the everyday exploits and bursts of ideas from a twenty-something beatnik

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

old friend, new black & white photos

Almost 2 months after our Paper Flight exhibit and I just had to share with you my friend Mykee’s photo contributions, these are black and white photos that she took around different spots in Los Angeles, California (with the paper plane of course). Mykee is one of the closest if not the closest friend that I have in our group and even if she left after 6th grade to migrate to the US, we’ve always kept in touch all these years. We’ve always gotten along and agreed on most things if not all, and we’ve been happily swimming against the flow ever since – from one crazy head to another huh! Thank God for her almost yearly visits since 2005? When she comes to visit I’m almost assured that we’ll have more crazy misadventures and I only regret that we didn’t get to spend much time together when she came this year because I’ve been busy with this ‘higher education’ that I’m currently taking but the exhibit itself was already a really great time spent together. So back to the photos, I’m really proud of these shots that she took because first, I love black and white photos and second, she used a Holga 35BC camera and god knows how fond I am of Lomography (which I will dedicate a separate blog soon for that little hobby of mine since I myself is a proud owner of a Holga 120CFN, Diana F+ and Fisheye 2) and shooting with film is much more challenging for obvious reasons. I am no photography expert or critic but the raw look of the photos is just so appealing – you couldn’t get more unedited than that!

airplane x paperplane

Chinese dragon lion x paperplane

graffiti x paperplane

LA river x paperplane

random chair x paperplane

Chinatown x paperplane

graffiti x paperplane

city buildings x paperplane

my fave - random couch in street x paperplane

graffiti x paperplane

city streets x paperplane

stencil in sidewalk x paperplane

multiple exposures x paperplane

girls flying paperplane

my other fave - LA ducks x paperplane

It’s raddd to have a life partner-in-crime like Mykee, it’s true that only crazy people truly understand each other and I’m not afraid to go crazy especially with her! Cheers to more years together dearieee, can’t wait for your next visit.

Mykee & Pilar - coz we're cleva! ;-)

Peace, Love & RakEnRoll,

Pilar Nereida


finally added a Flag Counter!

I was never a computer techie and all that technical stuff just baffles me, it took me a while to get acquainted even with WordPress. So when I decided to put a Flag Counter on my site last night I thought that I’d be able to do it without any online help but as you may have guessed, I wasn’t able to. So I decided to seek online help today and viola! there it is at my sidebar! It may sound silly to some but it’s such an accomplishment for a semi-illiterate on computers like me. So I feel like I owe it to those who are not that talented with website stuff like me to be able to help with at least just putting a Flag Counter, it’s actually very easy and here are the steps:
1. visit FlagCounter http://flagcounter.com/ and go to section “Customize Your New Flag Counter” as per your wordpress theme/looks
2. click the button “GET YOUR FLAG COUNTER”
3. it will generate 2 codes, take the one with  “Code for websites” and copy it.
4. go to your wordpress dashboard then to appearance
5. choose widget – text, paste it on text and save.
6. check WordPress site if it worked and if it did then cheers!

Peace, Love & RakenRoll,
Pilar Nereida

In the Land of Mao

I have always been very vocal in my dismay of the Chinese government in relation to conflicts in Tibet and other humanitarian matters, China no matter how powerful a nation it has become has always set aside issues on human rights. But even if how hostile my views on China may be, I can’t deny the fact that I have always been amazed with the country’s history on civilization along with it’s magnificent ancient structures plus the inventions of gunpowder and fireworks, paper making, the compass and to everyone’s surprise – the pasta (since pasta has always been synonymous with Italy or so we thought). And as good fortune may have it, I had the chance to visit Beijing, China for a few days last March 2011 with my Maaa and her friends and dealing with the cold (since it was still winter, although it didn’t snow that year) was mostly what we had to battle with the whole time we were there because coming from a tropical country like the Philippines where it was so sunny before we left, an almost 0°C temperature slapped us in the face the moment we got out from the airport at 1am in the morning. And to think I was just wearing a grey tank top over my coat while the cold still managed to sneak in my feet even with my thick socks and Chuck Taylor’s. So we managed to stay at this very affordable family-owned one-storey hostel within the city, it was a very old place reminiscent of those houses in old Chinese movies where they fight kung fu and break all sorts of things, the place was really neat and they even have a cafe in the middle which the guests who were mostly young backpackers from Europe hung out to check their email and other businesses (oh yeah, Facebook is banned in China by the way, much to my companions’ dismay). I definitely preferred staying there than some other swanky hotel which would have never fit in our budget anyway, and did I mention that the cafe had this really cool roof deck which I only got to know of the morning after, I bet it would have been a great hangout place during the summer. The only problem I had during my trip there was that Indica 1, my ancient Canon350D refused to function but good thing I brought with me a Lomo Fisheye and a roll of film, thus I had very few pictures to document my trip to Beijing (thank God for my companions’ functional cameras and their camera phones!).

it's a blurrr but you could tell how our hostel looked like

the roof deck I was raving about but it was too cold to hangout in

So we went to see a lot of the tourist attractions that there was to see but I’ll just mainly focus on the ones that are of top interest to me plus the lack of photographs was very disheartening while making this, I could have showed more photos of the different but equally beautiful places there. So first up would be the very famous and definitely one of the ancient wonders of the world, the 2,000 year old Great Wall of China! I just had to tell that the moment that I saw it I had goosebumps all over and it wasn’t because of the cold, it was just so surreal setting foot in one of the places that has awed me since I was young and being a history buff, it was impossible to wipe off the smile in my face.

Well you probably have your facts already about this great structure but let me just pass on to you some few quick facts – 1.) It is true despite all the arguments and controversies, the Great Wall is visible in space but not at all times to the naked eye (think telescopes), 2.) It took more than 20 dynasties to built it (that’s an awful long time!) and 3.) It is the longest fortification ever built, the structure over 6,000km long.

According to BBC News, the Great Wall receives about 10 million visitors per year

The Ming Tombs was very grand considering that it houses the mausoleums of the 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. It was such a huge and very peaceful place and I had to refrain myself from running around like a kid who had just discovered a new playground but it was very tempting. Although it was very far from being a playground and only 2 tombs are open to the public (with one of it 27 meters under the earth), but it never had the feel of a mausoleum when we entered. I won’t get much into details of the Ming Tombs and the other structures since the internet can well provide you with more accurate and fascinating facts but what I can say is that the entire construction was just splendid!

the walk back to the main gate - and that structure right there isn't the main gate yet!

Another site that we visited was the Temple of Heaven and we only got to stroll around the vicinity outside the temple because there was an additional entrance fee to go to the temple itself although it can be seen from the outside, my companions just weren’t keen on paying another fee. But I can tell that it was very beautiful from afar and how much more if we got to go inside.. .

Belle and what seems to be a part of the temple in the background

Since I didn’t arrange this in the order of how we visited the places, we actually went to the Summer Palace before going to the Temple of Heaven and describing the place as beautiful would be an understatement. The Palace was so perfectly gorgeous and grandiose that if it were not for the cold, I never would have wanted to leave the place. They say that the Kunming Lake which overlooked the palace was usually frozen during the winter but that year it didn’t (sign of the changing times huh?), I also had the chance to climb a Cherry Blossom tree to everyone’s amusement, I just had the urge to climb it and I didn’t care much what the Chinese people thought or said to each other when they saw me, I didn’t understand a word that they were saying anyway.

Pilar and Maaa, smiling but cold!

The last and probably the most jaw-droppingly massive and tiring of all the places that we went to was the Forbidden City, I have to say that these ancient Chinese structures wouldn’t have been as amazing if it weren’t for the megalomaniac emperors that they had. Everything had to made in such huge and colossal manner, anything less than that I don’t think they would’ve approved. You’ve noticed that for sure. One of the symbols of Beijing and perhaps China, the Forbidden City was an imperial palace and located exactly in the middle of Beijing, more quick facts – 1.) It consists of 980 buildings and covers 720,000 m2, 2.) It houses the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world as listed by UNESCO, and 3.) It was the home of emperors and their households for 500 years. I still can’t believe I walked the whole 961 meters from north to south of the entire place!

you'll have to go through Chairman Mao before you can enter the city.. . love him or hate him, I feel both.

Well, it was one hell of a historical but rather very fun trip for me, I would’ve never appreciated those places as much if I never had a liking to history and an interest in Mao Tse Tung. I promised myself that I would without doubt go back in a few years or so, I trust China when it comes to preserving their ancient structures (and I wish that the Philippines could do the same too – but whatever is left of our ancient structures?). Me and my boys will climb the Great Wall and ‘stroll around’ the Forbidden City while I lecture them on it’s history for sure.. .

Peace, Love & some RakEnRoll,

Pilar Nereida

the Deftones.. . relived!

I missed out on a few good concerts from international artists this year and last year like The Stone Temple Pilots, Bryan Adams and even the rumored (which was untrue of course) Aerosmith concert in Manila. Then there was Red Hot Chili Pepper’s concert in Hong Kong and the Foo Fighters’ cancelled tour in Singapore. I even wanted to attend the Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival in Puerta Galera last week but as always, my budget wouldn’t permit me to be wasted on music and the arts for 3 days (sadly, I really did imagined myself attending it). But although I did missed out on those events, Kidlat and I were able to attend one international act last year and without regret because seeing the Deftones live last February 12 at the World Trade Center in Manila was worth every cent we paid – from the airfare, cheap ass accommodations and very minimal shopping from the local ‘tiangges’. 

spoiled myself on a VIP ticket

So we flew to Manila from Cebu on the wee hours of the morning since our flight was like 4:30am and had to wait for most of our friends who had a later flight that morning, and breakfast at the nearest McDonald’s was the most practical way to start the day and do the waiting. After our friends arrived, we decided to look for a place to stay that was convenient (meaning: cheap and accessible), and after a taxi ride and several kilometers of walking around everywhere and all other spontaneities in-between we got to check in to this very cheap motel/transient house with the help of a friend we bumped into at the mall. After several hours of trying to waste time and a wardrobe change, we decided to head out to the concert venue earlier than expected (although Kidlat and I managed to squeeze in little time to visit Intramuros to see the graffiti he was very interested to see), there was already a line forming when we got there but we still ended up being one of the early bird groups that arrived.

from the airport to the streets and to the Mall of Asia (taken w/ a Lomo Fisheye)

Kidlat in Intramuros a few hours before the concert (taken w/ a Lomo Fisheye)

Well you could just imagine everyone’s excitement when the gates were opened and they let the people in, I think it was about 7 or 8pm that time (and we got there 4 or was it 5pm, excited huh?) and people went to there respective lines inside because there was a separate door for the VIP, Gold and Silver ticket holders. And after an hour or so of waiting and brushing shoulders with a few local rock stars here and there, the show finally started with Slapshock as the first of the two opening acts performing that night. I didn’t really remember what songs or how many songs they played that night, we were all just waiting for the Deftones to play and I didn’t think a lot of people really paid that much attention too. I didn’t even get to pay attention much to Urbandub, who like the rest or most of the crowd that night also came from Cebu (well you can tell by the amount of people cheering for them). And then there was darkness – it was like waiting for a divine entity to show itself to the ‘hungry’ followers, then a familiar voice greeted the crowd and the people we’ve agonizingly waited for 5 hours or more finally came up on stage. The lights were turned on and Chino seemed like an apparition that the people unexpectedly expected to see (girls were shrieking and I swear I also heard some guys too!) and the long unforgettable night started with the band playing Birthmark. Famous songs from their old albums like Engine No. 9, Be Quiet and Drive, Digital Bath, Hexagram, Knife Party, Minerva, Change, Passenger etc. were played but not to miss also were the equally great songs from the latest album Diamond Eyes like Rocket Skates, Sextape, You’ve Seen the Butcher, CMND/CTRL, Royal and Beauty School also got the crowd moving. It was all so surreal but like all good things they say must come to an end, and the Deftones couldn’t have ended it better by playing ‘7 Words’ and it was such a riot! Perhaps we’ll see them again in a few years for another concert but with Chi Cheng getting to tour with them this time, keeping our fingers crossed.. .

waiting in line is the hardest part when you're all excited and ready to gooo!

bumped into Ian of Queso/Wilabaliw

the hosts for the night, the always entertaining Ramon Bautista and some girl.. .

the apparition that was Chino Moreno

Sergio steps into Chi Cheng's place while the latter is still in coma

Stephen doing his thing

oh the modern age! funny coz I didn't even get to take a single photo during the concert.. .

it was very sweet of Chino when he reached out to the starstruck concert goers

he was thisclose!

similar to death, you know it's the end when you can see the light

P.S. — Waiting and wishing for summer this year because Morrissey will be playing on the 13th of May (my birthday!) in Manila. My hopes are still high that I’ll be able to go.. .

Peace, Love & some RakEnRoll,

Pilar Nereida

***photos during the concert from Bea, Mitchay and Nyca

Dubai Clock Tower

Dubai's Clock Tower

The Clock Tower was built over 40 years ago and is Dubai’s oldest monument, although today it’s just another roundabout in Dubai’s increasing traffic.The Clock is located in eastern Dubai in Diera and was constructed by Overseas AST. The enormous clock was actually a gift from Sheikh Ahmed of Qatar who was also Dubai’s Sheikh Rashid’s son-in-law. The Sheikh did not know what to do with such a large clock, so a certain Mr. Bulard who also had just completed building the Sheikh’s Zabeel Palace made a sketch for his idea on a clock tower. In the early 1960s, the area where the Clock Tower is located today had become an important road intersection so this was a suitable site and Mr. Bulard also suggested that it be placed on a traffic roundabout to protect the tower. It was also one of the first roundabouts in Dubai.

A lot has assumed that the most proper name for it would be the Diera Clock Tower since it was after all located in Diera, but the fact was that the clock was presented to Sheikh Rashid as the ruler of Dubai and not specifically to Diera. It was only chosen because it was an important access point to Dubai in those days and the first significant structure seen upon arriving overland. Unfortunately in 1972, the Clock Tower began to crack and disintegrate so repairs were necessary. Defective material must be removed and the structure to be completely encased in a new ‘skin’, so the Clock was refurbished (said to have been Seiko who did the work) and is back to its former glory.

Coordinates: 25° 15′ 31″ N, 55° 19′ 35″ E


***photo by Rica Uy (Dubai Clock Tower, Diera, Dubai)

References: http://www.dubaiasitusedtobe.com, http://www.wikipedia.com

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