30 May 2013

"Are you gatherin' up the tears? Have you had enough of mine?"

My goals for the past Memorial Day weekend are clearly stated in the first two verses of this song.  And got'dammit I needed it because the pace of my life has been breakneck.  Two days back at work, and it almost doesn't feel like I've had a break. 

29 May 2013

"I'm gonna take the stone of Sisyphus. I'm gonna roll it back to you."

Alternative Alamat: Stories Inspired by Philippine MythologyAlternative Alamat: Stories Inspired by Philippine Mythology by Paolo Chikiamco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In his introduction, editor Paolo Chikiamco spells out the payoff and the problems involved in putting together an anthology of remixed Filipino myths. "We are a nation of many indigenous cultures--numbering anywhere from sixty to over a hundred, depending on who you ask--with distinct oral traditions." There are resources and strategies aimed at sussing all this out (see the appendices at the end of the book); guideposts to avenues of research in which even some Filipino scholars fear to tread. In the end though, the most meaningful way to relate to these myths (or those of any culture's, for that matter) is through story.

Some stories were weaker than others, as can be expected, but even these had something to offer--one in particular that I thought might've been the weakest might have had the best writing. These stories seemed to share a similar overall flaw IMO: the focus on the inscrutability and strangeness of the supernatural characters who didn't seem to be too bothered by it one way or the other. (An attitude that seems distinctly un-Filipino).

The anthology really picks up steam in its latter half, though. The better stories weren't just simple retellings, but remixings and straight mash-ups of various myths, time periods, genres, and even modes of storytelling. One of my favorite pieces has an ending which cleverly hinges on the blending of Christianity and folk belief for which the Philippines is famous.

All in all, an easy 4 stars for me.

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22 May 2013

@SF Signal's Mind Meld

...I answer a question of mythic proportions!

I could've gone a lot of places with my answer, starting with my extensive knowledge of Norse mythology in third grade, starting with Marvel Comics' The Mighty Thor, through my extensive cross-referencing with The Encyclopedia Brittanica and poring through the footnotes of every mythology book I could get from my grade-school library.  But, that would've just been geeking out instead of answering the question.  And when the big kids at SF Signal offer you a seat at their table and ask you a question, you best answer it!

01 May 2013

"Jumpin' up, fallin' down / Don't misunderstand me..."

I knew this week was going to be bad.  It's started off even worse.  But I'm getting by. My coping mechanism of the day has been playing this video on a loop.  It's Joe Walsh playing "Funk #49" with Daryl Hall.

Yes, you read that right.  And your brain is short-circuiting at the cognitive dissonance, isn't it?  It's that short-circuit that keeps me from falling into a black hole of depression, because who can not get fired up hearing that guitar riff?