GOO: In Goo We Trust

Around the start of 2014 I started skateboarding again.

What made it worthwhile for me aside from the immediate benefit of getting physical release from work related stress and the work out that comes along with that activity, is that skating provided me again to listen to music from the context of albums which has been mostly downplayed by our fascination with mp3s and playlists.

One constant staple in my skating soundtrack is Goo’s long-awaited album, in Goo We Trust, which I got from their album launch last December 22, 2013 at Chrome Box, in Marikina City.

The record comes as a classic example of what a proper punk rock record sounds like, thanks to the recording and production prowess of Ian Cuevas, who has finely and respectfully captured the singular intensity of passion and sound that flows from the instrumentation of the individual band members in the recording.

The Skeleton Years: Between Lunacy & You

It was a little more than a year ago when I had the privilege of watching them on their first gig and I was immediately hooked with the fascinating blend that somehow combines the post-punk sensibilities of Joy Division and the melodic melancholia punk rock of Alkaline Trio.

Thankfully a few months later they decided to release their debut EP Between Lunacy and You in an event, which also launched the music video of their song in an event which I sadly missed because I spent most of my time last year living on a suitcase traveling because of my work.

It wasn’t until November that I was finally able to secure a copy of the CD when my band Death To Puberty again had the chance to be in the same line up with The Skeleton Years, at IDB.


Upon opening I was floored by the quality of the packaging , design and liner notes that also included the lyrics, and acknowledgement to which Death To Puberty was included by the band in the list of artists that they are thanking ( a gesture for which I am thankful to the band as well).

Musically I enjoyed all the tracks, and the record itself is presently my skateboarding soundtrack. Songs that personally standout are Through, Dead Night and Fade particularly because of their catchy hooks and the brilliantly written lyrics of Darwin, not to mention the genre bending guitar exchange courtesy of Ebong and Sharen.

This record stands as one of the shining moments that restored my faith in the creativity and musical potential of the underground punk scene in the Philippines.

May the light shine

This was not at all a perfect year for many of us. The world and its troubles had gotten the best of us and brought us pain, anxiety, disappointment and the seeming helplessness that comes once we are apprehended in the apparent darkness of our circumstances.

This feeling is not unique to our time.

This was also the prevalent disposition of many throughout history, including that of first century Judea, which lost its independence to the Romans in the 1st century BCE, by becoming first a tributary kingdom, then a province, of the Roman Empire.

It was during this time under the shadow of Empire that a young couple found themselves at a cosmic crossroads in history unsure about the entire essence of their predicament, ushered in a child unto a world that is wrought in uncertainty.

In the obscure town of Bethlehem a child gasps for air breathing for the first time and opening its eyes to the world that would eventually lead him to fulfill his destiny to be its long awaited Savior.

In the darkness of the manger rays of light pierced the gloom with the promise of new life that is everlasting and is still making all things new even today.

May the light of Christmas shine ever more brightly as we remember Christ’s birth.

discharge

The cold air that whiffs of isopropyl alcohol, in hospitals function as salient reminders that we are heirs to humanity’s perpetual struggle to ponder the metaphysical. It is the place where time stands still in deafening silence reminding us of our frail mortality that is rendered to meet its terminus in a veiled yet appointed deadline that we will only know once we are there.

This was the thought that he had in mind as he reclined from the bench and felt the cold steel of the bench’s armrest rub against his dry skin in this ungodly hour at the hospital where nothing but the symphony of pulsating instruments fail to lull him into slumber.

It was dark and the atmosphere was despondent due to the fact that earlier he had heard a song from the Norwegian band, Fra Lippo Lippi, to which the line: "Life it seems, sleeps away just like any dream," resonates, unceasingly like a siren who's screeching sound seems untouched by the doppler effect.

It was hours of dragging and eager anticipation in the dark, cold and desolate aisles of the hospital when suddenly beams of light pierce and make its presence felt in the darkness of the room where he lay confined with uncertainty.

It was there after long hours of restless waiting that he heard what could have been music in the words of the doctor who uttered: "you are fine, all will be well its time to ask your companion to process the discharge papers, you’re going home."

digital metamorphosis (a short story)

Makati City. 8:15 AM

The train stops and the door slides open.

Suddenly the empty MRT station bursts into a sea of people rushing amidst the morning rush hour in Ayala Avenue.

The sight has been the norm for Simon, whose brisk walk suddenly turns into strides as he hurries off to his 8:30 meeting.

Ironically, the chorus: "I’ve been working for the rat race…♫" echoes in the background as Simon, listens to The Specials’ discography in his IPhone, which was fresh-off his Torrent library.

After half a kilometer and 5 flights of stairs, barely catching his breath, he arrives to find his office complex, completely shut down.

All Things New

"...behold I make all things new..." Rev. 21:5
In an age of unfathomable pain and suffering; at a time of inconceivable disparity between rich and poor; amidst wars and rampant environmental destruction; does the promise of Jesus’ Easter, resurrection still make sense today?

...behold I make all things new...

This is the promise of the ultimate consummation of all things to glory in Christ, whose resurrection assures us that indeed the world can and will change because the one whom God brought upon this earth has dared to challenge its sinful status quo to the point of costing his life has triumph over the greatest potency of sin –death.

...behold I make all things new...

The empty grave of Jesus, tells us that indeed all things are becoming new and that death doesn’t have the final say in the struggle for a better world. It tells us that Christ’s resurrection has turned the tide against the power of sin and death.

last day: re-orienting our loyalties

Today ends the retreat with a personal question: “What does Greenpeace Southeast Asia mean to you?”

To me Greenpeace Southeast Asia is everyone who has made a commitment to act upon the invitations we’ve offered them to act upon the issues that we’re working on. They are our volunteers, donors, supporters, partner organizations. Communities, Facebook fans, Twitter followers and email subscribers. They are the ones who are not here, but have done so much more (to the point of risking life, limb and liberty) than those of us who have become privileged with the opportunity of becoming a paid staff of the organization.

As the session ended I went public in committing myself to everyone there that I would do my best to stay true in being on the side of those who’ve given more than many of us has ever done in our professional engagement with Greenpeace.

Here’s to the many who are not paid.

Integration: embracing the complexity of ‘why’

Emotionally storytelling invites one to feel empathy, that is to situate ourselves in the shoes of another person. We cannot feel for another if we do not know where the other is coming from.

This is perhaps one of the most important challenges that integration faces if we are dead serious on struggling to become part of the movement to change the world, by challenging the stories that we have been led to believe by the status quo, that benefits from the present state of things.

That is why I guess activists should likewise invest in their beliefs once again, because it is in investing in the core of what drives us that we begin to realize the need to organize not only our movement but more importantly to organize a movement of leaders.

storytelling: we can do no less

Yesterday, we had an interesting time giving a workshop on organizing and mobilizing to campaign staff in our office and one of the prominent points that we discovered there is that as a campaigning organization that seeks to replicate ourselves in the people that we hope to mobilize for the environmental problems that we are addressing –we need to get better at storytelling.

In the session all the workshop facilitators tried to integrate this early on by sharing our first and/or most memorable experience of becoming involved in a campaign. There I tried to recall the campaigning work that I became involved with as a student activist and I remembered the nationwide walkout for the abolition of the mandatory Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program in Philippine universities. Under the program all male college are required to receive basic military training and officer training for their chosen branch of service, through the ROTC unit at the college or university, there students become subject to four semesters of drills and lectures on military tactics as part of the curriculum which is intended to basic training for college students to become prepared in the event of war where they would be activated as reserve officers in whichever branch of military their university assigned them to.

thesis+antithesis=synthesis

Lately I've been finding myself in conversations about Hegelian dialectic, which basically explains why I'm posting the stuff below here.

The best place to start in understanding the axiom: “thesis+antithesis=synthesis” is to establish dialectics as a method for resolving disagreements by using a dialogue between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject, who wish to establish the truth of the matte, with reasoned arguments.

Hegel explains his dialectical method in a threefold manner as comprising three stages: a thesis, giving rise to its reaction, an antithesis, which contradicts or negates the thesis, and the tension between the two being resolved by means of a synthesis.

The very essence of Hegel’s method is based on trying to create a conceptual framework in terms of which both the past and future could be philosophically understood.