXYY”

3. Singing in My Sleep by Semisonic

Semisonic is an rock band from Minneapolis, Minnesota that formed in 1995. They’re best known for their 1998 hit, Closing Time from their album Feeling Strangely Fine. This song is the second released single for the same album. I like it the best among their singles and listened to it quite a bit, but still not Shimmer long. Among this week’s three, this is probably the one in best spirits. Dan Wilson is a nerdfighter! Rocks like a nerdfighter. Wears a nerdfighter concept shirt. And check out the drummer play the keys.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhS3YP04Fjk”

When a Comment Grows Up into a Post

To my esteemed colleague, Dr. Etlevs S. R. Wolf (and to other people possibly reading, young or old),

For starters, the typewriting monkey is not a fitting analogy to the situation you have described, for three reasons. First, which is to our dismay, is that the simian has an infinite amount of time. We don’t. Second, to our advantage, is that the simian is doing things in a random fashion. We are not (at least most of the time). And third, we smell and look better (I truly, truly hope so).

I will refrain from investigating the disparity between the simian’s goal in using a typewriter and our own objectives. For all we know, its goal may simply be to have fun smashing the keys. But it is also possible that its goal is to really come up with literary masterpieces. It is merely doing it in a fashion we think is far from optimum. Since I cannot ascertain this, we’ll leave it. But we will look more closely at goals.

Fortunately for us, we can define our goals. Because of this, the power of the second (not doing things randomly) is enough to attenuate the severe handicap brought about by the first (not having an infinite amount of time). Do note that I use attenuate because motivation and method can only diminish the obstacle of finite time. We have yet to come up with a solution that will buy us infinite time. The other thing that makes our finite time a problem is that the finiteness is something we can never quantify. There are just so many possible ways for life to end, and they can happen any time.

That being said, the finesse in living is in the judicious use of foreseeably available time. But judicious, in this case, is more than just about  being sensible and having good judgment from an ethical or moral standpoint (which we will assume we all have). It has another facet that is more elusive. Do you work, play, rest, think, not think, socialize, not socialize, stay in, go out, act, not act? Which permutation and in what ratios is most judicious?

The answer to that question is happy.

(Sorry, it is not 42. It is possibly “Let’s ride bikes”, but if, and only if, “Let’s ride bikes” = happy)

That answer is important because there is one big problem with goals. We are never sure if we will achieve our goals. There are just too many variables not under our control. And sometimes, even if our goals will eventually be achieved by what we have set in motion, we may not be alive to see it happen.

To illustrate this concept further, let us define the following variables:

g = probability of achieving the goal, c = goal complexity, m= motivation, s = required skills, p = skills proficiency, r = required resources, a = available resources, t = required time, l = net life expectancy

The probability of achieving a goal can then be expressed as

g = m•(p/sc)•(a/rc)•(l/tc).

Analyzing the equation, it becomes apparent that the complexity of the goal affects the skills, resources, and time required to achieve it. This makes an increase in complexity exponentially decrease the chance of success. The equation also shows that motivation is the only variable we really have control over, but more on that later.

Being simplified to a great degree, the equation does not show another important truth: As time passes, the values of any or all of the variables involved can be affected by the multitude of factors beyond our control. These effects can either increase the probability of achieving the goal or decrease it. But simply because the original probability in question becomes subject to probability, the chances of success are automatically reduced.

Therefore, the odds are stacked up against us. And more so if we set bigger goals. So why have these grand goals at all?

Apart from the sense of fulfillment and satisfaction, and happiness we get from achieving goals, the other benefit of goals is that they serve as the compass for our actions. Without goals, we would be random creatures. The direction that goals provide have the utmost importance in the grand scheme of things. Life choices, planning for the future, life-and-death decisions, or what have you; these are the things that affect the compass the most.

Recall that motivation is the only variable in the equation that is totally in our control. That is absolutely true. But don’t let that fool you. Motivation has the power to single-handedly curb all the negative effects brought about by the other factors. Not enough skill? Not enough resources? Not enough time? Too complicated? It all depends on how bad you want it. If you want it bad enough, you’ll make it happen. However, like all things*, motivation can cut both ways**.

*With the exception of really, really dull people. They don’t cut. Full stop.

**With the exception of really, really dense people. Nothing can cut through them.

It is true that motivation can compensate for the complexity of the goal and for deficiencies in skill, resources, and time.  However, it is also true that the more motivation compensates, the more of your attention and energy it needs to sustain itself. This can lead to the territory of obsession, which in essence is just a very precise direction for all of one’s actions. Such single-mindedness, of course, yields adverse effects.

We are well aware of the implications of obsession or extreme motivation on our health, hygiene, social life, school/work. But one of the more subtle but just-as-adverse effects of being too motivated is that we become too result-oriented. We can only derive satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness from getting the end product.

This can lead to two things:

  1. Disappointment. You are let down by the achievement of the goal because your level of motivation has warped the perceived amount of fulfillment and satisfaction to be gained thereby compromising your happiness.
  2. Disappointment. You do not get to achieve the goal and are left with nothing because you have thrown everything into trying to achieve it thereby compromising your happiness.

But is it not natural to derive satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness from achieving a goal?

It is, but it becomes a problematic truth when we prioritize the achievement of the goal over the effects that we gain from it. If we place equal value in the effect as in what you perceive will generate it, we have a more balanced perspective of things, as well as a wider choice of  goals . Putting value in fulfillment, satisfaction, and happiness even allow us to stop and reevaluate whether the goals we set will indeed produce these effects.

In conclusion, my good doctor (and other people possibly reading, young or old), assuming that the ethical and moral aspect of the judicious use of foreseeably available time is set, then the other thing to set is how it will bring about satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness.

Are you too young to worry about what you should pursue and whether or not it will be the right choice? Yes. Stop it right now. Nobody is old enough for that kind of worry. Nobody.

What you are is young enough to start finding out. Your moment of enlightenment will not come purely from contemplation. You must gather things to contemplate on. Try out this and that and do your best in each one. It is the only way to have a good idea of what you are capable of. For all you know, what you will end up doing for the rest of your life is something you have yet to encounter. And because we assume that you have good judgement from an ethical and moral standpoint, what ever it is you end up doing will surely be right.

Also, wanting to do many things isn’t really what’s problematic. It’s trying to do many things all at once. Spreading yourself too thinly isn’t good. You tend to get less done in more time. Are we really after expertise? Is it really necessary to be a master of those crafts? Maybe the ability to be a novice in many things with ease is a craft in itself, and achieving an intermediate or advanced proficiency in some of those things is already mastery of the craft. Besides, a skill is not worth anything if it isn’t used. Let’s do what we can now. When we’re better, let’s do more. Every endeavor counts, not just those of the experts.

And amidst all this going out into the world to find out who you are and what you are supposed to do, remember to stop from time to time and find out more about where you are and who’s there with you. They count just as much.