Archive for September, 2009

While doing my digital music folder clean-up yesterday I discovered the following:

1. OPMs are filed under a folder aptly named “O P M” and take up barely a tenth of my entire music files.

No, I don’t have OPM aversion. Filipinos are talented singers and songwriters. Like any other nationality we produce both earth-shaking compositions and crappy ditties, but our vocal prowess is unquestionable. Yes, there are artists who get airplay not because of their musical talents but due to some other unrelated uh, “abilities”. Why does Gretchen Barretto come to mind?

Back to my sparse OPM collection. The Accomplice decries my absence of Sarah Geronimo tracks. How can I have Yoyoy Villame’s Tarzan and Barok and none from the talented young lady (I was made to watch Inday Sarah on ASAP one Sunday to prove her point)? I don’t watch local channels on television (except occasionally for the news) so I am admittedly ignorant to new acts. The Accomlice checks my OPM files and discovers that I do have Freddie Aguilar, Rey Valera, Hotdog s, even Sharon Cuneta. Tigulang, she sneers!

I will visit a record store soon.

2. There is so much undiscovered or little-known talents.

The airwaves are already so saturated that sometimes popularity or packaging or intriga take precedence over talent.

During a visit in a local record store, Musicvision, around four years ago, not looking for anything or anyone in particular, I scanned the discount shelf and found Vienna Teng’s Waking Hour. She had been featured in a magazine article then but I knew next to nothing about her or her music. I looked at her face on the cover, noted she was Asian or of Asian descent, scanned the track listing to see if there were songs in a foreign language other than English, and feeling adventurous I bought the CD. I popped it in a player on my way home. And. I. Was. Blown. Away!

I have since bought her second album, Warm Strangers, when I found it in the same store about a year later. She has since released two more albums, Dreaming Through the Noise in 2006 and Inland Territory just last April, and has become more popular and given more much-deserved exposure.

She has a channel in YouTube , with clips of her live performances. Others have contributed their own recordings of her performances. Search for Gravity, The Tower, Eric’s Song, Daughter, and Lullabye for a Stormy Night. She also has a music video of Gravity (below, no pun intended). Finally! Her website also offers lyrics and free downloads of some songs. Pure talent. Pure poetry.

Many artists perform for years before receiving due recognition for their talents. Overnight sensations are the exceptions rather than the rule. Yet the music never stops; the music becomes an essential part of their life, like breathing.

There is so much undiscovered or little-known talents. Still so much to listen to. Still so much to share.

Another reason to visit a record store soon.

3. While most like to upgrade to the latest software, my Windows Media Player is still version 10.0. The latest is version 12. I’m still on XP so that shouldn’t be a surprise.

4. Today is a holiday (HAPPY EID’L FITR TO ALL!) and may well be a good time to visit a record store.

Drive carefully, everyone.


A long lazy weekend. In many ways it is a good thing, a welcome respite from long drives and heavy traffic. On the down side…well, there is none for me, except that unlike most people I am not going anywhere. Staying home will reduce my carbon footprint and keep my finances in check. To those on out-of-town trips, on extended malling schedules, or resto/bar hopping, drive carefully and hold the booze.

So this stay-home weekend is devoted to some much-needed, much-delayed digital files organization. I have gone through my music files, now close to 15 G, and have painstakingly checked metadata, hunted for and resized album covers. Fortunately, I sing only to myself and a few chosen people so I have spared myself the pain of searching for and verifying the correctness of lyrics. I would lose without effort in The Singing Bee.

My ebook collection, on the other hand, is 10 G problem. Books have multiple formats, may come in several editions, and may be written by multiple authors. My technical ebooks, those relevant to my field, usually come in pdf or chm. I know, both are proprietary formats, but I have yet to come across one in epub format so I’m cutting myself some slack. Novels come in more varied formats: txt, html, pdf, epub, lit, lrf, doc, prc, fb2, cbz, cbr, odt, rb, pdb, rgo, pml, etc, etc. More than enough to create chaos and interrupt in your reading pleasure. I use calibre, a free, open-source, cross-platform ebook organizer/converter/reader to help ease the confusion.

So where is the problem?

It is much simpler to maintain music. One can choose music in ogg or mp3 and most media players like VLC are capable of playing these formats without problems. Converters, as in ebooks, abound. For ebooks though, converting from one type to another may mean loss of format, even loss of data.

A song can be over in 5 minutes or less, an album in less than an hour. A book? Depending on the length, your time, or your degree of interest, from a few minutes to infinity!

Since I want to do the reading myself, multitasking while on a book is a challenge. When I drive I listen to music. When I drive I dare not read a book.

For me choosing music is a simple but enjoyable experience. Music is the universal language. My interests covers a wide genre: I dig Verdi and Lady Gaga, I listen to Nina Simone and Gretchen Barretto. Well, okay, maybe not Gretchen Barretto. I exaggerate a little. I can go online to sample snippets of songs, or better yet find media streams and listen to entire songs before I decide alloting hard disk space. Then there’s still radio.

With books you have to dig deep and immerse yourself in the words, the chapters, the plot. You may instantly like or dislike a story after a few pages, see if the middle part is redemption or sabotage, then spend an infinite time reading 999 pages only to finally decide that you hate the entire 5 MB file in the end. There may be free first chapters or random pages but nothing beats the music stream. There may be reviews on how awesome or awful a story is but don’t you wish you could decide for yourself? So there lies the problem: so many books, so little time.


Since I’m ranting about books and music, there are numerous sources to these in the web, both legal and not-so-legal.

For music check out independent acts or this article. Amazon and offer some songs and albums for free. Both are great for discovering artists whose names have yet to cross the Pacific or Atlantic.

Opportunities for free reading are also aplenty. Project Gutenberg covers classics or out of copyright books. For contemporary literature (as well as classics) in all formats known to man these occupy an area of by bookmark toolbar: Feedbooks and ManyBooks. Indie writers also provide free downloads of some (sometimes all) of their works in Smashwords and Or subscribe to this blog or this one dedicated to finding free reads.

See, so much to listen to and read.

Wait till we factor in the not-so-legal sources.