CATS Out of the Box #MondayReviews #NanoPoblano2019

In December, a new movie version of CATS THE MUSICAL will be shown in theaters worldwide. I am a huge CATS-lover and let me tell you now: So far, I’m not liking most of the changes they’ve done. But, alright, I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. Who knows? I might like it.

Anyway, below is the semi-review that I did on the original movie years ago. I call it “semi-review” because it’s more of a feature. Well, more of a fan-made writeup. This was posted way back in the old Multiply days. I have decided to share it again (1) since it’s timely, (2) to introduce new viewers to the original musical, and (3) to give them points of comparison once the new movie is released. I did edit things to correct some grammatical errors, shorten the piece a bit, and add some updates.

By the way, links to more reviews can be found in the CRITIC’S CORNER.

FAIR WARNING: I am posting a reaction-slash-comparison video on my vlog one of these days. Bear with me. Humor me.

A CATTY EXPERIENCE

Indeed, I could choose from a variety of movies that I have already seen. Instead, I chose to love a film that is, for sure, not on a lot of people’s favorites-list. It’s a story with a simple plot. Cinematography is good, not outstanding. The visual effects are there only because they are necessary. And then, there are glaring editing misses!

So what’s there to love, really?

CATS THE MUSICAL is simply not the kind of film most Filipinos would appreciate. Well, most people in general. But I am a musical-enthusiast, videophile, dance-lover and poetry-maker. That combination explains why I find CATS very entertaining, beautiful, and original. It is poetry in words, music, and motion, all rolled into one cool package. Great score, great singing, great dancing! In the words of T. S. Eliot, it is “ineffable…effable…eff-an-in-EF-fable!”

The History of CATS

In the past, stage musicals like OKLAHOMA and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF were made into successful films. Many were culled from classic literature such as OLIVER!, from Charles Dickens‘ book Oliver Twist. THE WIZARD OF OZ, meanwhile, was based from the 1939 film, which was an adaptation of L. Frank Baum‘s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. As for WEST SIDE STORY, it was inspired by William Shakespeare‘s Romeo and Juliet.

Came the early ’80s and there was the musical genius Baron Andrew Lloyd Webber (ALW). He of the JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and PHANTOM OF THE OPERA fame had a novel idea: Why not make a musical about cats based on the book his mom used to read to him — T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats?

So CATS was conceived and developed. It was made by famous theatrical producer Cameron Mackintosh and ALW’s The Really Useful Theatre Company. CATS was officially ‘born’ in London’s West End, at New London Theatre, on May 11, 1981. Then the show made its Broadway debut on September 7, 1982 at the Winter Garden Theatre.

The sung-through musical proved to be a hit and won many awards and accolades. For quite a time, it was the longest-running musical as it was performed on West End stage for two glorious decades! There were 8,489 shows in 21 years. On Broadway, it ran for 18 years with 7,485 shows.

A true Taurean, CATS was as stubborn as a bull, refusing to budge from its position as the “World’s Best-loved Musical”. Well, that was until LES MISERABLES took its place in 2006. Sadly, CATS bid farewell to Broadway and West End in 2000 and 2002 respectively. (Ed. Fortunately, it’s currently back in the game, enjoying the limelight, entertaining more theatre fans, and translated into multiple languages.  “As of 2019, Cats remains the fourth-longest-running Broadway show and the sixth-longest-running West End show.” Oh, and it had a worldwide gross of US$3.5 billion by 2012.)

In 1998, ALW pushed the barriers further by producing the film version of CATS. It was, in fact, the first of its kind, an actual stage performance captured on film. In essence, they picked up where they left off, only with a different medium. Directed for film by David Mallet, the musical was shot in London’s Adelphi Theater by running through the whole production twice and then adding other essential shots. They did it in a span of 18 days. Meanwhile, costumes and make-up were toned down for film.

Original performers like Elaine Paige and Ken Page took on the roles they originated on West End (her) and on Broadway (him). The show also brought in veteran actor Sir John Mills for a special role. ALW then chose actors he thought could best portray the 28 other important characters. The cast were chosen from productions that were then currently showing the musical. Judging from the performances captured by the lenses, it seems that ALW’s team chose wisely and well.

The Story of CATS

The story unfolds as the Jellicle Cats meet at a junkyard for the annual Jellicle Ball. In attendance are the adult cats and the kittens that are on the verge of adulthood, probably attending their first ball.

Led by the protective silver-and-grey tom, Munkustrap (Michael Gruber), they sing, dance, do acrobatics, and bask at the Jellicle moon. That is, while they await the arrival of their leader, Old Deuteronomy (Page). Every year, just before dawn, Deuteronomy makes what is known as the “Jellicle Choice”. He chooses the cat who gets the chance to be reborn, allowed to go up the Heaviside Layer (their kitty heaven), and “come back to a different Jellicle life”. Anyone interested could ask to be given this privilege.

During this time, the audience is given the chance to get accustomed to the characters. Some are easy to remember. That’s due mainly to particular costume designs that stage productions almost always follow . (Thanks, John Napier.)

For those familiar with the show, some characters are instantly recognizable. For instance, Victoria The White Cat (Phyllida Crowley Smith), the tuxedo cat Quaxo (Jacob Brent), the Siamese feline Cassandra (Rebecca Parker), or the twins Coricopat and Tantomile (Tommi Sliiden and Kaye Brown respectively). Some performers first show up as swing or supporting casts, wearing costumes specifically designed not to stand out. They later emerge as important characters. It is hard, though, to miss such a man (or cat) the size of Mister Page.

As the waiting continues, the presence of some adored cats are acknowledged. Jennyanydots The Gumbie Cat (Susie McKenna), with her tiger stripes and leopard spots, is a tabby perceived as lazy by her owners during the day. But she gets busy at night teaching or disciplining mice, roaches and beetles. The supposedly smart Bustopher Jones (James Barron) is a well-respected cat in his “coat of fastidious black” and “white spats”. He is revered when all he actually really does is eat.

The Rum Tum Tugger (John Partridge) also makes sure that his presence is known. He is “vain”, “perverse” and “inconsequent”. And yet, he is the object of almost every she-feline’s affection. The kittens and the sensual Bombalurina (Rosemarie Ford) idolize him like a sexy rockstar. Complete with a lion’s mane, a kiss-me curl, and gyrations, he is the show’s trademark Elvis. The Elvis theme is one that ALW plays with from time to time. Case in point: the Pharaoh in JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT. Together with Munkustrap, Tugger serves as another main storyteller.

Grizabella The Glamour Cat (Paige) – ironically un-glamorized now – then enters the scene. Excited to be back after years of absence, Grizabella is saddened when the others avoid and ostracize her. Needless to say, she is forced to stay away and watch from afar. Meanwhile, the notorious Bonnie-and-Clyde tandem of Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer (Drew Varley and Jo Gibb respectively) are caught doing their usual naughty antics and misdeed. The comical troublemakers end up staying all throughout the party.

The Jellicle leader soon appears, to the delight of his followers. For further entertainment, the cats do a parody of warring dogs, with the “intervention” of The Rumpus Cat (Frank Thompson). Dancing resumes after. At some point of the elaborate dance number, the mating process happens. It’s a sort of PG-13 moment when the kitten Victoria “becomes” an adult cat. She mates with Plato (Bryn Walters) while the others also do their – uh – thing.

When it is over, Grizabella returns and tries to join the ball once again. She is still regarded as an outcast. Feeling alone, she sings the now-popular song “Memory”, sadly reminiscing her lovely past. She does not know that Deuteronomy is still there and leaves disappointed.

Soon after, the cats return and Deuteronomy tries to explain to them the meaning of real happiness, to no avail. So to get the message across, he conveys it in simpler words through the kitten Jemima (Veerle Casteleyn). She somewhat sings entranced. Jemima’s maturity at her age is evidenced by her understanding of Grizabella. She is always the first to try and touch the outcast only to be pulled away by the older cats.

Gus The Theatre Cat (Sir John Mills), senile as he is, also attends the gathering and talks of the good ol’ days. He makes you shed a tear or two at the end of his song. He leaves behind him a sad atmosphere. which Skimbleshanks The Railway Cat (Geoffrey Garrat) enlivens again through his storytelling and pantomime acts.

Chaos erupts as the criminal Macavity The Mystery Cat a.k.a. The Hidden Paw (also Walters) emerges and catnaps Old Deuteronomy. As they worry about their leader, Macavity returns in a different form. But the sensitive and rather dramatic Demeter (Aeva May) sees through his disguise and exposes him. A fight inevitably happens and sometime later, the Jellicle leader is somehow rescued. With the help of the magical Mr. Mistoffelees (also Brent) and the kittens — the wise and sweet Jemima and the kind, queenly Victoria — Deuteronomy is finally able to make the Jellicle Choice.

Thoughts on CATS

For anyone wanting entertainment-value, CATS will not be a disappointment. But to the uninitiated, the whole story may not be easy to follow. I had to watch it several times myself before I fully understood everything.

It also helped that I had the libretto downloaded from the Internet back then. That made it easier to understand and better appreciate the actors’ various accents. Varley’s and Gibb’s were particularly harder to follow for me, to be honest. Understanding the words made their lively performance more fun to watch.

Most of the characters that were introduced/announced were old. It was natural for Deuteronomy to choose among the elders. They had been there, done that, enjoyed things they would want to relive like Gus, regretted things they would like to change like Grizabella.

Grizabella did not use her youth wisely. Once it was gone, she was left with nothing but her memories. She felt the sting of loneliness, lamenting the meaning of real happiness. The brief but memorable duet of the old and the young in “Memory (Reprise)” emphasized this. One represented hope and innocence; one represented loss and grave regrets. Meanwhile, we saw a stunning performance from both actors. It is arguably one of the best scenes from the film.

Between Griz and Gus, however, the latter gets my vote. Sir John Mills was a very convincing Gus that I actually shed some tears almost every time I watched him. A brief performance worthy of an award!

The stage production itself is to be applauded, in my opinion. Few musicals can do what CATS do. They may have one or two of the elements, but the show offers more.

There’s great poetry (with additional texts from Sir Trevor Nunn), though already antiquated from the start. Understandable. The book the show is based on is old. What’s amazing is they somehow pull it off. If you’re not into poetry, you’ll tend to forget it anyway as you enjoy watching the cats and their various antics. You won’t really notice that it’s poetry.

There’s wonderful music. A lot of times, it is operatic, which, I admit, may not suit some theater-goers. They might find the show boring because of the music. I think most avid supporters of musicals will not mind, though. Many musicals tend to be operatic.

The dance numbers are totally awesome! I am so impressed by the dancers who train really hard to move like real cats, even think like real cats. They make dancing seem easy when it isn’t. It takes dedication to achieve the craft. CATS’ dance routines also differ in genres (e.g. ballet, lyrical, even acrobatic). That makes the whole show quite interesting. Credit goes to Dame Gillian Lynne. I think productions still follow her choreography up to now. I saw a live performance some years ago and it was like watching the movie.

The set is not breathtakingly impressive compared to other shows’ and yet, very appropriate. Just imagine that you are an actual Jellicle Cat — the set will make sense. The way going to the Heaviside Layer is a bit of a turn-off for me. Other than that, well, I really don’t mind anything else.
I love other musicals as well. What sets CATS apart for me, though, is the fact that it is a complete package. I consider watching the movie as an actual adventure.
Truth be told, it isn’t really the story that has made the most impact on me. I am viewing this from the perspective of a musical-lover, not a film enthusiast. CATS is a stage musical, first and foremost. Despite its flaws, the movie deserves to be praised for the sheer originality alone. That’s what thinking-out-of-the-box is about.
And I am so glad CATS is out! 😉
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Hey, guys, I found this nice page on the musical, check it out: Cats (musical)

Yo, Man! Imma Show Ya Rap Battles! (post-)#WhatsupWednesday

Today, I introduce you to #WhatsupWednesday (don’t mind that it’s late). I could call it #WhateverWednesday, but I don’t think I like the sound of that. It’s like your mom telling you something and you roll your eyes and mutter, “Whatev”. Nope, I’m not comfortable with that. “What’s up” sounds friendlier in contrast. So for this alternate hash potato, I’m sharing various stuff that have caught my interest, but are not that applicable for my other hash potatoes.

Now that that’s explained…

I’ve just recently realized that I’m actually a YouTube-freak. I go through the site searching for vids of songs, musicals, funny talk shows, pranks (zombie vids!!!),…Not anymore cute animal vids, though, as I get that a lot from Facebook already. Anyway, these searches have brought me interesting stuff and because I grew up in the “rap of ages”, you ken betcha momma’s *bleep* I got a heckuva kuhlecshun here! *wink, wink* Okay, before you proceed,

WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE AND SEXUAL CONTENT. NOT FOR KIDS!

Thought I’d give you that. Now, do tell me who you think won in these vids.

First, I found Anne Hathaway rapping against James Corden of Carpool Karaoke fame (he’s famous for his show and whatev, but I never really knew about him except when I happened to search for “Carpool Karaoke”, which I did hear about). I’m not going to share CK vids as it’s so popular, you’ve probably already seen them all. I did like the ones with Adele and Sia, even the one with One Direction because of the collab kind of thing. Gotta watch more, maybe. I do give credit to James, he’s got some musical talent in him.

Here are the two doing rap battle at Corden’s late show’s Drop the Mic segment.

I think that she did “Hatha-slay” him! Yo, Anne, you rock!!! I mean, rap!!!

I’m not seeing that many DTM vids, but I enjoyed this one with Kevin Hart, though he’s an actor I’m  just a tad familiar with (did see his movie with The Rock while on a bus).

Sorry, James, I think that’s two times in a row your bottom got whipped! *trying a cleaner language here 😉 *

Meanwhile…! I found these ones below just yesterday. It’s great that they actually take effort to take care of the settings and stuff when they could just do a kind of DTM thing.

Enjoyed most of them, but a couple didn’t quite make it to my list. The Gandalf vs Dumbledore one made me squee in glee at first only to have my bubble burst–yeah, it wasn’t as good as I expected it would be (so click at your own risk). Mostly sexual references and nothing substantial enough. I liked the Albert Einstein vs Stephen Hawking vid as well, but I don’t like making fun of the differently abled. I’m not even going to attempt to link to it. You do it. There’s also one with the Eastern Philosophers vs Western Philosophers, but I respect our Eastern Philosophers so, up to you to check also.

Now, for the battles.

I found that I liked the Princess Rap Battles more, so I’m showing them first. The guys’ vids have some sick verses as well, though, and the beats, awesome.

It seems that Daenerys won here in the end, but rap-content wise, I think it’s a tie.

It’s a tie, too! Don’t you think?

Oh, Galadriel won this one, hands down. Leia never had an iota of a chance to win against the great elf.

Now, the boys doing Epic Rap Battles of History. The girls are princesses and the guys get to be intelligent, geeky ones…Although, there is that Superman vs Goku vid, so I guess it kinda even things out.

Sorry, GoT fans, but LOTR nailed this battle. I don’t understand the reference to Led Zeppelin, though. [UPDATE: That last statement is quite the proof that I am not a Led Zep fan, LOL!!! Just found this that should explain the reference: Led Zeppelin and Lord of The Rings – Rockers and Tolkien Fans.]

Nobody won. Well, maybe the third one in this battle (being not-so-quite techie still, I have no idea “who” that was). Or was that also supposed to be “Steve“? And, boy, too much of an angry Bill here.

It’s true: Jack was a real serial killer who never got caught; Hannibal was fictional and did get caught (or he would not have met Clarisse). That said, Hannibal killed Jack  *he he, get it? killed?..uh, okay…*

I…honestly don’t know who won…

Here are some more that I liked (in random order), if you’re interested:

  1. Ash Ketchum vs Charles Darwin (Picachu was no match to Darwin’s ape, methinks)
  2. Snow White vs Elsa (oh, yeah, the princess was no match for the queen! It wasn’t really a fair match. Just let it go, Snow White, dear)
  3. Miley Cyrus vs Joan of Arc (don’t even know the connection between them, but anyway, Joan just slayed Hannah Montana)

So the people behind these vids are asking viewers who they’d like to see do rap battles. I already gave these ideas:

1. boyband vs. boyband

2. Walking Dead vs. World War Z vs. Zombieland (whichever they can “pair” up), OR Rick Grimes vs. Gerry Lane vs. Tallahassee

3. Bones vs. CSI

4. Elementary vs. Sherlock (two Sherlocks, yay!!!)

5. Johnny English vs Austin Powers

6. Charlie Chaplin vs Mr. Bean (I wonder how they’re gonna do this unless they act it all out as they talk gibberish with subtitles below, he he)

7. Wayne & Garth (Wayne’s World) vs Bill & Ted (Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey) vs Jay & Silent Bob (View Askewniverse)

8. Cats The Musical vs Lion King The Musical (it would be awesome to see how they’ll do the costumes!)

9. Elphaba (Wicked) vs Fiona (Shrek)

I’ve been thinking of more, like Xena maybe rap-battling it out with…Wonder Woman? Not sure if there’s anyone else more appropriate for the Warrior Princess. Maybe, I could also suggest James Corden vs Jimmy Fallon. I mean, people are already comparing them anyway: they sing and they have famous “Justin” buds (Bieber vs Timberlake, respectively). How about Edward Cullen vs Louis de Pointe du Lac, or simply Louis of Interview with the Vampire.

We’ll see.

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Hope you enjoyed the vids. If you’re a minor, I hope you didn’t. Who would you like to see doing a rap battle, guys? Suggest some below if you can’t make a comment over at YouTube 🙂

My Happy List

As promised, I am listing my Not-Really-Bucket List. Will add more pics and links soon. Remember, crossed out and in red means done. Here we go…

MY HAPPY LIST

1. Smile at people all day and see what happens.

I was 13. Heard a smile could make others smile, too, so I experimented with trying to spread joy. It was going well until a lady looked at me like I was crazy…

2. Do something really amazing and meaningful.

3. Ride the roller-coaster.

4. Try a scary sport or adventure.

5. Learn to swim.

6. Learn a third language fluently.

I’m partial to Spanish, which won’t be so hard to learn given our country’s history, plus I can find people to converse with. Just partial, not sure. We’ll see…

7. Learn Baybayin.

baybayin-example

This is just to show my handwriting. Baybayin/alibata should be written vertically actually

Baybayin is the ancient script of our ancestors. Why it’s more commonly called as alibata is a bit of an issue, but that’s become the better-known, more commonly used term. We forgot about it while under the rule of Spain. We just began re-learning it in the recent decades, but people have just really started appreciating it this past decade (sadly, mainly because they think its characters look cool when used in visual arts).

I don’t claim to be an expert in it as I’m not that quick yet in reading words in baybayin/alibata. I do claim to be a baybayin/alibata advocate, though. I think we should start really including it in the curriculum instead of simply teaching it under the Filipino subject in passing. Anyway, I tend to follow the Spanish-influenced baybayin/alibata because the use of the cross makes reading words easier, for me, at least.

Related post: How to Spell the Ancient Filipino Way

8. Learn a martial art.

learn-muay-thai

Learned the martial art Muay Thai. Forgive the sort of leggings here. MT shorts are too short for better movement and I couldn’t find my cycling shorts that time

 

9. Learn to paint on canvass.

10. Travel around the Philippines.

11. Visit Disneyland with my family

Japan, Hong Kong or the US, whichever opportunity presents itself.

12. Travel around Europe.

13. Visit New Zealand.

14. Visit The Louvre Museum.

15. Experience the West End.

16. Experience Broadway. I literally mean being in New York watching shows.

17. See ‘WICKED The Musical’ live.

18. See ‘CATS The Musical’ live.

musical playbills

I was lucky to have watched both CATS and WICKED (and PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) with the help of my dearest mother and of one of my friends…Thank you!!!!

19. See ‘Les Miserables’ live.

20. See ‘Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ (JATD) live.

21. Act in a real stage play/musical (school skits do not count).

That almost came true. I was to be 1/3 of The Narrator in JATD. There’s only 1 Narrator but the Director wanted three for various reasons I won’t enumerate…*sigh* I’m not giving up yet, though. Who knows?

22. Go to the Netherlands, watch Veerle Casteleyn perform live onstage, get her autograph, and have a twofie with her.

23. Watch a Lea Salonga stage musical, get her autograph, and have a twofie with her.

How I got the twofie deserves another post. I was not able to get Lea‘s autograph, but this is okay already, right? The main purpose was to meet and talk to her face to face 🙂 Meanwhile, I have seen her perform live onstage in some of her musicals.

lea-salonga-twofie

Miss Lea and I. Standing beside her only emphasized my plainness, but who cared???

IMG_20160605_141829

I never heard about BABY The Musical till then, but I loved it!

The very-first Lea musical that I actually saw live was MISS SAIGON, but we were seated so far away and I was not able to buy a playbill *sniff*...See this faded ticket

The very-first Lea musical that I actually saw live was MISS SAIGON, but we were seated so far away and I was not able to buy a playbill *sniff*…See this faded ticket

24. Attend a live music concert that I paid for.

lea-salonga-concert

This concert, I enjoyed. Isn’t it obvious who I’m a fan of???

Back in college, I was able to attend three live concerts, all for free. One was because I interviewed a band for the school paper. The other two were care of the college radio station I worked for. I wasn’t even really a fan yet of all three. I watched because I got in for free. So I decided I wanted to be able to attend a concert I was really interested in and I would pay for my ticket. I did. Watched Mariah Carey’s live Manila concert. It wasn’t so nice an experience, actually. We were standing far from the stage and I think there were rain showers as well. Somebody was taking pictures and his/her phone got snatched from his/her hand.

25. Sing solo on stage in front of everyone.

I’ve got stage fright. Easier to conquer if with others, not so alone. I wasn’t even too crazy about the idea, but one of my best friends asked me to sing a song at her wedding. I thought better that than be a bridesmaid. I would have hated all the preparations. Also, I wanted to be able to say I did that even just once in my life. Turned out I’d do it several times, but not without me trembling inside everytime. At an office Christmas party, I actually messed everything up! Yikes! Epic fail! *hides* (No pics to show…thank goodness!)

26. Win an award or medal.

They’re not like some big awards or anything, but I guess I earned them. I did not know how I could get any, but I ended up getting some anyway. *Speech alert!* “I would like to thank the school paper and the radio station for those awards….” If they’d be interested to know, yes, I still have those certificates. They’re on my blogfolio’s Certifications & Awards page, filed under “PEER AWARDS/RECOGNITION”.

I did win with my village friends (twice, I think) when we played volleyball in the local summer league when I was a teener. Then when I was already working, I also won second place (or was it third?) with the School Administration Team (playing volleyball also) when the tertiary school we worked for let us join the Intramurals.

I played for the Administration team during the Intramurals back when I worked for a tertiary school. I’m third from right here. At my left (facing camera) is/was the Girl with the Smiley Heart

27. Choreograph a dance number.

Did that thrice in college for three different groups on different occasions. Won for me a Star of D’ Night Award, too, among other things 😉

28. Learn to play a musical instrument,

I think these count even though it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how they work

jaw-harp

The kubing (jaw harp)

bamboo-buzzer

The bungkaka (bamboo buzzer)

29. Be in a respectable indie film playing a bit role.

30. Start a good family business.

31. Build a reading and hobby room.

32. Buy a vehicle for the family.

33. Live in a beautiful house where it’s peaceful with our family.

34. Enjoy our future grandkids.

35. Get a master’s degree.

36. Become a teacher.

home-made-tests

These are just some of the tests I gave the little boy

I somehow have some illusions of becoming a teacher. My kids are here, though, so I think I can cross this out. I’m a proud teacher, too — our incoming first-grader (as of this writing) actually passed his exam with flying colors! Someday, I might teach students in a real school environment, maybe about writing…

37. Become a radio DJ.

I always wanted to be one. Then when I was 13, one of my friends became one of what were called as Junior DJs and I would tune in to the city’s local station so I could listen to her and several other kids. Not without envy even though I knew that envy wasn’t good. The opportunity to become an actual DJ knocked when I was in college so I did not let it pass. I was even surprised I had the guts to try. It paid off, fortunately.

dzlb-memorabilia

These were taken just a few years ago, just to show my radio colleagues I kept souvenirs all these years

38. Become a writer.

I wasn’t planning on making this my career because of the starving artist “syndrome”, but I am here because I think I sought this fate anyway. Fate is still part-effort.

39. Finish my novel.

40. Write/create a comic book.

41. Fall in love.

My real name’s hyphenated now, so, yeah 🙂

42. Tell someone my innermost secret and hope not to be or feel judged.

43. Give birth to a live, healthy baby…

God has yet to grant this wish. We are not giving up yet so we hope he lets us have the baby the next time. We’ll try to be ready.

44. See both/all our kids graduate from college.

45. Build a home for the aged whose own families have abandoned them.

46. Buy a land and build a large animal shelter, for abused/neglected/abandoned animals.

47. Grant scholarships anonymously (when I’m already rich, of course!).

Why anonymously? First, I won’t do it for recognition. Second, I won’t want other people to know I have money because people can use and abuse you when you have money. Three, I won’t want anyone approaching me for his/her kid’s scholarship. Let’s face it, a lot of kids don’t like to study. I wouldn’t want to feel sorry and obligated to send to school someone who doesn’t really want to be in it. Also, some parents will only use the kids to get the money and spend it on other things, not for the kids’ schooling. Someone else who’ll be working for me will handle applications. I’ll have a say on it, of course, but I won’t want people to know.

48. Build my Dream Museum.

49. Attain peace of mind.

50. Die happy.

51. Do my best jump for a jump shot.

This is My Happy List Item #51. What about it? CLICK HERE.

eversun-makati

With the permission of all the peeps here, I shared this to JUMP FOR JOY! Photo Project‘s Eyoälha Baker and she posted it on her project’s Facebook page

52. Finally watch Patti Austin in concert, live.

UPDATE (Dec. 3, 2018): I was trying to check if there’ll be any show I’d like to see next year. I was going to save up. Then I saw THIS. AAARRGGHH!!! I’m so mad that I didn’t know. I’m even madder that the date is so near and I can’t go! No extra money for it *sniff* What are the chances that a Good Samaritan will be able to see this immediately and send me a ticket in time for the concert??!!!

53. Try vlogging.

Done. Well, doing it now. I have THE SANDBOX.

SAMPLE:

I said I’d “try” vlogging because I am not sure if it’s something I can keep doing for years. But, at least, I’ll be able to say I didn’t waste my opportunity. And at least, I’m learning new stuff “tinkering” with YouTube. Meanwhile, I aim to buy better-quality equipment in the future. Right now, I make do with what I have.

 

Okay, that’s My Happy List. I’ll add more to it if I think of more. Care to share your own happy list, though? Feel free to do so and put the link in the comments! 🙂

Little Dove: Cat of a Feather #atozchallenge2015

Ladies and gentlemen, today I share to you one of my most favorite stage thespians. I bring you…LITTLE DOVE. Oh, and all images and videos, unless indicated, are not mine, just to make it clear. Also, this was written circa 2006, just so you know. However, I’ve been updating it from time to time and adding images and links 🙂

From Gazet Van Antwerpen

This is Veerle Casteleyn
and this is my most favorite photo of hers. Photo credit: Gazet Van Antwerpen

CAT OF A FEATHER

Truth be told, there isn’t much to be said about Veerle Casteleyn… Uh, let me rephrase that—there isn’t much info available about this li’l lady, not even in the whole, wide world of the web. Any true-blue Veerle-fan knows that.

Her First Catwalks

Veerle Casteleyn was born in Vlaanderen, Belgium on March 6, 1978. ‘Veerle’ is Flemish for ‘feather’, which appropriately describes her to a ‘T’. Figuratively speaking, of course. Lithe and graceful on her feet, it’s no wonder. After all, Veerle is a dancer first before actress and singer, with quite a credible resumé in dancing tucked under her belt. She is a sweet/light soprano and wonderful actress. A fantastic all-around thespian…

[Ed. ‘Veer’ is said to actually mean ‘feather’ in Dutch, based on some research. Meanwhile, ‘Veerle’ is said to mean ‘travel to battle’ or ‘battle traveller’. In some ways, an individual maybe considered a battle traveller so Veerle may very well be one anyway. I still do prefer to liken Veerle to a light feather.]

Her official foray in the performing arts really started when she began training as ballet/jazz dancer at the Municipal Institute for Ballet in Antwerp, Belgium. She performed in “Joint Venture”, “Initiate”, “Fanfare”, “The Three Musketeers” and “Self-Made”. More roles came after school–an orphan in “Annie”, Liesl in “The Sound of Music”Sylvani a.k.a. Jemima (meaning ‘little dove‘) in “CATS the Musical” (she played the role both in the Antwerp and a London production), and more roles as understudy.

In 2002, she successfully essayed the role of Julia in “Romeo en Julia: van Haat tot Liefde” (R&J), the Belgian production of, well, you’ve guessed it by now. That was her first-ever lead role, complete with a CD release of the show’s songs where you can hear her sing, and believe me, as you will later find out, her voice before was and still is a subject of much debate.

What Curious Cats Ought to Know
veerle-casteleyn-as-Jemima

Veerle as Jemima in the film version of CATS The Musical

To those not familiar with Veerle, she is actually best-known (so far) as Jemima, the cute kitten in Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s (ALW) “CATS The Musical” video, whose wisdom is far beyond her years; the kitten that made Veerle famous (to musical-lovers, at least). On second thought, Veerle made Jemima famous. Though she was first played by the great Sarah Brightman (best-known as the original Christine Daaé of “The Phantom of the Opera”, another ALW masterpiece), Jemima had always been a minor role and was not at all that noticeable until Veerle came along and immortalized her on video.

Veerle was only about 19 or 20, the youngest in the whole ensemble in fact, when she joined the production.  She would later play Jemima on a more regular basis in the West End, as well as do swing parts (a swing is like a bit player) and, more impressive, Victoria the White Cat and Rumpleteazer as an understudy. These two latter roles should tell you how great a dancer Veerle really is. After all, both require superb dancing skills and “Energizer”-charged moves. Not to mention, playful with a sensual flair. Vicky alone always gets to display her dancing prowess, often taking center stage.

ALW had to choose the best performers for the roles, especially since the show was to be shown in another form. Jemima’s role called for a “little, young thing with a wonderful, wide-open face” and Veerle was definitely IT. (See her in the video below smiling so sweetly with Jo Bingham who played Etcetera at 0:29-0:31, then choreographer Gillian Lynne is talking about her as you see her at 1:00-1:09).

(Below, you’ll see her all over the video having her whole look done)

(Now watch her duet with the great Elaine Paige…)

Many viewers get enthralled upon seeing her sweet face and large, expressive eyes during her solo parts. Maybe it helps that she is, indeed, a lovely girl with an unusual charm even sans makeup. However, any other lovely girl would have been hard-pressed to pull it off the way she did in the film. Veerle obviously knew how to work it and project what needed to be projected. Besides, she was not all-face, too. She was the shortest but she wasn’t short in talent at all. She proved to be one of the giants, holding her own against or alongside other great talents like John Partridge (as Rum Tum Tugger) and Phyllida Crowley-Smith (as Victoria).

(This was the first-EVER video that I saw of her online WITHOUT the makeup…I was so excited!!! I forget what year that was, but the Internet wasn’t like how it is now, so it was not easy finding it. In fact, I think somebody just shared it in the forum that I joined in. Very short interview clip, but very dear.)

This Cat’s Meow

Undoubtedly, it is her duet with the Great Elaine Paige who reprised her role as Grizabella, that often leaves the biggest mark in most viewers’ mind. Paige is obviously way up there in the superstar department, having amazingly sung the most original version of ‘Memory’. Still, perhaps, part of the charm of the said duet is “Veerle’s” singing voice…

Now is the time when I have to address the issue of dubbing. In the credits, you will read somewhere that Jemima’s singing voice was dubbed by Helen Massie. That is correct. The long-standing issues here have been: “Why was Veerle dubbed?” and “Didn’t she sing anything in the film?”

The why has been answered time and time again! It wasn’t because she couldn’t sing, but due to her strong accent at the time of the filming that affected her English. Veerle may not be the greatest soprano around, and maybe she was pretty raw back then, especially with no formal voice training, but she delivered. Quite convincingly, in fact. As for the second question, it has not been properly addressed yet. Nevertheless, we who have seen the film more than we should can say that she actually did sing in many parts of the video. Where exactly? I will leave the fun of finding it out to you.

[Ed. THIS is how her voice would have sounded singing her solo parts or with a few cats, just fast-forward to 1:30, though she is everywhere in the vid dancing. Meanwhile, CLICK HERE and HERE to hear her sing in “R&J” — these are my fave of hers from that musical, her first real recording ever, though the voice is really raw, but I think that’s exactly what made her perfect for the role of a young and naive protagonist. She sang in seven songs. Meanwhile, I found her discography as well.]

veerle-as-jemima-in-CATS-DVD

The CATS DVD Jemima poster…Image from the Net but I’m pretty sure The Really Useful Group (RUG) has the rights to this as well as all other CATS images

As I said, Miss Feather made Jemima, so much so that when the movie was released, the wide-eyed, innocent-but-wise li’l kitty was a big hit. Soon, the movie’s off- and on-line release posters and ads featured Jemima holding a “CATS” DVD, etcetera. Why not Grizabella? Or Old Deuteronomy? Or Munkustrap? Or Rum Tum Tugger? Or any of the major roles? The answer may have been “Why not Jemima?”

Jemima is also easily remembered now. The girls love to imitate her and wish they look like her, cat or not. The boys mostly drool at her (especially those who look for and find her unmade-up countenance). Let’s face it. She is easily one of the most beautiful cats in the show, if not the most, ’cause that, of course, depends on taste.

Let the Cat Play

Moving on…Post-“CATS”, Veerle did several plays/musicals onstage again. As mentioned, she did the London production. Then it was in various other productions for her as she toured UK/Europe, The Netherlands and her home country, Belgium: “Carousel” (as Louise in the UK tour),“A Little Night Music” (as Fredrika on the Netherlands tour), “R&J” (Belgian production…another girl acted for The Netherlands tour), “Fiddler on the Roof” (as Chava…great solo ballet sequence, I’m sure), “Alleen op de Wereld” (as the adult Remi), “Dracula” (as part of the ensemble), and “Mamma Mia!” (ensemble).

romeo-en-julia

Veerle played the lead female in Romeo en Julia opposite Davy Gilles. The show was produced by the Belgium Music Hall

romeo-and-julia-death scene

Julia is devastated to find Romeo without life…

She didn’t always get the major parts. But that’s show business. Veerle knows that. Meanwhile, she also found time to make her TV debut in an episode of the police show “Flikken” (‘Police’, in the Sporen episode) as Elke de Brock, rape victim.  Then she became part of the short-lived courtroom drama “De Wet Volgens Milo” (‘The Law According to Milo’) (2004-2005) as law firm intern Sonja who’s “youthful enthusiasm and ambition often gets her into trouble” (this is a loose online translation of the info I found on the show’s site).

If that wasn’t enough, some people reported spotting Veerle in a commercial somewhere, but they’re just speculations. Meanwhile, as far as I know, aside from singing in the “R&J” soundtrack, she recorded at least one song (again, as far as I know for now) for the “Alleen op de Wereld” soundtrack (CLICK HERE).

(See her in “Romeo en Julia — van Haat tot Liefde” at 8:42-8:51, so do a fast-forward thing. Had to find the best vid that clearly shows her especially with Davy)

(Her guest starring role in “Flikken”, ‘Sporen’ episode. Do not even try to auto-translate, it sucks)

(Very short clips from the TV show she was a part of…Is it me or does somebody love mixing reddish shades and blue?)

The Cat of a Feather

Veerle knows she has yet to make a bigger mark to be really called famous, despite the fact that she indeed achieved semi-superstar status with a still growing number of fans scattered all over the globe. She has achieved something that most performers still only dream of. Yet, swell-headed she is not.

Ironically, this girl is a very shy individual in person, embarrassed by the amount of attention given her. Perhaps, too, she feels the pressure of living up to what people expect from artists they admire, or it’s possible she simply does not like being admired for her looks alone. Veerle has actually expressed surprise and bewilderment by all of this. She is so unassuming to the point of being unintentionally private; thus, we only have what little more personal information about her we have. This, by the way, does her real good. Stalk her not, please.

It has been proven several times that she isn’t a snob either. Veerle might be private, but she is definitely not a snob. Though the instances are few, accounts of her have been made, not any of them negative. Not yet. Hope not. If you’re lucky, she just might recognize and surprise you by linking arms with you at the parking lot (that is, if her shyness does not get to her first). She may visit your forum and leave a message even if only once.

veerle-casteleyn-forum-post

To everyone’s surprise and delight, Veerle actually posted a message on the forum! Shoney Cat was going to The Netherlands to see her perform live in a musical. Johan is Veerle’s friend. Jemimus, the original forum’s creator, had seen Veerle many more times than any of us at the the time, plus Veerle knew him…To enlarge, right-click, “View Image”, then zoom in/out

She may meet up with you if she knows you’ve come all the way from across the globe just to watch her in a show, which dialogues you don’t understand anyway. Or she may spend even just a bit of time chatting with you online.

veerle-casteleyn-chats-online

The very rare moment that Veerle actually went online and chatted with her fans. Shared by Steven, the forum moderator at the time…To enlarge, right-click, “View Image”, then zoom in/out

That is provided that you…

(1) will understand she types slow, being admittedly not-so-techno- and Net-savvy.

And….

(2) won’t go borderline creepy and scare her away.

And of course, ambush photo shoots with fans, that’s a given…

veerle-casteleyn-autograph

See how nice her pernmanship is! This is a cropped portion lifted off an actual poster she personally signed for a fan

That’s about it when it comes to getting a bit more glimpse of what Veerle is.  And oh, did I tell you she has a very nice, curvy penmanship?

Cats Sometimes Take a Bow, Too

At present, as of this writing, Veerle is already preparing—or maybe already rehearsing—for the role of Electra for this year’s Dutch production of “CATS”. Yes, you die-hard Veerle-fans, I hate to be the bearer of a really-not-so-“bad” news, but she isn’t playing Jemima. Veerle opted not to do her, a personal decision. [Ed. See update after this article.] I am not surprised. One can only do a routine role so much. She said it herself, she wants a new challenge.

Veerle Casteleyn may still be ‘a kitten still wet behind the ears’ (sorry, I just like saying that), but one thing is definite–this cat is not going anywhere but up! Kitty heaven, here she comes!!!

 

Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

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UPDATES: Veerle has since done the Dutch “CATS”, as reported she would do, and I gave a link to a vid somewhere above. She was a swing member doing…

“…(1st cover for Electra, 1st cover for Sylvani aka Jemima, and 2nd cover for Victoria). She took over the role of Jemima full-time in the summer of 2007. ‘CATS’ premiered in Rotterdam in October, and toured the Netherlands until October 2007.” (Wikipedia)

Then she did “Les Miserables” (ensemble), “Oliver!” (ensemble/Charlotte) and “Musical Droomvlucht” (ensemble). From what I found out, she worked or works (not sure if she still does–dunno if it was a one-time deal or what) as a choreographer for Diluna Dansstudio. She choreographed their 2015 “CATS” musical, as can be seen below. They are the ONLY pics of the ever-elusive Veerle I’ve found from there. There’s not even a mention of her there except on NieuwsBlad.be. On the caption, she was said to be a top choreographer, so I am hazarding a guess that she’s been doing choreography these past years.

I am most probably right as I recently found — or rather, someone else found and privately shared to me — recent proof of it. If I were Dutch or Belgian, I probably could actually find her. We think we also found a real social media account. She’s really kept everything very private, you won’t exactly see a thing on her own page to confirm anything. Besides, it seems inactive. If it is her real account, she probably won’t want it shared to the public unless it’s a fan page. So forgive me if I don’t share it. Please don’t ask for it from me even secretly. I intend to honor my promise to the sharer and especially to respect Veerle’s privacy. If people start flooding her inbox with messages, she could guess I gave her away — I don’t want her to hate me.

We did try our luck by sending messages to her, but..well, we know our Veerle. I just told her it’s okay and I’m just happy to have found her. Anyway, let’s just see if she attends the premiere of the new CATS movie. My guess is she won’t be there, but I’ll let her surprise us 🙂

veerle-castelyn-choreography

Veerle doing choreography for Diluna Dansstudio’s “CATS” show

veerle-casteleyn-choreography

I wonder which part of the musical she is working on here….

See if you can find Veerle here

You can actually find the above same article as The Veerle Essay, posted with my permission, at the Unofficial Veerle Casteleyn Fansite, which is owned by a fellow fan. There’s a mention of a certain “Gracie” as author — that’s me.

You see, I wrote this first for my Multiply blog years ago, and around the same time, I joined the Steven’s Veerle Forum, which I believed to be already inactive for years. But I found out the “new” one, VeerleForum.com , and registered. The old became inactive not because it had a few active members but due to technical problems (won’t go into details anymore). I had been a fan a few years before the writeup.

If you’re looking for more updated info, based on my current research, as I keep saying, not much has been found out about her in later years, which saddens me a bit. I’ll continue my research, though. Do let us know of any new information about Veerle. You’ll be compensated with a lot of virtual hugs, kisses, and heartfelt thank-yous!

 

Lastly, just to let you know, this is my  “L” post for the A-to-Z Challenge (so that explains the title more, hee…).

L

What’s in a Name?

Awards time!!! This has been a long-time coming, but here it is. With apologies to those who abhor awards, but as I said in the past, I appreciate awards. Thank you again so much to Jafar for giving me the One Lovely Blog Award. I got another award, but his came first so I will address it first.

lovely-blog-award

For the One Lovely Blog Award, these are the rules:

1.Thank and link back to the person who nominated you for the award. – I just did above.

2. List the Rules and Display the One Lovely Blog Award logo to your post and/or blog. – Here they are.

3. Share 7 facts/things about yourself. – Find them below.

4. Nominate around 10 other bloggers and let them know about the award. This is a way to introduce others to bloggers that you love. – I will skip this one and explain later.

5. Follow the blogger who nominated you. – I already started, pre-award.

Okay, for the 7 Facts About Me, I decided to focus on my name(s), which explains the title of this post. I just thought, “What else can I share that I haven’t yet?” Then I realized that I have always wanted to write about the evolution of my name(s)…Well, sort of evolution. I know you’ll probably go, “Whut?” but here it is and I hope you’ll like what I’m sharing just the same. 😉

1. Jay-Gee is how you pronounce J.Gi. I’m sure a lot of people have been wondering how to say it. That said, just call me Gi, short for Gigi, my real nickname. No, it’s never Jen or Jenny, though people automatically assume it just because my name’s Jennifer. I answer best to Gi.

2. “Gi” went through changes. Looking at old pictures, my mother wrote at the back and spelled my name as J-I-J-I (I think that’s cute), but later on, she changed her mind and began spelling it as G-I-G-I, which is the accepted norm, anyway. In high school, my sister did a cut-out of my nickname and stuck it on my door — it said Ghie-Ghie. I followed and spelled it as G-H-I-E even till I began working. That is why a lot of peeps still refer to me as Ghie. I really dropped that one long ago.

For some reason, Filipinos grew really fond of adding an unnecessary “H” to their nicks or their babies’ names, like Lhyn, Bhen, Johnathan, etc. My sister’s name looks cool, though, but I would have hated it if I were named Jhennifer, or Jenhiefer, or Jennifher. With apologies to anyone named as such, but...

galunggong

This is the galunggong

3. My entire gradeschool life, I was called Jennifer F. mainly because I always had a namesake in class. Except in fourth grade, but someone was nicknamed Gigi, too. I didn’t tell my classmates about my actual nick for fear of being teased as galunggong, a kind or sardine that was then–and sometimes is still–normally referred to as G.G. So I stuck to Jennifer all the way through high school. There was a Jenny in my batch, and a Je and a Ge, which were short for Jean and Geraldine respectively, so I decided to stick to Jennifer.

My blocmates in college called me Jennifer but Gi became my “in” name when my sister introduced me to her co-members in a school organization as Gi. I ended up living with the family of a member, renting bedspace, and the people I met there called me Gi. A batchmate used to call me Jen but when she also rented bedspace in the same house, she began calling me Gi. She was already part of the school paper, which I also joined and she introduced me as Gi. Then we and several co-writers became members of a film organization so, well, you can guess what they call me by now 😉

big-c-magazine

Copyright © The Core Group Publishing, Inc. Unfortunately, I heard they folded up so the dotcom of the magazine is no more. The Tripod account was the first and reeeaally old one that was there even before I joined the publication

4. Why J.Gi? When I decided for a writer’s name, I think that was probably around the time I started working for a magazine, I wanted it to be Gi Federizo, kind of like Og Mandino or something. But at the same time, I still did not want to disrespect my parents so, as a “compromise,” I retained the initial. I did want it to be somewhat unique so J.Gi was born.

At the time I thought of this, I met a couple and the guy’s nick was J.vee. I thought hard to give up J.Gi so as not to look like a copycat, then I realized, who cared? Besides, it’s not like I was sure to become famous anyway, so why be bothered? It was not like he had copyright over it.

5. My new last name is Enriquez. As a writer, I retain my maiden name. No laws against that.

6. I have been these people:

Li’l Dove Feather — derived from two names. My favorite Cats The Musical character is Jemima, which means “little dove”; the actress who played her on video was Veerle Casteleyn and “veerle” in Flemish means “feather.” Incidentally, that sounds like my last name anyway.

Maya Sands — a combo of my favorite name, Maya, which I decided to use for my story’s main character, and Sands, short for Sandra or Sandra Dee, my airname back when I was a student radio DJ. I also answer to Sands like it’s second skin.

Charlize Gracie Dylan — also a combo of sorts. Not a fan of Charlize Theron but I liked the name at the time. I like the name Gracie, sounds really sweet. Then I like the name Dylan for a girl, also my fave character from the Charlie’s Angels movie (so sue me). Writers whom I met from Yahoo! groups and with whom I am connected still through Facebook still call me Gracie.

7. I do have a fourth alias, one that I cannot divulge. Let us just say that she was both a part of a social experiment I did on my own, and a kind of means to release depression at the time. She was more like a fictitious character rather than just an alias because I gave her stories, I gave her history, I gave her life. She had a life of her own. Of all the characters I have ever created, she was the best, and the world will never know.

 

So that’s it about my seven facts! He he!

As to why I am not nominating any blog, it’s not because I don’t want to or there are none that deserve it.  It’s mainly because I have decided to create something a little bit different, something that won’t require anyone to pass the award on to be able to accept his/hers. I mean no disrespect to the original creators of existing awards, BTW. I personally like your awards. But I will leave it to others to decide what to do with theirs.

How “Vanity” Killed the CATS Entry #atozchallenge2014

I wasn’t even going to post today, but Life really has a way of changing and connecting things, and now I write about VANITY. As my “V” post for the A-to-Z Challenge, I meant to post my writeup on the Belgian stage performer Veerle Casteleyn, if I could just find it (I really do want to introduce her to you through that article so will post one of these days). Veerle is the actress-dancer who played Jemima in the film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s CATS The Musical.

Life had other plans, though. Due to something else I need not elaborate, I just Googled one of my older online aliases. Lo and behold! At the top of the first page result was a link to an archived discussion, not really a debate, as they called it, since everyone else other than myself hated me. WikiPedia hated me. You see, WikiPedia and I go way back.

This was back when WikiPedia was just starting and encouraging people to be its first volunteer non-professional editors (you know how it works, right?). I thought it would be neat to be an editor so I joined them. How, I don’t remember. Anyway, as it was still starting and basically testing grounds through trial and error, guidelines weren’t all that clear and people were still sort of trying to get the feel of it.

Me, being excited and being a CATS fan, not to mention, still trying to grasp the whole notion of writing for the Internet when I was not at all net-savvy, I decided to contribute. The thing was I did some things wrong that led to others misinterpreting my intentions as a means for self-promotion because I linked to my blog posts. Vain, they said about me. They decided to do a debate on whether to delete my contributions or not. I admit I was stupid, going into something I did not fully understand. What I could not comprehend was how nasty people could be in judging others and saying bad things about them. But then again, this was way before Facebook and Twitter. The comments paled in comparison, though, to what people post nowadays.

The funny-in-a-not-so-ha-ha-way thing was I wondered if they didn’t realize I could read them when they should have known I was an editor like themselves. Couldn’t they just simply cite a rule that said linking to personal blogs was not allowed? They could have politely asked me to edit or to delete what needed to be deleted. The comments thread went this way:

*Delete: vanity. The author then created three separate articles on misspellings of the screen name, each linking to the first ”and to the others”. 

* Delete. Aargh. Why do people think this is relevant to the rest of the world? 

* It isn’t. Delete all.

*”’Delete”’! No doubt about it.

*Delete it- definitely. Pointless and boring

*”’Comment”’: the original poster of this page keeps blanking it – could this qualify as a speedy? [Ed. I don’t even know what that means! What do “blanking” and “speedy” mean here???] 

**Comment: Yes, if it’s the author doing it. With IP’s, it’s hard to be sure.

***Comment: it’s the author Charlizegraciedylan, [http://en.wikipedia.org/w/wiki.phtml?title=Little_Dove_Feather&action=history]

*”’Delete.”’ Vanity.

Of all the things I hate, it’s when people make assumptions on my character when they don’t even know me. So I decided to  make things easier for them and posted this:

Dear WikiPedia

In the archive, there doesn’t seem to be any more response to that for reasons I am not aware of and don’t really care about. This information about my personal experience had been a secret I kept until now. I kept it as such because of its embarrassing nature. To actually have this kind of history is embarrassing. But if there’s one thing history teaches us is to learn from our mistakes.

This post is not against WikiPedia itself, but is meant to serve as a reminder to me, and maybe to you as well, especially in this Internet age. Advice to self:

(1) THINK before you leap. That means to always be careful. Think twice, thrice, even many times, about what I am going to say, share or do online and how.

(2) BE AWARE.  Think of whom I share information to. The more I share in public, the more chance for trolls and unfriendly people to target me, ’cause that’s how they get their fix, to degrade others so they can feel better about themselves. In this case, I tried not to mind but because some action was needed to be decided by them, I made things easier. But generally, I just give trolls and nasty people no mind.

(3) KNOW. Make sure I fully understand the rules, regulations and what are expected of me, even if I get nothing in return for the effort.

(4) DO NOT BE VAIN. I was not that vain that I had to keep linking to my own blog — to gain traffic was not the purpose. It just was not well-thought out.  But my crime of vanity was committed when I decided to join the team of editors because it somehow added something to my ego. I got my comeuppance early.

 

It’s never easy to share embarrassing stuff about yourself. But if that helps to improve one’s self, I’m all about sharing. We improve only when we learn from mistakes.

 

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WHEW!!! Four letters to go! I jumped from “T” to “V” because my “U” post was published on time. Anyhoo,  props to the people behind…

a-to-z-challenge

To Sing or Not to Sing?

NOTE: Technically, it’s still February at the other side of the world. Also, technically, I heard that in the lunar calendar, it’s just the 29th of January. So technically, the Love Month isn’t over yet, and if we follow the lunar calendar, it hasn’t even begun. That said, here’s one of the things to share for this month’s special theme, which is love 🙂

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If I were made to choose between being able to write and being able to sing, what do you think would I have chosen? If you said writing because I am a writer, well, you got it…

write-idea

WRITING IDEAS, OR…

singing-woman

…SINGING MY HEART OUT?

…QUITE WRONG.

Hands down, I would choose to retain my ability to sing, regardless of whether I could carry a tune or not. I may not be able to write, but I’d still  have my imagination with me, which was how I started my stories in the first place. Also, telling stories is not confined to writing alone. Since I’d still have my voice, I could either dictate my pieces to someone who’d write them all down, or do either live or recorded storytelling.

Now singing! No, I wouldn’t be able to do that without the voice, nor could anyone else. Unless I just hummed, which is not really singing, is it? Even if I attempted to do some beatboxing, that would still require sounds that I would not be able to make. Writing is my expression of my thoughts, but singing is the expression of my soul.

I LLLOOOOOVVVEEE SINGING…

I really was the shy, silent type when I was a little kid. To say “extremely shy” would probably be an exaggeration already, but that was  enough to make me ashamed of singing out loud. I loved music, but except for the few times I was in the mood to perform for my only usual audience — my mother — and during Music class in school that I secretly enjoyed, no one could make me sing. Not that anyone actually asked, with the exception of my mother, in which case, I am not even sure if she did ask or I volunteered.

I really did love singing. When I was young, I would  sing just a tad louder than a whisper when I was alone. But whenever somebody came into the room or went near me wherever I was, I would immediately stop singing, act matter-of-factly and pretend I was doing nothing of the sort seconds ago. Imagine, I would even react this way at home and around my family. Why this was so is still a mystery to me. Did I suffer some kind of trauma or ridicule when I was much littler that this affected me the way it did? I cannot remember a thing about it, and if ever it did happen, what was it? or who was it?

The only thing I know is it was also myself who decided that if I wanted to sing, I would. Why would I bother about what they thought? So by fourth grade, I allowed myself to express more freely. I would be singing at the terrace and then someone would pass by and I gathered a lot of courage just to keep from stopping or keeping it down. This certainly had its benefits because I started realizing that I could, kind of, actually carry a tune.

song-magazine

Samples of local “song hits.” Image from the writeup on the movie based on the most popular Philippine song mag, JINGLE, that was older than myself, I think

Inspired by this realization, I found myself saving my daily allowance and buying “song hits” (referring to song magazines). Soon, I was the most updated in class when it came to new songs and, weirdly, I knew many of the featured old songs as well (some songs even came from much older eras like the 30s). This became my hobby until the sixth grade, collecting song hits that I still actually have in possession.

As I got older, I fell in love with singing more. I was never the best, I know, and had never really joined anything musical. I kept the singing to myself most times. I dabbled into some songwriting, too, but not one of my songs have any actual music till now, mainly because I have never learned to play any string or percussion instrument. That’s why they’re not so good, anyway. Meanwhile, I developed an eclectic taste in music. I came to like almost any music genre, old and new, local and foreign, pop and classic, instrumental and otherwise.

The only ones I never ever liked were hard metal stuff because I could and can never understand why all the hard growling and shouting that do not sound anything like words and are hurtful to the ears are considered singing. I don’t mean just rock. Legitimate rock, I like. But there are “songs” that sound anything but songs. Before you go all-Rambo against what I said, though, I am not judging you. This is personal opinion and taste. In fact, if I tell you now that I love show tunes, you are welcome to hate them. They are not me, the person, such as heavy metal songs aren’t you.

While we’re on the subject of show tunes, I was a junior in high school when I developed an interest in musicals, thanks largely to our Music teacher. Actually, I came to really appreciate music because of what she taught us. I remember she had a certain theme every year that all students experienced in class. I said all because in school, she was our only Music teacher and, thank goodness, there were just four sections per year level. Still, that’s a lot of kids to handle. Anyway, Broadway musicals was the theme that year.

I had long-before seen The Sound of Music (too many times to count!) and Annie on TV. That year, I appreciated show tunes more. (There’s really a side story to this involving Les Miserables and batch unity, one I will save most probably for a separate post.) Our teacher let us watch the West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Oliver, Sound of Music (I think), South Pacific, and The King and I. I may be forgetting some more, but you get the idea. Whenever it was movie time, I was a very serious, very willing student.

cats-the-musical

“Miiiidniiiighhtt….All alone in the moooonliiiiight….” This is Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s CATS The Musical, my most-est favorite of my most favorites. Love the singing, love the dancing!

This love for show tunes grew that when I was working already, I began watching actual shows if the budget allowed it or when I had time to save up. I’ve also been buying my own copies of movie musicals. Never mind that neighbors think me weird watching those and singing loudly along. People do tend to judge what they don’t understand; they probably don’t understand why I could love rapping at the same time either.

I have never been an actual theater person and I don’t get to see every thing that’s played on stage due to budget constraints, but that didn’t stop me from creating a Broadway-themed group in Multiply called HERE’S TO BROADWAY!!! It slowly grew into the musical-lovers’ group with the most members in Multiply-land. Unfortunately, we all know what happened to Multiply.

Now here I am. I love to sing, definitely, even when there are people around. Just don’t approach me and actually ask me to sing or I’ll clam up. I’m okay with people hearing me, but when they let me know they’re listening, I get all…EEK.  Don’t ask me why because I can’t even explain it myself. The only reason I sang for my friends’ weddings were because, well, they’re friends and I didn’t want to disappoint them by turning down their requests…aaaand because I’d rather sing a song and get it over with in three minutes than be a bridesmaid, HA HA HAAA!!!

So, to sing or not to sing? That is not even supposed to be a question. Sing, absolutely.

Lastly, I guess I’ll share these only-a capella samples I did around four years ago. I recorded these while in the bathroom so I could hide and that’s why I was in a hurry. I could have done better but, oh well. The first is originally by Lea Salonga so if you want to hear that, I’m sure it’s in YouTube. It’s quite a videoke favorite here. It’s also my blogs theme 🙂 The second is from the animation film version of The Little Mermaid, which I haven’t really seen yet because I am mad they murdered classic literature. Anyway, because I don’t have copies in my laptop of these, they will open a new tab and direct you to my Facebook video posts instead.

Hate the singer, not the songs, please 😉

The Journey

Part of Your World

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Do you love to sing? Share it to us! We have to take dares sometime 😉

By the way, I have certain “project” so I urge you to please ask me any question in the comment boxes below. THANKS!