Should We Take Our Playlist When We Run?

To plug in or not to plug in, that is the question. Everyone would agree that music does affect the way we do things. While we have individual genres, whatever that is in our playlist influences our behavior whether we’re up for a long night of school work, crunch numbers at the office, finish a writing deadline, or when we want to get in the zone during a workout.

I have this wired Phillips earphones for about 10 years already.

Whenever we want extra focus we shut the rest of world out and enter our invisible cocoon, we play our favorite song. Others seal themselves completely, almost air tight, thanks to headphones. Introverts know this better.

Back in my younger days I was a fan of earphones or headsets. Yes, those Walkman days and then MP3 players. I don’t know when I stopped but I believe it was when I realized I need to talk to people. When I became mature–let’s say that’s true.

Safety was also an issue which is why I use less of the earphones especially when I’m mobile. When I started running more and read more about this sport, it seems that the number of cons against running while plugged in outnumbers the pros. There are so much road hazards that runners need to be aware of so being able hear a wayward driver coming from behind, for one, is a big advantage.

My opinion against wearing another set of technology in the form of the earphones remained until the day I sought that extra push to hit the steep Baguio terrain. That cold early morning I took my phone, plugged my very old but trusty wired Phillips earphones and ran. That was my first time running with Arnel Pineda, Big Fat Joe, Depeche Mode, and the rest of my Napster tracks (oopps) playing along. It made the trip on the undulating road to Burnham Park and back less tiring and stressful. Music saved the day.

For days since then I was back to wondering if these bone conduction earphones I’ve heard of months ago are worth buying. But this morning I got my answer from an unlikely source. A Facebook friend not so known for being minimalist posted a YouTube video about using technology instead of it using us. For me, the video’s message was clear and it takes me away once more from the urge to run with earphones plugged. For how long though, I don’t know.

***

As a frustrated writer, I also appreciate having music in the background. In my freelance days, I’ve finished countless articles, met writing deadlines with the help of the right music. And alcohol. I have likewise composed better blog post when music sets the mood and motivation.

My bluetooth headset we got in the US.

Few days ago I was contacted for a part-time writing job and so it seems that I would need to once again isolate myself for hours (if) when the job orders start coming in. Maybe that bone conduction earphone I see online is worth having after all.

***

How soon before someone becomes a freelancer? I’d say ten. Last week Marcus got his first feel of his mother’s home-based job when she asked him to encode few numbers from PDF to Excel while she took her break and surprisingly, wifey said he got the numbers right. Maybe, he’ll earn his first dollars soon. Haha.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (900-calorie breakfast after a 5K.)

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Marcus and Music

“I’m not afraid, to take a stand, everybody, come take my hand, we’ll walk this road together, through the storm, whatever weather, cold or warm, just letting you know that you’re not alone…” Such powerful words from a great hit. While I sing along to this song whenever it’s on the radio, I didn’t learn about its full lyrics until I searched it online for it was yesterday when I heard Sparsh Shah sing it on a video that has gone viral. He is just a 12-year old boy.

Sparsh Shah isn’t a regular lad though. The boy from New Jersey has Osteogenesis Imperfecta which is a genetic disorder that results to extremely fragile bones. Confined in a wheelchair, Sparsh sings his powerful rendition of Not Afraid which is an original piece by Eminem. His parents made sure the bad words aren’t included.

Videos like this inspire but I have yet to show it to Marcus who recently has become more expressive of his music preferences. Besides being unable to be mobile unaided, there’s another similarity between him and Sparsh, their liking of songs from a rap artist. Marcus is a fan of at least two Macklemore hits. I don’t know though if sooner or later he will come with his own video of Can’t Hold Us.

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Among the obvious milestones before Marcus turns eight this year is that he sings more often than before. Although he does not have a full grasp on the lyrics, I would catch him singing a line or two while in the car or while seated in front of the computer. His favorite music genre is broad but the usual influences are our car’s preset FM stations, video games, and YouTube subscriptions. He sings or hums It’s Raining Tacos, Downtown, and Shut Up and Dance to name a few. This week, he has been asking for Eye of the Tiger and Verge. Check out Marcus’ Playlist page to see songs he like/d (he refuses to believe he used to go crazy over Barney and Ben 10 songs).

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (One more week and I would be closer to Budong’s pan de sal.)

Knock, knock!

Contrary to my goal, again, I’m failing in my goal to fill my need to write more posts and Marcus has a lot to do with it. For wifey and me, parenting lately has been a lot crazier than before. Don’t get me wrong, despite nerve-wracking moments with an active 3-year old we seem to spend more enjoyable times as we witness his rapid development and antics that come along with it. Nowadays, our one and only boy….

…has become more articulate than ever. Other than saying our names clearer, he can now say Manny Pacquiao.

…can recognize Toyotas and Pajeros and other car brands. He can just spot Hondas before. (When he was more than a year old, he screams whenever he sees wheels.)

…has transitioned from nursery rhymes to more mature music. He used to just like GTO from the movie RV and lately he surprised me when he showed to me that he can dance to Top Gun’s Danger Zone and Mighty Wings. He also goes ballistic when he hears Party Anthem and Moves Like Jagger.

…continues to impress us with his pace in learning to use cellphones, computers and home theater. (Thankfully, he has not figured out why his favorite cartoon show doesn’t appear however he press the TV’s channel button. Yes, I locked it.)

…seems to start understanding that littering trash will result to flood and that whenever he sees some of the Sendong video footage, he’ll look for his clothes and tell us to donate them. (This one makes us feel so proud.)

Well, this is just a knock knock and I have to cut this short because sooner or later, he’ll be up and ready again to keep our day busy…and stressful…and fun. Parenting is exciting, isn’t it?

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Thankful to be home.)

Kids and Lyrics

kidsnlyrics.jpg

Just as I have anticipated when we got married (wifey and I waits for a few more months before we become a decade-old married couple this coming June), I have eventually become an overprotective and strict father. Our 9- month old son’s presence confirmed all traits that since then I knew I would be or would like to be when fatherhood comes in.

I really don’t know if I’m doing a good job, but deep inside I feel that I’m at least meeting expectation. Wait, that last two words remind me of work. Maybe it’s because the absence of work, or at least its regular routine, that my missing the attendance tracking of my staff, conducting shiftly hud- dles, checking with my persistent upstream and downstream customers and everything else about work has made me more aware of everything about baby stuffs. Worries about work has been replaced with which nipples goes to which bottle, if milk scoops are exact to the brim, if formula ratio has been properly mixed, which baby DVD has been played already…and this is just to mention a few (trust me). Did I just mention DVD?

One of those baby things that I’ve actually been keeping tab is the baby music’s lyrics which I’ve been hearing so often again and again that the last regular “adult” LSS I can remember is the Journey’s Only the Young Can Sing. Now my ears have been attuned to Barney’s Mr. Sun and I can very well remember the video of Flying in an Airplane that I’m now beginning to think that it’s the Barney videos that are unconsciously encouraging gay- hood or lesbianism. But maybe it’s just me and besides it would require a long separate blog for that topic. By the way, don’t get me wrong and let me make these two things clear:

  1. I love the songs but I hate the video.
  2. I personally have nothing against members of the third sex…and Barney.

Ok now? So let me continue, but still the following maybe as thought- provoking as questions like who is capitalizing from all these recession and layoffs? Will Vietnam’s Intel factory perform just like the Philppines (pun intended)? And so many other questions currently and continuously bothering me.

Having an LSS of music for babies does seem to trouble me more than hav- ing Usher’s Trading Places lyrics play over and over again inside my head. This is because I’m now very careful with what our baby boy might be hearing and if the message it sends isn’t something that will plant harmful ideas to his innocent memory ready to break loose anytime during his ado- lescence. I don’t know if it’s paranoia on my part but I’m not taking any chances. And besides, remember the word “subliminal”? Scary, huh!

Let me start checking some of it now. Here’s the first, titled Ice cream Sun- day. Isn’t this a call to obesity? I wonder if Ronald McDonald composed this lyrics:

Ice cream Sunday it’s my number one day… Monday is not a fun day, mom makes broccoli… Thursday is the worst day, there’s liver on that dish Friday is a cry day, ‘coz then we all get fish…

How about this one, Fiddle-de-dee? This one reminds me of anything but children song. If I remember it right I saw one Body Snatchers episode in the Discovery channel about a bee or wasp planting its eggs inside a fly:

Fiddle-de-dee, Fiddle-de-dee,

The Fly has married the Bumble Bee, Says the fly, says he,

“Will you marry me?

And live with me, sweet Bumble Bee?” Fiddle-de-dee, Fiddle-de-dee,

Oh, I love you, and you love me!

How about a song that teaches our kids to stereotype?  There’s probably one, it’s titled There Was a Crooked Man:

There was a crooked man, And he walked a crooked mile, He found a crooked sixpence Upon a crooked stile:

He bought a crooked cat,

Which caught a crooked mouse, And they all lived together

In a crooked little house.

How about one that suggests animal cruelty? Now I find that the famous idiom, “curiosity killed the cat” is after all missing a word before it. The complete could be, “Kid’s curiosity killed the cat.” And we parents should not wonder why in the first place, because of the song The Cat Came Back:

Old Mister Johnson had troubles of his own

He had a yellow cat which wouldn’t leave its home; He tried and he tried to give the cat away,

He gave it to a man goin’ far, far away.

But the cat came back the very next day,

The cat came back, we thought he was a goner But the cat came back; it just couldn’t stay away

Thankfully, there’s one song that would give hope to those cat lovers and this happens to be one of my favorite kiddie songs. I heard this when I was a kindergarten and 30 years after I was surprised that I can actually remember the tune. What’s more surprising was that after I googled and saw the lyrics I was able to sing it with pride in front of our baby. But, I’m still wondering if this one has some hidden message in it…like love and death? Well here’s the full lyrics of the song Senor Don Gato. You go figure.

Oh Senor Don Gato was a cat On a high red roof Don Gato sat He went there to read a letter, Meow, meow, meow

Where the reading light was better,

Meow, meow, meow

‘Twas a love note for Don Gato

I adore you wrote the lady cat

Who was fluffy, white and nice and fat There was not a sweeter kitty,

Meow, meow, meow

In the country or the city, Meow, meow, meow

And she said she’d wed Don Gato

Oh, Don Gato jumped so happily

He fell off the roof and broke his knee Broke his ribs and all his whiskers, Meow, meow, meow

And his little solar plexus, Meow, meow, meow

Ay Caramba cried Don Gato

Then the doctors all came on the run Just to see if something could be done And they held a consultation,

Meow, meow, meow

About how to save their patient, Meow, meow, meow

How to save Senor Don Gato

But in spite of everything they tried Poor Senor Don Gato up and died And it wasn’t very merry,

Meow, meow, meow Going to the cemetery, Meow, meow, meow

For the ending of Don Gato

When the funeral passed the market square Such a smell of fish was in the air

Though his burial was slated, Meow, meow, meow

He became reanimated, Meow, meow, meow

He came back to life, Don Gato

Oh by the way, if you’re wondering how on earth Don Gato sounds, you may check dizzler.com. And if you’re a bit disappointed (like I was last December) after hearing every available version, please tell me and that would be my cue to record and release my own. Hahaha.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Riding With Journey

On my way out from work this afternoon I noticed weather wasn’t so motorcycle-friendly. Dark clouds dominated the skyline, rain poured hard, road was soaked. Times like this I appreciate the fact that I got a car to drive. So I was thinking then, what would be a great driving music to go along with the wet ride home? Lo and behold, some Rock ‘n Roll CD, Journey: Revelation.

Journey
Filipinos, buy the original please! (Photo: music.aol.com)

We bought this album last week and I have played it right after to figure out if it was worth it. Then this afternoon’s gloomy weather made the perfect setting for me to listen to it more again. The cool and humid breeze completed the nostalgia.

The steadfast steering wheel of the Honda seems to vanish right out of my grip all of a sudden. The illuminated dashboard gauges began to blur and faded all the way. The feeling of firmly seated in the driver’s seat and the security of the seat belt gone as well. I cared less every minute the Journey CD plays as if giving in to an unforeseen force.

With each track of the CD playing one after the other, I found myself inside a rather boxy vehicle with both of my hands holding the bar on top of my head. I can feel the blaring of the 15-inch speakers located right under my upholstered seat and with its heavy bass thumping and the high treble trying to cope up while some rock band send spine-chilling riffs. The black lights inside made the white shirts around me glow like some magic tricks thus enhancing the out-of-this-world sensation. I tried to peek out to check where on earth I’m currently at and I soon realized that the speeding vehicle has its windows wide open. Another head movement and I can see that its rear door is likewise ajar like those in airplanes with skydivers waiting for the red light to go green. Turning my gaze in front, I see a long-haired driver carelessly enjoying the music while speeding past sugarcane-filled trucks. So where was I exactly? Well, in a jeepney and I’m in tattered jeans, faded shirt and a pair of scuffed Chuck Taylor shoes.

College days once again.

And that’s the effect this Journey CD has on me. The classic rhythm of guitars, drums and keyboards blasted me right back to the past. The vocals this time though isn’t from the band’s original vocalist anymore. It’s now Arnel Pineda, a pure Filipino talent who despite small, relative to the other band members, has such powerful voice well comparable to the original vocalist, Steve Perry.

Arnel’s rendition of most of the original Journey songs is almost on point. And hearing those I would call melodic shriek made me wonder if the myth that tight leather pants do make Rock ‘n Rollers achieve that impossible pitch could be true. Go figure.

After listening to almost everything over and over again, I could conclude that Arnel did a really good job in his first album with Journey. Except for Open Arms (CD 2 track 9) which in my opinion is a disappointment because I actually don’t know if Arnel tried to impose his own singing style in this song by deviating to what was done by Steve. If he did, well, I just don’t like it or maybe I’ll get used to it soon. Anyway, before the Pineda fans start throwing thrash emails, I’d like to say that of all the 23 songs in the album (CD 1 and 2 combined), this is the only song that I’m having second thoughts listening to again. Other than this, the rest are just perfect for those who love the classic Rock ‘n Roll feel.

My personal favorites in this album are: Never Walk Away, Let It Take You Back, Only the Young, and of course, Faithfully. I love this last song a lot that it had me clicking on the disk player’s repeat track button several times while hopelessly trying to sing along with it in the confines of our car and probably to the ire of the Wisconsin football team bobhead. Poor guy it’s been bouncing up in down, front and back that I snapped out of my in-the-jeepney-ride nostalgia.

Tomorrow, it might rain again; I might have to cover bobhead with a hanky this time for my full uninterrupted journey with Journey back to the past.

 

The Rock Star in Me

“…Well we all just wanna be big rockstars And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars…” – Nickelback, Rockstar

“…Under the big top world We all need the clowns To make us smile…” – Journey, Faithfully

Other than being Pilots, some boys for sure dreamed of being Rock Stars. It has something to do with being free, being able to get that high. I know most teenagers would discover it in no time if you know what I mean.

Of course, most kids have also heard of fairy tales, whether they admit it or not. These fairy tales they would sooner or later discover as what enlightened adults call fiction. In short, it is not true. Does not and will not happen. For some, however, fiction could become reality. They would become Rock Stars.

For Arnel Pineda, this is exactly the case. He is the Filipino equivalent of the character Chris Cole (Mark Wahlberg) in the movie Rock Star. If you check the film bit by bit, the resemblance of his and Arnel’s story is almost the same:

  • Chris Cole was discovered by Steel Dragon’s guitarist thru a tape recorded performance of his cover band, Blood Arnel Pineda was discovered by Journey’s Neal Schon thru a YouTube.com video of his band Zoo while performing the song Faithfully.
  • Chris Cole was contacted by a band member and dismissed the first phone call as a  hoax and Arnel Pineda reacted just the same.
  • Both characters eventually became lead vocalist of the band they just used to idolize and copy after being invited (and flown in) for an audition and passed.

Watching Arnel’s cover of Faithfully that was shot in Hard Rock Café and uploaded on YouTube sends goosebumps as I’d always remember the scene from Rock Star when Chris Cole did his cover of Stand Up. Both stories are must-know of any Rock Star wannabee.

So tomorrow if anyone by chance sees a bald driver doing air guitars and some passionate head bangs while stuck in traffic, most likely that would be me.