Mixtape

Just thought I’d post videos of some of my favorite songs and  recent Youtube finds. Most of the songs aren’t new, because I’m really a 45-year-old stuck in a 25-year-old’s body.

1) Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike.” Chris Cornell + Pearl Jam members before they were Pearl Jam. This song gets me every time.

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Pearl Jam Twenty

I’m not fond of bucket lists, but tonight I resolved to do one thing before I die: to watch Pearl Jam play live. Since there’s a remote chance of them ever playing in the Philippines, that means I’m willing to dish out money to fly to another country just to watch them.

This resolve was built after watching Cameron Crowe’s “Pearl Jam Twenty,” a beautifully-made documentary that chronicles historic moments in the band’s existence. Watching it reminded me of everything I loved, and still love, about Pearl Jam: Eddie Vedder’s powerful voice; their passion for playing; their courage to take a stand on issues that mean something to them, no matter how controversial.

 

In the two-hour film, Crowe traced the band’s beginnings in the 90s Seattle music scene. He went beyond interviewing the band members. Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, for one, had a lot to say about the relationship between the bands then, like how they supported and played with each other even though they were all trying to hit it big.

What I found especially interesting were the footage of the band members as young, aspiring rock stars. You see Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament fooling around backstage back when they were still with Mother Love Bone, their band before they formed Pearl Jam. You see a shy Eddie Vedder–imagine that, a shy Eddie–turn his back on the audience and cover his face with his hair during one of the band’s first performances.

They were so young then, and my, how they’ve grown. As I watched  the now middle-aged band members talk about some of the most memorable incidents they had to deal with–such as the death of Mother Love Bone’s Andy Wood, their war with Ticketmaster, and the 2000 Roskilde Festival where nine fans died–I couldn’t help but marvel at how mature and solid and self-aware they are now. This is a band that knows itself inside and out. This is a band that has gone through hell and back. And the amazing thing is, they all survived.

All of the precious nuggets from Pearl Jam’s collective and individual history were told in a finely-woven storyline with some of the band’s best songs in between. That includes the wretchedly beautiful “Black,” which never fails to move me no matter how many times I’ve listened to it.

I gotta hand it to Crowe—-who, by the way, wrote and directed “Almost Famous” which is my favorite movie of all time—-because he certainly knows how to tell a good story. In every frame, in every song, in every word he used, you can see that this film was made with absolute passion by a genuine fan.

Now I’m lucky to have a boyfriend who understands just how much I love Pearl Jam. Look at what I got for Christmas: the movie’s accompanying book!

I’ve only gone through the first few pages because I’m taking my time with it. This just might be the most in-depth take on my favorite band that I’ll ever get to read, and I want to savor every bit of information and insight shared within.

Heroes

My dad has given me many gifts, but my all-time favorite is a copy of Edith Hamilton’s “Mythology,” which I got for my 10th birthday. I’d spend nights poring over the book: wondering what Cupid and Psyche look like, getting teary-eyed over the death of brave Patroclus in the Trojan war, thinking about which Greek goddess I’d most like to be (Athena).

This should explain, then, why I’m so hooked on Rick Riordan’s novels about Greek, Roman, and Egyptian demigods. The books were basically written for teenagers, but I devour them like I would red velvet cupcakes. Percy Jackson is my hero the way Harry Potter is to…well, Harry Potter lovers.

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Classic

Walang tubig, walang pagkain, ‘di magsayaw na lang tayo” is probably the most memorable line from the 1980 cult classic “Temptation Island” by Joey Gosiengfiao. Here’s a clip of the scene where Azenith Briones delivered that immortal line:

Then again, it’s so hard to choose which line from “Temptation Island” is the most memorable, because there’s so many to choose from! I’m glad the remake, which I watched with friends last week, retained most of the lines in all their campy glory.

This is not a film review, so lemme just a post a picture of me and my friends at the post-movie dinner where we concluded that the original film was amazingly ahead of its time:

Murakami

I read as much fiction as I can as a sort of escape from my fact-filled profession,  but for the past few months I’ve been reading nothing but Haruki Murakami books (okay, and Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, but that’s another story).

“Kafka on the Shore” is definitely one of my favorites, thanks to its memorable quirky characters. I remember reading it on New Year’s Eve instead of joining the revelry outside, which of course peeved my relatives a bit, but what the hell, that’s how fascinating the novel was.

Among his more “realistic” novels, my favorite is “South of the Border, West of the Sun,” a heartfelt story about a man whose peaceful life was shaken by the return of a childhood sweetheart.

I bought my copy of “South of the Border, West of the Sun” along with “The Elephant Vanishes”–not shown in the picture, since it’s currently seating, unread, on my work desk–from one of the book sellers outside UP Manila, which I pass by every time I buy lunch.

I already have copies of most of his novels, and I dread the day I have bought and read every Murakami book there is.

Sparks

They don’t even know what it is to be a fan, y’know? To truly love some silly little piece of music, or some band, so much that it hurts.” – Sapphire, “Almost Famous”

I suppose you can call me a rock late bloomer. It was 2005—I was 18—when I first listened to Nirvana, which means Kurt Cobain had been dead for over a decade before I listened to “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

It wasn’t even intentional. One day a college  friend noticed that we liked the same stuff playing on the radio while we were wallclimbing, so she offered to lend me something from her brother’s CD collection. She lent me Nevermind, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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