Spotify Wrapped…

Dear Reader,

Happy New Year 2020! May this year treat you better than the last.

In the past, whenever I was asked whom my favorite artist was I had no hesitation in responding proudly, Michael Jackson. That was always the response I gave ever since I was able to form a musical opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I liked other artists too, however, he was always at the top of the list. The most listened to, sang to and in my own way danced to, artist. That is until last April.

I found the man behind the voice that I been listening to in the soap operas I repeatedly watched, I found Bii.

Much to my surprise in the last week or so of 2019, Spotify had a video or animation of sorts, called Spotify Wrapped, that let me know all kinds of things about my music habits, if I can call it that. According to Spotify my artist of the decade is Bii, my top artist is Bii, artist of the year Bii and my top songs of the year… Yup also Bii. I spent 802 hours listening to him in 2019, I’m impressed. That surprised mom for two reasons, 1. My world up until last year was all about MJ and sound alike artists. 2. Bii sings in Mandarin and Korean. I don’t speak either language, though I understand a lot more Mandarin now than I used to.

Ah technology is a beautiful thing.

Direct… Respect…

Dear Reader,

I’m sure you have become aware of two directors, who have, in their own words basically trashed Marvel. Perhaps I fail at understanding why the sudden critique. I personally don’t agree with their opinions.

We can all agree that every director had to start somewhere. They all had to learn how to direct. They didn’t come out of the woodwork with an Oscar in their hands. Directing is just like baking, you have to burn a few cakes before you get it right.

Now, Martin and Francis call movies today, specifically Marvel “…not cinema” and “despicable”.

Coppola, commented that we expect to learn something from cinema. You will forgive me but I never watched a movie to learn from it, that’s what school is for. I, like many others watch movies to be entertained. That’s why Hollywood is also known as the entertainment industry, not The Learning Channel.

Scorsese and Coppola both have been directors since the sixties, they should know by now, that with every decade tastes change. What worked for them is the 60s didn’t in the 70s, what was hip in the 70s was no longer cool in the 80s and so on. They were able to adapt for nearly three decades. Unfortunately, their reign over Hollywood pretty much went down hill the moment the internet was born.

The internet made it possible for potential viewers to read reviews from others like them. Not Hollywood writers and promoters who’s formula was always promising the biggest film of the year.

Times will do what they have always done, times must and always do change. We must adapt.

With the birth of the internet also came Netflix and Hulu and we all know what happened to Blockbuster Video. In case you don’t know, it went out of business. With Amazon, many stores closed their doors.

Obsolescence happens to everything and everyone, directors are not immune.

Mirror, Mirror…

Dear Reader,

I walked my dog yesterday. I felt so confident with Bii singing in my ear. I left my house distracted and singing along to the music. Before you ask, yes, my pronunciation needs more than a little work. Plus, I’m sure I sounded like William H. Or worse.

Yet, I was all smiles. I felt happy. Without a care in the world, I was reminded of Heidi and all those idyllic scenes.

Just now though. I looked up from the sink in the bathroom and realized a few things… First, My hair is a disheveled mess, of Titanic proportions. The next thing was the state of my skin, before you ask allergies are never kind to me, that should tell you all you need to know in that regard. Lastly, I noticed my tomboy unmatched, just got out of the hamper style. After much looking into the mirror like Snow White’s step mother but without her flawless looks, obviously, I came to a conclusion, I could not remember the last time I saw my face in the mirror. If you wonder how that is possible, I will tell you, I only own one mirror and it’s above the sink.

Of course my mood turned from smiling confidence, to disappointment in myself. Despite the flawlessly executed photo to the right. I don’t look that dolled up everyday. Still, though, I never thought I would look like I just crawled out of a bad commercial for Folgers. Even my carefree self has her limits.

This is clearly a case of ignorance being bliss. While I should be more mindful in the future, I will not be a captive of perfection. Life is tiring enough.

I gained some understanding, a mirror can be a double edge sword, sometimes it will serve a cold dish of truth of all we avoid. On the flip side though, it can be as detrimental as an overly edited magazine cover. So handle with care. No pun intended.

In closing, remember. It’s impossible to make others happy if you yourself are not happy to begin with. It’s good to strive for better, but don’t lose yourself in the search for perfect, the definition of which changes faster than a trending topic on social media.

Hopeless Silence….

Dear Reader,

In my lifetime I have been sad, I have been angry, I have cried. I felt hopelessness, impotence, loneliness and every negative feeling in between. Yes, in my life there were times hope seemed lost, faith had gone where all dreams go to die. I have lost people to death, and some just go away for reasons I have long stopped wondering about, others it was definitively me not them.

I have not always dealt with moments like that with grace. I kicked and screamed, I cried and argued. Eventually like the songs, I too went silent.

So, what helped? Well, for better or worse I’m a very stubborn person. When it’s for better, I rise above my troubles no matter what. For worse and I stay stuck in the hole with no rope for longer than expected.

In times when the music stops. When all I hear is the deafening sound of silence. I reflect, good or bad reflection I let it all out. Like cleaning a cluttered drawer I eventually find my song. At first, the lyrics can only add to the dark hours ahead, but it’s music none the less.

Songs are like good times. They tend to multiply. Before we know it the song we are singing is a good one.

Sing…

Dear Reader,

Today, you should sing, sing loud, and make it a happy song. Specially, if you have not sung in a while.

I spent the morning singing and before you ask, yes I sounded ten levels of terrible. Why do it? It helps me smile. Life is not always as we would hope it to be. All we can do is make the best of a bad situation.

The point is never to lose hope. You can lose everything else except hope.

Sing, sing like no one is listening. Music I find is the greatest medicine when words don’t help.

It helps me walk my dog. Makes walks feel short and before you know it I’ve walked more than expected, it makes cleaning my house enjoyable. Without music the world would be a very silent place.

Unconscious Battle…

Dear Reader,

I was thinking about all the times in my life I been unconscious. Way too many, specially in the first five years of my life. Each time they told my mom to prepare for the worst. Actually, she’s heard that since I was born. I was born in a Tuesday, I was not suppose to make it to Friday.

While normally, I don’t dwell on the details of my brain and body’s fight for life, it did get me thinking… If our bodies are willing to fight the battle of the century when we have no control over the battle plan, nor can we in our unconscious state decide when to throw in the towel… Why oh why then when we are fully awake and alert do some of us decide to give up?

Everyone has their own personal hell that they have dealt with or, are dealing with. I have had my fair share of those. The problem with having times like these is that when we are crossing them our fighting spirit seems to fade. We see no way out. I get it. What I have learned is that the reason we find it so difficult is because, the songs that made us smile no longer evoke happiness. The food that made us feel better no longer does. I could go on and on. So… What do we do? Most of the time we hope it works eventually. That can take time.

My suggestion, spend time getting to know yourself. Find out what new things, new people, new experiences new music, new places make you happy. You never know, the things you disliked yesterday might just be what you need today. Seasons change is natural that we do too.

So, let go of the pain, the anger and all the negative feelings, only then can you see all the joy around you.

As for the regrets you’re facing. Look at them like a guide of what not to do or say in the future. We cannot change the past we can only construct our future. That is why they say hindsight is 20/20. So go forth and be the best version of you you can be.

In closing, I will leave you with a song that makes me wish I could dance without falling flat on my face after ten seconds. How do I deal with that? I dance sitting down. Hahaha!

Missing Martin…

Dear Reader,

They say, time flies when you’re having fun. That’s true. It can also seem to have wings when thinking too much. These past few days I been thinking about my best friend. He would have been 36 years old this year.

So much has happened in the last four years specially in recent months, that I wonder what he’d say. How he would react? Most importantly, what would he be up to?

He would probably be making the world a better place. I have never met a more genuinely positive person in my life. He was like a constant burts of joy. Even if the world were falling down around him, and there times that it probably was, still he remained positive and happy.

I once asked him why he was never sad or upset. I told him it was okay to get angry or cry, that he did not need to put up a front with me. His response was such that it has stayed with me all these years.

Response…

The problem with crying is that once you start it’s difficult to stop. Once you cried out one thing, you will find something new to cry about. Contrary to what others think we are an endless tear production machine. If the same thing can be said for happiness, then I just find one thing to be happy about and soon others will follow. Besides, between you and me, I make an ugly crying man a smile suits me best.

As for his reaction to current events, he probably would listen to Bii along side me. He liked listening to beautiful voices as well as creepy ones but that is a story for another day.

As for my current medical diagnosis, he would probably say something like…

Can you still smile? Do you still have a way to get from A to B somehow? Can you still enjoy food? Do you have yours truly by your side in someway? If the answers are yes. Congrats, everything else can be dealt with.

I know this, because I got very ill once and that’s what he said. As for my parents recent relocation, he would have been happy too. To him change was always good and a change of scenery even better.

Even though he has been gone for 21 years, he is still greatly missed. We often say the best die young in his case he truly was the best of us.

Words and preambles…

Dear Reader,

I may have told you before that I tend to over explain things; or over describe. I tend to use more words than required to express a thought that could easily be expressed in as little as two words. I guess it helps if you are a writer. I am far form being one.

It has been pointed out to me that very often I use words that require a dictionary. I don’t dispute that, and things I cannot dispute I am not offended by in the least. As for the words that can only be encountered in Miriam Webster these days. That is only because the Spanish I speak is full of such words. Thus, the only thing I could do is look up their English counterparts the summer I learned English. That, of course earned me the nickname Webster, that… No longer applies, I don’t think it ever has. So much of this language still requires work on my part; my punctuation and… Well, I am sure other things as well.

Despite how long I have known someone they find it difficult to believe that I actually speak the way I do on a daily basis. It has often been suggested that I speak more plainly. I was under the impression that, that is what I had been doing all my life.

I guess, it’s just my need to be understood; the need to leave no doubt when in conversation. I tend to anticipate the questions which probably turns what should be a short conversation into a discourse.

My words may not endure in your mind. My hope is, however, that if you ever feel lost. You find the right words that will light your way in the darkness of your confusion.

Sometimes we need to laugh…

Dear Reader,

Ever find that no matter how normal or average your days are, you just need a good laugh session? I don’t know how you see laughter, or how it is experienced, but I see a lot of people around, I pay attention to interactions, and I do hear a mild laughter here and there and even witnessed a few smiles, but I rarely witness a real “LOL” Laugh out Loud.

I was wondering just now why that is, I mean yes, we seem to be going 100 miles an hour, or have the attention span of a gnat, but are we really that disconnected, that we can’t do a genuine laugh out loud?

I really don’t know, but I have made myself a promise, to laugh from the soul as much and as often as possible. Laughing just makes you happy.

I got thinking of that because today I laughed really loud more than once. Then I realized, I have not laughed like that in a while, and also noticed I have not heard anyone laugh like that either.

Bii to the Double i…

Dear Reader,

Lately I have been watching quite a few Mandarin language TV shows. The stories are short and entertaining which helps with my sometimes short attention span.

After a few of these stories I started to recognize the faces. So, I began taking an interest in finding out who the cast was. As well as their acting credits.

While watching the story “Some Like You“, In it’s opening scene of the first episode, I noticed a face I was certain I had seen before. After about a minute, I ventured to guess he had a small scene in the previous drama I had seen. Once I found the scene I had seen him in I smiled. It was the same guy. I even remembered thinking, this man has such a strong presence he should have more than one scene per show.

In “Someone Like You“. He had a completely different look. This time red hair, and when I say red hair, I mean the actual color red. Which much to my delight he looked great in.

I continued watching the drama. The music they used in it was beautiful so much so, that for the first time I actually wanted to find out the tile of the songs as well as the person behind the captivating voice. Despite the fact that I don’t understand the language, I like the emotions, in the voice and the background music. The singer’s voice is flawless, his vocal range impressive. In one word beautiful.

So, with the help of Google Sound search. I found not only the tile of the songs but I was also able to put a face to the voice that had left such a great impression on me.

Imagine my surprise when I realized it was the same red haired man in the first episode.

I, of course had to hear more. Mind you, I was not expecting to like more than the songs I had heard. Only because with other new to me artists they are either one hit wonders, or I end up liking only one or two songs from their entire repertoire.

This was not the case with Bii (the singer’s name by the way). I have heard all the songs I could find in Spotify (82 of them) each one just as good if not better than the last. I have heard them so much I can actually sing along to some. Thanks to Google Translate, I have some idea what the song lyrics are. They are equally as beautiful as the voice behind them.

So, while technology may have taken away things I grew up with. It has made it possible to hear the world of music far beyond my own backyard.

Plato said it best,

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato

So, go forth and find your song, give wings to your mind and merriment to your soul.

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