Monday, July 30, 2012

Pretty Beautiful: The Olympics 2012 Edition

When Yahoo made that stupid list of "hot" Olympians, what's even more stupid is this blog entry. Haha.

Italy's top swimmer Federica Pellegrini still has her records on for the 200m Freestyle qualifying heats earlier as she qualified the fastest.

Ryan Lochte is now the poster-boy for American swimming ever since he won the gold against Michael Phelps. He scores more than Phelps in the looks department but Michael Phelps scores a whole lot more in the body department.
Face.
Body.
Stephanie Rice was Australia's Golden Girl, having won 3 Olympic Gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, setting up 3 World Records in the process. Unfortunately, she's making me cry at the moment having qualified just 9th in the 200m IM heats earlier. Huhu. Semifinals later!

Okay, there are too many Americans in Yahoo's list. I can sense no bias. If Alex Morgan (from the USA American football team) is here, where's Hope Solo?!

Maria Sharapova and Daniela Hantuchova (who shamefully eats tons of Nutella) are here. That list would be even more stupid if the tennis players are not there. Russia and Slovakia's main players. No need to add anything else.
SVK.
RUS.
Hello, The Missile!! James Magnussen would be splashing the waters tomorrow. So excited! Hahaha.
Stare down competition!
Of course, Kobe Bryant forever. :)

Who's missing? Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva, USA's Hope Solo, and probably Mexico's Fernanda Gonzalez.

Monday, July 23, 2012

TWG Tea

The tea diaries.
Entry two.
I should stop counting the entries.

Shala (adj.) - basically means sushal or rich. It means following an expensive lifestyle (even just for the moment). The word has been played around to make it more appealing to people. This is the direct opposite of a poorita. Poor. Get it? :|
Example: Your friend who just normally orders fast-food take-away suddenly declared that your group will eat at a steakhouse. "Wow, shala ka ngayon ah!"

Here is one shala tea from Singapore. Well you can still taste TWG teas here in the country at La Creperie and Sweet Bella Cafe. We usually order Silver Moon tea which costs around PHP200++ for a pot (and there are only like what, 2 tea bags inside?). The second refill will taste lighter and when you ask for a third refill you're better off drinking hot water instead. They cost that much. 

So when my teammate tweeted (yes it's now a verb same as "googled") that he's beside the TWG store in SG, I knew that was my moment to have a hold of my own TWG teas. As usual, I prefer the loose tea leaves over the tea bags so I could brew my own and well, I can put the leaves into an infuser anyway. He said there were no Silver Moon available so he went ahead with my initially requested Chocolate Tea and asked the European salesperson for his recommendation. Tadah! Weekend in Venice plus Sakura! Sakura! Tea. I have no idea yet as to what kind of teas these are (green or black or white) but I know they are specialty blends.
Weekend in Venice; Chocolate Tea; Sakura! Sakura! Tea
photo from the generous donor, Alex.
Thanks to Alex, my tea friend, for these! He also refilled my Korean brown rice green tea stash with those Sulloc tea bags. Haha.

I have been sniffing these tea packs since I got them and since I'm not yet ready to brew them, I settled for my home-boy, the Assam tea leaves. It's poorita week (the week before payday) and I can't be rich yet.
Yes, there's even a box of macarons that were really really yummy
and were gone in 60 seconds. T__T
So when I got my leaves, I did a quick research while sniffing them on and on. Natural high! After a few minutes, now I know my TWG ABCs and I can brew peacefully. Green and black tea blends! 

Sakura! Sakura! Tea includes cherry blossoms and green tea.
Weekend in Venice Tea is a green tea blend with pineapple, forest berries, and rose petals.
Chocolate Tea has black tea mixed with cacao shells.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

While We Wait for The Olympics: Mugshots Edition Part 2

So okay, the previous entry about the mugshots were a little... mean horrendous, let's add more insult to injury to the athletes by featuring a couple of swimming teams to watch for (I was half-tempted to write "favorite" but if you read on, I will mention that word a hundredfold).
Laure Manaudou of France.
The French team gave justice to the page. They have similar backdrops with equally good lighting and quality. My fascination with swimming actually jump-started with Eurosports being in our cable provider. I've always been watching the different heats and when the 2008 Beijing Olympics unfolded, it was a natural thing to be attached to it.

One thing with the British swimming delegates...they have horrible not so good photos. I'd still root for Rebecca Adlington, though! Host nation must not disappoint.

The Americans are also a top-notch. They never back down, but with their photos, hmmm. Let's just let their swimming do the talking. Natalie Coughlin, Missy Franklin, Michael Phelps, Katie Ziegler, and Ryan Lochte will make tsunami-like splashes no doubt about that... but please just forget about their photos on the Olympic site.

But of course, my favorites are from the Land Down Under. Australia has been proud of their swimming team and after 4 long years, I still want their 2008 Olympics jacket - the green, the yellow, the kangaroos. Their swimming page also got it right, actually they are the ones who made it perfect. Similar themes in their photos with the lighting, backdrop, and even uniform (it's like your senior yearbook, only better). Good job, Australia! Hoping you bag as much medals as you can. Presenting two photos from the Aussie team, with my cherished Stephanie Rice and their new gun James "The Missile" Magnussen.
James Magnussen of Australia.
Stephanie Rice of Australia.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Staring Contest

And while we're at posting photos of beautiful people, let's continue with the festive spirit! From the perfect person to be cast as Christian Grey (from that popular book "50 Shades of Grey") to the feisty Catwoman, Matt Bomer and Anne Hathaway are the ultimate stare-buddies.
*hypnotized*
Anne Hot-away. Click to make image larger. Tralala.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

While We Wait for The Olympics: Mugshots Edition

Since I've been on an Olympic high, I have been favoring my swimmers and tennis players over the other sports such as track and field, football, volleyball, and basketball. (The sports I mentioned are mostly those I would watch anyway. Hahaha.) If it doesn't show, I'm really really excited for the Olympics and my excitement doesn't wane even if I haven't had any shots of liquid crack (caffeine).

You can browse in the London 2012 site the mugshots of the athletes participating in the 2012 London Olympics. Okay, the "mugshots" of the athletes in the www.london2012.com are very entertaining. Let's go to the Tennis page and comment. We can have our swimmers later.

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ZOMG. The photos are horrible!!! I know we know that tennis players are gorgeous people and they look amazing in television and most of the times in print as well. However, their mugshots in this site are really blasphemous! Pure injustice.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia.
Maria Sharapova of Russia.
 Andy Murray (GBR) looks like he's been convicted of a crime, well most of the photos are either "passport photos" or bathroom photos - which look like they were taken from the bathroom suffering from poor lighting and poor cellphone cameras. Maria Sharapova (RUS) has that passport photo look while Novak Djokovic (SRB) looks like he's applying for a job.
Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia.
Feliciano Lopez of Spain.
For our best mugshots regardless of their popularity and photogenic factors, I would say Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) looks like she's going to a party (woot woot), Feliciano Lopez got the lighting and smile perfectly (with that beautiful hair), and well, Victoria Azarenka (BLR) nailed this. Her photo says "the Olympics is going to be a fun spectacle and I'm going to win it, you byootches."
Well done, Queen V, well done. *slow clap*
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

Food Choices

Well, some tennis stars have been living a little bit on the healthy side not just while they're on tour (which is like what, basically almost the whole year?). Other athletes choose the really-healthy path when they're on training for some big events like swimmers on training for the Olympics have not been eating desserts for quite some time. Put Novak Djokovic and Venus Williams on the spot light. Nole has been in a gluten-free diet when he learned that he was actually allergic to gluten and this means no pizza, pasta, cake, pie, cereals, cookies, and bread. CARBS!!! Venus Williams says she's a raw vegan, drinking a lot of fresh juice ever since she was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease. Hmmm, they were forced into a new diet!

Why I can't be vegan (from currently being vegetarian) is that I looooove dairy products, most especially cheese. Well, I have reduced my intake of cow's milk from almost everyday to practically never-a-day. I'm banking on my soy milk for quite some time but cheese, oh my, cheese powers me up on a sad day. There are current articles saying that we don't need milk anymore. How about calcium and osteoporosis? Article says the keys to bone strength is lifelong exercise and vitamin D which you practically get from the sun.
But, says Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, “Sugar — in the form of lactose — contributes about 55 percent of skim milk’s calories, giving it ounce for ounce the same calorie load as soda.”
Well I know the trouble the cows are getting just to give out milk for the human consumers but then, if you're lactose intolerant, it's obvious that you should cut out the idea of drinking milk in the first place. Fortunately there are alternatives now, you can have soy milk or almond milk if you want to drink something that looks like...well...milk. There are also a number of food choices available in restaurants that are for those who opt to eat differently from the norm, they aren't cheaper but they give us something to order that is not soup or water while we watch our friends devour their butchered animal meal.

It's tough knowing a lot of food that we consume aren't particularly "healthy" while most of us find solace in food. To be healthy and be stressed while thinking of what to eat, or succumb to an easier lifestyle with fast food, microwave-friendly or just-add-hot-water provisions? Sodium!!! Food is everyone's best friend. It gives you something to do (when you don't feel like doing anything), something that makes you feel better (pizza, chocolates, chips, ice cream as comfort food), and sometimes it's the cheapest thing you can purchase that you feel is worth its amount when you just want to buy something.

Then here comes the article from GMA News Online titled "What to say when you land in the Philippines" and Pinoys, are well, all about food and good times. That's the best part of coming home anyway, eating breakfast (which usually consists of sinangag), lunch, merienda, dinner, and eating before you sleep. Ahhhh the life. It's about the food.
photo credit from
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/263251/opinion/what-to-say-when-you-land-in-the-philippines

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The xx - xx

My Amazon exploits have continued! And my wallet has been shocked again, haha.


The latest addition to my ugly CD collection is none other than.... The xx! I'm obviously a fan of duos - or the magnificent blend of male and female vocals (hello The Submarines, The Hush Sound, Angus & Julia Stone, etc.). I'm still eyeing Of Monsters and Men, I've been listening to their songs lately and getting used to their music. Meanwhile, The xx has wonderful whisper-like vocals sounding like they're hushing themselves so the neighbors won't hear them making beautiful music in their garage. Originating from the UK, you've probably heard of their songs from some of the TV series you've been downloading illegally watching. They are pure delight to your ears. Listen to the sample below. Definitely worth every Peso or Dollar.



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wimbledon 2012



Just when you think they're done and their illustrious careers are ending, they all bounce back and prove to the world, 30 is the new 20.

Roger Federer and Serena Williams. Roger Federer has been out of anyone's mind since 2010 with the dominance of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. When Roger gave up the throne to Rafa, no one was bothered that much and yet when Nole became number 1 and was winning Grand Slams left and right, they're spelling the end for Roger Federer.

Serena Williams has been out from the competitive spotlight with injuries and when she suffered her 1st round exit at the recent Roland Garros, people say it might be the end for the Williams sisters (Venus lost the 1st round in Wimbledon). Guess what, it might be some sort of reverse psychology or something, but we now know how Wimbledon ended.

Gentlemen's Champion: Roger Federer

Ladies' Champion: Serena Williams

Ladies' Doubles Champion: Serena Williams and Venus Williams

Roger had some difficult 5-set matches before the QFs, further adding proof that his reign is over - you're Roger Federer, you can't drop a set to players outside the top 10. Serena also suffered stressful 3-set matches. But when both of them destroyed the defending champions (SFs for Roger and QFs for Serena), they rightfully earn/deserve the title (well at least for me they do). When Roger Federer (surprisingly) defeated Nole (the defending champion who's playing at his best), Roger deserved the title and his return to number 1. When Serena demolished Petra Kvitova (the defending champion) in straight sets for the QFs and Victoria Azarenka (2nd seed) in the SFs, beating Agnieszka Radwanska in the Finals is just like a no-brainer, right? Well, probably Serena wanted to give entertainment and she dropped the second set before closing it out 6-2 on the last one for her 5th Wimbledon title. Meanwhile, the Ladies' Doubles also deserves some citation because the Williams sisters (written off into retirement) just beat the top-seed Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond in the SFs after being down a set 2-6 6-1 6-2. Well, the Finals mach afterwards was a surefire no contest.

How's that for sending these folks into retirement, huh?

Roger's twin girls Myla and Charlene. <3

Monday, July 09, 2012

Maginhawa Street - The Burger Project, The Iscreamist, Gayuma ni Maria

The Maginhawa Street food scene has been pretty much there all this time but with The Fort housing and crowding more varieties and international food franchises, one still feels the need to escape to Maginhawa Street for the local, quirky, and fun food fare. Maginhawa Street is located near UP Diliman and you can access it via public transpo - Philcoa then trike to the street, or private vehicle - either through V. Luna route or Katipunan - C. P. Garcia.

Since I have tried Pipino before, I ruled that idea out of my friends' brains and presented The Burger Project and Iscreamist itinerary for our visit to Maginhawa Street. It was an all-girls food trip weekend with my high school friends.

The Burger Project is a cozy food joint where you get to customize whatever they put in your burger. They give you a checklist wherein you choose your ingredients, from patties (Angus beef, beef, chicken, or tofu), buns (regular sesame, potato bun, oatmeal bun), to cheese, dressings/sauce, primary toppings, etc. It's pretty much your call whatever you want and how much you want (if you fancy ticking boxes, check all that apply). You even get to name your burger. The tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, and sesame buns are included when you choose your patty (they are dubbed as "free"). Since you already have the checklist with you, you also already have an idea how much your burger will cost. They also offer milk shakes at PHP 145 but I just can't take anything more after my burger.
Rosa Maee's Angus Beef Burger with Gruyere cheese,
tomatoes, lettuce, and onion freaking rings.
I got my own Ambisyosang Vegetarian Burger with just tofu patty, tomatoes, lettuce, and garlic sauce. Comparing it to Good Burger's Veggie Patty, The Burger Project's Tofu Patty is thinner but you can see colors in the patty - meaning it's not all wheat and gluten inside.
Ambisyosang Vegetarian Burger.
Their interiors are appealing. You can see that they put effort in designing their place even though it's just a small unit. Parking is also difficult but it's part of the Maginhawa Street life. :p

Saturday, July 07, 2012

The Tea Diaries

The tea diaries.
Entry one.

Loose Thai tea leaves, Indian black tea leaves, Korean rice green teabags, and Chinese loose green tea leaves. I still can't get over the fact that we don't have freaking oolong tea leaves here at home.
Thai tea leaves, Korean brown rice green tea bags,
and Indian black tea leaves.
Given that we have leaves from 4 countries, the next question is what kind are those tea leaves anyway? Coffee is too mainstream, everyone knows their coffee, but there are only quite a few who knows what they're drinking. We have a percolator here at home, as well as a coffee press, and a couple of tea strainers. This means loose tea leaves are the preferred ammunition because tea bags are just too constricting...and easy to use. Bwahahaha. Kidding aside, it's because there's a common thinking that tea leaves pre-packed into bags are oftentimes of a lesser quality as opposed to the loose ones.

For the longest time, I was not sure as to what the teas are in Chinese restaurants. I have been the fondest tea drinker (read: thinks she has her own tea party) each time I go to a restaurant which serves "house tea" whether I'm with family or friends. It's oolong for the record. Most Chinese restaurants serve oolong tea while they offer jasmine tea for a price. I remember a friend saying, "parang lasang bulaklak" when he tasted the jasmine tea. No duh.

There are 6 kinds of tea namely white tea, yellow tea, green tea, oolong, black tea, and post-fermented tea which I have no idea about. Wikipedia says that it is "green tea that has been allowed to ferment/compost" so I believe it.

Tea is very popular in Europe most especially in UK. Ask Dolores Umbridge, "Would you like some taaay?" And she'll probably shove it down your throat anyway. English breakfast tea is basically black tea (a blend of Assam and Ceylon) which has the highest caffeine content across all tea types.

Since we've been brewing tea for quite some time and I've been gulping them like crazy, when milk tea shops sprouted around the metro like some fungi, their teas have to be tasted. Well, milk teas deserve another full entry because they are just TMTM - too many to mention.

Chinese green tea is already lodged in my brain while rice tea whether Korean or Japanese, is easily distinguishable because of the taste. Oolong tea as mentioned, is commonly served in Chinese restaurants. The challenge was when my friend gave me whole leaf Assam tea leaves and my mom's friend gave me Indian black tea leaves in a box. There were no labels for the Assam tea and the Indian tea (Brooke Bond) didn't mention what kind of tea it was. It's the ultimate battle of the black tea (since Assam is the most popular kind of black tea)!! I initially thought they were similar since they're both considered as black tea (haha such a noob) but then the taste is really different. You would be a puss to declare that they are the same because the taste and color itself won't allow you to mention it.

Assam (black) tea has a stronger taste and I have been ordering its milk tea variant a few times just so I can lodge the taste in my brain (junkie alert). Meanwhile, the Indian black tea has a darker color but has a less distinct taste, meaning you could go by drinking a whole cup without thinking what-the-heck-is-this-taste(?!). Aha. So what the freak is it?! I was holding a mug of Brooke Bond Red Label black tea when a oh-why-so-stupid moment came to me. Obviously it's no match to Archimedes' naked eureka moment, but my Indian tea is a blend of darker Assam tea leaves and some flavorings. This is actually called "mamri" which is a type of Assam tea cured in a way that it looks like granules instead of "leaves" and as I've read, this is the preferred type of Assam tea used in making spiced chai. (Orange pekoe is not a type of tea but is a type of tea grade.)

Wait. My Red Label "mamri" tea is... somewhat darker than the whole leaf Assam tea I have, so what is its difference from the Thai tea which is distinctly...orange?! Thai tea lists camellia sinensis (which is the tea plant) as its ingredients and a number of food coloring. From the start, the leaves smell different. Thai tea leaves have a stronger smell compared to our friendly mamri ones. When you pour water, the cup immediately fills with light orange color. That's definitely the food coloring working on its own. It would be a dark orange color which would be highlighted when you make it into the popular cha yen - Thai iced milk tea.

And oh, I drink my tea plain. No sugar, lemon, honey, or anything else. Milk tea (which I also concoct) made from freshly brewed tea leaves plus a whole lot of other stories, is a separate entry already.

For those who are not big fans of tea and its beautiful varieties, I'd recommend green tea (not the rice tea type) or black tea (choose English breakfast tea, as "pure" assam might be too strong/flavorful for you) if you're drinking it hot sans additions. They don't have any quirky taste (my friend loathes rice green tea and most herbal teas) nor smell (my sister abhors jasmine tea for some reason). Safe and sound!

Friday, July 06, 2012

The Dog Knows

Belly and my mom shared to me a story while Serena Williams was beating up Victoria Azarenka in their Wimbledon semi-final match. They both shared about the story of our neighbor's dog. There's a kid in our neighborhood, who just graduated as the grade school valedictorian from my HS alma mater. She died from dengue. My mom visited her wake and she said it was a beautiful and really heartbreaking sight. The coffin was huge (she's a big girl), her medals and ribbons (from academic recognition) were around, and the flowers were very colorful - fitting for a child. Her burial was yesterday, July 5. The hearse passed around the neighborhood before going to the cemetery. And here goes the story. The hearse just made the turn and there are still around 3 houses before the young girl's house. When the hearse was in sight, her dog was wailing and barking and really making a fuss. Yaya Belle and those who waited were really touched. She said there was no way the dog would know that it was the girl's coffin inside the hearse as there were no photos outside. They said the dog doesn't usually bark at cars outside, so people think the dog knows it's her friend who passed by. </3

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin ni Bob Ong

"Get the heck away from me!!!" is what a snooty teenager would say to someone for some unkown reason.

Pero ang totoong dahilan kung bakit ko nabanggit iyan ay dahil sa huling akda ni alyas Bob Ong, ang "Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin" na katatapos ko lang basahin. Maiba tayo, susubukin ko ang paggamit ng "conyong malalim" sa entry na ito. This is because for some kadahilanan na I can't mawari, Bob Ong's aklat has improved dramatically in terms of pagbabaybay. He didn't murder the titik "i" in his pangungusap and even used the oxford kuwit! This is the talinghaga of the century. Plus his creativity in experimenting with samu't sari na composition styles are still prevalent.

With "Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin," he's using a script style for his aklat. When he released "Ang Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan" sa nakaraan, he used a diary/journal-entry style in conveying his story. This book has increased its literacy style (but please don't mind the balangkas and storyline) which adds appeal for Bob Ong's tagahanga.

Okay, tama na ang "conyong malalim" moments ko. Ilang pangugngusap pa lamang at nangangati na ako sa mga pinagsusulat ko sa taas. Balik nalang tayo sa conversational Taglish o ang casual na pag-murder sa Ingles at Filipino/Tagalog. At mabalik na rin tayo sa one-sided na komentaryo tungkol sa huling aklat ni Bob Ong. As usual, mareklamo si Bob Ong. Mareklamo talaga. Iba naman ngayon ang kanya pinupuntirya. Naging somewhat socially-relevant ang mga akda ni Bob Ong noong kasagsagan ng EDSA Dos dahil tungkol sa gobyerno at pag-iisip ng mga Pilipino ang nalimbag niya.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Internet-Less Life For A Week

When there's no Internet at home, you're pretty damn sure you're screwed. Well, I know I am since it's my work-from-home day! Tuesday is doomed, the Internet was missing in action and so is our Globe landline. Curses!!! After reporting the issue, I have to find a place with stable connection. I made a mad dash to Wilson Figaro and ordered their biggest drink (16oz Iced Cappuccino is only PHP119, not bad) as I will be staying for quite some time. Hahaha. Perfect ass seat-warmer. Students and their parents come and go, with the kids having their after-school snacks of pizza, sandwiches, and pasta while the wifi-leeching corporate slave is just chugging iced coffee. Pizza or sandwiches plus pasta is only a snack for them. :| Aside from "famished" kids, there are also those who stayed in the coffee shop to study. Two students on separate occasions brought out their iPads, books, and notebooks and started their work, of course, with more food. I still am holding on to my PHP 119-drink while plugging the laptop. I'm staying!!!

After my 3-hour stint in the coffee shop which seemed like forever, where else will I find free Internet? So the next best area is the wake. There's a good hotspot in Arlington protected by WEP key, mwahaha. Tuesday has been about leeching wifi. After shift, we already went home since we're going to change venue for Wednesday from Arlington to Ascension.

Oh Wednesday, coding day. There's a freaking The Black Fleet van parked at the new venue (where my grandmother's wake was also held).
Bieber Bus.
We still don't have Internet at home so I came with my parents and was already at the venue early. Honestly, I'm not much help at the wake, just an additional caffeine-junkie and mouth to feed.

*One week has passed.*
Believe it or not, after a week since I drafted the sentences above, I came back to Wilson Figaro before my lolo's pa-siyam, which we're going to have at my aunt's hospital room. So it was coffee shop day again!
9 oz Butterscotch Vanilla Latte. PHP 115.
After 4 hours which didn't feel like forever because I was at the inner part of the cafe, my mom sent me a text message that I can now go to Cardinal Santos to join the novena and have the pa-siyam dinner (they ordered in Mann Hann). Hey, I liked the Butterscotch Vanilla Latte! I'm actually looking forward to tasting their macchiato and cafe au lait.

My short stint with Figaro made me study the different coffee drinks again. I'm looking forward on being a regular there. Expensive thing, though, and I think at one time I'm going to ram the flower box in front.