Sad Songs of November

Bluesy mood.

Boy o boy, every freakin' year in grad school at around November.

I suffer some kind of significant other heartbreak.

At this point, it's all fodder for comedy.

The application to be my girlfriend/significant other/partner has officially opened.

1) Breathing and Walking
2) Be really really excited about me at first, just by reading my writing
3) As the months pile on, taper your excitement, find out that I'm not that exciting in real life
4) Get ready to officially cut ties and dump my ass by next October. 

If interested, please call 1-323-DNT-CARE, many times

Al Green - How to Mend a Broken Heart

Via my friend Ivan Galavante.

Amy Winehouse - Help Yourself

Wyclef - Gone Till November

New Edition - If It Isn't Love

This was actually a song given to me by a friend named Geetz. Song made me happy and optimistic, so I'll end on that.

New Appreciation for the Category of "Classical"

Thanks to these songs, both of which I've already posted on this blog.

However, I must point out that each of these songs have since acquired additional meanings: These two songs below are my fighting songs for the moment in this year 2 of g-school.

I've never really been opened up to the category "classical","classically-trained musicians", "orchestra" or anything else related, though I've tried to be.

There was just no meaning to it for me. In grade school, there was no band, there was no instruments. All we really learned was how to sing church songs and Christmas songs. In my all-boys Catholic high school, the reality was that being associated with music was associated with a stigmatized sexual orientation.

Being working immigrants, my folks didn't listen much to classical either and left the car radio to my sister and I, which we made sure to fill with Gangsta's Paradise and MC Lyte's Keep Keepin' On.

I saw classical and orchestra music in antagonistic terms, which didn't improve with the internet. I would look for my selection of rap, hip-hop, R&B, jazz. And when I did, I encountered internet battles and micro-insults questioning the legitimacy of rap and hip-hop as "music", mostly stemming from "classically-trained musicians." So I used to see classical and orchestra music as "borgeoisie."

I guess my life in 2011 has gotten so bourgeoisie that my "tastes have evolved to the point where I consume music like someone would consume high art.

Anyhow, the first piece isn't really an all out orchestra, but I appreciate the sounds of the cello.

Hood Internet/Ellie Goulding/Kanye West/Portland Cello Project - All of the Lights Mashup

Said one youtube commenter
"The drums are making love to Ellie's voice and it sounds beautiful."

Bit of a strange comment that I don't think the commenter would make if Ellie wasn't attractive, but nonetheless I agree and felt the need to point it out still.

The drums pressure-pumping with the cello's importance reminds me of the depths of rising from nowhere.

Madolin Orchestra Ensemble - Always With Me

I don't know many terms for orchestra music, but, it's a piece that cycles, but each time it does, it comes back with something slightly different. The syncness with variation of the guitars gives it many different little flavors. The xylophone players inch deeper and deeper, and the gong drums sound even more important.

This song in its cycles reminds me of all the depth and beauty of Savatri.

Happy Heart in the Sunshine - Bust A Groove 2

This song for me = 2001. Winter 2001. Madden NFL 2001. Track team. Running Silver Lake. A light-skinnded girl named Rosette whom I never met. Never-ending, optimistic resiliency.

Eternal Summer of 2011

This is dedicated to you.

You, La Brea Tar pits. You, Yao Ming. You, traffic Stops. You, morning jogs. You, parking lots...even at churches. You, reunions. You, Culver City and Marina Del Rey. You, Boogeyboarding. You, food anthropology. You, Mythologies. You, me.

If you think this is an all-inclusive "you" as I usually do, you're wrong. In this case, there's only one you.

Martin Solveig - Night Out

Always With Me

My Sister's Modelling Days Music

Once upon a time, my lil sister was a model for this "exotic" Filipino clothing line called the Lakambini clothing collection. She got into the LA Times once.

1994-1996 were the years. I attended some 10-15 of her modelling gigs and probably over 50 of her practices; they were defining events for our family, as in my mom and dad would clear out their schedules for this.

While there was a decidedly "feminine" tone to these gigs and practices, and there were tons of hot older mostly Filipina girls, I was a wee-10-year old trying to sort out, perform, and project my own masculinity. LOL, I was hoping someone would take notice of me.

I was taking karate classes and projected out the lessons learned into their practices.

One time when I was doing squats, the modelling coach, Bobby, smiling, asked me if I was doing gymnastics.

"No, it's karate," I laughed off his ignorance and femininity.

If that story was current and featured an adult iteration of me, it would be the thoughts and actions of a super-douche, and I'd give people the license to slap me.

Anyhow, the songs below, decidedly, remind me of good times.

Celine Dion - Power of Love

The Michigan Football Song

I just love Michigan Football. I don't know why. UCLA is my home school (and the Banana Slugs!), but they've always been defined by college basketball.

Maybe has to do with being the most visual symbol of college football. Maybe it's the Blue and Maize, the song, the brick walls that remind me of the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field. Maybe it's the huge super enthusiastic crowd. I love their symbolic audio: Hail to the Victors, nowadays I just like to see Michigan score a TD just to hear the song.

The best moments to hear that Victory song?

I remember witnessing the amazingly acrobatic Charles Woodson.

The Childhood Hero Theme Songs

There were two cartoons I distinctly remember watching as a child. I was proud as hell to show any and anyone my adoration of them.

1. Ghostbusters

Funny observations from youtube:

So terrible. That ghost was having a good time, minding his own business. Avoiding the trash cans trying not to cause trouble. But no. Our society will not tolerate dirty dirty ghosts.- miguelangel39
Why does a ghost need to avoid walking into trash?  JankyToe

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

First, it was Ghostbusters, my first real heroes. My preference of them goes back to my early years in Chicago. I got not only the action figures and the station firehouse, but the proton pack, and even boots to embody the Ghostbusterhood.

My dad took the liberty of taping episodes, and as an 8-year old I kept re-watching episodes I'd watched as a 4-year old. My cousins from San Diego keep reminding me of my first visit to them and how they'd been impressed at how I was able to spell the word "Ghostbusters" backwards. Sretsubtsohg <--- yes, I had to pause and think about how to spell that.

For some reason, I had a liking for the character named Winston, the guy wearing light blue, and the only black character in the cartoon series. I do not know why. Maybe I related to him? Maybe something subconscious, heh.

I don't know how it happened but all of a sudden when I was 5 or 6, I started liking the Ninja Turtles. I know it was sometime after my family moved to LA in 1989. Suddenly, I got the action figures, and the Nintendo Video games to go with them. To this day, I can't really recall many episodes or even the movies made about them, I just remember which characters embodied a certain collection of traits and where I fit in: Donatello, the machine genius, Leonardo the leader, Raphael, the rude, wise guy, Michaelangelo, the party guy. Leonardo or Donatello.

To Store and Use For the Rough Times

Wondering why these songs are not on the local radio anymore.

I guess not happy enough.

2Pac Baby Don't Cry (Feat. Outlawz) - Subtitulos EspaƱol BY MAGNARE from 2pacmakaveli on Vimeo.

One of the Most Durable Songs Ever

Curtis Mayfield's Move On Up.

First heard it when I watched Bend it Like Beckham.

Reminds me of Luol "the star" Deng, the concepts of resilience, pliability, and running up hills no matter what.

2Pac - Pain

When I first fell in love with basketball, I wanted to watch every movie with any mention of it. There was a slew of basketball movies: White Men Can't Jump, Blue Chips, and then this movie with 2Pac Shakur, Above the Rim.

The last movie, I didn't get at all. I thought it was violent, they said lots of bad words, and I was scared of 2Pac.

Dom had been bumping this song a few months ago, and I was too lazy to look up another 2Pac song.

Now I came across this song when looking for a lighthearted youtube comment about how violent the streetball game portrayed in Above the Rim was, "these niggaz is playin' NBA Blitz." I came across the above clip, and for various folks in my life I think it makes sense.

The Storm of 2010

Career-wise, I was fine and moving up.

Mentally, I was getting chewed up.

Sprinkled in were moments of happiness, but mostly moments of sadness, bittersweet opportunity, and resolve.

Let's just say that these songs remind me of sleeping at my godsister's couch in her condo in the winter of LB, using OKCupid to find a date (I know it shouldn't be stigmatized, but I feel dirty and slightly pathete admitting that), and the actual rainstorms that closed out 2010 in Southern California.

I'm reminded of Metro subway station and looking at an old flame and her new beau.

As did this song. This song also reminded me of a lonely Christmas and New Years.

Tribute to DDL Roundhouse

Came to the party late because DDL Roundhouse came together for the last time on July 16th in Pasadena. This also marked the very first time I saw them live.

DDL Roundhouse had a bunch of elements --- a nine-piece band: a DJ, a drummer, a keyboardist, a singer, MC's, a bassist, a guitarist, a trumpeteer.

From what I remember reading an old description, their name is based on a Street Fighter move --- the Hurricane Kick executed by the characters Ryu and Ken. DDL Roundhouse stands for the buttons you'd press to execute the most powerful hurricane kick. "DDL" stands for Down, Down, Left, and the Roundhouse is the Roundhouse kick, the button C if you had a Sega Genesis.

They were an LA-based group and cranked out jazzy hip-hop. I really think that they deserved better promotion, and more shows.

I'm proud to say I went to school and was friends with what was their keyboardist and resident beatboxer --- Jason. Surely enough his last show brought me back with a few of my high school buds from way.

I really liked a few of their songs and overdid the replay button on a few:

The one below was my favorite.

Hopefully DDL's just kidding about the final show and this was just the start to get serious about marketing themselves more.

Summer of the Nutty Professor 2---Thousand






I came to this very elite Los Angeles high school with very high expectations of myself; then I quickly found out that I was a no one.

There was always someone smarter, more athletic, more unique than me...what place did I have?

I was just another Filipino kid, what I perceived to be a marginal, don't-participate-in-class-maligned "8:15-2:20 student." And I wasn't even that good as just a student.

The year 2000 marked the middle of my term at this high school. A time of intense identity searching.

Some highlights:

  • My godsister Cheryl was at the height of her coolness: she graduated high school! And she was having this watergun fight called Waterfest...the first year we had it at rinky dink "dirty" Griffith Park, this year we had it at the "cleaner," official cool place in the Valley where the pookashells, chinese character bracelets, and raver kids were out in full force. There was this kid named Richie with the biggest nose but had the coolest raver moves ever.
I was reminded of a Ghostface Killah song:

And this:

A Rap that Launched a Love Affair

con hip-hop.

1995, Summer.

I took this song, and said I was going to be a hip-hop fan. I was going to listen to Power 106. I was going to be one of the cool kids like those kids in the 8th grade, Cheryl's grade. If I memorized this song, I would officially have my pass.

I could be invited to their clique, their partiessssyeah didn't happen.

On the song itself, I couldn't tell if Coolio was trying to send a good message or a bad message.

But I got hooked by the visuals of the music video :

-Coolio's standing dreadlocks
-intense ass L.V. sweating his ass off in smoke and what looks to be like pain
-all the eses in the movie cuts
-the dude in the Dickies shirt being blocked out on MTV and BET because I thought it meant something bad when it was really them not wanting to advertise Dickies; I thought Dickies was gangster-wear from then out; starting wearing Dickies myself in '06 when I got them at the thrift store for cheap
-yelling Chicano student at the end

Gangsta's Paradise, 1995.

I desperately wanted to let everyone know that this is what I was down with.

I officially began to assert my newfound hardcore, hard-riding hip-hop identity at the local Disneyland for my sister's 8th birthday by telling some white person named Doug standing in line that "rock music and KROQ sucked."

Of course my 11-year old self assuming that said white person was indeed into "rock music and KROQ."

This all coincided with/facilitated me suddenly watching Family Matters so much, In the House with Coolio, Fresh Prince...yyy, I started to loved anything to do with black people, and that included my first favorite woman...Tyra Banks, foo!

Looking back at all this 15 years later, hey, sort of a dated song, but not a bad song to get into, gracias Coolio.

Somewhat relevant to me today.

Back to 199...


Los Angeles, CA.

Post LA Riots. Post Chicago Bulls second championship.

My parents were renting our first house in the LA community known as Atwater Village.

Just had my 8th birthday.

The first time I [was privileged enough] to sleep in my own room, though I was scared. My dad had his artists' desk there and was attending art school; was always up late and doing something mind-blowing.

What I remember about Summer that year: the development of my love for basketball. My daily dose of activities included watching the Olympics, developing my skills on my 8-foot basketball hoop (of course made that tall by standing it on a chair), rewinding and re-watching a video cassette tape of Game 6 of the 1992 NBA Finals (complete with Mo' Money in Theaters ads), collecting basketball cards with Cheryl.

For some reason, I remember this song always playing, very prominently.

The Best Dumbest Song Ever

Heard this at my friend's niece's quinceanera.

I don't know how but it makes me think of people who are grossly overweight trying to hold their balance on their tiptoes.

I've never had a song motivates me so much to get really really stupid.

Good effin' times.



For Oscar Grant

If you don't know what the Oscar Grant case is here's my article exploring all the moves made from the beginning to the end.

But quick synopsis is that a cop shot and killed an unarmed black man, Oscar Grant, on new year's day 2009 at a Bay Area Transit station (BART station). As the cop had him restrained and on the floor, he said that he was trying to put Oscar Grant in handcuffs, he maintained that Oscar Grant was resisting.

Against Grant's apparent resistance, he said that that he was reaching for his TASER gun, a yellowish device that was placed on his left belt but instead pulled out his black, heavy handgun located on his right.

The result of the "mistake" was the fatal shooting known as the BART Shooting, the Oscar Grant shooting.

Personally, it seems as if law enforcement's (and the public as well) is too trigger-happy when they see people of color. "Trigger-happy" meaning the automatic response is to use some kind of "technology", a "device" be it a gun, a social service worker, some kind of "intervention" that doesn't include directly handling, "touching" "them."

I wonder, would this cop have made the same mistake if Oscar Grant was some white middle-class college kid?

Video here:

Why am I bringing up the case of Oscar Grant now?

After being apprehended for 6 months, Johannes Mehserle, the cop, is set to be released sometime tomorrow in LA County at 441 Bauchet St., Los
Angeles, CA 90012., June 13 between 12 AM or 8:30 PM, at a time when there is little fanfare.

I think if a case with so many witnesses of law enforcement misbehavior could only manage to put a negligent officer in for what amounted to less than a year, what does that mean for people of color (hell, the general public) who usually do not have the benefit of a camera or camera phones?

Native Guns - Handcuffs (Remix)

Can you get much higher?

Kanye's album is what I call the do-work album with just this and the Monster song. "Do-work" meaning I think of all the hard work that is laid down for me to pick up on in my "road to redemption."

Kanye's song Dark Fantasy is the embodiment of fire-on-the-shoulder, strike-gold for the team kinda music.

At first I only liked the song because of this line at 2:28...

"fresh air,
rollin' down the window
too many urkels on your team,
that's why yo wins lowww!!!

Of course making reference to Steve Urkel and the protagonist Winslow family from the popular 90s TV show Family Matters, a show that Savatri said she watched "religiously."

But there's more to the song than just that witty reference.

Once the beat drops at 1:07, the work of redemption, ass-kicking packaged into it's distinctive repetitive, yet elegant keyboard sound, you know its




I probably sounded like a douchebag doing that pause for effect in my writing, but this blog's sort of dedicated to feelings and you can't logically argue against feelings.

Why? Probably because it's the beginning of a song with some dramatic drops.

Dramatic drops like...the moment he slides from the 2nd a-capella chorus at 2:02 to the fury of...

"Look like a fat booty Celine Dion
sex is on fire I'm the king of Leon
-a Lewis
beyond the truest
hey teacha teacha
tell me how do you re-spond to students
and re-fresh the page
and re-start the memory,
re-spark the soul
and re-build the energy,
we stop the ignorance,
we kill the enemy..."

It's like a Manny Pacquiao flurry. It's like an instance where the middle of a song is actually a climax and not just filler in between a strong start or strong ending.

I'm not sure why he brings up teachers and students, but at least he questions how we can we figure out ways --- better to put that on the mind that diamonds, women, partying, and alcohol.

Two Savages Dancing in a Jungle

From Ong Bak 3 of the legendary Ong Bak series.

Music starts at about 48 seconds...the slam of the Taiko-ish drum...bam!

An Album of Soothe

Big ups to Wendell P, whom I met on a bike path one day trying to give him a flyer to an event, and sent this to me after I said on a facebook status I endured one of the most "psychologically challenging" days ever.

This album was aloe vera to all the shocks, aches, nicks, cuts and other mental intensities.

My Banana Slug Playlist

Just about 8 years ago, I was an undergraduate student at UC-Santa Cruz, apparently the "crown jewel" of the UCs as I read in some brochure. Visual evidence here.

When I first got to SC, I was headed towards a career in history. Fresh off 2 years of Socratic instruction and thoroughly critical paper writing from a great teacher at my high school.

Or legal studies. To "learn how the rules so I could learn how to 'break them" heavily inspired by the big blockbuster "Catch Me if You Can."

Or Anthropology. Cause after classes with Donna Haraway, Lisa Rofel, and reading Guns, Germs, and Steel, Mythologies, and City of Quartz, the discipline of Anthropology was the most "natural" subject to integrate all those interests.

A large chunk of my Santa Cruz experience also included the social events and interactions: the Pilipino Cultural Celebration (PCC) where I played a "manong", an elder Filipino man, the Saturday nights of my sophomore year up the hills at Merrill College with a multicultural hodgepodge of characters pretending not to drink while being "underage", the ish-talking while going to the dining hall, using NBA Street as a therapy for everything.

I loved Santa Cruz, but I guess I liked LA a lot more.

And I did wonder a lot about what my path woulda looked like had I just stayed on for the rest of the 2 years.

All water under the bridge now, and I just made some new memories about a few weeks ago there, but here's to the place and peoples that made Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz.

Fischerspooner - Emerge

I forgot exactly how I bumpbed into this song, but I do remember it was clearly my soccer-ball-kicking, All Mac-everything, NBA 2K3-hogging friend Harlan's song.

But I thought nothing about him at all.

Instead all I thought about when I heard this song was Jamal Crawford and the Chicago Bulls of 2002-2003.

There was nothing positively memorable at all about the 2002-2003 Chicago Bulls.

Sublime - Santeria

This was more a Long Beach song, and all because of Ms. Company Flow Desiree Mags.

But it was a good way to sum up the good times at UCSC.

The Perpetual Ultimate Momentum-Generating Song

The Go-Team - The Power Is On!

I can listen to this song any time and repeat it over and over. I can make a religion devoted to this song.

It ignites the fire-on-the-shoulder, draw-the-sword line, swing the iron chain energy that I bring out when someone or something p's me the eff off.

It sounds like tough little girls in the background, sorta reminds me of scenes from Bend it Like Beckham, but urges to press on.

I think of all the weather conditions I bike in.

I think of car chases.

I think of cutting people the eff up.

Playlist of Healing

My friend Stacie said that her past career was Music therapy.

I have no idea what that is or the extent of their work, but I do know that people "medicate" or use just about anything for therapy. People will do "retail" therapy, that is shop, people will use "substance therapy", people will do "food therapy."

When I had my last break-up and was balls to the wall beaten, a man named Wendell sent me some really good sounds that made me feel good.

Below are a collection of 10 songs that I can listen to over and over and feel good, especially after a period of downness.

10. Youtube User - You'll Never Walk Alone

I always liked the game of soccer/futbol/football mostly because of the electric atmosphere it generated. In particular I love the atmosphere brought when FC Liverpool plays when they play that song "Never Walk Alone", just a very peaceful, very communal song.

9. Immaculate Heart High School Los Angeles Graduation 2006 - I Hope You Dance

This was sung during my Sister's high school graduation, and I thought their rendition was particularly uplifting.

Mobb Deep - Shook

"You could put your whole army against my team"

Lean and mean. I think of this line every time I'm on my bike battling against cars during the night time. Especially when I'm wearing my long-sleeve mesh, away from the fat of a windbreaker or a jacket, just mesh, my bike, my bag, my manifestations of grit.