Everything I want is everything I need

How could you settle for a boy like me
when all I could see you was at the end of the week
All the things we sign, and the things we buy
Ain’t gonna keep us together
Girl, it’s just a matter of time

Having the time of my life with music and movies. Watched a big screen earlier tonight which featured several of George Michael’s songs. Not a fan of the person — more of a fan of some of his compositions. Since music plays a substantial part in my life — I ought to set up a page on this site for my favorite tunes.

I went in to unwind by watching “Last Christmas” after a hard day’s work. Just another run-of-the-mill feel-good cheesy romantic film I had thought — until its jaw-dropping twist took me by surprise. Certainly not a masterpiece of a movie yet I went home thinking about the unexpected ending.

I messaged my sister about it. Because (Spoiler Alert) I don’t think the guy was a ghost (as many viewers have been deducing on the internet). Everything was brought about by his essence which emanated from his heart inside of her, I believe.

Many of the flamboyant singer’s songs (including a favorite of mine here) were haphazardly inserted throughout the flick. Never mind. It’s been a pleasant evening.

And now you’re telling me you’re having my baby
I’ll tell you that I’m happy if you want me to
But one step further and my back will break
If my best isn’t good enough then how can it be good enough for two

Music Babe Stuck in the 70s&80s (2014 version)

Once in a while, I rehash some of my selected blog pieces here for diversion, wanting to know, as a bonus, whether there has been an improvement in my, ahem, writing prowess. Music continues to be the major force that has been jazzing up my run-of-the-mill existence for decades. The post about my kind of music to boot remains to be my most favorite of them all [original post – 2012 version] and updating it recently has been a gratifying undertaking for me.

Genuine talent in music, in my opinion, is the best gift the gods of heavens could bestow upon someone. Competence in painting, acting, writing, and all the other arts can be cultivated and refined, through diligence and determination; but being a natural in the field of music? It’s either you have it or you don’t. Beautiful melody blending with the right words; what can beat that?

My taste in music is obviously mainstream. The songs I came to like were the products of an epoch that saw me glued to the radio in the 80s and 90s. Eclectic genres I have enjoyed: ballad, mellow, rock, disco, soul,…except for country and jazz (Haven’t developed a total liking for jazz yet, though I’d love to). I believe the sonic of pop music was in its heights in the 70s and 80s. A few songs from the 60s have been unforgettable, too, such as those from The Beatles ”Ticket To Ride“, “In My Life” and Burt Bacharach ”Do You Know The Way To San Jose“, “I Say A Little Prayer“. But the emergence of synthesizers, harmonizers at the beginning of the 1970s was the turnaround that dramatically heralded the new sound of music and paved the way for the optimization of our listening pleasure.

80s music

You can say I was pretty hipped on contemporary music. In the 80s, British bands lorded over my list of preferred musical artists and performers: Spandau Ballet “Only When You Leave“, Duran Duran “Wild Boys“, Tears for Fears “Everybody Wants To Rule The World“, Wham “Everything She Wants“, B52s “Private Idaho“, etc., followed by American groups: Blondie “Rapture“, Kool & The Gang,”Too Hot“, Eagles “One of these Nightsetc.

“Watch out here I come!” (clap clap clap) Remember that spoken line commencing Dead Or Alive’s best-known hit You Spin Me Round? Its lead singer was also a spin-off from Boy George’s flamboyant community, in case you don’t know.

You spin me right round baby right round like a record baby right round round round.

Stay with me and don’t feel dizzy, ok? 🙂

Then there’s the mid-part of Head Over Heels by Tears for Fears I remember chanting with a couple of friends while hanging out in my early 20s:

Something happens that I’m head over heels. I never found out, till I’m head over heels. Oh don’t take my heart, don’t break my heart, don’t…don’t throw it away.

Its MTV proved quixotic for me because it showed Roland Orzabal, leader of TFF, in romantic pursuit of a… (surprise!) librarian who sported wide spectacles while at work inside a library. FYI, to become a librarian was one of my secret dreams in my early teens.

The era had also seen me tripping the light fantastic to several dance beats; everybody in my family loved dancing. One track I loved in particular was The Look of Love by ABC which I initially thought had been belted out by a black artist. Yet ABC was actually a British band who performed in their MTVs and concerts wearing (to my delight) snazzy colorful tuxedos.

When the world is full of strange arrangements

And gravity won’t pull you through

You know you’re missing out on something

Well that something depends on you.

When your girl has left you out on the pavement (Goodbye)

Then your dreams fall apart at the seams

Your reason for living’s your reason for leaving

Don’t ask me, what it means.

dancing lady

Years much earlier in my childhood; my brother, sister and I had become the designated purveyors of entertainment during family gatherings and parties thrown by our relatives. I was, however, an extremely bashful kid. Take as an example: Whenever our Jackson 5 dance number reached the middle portion, my brother would take the lead and start executing The Robot – to be subsequently followed by my elder sis and (supposedly) me. But I…I would freeze for two frightful seconds, as the nearest empty chair would begin activating its magnetic pull on my butt. In the blink of an eye, the audience would find me already sitting down. They’d coax me into rejoining the performance by saying, “C’mon, you can do those moves, too.” But I’d smile and just shake my head from side to side. Didn’t they know not even Darth Vader’s Darkest Force could have lifted me off my seat and made me do The Robot?

Anyway, we always have a good laugh these days whenever the three of us reminisce on our Burn Baby Burn Disco Inferno phase.

Many songs from the 1970s & 80s are still being played here they’ve become hailed as pop classics. I haven’t grown tired yet listening to REO Speedwagon’s Keep on Loving You.

And I meant every word I said

When I said that I love you

I meant that I’ll love you forever…

And there’s this personal anthem of mine: Here I Go Again by Whitesnake. (The MTV featured the lead singer’s sizzling model girlfriend at the time – who also appeared in the band’s steamy video Is This Love.)

Well I don’t know where I’m going

But I sure know where I’ve been

Hanging on the promises in the songs of yesterday

And I’ve made up my mind

I am wasting no more time

And yeah, I guess I should not be ashamed to admit I like many a songs from The CarpentersBreadMadonna, and Tom Jones. 🙂

Rupert Holmes was a big name in my country for ages because his melodies and lyrics appealed to our taste, e.g. Terminal. His favourite theme had been infidelity; a subject that’s hardly my cup of tea – although I get tickled pink by his hit Him.

I don’t want to own her

But I can’t let her have it both ways

Three is one too many of us

She lives with me or stays with him…

What’s she gonna do about him

Time for me to make the girl see

It’s me or it’s him

I’ll leave you with the opening verse to one of my all-time favourite songs: A slow love ballad from my most favourite male vocalist – Paul Davis. I won’t reveal its title by reason of its sentimental value to me in my younger years, but the song reportedly crawled and lingered in the Billboard charts for an incredible 40 weeks. Cool.

Hello Girl, it’s been a while

Guess you’ll be glad to know

That I’ve learned how to laugh and smile…


More fave songs:

She’s so mean but I don’t care

I love her eyes and her wild wild hair

Dance to the beat that we love best

Heading for the nineties

Living in the wild wild west

“There are too many windows in this old hotel, and rooms filled with reckless pride

And the walls have grown sturdy and the halls have worn well

But there is nobody living inside…”


P.S. As promised, this post is dearly dedicated to PTFT, the youngest blog buddy I’ve ever had. He’s been through so much these past few months and I didn’t even know. I had conjectured a guy in his 20s had been simply living his life to the max. Pardon me for my mistaken assumption, my friend. Do hold on.

Photo represents how I looked when I was glued to my radio and cassette player in my pre-teens :-)
Photo represents how I looked when I was glued to my radio and cassette player in my pre-teens 🙂


Double Posts: Give Me That Half A Billion Pesos! – Plus My Lamentation As An Online Lottery Merchant

marilyn monroeMy needs and wants are not many. I’ve always thought I have not really been financially ambitious. Ok, that may not be an absolute certainty. But I irrefutably wouldn’t choose to do dealings business-wise relating to any form of gambling. I even rarely bet on a game of chance myself. Then how did I get to become a middleman for the Philippine Charity Lottery Office? A more critical question: Why am I still holding a franchise to operate this type of retail after all those tough years? How could I have let it box me in for too long?

Long story from a long time ago.

The first, original stall for its operation was originally set-up by my ex-husband – through the assistance of my elder sister who had connections inside the government agency. He decided to go for it despite the fact any connection to gambling matters is forbidden by his religion. He badly wanted to invest the money he had saved from working as an Overseas Contract Worker on a sure business that would give him a return on his capital. So he, or rather we, ended up as among the pioneers of online lottery-ticket generators of this nation some 13 years ago. Then something happened along the way. We were held up helplessly at gun point just barely outside our booth during a closing time one night. We lost the entire day’s sales which had to be remitted to PCSO (government agency). The misfortune discouraged him severely. As a consequence, he came to the conclusion I might do a better job of managing everything – due to my commerce background and more structured conceptions – thereby passing on to me his minuscule business; with all the responsibilities holding such a franchise entails. It turned out, as time went on, I could manage things more effectively than him. Until resentments ensued and ramifications of changes that occurred started playing a part in the dissolution of our relationship and – in the end – our marriage. The earnings coming from the business had proved insufficient, too, to support the three of us – him, my son, and me. He finally proceeded in converting all the franchise documents to my name so he’d completely be free from all legal commitments to the main office. A few months later, he left us and never came back.

The course of maintaining and operating such a franchise are far from uncomplicated. I am seriously thinking of giving it up – now that my son has already completed college. The red tape, daily remittance, prompt submission of reports which take too much work weigh heavily against the minimal income the franchise is currently generating. The low return has been compounded by the numerous other outlets the Main Office had approved to sprout within the vicinity of my lottery booth. I often ruminate these days on how operating it isn’t worth the troubles anymore. The feeling of being stuck with the system, with all those accompanying demands, has added to my growing indifference, too. For now, I’m in the dark as to how all this will end.

Funny how lottery mimics some major parts of our lives. Anything can happen. There are no guarantees. Life can be a game of chance.


In this country, winning that much amount of a jackpot prize means you have been stamped “DEAD” on your forehead or scheduled for extinction very very soon.

If you think keenly about it – given the circumstance of our cash-strapped society – who can you trust aside from your immediate family while in possession of that much amount of dough?

Scary, isn’t it? Yet I bet nobody can stop you from falling in long line to grab even the slimmest chance of winning the sum above.

You should know: The chance of getting struck by lightning thrice (yep, that’s 3X, baby) is higher than getting all the numbers right in any of the 6/45, 6/49, or 6/55 lotto game. It is that hard to hit a fortune through lottery. But my countrymen are incessantly fond of indulging in inexpensive games of chance. Proof of which are the millions of filipinos who visit lottery stores to purchase those tiny tickets everyday of their lives, hoping to get lucky and strike it rich. We most often feel it’s our only hope – in spite of the fact we’re simply buying the dream; allowing us a (rather quixotic?) differential mode of optimism. For the longest time, frolicking in Wishland where life is easier and cash-abundant has long been a national pastime in our country.  It’s free to dream anyway (except when procuring a lottery ticket), isn’t it?

When the pot prize gets to rise to half a billion pesos, there’s no doubt I’ll fall in line, as well, no matter how long it is – joining my fellow citizens here – in buying the dream.

Who knows?   

But first, I’d better make sure lightning doesn’t strike me first.


A few days ago, a younger blogger pal mentioned he was listening to songs of the Eagles and I went, “Why, I adore the Eagles!” Yes, the band remains to be my all-time favourite so I got busy looking for two of my most favourites from them: “One of These Nights” and “New Kid in Town” from You Tube. Lovely lyrics; rich and exquisite melodies. And I thought Don Henley and Glen Frey have the coolest voices ever.

Lady from Manila is a bona fide fan of the Eagles for infinity.

The full moon is calling

The fever is high and the wicked wind whispers and moans

You got your demons, you got desires

Well I got a few of my own.

Someone to be kind to in between the dark and the light

Loneliness will find you in between the wrong and the right.

I’ve been searching for the daughter of the devil himself

I’ve been searching for an angel in white

I’ve been waiting for a woman who’s a little of both

And I can feel her but she’s nowhere in sight.


You look in her eyes the music begins to play…

My Vocation As An ESL Teacher

How time has flown. I’m running on my seventh year in my current job yet it seems like only yesterday when I walked along the hallways of a newly-built academy for an interview, anticipating my acceptance in a field that I barely had substantial experience at and no essential qualifications for.

I had liked my brief stint when I taught bookkeeping to a class of young female adults studying in a finishing school – for administrative assistant hopefuls – in the past. So when I decided to quit the accounting profession (as it’s not my true destiny) at the age of 36, the teaching field had already become an appealing option.  On our side of the hemisphere, once you get past the age of 35, you automatically stand an awfully frail chance of undertaking a career makeover or even procuring a level-entry job.

Our Teacher's Party late last year. That's me in the middle, wearing a purple dress.
Our Teacher’s Party late last year. That’s me in the middle, wearing a purple dress.

The longest-running occupation I had before this one was my 3 ½ years Accounting and Auditing positions at a leading news publishing firm (before my era of improvident job-hopping). So dissatisfied and insignificant I felt about my work there that I once or twice punched my time card in the morning and went out the whole day to do something else – instead of proceeding into the office. I know, I know, what a horrific thing to do. I was 20 years-old then (It’s the best excuse I could come up with, sorry). At least, I am capable of remorse now. 🙂

academyfoto1My current job has been one of the darlings of my existence largely brought about by my passion for everything English. But things hadn’t been all quite rosy for me. Office politics, you say? Ah yes, I experienced that in the most contemptible fashion hundreds of moonlights ago. I almost got kicked out by my co-pioneers who wanted the non-conformists out of the academy (in which half a dozen of our colleagues fell). What they failed to realize was I am harmlessly and silently invincible. I hanged on. Just like in the many arenas of my life. Besides, my bosses made me stay. Most of the people who schemed for my ouster are gone now. The few that remained I was able to get along by way of civility up to this day. I’ve gotten comfortable with the fact that there’ll always be people who’ll commend my strength and people who’ll be put off by the placid gutsy interiors of mine.

academyfoto2Teaching the English language is easy and pleasurable. I even get a kick out of pronouncing the words and courageously manage a modicum of the British accent every now and then. The straining part is effectively allying with these students who come from one of the most affluent countries in Asia. These people have got fairer skin than most Filipinos, which could only aid in jacking up their superiority complex. They’ve been spoiled by their nation’s wealth and technology the teachers here, almost always, are obliged to dole out concern for their personal well-being. Well, there had been students I couldn’t care less – by reason of misbehavior or ill manners, and there had been students I developed compassion for. My students generally range from 20 years old and above – male and female. Some can be sweet and pleasant and likable you end up doing your very best for them. A perk of this vocation: Once in a while, you cross paths with a student who’d be willing to get molded in his or her English fluency and at the same time be led to a more linear direction to become a better individual. That’s when I feel my most productive while doing my work. You also end up sanguine for these young souls who might find genuine happiness in their tomorrows – despite a culture dictating to them that a plenitude of material possessions is the principal reason for existence.

How do you motivate a class of inhabitants who hardly appreciate the English language? Whose main purpose for learning it is to compete with the rest of their fellow citizens in clinching a high-paying job? That’s the never-ending challenge for ESL instructors like me here. Invariably, the students prefer “free-talking” than learn the rudiments of grammar or render some effort to expand their vocabulary. FYI: they’re better at Science and Mathematics, admittedly. The majority aren’t even into reading any genre of world literature. Funny thing is, they’d request we teach them Tagalog words instead – and as soon as we give in, our deed gets so well-received their faces would gleam in glee. Puzzling.

From middle of last year: That’s me on the left wearing green. I really don’t drink, you know.

A popular personal question that’s been asked of me by my close friends: Do I go out with any of my students? Yes, we teachers do that – e.g., going to the mall, go karaoke singing, club-hopping, drinking and conversation – nonchalantly for reasons of goodwill and diversion. But what about in more than friendly terms, you ask? Uh…it happens. Sometimes. Teacher and student (of the same age) engender romantic feelings for each other – even fall in love (“pol in lab” as we filipinos endearingly termed it here) – and start dating. It’s not tolerated in most academies. Yet it happened to me (and to many other other teachers, too) I confess. A learning experience I don’t intend to go through again. Never. Mark my word :-). Why? I’ve had misgivings if it had been worth it (Translation: the sex wasn’t phenomenal. joke-joke-joke)…although we could only normally think this way from a backward glance.

I know not what the future holds for me, as anything can happen, although I ponder that perhaps this is the last full-time job I’d be holding. It doesn’t pay much, mind you, but the Monday – Friday, 8:00 – 5:00 schedule has been ideal and the job isn’t too demanding. I also get to do other things during off-peak seasons when there aren’t many students. Like reading and writing blogs. He he…


Since I’ve been frequenting You Tube more often, I get to find the songs I liked when I was a child. The Philippine English song below not only hit our charts but Malaysia’s, as well. Yeah, it’s mawkish. But I’m sentimental – you already know that. And I was only 10 years old then. Surprisingly, the song is about a father who misses his young daughter after they got geographically separated. I didn’t know it then. Again, I was only 10 years old at the time :-). Two versions of the song down here: The first one is the piano version (by a Filipino talent), the second; the original one.


All I want is

Only to hear you say

That you love me, love me with all your heart, and to say

That you need me, like you’ve never needed anyone before

Except for God and your little dolls and your story books

Just me…

–      Missing You by Rafael Centenera

April Babe Musings (Asking for A Little More from Life)

Results of the Social Weather Survey on Life Satisfaction were published in the newspaper Businessworld yesterday. It says 81% of Filipinos are satisfied with their lives. Of the 81%, 33% are “very satisfied” and 48% “fairly satisfied.” On the other hand, 14% said they were “not very satisfied” with their lives, while only 5% were not at all satisfied.

My students who come from a prosperous Asian nation, with high dissatisfaction quotient and alarming suicide rate, constantly marvel at how Filipinos can afford to be happy, satisfied, and kind despite our lack of material wealth. They subsequently ask me how we are able to arrive at such a degree of genial disposition in a bit of relaxed demeanor. Truthfully, even I get bemused as to the possible explanations available. So I’ve done a little reading for verification and ruminated on a few realities to be able to answer their question.

Money is essential to our well-being – we don’t deny that – although we can very well manage to be in good spirits without it. There’s this Filipino mentality: “As long as loved ones are together, it matters little what kind of food is served on the table.” Nothing could be truer than that. It’s just the way it is here. We learn to get by with unanswered prayers. We soldier on in the face of pain and poverty. Yes, slum areas proliferate in our every city but rarely will you notice scowls on faces among the residents there. Why? Acceptance is worth embracing for the majority of us. Flexibility is another prime element. Toss us in any part of the globe and you’d be amazed by how willing we are to endure anything for the sake of survival. It surprises me as well how psychotherapy is not that popular a remedy in our country because we simply turn to family and friends for the airing of our inner disturbances.

Make no mistake though: We surely are gonna be happier with enough money. Or more than enough of it (I guess). At least I am.


My Life Satisfaction: Not easy to contemplate on after having gone through my most devastating loss early this year. But barring my recent circumstances, these questions must be answered honestly:

Q: Am I satisfied with my life?

A: Yes, contented (they’re similar I suppose?), too.

Q: Am I happy?

A: Most of the time, in fact.

Thinking carefully about it, what is there not to be pleased about?

My life is not without blemishes though. My son and I could highly sense that we disappoint each other from time to time. It’s a constant struggle the two of us face – just like in most parent-child relationships (if we all are going to be honest about it). He’s nevertheless aware he is my true reason for living.

These days, my son is glad to see me dancing and doing sit-ups again. He could only exhale in relief considering how two months ago he had voiced his concern to my mom and sister of my severe grief for the loss of my Dearest One. Maybe I owe him an apology for letting him see me feeling so helpless and in despair during those critical times. The despondence over my loss is something I now have to live with, which I try hard not to harbour – because every time I do, or for every moment that I remember my Dearest One, I still die a little. More than a little, to be precise.


I just had a haircut, by the way, which means I am currently sporting shorter hair. I had originally intended having a haircut last January. Love how I feel about my hair now since I’ve worn it long for several years.

Reading has been saving my life for as long as I could remember. Reading and music and nature. And more recently, writing. That is why blogging is one of the best things that ever happened to me. My work has given me structure and pleasure, too. I am an ESL instructor on weekdays and at the same time an online lottery agent who has to generate computer tickets for bettors every Sunday (my operator’s day-off). That has been basically my life for six long years. I must be thankful for having these jobs – considering the never-ending grim state of our economy and the high unemployment stats; not to mention job opportunities for someone at my age are getting more and more scarce. Yet there’s this undeniable truth I got trapped in this cycle for so long. As a result, my attention and energy had been snatched away, which I should have had in the first place bestowed upon the people I’ve treasured my whole life. The few people who truly matter to me.

However, it’s too late for regrets. The business of living is what all of us must get on.

14772_10200636670064057_310383308_n[2]Traveling is one my remaining aims in life. How I long to be able to see the wonderful sights in Italy, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S – so I’m gunning for sufficient funds for my probable trips to them in the near future. There’s also this wish that I’d somehow manage to find new friends who do share my interests and are on the same intellectual level with me. Friends who are not into any religious cult; are not into watching telenovelas; are not into the latest gadgets (Filipinos are crazy about the latest cellphones and texting, gotta admit that); most importantly, friends who don’t believe in, omg, ghosts and UFOs! I don’t want to sound smug or a snob but rarely can I find people here, er, cannier than me. And I’m not even smart or intelligent. Now how do I reconcile that? 🙂

I’ve been visiting You Tube recently. So delighted to have found this song which I haven’t heard for decades. When I was 10 years old, my favourite playmate and I would go over the many cassette tapes of his Dad -who happened to be an American- in their living room and we always ended up choosing this particular classic. He, with his light brown hair and skin fairer than mine, and I would sing our hearts out with this breezy song on our bright summer days. Definitely one of my unforgettable and charming memories.

Man, why don’t they make songs like this anymore.


Baby, baby, falling in love
I’ve fallen’ in love again
Baby, baby, falling in love
I’ve fallen’ in love again

You and me for eternity, in love, we’ll always be
Young and free and naturally the way it’s got to be

-Fallin In Love by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds 

My Own List of Unforgettable Events

A few days ago, Yahoo featured some of the most memorable events shown on TV that made the biggest impact on American audience. Interesting. So I decided to come up as well with my own list of events that have registered inexorably on my consciousness and continue to resonate with me somehow.

The Day the Music Died

The day the music died for me was when my favorite Beatle John Lennon passed away.  The life of the leader of the greatest band in musical history had been cut short by a mere whacko who managed to get near him, pull out a gun and take half a dozen shots. It was totally incomprehensible. The murder didn’t make sense at all. Not to my very young mind at that time. My mom and sister found me crying some few days after and asked me what was wrong. I simply told them, “Because John Lennon is gone.” Both non-Beatle fans, they sneered and called me mawkish. Though I wasn’t really a huge Beatle fan myself then, I came to love some of their songs like “Ticket to Ride,” “In My Life” and “Michelle” among many others. Their cute hairstyle in the early 60s that matches their adorable sound made me feel more fond of the Fab Four. John Lennon’s departure from earth left me downhearted mysteriously for weeks. It could be that it somehow put a final dot on something that we wanted to hold dear forever. Or it could have been the early manifestation of my problem with saying goodbye. Maybe.

Though I know I’ll never lose affection

For people and things that went before

I know I’ll often stop and think about them

In my life

I’ve loved them all..

– In My Life, The Beatles, 1967

The Unbelievable Verdict of OJ Simpson

The words “Not Guilty” left me in suspended disbelief at 2 a.m. here of October 3, 1995. The incriminating evidences, the strongest of which was the DNA, proved not material enough to bring OJ Simpson to jail. The jury inconceivably placed more credibility on the ridiculous but nonetheless indelible line “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” formulated by Simpson’s Dream Team Defense lawyers, referring to the gloves OJ supposedly used during the murder.

Months on end before the shocking verdict, I followed the story and the trial in the newspapers with fervor and consequently arrived with the same conviction majority of the Americans had had which was “Who else could have done it?”

The Bronco chase I did not get the opportunity to watch, but my deliberations at that time were, “Why the hell did he try to run away? What was he thinking?”

I even nudged my mother to ask my lawyer uncle when he came to visit us two months before the court verdict his two cents worth about the celebrated case. His surprising prophetic assessment: The defense is going to win hands down. He elaborated as to why but I had been a bit upset to absorb any of his technical explanations.

Although he lost in the subsequent civil trial, the fact that OJ Simpson has been walking as a free man is still disturbing to me. I gathered many people feel the same way.

May the Force Be with You

Something delightful refreshingly made it to my list. It’s the very first Star Wars movie which got shown here when I was still in gradeschool. It’s the movie that had me pining for Luke Skywalker in his immaculate white garb and dramatic laser sword. Such was not the case though in “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” when the actor’s original pretty boy looks got altered due to a car accident that largely disfigured his face. The white garb in the succeeding movies was history as well.

But more than my infatuation for Luke Skywalker, watching the ground-breaking film (around 1978) at around nine years of age served as a landmark period for me that signaled my inception to the adolescence stage. Star Wars is the only sci-fi movie that gave me the distinctive sensation of being transported to a totally different dimension. The battle between good and evil taking place “a long time ago in a galaxy far far away..” is just awesome. I also thought Darth Vader looked dignified and formidably cool. I was enamored too with R2D2, C3PO, Princess Leia’s long white gown, the all-white Imperial Stormtroopers and quite charmingly, by Chewbacca’s sweet devotion to his master Han Solo.

The 9/11 Tragedy

This one I still find painful to write or talk about so I’d better not. I remember how it gave me sleepless nights. The loss of innocent lives masterminded by a single twisted mind remains beyond my comprehension up to this day. The goodness of humanity had prevailed on the whole yet the heartbreak of losing so many civilians, firefighters, not to mention all the soldiers in the war against terrorism that followed, remains poignant.

The One That Could Never Make My List

Whitney Houston’s death – It was included in Yahoo’s list but I was like “Are you kidding me?” This is the singer who counts “The Greatest Love of All” as one of her greatest hits. A song that brings to the fore the value of loving oneself.

I’m not a saint either and I confess to being a broken soul myself just like the rest. Although I’ve got to admit the only “addiction” I ever had in life was my predilection for drinking at least half a glass of Coke after every meal. And even that I successfully battled by alternating it with commercial green tea or milk tea. I mean I’ve known loneliness and almost all kinds of despair too. Still, if you have even a smidgeon of self-respect and concern for the people around who love you, you’d go to the ends of the earth not to let the demons of your addiction totally ruin you and claim your life. There can be no excuse for the choices Whitney Houston made in her life. There just isn’t.

“Rock of Ages”, Tom Cruise, & The Era of The 1980s Once Again

“I just gotta see this one, kid. So go home while I proceed to the cinema.” That was what I told my son after our afternoon stroll inside the mall last Sunday when I was itching to see the newly-released film “Rock of Ages.” I hope he didn’t mind that I decided not to take him with me as I was aware the movie might not be his cup of tea. We watch mostly action, sci-fi, even comedy movies side by side. But musical? The only time I dragged him to one was Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” – which he actually got to enjoy. Anyway the former secret mild rocker hidden beneath my temperate, quiet veneer opted to relish on watching this Tom Cruise starrer rock musical alone for some schmaltzy reasons.

Aah, the 1980s. I was this teenager who had dreamed of becoming a mellow rockstar one day (Yup, you read that right, no typo error there). But don’t we all fantasize of becoming one anyway?.. So I had no problem lipsynching or belting out Foreigner’sUrgent” or Pat Benatar’sLove Is A Battlefield” in the privacy of my bedroom (which I actually shared with my sistah). These are among the songs I “digged” for the most part of my teenage years. Plus “Rock The Casbah” by The Clash, “One Thing Leads To Another” by The Fixx, and yeah of course, Guns & Roses’ or rather Axel Rose’sSweet Child of Mine.” And I thought I was cool.. It’s been a while since I heard the song “Sister Christian” and upon hearing it in the said movie, I was like transported back to the days when I was still wearing my highschool Catholic uniform singing:

 Sister Christian there’s so much in life

Don’t you give it up

Before your time is due

          -Sister Christian, Night Ranger, 1984

The superlative presence of the seasoned actors here are the ones worth viewing. It’s a thrill to watch Tom Cruise emoting as a wayward, over-sexed rocker who waxes incoherent under the heavy spirits of alcohol. Though I’ve watched this man through the years do his thing from one moneymaking movie to the next I never could consider myself his fan. That is, until this film. Perhaps because I’ve got misgivings about his infamous lifestyle and have had ongoing speculation about his true gender (I read too many celebrity tabloids I guess). After this movie though, I could only sing praises for this guy who undoubtedly deserves a special place in history as one of the finest artists we’ve had in motion picture industry. The passion he infuses into his art as an actor is evident in every film he has done. He can be anything he wants to be onscreen. Convincingly. Looking the part is always another plus for him. He must be in seventh heaven now reading critics’ reverence for his well-chiseled body that can definitely put 20 year olds to shame.

Cruise in “Rock of Ages”
The huge glitch in this movie was the choice of the young lead stars who failed to register well on me. I felt out of sorts with Barbie and Ken (well, that’s what they look like to me).., chagrined even of their weak personas and mediocre performance (particularly the girl’s singing voice). Rusell Brand’s brand of humor couldn’t do it for me too.

Catherine Zeta Jones whose talent matches her exquisite beauty is amazing as the mayor’s take-charge and unrelenting wife determined to close down Alec Baldwin’s (He was outstanding in the film too) reportedly notorious gig joint. One of my favorite scenes was her rendition of Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With your Best Shot” inside a chapel with a group of women dancers in their 30s and 40s. That brings me furthermore to commend on the excellent choreography of all the dance scenes in this film.

Zeta Jones singing and dancing in “ROA”
A momentary blast from the past and another feel good movie no doubt. “Rock of Ages” was certainly worth my time and the price of its ticket. For nostalgic reasons..

And definitely for my refreshing reappraisal of Tom Cruise.