Friday, December 16, 2005



"Where do we find ourselves? In a series of which we do not know the extremes, and believe that it has none. We wake and find ourselves on a stair; there are stairs below us, which we seem to have ascended; there are stairs above us, many a one, which go upward out of sight... Ghostlike, we glide through nature, and should not know our place again." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

We take comfort in the notion that we have a past to guide us, but we reinterpret history every day according to what happens in the present. The future, too, is a projection of our hopes and fears in what is called the here and now. But even what we term the here and now is largely an imaginary place and time. If we say that now exists exactly now, we already speak of the past. We are caught in a temporal slipstream, a state of perpetual flux. The present really narrows down into the thinnest slice of time. It is no wider than the span of a reflexive arc, that moment when the heart says to the mind: so shall it be. This year's art theme will allow us to explore how we create futurity. Express what you most hope for in the future! Express what you most fear! The Burning Man, as heartbeat of our city, will be made to rise and fall upon this tidal flow of our emotions and imagination.

Friday, December 09, 2005


I can't believe that 2005 is slowly coming to a close. It's been a long and challenging year, full of growth, introspection, and maturity. 2005 was a great year for music. Rock in its various forms is back, and I couldn't be more excited. Here is a list of my favorites:


A devastatingly somber, powerful, and yet important release by one of the most underrated bands out there. There's little wallowing in the pain but rather a diary of personal healing. Honest and sad, hopeful and tender, The Eels songs make this experience matter to anyone human and willing enough to hop on for the ride. This was my soundtrack when I got on the plane to go back to the Philippines for my father's funeral, and what a fitting score to piece your life together.

Conor Oberst releases an experimental a sonic masterpiece full of depth, maturity, texture, delivery. It is insiring to see a young songwriter like Oberst show his fearlessness in creating this faux-electronica album. I don't think anyone would be able to get away with creating such complex and textured songs. Check out Arc Of Time (Time Code), Take It Easy (Love Nothing), Theme From Pinata, and Easy/Lucky/Free.

It has been years since I've been listening to college rock stations, so I should've grown out of my Ben Folds stage of my life. But here I am 29 years rockin' out in the suburbs with the latest Ben Folds manifestation, I'm not ashamed. A solid album highlighted by Late, Time, Landed, and Give Judy My Notice.

OK I just picked this up last month, and it's been reverberating in my iPod for the past month. Paired up DJ Danger Mouse, Damon Albarn has never sounded better, the beats are tighter and craftier than the previous carnation of Gorillaz. The whole album is poetic, epic, and reckless, converging musical styles like its going out of fashion.

After half a decade of toiling away, Ms. Apple is back with a vengeance. Extraordinary Machine is soulful and impeccable. The album was written in the aftermath of her breakup with Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia, Boogie Nights). Her voice is still hypnotic and intriguing.


I loved Beck. Then I hated him. Then I kinda liked him, and then I forgot about him. I love him again. Beck you're the greatest. Guero is perhaps his most progressive album, and it is just a scream.

So you're my favorite band in the world. I see everytime you play L.A. I saw you live twice this year. Your three albums are in my most played playlist, and your latest amazing effort can't even crack my top three albums of 2005, that's a testament to how good these next three albums are...

Let's see your Australian. You just broke up with Claire Daines, and you hang out too much with Ben Kweller and Ben Folds. Ben Lee you are amazing. This album slipped under the radar, but your uplifting tunes, and faux-pop folk style has got me giggling like a little girl on anti-depressants.


Mr. Stevens thank you for creating one of the most inspiring and melodic album of 2005. If I could bear children for you I would, but fortunately for the both of us that's not possible.


Death Cab For Cutie released the most relevant album of 2005. Ben Gibbard just seems to have the midas touch. From Transatlanticism to Postal Service, Ben continue his amazing songwriting capabilities, and releases an album that will be entrenched in our subconscious for a long time

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


I got a lot of flack from people about my strong anti-capital punishment views that I presented last week, and I still stand firmly that the government has no right to execute criminals. Most arguments that have been presented to me all revolve around the idea of Vengeance or Revenge. Why should someone who has consciously chosen to eliminate life be allowed to live? And I think that it is a fair question, it is a question that forces to ponder the value of a life.

First we have to separate our arguments to emotional and rational. Most people will argue in proponent of the death penalty because of emotional reasons. I got tons of e-mails asking me what would I do if someone murdered my family member/friend. My emotional response would be to seek vengeance, but my rational response would be to trust the authorities and allow due process to happen. Would I want to see the perpetrator executed for the crimes they have committed? Yes! But I know that will not bring back the life of my loved one, and that relief I will feel from seeing that retribution would only be temporary. In the long run it is not vengeance that fuels the grief, it is the loss of a loved one. We have to realize that vengeance is not justice. Vengeance is an emotional reaction fueled by anger and fear once we have lost a loved one. Justice on the other hand is a scientific discourse. It relies on hard evidence, facts, and prudent testimony. And the mere fact that justice in itself is not perfect, should be an indicator that Capital Punishment has too many holes.

If about 1 out of 9 people in Death Row get freed each year due to DNA testing, forced confessions, and bungled police investigations, how many innocent lives have we killed? As a society it should bother us, if we one innocent person gets executed; we can't simply rationalize that by saying "Oooops!, that was an accident." Their blood is on our hands, and we just can't make excuses for that.

As far as Stan "Tookie" Williams is concerned, I am not supporting freeing Mr. Williams, I am in favor of saving him. I have no personal agenda on the matter, I was not even alive when he committed the crimes. I don't know the facts of the case, and I really don't care. It doesn't matter to me if he has admitted guilt or not, or whether he is still active with the CRIPS or not. We, as a people, should not have the right to systematically execute anyone. And no, I an not getting caught up in the hype led by Snoop Dogg and Jamie Foxx. Anytime I get to support the saving of a life, I will do so. Tookie Williams was only brought up because he brought to the forefront the issue of Capital Punishment.

Friday, December 02, 2005


We all know what "bad words" are. Unlike most other language rules, we learn about swearwords and how to use them without any real study or classroom instruction. Even very young children know which words are naughty, although they don't always know exactly what those words mean.

But swearwords aren't quite as simple as they seem. They're paradoxical -- saying them is taboo in nearly every culture, but instead of avoiding them as with other taboos, people use them. Most associate swearing with being angry or frustrated, but people swear for a number of reasons and in a variety of situations. Swearing also serves multiple purposes in social interactions. Not only that, your brain treats swear words differently than it treats other words.

Most researchers agree that swearing came from early forms of word magic. Studies of modern, non-literate cultures suggest that swearwords came from the belief that spoken words have power. Some cultures, especially ones that have not developed a written language, believe that spoken words can curse or bless people or can otherwise affect the world. This leads to the idea that some words are either very good or very bad.

While spoken swearwords from different languages don't sound alike, they generally fall into one of two categories. Most of the time, they are either deistic (related to religion) or visceral (related to the human body and its functions). Some expletives also relate to a person's ancestry or parentage. While some linguists classify racial slurs and epithets as swearwords, others place them in a separate category. So the words themselves are similar, but in different cultures people swear at different times and in different contexts.

In early childhood, crying is an acceptable way to show emotion and relieve stress and anxiety. As children, (especially boys) grow up, Western society discourages them from crying, particularly in public. People still need an outlet for strong emotions, and that's where swearing often comes in.

A lot of people think of swearing as an instinctive response to something painful and unexpected (like hitting your head on an open cabinet door) or something frustrating and upsetting (like being stuck in traffic on the way to a job interview). This is one of the most common uses for swearing, and many researchers believe that it helps relieve stress and blow off steam, like crying does for small children.

Beyond angry or upset words said in the heat of the moment, swearing does a lot of work in social interactions. In the past, researchers have theorized that men swear to create a masculine identity and women swear to be more like men. More recent studies, however, theorize that women swear in part because they are emulating women they admire.

All languages have swearwords, but the words that are considered expletives and the social attitudes toward them change over time. In many languages, words that used to be taboo are now commonplace and other words have taken their place as obscenities. In American English, the words currently considered to be the most vulgar and offensive have existed for hundreds of years. Their designation as obscenities, however, took place largely during and after the 1800s. In fact, the use of the word "dirty" to describe words arose in the 19th century, as did the word "profanity".