Thirty Songs

I honestly am a sucker for lists like this. I rarely actually do them but I enjoy spending a few minutes trying to think of what fits in each line.

I’m turning 37 in a few hours as I’m writing this. I’m in bed, Seinfeld blasting in the background while my boyfriend is playing with the Switch he got me last year for my birthday. Currently ignoring messages coming in – every year, this wave of notifications is expected and I always want to reply to every single one of them.

Anyway, was browsing through my Twitter and I saw Christian Finnegan doing this, and he deleted the “day” part of this quote challenge unquote.

Let’s dive in.

Day 01: Your favorite song
Jewel, You Were Meant for me. It came out in 1996 and is the longest relationship I’ve ever had. I’m still very much in love with this song.

Day 02: Your least favorite song
Stupid question. Next.

Day 03: A song that makes you happy
I’m almost ashamed to admit this but Cut to the Feeling, Carly Rae Jepsen. It’s impossible not to smile listening to it.

Day 04: A song that makes you sad
Oh crap, where do I begin? I Can’t Make you Love me, Bonnie Raitt is a real tear-jerker. Little Things by Lily Allen. Paramore’s The Only Exception. I have a Spotify playlist called “Break Down” filled with songs to cry to.

Day 05: A song that reminds you of someone
Someone what? I mean, Candle in the Wind reminds me of Princess Di. This item is too broad.

Day 06: A song that reminds of you of somewhere
Same with this one. Too broad. Though any song by Metric reminds me of Paris. I saw them there, in Bataclan, a month before it was in international news because of a terrorist attack. Bananas, no?

Day 07: A song that reminds you of a certain event
Garbage’s first album, Kings Theater in Brooklyn. I saw them live for the album’s twentieth anniversary and I still revel in it.

Day 08: A song that you know all the words to
Obviously, You Were Meant for Me. But honestly, most Madonna songs.

Day 09: A song that you can dance to
Crazy in Love, Beyonce. Who doesn’t dance to that?

Day 10: A song that makes you fall asleep
Sara Bareilles, Manhattan.

Day 11: A song from your favorite band
Linger, The Cranberries. Because I’m in too deep…

Day 12: A song from a band you hate
I don’t hate Train, I’m just not fond of them. But I do like Drops of Jupiter.

Day 13: A song that is a guilty pleasure
Kanye, and a bunch of folks – Monster. I REALLY like the Minaj part. And I’m almost sure my boyfriend hates it when I start singing along.
“First thing’s first – I eat your brain, then imma start rocking gold teeth and fangs, ‘coz that’s what a motherfucking monster do…”

Day 14: A song that no one would expect you to love
Rack City, Tyga. That song is just good.

Day 15: A song that describes you
I’m kinda proud of introducing this song to my dad: Unwell, Matchbox 20.
It really is a song that describes Ken Maes.

Day 16: A song that you used to love but now hate
P!nk, Just Like a Pill. Used to listen to it a lot, and looking back, I don’t know why I listened to it at all.

Day 17: A song that you hear often on the radio
Thats a head scratcher because I don’t listen much to the radio anymore. BUT, I do hear these artists that I guess are popular (?) and I wonder why: Shawn Mendez, Charlie Puth, Cameron Dallas. Those kinds of folks weird me out.

Day 18: A song that you wish you heard on the radio
Any song by Metric. I saw them in The Bowery and I remember Emily Haines talking about how they’re in a weird spot to be on radio. Like they’re too small for radio, but too big to be ignored.

Day 19: A song from your favorite album
Melodrama, Lorde – Hard Feelings/Loveless.

Day 20: A song that you listen to when you’re angry
Paula Cole – Throwing Stones.

Day 21: A song that you listen to when you’re happy
Bang Bang – Jessie J and company.

Day 22: A song that you listen to when you’re sad
Anything by Damien Rice.

Day 23: A song that you want to play at your wedding
Paramore, Still Into You.
“I should be over all the butterflies but I’m into you, I’m into you. And even baby our worst nights, I’m into you, I’m into you.”

Day 24: A song that you want to play at your funeral
Ooooh… good one. I have to think about this one. Hmmm…
If I Die Young by Band Perry? But that sailed, I’m old haha!
Maybe Landslide, Fleetwood Mac?

Day 25: A song that makes you laugh
Currently, Dancing by Kylie Minogue.

Day 26: A song that you can play on an instrument
I used to play In the Mood in the piano. Feels very boogie woogie.

Day 27: A song that you wish you could play
Both Sides Now, Joni Mitchell.

Day 28: A song that makes you feel guilty
Guilty of what? I guess I kinda feel guilty about liking Taylor Swift songs.

Day 29: A song from your childhood
I don’t have a copy anymore, but I recall my mom recorded my little ass singing The Bangles’ Eternal Flame.

Day 30: Your favorite song at this time last year
Thirty-One Today, Aimee Man. I was turning 36.

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A Case of You

I heard Alan Rickman passed away at 69. He was Severus Snape to most. Maybe Hans Gruber to the nostalgic. Rasputin to the snobs.

But for me, he was Harry. He worked in a design agency. Married to Karen and had a bunch of kids. Flirted with coworker Mia and even got her a necklace for Christmas. It still breaks my heart seeing that scene in Love Actually when Karen opens her gift from her husband, thinking it’s the necklace she recently saw in her husband’s coat, and unwrapping a Joni Mitchell album of Both Sides Now.

Harry said he was a fool when he realized his wife was able to figure out the possible affair he is having.

Today, I listen to Joni Mitchell at work. I wait for the end of the day, go home, and watch Love Actually again.

2015/16

I got up at seven in the morning, an hour after my intended wake up time, grabbed my phone and went to the bathroom. I turned on the shower to jump start the hot water, sat on the shitter and checked my Facebook feed. When the water was hot enough to fog up my bathroom mirrors, I turned on Spotify on my phone, searched for the Spring Awakening soundtrack and hit Play. I did a quick look at my PayPal account to confirm I did transfer funds to my friend Harry who got us Spring Awakening tickets for the day before. I was obviously still riding a musical high from the Sunday matinee.

I woke up Andy as I was choosing which shirt to wear and picking up socks and underwear from the bedroom. I turned on the kitchen lights and dimmed the bedroom lights using my phone and then checked what the weather is going to be like for the day. An alert on my phone showed some train issues on the 7, so I begrudgingly decided to switch to a bus when I reach Queensboro.

The commute to work was uneventful. Listened to a few YouTube clips, continued on with Spotify. My iPad’s podcast app has been shitty lately, on my out of the door as I was refreshing my podcasts, it froze and rebooted – so I switched to my phone in the mean as it loaded, and it usually takes a while.

I got off on Greenpoint and Manhattan Avenues, visited a 7-Eleven. I showed my app that tracks how often I buy coffee – on the seventh visit, you get a free cup and I’m three stars away.

Despite the cold, I stepped out for lunch and went to my usual Thai spot. On my way back to the office, passed by KeyFood and tried using my phone to pay for my purchases. Worked like a charm.

I’m hours away from six o’clock, but I already know I’m going to need hot coffee on my way home. Starbucks has this app that has a way of ordering ahead of time, that way you show up at a Starbucks, skip the line and pick up your coffee. I’ll check my phone and check waiting times for a bus to Queensboro Plaza, or a train to Court Square – and depending on how long the wait it, I may also consider to use Uber and have a car pick me up and take me home without having to pull out my wallet to pay for my ride.

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably continue to surprise myself every now and then – but technology is amazing. I feel like we are living in the future. If I wasn’t so chicken shit, I can probably leave all my bank and credit cards, and cash home and go head out just armed with my phone and my Metrocard.

—***—

I had my share of concerts the past year. I have a rather simple mind – if I like the artist, I’d go.

The year started well when my best friend Ryan took me to a Lea Salonga concert for my birthday. We saw her many times before in Cafe Carlyle, and during her return in Les Miserables as Fantine. Lea never lets me down – and there’s not much frills in her shows, just her singing and talking. No dance productions, no light shows. I ended the year seeing Lea again in Allegiance. It was my gift for mom for her birthday, and she just wanted to see Lea live. True to form, mom’s first words when Lea came out on stage was “Tumaba si Lea (Lea has gone fat)”. Lea did a few dances too, which I myself was surprised. After a dance about playing baseball, Lea and the company did a fake baseball throw, and then my mom told me “Tamo, hingal na si Lea eh (Look at that, Lea is breathing heavily)”.

My friend Colter introduced me to The Mowgli’s months before he and his now husband decided to go back to Arizona. He made me search them in Spotify and I was surprised when I enjoyed the positive vibes they give off. For the most part, I enjoy listening to singer-songwriters who sing about broken hearts. I got us tickets to see them in The Bowery and fell in love with band. There are some bands and artists that you just have to see live and The Mowgli’s is one of them.

 

I saw Pentatonix twice this year, and also once late 2014. I saw Imagine Dragons in Barcaly’s. Saw Jay Brannan again in Joe’s Pub. I was also invited to join by the same folk I go with to see Pentatonix to see Ellie Goulding.

But my big three, plus one bonus, didn’t happen until towards the end of the year. And I know they are my “big” ones because I hardly have any pictures of these concerts – I paid way too much attention to singing along, dancing along, or just plain staring at the stage while occasionally grabbing my boyfriend’s hand and crushing it.

I saw Metric twice in 2015. Once when they opened for Imagine Dragons. But the second time was more special because I distinctly remember receiving their e-mail about starting a European tour for the new album, checking the dates, and giving off a quiet yelp when I saw that they will perform in Paris exactly on the same day I fly to France. I basically lost my shit and just bought the tickets without asking for my boyfriend’s approval. To make it more exciting, when we got to the venue, we were told that we have to pick up our tickets from some music store chain, and the closest one was half an hour away via subway. I had no problem playing the I’m-a-stupid-American card and practically begged to see a venue manager, clutching on to my e-mail, the credit card I used to make my ticket purchase and my passport. Some guy on a walkie talkie let us in and I saw relief in my boyfriend’s eyes. I really think he thought I was going to go postal.

On a sad note, less than a month after, the very same venue we saw Metric, Le Bataclan, was one of the sites terrorists attacked in November 2015.

Every year, Aimee Mann and a bunch of her friends host a Christmas show and every since I found out about it, I either forget and miss it, or hear about it too late and the event sells out. But 2015 was different, I lucked out and got tickets. And as an added bonus, Mann brought along Liz fucking Phair. I never felt so lucky.

Fun night 🙂

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But the biggest event for me for 2015 was the twentieth anniversary of Garbage’s first album. And Garbage decided to do a tour. I put on my imaginary pink feather boa, hopped on a train to Brooklyn, and just sung and danced for the next hour or so. Bow down to me.

—***—

I didn’t do much travelling for 2015, but when I did, I went all out.

Celebrated my birthday in Boston. My boyfriend Andy was there for a convention, with our friend Matt. I actually spent most of the day by myself, discovering Boston’s horrendous subway systems and great art museums. It was not the worse birthday.

I cashed in on a holiday party gift and went to the company cottage in Nantucket. Nantucket was never in the radar, but I was glad I got to spend a weekend in this former whaling island. It was gorgeous despite the bad weather.

A week after, my boyfriend and I went to Europe. First was to Paris, followed by a quick trip to London. It’s a lot to write about Paris. I find it hard to believe sometimes that I’ve been there. It was beautiful. The food was great. The people was lovely. And that tower. And that museum. It was just too much for one me. And I definitely want to go back. Same with London. We visited and stayed with family while we were in the UK. We saw the Stonehenge. I saw one of the original copies of the Magna Carta. I realized how much i really do love old cities. It’s a sentiment I feel about cities like Boston or Philadelphia. But these cities are babies compared to the centuries old cities of Paris and London.

I ended the year with a trip with my best friend for her birthday. We love going away together, and it doesn’t happen as often as I want to. This time, we went to Orlando and had silly unbridled fun in Universal Studios. I fucking rode the train to Hogwarts.

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—***—

2015 was good year. 2015 was a shitty year. Every January, I look back at the previous year and pretty much always come up to the same conclusion: It was a good year riddled with shitty moments. And my hopes is it always stays that way, instead of having a shitty year with good moments.

fkenpmaes

 

Dare to Dream

Back in the late 90s slash early 2000s, I usually spend my weekends lying on the couch, legs up on the back rest, head dangling at the edge of the seat while watching American Top 40 upside-down. This is how I got acquainted with country music, the show would always include the top ten country music videos and play at least one in full, and not necessarily the number one song of the week. This is why when the Philippines went crazy over LeAnn Rimes’ How do I Live, I knew her mainly for Blue, and I liked Trisha Yearwood’s version better.

One of my favorite songs to catch was What’s Forever For. It’s a good song, especially coming from someone who was basically a child. I found out later it’s a cover, but didn’t stop me from visiting local music stores hoping to find his album One Voice in the very limited country section tucked in a corner, all ten CDs of the genre.

Billy Gilman is back in the news. He’s been gone for a long time, I actually forgot about him so I was fairly surprised seeing him all grown up.

Side note: those eyes are photoshopped, right?

I do not have a coming out story. I am pretty lucky not to have all these issues about having to hide in the closet – I have the best parents to ask for, who probably love me more than I really know, I have siblings who are way younger than me who worship me and not old enough yet to make any judgments, and friends who clearly like me for the shit that comes from my mouth more than finding out who’s junk I put in it.

Here’s me laughing at my own joke I just made.

It must have been hard for him to make that video, and realizing he has to come out because he was caught with his boyfriend in public. I do hope he feels better now, and relieved, that he does not have to hide anymore. There will be repercussions in his career, no doubt, but I’ve always thought it’s not your career that defines you, but it’s how you lived your life.

Here’s hoping you find out what’s forever for, Billy.

I’ve been looking at people
And how they change with the times
And lately all I’ve been seeing are people
Throwing love away and losing their minds

Or maybe it’s me that’s gone crazy
‘Cause I can’t understand why
All these people keep hurting each other
When good love is so hard to come by

So what’s the glory in living
Doesn’t anybody ever stay together anymore
And if love never lasts forever
Tell me what’s forever for

I’ve been listening to people
And they say love is the key
It’s not my way to let them lead me astray
It’s only that I want to believe

But I see love-hungry people
Trying their best to survive
While in their hands is a dying romance
And they’re not even trying to keep it alive

So what’s the glory in living
Doesn’t anybody ever stay together anymore
And if love never lasts forever
Tell me what’s forever for
And if love never lasts forever
Tell me what’s forever for

Greatest Bastard

I made you laugh, I made you cry
I made you open up your eyes
Didn’t I?

I helped you open out your wings,
your legs, and many other things
Didn’t I?

Am I the greatest bastard that you know?
The only one who let you go?
The one you hurt so much you cannot bear?

Well we were good, when we were good
When we were not misunderstood

You helped me love, you helped me live
You helped me learn how to forgive
Didn’t you?

I wish that I could say the same
But when you left, you left the blame
Didn’t you?

Am I the greatest bastard that you met?
The only one you can’t forget?
Am I the one your truth’s been waiting for?

Or am I just dreaming once again?
Some dreams are better when they end

Some make it, mistake it
Some force and some will fake it
I never meant to let you down
Some fret it, forget it
Some ruin and some regret it
I never meant to let you down

We learn to wag and tuck our tails
We learn to win and then to fail
Didn’t we?

We learn that lovers love to sing
And that losers love to cling
Didn’t we?

Am I the greatest bastard that you know?
When will we learn to let this go?
We fought so much, we’ve broken all the charm

But letting go is not the same
As pushing someone else away

So please don’t let on
You don’t know me
Please don’t let on
I’m not here
Please don’t let on
You don’t love me
‘Cause I know you do
I know

That some make it, mistake it
Some force and some will fake it
I never meant to let you down
Some fret it, forget it
Some ruin and some regret it
I never meant to let you down
I never meant to let you
I never meant to let you down
I never meant.

~ Damien Rice

Not Looking Good

It’s not looking good for us
What made it through the flood is now covered in rust
It’s not really working like I thought
But I can’t take it back
Like something I wish I’d never bought
I’m sorry that I dragged you all this way
For no one to call us back, no one you can play with
I could plant a thousand little seeds
But I can’t see a garden, just dirt up to my knees
Say it isn’t over, no, I need a second chance
I need a second chance

Day 7: Seven Days Until Thirty-Two

Will be turning 32 soon and for the next seven days leading up to my birthday, I’m going to try to write down any lessons I may have learned from the past year when I was 31.

After spin class, my boyfriend and I grabbed a quick bite and told him I was miserable. I also told him that the only reason I know things are going to get better is because things can’t go any worse.

It takes a special person to put a dark cloud on the silver lining.

But things can get worse. I can things of many ways on how things can get worse. But they won’t. I won’t let things get worse. I’m almost at the age that the calendar can not even hold even in the longest months.