Friday, July 27, 2012

A Celebration of Sorts

If you told me a year ago that I could write, I'd probably answer you with: 'I'm just a reader not a writer. Go bug Martha.' She was her school paper's editor-in-chief (a good one at that), the family scribe and has always been passionate about it.

But then last summer, she had this harebrained idea that we should keep a blog together. She needed a project and pulled me along with it. I didn't know what to think of it, at first. But you know what? I'm glad she did. If it weren't for her I wouldn't have discovered how fun (and liberating) it is to express myself through writing. She helped me unleash another side of me I never would have known.

So, congrats to you dear sister! Here's to one year of working together and to more years of it! Thank you and I love you very much!


Think Blots

I'm an introvert. It's not that I don't like mingling with people. Of course I do. But I find it just as enjoyable sitting by my own at home, reading or pondering about things. Sometimes it's hard to express them through speaking. Instead, I rather put it into writing. In all forms, that is.

As a kid, I'd write on our walls with crayons. A few years more, I scribbled entries on my diary. (Dear Diary, I saw my crush today... Haha!) I wrote essays and reaction papers for school; Poems and articles for the school newspaper. My mind was bursting with ideas for potential short stories and novels in the making.

But then college came. I was persuaded to take up a course on Science. Suddenly, I stopped writing. I believe I was disheartened. The girl who always dreamed of becoming a writer took a different path. All I could think of was, 'I'm not meant to be one.'

BUT I WAS WRONG. Yes, I ended up in the medical field (And proud of it!) but it doesn't mean I can't be other things as well. My sister, whose profession is related to mine, never thought she could write either but here we are, aren't we? I've come to realize that writing is a privilege and a right. Anyone can be a writer as long as with passion.

We're very blessed to be able to publish our works easily nowadays. Today, Ate Faye and I celebrate our blog's first anniversary. Cheers to writing! :)


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dinner @BonChon

A P410 meal
A couple of weeks ago, my sister and I met up after work to have dinner at a nearby mall. She's footing the bill so I let her decide where we'd eat. She led me to a modern Korean fast food called Chicken BonChon or simply Bonchon.

I was surprised to see that the line at the counter was long. Diners were clearly patrons as the restaurant is tucked in one of the many corners of the mall. Inside was an unassuming, simple design with white tables and chairs and lots of bright lights. I hurriedly grabbed a table (I told you the place was packed) as Martha went to the counter to order.

Sweet and sour
Not long after Martha came back to our place, a server brought our order. Mine was fried chicken with soy garlic glaze, hers was a bowl of beef bulgogi rice. I liked the soy garlicky breading of the chicken, it was really flavorful with a touch of honey sweetness. The meat was also moist and juicy. But you have to have at least two pieces of it to be filled. The beef dish was good but wasn't anything new. It strongly reminded me of Yoshinoya's beef gyudon. Each order was a meal so they came with a glass of iced tea. For dessert, we had their Banoffee Ko-Yo or Korean yogurt. It's frozen yogurt with coffee flavored graham crackers, banana, and caramel sauce. I like that the sourness of the yogurt fights with the sweetness of the rest of the ingredients.

Simplicity is the whole concept of the place. They let the flavors of the food speak for themselves. I would definitely come back to sample their other dishes.

Rating: 3.75/5


Chicken BonChon - G/F Trinoma Mall, North Ave Cor. Mindanao Ave., Quezon City

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Mockingbird's Gift

"You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them." -Atticus Finch
Some years ago, my uncle handed me a book. It was an old personal copy of his, full of underlined phrases. Different from the ones he used to buy me during trips to the bookstore as a kid. I didn't know that it'd be his last gift to me. Having read it for the second time around, I was able to appreciate it more. 

To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic novel penned by Harper Lee in 1960. Set in Maycomb, Alabama, it depicts racism and the first struggles to change views about it... Which was next to impossible during the '30s. 

Interestingly, this serious issue is tackled from a seven-year-old's point of view. I find this ingenious since the story's drama is both subdued by the natural spunk of a child's narration and yet magnified in the eyes of an innocent. Scout Finch takes us along her adventures with Jem and Atticus, her brother and father, respectively.

The novel consists of various inspiring personalities and stories but Atticus Finch, a lawyer, is one of the noblest characters I've ever read. A mockingbird is used to symbolize innocence in this book and I quote it, 'To kill a mockingbird is a sin... Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy.'

I love how the story ends with a twist. This novel doesn't only discuss racism but also other forms of discrimination and injustice. I will always be grateful to my dear uncle for giving me this book... and the valuable lessons that come with it. I dedicate this entry to you.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Inventing Facebook

I have a confession to make. Back in 2010, while all the people were raving about The Social Network, I was busy rolling my eyes at them. I thought it was a ridiculous idea to make a movie about Facebook. That was before I actually got to see the movie and ate my words. Now I understand why it's such a critically acclaimed success. Here's why:

First of all, it is a story of success... An inspiring yet somewhat lonely kind. It depicts how Facebook was founded and how its inventor, Mark Zuckerberg, against all odds and lawsuits, became the youngest billionaire in the world.

Second of all, it was very wittily written. Most lines in the movie are funny and sarcastic. I laughed at the dark humor and was pleasantly amused by how smart and fast the characters talk. The story also takes us deeper to the origins of this phenomenal network and explains how its each feature came to be.

The film was also tastefully edited, making scene transitions in various time lines effortless. Last but not the least, the casting was perfect. The actors portrayed their characters well. Jesse Eisenberg in particular made his extremely intelligent, indifferent, and insensitive role still lovable and relate-able. Andrew Garfield (minus the Spiderman costume) also gave a convincing performance. Heck, I even commend Justin Timberlake's acting here!

The Social Network is based on Ben Mezrich's 2009 book, The Accidental Billionaires. Zuckerberg refused to be interviewed through the making of the book; hence, didn't approve of the movie. One of Facebook's co-founder and Zuckerberg's ex-best friend, Eduardo Saverin, served as Mezrich's main source however. I guess only they know the real line between fact and fiction in this biographical film.

Nevertheless, I enjoy each time I watch it and will keep encouraging my sister to give it a try even though she's become a Facebook resister recently.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Caught Sushi-Handed

Last June, my best friend Lou bestowed me the honor of being his 'partner in crime' as we celebrate his birthday. That lunch slash dinner, we pledged guilty to sushi hoarding and diet-breaking. Lol! You see, he treated me to Sakae Sushi's sushi-all-you-can promo for P399/head at SM North Edsa- Annex.

Upon sitting at our booth, our eyes feasted on the conveyor belt or Kaiten as they call it, bearing various kinds of sushi and sashimi on different colored plates. Like children trapped in a candy store, we started grabbing plates excitedly! If we didn't go buffet-style, we would've paid a fortune since plates were priced per color:

Red/Purple- P99
Green- P79
Yellow- P59

We enjoyed most of the items we picked such as the california mini maki, *tamago nigiri, *kani salad inari, and crispy fried fish. (Okay, so we didn't know how to call the things we ate then but I researched them for ya.) There were plates we kinda regret taking like their salmon sashimi. But we had a laugh trip watching each other's reaction as we chew and barely swallow it! I'm not a sashimi-fan anyways but Lou said he had better ones elsewhere. 

There were also items we avoided from the Kaiten like the alien-looking sushi topped with neon green fish roe. Their promo comes with bottomless green tea and miso soup. Lou didn't like the soup but I did. It's like a palate-cleanser after we got weary by all the sushi we devoured.

I still relish that day as I reminisce through this blog. Not only did I taste good food, I also got to bond with one of the best people I know. Thank you, BFF! More crimes with you soon! ;)

Lou and me. So Kawaii. :))

Rating: 3.5/5


*tamago nigiri (Japanese). noun. hand-formed sushi topped with sweet egg.
*kani (Jap). noun. crab stick used as sushi ingredient.
*inari (Jap). noun. pouch of fried tofu filled with rice and others.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Ups and Downs at Downton Abbey

Garden Party dresses 1914
I'm not really a period drama dork. Rather I appreciate stories that has some sort of historical background to them. I know Martha would refute this just because I happen to like E.Gaskell's North and South or L. M. Alcott's Little Women or HBO's Boardwalk Empire and very recently J. Fellowes' Downton Abbey. Oh, maybe I am a period drama dork afterall.

Anyway, one can't help but be hooked in this British TV series which premiered in 2010. Its third season is scheduled to start in September this year (I can't wait!). Set in the fictional Downton Abbey estate located in England, the story revolves around the Earl of Grantham, Lord Robert Crawley with his family and household staff (servants as they call it then). It has achieved success on ratings and over-all approval from the critics. In 2011, Guinness Book of World Record recognized it as the 'most critically acclaimed television show'.

Season 1
In the first season, the Crawley's lives were turned upside down when the heir to the Earl of Grantham drowned in the 1912 RMS Titanic sinking. Father to three girls, His Lordship must find a new heir (male) to his fortune, title, and estate. Members of the family struggled to cope and accept their latest predicament. Meanwhile, the servants, lead by Mr. Carson the Butler, tried to keep things running smoothly in Downton. Of course the story is not without budding romances and evil plotting servants. ;)

'We all have different parts to play, Matthew. And we must all be allowed to play them.' -Lord Grantham

Season 2
The second season started with Matthew (new heir) fighting in WWI Battle of Somme. Downton Abbey was turned into a convalescent home for the wounded officers. The family must deal with a couple of scandals they just can't shake. A few characters became casualties of war and the Spanish flu. The season ended with a Christmas Day Special episode.

The superb cast is lead by Dame Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter, and Dan Stevens. I can't get enough of the show's beautiful costumes, detailed set designs, wittily written dialogues, and intriguing plot lines.

With that M'lords and M'ladies, I welcome you to Downton Abbey!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Strip Me Away

My travel time to work is an hour or so. I try to keep my day positive amid the traffic jam and overloaded MRT (Metro Rail Transit) rides through a good playlist. Lately, I've been listening a lot to Natasha Bedingfield's Strip Me Away album. It's released last year as an expanded version of her album Strip Me (2010).

The 16 tracks in the album is fused with Pop and RnB, from upbeats to ballads, showing-off Bedingfield's vocal range and versatility. I learned this album to be underrated since most people I ask are unfamiliar with it and upon research, wasn't as successful as her previous ones. This saddens me because I love Natasha! She has this amazing husky voice and she co-wrote all her singles!

In her defense, I found most songs in this album very good. Namely, "Neon Lights", "Put Your Arms Around Me", "Run-Run-Run" (All three are fun, upbeat love songs), "Strip Me" (This title track is all about self-empowerment), "Little Too Much", "Try" (Both have slow melodies and touching lyrics) and of course, my most-played, "No Mozart" (Listen to it NOW and you'll know why). ;)

Also, they added her 2008 hit "Pocketful of Sunshine" in this copy. Some of you may think the album is promiscuous due to its title BUT it's not like that at all! Like I said in my intro, it's inspiring, fresh music that keeps my spirits up when I commute. So whenever you feel down, just think of the song Strip Me as it goes,
"I'm only one voice in a million but you ain't taking that from me."
 Oh yeah.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Why I Became an FB Resister

'Hi! My name is Faye and I am a Facebook addict.' This could have been my introduction in a rehab facility for FB addicts. Well, if such a place exist, I mean.

There were over 800 million FB users when I decided to quit it cold turkey style. First to notice that I'm MIA (Missing in Action) were my gaming friends. They were worried about me and asked my sister for my whereabouts and my general 'well-being'. At first I was touched that they care so much but then I realized they're probably just curious why I haven't sent them the 'gift' or 'energy bar' they asked me. :) Just because they can't find me in Facebook doesn't mean I'm not okay. Sheesh!

Then my RL (Real Life) friends started to text or e-mail me. Some asked if everything's okay or 'Why haven't you been in FB? Why?' Some even gave me the cold shoulder for a while because they thought I 'un-friended' them. That last one made me laugh. :D I have to reassure them that we're still friends even if I'm not using FB anymore.

The thing is, I've outgrown Facebook. It's ironic because the reasons I stopped are the ones that got me to use it in the first place. The thrill of finding old friends, to catch-up on each other's lives, then you keep in touch, and before you knew it you're being updated with every single thing that has happened to them since they wake up in the morning 'til they say 'Good night! Time for some shut-eye!' I'll give you something to shut your eye. Just kidding.

Don't get me wrong, I love catching up with my friends but when is information shared became too much information? People in FB love posting pictures: of themselves, places visited, friends met with, meals ate, and most especially of their love ones. One classmate even posted a picture of his toddler son taking a bath! He became too complacent and comfortable in Facebook that he didn't think it inappropriate. You're also compelled to click the 'like' button whenever your friends post something otherwise they may think you didn't like it. Hahaha!

One of my many (cringe-worthy)
profile pics. Narcissism much?
In some weird (or convenient) way FB has also become a place for self-promotion. One FB friend posted everything she owned. Every bag, shoes, and gadget she'd ever gotten. Alright! I'm not without a hint of envy when she paraded them before my eyes. But maybe this is the real reason she posted them in the first place? A sort of status symbol for her, if you will.

You know what the saddest part is? I did all of those, too. I posted things I did, places I've been to, and created album after album of pictures I can't even remember. I also wasted tons of time playing FB games. Well, truth be told it did de-stress me during those times (until later when it didn't).

Facebook has become a way of life that we seem lost when we did not log-in on it, at least once a day. We forget that there are other ways of communication. Like phone calls (land line or cell), text messages, e-mails, or even snail mails (people still use this, right?)

I treasure the friendships I've made through Facebook and I'm not saying that those who still use it should stop. I'm just proud to say that I'm 100 days sober and counting.