wonder woman? WONDER WOMAN.

Wonder Woman’s theme from the 2017 movie, interpreted two ways:

The Tina Guo version, on electric cello

The album / OST version, credited to Rupert Gregson-Williams

And go watch this movie if you haven’t done so yet.


return to distant shores

The soundtrack for this particular blog post is, of course, “Distant Shores”, originally by Chad & Jeremy. The Company did a great cover of it here.

If I seemed to have disappeared over the weekend, well, I had a very good and very compelling reason: I went to the beach.

And I can’t find the words to tell you how I had missed the whole experience so much. Yes, true, I happily and constantly characterize myself as a city rat born and bred. I’ve lived and loved cities all my life.

But I also live in the Philippines, a country of islands, and way too many of those islands are host to beautiful beaches. Sand beneath one’s feet and the constant thrum of the waves rolling up to the shore, and the wide wide wide sky stretching overhead, and the sough of the wind that brings the cries of the seabirds and the laughter of people.

That’s the romantic summer view of a beach.

A view that I hadn’t seen in so many years.

(Of course I’m aware that I live in the Philippines, a country of islands, which is preeminently vulnerable to storms and similar weather disturbances — in which case the beach is not really a place of safety. I know this well. I digress.)

The thing about me is, as much as I love beaches I don’t really have a lot of chances to go. Blame that partly on my inability to drive: and the corollary is, I don’t have a car. I would have gone driving off every chance I got. Part of the blame is also my reluctance to get on public transportation, but that’s me being a natural scaredy-cat and someone who doesn’t like to mix in with crowds of faceless strangers. I’d have spent a lot of my money on bus fare, if that were the case.

I think I spent a lot of weekends being tired and burned out. (Previous job, and also ex-husband.)

So when this opportunity came along thanks to my current place of work, I jumped at it with both hands and feet. Bought the whole shebang of things that I had not owned for over five years: swimming gear, sunblock, sunglasses, the works. Since it was the company outing I was joining, I also happily chipped in for food (someone in my team was going to grill up some seaside eats).

It was pretty much worth it just for the chance to stand on a beach of fine white-gray sands. Just standing at the edge where the waves were washing the shore — it was such a relief and such a lovely thing to find on a fine cloudless high-summer day.

I guess the particular attractions of this stretch of coastline were the following: astoundingly clear waters. The beautiful powdery sand. The fact that it was possible to wade a long way from the shore and still have water coming up just to the hips or to the waist. The rippling carpet of sea grass underfoot, startlingly visible even a long way from the shore.

I must have looked like a fool to be standing on that beach, feet firmly planted in the water and in the sands, looking up into the clear skies and smiling at nothing.

I just wanted to soak it all in.

Which is what I did for most of the day: I lay down in a hollow on the sand and let the waves wash up to me, just to the point where I was okay with getting my ears drenched.

Just lying there, letting all the water roll up, letting the wind whisper its secrets into my ears.

I’m grateful and I hope to return — I mean, now I won’t wait for years to pass till I go back to some other sandy shore.


Blue seas and blue skies, and the wind and the waves.IMG_20170506_133453[1]

Water up to my knees, refreshing in the heat of the morning, and really that clear. I didn’t do any editing to this other than cropping out my fingers obscuring the top edge of the photo. You can see the ripples of the sunlight and the fine texture of the sand just with this view.

I’ve got to go back and soon. I don’t mind going by myself. Just a beach, with the wind and the waves and the sky.

vocals by Philippa Soo, lyrics by Lin Manuel Miranda – Burn

This song got stuck in my head this week.

So, again with the twists and turns of recovery: because some of you will no doubt be familiar with this song, and already have the Kleenex lined up because this is a song that does not pull its punches, this is a song that comes at you with every emotion and, paradoxically, a whole lot of cold reason and logic.

But some of you may be hearing this song for the first time and like I said, it’s a song full of emotions and of cold logic. We hear a woman’s voice and we hear her singing to a man, and she tells him off about the thing that he did that wrecked her and left her in pieces, and she tells him what she’s going to do with him.

For my part, I have been afraid to share this song with others, and I am trying to figure out why.

I mean, yes, I identify with many of the songs that I share on the Internet — I still identify with half the songs on my big playlist just because they’ve gotten me through some tough things — but this one. This is the story of what happened in my marriage, and it’s a gorgeous and concise retelling, and why was I afraid to tell people, “If you want to know what happened to me, listen to this song”?

I remember posting a public FB message the night after I got broken up with, that basically said that things were over and I was heartbroken, and you know what? The ex-husband called, and take note that this is not a man who uses FB, and he said that I should take the status down because it was hurting his feelings. Because people were asking him, “Dude, wtf did you do?” It was hurting his feelings.

More fool me, I took the post down.

I should have told him where to stick it.

Why was I supposed to manage his feelings when he did such a bang-up job of wrecking mine?

More fool me.

At least the lines from “Burn” are stuck in my brain now, and they’re the best lines. The world has no right to my heart. He doesn’t. Burned all his bridges behind him, and I know that he will continue to do just that for the rest of however long or short his life is. He will not change, he will demand to be understood and never lift a finger to try and understand.

I will keep burning what is left of him out of my life, because he doesn’t deserve me.

a starman, waiting in the sky….

David Bowie – Starman

At the end of the previous post I kind of got sidetracked into a discussion of the big playlist I carry around on my laptop, and the role that music plays in my daily life. Music to me is a coping mechanism, and it’s a source of occasional inspiration, and it’s also the cave where I go and hide when the world gets to be too much.

It might surprise you, but I came to David Bowie very late in life — as in just in the past five years. Growing up, sure, I was exposed to all the popular music of the ’90s and onwards. I still have good memories of listening to the Spice Girls, Boyzone, and the Eraserheads and Parokya ni Edgar. But the prevailing music at home was — surprise — techno, or what would now be recognized as something like electronic dance music. It sort of had to do with the work that my parents were doing at the time — they had collections of music that they could use at various kinds of events, so there were active-sounding techno mixes for outdoorsy events and mellower music for galas and dinners and things like that.

After that, well, I kind of started going my own way. I was and still am pretty shameless in listening to the anime music of the ’90s and ’00s. The opening and ending tracks to various classic anime series? Still my jam today. And I will still back “Yuzurenai Negai”, the first opening theme from the CLAMP manga/anime series Magic Knight Rayearth, against any and all comers (including Kanno Yoko, because I love the track that much).

I also have had a long-time yen for the scores and background music of various movies. I used to have the soundtrack of Amelie somewhere on one of my drives, and bits and pieces of things like the Pacific Rim OST and tracks from the new series of Doctor WhoFinal FantasyDragon Age, and assorted cuts from Mass Effect — they’re here, they’re part of my aural landscape, and they’re pretty handy for all kinds of writing, as it turns out.

The other thing I wanted to talk about in terms of my relationship with music is that music was a big thing between me and my ex. Working the graveyard shifts together, we’d send each other songs to help get through the night. He was most likely to have been the one to introduce me to David Bowie — we both enjoyed songs like “Heroes”. For a long time, whenever I thought of music I’d wind up thinking of him and the songs that we both liked.

You can imagine the profound surprise and relief that washed through me the first time I listened to what used to be one of our theme songs — “When You Say Nothing At All” — and only felt a sort of bittersweet pang for what that song used to mean.

Is it taking my songs back? My music? But the music was created by other people; I was only attaching some emotions to the words or to the melodies. Still, that’s the thing: the music, the playlist, that I used to half-identify with my past is something else now. It’s my present and the things I want to do now, the things that are now pretty much divorced from who and what I used to be at the beginning of this year.

(It’s still a little strange to think that I can think about getting over all those years of a relationship in just a few short months, but again: perhaps we were already falling to pieces for a long time, and I was given the chance to change and move on even while I was still clinging to what little there still was.)

Oh, and there’s some serendipity for you: as I wind up this blog entry, my playlist has just cued up one of my very favorite pieces of music. You’ve heard this tango before, if you’ve seen True Lies or, especially, Scent of a Woman: “Por una cabeza” (music by Carlos Gardel, lyrics by Alfredo Le Pera).

…only to wake and hide your face

Bastille – Oblivion

It used to be a red-letter day
Until you used your words like needles and spears
And now all the red has gone from the date
And today is just another day.

I just want to sleep, and not spend my nights coughing and tossing and turning. I just want to sleep, in the hope of waking up to face a new day. One new hour after another to get through, or to make the most of, or to waste, maybe. One new moment after another to make my own.

Can’t look back. Must look forward.

I will try to put together a proper blog post one of these days — I just need to take a few moments to breathe.