show me your music and i'll show you who you are(...and possibly what you eat)*

photo inspired by man that cooks composition--thanks!

*real title: music in my kitchen**, but i don't listen to music in the kitchen; regards to steven "sunny ann" schayer who used to demand this on a regular basis

What is the total amount of music files on your computer?

i have a dozen on iTunes--but they're about 105mb each--downloaded from my favourite mp3 blog, pop 77.

The CD you last bought?

the fiery furnaces ep on iTunes.

What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?

"northern sky" by nick drake--i never felt magic crazy as this/i never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea/i never held emotion in the palm of my hand/or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree.... damn, skippy. that nick drake was the business. and now i'm watching "american idol". the pain. oh, the exquisitely painful pain.

Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.

[i suspect, that like pieman, my music stories are not fit for public consumption, so this is the food reference edition....because i know most of you haven't heard any of these, you can download them here, unless otherwise indicated (files are clean of viruses)]

“appetite” by prefab sprout. one of my favourite songs, on one of my favourite albums, “steve mcqueen”, named after one of my favourite actors. quite possibly the song that spawned the blog, as it's about all sorts of hunger and appetites. the music swirls around paddy mcaloon singing unabashedly of loving and longing, yearning yet learning--the stuff that teenaged girls (and women who call themselves girls) swoon over. paddy is positively femme-y as he sings his slightly obtuse but true lyrics; outside of this song, i would say he was a pussy, but here and on this album he is me, in odd moments, in odd years. it reminds me of buying pastel cassettes in tokyo on a rainy day, picking raspberries off canes in the summer heat of upstate new york, of driving on pacific coast highway to malibu on a foggy day.

"falling and laughing" by orange juice. how can i possibly describe how i feel when i hear the opening riff of this song...? it’s like looking towards a darkened doorway, and seeing the silhouette of someone who moves like a sexy beast; as he or she moves to the light, you are faced with the most beautiful person you have ever seen, but then you belatedly realize this person is your best friend that you’ve known your entire life and he or she is smiling at you. and is suddenly scottish.
for whatever reason, my love of this band has led me to some of my greatest adventures, has brought me some of my greatest opportunities and friendships in the most improbable of ways. without it, i don’t think i would have ever known how ginormous the urinals are in the men’s room at the olympia theatre in dublin, that peter gabriel is kind to spiders, or how to pronounce the word “gyro” properly. it doesn't really remind me of food, but of great nights out with faraway friends in faraway places.

"the kitchen” by downy mildew (realplayer audio available here--mouseover click on "the kitchen"). downy mildew is a plant disease and was a band in los angeles. they were the first band signed to the label spawned from the little indie record shop where i worked. la at the time was an amazing place to be; some of the best and most innovative music was coming from local bands and so many great ones from elsewhere were coming to town on a regular basis. i also worked at the university radio station and at a record label, so music was constant. all my friends were musicians or deejays, so they were the soundtrack to my life. downy mildew was, to me, the epitome of the west coast sound: shoegazey but beautiful to behold, breezy yet bold, sweetly sad and sometimes bitterly bright. and i am a sucker for a girl with a cello. and songs about kitchens.

"choco latte" by parokya ni edgar. i find it a bit annoying that the older i get, the less filipino--tagalog and kapampangan--i remember, especially since i'm trying to make more of a connection to my culture. cultures. actually, the culture of the one-and-a-halfth generation--somewhere between east and west, now and then, first and third. those that are in it know the conundrum. i'm hoping that listening to more OPM (original pinoy music) will help me connect. in some ways it doesn't because, as i said, the language is escaping me, including the strange colloquialisms that are more there than here, while i'm more here than there. however, the funny thing about music in the philippines is that they've got the same penchant for britpop that i've got, esp. stuff from the eighties, and you can hear it in a lot of the bands coming out today. anyway, it's comforting to know i'm not the only one.
"choco latte", as far as i can discern, is about this guy's girlfriend who claims to not like melted chocolate ("it's like poo") but he discovers a car trunk full of chocolate from another guy, and then he gets to make some neat little similes and metaphors like how trust is harder to reshape than a box of melted chocolates. i'm sure there's someone who can correct me if i'm wrong :-) it is, however, a bouncy boppable little tune that i bouncily bop around to in my car. which does not have any chocolates innit, melted or otherwise.

"island style" by john cruz. "island style" was written by cruz when he was living in new york and feeling homesick for hawaii. i can imagine him alone in an apartment, during a cold winter's night in a noisy city, remembering the gentle breezes and easy way of islands.
this song, to me, is hawaii. when the plane begins its descent into the honolulu airport, it sweeps over the leeward side of the island, and when the plane taxis, you can see honolulu and diamond head in the distance. this song always pops into my head: "from the mountain to the ocean from the windward to the leeward side". i spent many a day in my aunt and uncle's house near honolulu; i learned to drive in the parking lot of pearlridge shopping center, went to my first gig at the wave (icicle works!), spent weekends on the north shore watching surfers and eating shave ice from matsumoto's.
too recently, my uncle was diagnosed with cancer. towards the end, he began visiting all his friends and family around the west coast, guam and the philippines to say his goodbyes. when he was here, he would sit on my lanai, looking out into the "winter" ocean--darker, grayer, more turbulent than usual--for hours on end. i would sit with him, not speaking, and think of the things he would never get to do for the first time, like go to alaska, see the children his daughter would have, or have that dog he always wanted. i think, perhaps, what he was going through was a kind of homesickness i hope to never experience--thinking not of the things he would never get to do, but of the things he would never get to do again: tinker with things around the house, embrace his wife and children, sit on his lanai in his little wooden house in pearl city, underneath the mango tree, feeding the birds in the morning, and 'talk story', while eating poke and drinking whisky with his buddies late into the night. when i think of him now, that's how i choose to remember him, with this song on the radio in the background, while my auntie prepares the evening meal. and just maybe that dog by his side.
there are three food references in the song, and even though these are staples in hawaii, they embody the three different things i hope my food blog portrays: beef stew, a universal food everyone knows; lomi salmon, something you might know if you have visited the island; and poi "real sour", which is something only a local would really know about. i started the blog so that i could give a taste of comfort to the homesick islanders, a smile of reminiscence to those who have visited, and maybe even offer something that can be related to by everyone.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

reid because about 9 months ago i was reading his blog and i thought, huh, if there can be a honolulu food blog, heck, there can be a guam food blog....and because he likes the cocteau twins.

special combo because she is a guamish girl, and we don't get to talk that much anymore, so we communicate through the web now. we have similar tastes in music, but i know she'll have completely different answers. and i once spent a very entertaining evening watching her write and rant at some poor girl on the web about...the cocteau twins.

chika because i don't really know anything about her, and i don't even know if she listens to music. and i hope this worries her that i picked her. haaaaaaaaaaaaaa ;-)

**pieman honoured me by picking me to answer these questions, because he thought i'd tell him what's groovy on guam. which i didn't. but there was a 6.1 6.4 earthquake today, and it was raining rain and ash from a nearby volcano all day, so as you can see, we don't do groovy here, just scary :-D


Oy an earthquake!?

The gods of good songs and music writing will surely protect you.

i caught the tail end of the quake--i was in my car listening to the killers' hot fuss REAEAAAALLLY LOUD--but i felt the bang, but i thought it was thunder. there was a woman in the parking lot screaming, but no one in the lot was paying attention to her, so she actually ran into the building to see if anyone would scream with her. i'm a little more scared of the volcano actually. if it was to really be a threat, how do you evacuate an island in the middle of nowhere?

oof, i forgot to proofread this post, and also acknowledge i stole the idea for the top photo from you, so must rectify.

actually, i rather enjoyed that so much i'm thinking of chucking the foodblog or putting it on the back burner and just have an mp3 blog.

Ooh scary. Woo Hoo. Watch out for falling rocks - seriously, they're not fun.

Orange Juice AND Nick Drake, what a splendid combination. 'You can't hide your love forever' is probably my fave Orange Juice LP. Although I really think Ostrich Churchyard totally nails the juice like none of their other lifetime releases. Having spent a whallop of time in Glasgow, plus I still work for the big newspaper there, I concur - quality choice from the Guam Girl.

Northern Sky. I agree it's a pleasant ditty, just not one of the boys' best. 'Time of no reply' would *probably* garner that accolade IMHO.

You have scant little of the vibes in your iBook Missus. Nice shot by the way. The littlest iBook is the perfect chick computer. Noodlegirl got the size up. Very Tasty. I prefer the extra revs my Powerbook gives me, shame about the bank balance though.

Thanks for sharing.


I'm just inspired that you were inspired.

Would miss the food blog but would like the MP3 blog. Hmmmm

auuuughhh! rocks, water, ash, oi.

i love orange juice, but i have to confess my favourites at the time were the commotions and aztec camera. or more specifically, malcolm ross, swoony bastaird. then later the mclusky bros and the reid bros. i have to revisit "ostrich churchyard", tho....hm....do i even have that on cd?

i agree "northern sky" 'tain't up to par, but i love it, and i was listening to the whole cd at the time. i can't name my favourite song, but i think five leaves left just edges out as my favourite lp. album. cd. whatever the kids are calling them these days.

i like my little 'book, but i seriously need to upgrade the hd. i had to clear out the iBook of extraneous matter--i only have a single gb or two left, so everything got cleared out to a 60gb external drive. originally there was 21.2gb of music in the 'book, so now it's all in the ext. plus two completely full iPods.

Hi Santos,

That was really, really nice writing about your uncle- thanks for sharing.


whoa, I am worried :D

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Oh pickles... there's really a top 20, but these constitute right here and now.

Tortoise (TNT)In Sarah, Mencken, Christ And Beethoven There Were Women And Men// Now that's got to be the longest song title in history. Basically I love the entire album, but I tuck this one in my back pocket (I Set My Face to the Hillside is another TNT fave). In 2002, I worked for Minidisco.com and made the daily BART commute from the city to Berkeley. I clocked in a lot of commute time and devoted my ears to whatever I could get my hands on. TNT got a lot of airplay at the office, thanks to all the boy musicians that made up customer service. This tune is the industrial Oakland landscape whizzing by, large-scale grafitti burns, my flower-strewn walk to work, waiting on benches, and the optimism of coming out of year long funk.

Tommy Guerrero (Loose Grooves & Bastard Blues)Introspection Section// Last February, I was pulling a major all nighter at STRANGEco, printing out handmade catalogs for the NY Toy Fair we were set to attend in a few days. Jim was already in New York, and Greg & I were working the printer to its proverbial "bone", to make deadline. I eventually slept under the desk and woke up periodically to press the start button when the run completed. I finally got a 2nd wind at 6am when an orange sunrise crept through the windows onto my face. SomaFM's Beat Blender was streaming this tune at this perfect, exhaustive moment. I've been in love with Tommy Guerrero ever since.

Stevie Wonder (Innervisions) Golden Lady// Stevie Wonder's music sets the backdrop to most of my formative years - it's a vision of green-hued photographs, playing red rover, the taste of sea salt after the beach and family gatherings. I spent a fantastic early childhood growing up on Oahu when my dad was stationed in Hawaii. Every weekend we'd pack up and camp at Bellows Beach with my relatives. Camping at the beach was great, but the drive was even better. I remember riding on the back of my uncle's truck, peering over the edge of a cliffside road and entering a long black tunnel, which was my personal landmark for the start of the weekend. Fast forward to my grown up life on Guam, I'm sitting in Trades, having ritual drinks with co-workers after another night of hard work -- Dave Santos is on guitar singing this tune in his spare, quiet manner. My mind trips back to the Hawaiian sun at my back, the beach, and the taste of imperfect smores.

Bill Evans (Sunday At The Village Vanguard)Jade Visions (Take 2)// This entire album chronicles my adventure of the build up of trivial love, a vulnerable spirit and the inevitable heartbreak to follow. I am recovered and strong willed now, and rediscovered my spunky side that stays up late traversing busy city streets. This tune's optimism is a Saturday night art crawl, lively conversation at the corner cafe, a delicious 1am beef pho across town, or a night spent in cuddling my much-loved guinea pigs.

Stereolab (Dots and Loops)Brakhage// My best memories on Guam were spent with friends: driving around the island, discovering hidden waterfalls, swimming in them, dancing till my legs gave out and sharing countless meals together. Cooking, eating, cooking, eating. Our whole experiences and culture are inside a lumpia roll and over a pot of rice. We cooked many delicous meals and laughed constantly. Brakhage is the sound of the kitchen, the heavy island heat, the smell of car air conditioning, full moon island jaunts and the tactile feeling of friends.

Oooh .... Prefab Sprouts .... one of my favs from days gone by ... them and Everything But The Girl.

Hi Santos,

Thanks a lot. I liked that Prefab Sprout song. I have the LP on import. I believe that the US version was called "Two Wheels Good" something about a legal issue with the estate of Steve McQueen. This song brings back tons of memories and the lyrics were quite catchy.

I don't think I heard that Orange Juice song before, but I do have the LP "Rip It Up". I believe that Edwyn Collins did some solo work, but I'm not quite sure as I've never heard any of it.

This was quite fun thing to do, but depressing because I really couldn't pick just 5 of my favorites.

BTW...I purposely didn't pick any Cocteau Twins songs, but if I had to, I might have picked "Aikea-Guinea", "The Spanglemaker", or "Lorelei". I might have also been convinced to pick something by This Mortal Coil like "The Jeweler", "Drugs" or "16 Days/Gathering Dust".

hey moira--he was a good guy :-)

chika--haaaa :-D i'm nosy. and curious. and wondering who you will pick to do this next.

miss combo--thanks! and post the rest on your blog, missy!

hey fatman--i LOVE ebtg, still, but i couldn't think of a song by them that was related to food. except possibly 'apron strings' but that's not really about food, and i really don't like that song.

hey reid--edwyn did that song "girl like you" that was pretty popular like, eieerrgh, 10 years ago already. i think the last album he did was dr. syntax in 2002, but i don't know what he's been up to since then.

i knew there was no way i could pick 5 songs, so i deliberately set a topic. i can't say parokya ni edgar nor john cruz are anywhere near my favourite acts, but i wanted to add them in the context of this blog.

to everyone who may possibly be asked to do this next: THIS ISN'T A CHAIN LETTER! i've never seen a chain letter that asks you to reveal something of yourself, nor allow for a little fun. and there's nothing here that suggests that you'd be 'cursed' if you didn't participate. think of it as a digital slam book. and yes, think of yourself as a teenaged girl if it helps. pervs.

Santos, mahalo nui loa for sharing about your uncle. It made me almost homesick, even though I'm surrounded by most of the very things you mentioned. Great post.

Hi Santos,

OMG! I didn't mean to imply...the chain letter thing. I thought that it was a funny way to explain it. No offense please?

aloha alan! i just found your blog, ma'ona yesterday--it's fantastic.
i think i know what you mean about being homesick even when you're home--it's more than just your surrounding, i think, it's being able to have the time to appreciate it for what it is. guam is a lot like hawaii, but because i don't have to work when i go there, i have a much more romantic notion of it. however, if i had to deal with that hamajang h-1 freeway everyday, i'd probably not :-)

(laughing) reid, it takes a lot more than that to offend me. i just HATE chain letters so much, and am annoyed at the people who send them, that calling this a chain letter is an insult to it :-D NOT A CHAIN LETTER!!!

Hi Santos,

Whew! Thanks for letting me off the hook for just this once! =P

BTW...I read about the 6.3 earthquake in today's paper. I hope everyone was OK there. Seems like there's a lot going on in your part of the world right now.

hey reid

thanks for the concern, we're all waiting for the aftershocks. the seas have been really, really rough, though, so i think there's a lot more seismic activity going on out there....scary! but having survived an 8.1 earthquake unscathed, i think i'm more concerned about the volcano right now. the haze is getting worse, and the ashes mixed with the light rain create a horribly slick surface--like driving on slippery coral.

Now I really miss Uncle Pitts. I don't have musical memories of him though but lots and lots with food, especially balut.

I hope the volcano eases up soon!

hi karen!

i heard about tito and bishop cenzon looking for balut. i heard they sent someone out in the middle of the night to buy like, a whole dozen in the next town, is that true? i believe it. i remember too, when tito wasn't sick, he used to go to this little shack of a restaurant attached to the garage of the condo in makati, a branch of tapa king. he'd eat at least one meal a day there. i forget what his favourite meal was but it had some incredibly embarrassing name for such a macho guy, like the tocino princess special or something like that :-)

OH! So that story reached you? I was the one tasked with the balut search. It was New Year's eve, around 9pm and was on my way home from the city (heavily laden with foodstuff for them of course) when the wonderful bishop rang my mobile to say I had to find them balut otherwise they won't let me into the house. IT WAS NEW YEAR'S EVE! Who would be selling balut? The people on the service van riding with me were saying it would be extremely difficult to find balut at that time.

But the obedient niece that I am (hehehe, I didn't want to be homeless) got off the marketplace and walked the way to the house to scour the streets for a balut seller. The vendors were telling me there was bibingka, this and that but no balut. When I got to the house, they weren't satisfied with my explanation. One of them, Uncle most probably, went out to find their priceless balut. Of course there was none! Hahahaha!

Tapa Princess, I think. He would even bring us some when our uncle his namesake was in the hospital. You think their appetites would be dampened by all the chemo? Not a chance! Sorry for the long comment. I should have written this on my own blog. :-)