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Day 116: Springtime Photography

26 Apr

It’s been quite a while since I last actively set out to practice photography. It’s been exactly a hundred days, in fact. And when you take as much time as that between practice sessions, I don’t think you really improve. So do not expect gah!amazing photos today. But it was the first really hot day of the year and the flowers are blooming and it was really nice out so there were a lot of pretty things to look at. My subject for today was this tree in front of Grace Church, a gorgeous piece of architecture that’s been around since the 1800’s that I like to pass by on my daily walk to the office. There was a crowd of people around this tree, all taking pictures as well. See, the change from winter to spring is quite abrupt. One day a tree is absolutely devoid of foliage, then the next day it’s completely covered in flowers. So when this tree in front of this church did the whole drab-to-fab overnight change thing, people everywhere were inspired to practice photography.

i mean, look at the pretty flowers! they weren't there yesterday! this was around sunset though so it was getting dark.

And here’s a close-up shot of the petals.

With a bonus photobomber!

Which makes perfect sense, actually. It isn’t really springtime until the fairies come out to play.

So yay! Photography!

That’s all! See you tomorrow!

Day 92: What I Did on April Fools’ Day

2 Apr

I went to see The Strokes at Madison Square Garden. That was what I did. And this is my ~concert review~. I consider this post to be my productive thing of the day because I found that it is a massive task to translate the OHHHMAAAAHHHHGAAAAAAAAD’s and the AACCCKKKKKK’s and the ASLKDJFHLAKSDJF’s in my head into actual words that people would understand. It took hours and a lot of effort okay? This is productive, and this is my blog, and I do what I want!

Okay. You don’t understand. Ten years ago, I had a crush on Julian Casablancas in the same way that I had a crush on Brad Renfro when I was 12 or the way you might have had a crush on that kid from Casper.

Brad and Casper. Remember?

That is, I thought he was the cutest boy I had ever seen, never mind that he was in a ~band~, and OMG *squeal* JULIAAAAAN~~ HNNNNGGGGGGG. Of course, I liked the music too. The Strokes made good catchy songs that I could dance to, and that’s always a plus in my book. But just look at him. LOOK AT HIM.

I mean, this could be a cover for Tiger Beat.

I know I talked about this before but Julian Casablancas is one of the reasons I am where I am right now, I’m not even kidding.

So okay. Let me tell you the story of how I got to like The Strokes. You remember that time when “Last Nite” started playing on NU? I think some people were calling it garage rock because all it was was a few guitars playing simple riffs, a drum kit and this kid singing. There was nothing showy or really impressive musically about it but you heard the song and it got stuck in your head and lived there for the next ten years (a fact that they talk about in their latest single “Under Cover of Darkness” in the lyric “I’ve been running round this town, everybody’s been singing the same song for ten years” which they further illustrate in the video in which, when it got to that part in the song, he takes the mic stand and hurls it off to the side, much in the same way that he did in the video to Last Nite. Yes I spent way too much time analyzing this, I know). So anyway, I didn’t love them immediately but I remember after hearing “Last Nite” a few times, I thought “okay… not what i’m used to listening to…but…i think i like it.” And then later on I got the album (Is This It) and I remember the precise moment when I knew I loved them. It was 52 seconds into the record. The first 51 seconds were just like “meh Last Nite may be the only good song on this” but then at 52, the bass line comes in. That wonderful glorious bass line that made the song “Is This It?” my favorite song from that album, hands down, to this day. Followed closely by “Hard to Explain” and “Someday” and “The Modern Age” and “Barely Legal” and “Last Nite”  and you know what, it was the whole album. Then the second album (Room on Fire) came out and it was “Under Control” and “The End Has No End” and “12:51” and “The Way It Is” and “I Can’t Win” and it was just another great record. Then they released the third album (First Impressions of Earth). It sounded a lot more dense than the first two albums and it was way longer and some people hated it but I still really liked it because it has what could possibly be the best pop song they’ve ever written: “You Only Live Once” and my personal favorites “Razorblade” and “Ask Me Anything” and “Juicebox” and “On the Other Side.” This latest album (Angles) is a bit baffling to me. I only like one, maybe two songs in it (“Under Cover of Darkness” and maybe “Taken for a Fool”), which is sad. But I still love them. I LOVE THE STROKES. And this last album just makes me more excited for them to make a new album, just so that they can recover from this one and we can forget it ever happened and it will be great again.

Needless to say, getting to see them live in concert is another thing off of my bucket list. But when me and my sister finally found our seats in that big arena and saw how far we were from the stage, I realized that I may need to put it back onto my bucket list because I JUST NEED TO SEE THEM SO MUCH CLOSER.

The view from where we were. Look at all the people!

And here's a photo of Julian. My camera was zoomed in a million percent, by the way.

And now I’m going to post videos which are not very good as you won’t see anybody clearly except during the parts where I have the camera pointed at the big screen that they had for the benefit of the people who were at the nosebleed seats. So you won’t see anything much but at least there’s audio. Well, the audio’s bad too because my camera is ancient. And what you will hear most of the time is me screaming my head off or singing along. Out of tune. Very loudly. Things I’m sure you don’t very much want to experience so feel free to go ahead and skip this part.

~*~

They started with “Is This It” and you already know how I feel about this song. Ignore the random conversation in the beginning of the video. Skip instead to around 35 seconds in, when I realize what the first song was going to be. Cue bloodcurdling scream of fangirly joy.

This next one is when they played “Juicebox.” You know when I said that all of these are just videos of me singing loudly and out of tune? I meant this video in particular. Also, where we were standing, there was a ledge in front of us, and I found that I could use that as a tripod so that my hands would be free to clap and perform weird dance moves, making this video steady as hell, but still no better in that you still can’t see anybody clearly. But I did point the camera at the big screen at certain parts of the song, so at least there’s that.

Here’s another video of me singing loudly and out of tune. It’s their latest single “Under Cover of Darkness” and I thought I’d put this on here since this is what they were promoting after all.

So something pretty crazy happened. Before they played “Taken for a Fool,” Julian said something like “You know what? Elvis Costello should be here and sing this song with me… Just kidding! Happy April Fools!” and so they started playing the song. Only right before the first chorus, Elvis Costello did come out with a guitar and started playing with them. And I think even Julian was a little bit surprised because he said “Oh!” and then Elvis Costello sang the chorus and bits of the rest of the song. And once again, there was a lot of screaming and OH MY GOD’s on my part when I realized what was happening. I mean, we paid to see The Strokes, but we got ELVIS FREAKING COSTELLO as well? It was just all a bit too hard to handle. I was practically having a complete mental breakdown.

Here’s “Someday.” For more college hits. And because I just really love this song. After they played it, the boy standing beside me turned to me and said “That is my favorite song of all time! Ever!” and I asked him “How do you feel?!” And he said “Pretty great!” And I totally understand how he felt.

Let me end this epic ~concert review~ with my very favorite moment out of the entire thing. It started off with just Julian singing the first few lines of “Under Control” with a solitary guitar backing him up. Then the drums come in then suddenly this gigantic disco ball lights up and it just fills the arena with these pretty lights spinning around the room. It was an awesome moment that just makes you wish this sort of thing happened at your prom. Only I didn’t have a date to my prom and I didn’t particularly love high school. But it was a very romantic moment, so much so that the couple standing next to me started making out. It was amazing (I’m talking about the song now, not the making out) with the lights and the song and just. Sigh. I love The Strokes. I told you this right?

~*~

(if you clicked on all those videos, congratulations and thank you and i love you because you are a true friend hahahahahaha)

Basically, I can’t really say that I went to Madison Square Garden to watch The Strokes perform live. It was more like I went to this huge room so that I could watch concert footage of The Strokes from a big screen which, from where we were standing, was more like an okay-sized screen, and dance stupidly with the people around me. It was pretty great actually, considering. Was it worth the amount of money we paid? Just look at this picture and decide for yourself.

See you tomorrow!

Day 37: Show and Tell: Where I Live Now

6 Feb

Due to insistent public demand (mostly from my older sister back in the Philippines, hi manang!) I will now show you where my sister Erin and I live through some pictures that I took and some that I didn’t. Here we go.

We live on an island.

I haven't seen any zeppelins since I got here though.

In that island, there is a tiny village.

Graphics!!!

In that village, there is a street.

Numa-nighttime photography.

On that street, there is a white building.

Sumi-street photography.

In that building, there is a fifth floor, and on that floor is where we live. Only there is no elevator.

There used to be one but that's what it looks like now.

That’s about 10,000 flights of stairs that we have to walk up to get into our tiny closet of an apartment, which we share with a pastry chef/real live korean pop star and a film student studying at NYU.

The view from the fifth floor.

Our mailbox claims that the Beatles live in our apartment.

It was like that when we got here.

And now some Fun Facts about our neighborhood (or “The Real Reasons Why I Was Persuaded by My Sister to Move Here”).

1. The East Village is the birth place of punk rock. (Writing down that sentence just gave me chills.)
2. There are other fun facts (like how this is the setting for the musical Rent or how it has been immortalized in songs by Elliott Smith and Tom Waits, among others, or how W.H. Auden and Allen Ginsberg used to live here when they were still alive, or Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, etc etc etc), but basically, punk rock.

And that’s about it. But before I go, here are some of our neighbors.

This bird.

Manang Rosario, Ate Chloe, Tita Rachel

Kuya Conor, Danny Boy, Chi-chi

And Julian. Who may or may not have been the deciding factor in my graduate school choice two years ago.

Incidentally, the Strokes are coming back. I am very excited about this.

That’s all, folks! See you tomorrow!

Day 6: Practice Photography

6 Jan

I’ve never been a tourist in this city. I haven’t been to the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island. I’ve never tried setting aside some time to look around and just take in how beautiful the place is. Which is a shame really because New York City has some pretty impressive architecture. When you see someone in the street holding a camera, more often than not, they have it pointed up at the buildings.

I suppose one reason I don’t take pictures is that I don’t have one of those fancy DSLR things that everyone and their mother has nowadays. A better, more honest reason though is that I am absolute rubbish at it. So I figured that this year, maybe I should learn how to take photos. I may not have your space age Nikons or Canons but what I do have is a can-do attitude and what they call a “digital camera.” So at lunch today, I took a walk, found myself in the vicinity of the Empire State Building, and decided to try and practice photography.

Don't worry. That's not King Kong. King Kong is, in fact, dead. That's just a regular gorilla.

I took around twenty photos of the building, just trying to get the composition right and I think this was the best one. It turned out alright, don’t you think? Not bad for a noob, if I must say so myself.

See you tomorrow!