Saturday, November 08, 2008

Laird Hamilton

My mom has been asking for my cellphone for some reason for a while now. She visited a few weeks ago and since I wanted a cellphone with a better camera, I finally decided to give her my phone. So after having no cellphone for a few days, I bought myself a new one: a Nokia with a 3.2 megapixel camera. The good thing about Nokias is that they're the greenest electronic company, according to this guide from Greenpeace.

Anyway, now that I have a new cp, it's time to test the camera. First test: surfer god Laird Hamilton's book signing at Diesel bookstore in Oakland, California:
The picture's not bad for a cellphone, eh? Definitely better than my last cellphone.

Anyway, I heard about this event by listening to the Sarah and Vinnie show a few days ago. The show had Laird as a guest, who was in the studio to promote his new book, Force of Nature. I looked at the book prior to his talk and it looks interesting. He's got advice on exercise (e.g. ab workouts), food (he has some recipes and talks about eating free-range beef) and surfing tips. As for the talk itself, he just took questions from the audience for about an hour. He talked about a lot of things. For instance, he talked about the art of crashing. That's when a wave may hold you down and you have to hold your breath until the wave lets up. He also talked about using his wetsuit as a tourniquet on a buddy who broke his leg. He also talked about being the risk taker that he is (i.e. still riding the big waves) while maintaining his family life. He's married to former pro volleyball player Gabrielle Reece, btw. It was an interesting talk. After the talk, he signed copies of his book. I didn't buy the book though so I didn't get to meet him. Bummer, dude. ;) It was a bit too pricey and I already have enough books. hehe. Anyway, check out Laird riding some huge waves:Anyone wanna go surfing? hehe

Technorati tags: Laird Hamilton, Nokia

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vegetarian Food Trip

According to Lonely Planet's latest travel guide for the Philippines, vegetarians will have a hard time in "meat-mad Philippines". I've found that to be generally true. There are some places though where one can find vegetarian food. One such place is Greens, where I had lunch with Bill and his friend Gina Dizon:
Located on Scout Castor Road in Quezon City, Green's is a vegetarian restaurant that has all the typical Filipino dishes. Instead of using meat, however, they use meat-substitutes. For instance, I ordered their sisig dish which was made from tofu, I believe:
It was actually pretty good. Meanwhile, Bill ordered this appetizer of chicharon made from wheat:
Overall, the food at this restaurant was pretty good. I might try it again if I'm ever back in QC.

Another restaurant I tried was Ziggurat located on Makati Ave in Makati. Ziggurat isn't strictly vegetarian but they do have some vegetarian dishes. I figured I oughta check this place out since Lonely Planet recommended it. Another reason to check it out? It was right next to the place where I was staying. hehe. Ziggurat serves Middle Eastern, African, Mediterranean and Indian food. Although they have an impressive looking menu with a big selection, not all the dishes listed are necessarily available. For instance, I was going to try the vegetarian moussaka but all they had was the regular moussaka which had beef. Since I've never had moussaka before, I figured I'd give it a try. The dish wasn't bad. The place also had vegetarian shawarma which was ok. The onions were a bit too raw for me.

Overall, the food at Ziggurat was just ok. The location leaves much to be desired especially with a laundromat located nearby that seemed to be spilling some of its water onto the street creating a not-so-aromatic scent. One dish I probably won't try again is their Vegetarian Gluten Curry. My stomach didnt' agree with it shortly after I ate it. I decided to drink green tea to calm my stomach and it seemed to do the trick. Not sure if it was the tea that calmed my stomach, but I wanted to drink a mango shake and I'm sure that the tea was a better option in this case. hehe

Technorati tags: vegetarian food, Philippines

Monday, March 31, 2008

Unsatisfying Resolutions

I saw two movies over the weekend: Atonement and No Country for Old Men. These two films have both been critically acclaimed and both have been nominated for Oscars. Both are adaptations from novels. The endings to both movies, however, were unsatisfying.

**Warning: Spoiler Alert**

No Country for Old Men is a graphic (i.e. bloody) film that begins when a man named Llewelyn comes upon the aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong. With dead bodies everywhere, he eventually finds a satchel full of cash and decides to keep it for himself. He eventually gets caught up between the parties who want the cash -- drug dealers, drug buyers, hit men and bounty hunters. It's not going to end well for Llewelyn.

Since this film has been heavily praised, I must be missing something because although it is well made, I didn't find anything redeeming about the film. For one thing, I had a hard time trying to sympathize with any of the characters (except for maybe Llewelyn's wife, who suffers the consequences of her husband's actions). For instance, the hitman named Churghi is on Llewelyn's trail and he kills anybody who gets in his way. He rationalizes his killings with philosophical reasoning. Of course, since he's a psychopath, none of it makes any sense. The sheriff, meanwhile, seem to be a defeated man -- he seems to accept the fact that he can't make a difference in society as suggested by his Uncle Ellis. Then there's Llewelyn, who refuses to give up the cash even though he has put his family at great risk.

As a side note, it's interesting to think that advocates of the legalization of drugs might say these characters wouldn't have to go through all this trouble if drugs were legal. They would say that with legalization, there wouldn't be any drug lords. But then again, this movie (and other films involving the drug trade like Traffic, Blow, American Gangster and Scarface) would never have been made, right? ;)

The second film I saw was Atonement. In this movie are three main characters -- Briony, Cecilia (Briony's sister) and Robbie (Cecilia's love-interest). The complication begins when Briony accuses Robbie of raping Lola, their cousin. Robbie ends up spending 3 years in jail and is given a choice to stay in prison or enlisting in the British military. He joins the military and is sent of to war in France during WWII. Both Robbie and Cecilia eventually die as a result of the war: he from injuries in France while she indirectly from the bombings of London.

Briony goes on to have a succesful career as a novelist. In her later years, she is being interviewed and she finally admits that she realized later that it was not Robbie who raped Lola. Since she ruined their lives, she decides that she must make an atonement. How? By writing a semi-autobiographical novel where she gives the characters of Robbie and Cecilia a happy ending (i.e. Robbie and Cecilia end up together), of course. Now the question for me is: is that really an atonement? Writing a novel and giving the characters a happy ending? I figure that if you've ruined two people's lives, the least you should do is fess up to the authorities earlier in life, not when you're already ready to retire and suffering from a degenerative brain disease. Or at least, fess up to the families of Cecilia and Robbie so Robbie can at least have his name cleared. Then again, I guess the movie would sound weird if they called it Not An Atonement. ;)

Disclaimer: I realize I'm going against the tide by not heaping praise on these two films, but my review is just an opinion. If you disagree with me, feel free to do so, but don't go 300 on me like some commenters. ;)

Technorati tags: Atonement, No Country For Old Men

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Goodbye and Hello

Like Lazarus, I'm also trimming my blogroll by removing some blogs. I have to say goodbye to some of these blogs for one reason or another. Some of my reasons are reflected by Lazarus' reasons. Gotta make the blogroll leaner. hmmm.... maybe I should just make my blog like Ferdz's blog.... meaning no blogroll. That would make my blogroll really lean. hehe.

Anyway, although I'm saying goodbye to some of those bloggers on my blogroll by removing them (**sniff .... wipes tear from eye**hehe), I'm saying hello to other bloggers on my blogroll by meeting them... in real life ... as in EBs. :D The opportunity to meet some of my fellow bloggers happened last month during my trip to the Philippines. The first one I met was Verna, one of the coolest bloggers in the blogosphere. Here's a photo of my EB with her at Greenbelt in Makati:
I look like I just ate bad clams or something. hehe. Anyway, Verna is just as cool and friendly in person as she is on her blog. It wasn't hard to figure out why she's one of the more popular bloggers out there.

In Baguio, I then met bloggers Bill and Jean. Here's the three of us at a cafe on Session Road in Baguio:

Bill prefers to remain anonymous, hence the cropped photo, but that's really him wearing the red jacket. Jean joked that all three of us should've held our EB at Barrio Fiesta Restaurant. hehe.

The last blogger I met was my Manang Chyt. Actually, we've met before since she's family and we sometimes see each other at gatherings, but we never really communicated with each other until we started blogging. Funny, eh? :D She gave me a few CDs of the Pinoy band, Asin. Thanks, Manang! :) She told me that I should have Pinoy music other than Freddie Aguilar. In my defense, I do have some Binhi songs. ;)

So there you have it -- four cool bloggers I met last month. Meeting my fellow bloggers was definitely cool. I really enjoyed it. Who'd have thought that if it weren't for blogging, we'd all just be going about our lives not even aware of each other's existence?

Technorati tags: blogging