Breeder’s Digest

I remember waiting inside a bus listening to the news. The DJ was talking about the attacks. Twin towers. World Trade Center. I probably never heard of them until that specific time. At the time, we had no TV at home (we had one but it was broken). Few minutes later, a friend boarded the same bus while the DJ was still talking about the attacks. My friend couldn’t believe it, and asked if it wasn’t just some elaborate prank or a movie plot. It was morning then. In the US, it was the evening after the attacks.

I don’t remember much of what transpired after but I’m sure I bought a newspaper later that day. Because that’s what I usually do at the time. Read newspaper, mainly to get the latest on upcoming movies — Hollywood, art house, or otherwise. I seldom read the news though, or the editorials. Internet? Well, internet back then was really slow. And costs money. A single broadsheet would probably give you more reading material than the 30 minutes spent in the internet shop while waiting for the webpage to load. Newspaper was also cheaper. Sure, I probably read less than 50% of what’s in it, but at least I can re-read the articles and reuse them papers for other purpose. And the minutes you lost in the internet shop, you wouldn’t be able to get back.

Of course, there are stuff like, y’know, this tech savvy guy showing you naked photos of Alicia Silverstone. And there were also chat rooms, which some of my friends were so into at the time, asking for ASL, reacting to every reply like their balls were being tickled. Honestly, I don’t really know what sort of things they’d usually talk about. Do they meet up or eyeball? Does it usually end in casual sex like in that Orange & Lemons song? I don’t know. And I also don’t know why Alicia Silverstone was so popular back then. Like seeing a naked picture of her was the equivalent of seeing the Holy Grail. I’ve never seen Clueless (though I probably should) or any of her movies actually. And those photos are fake, by the way. Those were somebody else’s boobs and vagina. And you can tell it easily by the difference in the skin tone. Like it was some kind of Frankenstein monster, assembled in the computer. By the way, that’s like two movies in one, Frankenhooker meets Weird Science. I haven’t seen both, so, I might be wrong.

Few years later, I met the same friend in an internet cafe. Can’t remember what but maybe I went to the shop to create my first Yahoo email, as per the suggestion of another friend. I also don’t remember what for. Then, this friend (whom I met in the shop), he was raving about Green Day’s then-new album. He said it was different from the old Green Day. American Idiot. I don’t know if he sang and air guitar the first line to me (Don’t wanna be an American Idiot), but as far as I remember, he said it was really good. Well, he wasn’t wrong. I liked that album. And “Wake Me Up When September Ends” is really great. Its anti-war music video, probably one of my all-time favorites.

10 Things I Learned In Japan

Disclaimer: No offense meant for people who usually gets offended by lazily written articles that contain stuff like compact discs, bikes, and Maria Ozawa. Also, no offense meant for Spotify-lovers.

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Stand on the right, walk on the left. It’s not just for the work-crazy Japanese, always rushing to get to work. It’s also for us who are always rushing to get back home from work, those who are rushing to the next big sale in the mall, those who are rushing on their way to work to catch the morning bell. We’ll probably take years to learn this simple trick. Not because we’re slow. But because we love to break rules. Or simply, maybe, we hate rules and prefer chaos over the orderly.

Trains are cool, trains are great. They’re fast, effective and convenient too. I remember Jello Biafra saying something like “9/11 might have been averted if America was as crazy about trains as they were about airplanes”, that it would be “more fun to travel across the states in bullet trains.” We only have four train lines in Metro Manila. Imagine if we could double that number. It wouldn’t be much compare to Japan, but it would surely felt heavenly for commuters. Or, it could be worse. Imagine all of them not in good working condition, with all trains taking hours to arrive, and you have to suffer long lines before you reach the turnstiles.

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They even have dedicated walkways with color coded tiles for the blind. Color coded tiles. For the blind. Go figure.

Book-Off is a record collector’s paradise. You can buy old stock CD’s—lots and lots of them—for as low as ¥250. You would usually find albums from the most popular 90’s bands: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Garbage, Radiohead, Foo Fighters, NoFx and The Offspring. If you’re lucky and patient enough to check all those alphabetically arranged racks every once in a while, like me, you’d probably find some rare items—something from either the Pixies, Stephen Malkmus or My Bloody Valentine.

There are also lots of old (e.g, The Beatles, Ramones and Jimmi Hendrix) and current (Imagine Dragons, anyone?) stuff, but not in the bargain section; which means you need to bring more cash with you if you are into them. Or you can wait till one of those CD’s gets transferred to the cheap section. Like the time when I found a very mint copy of Sgt. Pepper’s priced at ¥500 and I went straight to the cashier. The next time I saw another Beatles album sold for less, it was The Abbey Road. If you guessed that I grabbed it right there and then with all my might, you are most probably right. But that’s not saying I’m one big Beatles fan. I’m not.

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Hard-Off is pure hard-on. From bikes, to turntables, to gaming consoles, to electric guitars, it’s haven for those who don’t mind owning pre-loved items.

A for Effort, Z for Delivery. Putting effort means putting more hours. Even if it means being inefficient. For as long as you look busy and focused (even if at times, you’re only pretending) and stay at the workplace for as long as you can, your boss will appreciate your effort. You cannot relax and show that you’re really enjoying what you do by humming a Barry Manilow song while your hands are on the keyboard and go home at 5pm. Applying the take-a-break-every-30-minutes rule, is also a big no-no.

Japanese girls in yukata will bring out the inner samurai in you.

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It’s almost impossible to lost your wallet with all your important cards and ID’s in it. If you have a contact number in it, you’d most probably get a call. If you lost it on a train, you can contact the train station. One morning, there was this one guy reading manga while on the train, who just left the manga inside the train when he dropped off at the next station. The following day, I rode the same car on the same schedule and found that same guy reading the same manga he was reading the previous day.

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If you find one of Jimmy Page’s guitars displayed in a store in Ochanomizu, you’re not allowed to touch it. Unless, in our case, we didn’t know that there is such a rule. So, the store owner had to rush to us and tell us not to touch it after we already did. There goes my fingerprints side by side with those of the great Led Zep guitarist.

Maria Ozawa is overrated; Manami Hashimoto is the shit.

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Images taken from here, here, here, and here.

Green Day – ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tre! (2012)

greendayThese three words – shouted to signal the start of every song or set – as a title is in and of itself, very punk in spirit. But there’s no other way to put down this trifecta, but to take it as a whole and describe it as the most bloated American Punk Idiot albums from whom the punk police called questionable punks. And I used to like Green Day – from way way back, before they learned their politics, before they became cool again. Back when they struggled with a follow-up and street cred, back when they were fast becoming uncool. This trilogy is a threefold wastage of digital space – which only proves that most aren’t immune to The Weezer Paradox, even Green Day.