[A Piece of Me] What’s At the Top?

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A week ago, I crossed out one of the items on my bucket list and that is to visit Burj Khalifa before I leave the UAE for good. And honestly it would have been delayed if not for a friend whom I got to meet for the first time since we started chatting a few years back. Yeah, it definitely would have been waay delayed because even if I’ve been here for almost 10 years, I’m still not used to summer in the UAE.

Enough whining about summer and back to the subject at hand – Burj Khalifa, the tallest existing structure ever built as per Wikipedia and the item crossed out of my bucket list. It took about a week to sort through how I feel about the trip because, yeah, I’m slow like that. Plus I’m distracted and mostly, because I’m overthinking. Talk about twisted.

We arrived at least 45 minutes early, thanks to the ever dependable Uber driver, his name now forgotten not that I got it in the first place. Quite early, I know it’s an oversight in my part mainly because in all honesty, I’m not familiar with Dubai. I never really go out of the house or leave Ras Al Khaimah unless it’s important or necessary. And this is one of those cases, it’s important, even if I think I wasn’t able to highlight the importance of it all, I kicked myself internally as I type that.

So we had some time to kill even after the whole “lost and ask for direction.” I decided to try to really wake up by having more caffeine in me – double shot espresso macchiato this time cause the 3in1 was of no help and by the time the tour started, I felt awake. And because Jean – a Dubai based friend of mine already set my expectations about the tour, I opened my mind and just enjoyed the company of the person I was with. So all in all, it was wonderful. I have proof:

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Quite the view, right? Really impressive, at least for the first 20 minutes it is, afterwards, the view is just numbing, the heat more pronounced and if not for my friend, I don’t think I’d enjoy the tour as much. I know, I’m weird and quite different, I accept that. I’m a small town girl who appreciates a rice field more than I appreciate skyscrapers; I know I’ll never change. It’s nice to have a bird’s eye view but I think I’ll appreciate it much more if the view below is an ocean, a mountain or as I already mentioned, a rice field and maybe a lake. I had fun though but I don’t think I’ll be visiting again anytime soon.

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She came, we saw and we sort of conquered the top.

I’m Still Here

 7 Quick Takes of My Whereabouts for the Past Month(s)

Hi! I’m back! Well, not that I formally mentioned that I am going to hide under a hole somewhere or that I will be on “hiatus” like what everyone calls it nowadays, but yes, I am back. takes a deep breath, inhale, exhale

Yeah.. Uhm.. If you’re wondering where on earth I have been then I’ll mention it and yes, I do assume that you are wondering and yes again to that being a strong assumption but please, do humor me, thank you. big smile Where was I? Ah, yes, assuming that you are indeed interested to know where I was or what I was up to here it is, in 7 quick takes:

One. I took a much needed vacation, by that I mean I went home to the Philippines because it is possible and because I NEED it! It’s longer than it’s supposed to be but considering I didn’t take a vacation the year before, then it’s quite short yet worth it.

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Two. Of course being on vacation, I met my old college friends. How amazing it is that despite of the distance we’re still us, the same person some 15 years back only now we are older. It really solidifies my belief in the saying: Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold. They are gold alright, white gold.

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Three. I went out of town with my family minus my youngest brother since he’s out at sea. There’s something utterly depressing about that word but yes, my youngest brother is currently out at sea, somewhere far away. Last I heard he’s in Russia, I am so green with envy.

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Four. I went to HongKong to watch a concert, complete details coming soon.

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Five. I spent some time with my brother, unfortunately we weren’t able to eat everything that I want to eat because curse his fatty liver. sigh We did have some fun though and I hope sooner, we can do it again.

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Six. I bonded with my girl cousin, a first after a very long time, after being traumatized that is, yeah I know, I am a not a moth. It was fun, though I have to admit the age gap was a great factor to my being comfortable. Kekeke.

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Seven. Lastly, I got sick. Yup, because it’s about right that before I go home and the moment I come back I need to get sick. I don’t know why and I doubt there’s any scientific explanation but it was necessary it seems, oh well.

Yup, that’s about it, nothing too interesting but the Hong Kong trip I know but I can’t change anything anymore. Maybe next year, next year shall and will be better. Since I borrowed the title, might as well add the song. That’s right, I Am Still Here.

Lights and After Dark Activity of a Nocturnal Person

Mood Setter: Drive by Incubus [audio http://marvin.ibeu.org.br/ibeudigital/images/1/13/Incubus_dudu.mp3]

If there is something that I find extremely funny, it is the fact that whenever I am at work, I feel so extremely sleepy but once I reach home, my eyes are so alert and wide open; ready for action. That’s always the case, every single day. Even if I manage to sleep early, I would still be so dang sleepy at work the next day. And yes, that’s one of the reason why I had to take work home during the crunch time, I’m glad those days are behind me.

One evening that I was feeling extremely awake and somehow high on coffee, one of my roommate asked if we could go visit the ghost town, that’s right, ghost town at 8 in the evening; it’s going to be fun! He needs it for his photography class so I said what the heck and just went with it. He wanted to take photos of a well-lighted building first and since there’s this hotel nearby, we decided to take that first, from different angles that is. By that I mean from all over the mini island, aren’t we just out of our heads? Yes, yes we are. I took some photos with my phone and tweaked it a bit:

 

As I lay in a bench nearby I noticed the moon and can’t help but take these:

 

Isn’t it lovely? It’s nice to go out every once in a while, take a deep breath, smell the sea maybe fall asleep for a bit under the moonlight. No? Okay. Sadly though, we weren’t able to go to the ghost town because my roommate finished taking the lights photos at almost 11 pm and honestly, that is very late and I’m not confident that I won’t be scared during that time anymore. I mean 8pm is okay but near midnight, no thank you. They were not up to it too anyways so we just went home and I go about doing my thing and drinking one of my favorite beverages on Earth:

 

I slept at about 3 am, woke up by 7:30 am, and writing this on my desk while trying to fight with my dropping eyes. I know I’ll be extremely awake once I reach home, this is a vicious cycle, my vicious cycle; a routine after dark activity of a nocturnal person.

Let’s Be Lowly and French

Or my other way of saying I cooked a French dish.

Mood Setter: Aicha by Cheb Khaled [audio http://a.tumblr.com/tumblr_lf30i9CJ971qe8yuoo1.mp3]

Miraculously, most of the things has been taken care of and that my dear means I finally have some time for me; yay to that and more yays because I can seriously catch up and maintain stuffs that keeps me sane now. I have to admit though that by the first sign of free time, the very first thing that I did was went grocery shopping. Yes, retail is a therapy whether it is skin care product shopping or fresh produce; it’s always fun to spend money and even more fun if you are all by your lonesome. I think I spent a whole thirty minutes eyeing the Asian spices before heading to the toiletries section and that is another story. Can I get away with an excuse that I wanted to feel somewhat cold and cozy inside because it’s starting to be really hot as in HOT outside, can I? I guess that’s a no, oh well. ^^

To mark the so called found free time again, I decided to cook Ratatouille, a French peasant dish, as what Collete from the movie Ratatouille said, because I wanted so much to have a bite of my friend’s birthday feast but alas, I am too far away to attend – thus the conclusion to DIY but I have to admit his looks yummier cause it’s baked and mine is a stove top version because I am oven-less, such a poor girl; just kidding, it’s not so bad not having an oven or is it? Why do the voice in my head sounds so uncannily like mother Gothel from Tangled? Hmmm, that’s a bit disturbing.

Moving on, as I mentioned it’s a stove top version that I found somewhere over the internet thanks to Google of course, I did a few tweaking though and thankfully, it tasted good enough. What was in it? These guys, Monsieurs Garlic et Basil:

They were joined by Mademoiselles Onion et Red Pepper:

And I guess he’s the star of the show cause most of the other veggies asked for a cup or a cup and a half and this guy has to be 2, that’s a bit I dunno, the word is stuck at the tip of my tongue, let’s go with unfair cause you know, isn’t it good to have equal portions or something?

Yup, that’s Mr. Macho, eggplant and I just realized something, I didn’t really “quite” follow every single thing on the recipe. Harhar, keeping the ranting down; next on the list are these babies, by these babies I am referring to the squash, zucchini and tomato:

 

Right so I have this question, what’s the difference between a marrow and a zucchini? Cause that is a marrow and the recipe calls for a zucchini though the supermarket guy says they are the same? Are they somewhat related? I’ll ask Google later.

Lastly, to liven up the party these dudes are much needed – pepper and thyme; not visually present is 3 – 4 pinches of salt, ¼ cup of olive oil and a dash of secret ingredient that is to remain unknown. 🙂 Completely forgotten was parsley, thankfully everything turned out okay.

Curious how did it turned out? Here’s a before and after:

 

Colorful isn’t it? I personally think that cooking is like painting, not on a canvass but on a plate and both are purtey. Well, I’ll be digging in now and most probably by the time this is posted, I would have been completely bonkers about some Korean Drama or something, I’m quite positive with that.

Robocop, A Feast For the Eyes

Mood Setter: 3 Libras By A Perfect Circle [audio http://a.tumblr.com/tumblr_mew4ywM6iK1s05z86o1.mp3]

I went to the movies today, a treat of my newest roommate who is working at VOX Cinema, the cinema right next our apartment building; yes, I live right next to the mall, isn’t that awesome. We ended up watching Robocop out of all the movies at my roommate’s suggestion and as agreed. Because I am pretty much me, I had to take photos, here are the few that I took outside of the cinema:

 

 

Of course there’s the mandatory popcorn, I went all Enrique Geum and opted for the sweet kind, CARAMEL!

Right, so what about the movie, how did I feel about it? Here’s a review, my impression and general opinion about Robocop. Again let me just say that this is my impression and opinion, a product of my scattered mind:

What’s it about?

Robocop is one of those movies that has been remade since I can remember, from the big screen to TV series, name it and it has been done. As for this version of Robocop, it’s about Alex Murphy, a detective of the Detroit area who in an attempt to bust an illegal gun buying thingy gained an enemy that is influential and has police officer backing, by that I mean his own colleagues and even their chief, isn’t that common or have we not seen that in most of the movies of this genre?

To cover up their illegal doings, they devised a way for Officer Murphy to meet his demise, which could have been successful, had it not for some big shot corporation, a multinational conglomerate that runs under the name OmniCorp.

OmniCorp supplies the US soldiers, the robot kind that are being used on overseas operations. They have long wanted to market their product in the US itself but a law prevents such to materialize. The argument is that robots are unfeeling and that is a problem. With this the geniuses behind the corporation thought to create a robot who is part human, or putting a human inside a robot and they found the perfect candidate through Alex Murphy whom after his attempted murder was rendered almost bodiless.

The attempt was great until Alex Murphy went about solving his own “murder”. Everything was overturned and politics and other aspect got involved assuring a chaotic conclusion that almost cost Detective Murphy to be “shutdown” forever.

Initial Reaction

I find Robocop entertaining. Progress through technology has always fascinated me to no ends. I always believed that in the nearest future, cars are going to fly and more. So the concept of robots as soldiers are sort of “cool” to me, I just hope that they can judge accurately. They didn’t really show it on screen, or maybe because it was censored or something (I am in the UAE, censorship are tight here, like TIGHT) but I could just imagine the poor boy carrying a knife as a weapon who got slaughtered by a hundred bullets I think, they wasted plenty of ammo in this movie it’s ridiculous, I mean one shot is enough right but hey, what do I know?

General Picture

In general, I found the storyline a bit too simple for my own liking, at least for my own liking, most of my roommates liked it and I liked the visual effects, it was well done and put together just that the story fell a bit short. It lacks that certain something, some depth, yes, that is, the depth. Can you imagine a very quick acceptance after such a difficult ordeal, I couldn’t. He broke down for a bit fine but I still think it’s not enough. He has somehow a little control over himself but still, I want more of the emotion, more bypassing of the system and the life he is supposed to live from then on. It would have been also nice if they had shown a bit more of his family’s situation, I mean his wife and son because that could have shown a deeper story line, but I guess action doesn’t really open a room for drama, not even for a little bit.

That aside, it is a feast to the eyes especially the part where they had this simulation and Murphy went head to head with all those robots, that was wicked, awesome and beautifully done. I also liked that scene when he sort of reenacted his “accident” and what he did next, that is a great way of serving revenge, in a sweet bullet shower. Retaliation at its finest.

Another thing that I liked is a few “dashes” of comic relief courtesy of Jay Baruchel, the marketing guy. Man that dude is really funny but I have to admit I was a bit taken aback by his facial hair. I like his boy next door look better. I hope he got rid of that beard after this movie.

Snap Shot’s That I Barely Sneaked Taking:

Yes, I know, you’re not supposed to take any pictures inside the movies or take out your camera phone because they’ll mistake you as one of those thousands of people recording the movie to put out on the internet or sell it, I am well aware of that but I am stubborn, thank you. I sneaked these lame photos before I was asked not to, and I stopped because I don’t want to cause my roommate any trouble.

 

 

And here’s my roommate and yes that’s the name of Jay, harhar.

 

Conclusion:

If you are into watching a movie that uses lots and lots of ammos with robots driving crazily or awesomely, this movie is for you. But say you are like me who looks more on the content other than the visual, I won’t be recommending this to you but still, this is but my opinion, maybe you’ll find it otherwise.

I give this movie 6 out of 10, and I think, well if I feel like it, this won’t be my last movie watching at the cinema.

What I Got Myself Into

(Or my obnoxious way of saying how I celebrated this Christmas)

The moment I realized it’s already December, I decided not to make the same fuzz that I did last Christmas; I’m going to celebrate it as quiet as I can and as peaceful as possible. Well, it was half and half.

This year, I tagged along with my roommates to their common friend’s place to celebrate Christmas. Actually, I didn’t want to come, I know I wouldn’t know most of the people and I get bored out of my mind whenever I attend parties plus I don’t have anything green to wear (yep, themed party, you’ll never allure me.) But since they are insistent; they don’t want me to celebrate on my own (that was touching) and they won’t have anybody to take their pictures, I gave in and tagged along. Thankfully, it was not regretful.

Initially, I was bored to death; it lasted for a good two hours into the night. I wouldn’t have felt that way if I had internet connection but sadly, my mobile service was temporarily disconnected for some reason I do not understand (it worked fine the next day, magically.) So I had to endure the first two hours being somewhat entertained by the running little boy who has a huge appetite.

Once the entire guest arrived, the feast started and I have to say they had a scrumptious spread that the picture didn’t give justice to:

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they went all out with meat.

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that little guy kept running away with food.

After the scrumptious meal was the usual parlor games mostly copied from Philippine variety shows save for the pass the cherry using plastic spoons. And yes I grudgingly joined each and every single game repeatedly thinking “let’s get this over and done with” until I actually felt that I am sort of enjoying it somehow.

One of the guest whom I forgot to ask the name of course started talking to us (by that I mean my roommates and I.) She’s a kind not so young lady, addicted to Asian dramas and is currently watching some of the Korean dramas that I am watching. We started talking about our favorite dramas, actors and actresses and it was fun. Who would have thought I’d meet someone that I can connect with at the party. She was hesitant to join the games as I was and she mentioned she’d rather sing and that there’s a videoke only she doesn’t know how to make it work. Hearing this I perked up and asked for the remotes. I wanted to practice what I got trained for when I worked as a call center agent for Dish Network. A few minutes later and a few input changes, I figured the player was not connected to the TV and asked for the house owner’s help regarding it. After the proper jack was connected, we started singing our lungs out and I started to really be in the mood; I’m a sucker for videoke machines.

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mood enhancer

Naturally I served another purpose, as my roommates’ personal photographer. I have to say I should really buy myself a camera sooner, I can develop this hobby. Here are a few shots I took:

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The girls are all smile while the kiddo is all grumpy, hmmm.

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my roommate with her boss/close friend

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I love ze lipstick

Finally, exchange gift. We were asked to bring a gift worth AED 25.00 (approximately $7) has to be unisex. Since I don’t have the time to buy the gift myself, I asked my roommate to buy it for me and since she’s a darling she wrapped it for me too thus, I didn’t have any idea what I gave the person who picked out my gift number. These are the gifts I received:

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I dunno whose gift is it but they are appropriate and I love them.

We bid them farewell once the exchange gift was done, we reached home around 2AM and I slept for about 6 hours. My boss gave me an off day that I spent mostly by watching dramas. I called my parents, and at this point I got a bit sad since they’re together, my parents, my three brothers and I am not there again although I must admit I lighted up when my dad said “your brother (2nd eldest of our family) made barbecue, like you do every year when you were here.” I know what he meant by that and it’s truly touching. I love my brother.

That’s what I got myself into this year. Surprisingly, it was better than I thought it would be, less pretentious and significant. Truly it is more meaningful if you don’t expect too much; there won’t be any disappointment only gratitude.

 

 

It’s All About the Night

With all honesty, I declare that I love the night time more than morning. Not just because I love to sleep, that’s not it and not because of these:

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These take up most of my nights, but you have an idea of course.

I love the night time because I get to see these:

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That magnificent vivid colors, breath taking!

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Display of twinkling lights, lovely colors!

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We were bored, we went for a drive!

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Nope, there’s no pirates here!

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The lights look dazzling through the water..

And do these:

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This is a pick me up.

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Nothing spells relax better than some good food and alcohol.

And of course it’s always welcoming to know that after a crappy day at work, there’s plenty of things to look forward to. So yes, I love the night time, the night life. I don’t just get to boogie or something like that, I get to enjoy, live and breathe.

More of the Holidays: Just Shut Up Already, Have Some Ramen!

I’m extremely thankful for the holidays, because it means I’ll have time to sit still without being disturbed at all (that includes my almost beloved iPhone.) Since the number of series that I have accumulated without me noticing it (lesson learned: read thoroughly before downloading,) I have quite a number to watch, not to mention those that I haven’t finished yet (still not done, I hope to finish it sooner.) Thus, I found myself arranging my pillows in a very comfy way, stuff toy in hand, a bottle of water on my improvise side table and this thoughts in mind: “let the Korean Drama marathon begin!” Here’s what I watched:

IB_S_BASIC_COPYRIGHT =

Title: Shut Up Flower Boy Band (Shut Up and Let’s Go) Genre: Teen, Romance, Music; Broadcast Year: 2012; Total Episodes: 16; Cast: Sung Joon, Lee Hyun-jae, Yoo Min-kyu, Kim Min-suk, Jo Bo-ah, Jung Eui-chul, Lee Min-ki, Kim Jung-min

Summary: Joo Byung-hee (Lee Min-ki) is the crazy, free-spirited leader and vocalist of the popular underground rock group, Eye Candy. Joining him is Kwon Ji-hyuk (Sung Joon), chic Lee Hyun-soo (Kim Myung-soo), playboy Kim Ha-jin (Yoo Min-kyu), silent Jang Do-il (Lee Hyun-jae) and baby-faced Seo Kyung-jong (Kim Min-suk). When their delinquent-ridden school is forced to close down, they debate whether it’s even worth returning to high school at all. However, due to an outside confrontation with their new school’s current ruling band, Strawberry Fields, Eye Candy decides to attend Jungsang High out of spite so they can rule the school once again.

Shut Up Flower Boy Band is an atypical music drama – gritty, relentless and highly stylized to the punk sentiment, but always with heart.

I was disoriented when I started; mostly because the handheld camera was being turned upside down and it was so dark, kinda reminds me of the teens doing the documentary of The Blair Witch Project, and I’m not into horror, I rarely or never watch horror may it be film or series. Also, I was thinking this is centered on teeners (I mean teenagers, allow me to invent terms please) and I’m only familiar with one actor which is Sung Joon (I pitied his character so much in Lie to Me) but I told myself give it a few minutes before I watch something else (I did mentioned I had plenty to chose from) and so I did.

After being disoriented for a few minutes came the decision ender scene, a band rocking a catchy, melodic rock song. I can never say no to a series with rock or alternative bands/songs in it, never happened. So I found myself watching one episode after the other until the very end. And all I can say is it’s worth every minute of it. Why? Because:

  1. The story is engaging in the sense that the characters grows continuously. It’s like watching a flower bud bloom; it makes you wonder how it is going to turn out. It’s the same with this drama, with every change, you’ll wonder how the characters will follow and having experience some of the events on this series once upon a time, I completely relate with the adjustments they had to go through to fit in.
  2. Friendship was portrayed in a very deep sense, as deep as willingness to sacrifice what you value most for the sake of a friend no matter how much that decision could hurt you in the end. Now that’s beautiful. I have but a few friends, and I haven’t experienced anything like that much when it comes to friendship that’s why this aspect appeals to me.
  3. A gathering is not a gathering without food, in this drama it is ramen. You’ll see several scenes where they are eating ramen: after a confrontation, to spend more time with a girl or just plain they are hungry. Food means togetherness, no matter how simple it is.
  4. The story is realistic and is happening now. You’ll find plenty of the characters nowadays, broken family, teeners who spend more time with friends because no one is home. Teeners that engage into fist fights (I’ve seen some of those once upon a time,) get in trouble with their teachers and some being favored by teachers. Teeners trying to find a way to enjoy, a “past time” may it be good or bad.
  5. The love story aspect is not overrated, rather refreshing although the conflict of loving someone who’s in love with someone else while someone else is also in love with you is somehow ambitious to me. (I don’t want to explain myself.)
  6. The songs are awesome, in fact, one of the songs (Jaywalking) is my LSS for a few days now, I even downloaded it and it’s on repeat on my iPhone as of the very moment. The lyrics are simple yet appealing, the melody: awesome (I feel so.)

There still too much to mention on why I fell in love with this series, but words are not enough to describe it. If you haven’t seen it please do so. You won’t regret it. Make sure you have some Kleenex at hand too, you might shed a tear or two.

On a different note, I didn’t know Sung Joon could sing so well. Here’s another song from the OST: