New Ears

Last year’s early quarantine managed to change my audio perspective. Since I got nothing much to do at home (after finishing the take home tasks) I would hang out at several social media sites to pass the time. One of my students have been posting his dance vids and one of them caught my attention. It was Ryujin’s shoulder pop move from Itzy’s Wannabe.

I got really impressed by the choreo and so I searched and watched the entire video. Little did I know that I was diving right into this new musical hole.

Here’s the thing: I really don’t listen to KPop that much. In fact, during pre-quarantine era the only girl group that I listened to was Blackpink because their beats remind of electronic/tech music I used to love in the past. Itzy is part of that musical range and so I checked their other stuff — eventually getting me hooked on Dalla Dalla and Icy. Soon enough, YouTube’s algorithm caught on, showing a web of other KPop acts on the sidebar.

By the end of 2020, I was quite into the following: Itzy, Twice, Red Velvet, Stray Kids, and Loona. And at the beginning of 2021 I started listening to (G)I-dle and Mamamoo.

Here’s the thing: I didn’t change my musical taste. In fact, I expanded it, and somehow my whole head got rewired, making me appreciate more the things which I find difficult to understand. The language barrier is real, but the music remains accessible and open. Soon enough I find myself extending my ears beyond KPop, slowly treading through other musical acts from Asia.

I made a Spotify KPop mixtape with the help of my friends over at Facebook last year. Early this year I made another mixtape which is composed of mostly Southeast Asian acts (some Filipino tracks included). I’m really digging these stuff right now, and I’m quite happy to have fallen in love with music which feels more closer to home.

[Not] Looking Back

Much has been stripped from me last year due to the pandemic, namely: our hobby haven (and along with it — the sustainment of that hobby), organizational matters (as it was supposed to be rebooted at the start of school year 2020-2021), and my ability to hold an event (since I don’t get to coordinate and organize big and small activities which involve community building). On top of that I won’t be teaching any time soon (since the teachers who were on study leave are now back, and so ‘my watch has ended.’)

Of course, our lifestyle has changed. The first two months of quarantine has warped our capability to socialize. We’re more cautious and paranoid now, and our capacity to even touch (hi five, handshake, hug, etc…) has totally diminished, if not gone. We tried to stay healthy, but being in semi-isolation without any social contact (especially if you don’t have internet) had affected much of our emotional state (that and I couldn’t go to the gym, so I got heavier again).

Our national government still has a lot of answering to do in terms of managing the crisis (they’re still doing a crappy job until now — as the curve hasn’t been lowered , and mass testing is nothing but fiction), and the population is getting angrier. Perhaps there’s a tipping point somewhere, especially now that government actions have become more militaristic with all the strange arrests and constant red tagging. Suddenly, critics have become communists in the eyes of the officials.

And yet we’re still here, trying our best to survive, trying our best to keep our sanity in check. There’s so much to do this 2021, so much catching up. We kinda know now how the machine operates. We hope to be more vigilant.


I’m drafting something here on my blog ‘coz I wish to know what writing feels like, again. The last entry I uploaded was over a year ago, and I’ve developed this itch of doing something which was once a huge part of my life.

I wish to feel like a writer again, be a writer — it’s been so long that I’ve forgotten my own promise.


As I’ve mentioned ages ago, I got burned out by all the politicking coming from various groups (perhaps even coming from our won). I felt useless as the local system still preys upon the voiceless and the new. It’s an ugly, ugly sight. The cobwebs have thickened and spread out, and I decided to take a huge step back just to take a chill pill from all of it.

I’ve been outside the game, and when I take a peek from the window, somehow I’ve seen the bigger picture. I think I now know what I can and should do when I go back to the “game.” I was hurt and maybe I’m still hurt — or maybe I’ve started to design my pain, this frustration. Geez, I gotta stop the blame game already and move forward.


There’s just so many things to go back to — so many mistakes to correct. I feel daunted by what’s ahead of me, but the light inside still flickers, and maybe I’m a little more prepared now than 10 years ago, when I was but a clueless nerd in my own hometown. Maybe this time things will be different. Maybe.

A Sigh; A Scene; A Song

blog pic

Yesterday I took a break from checking papers. It’s prefinal season and so the academic pace is slow for this week at least, plus I wanted to just relax over the one-day holiday. I placed my still-bleeding red pen back in the case, set aside the papers, and opened Susan Cain’s book (Ahj recommended it, and with my current goal to revise my methods to accommodate the learning preferences of both introvs and extrovs in class, I was compelled to finish it the soonest — yeah, fucking ambitious).

I spent almost the entire day learning about the nature of introversion and its quirks (Ahj and I are introvs). I was impressed by the level of research the author has put in assembling her book, and so far (I’m at page 133) the data are balanced, with some interesting side anecdotes.


Society wishes for us to smile all the time, to shake our hands firmly, to be congenial during parties, to be loud and fun and catchy.

[This makes me sad.]


I’ve been on a “Bowie binge” for the past few weeks. I wasn’t really a fan back then (I discovered his music through Nirvana’s cover of “The Man Who Sold the World” and The Flight of the Conchords’ parody song “Bowie in Space” [which also lead me to check out “Space Oddity“]), but the news of his death got me curious, and so I went over to YouTube and randomly clicked the links to his songs.

I wasn’t instantly blown away. My first random pick, Ashes to Ashes, felt a little too 80s, a little too stuck in its zeitgeist — but it grew on me slowly, slowly, slowly. Suddenly I found myself clicking replay, humming along with it, looking for covers, tapping along its funky bass lines. I was fucking hooked.

And so I got lost in Bowie’s musical labyrinth (hehe, get it?). Some songs sounded okay (mostly the songs from the “Meta-Bowie” era), some took a little more time dive into (his “Spaceman” days), while some admittedly were hard to appreciate (late 90s/early 2000s).

His last album (EP?), Blackstar, is a solid bookend to his music. And I like how he paralleled the life the fictional Major Tom with his career. The image of the dead astronaut in his video provided a bittersweet closure. Genius.


Two weeks ago I tapped some random lines on Twitter. It was about Major Tom inside his tin can, watching a flock of glowing space moths.


See you later, Spaceman

Thyme Plies

Well, geez, it’s February already. So far, so good[?]

Just last month I wrote one short story and one pilot script. I think it’s okay, but I can do better. Social media and YouTube can get a little distracting, so I need to reinforce resistance against the two. This Feb I’ll try to accomplish at least the initial drafts of three stories.

I’m resisting the temptation to write poetry — but then I found a tiny loophole: poetry can also take the form of prose. And so I’ll write a series of poems [lyrical] essays and see what comes out. I hope it’s something interesting.


Bits • Bits • Bits

I opened by drawer and realized that I have a stack of polo shirts still unused. I guess I’m just too comfortable with my current set (to the point that my students find my sense of fashion predictable). But hey, whatever works. Perhaps I’ll revise my lineup this second semester.


I followed this snarky cat around campus. I walked slowly as he walked slowly. I stopped whenever he stopped. I tried to hide (or pretend to do something) when he looked at my direction. A number of students approached him. He made a defensive stance and hissed. The students carried on.

A staff noticed me following the cat. “Are you guarding him?” she asked.
“I, uh, nope!” I answered, then went away, then went back again to continue following the cat.

I gave up minutes later. The follow-me game became boring.


The semester is almost over. Just in time — I’m almost out of steam. I can’t wait for sembreak, but I can still wait for second semester.

BLTX 2015


So the members of our little group,  Meet-Every-Other-Weekend Club (MEOW), are excited to participate in this year’s Better Living Through Xerography (BLTX). Preparations are in place (I have a semi-manuscript of sorts) and we’re about to have a workshop some time this November. I just hope that we’re able to produce the materials on time.

This is also our chance to meet other small/indie publications — and perhaps get some advice in promoting and expanding the local zine scene.



I tried freewriting again last night. It’s been a while since my last writing exercise, and somehow getting my fingers reacquainted with the keyboard felt good, like a reunion, or a continuation of something vaguely familiar. Something has changed though: instead of the usual psychobabble on the surface, I had somehow formed two semi-introductions for possible stories — both noir-ish (maybe because I’ve just watched the second episode of True Detective [season 2]).

Upon [re]Reading Galeano’s Take on Sentipensante

Back when we were kids our perspective was quite literary.

Clouds were made of fluffy feathers which had parted from lost birds, lightning cracked the skies and broke the latter with thunder, the wind was an angel’s whisper, crayons were simply made from the earwax of gnomes, and death was nothing but the gentlest sleep.

But growing up and rules and adults and cars and portable phones came along, replacing our imagination with charts and facts and taxes, turning the literary into the literal. And we try to recover; we attempt to recall that wonder, that amazing spark which had fallen from our pockets when we climbed the mountain of adulthood.

And here we are: on top, looking at the somber sky, the lifeless clouds — nothing more.