Music is dumb

I just finished reading an essay called “The Music Itself: Glenn Gould’s Contrapuntal Vision,” and one part that stood out to me was writer Edward Said’s assertion that “music is fundamentally dumb.”

The statement reads like a hot take perfect for Twitter, but Said does make a good point: “despite its fertile syntactic and expressive possibilities, music does not encode reference, or ideas, or hypotheses discursively, the way language does.” Interesting, isn’t it?

Said’s explanation reminds me of a similar observation made by another critic A.O. Scott, who posits that “a piece of music makes no obvious argument, tells no literal story, soars above politics and history in an ether where logic and feeling coexist interchangeably.”

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Hindi na ako marunong magkuwento

Sabi sa akin ng isang kaibigan kamakailan lang, “Jolens, hindi ka na marunong magkuwento.”

Nag-usap kasi kami sa video call at napansin niyang ang tipid ko raw magkuwento. Kahit simpleng paglatag sa kung ano ang ginagawa ko sa araw-araw, parang hirap na hirap daw ako. Paikot-ikot, walang sinasabi kahit may sinasabi—basta magulo.

Ang totoo kasi niyan, wala lang talaga akong maikuwento.

E sa wala e. Simula n’ung natapos ang semestre at naubusan ako ng mga gagawin, wala nang nangyayari sa buhay ko. Magigising, magkokompyuter, makikipagtitigan sa kompyuter—gan’un lang. Naghahanap din ako ng trabaho, siyempre, pero matumal talaga ang ekonomiya ngayon.

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It’s just, uh, a little crush, crush

Yesterday I learned that our senior-year project won an award in an eye-triple-E contest. The award is nowhere near prestigious, but the fact that our hack of a project somehow earned us a small recognition is, well, nakakakilig.

And then I thought about the word kilig, how it’s been a while since I last used this word in its proper context. I don’t even remember the last time, to be honest. In the words of philosopher Joey Albert, “I remember the boy / but I don’t remember the feeling anymore.” Charet.

So anyway, I decided to answer these pabebe questions from Tumblr just to inject some kilig in my day. The world is crumbling and my life is slowly disintegrating along with it — I might as well distract myself by doing this, whatever this is.

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Sunday Currently #6

I received all my grades for the Winter Term last week. I also got an email from the regulatory board telling me how to register for my official designation. Shit’s real, man. Barring any major clerical fuck-up, I am all set to become an engineering padawan.

Unfortunately I have no job prospects at all. Non-essential businesses have shut down and a lot of companies have postponed recruitment. I did have a couple job interviews that went nowhere, so I am currently considering going to grad school.

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“Bakit kapag close kayo ng tao, open kayo sa isa’t isa?”

Dapat talaga nag-aaral ako ngayon e. May limang exam ako next week, pero dahil nakakawalang-ganang mag-aral dito sa bahay, ito na muna ang aatupagin ko.

Bale naghanap ako ng mga tanong na walang kwenta — ‘yung mga tanong na parang namimilosopo lang — tapos papatulan ko sila isa-isa.


Alin ba talaga ang nauna, ang itlog o ang manok?

Kung magiging scientific tayo ano, ang tamang sagot ay itlog.

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Teaching Math in Bicol

Over the years I have acquired this rather pretentious past-time of reading scholarly articles about different topics, esoteric or otherwise. I have read academic papers on astronomy, tropical cyclones, Korean pop culture — so basically anything that I find vaguely interesting.

I usually go to Google Scholar to find these articles. Google Scholar works just like regular Google, except when you enter your keywords, the database shows you a list of research studies written by various experts from different fields. It’s not as boring as it sounds, to be honest, especially if you search for topics that you’re genuinely interested in.

The other day, for instance, I was looking for articles about my hometown and I found a study on the variations of Sorsogon dialects in the context of teaching math in grade school. The study was done after the K-12 program mandated the use of the students’ mother tongue for teaching basic subjects between kinder and Grade 3.

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