Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Animal Kingdom

In the darkness of bathhouses, there’s a strict feeding hierarchy. There are top-feeders and bottom-feeders, and I’m not just referring to a preferred sexual role. The former are usually the ones who either have The Face or The Body. The latter are depressing creatures cursed with unprepossessing features (got that phrase from “Wicked,” hehehe!) or are either over- or underweight. Top-feeders tend to stick to their own kind (unless they’re in a very generous or slumming mood), while bottom-feeders tend to annoy the former by daring to even dream of hooking up with them by either: [1] pausing beside them and staring at them too long and too longingly that it borders on pathetic; or [2] brushing against them as they pass by. Then there’s the bigger The Rest Of Us group; however, the chances of a TROU hooking up with a Top-feeder is still greater than a Bottom-feeder hooking up with a TROU. So Bottom-feeders usually end up with their own kind or with nada.

(Those who have both Face and Body are in a class all by themselves—they’re Olympian Gods come down to the bathhouse to wreck the lives of us mortals.)

Once in a while this hierarchy is disturbed top-to-bottom. Often it involves an orgy. Let me explain via an actual example.

One Thursday evening while I was in the bathhouse, a power failure occurred, plunging the whole place in darkness. Unfortunately they only had two emergency lights, both stationed near the gym area and the stairway leading to the exit. The rest of the place, especially the cubicles on the second floor, was in total darkness.

Before the blackout occurred I noticed three top-feeders traveling in a pack; obviously they came there as a group. They were eyeing a couple of solo top-feeders roaming the place. The bottom-feeders and TROUs were eyeing all of them hungrily, but it was still too early for anyone to embarrass himself by doing something pathetic. So the hunt continued as expected.

But when the blackout occurred, something happened. It seemed the loss of light also meant the loss of inhibitions and snobbery—the former for the bottom-feeders and TROUs, the latter for the top-feeders. I guess the top-feeders decided to mingle with any and everyone who cared to mingle, and transformed the corridor into a class-free free-for-all. The hallway became one big tangle of limbs; moans, groans, slurping, ohh-ing and ahhh-ing filled the air. The feeding frenzy immediately attracted everyone on the floor. With the aircon out, the heat rose so rapidly a thick curtain of sweat blanketed the area—approaching it felt like bumping into a wet mattress.

I stumbled into the middle of the feeding frenzy just when it was starting. Rounding a corner I bumped into someone, mumbled “Sorry,” and then realized there were others all around me. Hands were all over the place; I felt one explore my back, while another searched hungrily towards my crotch area. Blindly I felt around; I realized the one I bumped into was one of the top-feeders! He was already fondling me under my towel; I returned the compliment by pretending his well-defined chest and abs were Braille, and I was Helen Keller. Oooh! Pretty soon ten fingers were not enough, so I added my tongue into the fray. I tell you, reading Braille is so much fun.

The more people joined in, the more frantic the feeding frenzy became. Became? Heck, everyone was becoming.

I saw, I conquered, I came. Afterwards I disentangled myself, careful not to step on someone’s toes or hands or any other extremity. When I left the place, the power was still down, ensuring a longer feeding frenzy for the night.

At least for one Thursday evening, world hunger was lessened somewhat.

(Art work above by David Piland)

Friday, January 27, 2006


How am I preparing for the big four-oh? It’s a strange combination of acceptance and indifference. Think of it this way: it’s like accepting something then shoving it immediately into the pocket of your pants so you can forget about it.

My insurance agent met me over lunch today. Go, free lunch! Two months ago I received notice that I had already fully paid my first insurance/pension plan. Good gosh, has it been five years already? So now my agent wants to sell me a new insurance plan that promises bigger benefits. Tempting, but the payments are also more expensive compared to my last plan. Considering that I’ve not had a significant pay raise (take note, significant) for the past two years, the new plan is too expensive for me.

Dear Manny Pacquiao, can you give me some money, Manny? Heck, your logo-studded shorts earned you five million pesos.

Meanwhile it was only last week that I noticed this sign in a street I always pass through every morning on my way to work:

I think I need Adam to touch me all over. I’m getting tired of the same old dull routine. (So I wrote to the paper, took out a personal ad. And though I’m nobody’s poet, I thought it wasn’t half-bad.) (Name the title and artist from where those lyrics came from.)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Tagaytay Musings

Mention Tagaytay to me and immediately “Taal volcano” and “bulalo” leap into mind; the latter is weird because it’s not my favorite dish. But definitely food is a big reason to go there. One of the reasons why we went to Tagaytay was to eat at the RSM Lutong Bahay Restaurant at the insistence of my mom who had eaten there before with her fellow Daughters of Mary Immaculate. They were all raves about it.
When we pulled up the driveway, I could see that the designer of the place got his inspiration from the Barrio Fiestas and the original Max’s Restaurant in Roces, QC—very native, with the prerequisite grotto and pond in front. Inside is multi-leveled and multi-sectioned: out-door huts, airconditioned function room, and a very wide open-air dining area. They had a roaming band playing their mariachi-fied versions of “Pinoy Ako”, JLo’s “Waiting for Tonight” and the ever-reliable “Dancing Queen” by ABBA.

The food is typical Filipino fare. Portions are quite generous. Good thing their fried foods were not swimming in oil. And service is fairly quick. I ate too much again. Argh! I haven’t shed yet the extra pounds from the holiday binging, and now this.

Next we decided to tour the People’s Park in the Sky. Sitting on top of the highest peak in Tagaytay, the former Palace in the Sky gives one a magnificent 360-degree view of Laguna, Cavite and Batangas. Wow! I was waiting for the Devil to stand beside me and offer me the view in exchange for worshiping him.
What’s sad is the current state of the premises. True, the place was still under construction when the Marcoses were booted out of the country, so it’s understandable why the whole place has this unfinished feel. But alas it also has this decrepit feel, like an abandoned lady left to rot on her own in the wind and rain. It’s just a notch above being an eyesore.

Still, one can see that had Imelda have her way, the Palace would have been a style-sore. Imelda’s not exactly the epitome of good taste, and this Greek-inspired amphitheater beside the pool at the back of the palace is an example of her gaudy style.
Unfortunately the current management is also bereft of good taste. The basement has been transformed into a shopping area, and on the second floor is—how very proletariat—a sing-along bar.

Okay, okay, I’m being too elitist.

The rest of the afternoon we spent at a grove overlooking Taal. I bought my nephew and niece bubble-making devices in the shape of Nokia cellphones. What will they think of next? Now there’s new meaning to the sentence: “Bula ka ng bula sa telepono!

My favorite shot of the two:

Hello Handsome

Isn’t he lovely? Isn’t he wonderful?

It was lunch time and they occupied the table beside ours. He was talking to the girl beside him the whole time—wife or girlfriend, I couldn’t tell. I pretended I was viewing the shots in my camera. I couldn’t use a flash though; the light was inadequate and he kept moving around so the images came out blurred. Darn. And I wish I had telephoto lens.

Hello Manny, Goodbye Ernie

My aunt from Bohol came to visit us, and Sunday we took her out to Tagaytay. Obviously boxing isn’t big in our family—while everyone was glued to the Manny Pacquiao/Erik Morales slugfest, we were viewing Taal Volcano and enjoying the fresh air.

But life seemed to have stopped for everyone else that day. We stopped by a convenience store near the rotonda after lunch to buy some snacks. Entering, I noticed three traffic policemen (I guess they were stationed around the rotonda), two security guards, five civilians and the cashier all looking up at the television monitor overhead. The main fight was just about to begin, with the announcer calling out the names of the two contestants (“…and in this corner…!”). All eyes were on the TV.

I got some chips and went to the cashier. No one paid any attention to me. I looked around for dip. Still no one stirred. I got two bottles of soda from the freezer. The cops who were standing in front of it stepped aside, eyes still glued to the match. I went back to the counter. The cashier continued to ignore me. Gosh, I can just walk out of here and no one will run after me, I thought. Instead I went “Ahem, ahem” out loud instead.

Thank god Manny won. I dread the idea of dealing with the cashier and the cops had he lost.

* * * * *

Early this Monday morning they announced on TV that Ka Ernie Baron, 65, long-time weatherman and Amado Pineda’s successor, Mr. Knowledge Power himself, and lately the namesake of an antenna brand, died of a heart attack due to complications of his diabetes.

My gulay! So much for all that knowledge; so much for that “miracle drug” he’s been peddling all these years. When it’s time, it’s time.

Goodbye Ernie. Bert will now be lonely.

Friday, January 20, 2006

More Wickedness

I really love the music and lyrics of the musical Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz by Stephen Schwartz, who also did “Godspell” and “Pippin”. In adapting Gregory Maguire’s book to the stage, he and Winnie Holzman widened the focus of the musical. They trimmed the story of Elphaba (the book’s subtitle is “The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West”) and expanded the role of Glinda, the Good Witch (thus the change in subtitle). The musical is now a study in contrast between the two girls, between good and bad, yin and yang, and how they ended up on opposite sides.

Two of my favorite songs are “What is This Feeling?” and “Popular”. Too bad I don’t know how to let you hear the songs in this show. But at least I can share with you guys the hilarious lyrics.

For the first song, Elphaba and Galinda (who’ll rename herself Glinda later) meet for the first time as roommates in the school dorm of Shiz. Elphaba is a studious loner with green skin; she assumed she and her sister Nessarose will share a room. Galinda is Miss Popularity, the kind who’ll end up as Prom Queen. The song starts with them writing to their respective parents:

“What Is This Feeling?”

(spoken) Dearest darlingest Momsie and Popsical:

(spoken) My dear Father:

(sung) There's been some confusion
Over rooming here at Shiz.

But of course, I'll care for Nessa…

But of course, I'll rise above it…

For I know that's how you'd want me to respond.
Yes, there's been some confusion
For you see, my roommate is…

(spoken in a whisper) Unusually and exceedingly peculiar,
And altogether quite impossible to describe.

(spoken loudly) Blonde!

(sung) What is this feeling?
So sudden and new?

I felt it the moment
I laid eyes on you.

My pulse is rushing

My head is reeling

My face is flushing

What is this feeling?
Fervid as a flame,
Does it have a name?

Unadulterated loathing!

For your face

Your voice

Your clothing

Let's just say—I loathe it all!
Every little trait, however small,
Makes my very flesh begin to crawl
With simple utter loathing!
There's a strange exhilaration
In such total detestation;
It's so pure and strong!
Though I do admit it came on fast,
Still I do believe that it can last.
And I will be loathing,
Loathing you
My whole life long!

Dear Galinda, you are just too good!
How do you stand it? I don't think I could!
She's a terror! She's a Tartar!
We don't mean to show a bias,
But Galinda, you're a martyr!

Well, these things are sent to try us!

Poor Galinda, forced to reside
With someone so disgusti-cified!
We all just want to tell you—
We're all on your side!
We share your…

What is this feeling / Loathing!
So sudden and new? / Unadulterated loathing!
I felt the moment / For her face, her voice
I laid eyes on you / Her clothing
My pulse is rushing / Let's just say—
My head is reeling / We loathe it all!
Oh, what is this feeling? / Every little trait
Does it have a name? / Makes our very flesh
Yes! / Begin to crawl.
Ahhh! / Ahhh!


There's a strange exhilaration / Loathing!
In such total detestation / Loathing!
So pure, so strong / Loathing!

So strong!

Though I do admit it came on fast,
Still I do believe that it can last.

And I will be loathing / Loathing!
For forever loathing / Loathing!
Truly deeply loathing / Loathing you
My whole / Loathing!
Life long! / Unadulterated loathing!


Later Elphaba and Galinda become friends. Galinda’s first instinct is to help her new friend:


(spoken) Elphie—now that we're friends, I've decided to make you my new project.

(spoken) You really don't have to do that.

(spoken) I know. That's what makes me so nice!
(sung) Whenever I see someone
Less fortunate than I
(And let's face it—who isn't
Less fortunate than I?)
My tender heart
Tends to start to bleed.
And when someone needs a makeover
I simply have to take over—
I know I know exactly what they need.
And even in your case,
Tho' it's the toughest case I've yet to face,
Don't worry—I'm determined to succeed!
Follow my lead,
And yes, indeed,
You… will… be…

You're gonna be popular!
I'll teach you the proper ploys,
When you talk to boys,
Little ways to flirt and flounce, awww!
I'll show you what shoes to wear,
How to fix your hair,
Everything that really counts

To be popular!
I'll help you be popular!
You'll hang with the right cohorts,
You'll be good at sports,
Know the slang you've got to know.
So let's start,
'Cause you've got an awfully long way to go!

Don't be offended by my frank analysis.
Think of it as personality dialysis.
Now that I've chosen to be come a pal, a
Sister and adviser,
There's nobody wiser!
Not when it comes to popular!
I know about popular!
And with an assist from me,
To be who you'll be,
Instead of dreary who-you-were, uh, -are!
There's nothing that can stop you
From becoming popu-
Ler… lar!

La la la la!
We're gonna make
You popular!

When I see depressing creatures
With unprepossessing features,
I remind them on their own behalf
To think of
Celebrated heads of state or
‘specially great communicators.
Did they have brains or knowledge?
Don't make me laugh!

They were popular! Please…!
It's all about popular!
It's not about aptitude,
It's the way you're viewed.
So it's very shrewd to be
Very, very popular
Like me!

(spoken) Why, Miss Elphaba, look at you. You're beautiful.

(spoken) I… I have to go. (walks off)

(spoken) You’re welcome!
(sung) And though you protest
Your disinterest,
I know clandestinely—
You're gonna grin and bear it,
Your new found popularity!
La la la la!
You'll be popular—
Just not as quite as popular
As me!

I Lost It at the Movies

I love watching movies on the big screen. I like larger than life images to overwhelm me; in fact I prefer watching at the orchestra instead of lodge because the images look larger than life. I lost myself in the sights and sound conjured by (mostly) Hollywood magicians: traveled back a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away; experienced a close encounter of a third kind; feared the jaws of death lurking in the deep; and looked for the lost ark.

But there’s something else I lost at the movies—or rather, in the movie houses. That was where I had my first sexual encounter. It was in the old Quezon Cinema in Cubao, back when it was just one movie house instead of two. I forget the movie I was watching. I even forget what he looked like. But I remember his hands crawling up my thigh, seeking, until he found me. I remember feeling so hot and bothered; a fire was burning below my skin. I was shaking all over when he unzipped my jeans. Hands down, it was the most exciting hand-job ever.

Soon I discovered a thrilling world under the light and shadows of a darkened movie house. There were guys on the prowl along the aisle and inside the men’s room—standing at the back of the theater despite many empty seats, going again and again to the bathroom without taking a leak. All they want is a quick anonymous release. It’s the excitement and danger of doing something so private in a place so public.

I admit I got hooked on the excitement too. I was young, horny and a movie buff. I would watch the second-to-the-last showing seated. Then I’d stay on for the last full show standing at the back. I became very familiar with the theaters in Cubao and ranked them according to cruise-friendliness: Quezon, Coronet, Remar, Diamond and New Frontier ranked high on my list. When Ali Mall opened, theaters 3 and 4 eventually became notorious for the backroom and bathroom action.

What gave me pause was an incident when the guy wanted payment after giving me a hurried hand-job. In fact he insisted on a hefty payment and threatened to stab me with a knife he had concealed in his shirt. “Hands-up!” after a hand-job?! I was able to get away by distracting him then suddenly standing up and walking away from him—I was ready to shout and make a scene had he attempted to follow me. Afterwards I decided to be more selective with my hook-ups. “Must look like he doesn’t need the money,” was my mantra.

Through the years the theaters in Cubao deteriorated as well as the quality of cruising. The action moved to the cinemas and the corridors in malls—SM North and Harrison Plaza became notorious haunts too. The old Greenbelt (One) theaters became my favorite hunting grounds after work.

Now that theaters are getting smaller and changing their layout, theater cruising must also evolve. As for me, I’ve left the cruising scene in movie houses and moved to bathhouses instead. There I’m sure no one will ask for payment; even better, I can enjoy more than a hand-job there. And there’s no need to go frantic when the end credits start rolling.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Antipolo Sights

The nice thing about our Antipolo seminar is that we had time to go out at night. We went to Padi’s Point and the city view is fantastic.

My officemate is a Smurfette.

However, I was also mesmerized by the full moon shining between the trees still blazing with Christmas lights.

Wicked Thoughts and Wicked Tunes

My two-week vacation over Christmas and New Year was a chance for me to mull things over. My professional life is at a crossroads; I want to move on, but I don’t know where to go. I was hoping the rest would give me time to think. Instead I didn’t think at all. On the one hand it’s relaxing. On the other, it’s stressful when you remember what you didn’t do.

It’s funny how songs suddenly have deeper meaning when you’re going through an internal turmoil. (This is especially obvious when love is involved.) Right now two songs from the musical Wicked are on heavy rotation in my mental iPod. Both are fighting for the top spot in my internal charts.

One song is about taking a leap, being courageous and taking risks. Elpheba (soon-to-be Wicked Witch of the West) and her best friend Glinda (soon-to-be the Good Witch) have decided to part ways, each one taking a different path. Here Elphaba says goodbye to her friend as she embraces her powers of flight:

“Defying Gravity”

Something has changed within me,
Something is not the same.
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game.
Too late for second-guessing,
Too late to go back to sleep,
It’s time to trust my instincts,
Close my eyes: and leap!

It’s time to try
Defying gravity!
I think I’ll try
Defying gravity!
And you can’t pull me down!

I’m through accepting limits
‘Cuz someone says they’re so.
Some things I cannot change—
But ‘til I try, I’ll never know!
Too long I’ve been afraid of
Losing love I guess I’ve lost.
Well, if that’s love
It comes at much too high a cost!

I’d sooner buy
Defying gravity!
Kiss me goodbye—
I’m defying gravity!
And you can’t pull me down!

On the other hand, another song in the same musical also captured my attention. Early in the musical, Fiyero, a young, handsome and carefree Ozian who catches the attention of fellow student Glinda, describes his philosophy in life:

“Dancing Through Life”

The trouble with school is
They always try to teach the wrong lesson.
Believe me, I’ve been kicked out
Of enough of them to know.
They want you to become less callow,
Less shallow.
But I say: why invite stress in?
Stop studying strife
And learn to live “the unexamined life.”

Dancing through life,
Skimming the surface,
Gliding where turf is smooth.
Life’s more painless
For the brainless—
Why think too hard?
When it’s so soothing
Dancing through life;
No need to tough it
When you can sluff it off as I do.
Nothing matters
But knowing nothing matters;
It's just life,
So keep dancing through!

Dancing through life,
Swaying and sweeping,
And always keeping cool.
Life is fraught-less
When you’re thoughtless.
Those who don’t try
Never look foolish.
Dancing through life,
Mindless and careless,
Make sure you’re where less
Trouble is rife.
Woes are fleeting,
Blows are glancing,
When you’re dancing
Through life!

It’s actually a very seductive song for me, and that makes it even more wicked. Oh to just not think and worry and fret!

Meanwhile I’ve been playing the songs from the musical nonstop these past few days, even during the three-day live-in seminar in Antipolo which ended yesterday. Frankly I still don’t know what I’m going to do. Heck, I’m not even sure what I want to do. Times like these I just look to another song, “(Everybody’s Free to Wear) Sunscreen” by Baz Luhrman:

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Now that I’m reaching the big four-oh, those words are a great comfort. Of course, Baz is a successful and respected director of screen and stage, so he should talk! Hmmm, now I feel bad again.

That’s Nostalgia

Last week I attended a meeting for a new project. A young man was seated in front of me. He was fair-skinned, had unruly curly hair, and wore thick-rimmed glasses. He was quiet and serious the whole time, doodling on his notebook while waiting for the meeting to start. I turned to my seatmate beside me and whispered, “Who’s that?” She said: “Chuckie Dreyfuss.”



It was surreal sitting in a meeting with the Chuckie Dreyfuss. He’s obviously put his That’s Entertainment days behind him. Nowadays he does musical scores for TV.

And that’s whatever happened to Chuckie Dreyfuss.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


For the past three years I’ve always been out-of-town during Christmas and New Year. Last 2005 I spent the holidays in two of my favorite vacation spots: Baguio for Christmas and Bohol for the New Year.

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We stayed in the house of Jim “Yes, of THE Apo Hiking fame!” Paredes (my sister-in-law made the arrangements). Their house is away from the city, so the air is fresh and relatively unpolluted. It also has a fireplace, which is great for the really cold nights. There are a lot of clowns and masks all over the house, which my younger brother found creepy.

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In Camp John Hay the kids had a fun and rough time at the bump cars while I had a late lunch of barbeque and tsokolate-eh at this café.
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Their sign on one side said, “Our linkage to the past” while on the other it said, “your linkaged at the past.” Ano ba talaga, koh-ya?

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My dessert was this big bowl of strawberries and cream at a dessert place in John Hay’s The Filling Station. Now I’m paying for it (and many more) at the gym.

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The sight of our home province looming larger and nearer as we descend from the air always excites me, partially because I know that the chance of an accident happening is greatest during take-off and landing. Nothing excites like the thought of the plane bursting into flames at the runway.

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Here’s proof that the ground crew of Cebu Pacific hires Munchkins.

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It’s very obvious this picture of my twin cousins was taken during the decade of Miami Vice, Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam (“Hit the beat, now! Lost in emotion…”) and colorful espadrilles.

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We had dinner at this seaside restaurant called Caingit where their seafood is so fresh I could still taste the sea salt. The blue marlin belly was the best I’ve tasted so far—it literally melts in your mouth.

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My sister chilling out in the beach.

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Another wonderful day ends.

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In Cebu for two days, we saw this club. “Look to Mrs. Tina.” For guidance?

Back in Bohol: I’ve always wanted to go inside the museum of Loboc, located at the back of the historic Loboc church. Loboc is the town of the Loboc Children’s Choir, the Loboc River cruise and the tarsiers living near the river. It’s also the music capital of Bohol.
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There was a province-wide power shortage when we visited. Stepping inside the museum was like stepping back in time.
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Above is the great hall on the second floor where the world-famous Loboc Children’s Choir practices.
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On the third floor attic are the many old religious statues and items. I can imagine them coming to life at night. That’s a horror story waiting to be filmed.
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Inside the church: my chandelier picture is my tribute to that famous shot in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

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A visit to Bohol is incomplete without stopping by Chocolate Hills. Bohol is one big nature trip. For me it’s the place to rest and recharge.

Subtle Spell

Gregory Maguire wrote “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West” in 1995, which is the basis for the hit Broadway musical in 2004. I knew about the latter first; in fact, before I stumbled upon a hardbound copy at a bookstore in Greenbelt 2 last month, I never knew there was a book! Because I liked the musical (my friend let me listen to his copy), I decided to buy the book.

In an interview Maguire insisted that “Wicked” is not a “retelling of The Wizard of Oz” and I can understand why. Dorothy and her irritating dog Toto only serve as bookends; most of the story is about how Elphaba became the titular character. The classic movie was a Technicolor feast for the eyes and ears; Maguire also paints a colorful picture of Oz, but in shades that are darker and more troubling. Oz is a land ripe for uprising; the Wizard is not just fake, he’s an inept despot. The Good Witch Glinda isn’t all that good, and Elphaba is a victim of labels and misconceptions.

Maguire isn’t a Stephen King or John Grisham page-turner type of writer; he likes to muse a lot. Philosophical ponderings slow down the pace of the plot. Maguire’s musings, while interesting, may bore those who aren’t the reflecting kind, or those looking for a straightforward, plot-heavy story. What kept me plodding through the slow spots was the wicked re-imagining of Oz that contrasts with our collective memories of the classic movie. It’s irony that resists following the easy yellow-brick road of camp.

After reading the book I watched The Wizard of Oz on DVD. “Wicked” doesn’t diminish or change the way I saw Wizard—the movie remains a classic wistful fairy tale of innocence and wonder of a past era. What improved, though, was my appreciation of the book. Using a classic fairy tale as a take-off point, Maguire mounts a twisted tale full of modern anxieties and flies with it. If you want a queasy ride, grab hold of Maguire’s broom.

I’ve watched the movie, read the book and heard the soundtrack; now I want to watch the musical. “Wicked” casts a sly, subtle magic and now I’m under its wicked spell.

Monday, January 09, 2006

From Baguio To Bohol

From the boondocks to the beach; that’s where we were the last two weeks. I was with my family the whole time. Two weeks with your mother can wreck havoc on your physique. Mothers never believe you when you tell them that you’re full. They always assume you’re still hungry. Then they order extra food and insist you finish it.

All I did was eat, sleep and read (driving to and from and around Baguio doesn’t really count). Over the holidays I bought four books by Gregory Maguire: “Wicked,” “Son of a Witch,” “Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister” and “Lost.” Plus my boss’ gave me as a Christmas gift Mark Rowlands’ “Everything I Know I Learned from TV”. I brought “Wicked,” “Witch” and “TV” to Bohol where I plowed through the books and rich holiday food. So now I’m several inches thicker on the waist and two books done; I’ve finished a third of “Witch.” I though I was going to have more fun with the Maguire books. But Rowlands’ philosophy book turned out to be a joyful surprise. It’s as if Plato and Socrates were reincarnated as writers for Entertainment Weekly; more on that in a latter episode.

Meanwhile I’m back at my desk in the office playing catch-up with the real world.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Bagong Taon Ay Mag Bagong Buhay… Part 2

...ng lumigaya ang ating bayan.

* * * * *

Jan. 06, it was all over the news. Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon underwent a third round of brain surgery after suffering a stroke. Jan. 06 is also the birthday of Megastar Sharon Cuneta. So I sent an SMS message to the biggest Sharonian I personally know, my friend Eve.

SMS message: My god, have you heard the news? Na-stroke si Sharon. I just saw the news on TV.

After about a minute my phone rang.

Eve: “Talaga?” I could hear shock, fear, disbelief and genuine concern in his voice. The Megastar would have been mega-touched.

McVie: “Yeah. It’s all over the news. Nasa surgery na nga eh.”

Eve: “News? Saan? Wala pa…”

McVie: “Sa CNN.”

A pause; obviously something was amiss.

Eve: “Ay shet ka talaga….” But there was a smile in his voice.

McVie: “Totoo! Si Prime Minister Sharon ng Israel, na-stroke!”

Eve was laughing out loud as he repeated, “Shet ka talaga! Shet ka talaga! Shet ka talaga!”

Bagong Taon Ay Mag Bagong Buhay...

...ng lumigaya ang ating bayan!

* * * * *

New year, new season. The only thing constant is change; it is inevitable. So what are the changes in The McVie Show?

Aside from the obvious—the template (I wish Blogger would create newer ones!) of course—there will be other changes; what they are, though, I’m still not sure. But I do know one I really want to make: write crisper, shorter sentences. Straight to the point, omit needless words. Go Strunk and White!

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, never have been. Still I’m risking this one.

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