The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Taste of Byzantine Architecture in Manitoba

Adventures in August

August 28, Sunday

I got up early. After breakfast, I gave Grandfather a bath and showered myself as well. I also helped Tito Ren and Tita Lucy prepare the stuff we would be bringing. Around 11 a.m., we were all ready to go.

We attended the Sunday mass, and participate in the rosary procession, held at the Grotto in Honour of Our Lady of Lourdes, which stands beside the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Cook's Creek Village in the Springfield rural municipality of Manitoba, Canada. Springfield is significant for being the first rural municipality to be established in Manitoba. It is only about thirty minutes away from Winnipeg where I live.

A view of the church from the parking lot; I took this picture while I was still inside the vehicle.

Also known as "The Cathedral of the Prairies," the church was built around 1930 with the design of the French missionary and architect Father Philip Ruh, who based his designs on traditional Byzantine architecture. This type of architecture originated from the empire of Byzantium (AD 330), which consequently became Constantinople and is now Istanbul, the largest city of Turkey.

The elderly gentleman beside me is Polish. We had a short chitchat. He said that he with his family attends mass regularly at this church. He also expressed his awe for the fact that he shares a similar religion with the majority of the Filipino people. (Most of those who participated in the event were Filipinos.) The Polish guy also commended me for taking care of my grandfather. He was also surprised to learn that Papa is already 90 yet still able to take pictures. A neighbor of Ukraine and Russia, Poland is a country located in Central Europe.

Because of its multi domes and the colors of its façade, the Ukrainian church reminded me of St. Basil's Cathedral of Moscow, Russia; and this comparison is inevitable because, after all, there's a connection between Ukraine and Russia: Both of these Eastern European countries were parts of Soviet Union, or The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), until its dissolution in 1991.

St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, Russia, is one world wonder I wish to visit someday. (Photo credit)

The computer-generated image above is a Tatooine scene in George Lucas's Star Wars. Tatooine is the twin-sunned desert planet which was the homeland of Anakin Skywalker as well as his son, Luke. In the filming of the movie, standing in for Tatooine was an area in Cappadocia, Turkey. Perhaps, this is also the reason the architecture of the Tatooine structures above is somewhat Byzantine. Remember, Byzantium is the original name of Istanbul, Turkey's largest city. (Photo credit)

The majority of the people who attended the August 28 mass at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Cook's Creek were Filipinos.

In about thirty minutes, the rosary procession would commence.

Standing by an altar beside the grotto.

While waiting for the rosary procession, we had lunch at the rightside lot of the grotto. With us were a few relatives and a number of new acquaintances whom we met at St. Joseph's Church where we attend Saturday mass.

We had a pot luck, with every family bringing their own share of dish. Every one had a sumptuous lunch: laing, kare-kare, adobo, palabok, puto, spaghetti, turon, pancit, milon...

Tita Lucy, Tita May, Tito Jun, Grandfather, and Tito Ren

(Seated) New acquaintance Rowena with Lhoy, Weng, Tito Donard, and Tita Cora

The ladies...

...and the gentlemen minus Grandfather, Herminio, Ysmael, and I

Feeling like a revered statue by the bell tower

Feeling like Bernardo Carpio

In Philippine Literature, Bernardo Carpio is the extraordinarily strong person who was tricked by an equally powerful yet wittier wood fairy. The fairy had convinced Bernardo to enter his abode; but in doing so, he got trapped between the two smashing stones guarding the fairy's gate. Immensely strong but his strength just enough to prevent himself from being smashed by the stones, Bernardo was left standing where he was for the rest of his life. To this day, many elderly of San Mateo, Rizal, where the myth originated, still believe this tale to have really occurred in real life.

The store a stone's throw away from the church where I bought extra batteries for my digital cameraLhoy and Weng, two of my few best friends here in Winnipeg, without whom I would have been unable to capture myself in daring, usually crazy, poses.

Hermie (with one of his children), another good friend of mine here where I am

Feeling like the Oblation

The Oblation is the bronze statue of a naked person that has become the symbol of University of the Philppines, the premier state university of my country.

The Patron of the Philippine New Wave music scene

The eLven king of million magically majestic and mysterious things

Only when I glanced behind my back did I realize I'm a bit acrophobic.

An impromptu shot, the symmetry of the steel bars suddenly fascinated me.

This pathway atop the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes reminded me of the Great Wall of China, except, of course, that this one dwarfs in comparison with that built by ancient Chinese.

The Chinese have a saying, bú dào Chángchéng fēi hao hàn, which roughly means "You're not a real man if you haven't climbed the Great Wall." I'm glad I'm an eLf, therefore exempted from this somewhat machoistic supposition.

The Great Wall of China (Photo credit)

There is an urban myth which claims that the Great Wall of China is visible from the moon. I'm one of those who believe that this is a hoax. Just take a gander at the moon, even at its brightest and largest, at night: Can you even see any rock formation? All you need to do is reverse the situation. Assume that you're on the moon, do you honestly believe that you would be able to see any detailed structure on Earth?

Grandfather, Tito Ren, and Tita Lucy, all ready to go home

Of course, eLf's adventures would be incomplete without something like this.

~~The End, but...~~

to follow: "A Taste of Eastern European Rock music"

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Twenty-sixth of a Dozen Verses


[Photo taken on Saturday, August 13, 2005, at the house of my Uncle Ren's friends Noah and Mimi Duot & family. With me in the picture is the daughter of the couple, Mimosa, the little girl I recently wrote about when she fell from a bicycle, causing her liver to rupture. Luckily, a few days at a hospital, Health Sciences Centre, and she had recuperated quickly. Mimosa is now back to her usual lively self.]

(August 2005 poems)

Another series of short poems of three eight-syllable lines (8-8-8) with the rhyme pattern a, b, a:

Ginalit n’yo ko nang lubos;
Niyurakan, pagkatao.
Di pa tapos pagtutuos!

Kahit nasaan ka pa man,
Kasama mo ako, sinta.
’ding-hindi kita iiwan.

Kahit hindi ka marunong
Kumanta at magsayaw,
Sa kama, tayo’y gugulong.

Boses mo sa telepono,
Pati paghinga’t pagbulóng,
Melodya sa aking puso.

Sana ang aking gitara
Ay makapiling muli, nang
Bagong kanta’y makalikha.

Sa lahat ng instrumento,
Pinakagusto ko’y b'yulin—
Napakalambing ng tono.

Mangyari ngang pakisabi:
Sa mundong ginagalawan,
Ano ba ang aking silbi?

Wala na namang magawa
Kundi tumitig sa dingding.
Utak ko’y magang-maga na.

Kahit ano pa’ng sabihin,
Wala nang makapipigil
Sa ating mga mithiin.

Ampait ng kapalaran,
Parang pumutok na apdo.
Palimos ng kalayaan.

Buhay ko’y parang bituka,

Mahaba’t masalimuot;
Ngunit tulóy sa pagpigà.

Hangin ka ng aking bagà;
Dugo at tibok ng pusò;
Kalám ng aking sikmurà.

The First
The Second
The Third
The Fourth
The Fifth
The Sixth
The Seventh
The Eighth
The Ninth
The Tenth
The Eleventh
The Dozenth
The Thirteenth
The Fourteenth
The Fifteenth
The Sixteenth
The Seventeenth
The Eighteenth
The Nineteenth
The Twentieth
The Twenty-first
The Twenty-second
The Twenty-third
The Twenty-fourth
The Twenty-fifth

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Canadian Alternative Rock Music

(Back to the Middle of Where I Am)
On nights my literary hand is too tired to write, I just stay in the bedroom and flicker with the TV remote control. I usually watch out for quiz shows like Jeopardy and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?; or if I'm really too bored even to pretend I am a contestant, I simply switch on to the music channels.
Several weeks ago, while watching MuchMoreMusic, I saw for the first time a video of the relatively new band Hot Hot Heat. My earflaps suddenly erected! Only a few notes into the song and I already fell in love with it.

The song was "Middle of Nowhere," which has now replaced New Order’s “Krafty” as my blog site’s soundtrack.
The current members of Hot Hot Heat are Steve Bays (vocals/keyboards), Paul Hawley (drums), Dustin Hawthorne (bass), and Luke Paquin (guitars).
Hot Hot Heat is an Alternative Rock band originating from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. (Yes, the Canadian province where I lived before transferring to Manitoba.) The band's music is obviously influenced by the New Wave sound of the '80s, reminding me of such bands as XTC, Dexy's Midnight Runners, and The Clash. The introductory part of "Middle of Nowhere," in particular, has a ringing resemblance with that of XTC's "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead."

"Middle of Nowhere"

by Hot Hot Heat
(Elevator, 2005)

Don't get mad if I'm laughing
Blame the caffeine for all the 5 a.m. phone calls
I haven't slept a single night in over a month
And not even once did you start to make sense to me
Well, maybe I'm a little bit slow, or just consistently inconsistent
She said, "Unpredictability's my responsibility, baby."

But you're waiting at the door where everybody's hanging out
Just like they hung out before
You didn't have to do it but you did it to say
That you didn't have to do it but you would anyway

To give you something to go on
When I go off back to the middle of nowhere
To give you something to go on
When I go off back to the middle of nowhere

They chewed me up and then they spit me out
And I'm not supposed to let it bother me
But maybe I'm a little bit weak—I let my frailty take the wheel
She said, "Maybe there's a bit of me waiting for a bit of you, baby."

But you're waiting at the door where everybody's hanging out
Just like they hung out before
You didn't have to do it but you did it to say
That you didn't have to do it but you would anyway

To give you something to go on
When I go off back to the middle of nowhere
To give you something to go on
When I go off back to the middle of nowhere

But you're waiting at the door where everybody's hanging out
Just like they hung out before
You didn't have to do it but you did it to say
That you didn't have to do it but you would anyway

To give you something to go on
When I go off back to the middle of nowhere
To give you something to go on
When I go off back to the middle of nowhere
To give you something to go on—to go on back to the middle of nowhere


Other Canadian Alternative-Rock Acts

Canada continues to produce noteworthy bands. Here are essential Canadian Alternative Rock artists—old and new—that I like:

The Arcade Fire (formed in 2003 in Montreal, Quebec)
("Rebellion [Lies]," "Tunnels," "Laika")
* The follow-up to their debut album, Funeral (2004), is set for release before 2005 ends.
Barenaked Ladies (formed in 1988 in Scarborough, Ontario)
("Jane," "Alternative Girlfriend," "Everything Old Is New Again")
* The band's latest studio album is Barenaked for the Holidays (2004).
Beneath Augusta (formed in 2003 in Toronto, Ontario)
("Carry On," "Security Wires," "Get Yours")
* The band's debut album is You Gotta Come Down Sometime (2004).
Broken Social Scene (formed in 1999 in Toronto, Ontario)
("Cause = Time," "Stars and Sons," "Shampoo Suicide")
* The band's follow-up to their second album, You Forgot It on People (2002), is due for release late this year.
Cookie Duster (formed in the late 90s in Toronto, Ontario; one of the earlier bands of Broken Social Scene's bassist/songwriter, Brendan Canning)
( "Never Knew," "Paloma")
* The band's eponymous debut album was released in 2001.
Listening to this band reminds me of The Cardigans.
Crash Test Dummies (formed in 1989 Winnipeg, Manitoba)
("Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm," "Afternoons and Coffeespoons")
* The band's latest studio album is Songs of the Unforgiven (2004).
The Dears (formed in 1995 in Montreal, Quebec)
("Corduroy Boy," "The Death of All the Romance," "This Is a Broadcast")
* The band's latest, second full-length album is No Cities Left (2003).
Geoff Berner (hails from Vancouver, British Columbia)
("Clown and Bard," "Maginot Line," "We All Gotta Be a Prostitute Sometimes," "Lucky Goddamn Jew")
* Berner's latest, second full-length album is Whiskey Rabbi (2005).
Glass Tiger (formed in 1980 in Newmarket, Ontario)
("Don't Forget Me [When I'm Gone]," "Someday")
* Currently active again, the band recently released a new album, No Turning Back (2005). However, I am yet to listen to their new songs.
The Hidden Cameras (formed in the early 2000s in Montreal, Quebec)
("Ban Marriage," "Doot Doot Ploot")
* The band's latest album is The arms of his 'ill' (2004).
Kon Kan (formed in the late 1980s in Toronto, Ontario)
("I Beg Your Pardon," "Harry Houdini")
* The band's final, third album is Vida! (1993).
The Lovely Feathers (formed in 2004 in Montreal, Quebec)
("Photocorners," "Fudgicle")
* The band's debut album is My Best Friend Daniel (2004)
Listening to this band reminds me of the cute peskiness of Dead Milkmen and the crunchy antics of Violent Femmes – two Snot Rock acts my erstwhile band Half Life Half Death used to cover in our gigs in the early '90s.

Memory Bank (formed in the early 2000s in Toronto, Ontario)
("All the Things," "Bleed like a New Hero," "The Four of Us Dying," "Two Lanes")
* The band is currently finishing its follow-up to their second album, Litany and Lethargy (2004).
Men Without Hats (formed in the late 1970s in Montreal, Quebec)
("Pop Goes the World," "I Got the Message," "Safety Dance")
* The band reformed in 2003 and released a new album, No Hats beyond This Point.
Metric (originally formed in 1998 in New York, USA, but is based now in Toronto, Ontario)
("Combat Baby," "Dead Disco," "Parkdale")
* The band's last, second album is Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? (2003).
The chorus of "Combat Baby" reminds me of The B-52's "Love Shack"; while the intro of "Dead Disco" sounds uncannily like that of The Cure's "A Forest."
My cousin Oliver and I will watch Metric's gig here in Winnipeg on this coming October 23, Sunday, at the Ramada Marlborough Entertainment Centre. Opening for Metric are The Most Serene Republic and The Lovely Feathers.
The Most Serene Republic (formed recently in Milton, Ontario)
("Where Cedar Nouns and Adverb Walks," "Content Always Was My Favourite Colour")
* The band's debut album is Underwater Cinematographer (2005); planning to record the follow-up before the year ends.
I'm lucky to have been invited by my cousin Oliver to watch this band on August 15, 2005, at West End Cultural Centre here in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The band performed, along with Shawn Hewitt & the National Strike, in support of the American, Seattle (Washington)-based, band Pretty Girls Make Graves.
The New Pornographers (formed in 1997 in Vancouver, British Columbia)
("Letter from an Occupant," "Stacked Crooked," "The Bleeding Heart Show," "The Laws Have Changed")
* The band recently released its third album, Twin Cinema (2005).
Pilate (formed in 1999 in Toronto, Ontario)
("Into Your Hideout," "Melt into the Walls")
* The band's debut album is Caught by the Window (2003).
The Pursuit of Happiness (formed in 1985 in Toronto, Ontario)
("She's So Young," "Walking in the Woods," "I'm an Adult Now")
* The band's last studio album is The Wonderful World of The Pursuit of Happiness (1996).
TPOH is one of my most favorite band from the '80s even if only for "She's So Young," a song my band heavily covered during our heydays. This song also reminds me of my best-friend/bandmate Rain, who would sing it so passionately every time we'd play it; the song is one of his favorite songs as well, and TPOH among his favorite bands.
Rational Youth (formed in 1981 in Montreal, Quebec)
("Saturdays in Silesia," "Dancing on the Berlin Wall," "Holiday in Bangkok")
* The band, reduced into the duo of Tracy Howe and Jean-Claude Cutz, released in 1999 its comeback (and final) album, To the Goddess Electricity.
The Sam Roberts Band (launched his solo career in early 2000s in Montreal, Quebec)
("Brother Down," "Don't Walk Away, Eileen," "Where Have All the Good People Gone?," "Hard Road")
* Roberts's first full-length album is We Were Born in a Flame (2003).
* .
Simple Plan (formed in 1999 in Montreal, Quebec)
("Shut Up," "Perfect," "How Could This Happen to Me?")
* * The band's latest, third album is Still Not Getting Any... (2004).
Sloan (formed in 1991 in Halifax, Nova Scotia)
("I Am the Cancer," "500 Up," "Worried Now," "Coax Me")
* The band's last proper album is Action Pact (2003). Last May, it released the singles compilation A Sides Win: Singles 1992-2005, which includes two new songs, "All Used Up" and "Try to Make It."
My favorite Sloan album is Smeared (1993).
Stars (originally formed in early 2000s in Toronto, Ontario; based now in Montreal, Quebec)
("Ageless Beauty," "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead")
* The band's latest album is Set Yourself on Fire (2004).
The Stills (formed in 2000 in Montreal, Quebec)
("Lola Stars and Stripes," "Changes Are No Good," "Still in Love Song")
* The band's debut album is Logic Will Break Your Heart (2003).
Stirling (originally formed in 2000 in Edmonton, Alberta; based now in Toronto, Ontario)
("I Came Late to the Party," "Turn Up the Dark")
* The band's first full-length album is Northern Light (2004). They are currently working on the follow-up.
Sum 41 (formed in 1996 in Ajax, Ontario)
("Makes No Difference," "Still Waiting," "Pieces")
* The band's latest album is Chuck (2004)..
The Weakerthans (formed in 1997 in Winnipeg, Manitoba)
("Aside," "A Plea from a Cat named Virtue")
* The band's last, third proper album is Reconstruction Site (2003).
Wolf Parade (formed recently in Montreal, Quebec)
("Dinner Bells," "This Heart's on Fire," "Modern World," "Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts")
* The band is yet to release its first full-length album; all currently released songs come from two EPs, the later of which is Cheap Thrills (2004).