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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Hung up on the low down

Haven't had much time at all to myself, due to additional responsibilities at work, and an increasingly miasma of ennui.

So I've decided to cut loose this blog for a while. It's due for a much needed revamp anyway -- for one, I'm no longer a starving, struggling student -- so I'm going to retire from the blogosphere for a bit, and examine my options.

Check back in a month or so. Hopefully, y'all will see something new -- if not, adios.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Not dead yet...

... just horrifically busy.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Worn past its prime, the mask becomes you.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

When A Woman Loves A Woman (revised)

A response to David Lehman's "When A Woman Loves A Man"

When a woman loves a woman,
she lives in a disparate place, a timeless space.
'Mecurial' defines her constant state,
quixotism is a faraway thought in her solemn head

She wears her anxiety like an ill-fitting robe.

When a woman loves a woman there is no awe in her lover's body.
She revels in the velvet of scuppernong skin,
the lingering scent of wildflowers. She marvels
at the hint of artful curves, sinuous lines in pepetual motion.

So alike, yet different from her own.

When a woman loves a woman, her heart is suspended
from a tightrope. She struggles to maintain a steady stride.
She fumbles on her balancing foot.
Every day a performance rehearsed in imperfection.

When a woman loves her woman, she watches her sleep, thinking:
as midnight to the moon is sleep to her beloved,
encased in parentheses, thickening with intent.
Like an orchestra warming up for the next exit.

To Brahms and the stars above she writes her psalm.

When a woman loves a woman
she walks to the music of her inarticulate heart.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Blue October

Exactly how I feel.

I want to swim away but don't know how

Just when I thought I've finally moved on the next critical stage of my life, the nightmares are back with a vengeance.

This time, it wasn't just your face, but hers and his. Terrible goblin smiles, blood-smeared and smug.

In these dreams, these movies in my mind, always there were two aspects of myself: the child-like, innocent one, and the adult spectre, wise and all-knowing, a cold silent observer rooted at the sidelines watching as you render my skin and bones and blood into muddy paints for your palettes.

My child self recoiled from the violence that bled into the night. Yet, weak and defenceless, it is most easily ensnared in the scant hours of REM sleep, cycle after cycle. Elastic time made it such that the torture, the torment, the crimson waves that flooded the dreamscape, lasted for years and years.

Isn't my penance enough? Why are the nights a daily ration of misery?

Why won't you leave me be?

Why do you leave your imprints behind?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Swan Song (revised)

When New Radicals broke onto the scene
with their exuberent one-hit wonder,
as a child I'd wonder if it was called
out of context. But tenacity, taut and ripped,
was the building block from whence I came,
and the words you get what you give
resounded, in booming bass, a stirring bone song.

Honesty was the cornerstone I wrote for.

Then years yellowed like leaves in autumn,
layers of bright eyes stripped away,
clouded and dim, past skin and flesh
into shakened soul. I grew up, I didn't know.
Armour sprung into self, adamantine.
Sunned-in fields crumpling into
a clearing abandoned and left behind.

The seasons chased each other like heartbeats.

I saved in a tiny pillbox, the last rays of sun.
So I could see better. Love better.
Pull tangles out from the ghosts that roam.
Too late I was caught in all you wished for,
and all you need. What was it that Elliott Smith said?
A happy day, then you pay.
So I must fool somebody else,
paint days in the style of grand masters,
be the best imitation of myself.

Some years later Tegan and Sara sang,
in their doowah 'lectro-folk, wondering
if this were the last honest love
to carry me home.
Losing was a problem of speech, the theories of the little play
creeping into the heart's soundstage.
(Braxton was never this potent
when emoting evolved into performance art.)
Life became a matter of combating lethargy
while hanging from a moment --

hardly on an even plain. Teetering on an unveined pole,
arms flailing to command the West and East
in the hallowed halls of lost refrains,
the major falls, then the minor lifts.

The falcon follows another into the dark.

Was this just a dream
from the basement on the hill?
Draw the blinds. Close the window.
Pull your sore ribs in. It's only just
the end of the world, blue on Sunday, wan on Wednesday.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I'll buy you Rogaine when you start losing all your hair

Trawling the net for Gap related tvcs, I stumbled upon Old Navy's spot for their 2007 Sweater campaign and almost immediately, fell in love. Not with the commercial, mind you, but the winsome, irrepressibly dorky song that held the certifiably inane footage together.

Here's the spot:

Why dorky? Cos it opened with the line, "If you're chilly, here take my sweater". Amidst a strong, rhythmic bass (pizzicato, with lots of twang) and happy clapper-uppers. Yea, I'm a sucker for songs that make you wanna clap along. Or tap your big toes together, should your hands be otherwise occupied. Preferably at a beach, where you're lazing on a beaten up deck chair. With a wide-brimmed straw hat half-shading your face. And an ice cold Hoegarden next to you sweating little beads of condensation.

Ah, the bliss.

Before I make myself miserable writing descriptions of an ideal vacation that isn't likely to happen anytime soon, what I wanted to say was... long after I'd closed the page, the refrain "And you... take me the way I am" continued playing in my head in a permanent loop. Complete with backing vocals.

I kid you not. And as any enlightened soul will tell you, a song is a surefire winner if it grabs you by the tatas at first listen and makes you hum along. If you're enterprising enough, you'll make up nonsensical lyrics to pull wool over your embarassing lack of eidetic memory. Like I did.

Motivated beyond belief to find out who the frilly heck wrote this mind niggler, I turned to Google, which has never failed me (yet). And ladies and gentlemen, I warmly present the person responsible for my near nervous upset... Ingrid Michaelson!

Apparently she's the new kid around the block, and the Old Navy spot is single-handedly responsible for putting her on the mainstream radar.

Since then, she's been featured on papers, blogs etc. (For more catchy commercial songs, check out's list.)

I'm glad she's getting the spotlight, cos I like her stuff. Folksy with just the right touch of pop sensibility, Michaelson's songs are short, sweet and unaffected. Her lyrics, bless her, walk the fine line between cheesy and eccentric (the title for today's post is taken from The Way I Am, and sums up her style perfectly) but they generate a warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Plus, it reminds me of Adam Sandler's Grow Old With You. Honesty rocks.

Lest you fear her style is stonewalled by the ditzy, pop catchiness of The Way I Am, songs like Masochist and Far Away debunk that erroneous assumption with surety. The only thing these songs have in common with each other is the pointedly matter-of-fact (sometimes hysterically so) observations of human nature Michaelson embues in her lyrics. The closest comparison I have is Melanie Doane, but she's decidedly less waif-ish and more firmly ingrained in reality, I think.

And her voice. Oh. Her. Voice. Few artistes have voices that make the hair on my nape stand enraptured. Cat Power is one. Feist. Robinella. Possily Camille from Nouvelle Vague. And Ingrid Michaelson just joined the hallowed ranks. Crystalline clear, with the occasional tremulo framing the delivery, and a piercing, almost birdcall-like quality gives her voice an unmistakable edge.

Plus her cat-eyed glasses. She does look like an updated version of Lisa Loeb, doesn't she? All cleaned up and less flummoxed about men with commitment issues.

I've gushed enough, I think. So without further ado, here's Ingrid's debut appearance on national TV -- with the Sweater Song (aka The Way I Am).

Check out Ingrid Michaelson's official website and Myspace today!

On No Work Of Words

On no work of words now for three lean months in the bloody
Belly of the rich year and the big purse of my body
I bitterly take to task my poverty and craft:

To take to give is all, return what is hungrily given
Puffing the pounds of manna up through the dew to heaven,
The lovely gift of the gab bangs back on a blind shaft.

To lift to leave from treasures of man is pleasing death
That will rake at last all currencies of the marked breath
And count the taken, forsaken mysteries in a bad dark.

To surrender now is to pay the expensive ogre twice.
Ancient woods of my blood, dash down to the nut of the seas
If I take to burn or return this world which is each man's work.

-- Dylan Thomans

Monday, October 08, 2007

To whoever's copying and pasting my stuff in emails...

If you like my stuff enough to excerpt and send 'em to people around the world, it would be really nice if you link the post(s) directly instead.

It's very disconcerting to see random anonymised hits pinging my stat counter within minutes of each other... and seeing how I've had plagiary issues before, and how much of a stickler I am for attribution and/or citation -- consider my interest piqued.

It's a once bitten, twice shy situation.

Drop me a mail -- I'd like to get to know you better. And I'm sure I have much to learn from your feedback too.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pictures at an exhibition (revised)

Unhang my photographs,
erase my salute,
these pictures at an exhibition
belong to no one, not even I,
much less you. There are
royalties to be paid, rent that is due.

By disowning ownership,
I do not sign them over to you.

The miniscule lens might have had
an eye for you, strove to immortalise
without artifice,
as you were, in your natural state;
in doing, this composer shutters
his melody behind bars,
through his lyric, paints himself a fool.

A dedication, once meaning is lost,
decomposes into vile villainy.

These pictures at an exhibition
were once part of an agreement,
co-signed on a dotted line.
Yours, and mine.

Promises lapsed are not promises forgotten.

Unhang my photographs,
erase my salute.
These pictures at an exhibition
are never meant to be usurped
with such casual insolence.
They belong to no one,
not even you, much less I.


The train is leaving;
still the world will not conform
to shape and perspective.
When the trees and buildings
disappear into the horizon,
the last honest truth is left:
Love grows no smaller,
only augments in shape
when the train pulls out of the tracks.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Cover This! (A Mixtape for Midtempo Madness)

Yerp... it's that time of the year where once again, the cover whore (a.k.a yours truly) puts together the quarter's finest song reinventions in a mixtape that isn't quite for the faint of heart. Enclosed within are anti-classics that pay homage to music, the balm for the soul, in all its motley guises. Amidst whacked-out interpretations and genre-defying arrangements, your perception of what is familiar may be challenged. For better. For worse.

Also beware: involuntary toe-tapping may ensue.

  1. Anna Fermin's Trigger Gospel (orig. Doris Day)- Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps

  2. Arcade Fire (orig. Amy Winehouse) - You Know I'm No Good

  3. Alanis Morissette (orig. Black Eye Peas) - My Humps

  4. The Ditty Bops (orig. traditional) - Sister Kate

  5. Das Palast Orchester & Max Raabe (orig. Wham!) - Last Christmas

  6. Apoptygma Berzerk (orig. New Order) - Bizarre Love Triangle

  7. Calexico (orig. Joy Division) - Love Will Tear Us Apart

  8. Bobby Flynn (orig. Fleetwood Mac) - Rhiannon

  9. The Artwoods (orig. Nancy Sinatra) - These Boots Are Made For Walking

  10. Fiest (orig. The Kinks) - Nothing In the World Can Stop Me From Worrying About that Girl

  11. Mandy Moore (orig. Rihanna) - Umbrella

  12. Cat Power (orig. Moby Grape) - Naked If I Want To

  13. Eric Hutchinson (orig. Prince, Marc Cohn) - All Over Now/ Little Red Corvette/ Walking in Memphis

  14. Paul Anka (orig. Spandau Ballet) - True

  15. Diskettes (orig. OMC) - How Bizarre

  16. Cibo Matto (orig. Tom Jobin) - Aguas De Marco

  17. Jackie Wilson (orig. The Doors) - Light My Fire