Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hippie Night

Me with the singing duo of Momo & Pan.

My blog needs some interesting pictures from my life, so here are some (very few) from Friday.
It was the 10th anniversary of my faculty's international program. There was fancy catering, alumni, great entertainment - none of which I actually photographed - and a theme I highly approved of... HIPPIE.

I got to help out behind the scenes with make-up for the fashion show, which was therapeutic and what I really needed to put aside all the drama going on in my life right now as the school year comes to a close in 2 weeks. Shamefully, I've really missed these extravagant events my faculty is notorious for, which is me indirectly saying that I haven't been participating. And deeper into this statement is my regret for somewhat losing touch with my amazing, vibrant classmates who constantly invest their time and talents into making these events possible.
Self-intervention: I need to prioritize people better. 


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

To Kill a Lord of the Rye

         I don't know how many of you can relate, but there was a time in my life, in my pre and early teens, during which I was routinely prescribed great literature to read over an extended period of freedom we all called "summer". In retrospect, I feel lucky to have been a book-gobbler as a child; that I took on eagerly rather than rejected to do such assignments. Yet I still feel as though I took "summer reading" for granted somewhat. During my stage of naivete, there were a couple of books I misjudged as too historical or abstract, too tediously written and therefore not well written. As for the books I read and cherished - there were a few - I might have based my love and respect for them on limited comprehension. It wasn't until I was older and somehow rediscovered the same books on my own terms that I realized that lit teachers actually had taste and that it was a privilege to have them leading me through a promising reading career.
          Now in university, I envy that era of my youth. That era when someone other than yourself was responsible for your intellectual wellbeing. I fear that I have lost so much momentum in reading books ever since reading books was no longer institutionally mandated. The university student's "lack of time" illusion is only half of the cause of my current predicament. The other half is not having ENGLISH TEACHERS around me anymore!! Is it too unseemly to email one of them for a summer reading list now?? Like "hey, I'm in university now, but uh, I'd really like you to assign me summer reading, Mrs. Kristi/Val/Ruth/Robin/Tiffany."
          Okay, I'd probably not do that, but I'm serious about my endearment for summer reading. Why is it such a big deal, you ask? Why not just pick up a book right now, Mika? Because summer reading is not just reading any book and anytime. It is a formal commitment to stay educated over the summer. #pullquote And it doesn't involve just any kind of literature. The books of summer reading are the cream of the crop (or challenges to feel proud about overcoming)! The kinds of books that survive generations.
          So, it is 2013 right now. And with summer just 2 months away, I, Mika, am assigning myself summer reading. Let's start it 8 and see how it goes. =]

Mika's 2013 Summer Reading List
* = to be selected at the bookstore.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Exactly What I Needed

          Last night, geared with nothing much other than my film camera, I flew solo towards Fatty's (on Rama 9). My musician buddy since high school, T-kom, had invited me to one of his band's gigs, and it was a no-brainer decision that this was how I was going to spend my Saturday night. 
          I've actually been a big fan of T-kom since middle school when I, as a kid with an old soul, was moved by how my senior, dressed in a retro cerulean suit that was evocative of the times he (and I) seem to be from, got up in front of the auditorium with only two other companions - a guitar and an amp - to lay out a very honest tribute to the King of Rock 'n Roll. By the time I was a regular inhabitant of the high school side,  I came to know T-kom as the hallway musician, making my walks to the cafeteria, guidance, or anywhere else in the school something other than mundane. What astounds me clueless each time I hear a T-kom performance, whether in a video, a pub, or outdoors, is how much better he is than the last time. I don't... I can't even fathom.... By now I've heard him play enough times to be used to his tone, technique, style, and performance... but I'm never used to it. 
          T-kom in 2012/2013 is a part of a 4-piece band, consisting of a bassist, a percussionist, a violinist, and of course the frontman himself. The first word that occurs to me to describe their sound is soul. And I shall now attempt to make up for my lack of a better word... 
          Mumford and Sons, classic rock, old school crowd pleasers, and 1 or 2 originals is an empty synopsis of their act because it says nothing about the uniqueness of a performance they serve to audiences. To begin with the most obvious, most bands they can cover will not already have violin parts in their songs. So you can be assured something new and different with their covers. Then, despite the evolution my friend has gone musically (I mean haven't we all?), he has never abandoned his blues roots. Last night, the band, Lover's Eyes, ended with an encore: their bluesy renditions of Love Potion No. 9 and Que Cera Cera. It was energy-filled, not to mention from the audience side. Talk about being known by the usual crowd for wounding guitars. 
          But for me, the end wasn't the most memorable part of the entire performance. I have 2 competitive meaningful moments from the show. One I didn't even realize how meaningful until after the show. During the night, Lover's Eyes played my favorite Beatles song, While My Guitar Gently Weeps. While I thought this was a secret known only to myself, it turned out that T-kom knew too. What he doesn't know though is how much this little dedication means to me. Lately, I've been suffering from feeling like garbage. I've been feeling like nobody gives a damn about me. I'm rational enough to not think I'm completely useless, but just the way people take advantage of the things I can do and my willingness to do them for the group makes me feel like I'm destined to be under appreciated. And that makes me not want to live in this world. I needed last night to keep me here. 
          The other moment, which I was more conscious of in real time, was T-kom's song. The one he wrote when he turned 22. I hope he doesn't take offense in me saying, but I think he and I are pretty alike. We rarely think of ourselves or do things for ourselves. Last night, he introduced his song "family, friends, wife, life" as a song he wrote about himself. Watching and hearing him sing his song was emotional because I was so proud of him for bearing himself like that. In some ways it was just like how he has always presented his work - even since the days of the cerulean suit - shameless. Yet, it was possibly the most connected I've seen T-kom to his music. Furthermore, listening to the lyrics, I caught bits and pieces that felt so relevant to my life. It was encouraging, looking at someone else who is incredibly talented, who has experienced enough trials to make him disillusioned with the world, but who hasn't let it get the best of him. 
          I needed this.