13 July 2005

ya me voy

click on the title to listen. 2m 16s
same same. 3m 24s

after agonizing here whether i should be holidaying in russia, iran or morocco, i have finally made up my mind. i'm going to mexico, and i'm going to give my best shot at climbing the third and sixth highest mountains in north america: pico de orizaba and iztaccihuatl.

i easily ruled out morocco's atlas mountains due to lack of available flights. iran's damavand intrigued me but the visa application process takes a while. i was tempted by russia's mt elbrus but i just couldn't mentally picture myself doing it. now is not the climbing season in mexico, but i thought what the heck, i'm going there not just for the trekking. sure, the time i'll be spending in guanajuato, oaxaca and palenque will be very limited, but i'm scratching a longstanding itch here. i've been enamored with mexico since i was young, thanks in large part to my father who exposed us to latin music early on. but i've managed to bypass it in my travel decisions. this is my first time to go there, and i'm giddy with excitement.

but i'm also scared as hell. i signed up for the seven-day, two-summit climb without having trained, and i've just recuperated from a weeklong bout with the flu. i am so not in peak form, but we'll see. i hope i'm not overestimating myself. wish me well.

anyway. here's my favorite band from mexico. cafe tacuba are so talented they blast genres like no other, a one-band proof that the label latin music means nothing other than the language or geographic origins of the artists. these two songs above perfectly demonstrate the band's versatility. eo and esa noche can't be more different. i saw these guys live at the fillmore in san francisco in september 2003. their energy is just explosive, and mexican audiences are pretty damn wild. the floor was soaked with beer, and everyone was dancing with abandon, ramming everyone else like they never existed. i haven't had that much fun at a concert since.

one song : three artists

click on the title to listen. 4m 07s
3m 57s
4m 46s

i was browsing my itunes library the other day, looking to delete some duplicate songs (same artist, same version). until then i never realized how many different versions of this song i have, which is 10. cyndi lauper must have made more fortune just from licensing this song than all her other songs combined (who wants to dare cover girls just wanna have fun, anyway?). the covers project tracks 16 -- a far-from-comprehensive list. but whatever the actual number may be, it's still nothing to the 1,600 versions of the beatles' yesterday, according to guinness records -- and that's just up to the year 1985. wikipedia doubles the count to at least 3,000.

so here are three very different versions of time after time: cassandra wilson's oozes with soul; eva cassidy's with unreserved yearning; and tuck & patti's with vocal and technical confidence -- they make it sound so easy. is the original still the best? probably not, but i still like it very much, not least for sentimental reasons.

what memory does this song bring back to you?

05 July 2005

the last one : a cautionary tale

return to me : october project
click here to listen
listening time: 4m 17s

and now for something really gnu...i got a "flash fiction" published in a literary zine. read the story, called the last one, at cautionarytale. and after you do (or even if you don't), listen to the song i'm posting, return to me, by the defunct new york band october project. i'm not sure why...i guess i'm just using this occasion as a convenient excuse to get this stirring song on my blog. i was quite disturbed by the voice and mood of the song when i first heard it -- it is otherworldy, almost like a plea to bring a departed loved one back to life.

anyway, the last one started when one member of a forum i frequent challenged others to write a short story that uses the word "bubbles," the line "i thought that was the last one," and takes place at night. i took the challenge and wrote one on my boat ride home. it turns out that she's a writer and web artist who had been given that assignment by the editor of one of the zines to which she regularly contributes. dorothy lang, who also edits the travel-themed subsidezine, sent the editor my story and voila! my first online literary gig -- all of 248 words of it.

more than anything else, i'm tickled by the fact that other writers appreciated it and thought it was good enough for others to read. i've always felt insecure about my short stories and poems, which is why i'd never submitted any of them to any publication. this gives me a bit of an encouragement, at least to keep on pursuing the kind of writing i've always wanted to do, but never nourished.