You have not known what you are.
You have slumbered upon yourself all your life.
Your eyes have been as much as closed most of the time.
What you have done is already in mockeries.

The mockeries are not you.
Underneath them
And within them,
I see you lurk...

-Walt Whitman


midnight time machine

HE STOOD ON THE SUBWAY PLATFORM, with both hands in his pocket. Just a couple of inches behind the yellow line, he waited for the train to arrive. His eyes closed intent, thoughts lost in the music that plugged his ears. He was alone. Everything was eerily still except for the sound of a dying bulb blinking yellow light over his head. It was a perfect analogy to the conflicts that brought him to the train station that night. He was flickering—an image of a man, appearing alternately in light and in dark. That’s the way it’s always going to be. Everything will continue to exist in opposites and yet there he was, standing at the middle between a choice and its complete reverse. Then suddenly, the bulb over his head exploded into sparks. Was it a sign? He found himself standing on a patch of shadow. He looked like a man suspended over a hole on the grimy tiled floor, defying gravity and praying not to fall.

A gust of wind struck him and it reminded the man of how someone whispers warm promises to his face or how a kiss melts on his mouth. Strangely, the very thought gave him chills, pulling him away from his reverie. His eyes opened exactly as the train doors did. Nearby, a clock struck midnight. It was new day to face old ghosts, he thought. He walked over the threshold and waited for the doors to close. He was the only one on board—exactly how he wanted it to be. The train started to move, slow at first, making up pace, then speeds its way like bullet piercing the calm midnight air ahead.

The man sat, eyes wide shut to the reality he decided to depart from at least for a while. He laid his back against the cold glass window behind him. He would feel the train moving on its tracks. The speed that carried him made it easier to pretend that he could actually feel the world turn in the way how scientists say it does in space—blindingly fast from west to east. He could feel people and places whipping past by the window; the faces of those he once loved and lost, those he had left to lose, and strangers he would soon meet. They were all there—the places he had been to, the far away countries he wanted to explore, the dreams that came and went, the memories he once held in his hands eventually disintegrating into dust. It made him feel like he’s riding time; that as long as he’s in there, in pace with how the world spins and how time stretches through the blank unknown, he wouldn’t miss anything. He was everywhere. He didn’t want to open his eyes because he knew there’s nothing too see outside except a world drenched in absolute shade, adorned with nothing but horizontal streaks of blurry multicolored lights.

The railway transit continued to move in its tracks for what measure of time, the man wasn’t sure. He felt the train slowing down till it finally came to a halt. The doors opened, but no one came in. He waited for the doors to close but they didn’t. Puzzled, he hesitantly stood and walked by the door. He walked over the threshold into the platform. He looked around to see nobody. It was like people had disappeared from the face of the earth. Then, suddenly the doors hissed shut behind him. The train started to move disappearing into the darkness of the tunnel. It wasn’t long before he noticed he was standing on the same shadowy patch of tiled floor, of the platform. Instinct told him to look up. A busted bulb gawked at him from above: out of light, out of order. It was not a sign, the man concluded, but a reminder of what he’d been reduced to. He’s back to where the ride started, back to reality. The absence of speed to carry his weight caused straps of burden bite harder on his shoulders. He felt heavier. The lack of movement seemed to have stopped the world from turning. Time deceivingly appeared frozen. It was a perfect illusion, of course. He knew for a fact that while he stood there motionless, the world is spinning madly on while time takes the liberty to engage on a race against itself. He sat down on the floor, hugged his knees and rocked. This time, he looked like a boy trying to stay afloat in a sea of black water he wish he could tread but could not.


AI S9: Top 11 [Bad Song Choice Week]

PAIGE MILES was voted out last night. Well, it’s a price to pay for butchering a Phil Collins song. Tim Urban is very lucky, isn’t he? Despite a very boring karaoke performance and with that pathetic corny knee slide, he still wiggled out of the chopping block, plus, he gets to join the Summer Tour!

The theme this week was Billboard Number 1’s. There must be a thousand songs to choose from but I had to agree with the judges that the contestants failed to pick the right songs to complement their vocal ability. Lee Dewyze broke away from his comfort zone but the song failed to showcase his big, rugged voice. Casey James is becoming really predictable. I think blues songs pull his voice back rather than letting it soar. Didi Benami’s jazzy performance didn’t work either. I think she connects to a song better when she plays it with the guitar; I think the same thing for Andrew Garcia. Whenever he performs without the guitar, he moves like a puppet on stage. His movement with his arms and legs is very awkward and robotic. Meanwhile, singing Fergie was a good move from Katie Stevens but she still wasn’t able to address her pitch problems. Pop Rnb is really her lane. I am always reminded of Jojo whenever I see her. Shrieking is not working anymore for Siobhan Magnus even though it was the only interesting thing to her last performance.

Only three performances did well last Wednesday. Contrary to the judges, I think Michael Lynch singing When A Man Loves A Woman was good move. He is the soulful Rnb singer of this season. His songs connect to me whenever he sings ballads. They gave his voice a wide space to work with so he could do rifts and go in and out of his register. David Archuleta 2010 aka Aaron Kelly took on I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing. He did a decent job with it but his voice was a little strained on hitting the high notes. Laryngitis perhaps? What I liked about it was the popular-country twang he did to it. I really hope he’d work on his technique. The star of the night, and it was not a surprise—Crystal Bowersox. She performed in a different league and above everyone else. I still see a little lack of personality but I feel that she’d let go on that last performance. She connected to the song and to the audience better and in Simon’s words: she did it with only with a guitar and a carpet as a gimmick…

…No pathetic knee slides whatsoever! Haha!


taxi to the dark side

"Man torturing man is a fiend beyond description. You turn a corner in the dark and there he is. You congeal into a bundle of inanimate fear. You become the very soul of anesthesia. But there is no escaping him. It is your turn now..."

— Henry Miller

After watching the documentary feature, Taxi to the Dark Side, I felt really depressed. I can say this because I remember being on the verge of tears, covering my eyes with both hands, cursing to the darkness. A conflicted emotion came over me. It was a muddle of shock, confusion, and the psychological sore brought by the burning images that sent me on the edge of anger. It was the same kind of emotion whenever I am reminded of the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, or any acts of outrage against humanity.

I will not say much because I want anyone who’d read this entry to see this movie, dwell in every detail, and chew every word spoken. Dark and compelling, I think this is one of the most moving documentary films I’ve ever seen. Let’s just say I am a fan of 24 and Jack Bauer… and then I saw this. Not a fan anymore. Torturing people to save the country almost make sense when everybody’s buying it, right? Well, it’s bullshit. The movie made me realize how corrupting this thought could be and that it fosters hate in people. It opened my mind to a lot of things. I may have watched this film three years late, but I guess it’s better late than never. I know the former US President Bush is a shmuck, but the policies he was willing to push through in the name of national security, in the middle of war against terrorism, brought me into the conclusion that he’s much dumber than I thought he was. I mean twisting the Constitution to fool the Supreme Court? To define laws his own way to pull away from the premises of the Geneva Convention? And all these just to justify and legalize human torture? And for what? For useless unrealiable intels squeezed out from the prisoners of war!

I still couldn’t understand why it had come to this. It maybe because of the hate or paranoia inflicted by 9/11, but I think what Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney did was appalling and downright stupid. They were not only dismantling the moral foundation of the people, but they’re also attracting threats to the country as well—the direct opposite of what they’re trying to do. The ghastly images you will see could practically serve as propaganda posters against the State. I am not really into politics. I hate it actually, but when the abuse of power is involved in the cost of innocent lives, I just couldn’t help but get affected. I think everyone would; those people who still have a concrete sense of right and wrong and the willingness to win the struggle to do good.

I highly suggest that you watch this documentary film by Alex Gibney (Director of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room). It won the Academy Award (2007) for Best Documentary Feature, so it must good, right?


AI S6: Top 12 [Boohoo, Tim!]

TIM URBAN should really thank his face. Let’s admit it. Idol is not just about having a good voice and the talent. And as proven by Tim Urban, even though you gave a crappy-cutesy reggae performance, annoyingly good looks could still save you from the chopping block. It’s happened twice already, and those who didn’t deserve to go just yet are sent home: First, JC Munoz (Top 24) and then Lacey Brown. Based solely on the performances last Wednesday, Tim, Paige, and Lacey really deserved to be on the Bottom 3. I mean Paige lost some lyrics and a lot of personality (but I really think she sounded really good. Apparently, her pharyngitis brought a beautiful huskiness into her voice), Lacey was off-pitch in places and a little boring (I liked the arrangement with the string quartet though), and Tim—Well, he really messed it up, murdering a Stone song into a bore-to-the-skull reggae. In short, Tim should’ve been the one sent home. I am not sure if I could stand his face for another week.

Over-all I think it’s a good performance week. Everyone is trying to step up in my opinion. Michael Lynch gave an OK performance. There’s nothing wrong with him. I just don’t connect with his performances. I liked Didi’s rendition of Playing with Fire. Her sweet voice complemented the eerie arrangement of the song. It’s nice to see Casey back on his Blues roots, but I didn’t like the song. It gave his voice a little space to work with. Andrew’s performance was quite boring until he hit the big notes at the end. He pulled it off I think. It was great improvement for Katie Stevens from last week. The song really made her voice soar. I agree with Kara that she should take the Pop-Rnb genre rather Country as Simon had suggested. One of my favorite last Wednesday was Lee Dewyze. He made a rock song sound pop. He sounded like Dave Matthews-John Meyer I think. He’s a David Cook in the making. Next to Alex Lambert, I think he has the most interesting tone. Aaron Kelly on the other hand was really comfortable doing a country take on Angie. Crystal Bowersox, however, gave her first not-so-brilliant performance. She’s consistent but the other contestants really stepped up this week. No wonder Simon made a comment about her being a little way comfortable. But I don’t think Crystal thinks she already had the competition in her pocket. She just really needs to improve because others are staring to peak. Speaking of peaking performances, Siobhan Magnus really stood out among the lot. Dark and dramatic, she sang and shrieked a couple of ridiculously high notes. It really worked for her and matched her strange personality. She’s growing on me. :D

I wonder what songs will be featured next week. Hmmm…


dark blue

Break the goodbye,

Strip the lie

That satisfies the doubts

Pulsating on my hands,

In my heart,

Drumming for truths it lacked;

Contracts for facts

It will seek but will not find—

A bent fate, curled unkind.

Time swings back

And forth then back to you;

Wielding light, breathing fire

In a world dark blue of memoirs

That you slice;

A piece spliced with yours

Then flies out the window,

To where I’ll never know.

Will you follow?

Leave the shallows of the heart?

Say yes.

For I am drawn, drowned

Down to the bottom;

Dry mouth slacked for rain

From the clouds you bring;

Casting shadows,

Silver lining into my soul,

Fire ablaze in a heart,

Digging roots burning deep

Down to the bones

So long alone.

Fracture the lies

And goodbyes then fly

To graze the sky—

Borderless and infinite.

When I knock on your door

Drop the weeds on the floor,

Open up and take flight

With me into the night

As twined hands fight the unknown,

And brave closed doors for love—

A truth that sets us free

Blinding all reason, our eyes

And in the end, to see.


american idol season 9: top 16

AI’s TOP 16 delivered their performances and America has spoken. Apparently, they didn’t much like Alex Lambert, Lily Scott, Katelyn Epperly, and Todrick Hall. For Katelyn, it was all about bad song choice. Todrick went Glee-ish and wow-ed the judges but he lacked charisma I thought. As expected, America is not yet ready for Lily’s unique music. But what I’m really disappointed about the results was that Alex got cut. Well, he probably deserved to go home, but Tim Urban should’ve been the one on the chopping board this week. I just couldn’t stand his cutesy performance! Anyway it was a sorry loss for Alex because I like the Ray Lamontagne vibe in him. I mean he got the tone and the potential to be a good folk artist but the lack of experience really got the good of him. But then again, the folk artists, I believe won’t win the competition. American Idol is about mainstream-popular music.

I think the guys really stepped up this week, because there was no “complete and utter mess’’ heard from Simon. Lee’s rendition of Fireflies was good but a little off with some notes. Tim Urban did well on performing Hallelujah but still corny and annoying for me. I love Andrew Garcia’s Genie in a Bottle. I really think he’s one of the genuine artists in the competition. I really hope the judges could move on from that Paula song he did on Hollywood. I think it maybe clouding their judgement a little. Aaron Kelly—I still couldn’t stop comparing him to David Archuleta. He’s charismatic but he lacked the technique unlike Archie. It’s really obvious that he’d do well with country. His phrasing with songs practically screams Rascal Flatts. Honesty is what made Casey James’ performance this week but he’s becoming a little bit predictable in my opinion. I’d like to hear him sing some Jack Savoretti. Big Mike’s obviously a crowd favourite. He’s good but I’m not really into RnB lately. Hehe!

Based on the girls’ performance this week, I’d say Paige Miles gave the weakest if not the most tragic. Everything was just wrong; the arrangement, the notes, her stage presence. It’s really uncomfortable when you watch someone and know that they’re losing it on the spot. Katie Steven on the other hand is really talented and very commercial but, just like the judges have been saying for 3 weeks in a row, she’s confused as to what kind of artist she wanted herself to be. The two contestants that are starting to grow on me are Lacey Brown and Didi Benami. They could be potential folk artists with the way they’re singing. They utilize the same technique and I could see them doing some Michelle Featherstone. Crystal Bowersox is the one to beat. Give her a guitar, a harmonica and a Tracy Chapman song—Tsk. She’d nail it. She’s a pure talent.

The Final 12 performances start next week featuring songs from the Rolling Stones. (I don’t know any of them. Hehe!) Ciao!


on idol so far...

Since American Idol Season 9 aired last January, I haven’t missed a single episode. Because just like Ryan Seacrest had said: the beauty of Idol is in the journey; from witnessing humble beginnings to being a part of incredible triumphs. I think it’s going to be a good season this year. There are so many promising and diverse talents. As of now there is no clear front runners compared to last season which makes it so much interesting. American Idol thrives in unpredictability and the element of surprise. Some may disagree but I’d really like Idol to continue for a few more years. The search for talent and the discovery of new artists have always been the primary reasons why I look forward to watch Idol every year.
During the auditions prior to Hollywood Week, I got a lot of early favorites and fortunately, most of them successfully qualified to the final 24. But a few didn’t make the cut: Angela Martin, a single mom. It was her 3rd time to join Idol and I felt for her when she was sent home. Also, there is J.B. Ahfua from Hawaii. He is a returnee from last season but he’s really good. And of course, the singing policeman. I forgot his name but his voice is really stuck in my ears.

I think, so far, the guys are stronger than the gals. My current favorites are Alex Lambert (He was so nervous on the first week but came back strongly with that John Legend song. I love his James Morrison tone! I’d kill for that.), Aaron Kelly (He is a David Archuleta in the making.), Lee Dewyze (I loved his Chasing Cars cover but the Hinder song, not so much.), Andrew Garcia (This guy is very talented but song choice has been a problem for him. And I think he should stick with his guitar.), and Casey James (He’s good but he doesn’t have the pipes to nail a Gavin Degraw. But he’s definitely rockin’ the guitar!).

In the girl’s roster, my ears are on to Crystal Bowersox (She is just purely talented. Period.), Katelyn Epperly (I was moved by her rendition of The Scientist. It was very haunting but I have to agree that the tempo was so slow.) and Lily Scott (I like the indie vibe. I really wish people would root for her because I think people don’t listen to the kind of music she makes.) One of the girls that really stood out for me because of her talent and personality was Haeley Vaughn. I felt bad that she was sent off last week. She is musically talented but I think the lack of modulation in her voice probably brought by young age weighed her performance down. I’d love to see her again hopefully next year.

These favorites may change through the course of the competition. Talent is given but they have to be consistent. Let’s have Danny Gokey for example. Everyone thought he would end up in the finals but he suddenly went safe by the end of the semis, where Kris Allen peaked at the right time while Adam performed consistently.

I think I’m going to post a weekly AI review from now on. I can’t wait till Wednesday. Ciao!


bored in wonderland like crazy

HALEY AND I decided to brave Wonderland yesterday afternoon and got out of it disappointed. It was really hard at first to conclude that it was shallow because it would mean wasting 500 pesos. The storyline was very simple and absolutely unoriginal. Even the supposedly mind-blowing 3D visuals could not make up for the film’s ridiculously simple plot. I have grown loving Tim Burton’s movies but this is just a flop for me.

But something good really came out of it. Well, I get to hang out with my bestfriend again after three or four months? Plus I get to finally meet his boyfriend. It was kind of awkward meeting him because I don’t know how to break the ice. Well, first, he’s a Korean and second, I’m not sure if I could converse in straight English without having nosebleeds.

A funny thing happened when we got out of the cinema. We chanced upon our closest college friends: Neen, Jesha, Steph, Mitchy, and Shane. Apparently, they have fallen victim to the I Miss You Like Crazy hype. After a brief catching up and cam whoring, Haley and I departed from the group. As we walked on, Haley remembered our food stubs from purchasing Alice in Wonderland tickets. We decided to go back and claim our popcorns and drinks hoping they could fill the void inflicted by the movie. It happened that food stubs are also exchanged in the Snack Section of Cinema 2, showing I Miss You Like Crazy. We presented our stubs to the guard and he let us pass WITHOUT CHECKING. He didn’t even ask if we have tickets for the movie or we haven’t. We lined up for the counter. It was taking so long. The guard was kind of preoccupied checking the line for the movie. It only took us one mischievous look to each other to know that we were about to do something really bad. I motioned for the door behind me and Haley followed.

We soon joined our college friends on the balcony. Both of us, felt a little paranoid and a little proud of our mischief. For a person who almost always plays by the rules, it was really something new and fun. :P I was enjoying the movie actually. Bea’s fake laughs, John Lloyd corny dialogue, and the people clapping to the cheesy scenes really made it fun for me and Hales. Hehe!

But after thirty or so minutes, we decided to go. We bid our goodbyes to the group, dodge the guard at the entrance, and meet up with Hales' boyfriend. I soon said my goodbyes to both of them and Hales said in crisp Tagalog with eyes full of warning:

“Huwag mo akong hahalikan!”

I gawked at the giant beside her and said to myself: Point well taken. I want my popcorn!!!


closed doors and undecided hearts

“There are things that are known and things that are unknown and in between there are doors.”
–William Blake

IF THERE'S ANYONE OUT THERE who could hear my thoughts, I urge you to come forth. Read them to me for I have lost the ability to make sense of the things bouncing within the walls of my skull. What torment is worse than the struggle with your own mind? What’s more wretched than to fall victim to your own thoughts? The more I think, the farther I pull away from the answers and pushed nearer towards the inevitable loss. Is there greater tragedy than to be eaten by reason in trying to win a war in the battlefield of the heart? But I know risking an open war is the only good choice I have and evasion will just send me directly into the pit of defeat.

Fear is scouting by my doorstep, knocking on my door like a friendly neighbor, with a knife at the ready. A step outside these walls would be a stab to the heart or a slit to my throat. Should I risk it? Should I let it in and lock it in my arms like a long lost friend, when in fact it is no more than a stranger; nameless, dark, and mischievous as the night?

Snapshots flash before my eyes. As fast as lightning they came and left like thunder, sending rumbling echoes into the still air—ghosts in my head, hungry zombies drooling at my feet. It is strange to find comfort in the chaos of it all; in the randomness of things and in the disorientation to what was, what is, and what will be. This limbo is a fortress and a prison at the same time. In here time has no wings. This is a place where all streets that leads to nowhere end. This was a sanctuary for me once but the pleasure of floating into nothingness had faded like ecstasy swimming in drugged veins. And what was left was the urge to feel warmth, to scour the ever shaded world for a hint of light, and to find anything that could fracture the absolute silence buzzing its usual boring melody.

As I say this, my hand grasps the latch. On the other side of the door is the love of my life and my greatest fear. Should I open the door? It’s interesting how indecision could turn someone into an empty shell—hollow, brittle, fragile. My brain is cramping with too many thoughts and yet there is only one choice to make: either to lock the door or turn the knob I am grasping with my clammy hand. But whatever I choose to do, one thing is certain—I will break…

…exactly how I broke your heart…