If I’m sewn into submission, I can still come home to this

Discounting my annual top albums of the year posts, I’ve actually forgotten how to craft a blog entry. More importantly, I’ve forgotten how it feels like to post stuff online for the world to see.

I remember a decade and a half ago, it was a tool to keep up with your friends’ (and strangers’) lives. Bloggers never posted OOTDs; instead, they posted stories. About their weekends, their travel bloopers and their closet bosses and everyone had a laugh afterwards. Sometimes, people posted their fears; about not getting along with mom, a health scare, or growing old and unfulfilled. People commented on posts to say hey, and it was an easy way to know people cared.

15 years ago, I blogged about pop culture and whatever happened at work. Sometimes, I blogged about feelings and the pressures of quarter life. To which friends were there to pat you on the back and recommend music to power you through.

I think I stopped blogging regularly in ’09 and I couldn’t have imagined things the way they are today. I’ve traveled to places and experienced cool stuff. I’ve got a job that’s tough but rewarding, and married to a wife with a kid that I both love dearly.  In general, I think I turned out on the better side of okay.

I do hope my friends turned out okay too. I yearn for the days when friends still blogged, and I wish I had the time to read their posts. I’m terrible at talking about feelings with friends, and I wish I still have a way to keep tab with people I genuinely care about. I long for a way to know what they’ve been up to just by typing in a URL, and chat them up if things turn out like shit.

For now, my fervent desire is that my friends’ life paths are paved, their core unshaken, and their spirits are well. I hope their joints are not aching and that a good night’s rest await them at the end of their everyday.

So there. Just wanna let people know that I may not post much, but I’m just here.

Here Comes Your (Old) Man

Hi son,

You’re probably not conscious of it yet, but on most Sunday mornings, I play a sampling of random tunes for your enjoyment. The range is quite varied; Beatles, Robbie Williams, Boy Krazy, Miles Davis, Fleet Foxes, etc. Mainly, I do this just to see what reaction I’d elicit from you. Sometimes, I’d see you jump up and down, while more often than not, I’d see you just wearing a blank and unamused stare.

Anyway, I’ve decided to come up with a playlist of what I think are representative of the greatest artists / albums / songs of all time. These are the songs that in one way or another, soundtrack my moments of love, pain, triumph and heartache. I want to share these with you in hope that one day, you’d get a chance to ask me why these songs are a part of my life. And hopefully, you can make some of these songs a part of your life as well.

For best results, just click shuffle play.

Love,
Dad

P.S. Now is not the time for hip hop, son. Maybe in the future.

Your love is better than ice cream

A few weeks ago, while on the car ride home, my wife requested me to play something more apt for the season. As Mark Kozelek Sings Christmas Carols was the only Christmas album I had on my phone, I went with that.

‘Who is this band?’

‘Oh, it’s Mark Kozelek. Also, known as Sun Kil Moon.’

I then proceeded to ramble about how much I liked most of what I’ve heard with his former alter ego, The Red House Painters, and how I (and a lot of critics) loved his 2014 release Benji. Next, I described how on the latter half of last year he became such a dick (eg. his beef with The War On Drugs), then proceeded to tell her about how critics might have unfairly pounced on his Christmas album on the freshness of how he’s been a dick lately. Finally, I discussed how I managed (although with some difficulty) to step back and enjoy the Christmas songs for what its worth.

Now, I know that indie music is a topic that doesn’t particularly interest her, nor do I expect her to remember any of the details I told her that day. But I will forever remember how in that moment, she was interested in the things that mattered to me. To me, the way she asked questions and gave her opinions on the subject was everything I had hoped for in a relationship. (Bonus nalang yung maganda siya.)

So thank you honey. Coming from you, it really means a lot.

Happy new year!

Globe Telecom and problems with overbilling

Let me preface this post by saying that our family composed of 5 individuals (dad, mom, and three siblings) have been loyal Globe Telecom customers for the past 16 years. You can make it 7 individuals if you include my wife and my sister-in-law, who have likewise been loyal Globe customers for more or less the same amount of time.

My issue with Globe began when they started charging my dad for data usage that I am certain he did not use. At first, we thought that it may be because of hidden data transmissions (i.e. Globe needs to send usage data back to the network) or that my dad just erroneously pressed the mobile data button on (my dad is not really tech savvy). During this time, we just decided to pay the amount charged him thinking that these data charges would just go away.

Unfortunately, the charges kept coming and this left us with no choice but to contest these charges. I called the Globe hotline last July 7, 2014 to have the mobile data charges for that bill reversed. Also, I found out during my conversation with the CSR that apparently, you can have mobile data permanently disabled from their end. As my dad wasn’t going to have any use for mobile data anyway, I decided to go ahead and have it permanently disabled on his account.

Yet, two bills later, I discovered that Globe still charged him 5,865 minutes for data, amounting to a whopping P1,743.86 (without VAT). I called up Globe to once again complain regarding this matter. What the agent on the other end of the line said really surprised me.

“Sir, upon checking our system, it shows that this account does indeed have mobile data deactivated.”

What in holy hell? I was actually anticipating that Globe neglected to disable mobile data for this account when I made my initial request last July. But them saying that it has already been deactivated takes the cake.

This means that even while my dad’s mobile data is deactivated from their end, Globe still continued to charge us huge sums for usage of data even if technically, we can’t use them. What this could also mean is that Globe could easily over charge any normal user of data because of errors in their system with no way for the end user to verify accuracy.

I didn’t have any problem with the CSR, she was quite the professional in handling my query and reversing the charges. What I do have a problem though is with Globe Telecom and how is it possible for them to charge us for things we are not even subscribed to!

Before, I couldn’t care less about people complaining about Globe’s service all over social media. Apparently, all it takes to is to be a victim yourself to get that all the complaining out there is valid.

I don’t know if this is related but we are currently subscribed to an auto-charge to credit card scheme for this particular account. Maybe Globe Telecom is trying to sneak one past us, hoping that we wouldn’t notice that we were charged that amount since the bill is linked to our credit card. But then again, I’m merely speculating.

losing my edge

I miss the enjoyment derived from listening to new music.

Perhaps it’s the quality of songs these days, maybe trends have evolved and I haven’t been able to keep up. Or maybe it’s my own doing, where my attitude in accepting new tunes have reached a saturation point due to the passing of my youth. It might also be an unintended consequence as a result of my allocation of time to other pursuits. Either way, I miss the days where I listen to a new track and be left completely in awe. Like the time I first heard Sleigh Bells and felt like gasping for air, or the time I first heard Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and literally exhaled wow at song’s end.

I used to be able to find that bond to first listens, where moments are created at that special time and place. Nowadays, I feel like there is a disconnect between emotion and art which I unfortunately don’t get. And it stings me a little bit to come to this realization. I guess age has caught up, and my brain and heart has used up the quota allocated to ingesting current hits. But at least, I’m contented with knowing that I was once there, not at the forefront but as a fan. I was there when cutting edge records saw the light of day, and I dutifully sought new music out and got rewarded in excitement and awe. And while this is not the case these days, I’m fully happy with knowing that once upon a time, rock and indie pop music consumption gave me a different kind of high.

is this and yes

Lately, I’ve taken to biking as my go to form of exercise.

The process of getting a bike was actually a long and well-pondered out one. Weeks, if not months of back and forth with myself thinking about the type of bike I want that’d fit my cost considerations. And after multiple trips to several LBSs and megabytes of bandwidth burned on bike websites, I finally settled on one.

bike

Ain’t she a beaut?

Now that I have a bike, the next step is to get my money’s worth and actually ride it out. But it really isn’t as simple as it sounds. Having last ridden a bike some twenty or so years ago, the process of relearning how to ride may take a bit of time.

So yes, I’ve been riding around the village the past couple of days, getting on some needed mileage while trying to develop some basic skills. Like say, how to ride in a straight line. (The first time I rode, I wanted to turn from one street into the next and somehow found myself getting up the sidewalk after my attempt. Not exactly how I wanted that to pan out.) Shifting gears was also a pain, having to constantly remember that downhill doesn’t equate to downshift.

I’m glad to say though, that after days of practicing, I think I’m finally nailing it. Apart from the occasional mistake, I think am developing the muscle memory needed to make gear shifting second nature. Am also establishing some personal tricks, such as slightly standing up on speed bumps to compensate for my bicycle’s lack of a full suspension.

There are still some things left to conquer though. There’s this hill at the end of our street where I need to get over before I can pretty much go anywhere. I wouldn’t say that it’s too steep, but since I haven’t gotten my technique down pat, that place has been constantly giving me a hard time. The first time I tried to attack the hill, I pedaled as fast as I could, made the mistake of shifting to a harder gear when I should have chosen an easier one midway, and consumed all my water at the top while my heart was pounding. The second time, I was thinking about maintaining cadence while riding up when from out of nowhere a car went past by me causing me to lose my balance. As a result, I had to walk the rest of the way up with my bike while early morning joggers were staring. Dyahe sobra.

I’d like to say I’m improving (and I’m pretty sure I am), but still a long way to go. I’ve been biking on the easy part of the village, and hopefully, I’d like to take myself to parts with harder climbs and funner descents. With time though, I’m sure it’ll come.

130202a-mbv-306-1359850230

A few days ago, My Bloody Valentine released m b v, their first album in 22 years and the follow up to their seminal record Loveless. Subsequently, it broke the internet.

I got into My Bloody Valentine not 22 years ago (Andrew E. ruled then), but some time closer to today. It was probably in ’04, when my quest for music and discovery of internet downloads connived with each other which led me to discover Loveless*. I wouldn’t say it is something that I hadn’t heard before (Siamese Dream, for one, was heavily influenced by it) but it was amazing to listen to how a musical style got born. Loveless was shoegaze even before shoegaze was a word.

Over the years, I’ve come to put Loveless in such high regard, that I even irrationally refused to listen to its predecessor Isn’t Anything out of fear that I’d be tainting the former’s legacy. It was only this year that I listened to Isn’t Anything, when news of a new album this year surfaced. I figured, listening to another My Bloody Valentine record had to be inevitable diba?

With that logic, yes, you can say that I was afraid of listening to m b v as well. But along with the excitement of the internet, there I was, gamely pressing F5 on the band’s website in hopes of seeing the 403 error go away.

But that didn’t work. Luckily, torrent did. And much to my relief, I soon discovered, that m b v is this insanely great album, worthy of classic status. Listening to this is akin to a religious experience, one can get lost as easily as one can get found. The one regret I do have is that I wished I got into MBV sooner so I could’ve been there along with everyone during the 22 year wait.

So thank you, Kevin Shields. Thank you, My Bloody Valentine.

Your move, Neutral Milk Hotel.

* Wanted to write about m b v without bringing up Loveless, but you do know that it’s an impossible feat, don’t you?