reaping the cost of solitude

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Uplifting Aggressive Fix - Progressive Metal (Playlist)

Credits to the owner.

The inspiration behind this goes way back to the mid 2000s - I was feeling a bit down and begged everyone on a message board to make me an "Uplifting Rock" playlist. A couple of people were kind enough to oblige, one in particular sent me a ZIP file with tracks, ranging from folk to metal, already in order / sorted out.

This is my attempt to return the favor to whoever needs it (appropriately overdue by 10 years or so), albeit in a more aggressive, prog metal form. (This is not going to be everyone's cup of tea, sorry.)

1. Begin - Intervals
2. Where Are The Birds - Good Tiger
3. Sweet Tea - Polyphia
4. Automaton - Intervals
5. Coming For You - Twelve Foot Ninja
6. Next In Line - Dead Letter Circus
7. Language I - Intuition - The Contortionist
8. Erised - Periphery
9. Allure - Skyharbor
10. Wanderlust - Every Time I Die
11. Strawberry Swisher pt. 3 - Dance Gavin Dance
12. Have A Blast - Bulb
13. One Step - Dead Letter Circus
14. Seven Names - TesseracT
15. New Day - Karnivool

Made a Youtube playlist for your convenience. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Rewind: Want

I once was content and grateful for the gift of vision. I indulged in admiration of whichever was presented before me, though I know not everything is pleasing to the eye. So I'd like to think I hide behind my beloved wall where two holes are conveniently placed for a peeping tom, me, so I could easily veer off into the darkness when I see something I didn't want to see, or see something staring back at me - to avoid the awkwardness.  For a brief period of time, this "control" mechanic was more than enough entertainment. I wasn't that picky, and I relatively led a simple life.

But now I hunger for a more sophisticated distraction. I am, after all, human. So I forced the turning of the page of this bored stillness to a much lively and interesting curiosity. I now stand before a world governed not by sight, but by touch. The touch of curiosity, fascination, and a desire well-thought of. One hand over the flames of an exquisite candle, my Loch Ness monster, I feel it sting. Blisters begin to swell, but no matter how many times I tell myself to quit, I remain gullible - because at the end of the day, I know the reward is worth the risk.

- April 18, 2008

Listening to
"Forrest Gump" - Frank Ocean

Friday, November 27, 2015

Rewind: Rats

2007 with Jogalz and Maloy

My head is at a stand still, and it's utterly depressing. It does its routinary escapes here and there, but nothing of real interest seems to happen anymore... not today nor yesterday. Not ever since my apex. Wait. I think I do remember something... Ah yes, it was a dream I had yesterday.
I dreamt about eating a sandwich with a live rat inside. It tasted funny with the first bite, and I looked inside in confusion. And there he was- the little black critter, laying still like nobody's business, with whiskers on a constant subtle bob. Up-down-up-down -up-down... I thought he was trying to be cute. Without thinking, I jerked the lettuce he seemed to be nestled on and with perfect rodent reflexes, he jumped out of the sandwich and scampered across the room to a nearby door. The little thing startled me so bad that I dropped my defiled sandwich. A few minutes later, I found out I was eating his excrements.
With this quality of entertainment, who needs to think?
- September 23, 2008
At the time, it seemed like an appropriate filler post for a day in dire need of fillers.

Listening to
"Pop Thieves" - Childish Gambino

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Unfinished Noodling

I recently found this lying around in my external hard drive. I did this in 2013, but was never able to finish it. I thought I might as well just render the thing and share, lest it be forever lost and forgotten.

Speaking of noodling, I think I've had several other 'projects' in the works that never got to see the light of day. Dub me the unfinisher. I think I've a knack of boring myself when it comes to my own creative pursuits. Or - if I'm being completely honest - I've set pretty ridiculous standards for myself that ultimately only cripples my creativity and my drive to 'share' these things.

Be more forgiving, I've been telling myself for the past few years - and it seems I'm making progress! Because here I am - sharing. :)

Listening to
"Cages" - Tesseract

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Rewind: Fuel

On a completely unrelated note (as usual), here I am forever blowing bubbles with family. Happy Birthday Hayley! :)

I let my thoughts run wild until everything smiles at me. The smiles of hope, I figure, and I'm very much seduced - but only for a moment until I involuntarily let loose the restless cynic that has long taken residence in me. It indulges with a hearty appetite, and fascination gets the better of me each time, unable to retaliate. I lie still in awe, watching as it single-handedly turns this utopia upside down. Cruel but careful. Healthy. Sane. Just... it claims.

But this utopia remains an unsatisfied drug, and it naturally finds a place where cynicism cannot destroy it, and find it does. It becomes fuel for dreams. And in my sleep I blissfully get intoxicated - its warmth hauntingly addictive. It's a good few hours of unperturbed bliss, but it hurts like a nasty hang-over when I wake up. And as I sit and wipe my eyes, I greet this cruel consciousness like a close friend. Fair-weathered and caring as it may present itself to be. Me and my careful compromise.

- March 26, 2008

Listening to
"In The Waiting Line" - Zero 7

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Rewind: This Weather is Strange

Some time in 2007, I was waiting for Kaskade to come out.

This weather is strange. See it relentlessly whip lightning after lightning behind the congregation of clouds, and the howls of thunder chanting back and forth from the farthest edges of the dark sky. This must be armageddon, and I feel the dread of fear embrace me like a black veil. The world it wreaks havoc on lays still and helpless perhaps to show respect and awe. Fear before the power of what once was calm and dormant - somehow angered by forces unknown. And little by little, the leaves start to make the music of rain. 
I can still see the flashes of light from the corner of my eye. There's an eerie chill to how the drapes sway back and forth in rhythm with the east wind that comes every now and then. I refuse to face the window head on out of fear- but there's this warmth that stirs inside me, like a child being called by its mother. Suddenly, I knew why it was angry. Or isn't. It calls for me. I obey.
- May 2, 2008

Here I go again - being weird one late night. According to what's been written above, it was raining that night. (duh)

Listening to
"The Way I Feel" by Matt Wertz

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Cover: "Nowhere Fast" Incubus

I've been listening to Make Yourself for the longest time but only now decided to learn the guitar parts to some of the other songs. This one is from Nowhere Fast. I recorded some other covers at the time but I just had to squeeze this in there really quickly in just one take (screwed up several times, but no biggie).

Monday, November 16, 2015

Rewind: I Sit

Baby Tingkagol in 2005.

I refuse to fall down. I sit. Though every bone in my body aches, and giving in to closing these heavy eyes to a night's worth of fleeting slumber is too inviting - I choose to sit. I wouldn't know why, but I remain stubborn; refusing to let the natural forces beckon me, all the while feeling a twisted sense of power that I've somehow defied some primeval law of nature. I pride myself. Here's a guy who thinks he knows what he's doing. But I don't. Yet all my senses are sparked.

Maybe I wanted to get a better grip of the few inanimate figures big and small sprawled before me - or simply wanting to hear the rustling answer of the dead leaves to the wind. I think to myself... maybe. I gradually begin to pick things out bit by bit - like how cold the wind is, or if these leaves would easily become the flame from my lighter - or would the wind allow it? I don't know. All I know is that they're here for me as strange pacifiers, and we lazily let time pass under the faint glow of the stars, granting us permission to indulge and simply be.

Such seductive power. And like the rising tide, my self-awareness and conceit rises with every scar and crevice in my body introducing themselves as if they were childhood friends. But just as the tide recedes, I realize that I'm in the shadows, sitting on a tightrope with the vast emptiness lurking underneath, refusing to fall. I try hard not to, until something banishes the shadows with light. Love, perhaps? Maybe.

- March 12, 2008

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rewind: Lost in a Stranger's House

With Ate Adit, Mandaluyong 2009.

When I got home that night, I entered a stranger's house. I could make out the dining table and living room furniture as they formed silhouettes against the glass windows and the faint glimmer from the marble floor. Something was evidently different about it. Or me. It was me, I guess. I stopped and listened and all I could hear in the dead silence was this faint cry from the depths of my soul, like it was exhaling its last few breaths before it dies.
I opened a can of beer, holed myself in a room, and stared at the lamp as it painted the walls yellow. I was staring at the dream... The beer tasted ridiculously bad, as did everything else. But I stared on with not a single thought, and then it dawned on me - I have never felt this empty in my life.
- May 23, 2008

First of all, I was caught by surprise when I read this again. Just, whoa. Super emo mode si kuya. lol. I do vividly remember how I felt that night many moons ago. Personally, I'm glad I was able to preserve snapshots like these in my life - even if only in writing. I'm a firm believer that you feel most alive when you're subjected to such emotional distress, and I'm glad I'm able to look back to a time when I was ultimately able to tell myself: this is what it feels like to be alive. And though I was obviously sad at the time, it was at least intertwined with an equally cathartic revelation.

Listening to
"Champagne" by Polyphia

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Rewind: Shreds of Paradise

This was when I was waiting for someone in the car back in 2011.
She wakes up. The bliss has once again been cut short as she is plunged back into the world where the skin bleeds real blood. A "paradise" likened to an anemone- hiding its tendrils as if threatened by the rusty sticks of careless aboriginal divers, welcoming the insane rush of consciousness- like a stake driven through broken bone and blood--- all too familiar, but hurts each time.

She makes her way anyway, wading through the thickening crowd. She sees this world in gray with drowsy eyes--- remnants of what once was a flourishing enthusiasm for colors and shapes... waned through the years. But something catches her eye every now and then. She smiles, says hello, lets out a few hugs- ones she wished she'd never have to let go. She sees another, and another. Her embrace grows tighter- eyes closed. This is it. These are the fragments and substitutes to her paradise, however dwarfed and insignificant, they are the pieces to the puzzle. They hold the key to make it a reality, once and for all. Maybe. But when all's said and done, she drinks her last shot of tequilla and makes her way home.


The word has such a lonely ring to it....  and it hits her. Why am I so alone? A twitch, and her skin burns. Her spasms come back, and in no time they amass into an orchestra of pain. Liars! The so-called shreds of paradise--- ALL LIES! She lashes out. With all her strength, she seeps out all memories of the day and throws them out the window like a useless deck of cards. She slumps on the bed bawling, gulps down two or three sleeping pills- barely choking on one. Her eyes wide open, pondering where she had left off and where she wishes to begin. Sobs. More sobs.... then her eyes cave in.

...the night is kind.

(from the friendster blog, June 7, 2007)

Listening to
"Sober" - Childish Gambino

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Rewind: A God's Undoing

I can do simple goggles, but snorkeling is hard for me. Moalboal 2011.

When I was a child, I once had these thoughts that I was immortal. I was invincible. I was some sort of god. Everyone before me, their purpose, was to entertain the one. Me. I am the one. I will not grow old, forever a child who peeks through two small holes and watches all of nature entertain me - like a movie, and everyone did their parts. You remember Truman? He was no god. Everybody spied on him. Me? I was watched by nobody.

In time, the world revealed death before me. Through mouths. Through tubes. Everyone will die, but not me. I was immortal. I will bleed blood and i will feel the pain, but I won't know anything more excruciating. The sting of betadine will be the last of it.

I was a fool. But my excuse is obvious - I was a child. Now i know. I know better. I'm better... an improvement. I will grow old. I will know pain most agonizing. Through blood and the bloodless... and i will die. I will rot underneath this very ground, and the world wouldn't care less. They will see a few million more sunsets and I won't be able to give a damn about those beautiful hues of red and blue. My spectacles, my binoculars, my peeking instruments have disintegrated and i will see nothing... nothing. It's an abstract painting, and in time I'll see its beauty.

(from the friendster blog, January 27, 2007)

Listening to
"Slow Motion" by Trey Songz

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Rewind: The Invisible Stranger

Somewhere in southern Cebu, April 2007.

Everything is fine, it says. The familiar voice of a stranger. I've deliberately trapped myself in a worn-out barn after I've absent-mindedly hooked the locks to all the doors and windows. Nothing is going in or out. It's dark. And I can't tell if it's day or night out. But here we are, me and an invisible stranger, staring each other straight in the eye. Mimicking. Amusing ourselves after a chaotic joy-ride down to this basin. We've been going on for days without food or toilet. Slowly starving and poisoning ourselves to death.

I could not really tell what brought us here. But I'm putting my money on those black ink blots. I just can't seem to bring myself to ignore it, so I stared at those too. I stared so hard that it swelled up and filled the universe, and ignoring it became impossible. It became the soil and the air. The earth and the sky. My skin and thoughts. It became the DEVIL. And I ran like a scared little animal. But it followed me everywhere. Watched me as I went about my daily routines. Ate my lunch. Work. Home. Stood at the foot of my bed as I slept.

And after all that's happened, it's still here...  Playing "stare" with me.

(from the friendster blog, August 27, 2007)

Listening to
"Surface" by Deas Vail

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rewind: Odd Hours

Me and peanuts.

Amidst tousled bed sheets and the cold blue glow of dawn, something rises underneath- a feeling of comfort. Stability. Breaths are steady and the hands of time drag slower than usual. 4:30... and you clutch the blankets as you feel the warmth slowly flee your skin. This strange morning, the world seems to shrink, and for a moment all that matters is this makeshift cocoon of cloth within these boring white walls. A shield from the world asleep only an hour or so from springing back to life... from the constant buzz and honks that accompany the sun's doomed journey to the west.

Time has always favored motion, as beads of sweat are wasted in the endless pursuit of that elusive something, always a dizzying experience with all the flashes of fancy green and flickery lights, and thank god - it's only fitting that the world remains perfectly still for a change. Sparing a few odd hours for silence. Blue tranquil. You feel most lucid. You feel at peace.

(From the friendster blog, July 31, 2007)

Monday, November 09, 2015

Rewind: Shut Up

My mouth is shut. It starts speaking every now and then, and it gains momentum with every word, feeling kind of smart in the process, and then I hesitate and stutter. I shut it yet again, and re-evaluate the words that fall from my lips, pondering- were these appropriate? All the more when the person you're spilling your guts over doesn't really need to know what you're telling them, or couldn't care less. Have you ever had the feeling you are spilling too much information to people who don't need it? And you get misinterpretations, or an awkward silence, or god forbid- nods of charity? I get those within the time frame of my rarely opened mouth at an alarming frequency, which all the more cements my choice to shut up.

(Exhumed from the friendster blog, December 15, 2006.)

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Rewind: Time for Time

Can you see the whale shark? Me neither.

This here is time well spent. I'm enjoying every minute of this. I'm finding it harder each day to just sit down and enjoy being alone. I try as much as possible to squeeze in those 'alone' moments- to make the most out of the time I generously give myself. But because of this, I've been losing sleep. I feel drowsy throughout the day. Regardless, I feed my hunger. Days without these lonely moments make me feel stale, like something's missing. I feel I've just went through the day in black & white - and only will I get the chance to paint it with the colors I desire once I sit down and ponder what's passed. It's strangely become my ritual to give time its meaning. Time for time. haha! Itaas mo! After all, memories are only made the very instant they're recalled.

(salvaged from the friendster blog, June 29, 2006)

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Rewind: Fascinated by Fancy

On a completely unrelated note, this was taken in 2009... in the middle of nowhere.

I have no idea what possessed me to write this. This was August 25, 2006:

We convince ourselves that the sun has circled for the last time- that it won't see us sitting on the same chairs again. It's been so long since it had seen us bask under its rays or the shelter of clouds, so long since our aging backs had touched the soil it once was fond of, so long since we stayed up late staring at campfires we made, SOOOOOOO long since we heard joy from our mouths as raindrops start trickling on rusted roofs- screaming "SIGE PA! SIGE PA!!!". Memories so colorful & vivid yet so awkwardly distant, all encased and locked in the deep recesses in our heads - like treasure thrown down the bottom of the sea, and we simply do not mind. We become too fascinated with strange, fancy streaks of light and the glow of green paper.

Rewind: My Peace

1/2 of my soldiers.

Amidst all the chaos that goes through my mind these days, I let myself sit down and realize that things are okay as it is. You can only ask too much from life. But, nevertheless, I am thankful for my one true confidante: Music. Thank you so much for a gift so profound- that all adjectives describe it. I am at peace. I am at home. (Me, April 24, 2006 on my Friendster blog)

My new thoughts...

On Chaos: I admittedly had it easy. Good thing chaos only 'resided' in my brain back then. Nowadays, there's actual literal chaos not just in my head, but physically manifesting in front of me! The upside is, I now have two very beautiful people who have my back. I could not imagine how I would handle this new and evolved chaos without them. I'd probably go insane.

On Music: I am so happy that absolutely nothing has changed about how I feel about music. I do tend to forget to don the earbuds every now and then, but when I do - magic. What seems like a lonely undertaking at first becomes a team effort - all with the right music. (Choosing the right music is in itself a tricky endeavor I struggle with frequently - but I think I'm getting the hang of it.)

Monday, November 02, 2015

Alternative Love (Playlist)

My enjoyment of pop and love songs is seasonal, and guess what - it's in season. To celebrate, I went through my library of stolen mp3s and managed to make a playlist that "tugged at the heartstrings" for those longing for love/inspiration, or perhaps want it filled to the brim until it spills over. I made sure this list was easily digestible, favoring instant gratification and shunning songs that take several listens before sinking in. I personally listen to a song or two from this list every now and then - but never lumped together like this. And strangely, it works! (I'm so proud of myself).

PS: I popped this in the car the other day and I've been singing my ass off ever since.

01. Everybody But You - Dave Barnes
02. Where You Are - Marc Broussard
03. Dream Catch Me - Newton Faulkner
04. The Way I Am - Ingrid Michaelson
05. Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap
06. So Slow - Ari Hest
07. Waterfall - Gavin Degraw
08. Poison & Wine - The Civil Wars
09. Mine Again - Black Lab
10. Orange Sky - Alexi Murdoch
11. Dream - Priscilla Ahn
12. A Little Bit Better - Daniel Merriweather
13. Ordinary - The Alternate Routes
14. Colors - Amos Lee

Made a Youtube playlist to save you the hassle of searching for these songs. Enjoy!