Wednesday, October 31, 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, so I went to a party in a Catholic schoolgirl outfit. Like, the Britney version, but with a bigger crucifix. That led to the lamest come-on of the evening, when some disco dude sidled up to me, peered into my décolletage, and asked if my crucifix was heavy. Fiancé answered for me: "Yes, you can kill someone with it." (meaningful stare)

Now, my office has delightful traditions such as Puppy Fridays, Halloween "ghosting" (it's like secret Santa, but with chocolates and candy), and bowling tournaments (ugh). We had a Halloween costume contest today, and since I risked unemployment by wearing my other costume, I came up with a new one:


I had a devil of a time cutting out those letters, let me tell ya.

The prize went to an enormous Viking, but I got a lot of laughs and thumbs ups. Now it's back to the grind, but at least I've had pumpkin pie, Tostitos and salsa, and delicious pita chips. I took those back to the desk with me. Shameless Employee works all year round, folks.

Happy Hallow's Eve!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

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 communicate via whiteboard and binoculars; a brave woman who picked up other survivors smashes her truck against the mall; and finally, they find a dog in the parking garage. CHIPS!!! Little Chips becomes a plot point later on, because obviously a character plunges into danger to save the furry guy.

Anyway, the characters mill together in the mall for a little while and represent, in no particular order: the tough healthcare worker, the tough dad, the foreigner, the weak one, the tough cop, the tough old lady, the young lovers, the sarcastic rich guy, the clueless guy, and the guy who redeems himself in the end. Romero's Night of the Living Dead expressed clear themes, and I'm sure his 1978 Dawn of the Dead did, too. Here Snyder limits himself to just a few broad thematic strokes, namely -- dubious exclusion in the name of safety, misguided attempts to save loved ones, and the importance of staying together. Because you know if you separate from the group you're dead, right?

Snyder directs his debut film with aplomb, the characters do a great job, and the writers came up with a plausible screenplay. Dawn of the Dead will satisfy your zombie craving while you wonder excitedly what the next wringer will be for The Walking Dead characters. Recommended.

In other news, we have a Halloween party to go to tonight. I'm dressing up as Shameless Employee, R version, and Fiancé is excited about the Captain Kirk costume he found at the Garment District. We're so made for each other.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

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 mother nobly stepped up.

But, being a freak of nature, I was enamored with the idea of just popping into City Hall, chatting with a Justice of the Peace for 10 minutes, signing the forms, and skipping out for a fabulous honeymoon involving business class seats, luxurious suites, powder-like sand, and oceans bluer than the eyes of someone with big blue eyes. As a goal-oriented modern lady, I focused on the impending marriage, y'know, that lifelong partnership between two compatible people, rather than the wedding.

Fiancé resisted. You see, he had a Vision: himself and his bride on a beach, surrounded by family and friends. He would be barefoot. He would wear preppy clothes. As the process-oriented member of our team, he saw the wedding as a crucial step toward marriage. It would affirm our love and commitment to each other in front of the ones we love.

"I don't think we need to do that in front of other people," I said one day.

"Fine," he retorted. "But I hope you're prepared for the consequences of not having a wedding."

THE CONSEQUENCES OF NOT HAVING A WEDDING! Faced with this dark and ominous prospect, I submitted to my future groom's will.

Then we hit a snag. Even though he had the Vision, he expected me to want to plan the wedding, because tradition chains us to preconceived notions despite evidence to the contrary. The bride plans. The groom says yes to everything, perks up during the tastings, and shows up on the big day. Those ideas had embedded themselves into his mind. So for two months we would say, "So...wedding?" to each other, and then shrug.

Finally, one night his Vision spoke to him, and the next morning, he suggested we go check out this place downtown with spectacular views. I told my coworkers, all of whom immediately advised me which places we should also check out. Off we went!

During the tours, the sales managers looked to me for questions and answers, and I stared back blankly. Fiancé heroically grew into his role as planner. He asked all the questions -- what are the minimum fees, what about gratuity, will there be transportation from hotels, etc. All the managers we talked to proved wonderful with sharing all that, and more! They had lists of menus, flower shops, chair rental places, photographers, and every other small business involved in the shebang. (FYI -- go for Longwood Events if you're in the Boston area. They have multiple locations, all excellent.)

We're now reserving our chosen spot -- why yes, there's a beach -- and the manager asked for information, including this gem:

Main Contact for Planning Purposes First & Last Name (usually Bride):

"Not me!" said I. Fiancé named himself. And thus, the legend of Groomzilla is born.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

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 joined the ranks of the depressed and lost 10 lbs. in one week. But! I got help, graduated, and became a Member of Society.

Now I'm a gym rat, with a tailored fitness regimen and everything. But before that, I lived the life of the bachelorette, and ate whatever I wanted because caring was for noobs.

What I'm trying to say is, I know the best stuff to eat and drink if you want to gain or lose weight, all from that indisputable source of wisdom: personal experience! I've had so many relationships with so many foods that it would be selfish not share. Here, I offer you a sample of the diet plans I would craft just for you, should you be foolish desperate smart enough to ask my advice.

The More-to-Love Diet
If you're a beanpole and you want your partner/random strangers to have more of you to love, simply eat these food items every day:


That's right -- at least once per day, eat bacon, mozzarella, and top it off with a generous slice of pastry. I guarantee you will see results within a couple of weeks. I certainly did. Bonus points if you have an avocado shake after every lunch, too.

Pro of this diet: It really, really works!
Con of this diet: Likely early death due to health complications.

The Scary-Skinny Diet
This diet is designed to scare the living daylights out of your own mother. Eat nothing for a week. If you feel hungry, drink red wine.When your face shrinks to the same size as when you were a child, it's time to get professional help. This diet is described for warning purposes only; I don't recommend it. At all.

Pro of this diet: Tested and verified by yours truly!
Con of this diet: It means you're crazy.

The Sensible Diet
Apparently, getting the body you want is 80% diet, 20% exercise. After working out for a couple of months,  I think the ratio is more 70-30 for me. But I do eat really healthy these days. I only ever have two drinks (unless it's Debate Night!), eat broccoli or spinach or other leafy greens every day, substitute beef with tofu and beans, and I make a mean blueberry-banana breakfast shake with non-fat plain yogurt and lactose-free milk.

The result:

I know it's a crappy, grainy shot, but there are abs in there, I swear. This is all the more gratifying because my body fat, according to calipers, was 30% as of two months ago. I bet I'm like, 28% by now! Woooooooo!!!

FYI, my fitness goal is to build lean muscle, increase core strength, and improve posture. So I lift weights--10 lbs for triceps, 45 lbs for row pull, 65 lbs for leg extensions, 8 lbs for when you're kind of doing a plank and yanking weights up to chest level, and 5 lbs for when you bend at the waist but keep your back straight and flap your arms like the slowest butterfly on earth. I also do Bosu push-ups and a couple other things with an exercise ball that centers around my not toppling over onto the floor, by using my core muscles.

In conclusion:
  1. Eat foods like cured meat, cheeses high in saturated fat, and pastries if you want to gain weight.
  2. Eat white meat, beans, nuts, leafy greens, and fruits if you want to be healthy.
  3. Exercise, for God's sake.
  4. Drink as much as you want! MWAHAHAHAHA
That is all.

Friday, October 19, 2012

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, basically. Enoch persuades the English scientist to return home, and Daniel boards the ship, then takes readers to a flashback that lasts a few hundred pages. In between, Enoch remembers meeting a very young Isaac Newton; Daniel proves useful during a multi-pirate attack, and we see the 17th century Royal Society in its rigorous pursuit of knowledge. Since this is Ye Olde Days, we get descriptions of a live dog having its thorax removed so the men could tinker with its lungs. Arrrrgh. The first part of Quicksilver centers on Daniel's religious and personal development while pursuing his studies in Trinity College in Cambridge (UK, not MA). Since this is historical fiction, prominent nerds natural philosophers join the action: Newton, Robert Hooke, Gottfried Liebniz, etc. Stephenson's writing of these men's interactions features crackling dialogue, wry humor, droll witticisms, and other stylistic flourishes. Not fun: being reminded that doctors used to bleed people to balance their "humours." Double arrrrgh.

The next part of the book amps up the action with a new pair of characters: crafty Jack Shaftoe, King of Vagabonds, and spirited Eliza, a former slave (eventually) turned stockbroker/Countess. The pair travel all over: Leipzig, Bohemia, Marseilles, Amsterdam, Disneyland. Just kidding on the last one. With these characters, Stephenson illustrates the resourcefulness of people born without titles or means, in a world order that's constantly shifting to accommodate new trends and wars and monarchs and diseases. Jack survives for so long through sheer grit and luck, and so does Eliza, to an extent, although she has the added bonus of being literate, multilingual, and mathematically gifted. Eliza and Daniel cross paths in the third part of the book, which marches toward the conclusion of what Daniel considers as his life's work: revolution! Hence his relocation across the ocean.

I enjoyed this novel as a history buff, a nerd, a bookworm, and a woman in a binder. The novel drew me into its e-pages. I harrumphed at the workings of Louis XIV's court; cackled at the depths of Eliza's cover-ups; rooted for Jack and Daniel; and ooh-la-la'd at all the raunchy bits. I still can't wrap my head around all the information that Stephenson wrestles into an entertaining and informative yarn about a group of exceptional people living in extraordinary times. Some of those people are even real!

I'm looking forward to picking up The Confusion, the second book in the trilogy. But I thought I'd do a little light reading in between, and settled on Snow Crash, which has 7,598 locations on my Kindle. By contrast, Quicksilver has 17,663, and The Confusion  has 15,041. My Lasik eyes have been enchanted with the screen resolution of the Kindle app on the iPhone 5, but it's good to take a break now and then, yes?

In other news: my copy of the Wii game, The Last Story, arrives today! Amazon Prime: f*ck yeah.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

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 bellows, "Why is my present a BOY?" A half-dead one, at that. Boy wakes up, says name is Joshua, acts shady, Estelle kicks him a few times, and off we went to the opening animation.

Sadly, Trails in the Sky has the distinction of being the weakest Falcom game I've played so far, despite the promising introduction. Good news first: the ending did a good job of connecting the game's events to the next installment in the trilogy, Estelle's character development impressed me, and the gameplay was decent. Bad news: the music bored me, the storytelling could use heavy editing with a chainsaw, and I would very much like to hurl an extremely pissed off cat to whoever designed and implemented the combat system. Details below, spoilers ahoy!

Story: Predictable 
Every single "twist" can be guessed far in advance by the experienced gamer. The two main characters join the Bracer Guild, which we would call a police force, and embark on a journey to advance their ranking. Along the way, they capture notorious sky bandits, rescue innocents, foil a coup attempt, and get thrown in jail. Pretty standard stuff.

The game telegraphs every trope it has, from secret princess to secret bad guy to secret even bigger bad guy. I mean, as soon as your players meet a gruff manly man who treats you like crap, you can bet your bottom dollar that he's going to grudgingly respect you later on. In real life, these tools just go their merry way. In JRPG, everyone learns to Get Along.

Also: I think the orbment technology needs more explanation, because it does sound genuinely interesting. For those who didn't play, the world of Trails in the Sky underwent a dramatic transformation when a small group of scientists discovered how to break down minerals called sepith and recalibrate them to create quartz, which can be further modified to build and power things like airships and escalators, and to perform magical-seeming technology called "Arts." I would like to see a Neal Stephenson-esque wall of informative and entertaining text for this, please.

Character Development: Singular
Estelle is the only character to have any meaningful development. It happens fairly early in the game, too -- a crisis morphs her into a practical, driven young woman, where before she acted like a total space cadet. She also gradually falls for her adopted brother, and while I am all for non-incestuous young love, if a dude were raised as my brother, the thought of having romantic feelings for said dude would make me nauseous.

That said, every Falcom game I've played emphasized the teamwork between a boy and a girl, and the relationship between Estelle and Joshua became the core of a story mired in clichéd intrigue and chaos. Apropos to nothing -- cross-dressing: always fun.

Gameplay: Decent
Players can rotate the camera, woo-hoo! There's also the option to cook after learning recipes by eating dishes. You can go for either sit-down meals (heals everyone as soon as you whip up the dish), or take-out (can be used later). Food ingredients are cheaper than healing items, or free, like Monster Meat. Yummy!

Music: Boooooring
I had the sound turned down low because the music seemed determined to underachieve. Even Joshua's supposedly poignant harmonica theme bored me. This is a first for Nihon Falcom; the Gagharv trilogy boasted excellent soundtracks.

Combat System: MUST BE CRUSHED
I died several times during battles that should have been a cakewalk. I breezed through boss fights. THE THRICE-DAMNED SPECIAL ARTS TOOK FOREVER TO EXECUTE AND WERE NOT EVEN PRETTY TO LOOK AT. The one exception, of course, being Scherazard's Sadist Whip attack, where she purrs, "Someone's been naughty!" and proceeds to whip the life right out of enemies. That's awesome. More of that, please.

Still! There's a line between flouting expectations and just doing a crappy job, Falcom. You crossed it. Thanks to your awful combat system, Fiancé now has a counter to my telling him to chill out during football games. "How about you when you're playing video games?" he would say. GRRRR.

Miscellanea
I didn't comment on the graphics because this game was designed for the PSP, and I'd just played the breathtaking Uncharted: Golden Abyss. It would have been unfair for Trails in the Sky to be compared to that. Errr, also, why is this game called Trails in the Sky? The only time my characters went on an airship that actually flew, they were crammed sardine-like into a container. I never even got to fly an airship! Nihon Falcom, please see my point viz. flouting expectations.

In conclusion: I shall now investigate if I can get onto Sony Network Japan, per Fiancé's suggestion, to download the Japanese version of the remaining games and not have to wait for the localization. You can see who wears the common sense hat in this relationship. That's right, me. Because I had the sense to voodoo convince this man that I'm The One. (satisfied nod)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

iPhone 5 Review, After Actual Use

Glass and aluminum make a wholesome breakfast!

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 features that I outline below.

Siri (The Virgin Mary)
Her icy voice leads me to highly ranked nearby restaurants. Her soulless tones guide me through the streets of Boston. I am lost without her. I am also lost with her, since she took me and fiance to the wrong place in Cape Cod last weekend. Let's get that Maps fixed, shall we, Apple?

4G LTE (Archangel)
Downloading the latest kitten/puppy videos happens so fast it's like Archangel Gabriel flapped all 140 pairs of his wings just to help me watch them.

Panorama Photo (Seraphim)
Being able to capture the image of both cats pointedly ignoring each other across the room makes me feel like the highest order of angels, who can easily watch everything because they have six wings and four heads. Holy stalkers, Batman!

Weight (Cherubim)
Carrying this thing around in my hand is like holding the feather of a fat baby angel, if that feather weighed as much as a newborn giant panda.

In conclusion: TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

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."

- 0 -

Joshing aside, I'm delighted with the iPhone 5. I bought it because my iPhone 4's functionality had been compromised by multiple instances of my dropping it on the pavement, and also into the cats' drinking fountain. Here's what I've found in the couple of hours since I've activated it:

1. Easy activation -- just sign away your privacy and firstborn child!
2. It's insanely light.
3. The display is stunning.
4. The new earphones have spiffy sound and a convenient carrying case.
5. Speaking of earphones, the new earphone bottom placement seems more convenient.
6. Panorama pictures~!

Oooooo

The iPhone 5 is a big improvement over the 4. I'm sure the battery life will be better than my poor 4, too. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to ask Siri how to stop Boston from being so freaking cold.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

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 everything believably and, in one memorable instance, unexpectedly. Let's just say she slow-mo hurls herself in a surprising direction. Bruce Willis plays the tough, likable villain-protagonist, and Jeff Daniels and Noah Segan do their evil best as antagonists bent on closing the loop.

I hope we see lots more from writer-director Rian Johnson, who also gave us the amazing indie Brick, which also features Gordon-Levitt and Segan. Reu~nion!

In closing, I recommend a back-to-back viewing of Brick and Looper to appreciate the awesome. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tomato Soup Recipe (with Tofu!)

Photo source: marthastewart.com

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!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

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 her?

Note: I'm only up to episode 6, season 3 on Buffy, so my info is incomplete, as if that would ever stop anyone on the internet.

Fun fact: In finance, a derivative is an instrument whose value is based on one or more underlying assets, thank you, Wikipedia.

(Belated) love for Angel aside, I acknowledge that even he is derivative of previous vamps. Here I present the most memorable ones:


See how impressed the Interview with the Vampire guys are? Gary Oldman's Dracula has to be the tortured vampire trope, at least in my lifetime.

So, in conclusion: vampires are so nineties, and zombies are forever. BRAAAAIIIIINNNNN!!!

This post brought to you by an Oreo mini-cupcake from Crumbs Bake Shop.

Movie Review: Black Panther (2018)