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Showing posts from October, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Once you grow up, candy becomes secondary to dressing up at the end of October. You cackle at the prospect of painting your face green and brandishing a broomstick all night; blush at the thought of donning your secret emergency micro-skirt; smile at the possibility that someone might think your painted-on abs truly exist; et cetera.

I outgrew sugars at 15, when I discovered rollerblades. That also marked my last Halloween out in the streets of Baranggay Ayala Alabang, because have you ever tried to skate at top speed without plowing down a snack child and its yaya (nanny)? Not possible without sustaining injury. Obviously, better the kids than me, but back then I still had a conscience and hurled myself to a stop using my knees. Skin, who needs it? Scars tell a story. They also advertise for safety equipment.

I had a full-body cow costume two years ago, but last year I stopped trying and just put a paper bag over my head. For truth. This year, I was determined to look like a female,…

Movie Review: Dawn of the Dead (2004)

I needed a shot of a good ol' zombie apocalypse while waiting for the next episode of The Walking Dead. Fiancé assured me that Zack Snyder had made a superior remake of Romero's seventies classic. I also spied Mekhi Pfeifer's name on the cast list. Count me in!

Dawn of the Dead tells its terrifying story with stylish flair within a crisp 100-minute running time. A nurse goes home on the night that a bitten patient puzzles hospital staff, and wakes up to a zombie child standing in their bedroom doorway. Her husband gets chomped, nurse escapes, and starts her adventure with other survivors at Crossroads Mall. The group initially consists of a man and his pregnant wife, a former Marine, and a guy who I thought was Tim Roth but turned out to be fellow Middlebury alum Jake Weber. Well, they're both English, okay?

The small group gets bigger. First, they encounter mall security, 2/3 of whom are jerks; then they see a man who runs a gun shop across the street with whom they c…

Groomzilla

A couple of weeks ago a friend forwarded this Bridezilla email article, and I read it, slack-jawed at the  bride's self-importance and horrible spelling. I had never seen a more beautiful thing. Fiancé insisted it must be fake, because how could this person possibly have friends?

But behind our laughter lurked the fact that I had no Vision. Apparently, every girl imagines her wedding day. Then your Vision becomes sharper when he puts a ring on it. You see everything laid out in exquisite detail: the flowers, the table settings, the chairs, the invitations, the weather, the exact number of birds allowed to fly past. At that point, you may or may not transform into Bridezilla, a creature so captured by its own Vision that it terrorizes everyone in sight. My sister, who got married last year, remained herself, which might have caused Fragrant Mother to morph into Mamazilla, she who wears a sour face during the wedding planning process. After all, someone has to be a -zilla, and moth…

How to Lose or Gain Weight

My body has undergone various changes due to my lifelong love affair with food. In Manila, my diet consisted of rice, pork, and the occasional vegetable dish smothered in bagoong (shrimp paste). Owing to her love of crab, Fragrant Mother implemented Seafood Sundays to balance out the red meats.

After high school, I went to Canada and discovered chocolate bars and bagged milk in dispensers. I exploded into a 5'3 brown Pikachu. The kindest comment I received after returning home came from a former teacher: "My, you look...healthy!" My old choir mistress goggled at me and said, "Is this what you've become?" My family, of course, went straight for the jugular: "You're fat!"

In Middlebury College, there were Napoleons, make-your-own-waffles, burgers, pizza, and all the other stuff I piled on my tray as I walked briskly past the salad bar. I also spent a year in Japan and ate pretty much just rice and fish. Then graduate school happened, and I jo…

Book Review: Quicksilver (2003)

Sword-fighting author Neal Stephenson was in the middle of writing the amazing Cryptonomicon when he read George Dyson's Darwin Amongst the Machines: The Evolution of Global Intelligence, which planted a seed that would  become his massive, sprawling Baroque Cycle trilogy. The first volume, Quicksilver, sets the stage for the series by including all the essentials of a Stephenson novel: nerd protagonist, irreverent macho protagonist, insanely competent female protagonist, mind-bending narrative structure that presents vast amounts of information in new and interesting ways, and of course, cryptography. Rabid fans will savor each and every one of the novel's 900+ pages. Delighted readers like myself will occasionally skim over descriptive paragraphs whilst maintaining our happiness level.

Quicksilver begins right here in Boston, in the 18th century. Mysterious old man Enoch the Red, also in Cryptonomicon, finds Dr. Daniel Waterhouse in Cambridge trying to establish MIT, basical…

Game Review: Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (PS Vita)

The Legend of Heroes series continues with its latest installment, the Trails in the Sky trilogy. Nihon Falcom loooooves threesomes -- I'd previously played the Gagharv trilogy, albeit not in the order intended: first, Song of the Ocean (#3); next, A Tear of Vermillion (#1); and finally, Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch (#2). Those games shared certain characters, and the setting for each story included Gagharv, a giant "scar" (gorge) in the land caused by the sins of humans, I guess. It's always our fault. Anyway, I had lots of fun with the Gagharv trilogy, and eagerly got my mitts on Trails in the Sky.

Nihon Falcom released the PSP version of the game way back in 2006, then got around to localizing it in 2011. I downloaded it on my PlayStation Vita (needs 1+ GB of memory) and watched the opening scene with amusement. The main character, Estelle, waits for her dad to come home. When he does, he says he has a present for her. She peeks at the bundle in his arms, and …

iPhone 5 Review, After Actual Use

I shall now pass judgment based upon the holy trinity of smartphone features.

Battery Life (The Holy Father)
I judge thee: Worthy
Because: It's at 47% after 28 hours of standby and 5 hours of use. I mostly read e-books, browse the web, use the maps feature, send local and international text messages, listen to music, and obsessively check email. I'll need to charge it every couple or few days. No problem.

Display Resolution (Jesus)
I judge thee: Fabulous
Because: My laser eyes love the screen. Read this post if you want an analysis of how the iPhone 5 pirouettes through current gamma and sRGB standards, whatever that means.

Sound (The Holy Spirit)
I judge thee: Worthy
Because: The new earphones help me rock out to the thumping bass of the latest Justin Bieber. Call quality on the earbuds also allows me to clearly hear all the details of my mom's next meal and/or workplace gossip.

But there's more! To continue with the religious analogy, the iPhone 5 has bonus awesome fea…

iPhone 5 Review

Ancient Relic Found
(Fragrant Elephant News) -- Drummon 00856


BOSTON -- Archeologists in North America have discovered an ancient device connected to two wires in the remains of a building dating back to the Apple Fanboy civilization. The device is believed to be a throwback to the time before scientists developed the telepathy chip implant, credited with simultaneously triggering WWIII and improving relations between men and women everywhere.

The device has the following dimensions: 123.8 mm L, 58.6 mm W, and 7.6 mm D. It weighs a hefty 112 grams. Its function is a mystery, lead archaeologist Jolette Ochosais confessed. Ochosais added that her personal theory was that it had been a "paperweight," back when our species barbarously cut down trees to print things like "credit card statements" and "books."

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Joshing aside, I'm delighted with the iPhone 5. I bought it because my iPhone 4's functionality had been compromised by multiple instances o…

Movie Review: Looper (2012)

Looper blew my mind. It alternated between fascinating, funny, and alarming. Everything works in this film, but the writing is the strongest feature. It has twists that make sense, and it pulls everything together into an elegant, perfect ending. Wow.

The story begins in our not-so-distant future. In the future of that future, time travel was/will be invented and immediately outlawed. Criminal organizations use it to send targets back into the past to be killed by "Loopers." I'm going to stop there, so that I can enthusiastically recommend that you get your butt in a seat to find out what happens. Speaking of seats, our theater was completely full. The buzz on this movie is good, dear readers. Because the movie is good.

All the actors give terrific performances in Looper, like how Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a lot of Bruce Willis' mannerisms. Maybe it's his prosthetic face. It's also great that Emily Blunt plays a damsel who ends up in distress but reacts to eve…

Tomato Soup Recipe (with Tofu!)

This protein- and vitamin-packed soup comes from the Nasoya recipe. I chopped the celery; Fiancé did everything else. Partnerships are terrific.
Ingredients:
1 pkg Nasoya Silken tofu (soft works, too, but silken is ideal)
2 cups fresh or canned tomatoes (chopped)
1/2 cup celery (chopped)
1/4 cup onion (chopped)
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp oil

Steps: (edited per Fiancé's instructions and under his stern supervision, 10/04/2012)
1. Sautee onion, celery, and spices in oil.
2. Blend the tofu, celery, onion, and spices until reasonably smooth.
3. Simmer the tomatoes while blending.
4. Add blended mixture to the tomatoes.
5. Simmer for 15 minutes.

The soup we got had texture like the image above -- more chunky than smooth. But it tastes amazing. We had it with toast. Try it!

Derivatives!

I've held my silence long enough. The world must know the truth.

Angel is the original brooding modern vampire! Edward Cullen is nothing more than a cheap imitation! Granted, ol' Ned has rosier cheeks, sparkly skin, endless cash, and an oddly supportive family. But Angel/Angelus has that irresistible combination of broody manliness and boyish vulnerability. He wears stylish clothes and has reasonable hair. He fights free from a hell dimension just to be with Buffy! What's Edward done for Bella, huh? I mean, apart from surrendering to her demands for marriage before sex, and then giving her a black AmEx card and a new car? Pffft! I mean, just look at how Angel turned into a bad guy after he and Buffy had an adult sleepover! He even out-creeped Edward in the stalking department! Edward never left a drawing of Bella's sleeping face for her to find on her pillow in the morning! He never killed her teacher or her friend's pet! How is she supposed to know that he loves …