Tuesday, May 25, 2004

What is good?

I was flipping through an old Japanese magazine recently when I came upon a picture. It featured a small layered dessert topped with blueberries and strawberries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. Just really colorful and delicious looking. I don't know why food always comes up! Anyway, I just realized that although it looks appealing, in reality it might not taste that good.

Yes, I've heard of stories before that ads with peaches in them aren't really peaches. They're really apricots with some kind of chemical sprayed on them. Yuck! But only recently have I really thought of what that meant. I'm learning that it's best to trust God about what choices to make instead of relying on my senses about what seems good to me. Sometimes it's too easy to think, "Is this part of God's plan for me?" when something surprising/trying/drastic happens, but maybe that's not the point.

Instead of solely worrying about the future, maybe I should be more diligent in my daily contact with God. There can be no substitute. When I pray: God You are faithful, You are my strength, thank You for loving me, it's a good thing. Because it's never wrong! Or always right, depending on how you see it.

Site: Garnet Sea
E-mail: GCat

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Passing Notes

Tension is to be loved
When it is like a passing note
To a beautiful beautiful chord.

~6p None the Richer

Site: Garnet Sea
E-mail: GCat

Monday, May 10, 2004


...to Sixpence None the Richer. Their acoustic-driven music makes for high listenability. And their "Kiss Me" video was really cute wasn't it? Never thought I'd buy their album though. Not until I found out they've decided to disband. ! It's sad. So now I've acquired "Divine Discontent" which I've always liked. Farewell to 6p.

Additionally, got an album by an artist that I've never heard of before. Gave it a go at a listening station and decided to buy that too. It's called "Now" by Peter Frampton. It has lots of electric guitar in it, which I liked. Quite a change from what I already have. I was at first excited that finally, this is American music that I like! I later found out this guy's British.


No matter. What matters is that I like it.

Got these two at the Tower that has just fallen down. Farewell Tower Records!

Site: Garnet Sea
E-mail: GCat

Sunday, May 09, 2004

A Curiously Good Day

Spent countless hours on a group project yesterday. It went on until an hour that I would rather not mention. The good thing was that most of it is finished. Then my friend drove me home.

Today. Woke at just the right time for church. There was no sermon because it was graduation Sunday. Many graduating students gave testimonies. One female student read Philippians 3:7-14 with meaning. Something I haven't experienced in a long while. Then a male student gave a very heartfelt prayer, without any notes. I've always admired people who have poise and can share or pray in public. I believe it is the Holy Spirit leading. I felt my eyes stinging afterwards.

Went into a bookstore. Why? I like it there. It was the same one where I bought a book for mom. It was a photo book presenting different floral arrangements for apartments in the city. It's Mother's Day after all.

Didn't know what I was looking for. Didn't know why I was there. Just hoped to have something catch my eye. And something did. The picture of a dog. A poodle, in fact. It was only a white silhouette of a poodle. It reminded me of the key chains of dogs that are found on expensive handbags. This dog was right side up, but the title of the book was upside down. I took one copy down from high above on the flat table and took a look:
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The cover reminded me of the first editions of famous novels because of the color combination: orange-red and pale yellow. Saw these in a Japanese magazine somewhere.

At that exact moment a man walked past me, followed by his dog. It was a black poodle. Its tail was wagging happily up and down. I stared. Then I stared at the poodle on the cover. I opened it at the first page and started reading. I was still standing. To the left was the information desk. There were employees behind those desks. I soon retreated to a bench in the Travel Guides section of the store.

I continued reading until I finished it 2.5 hours later. Its simplicity astounded me. Just really simple and honest. If you liked The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend, or the movie A Beautiful Mind, you may like to check this book out. Read the first page and decide for yourself. Do not read the reviews or your judgment may be clouded. Doesn't matter what others say. At least initially.

And now I've to go meet my project buddies. And off to finish our project paper. I had a really good day today and I hope you will too.

[After reading the whole book in one sitting, I found myself subtly influenced by the writer's style. I tried to mimic that a little bit in this post - tried to use simpler sentence structures, and tried to see things from a child's point of view. =) ]

Site: Garnet Sea
E-mail: GCat

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Pull You from Your Tower

Just remembered some more stuff about what happened at Tower Records...

H and I heard this really familiar R Kelly song, but it was sung by this incredibly off-key guy. He also proceeded to sing such songs as YMCA, etc. I winced and wondered, "Who chose to put this on? It's horrible!" Then when I paid for my Getz CD, the cashier guy told me who it was. William Hung. I should've known. William Hung. Even I can't be immune to this name or his singing. Why oh why?

And also before that, we passed by a whole slew of CDs selling for just 10 cents. Yup you heard me right, 10 cents. Understandably, some were singles. Also, H smiled when she held up a Backstreet Boys CD. Apparently their music's worth no more than 10 cents these days? Ouch.

Gotta go.

Site: Garnet Sea
E-mail: GCat

Monday, May 03, 2004

Night with Getz and "The Girl"

Just had a late midterm today. Decided to go get a mango drink to treat myself. And who do you suppose I see at the place, but two people I know from music class! One was from choir, the other was from another music class that I took a year ago (and looked exactly like a young Dai Nagano from DAI). I never expected them to know each other. Isn't it a strange feeling when this happens? Afterwards, one went off to class, the remaining two of us went to Tower Records to check out CDs. I've never gone into this particular one because the prices are always quite high. However, H told me that everything's 20% off because they're closing down. So today's a perfect day to go.

I didn't plan on buying anything at first. I followed her while she checked out Sting. I saw R.E.M.'s 2-CD set and was thinking of buying that, but decided to wait. Then we went upstairs while she checked out some Algerian music she knew from class. Upstairs was also the jazz section, which got me quite excited. I don't know much about jazz except that taking a class last summer introduced me to some artists. I really liked the bossa nova style we skimmed over, for our teacher preferred "black" jazz e.g. Dizzie Gillespie from the same time period. Well, I agree that "white" jazz improvisation felt a little different, but it doesn't matter. I'd still like it whenever I heard J-pop or any other music that had a bossa nova influence in it.

So in the end I picked up Stan Getz playing Jobim. People usually recognize their big bossa nova hit "The Girl from Ipanema" sung by Astrud Gilberto. This was on the CD! I didn't really know their other songs, but many of them had vocal versions, so I decided to trust my instincts and buy it. Since I don't own anything like it, I hoped it would be a good addition.

It certainly was worth it. It was really soothing to hear this fusion of samba beats and cool jazz at this time. And I realized today that they sang partly in Portuguese! I never could pinpoint the language before, for it neither sounded exactly like French nor like Spanish. And its roots are Brazilian not French! So I learned something today. Portuguese is a really pretty language to sing in.

My fave instrumental piece so far is "Once Again", and my fave vocal piece apart from "The Girl from Ipanema" is "One Note Samba". Well, I think I need more time on the other pieces, especially the instrumental ones where I've to plant the melody in my head while listening to the chord changes. The only complaint I have is sometimes the tenor sax just seems too overpowering. But since it's a 60s recording, that's ok. I'm willing to listen to these recordings since these are jazz's pioneers.

Some people say this type of music's really boring, but I don't think so at all. It's a refreshing change from pop music.

Site: Garnet Sea
E-mail: GCat