16 August, 2009

G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra

photo credit

The Plot
Paramount Pictures and Hasbro, whose previous collaboration was the worldwide blockbuster "Transformers," join forces with Spyglass Entertainment for another extraordinary action-adventure "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra." From the Egyptian desert to deep below the polar ice caps, the elite G.I. JOE team uses the latest in next-generation spy and military equipment to fight the corrupt arms dealer Destro and the growing threat of the mysterious Cobra organization to prevent them from plunging the world into chaos. "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra." is directed by Stephen Sommers ("The Mummy," "The Mummy Returns").

Click HERE to view my source of the above plot. For a synopsis, click HERE. You may also visit the movie’s official website or click HERE for its Wikipedia entry.

My Verdict

Watching the movie made me remember that faraway time when I was “one of the boys.” When my childhood toys weren’t dolls but toy soldiers, toy guns and army camps complete with flags, tanks, fences and other battle armaments. It also made me remember the G.I. Joe Choose Your Own Adventure-like books I read as a teen.

G.I. Joe The Rise of the Cobra was one engrossing movie. I love the visual effects (still can’t get over the horror of watching France’s trademark Eiffel Tower collapse) and the fight scenes. But what I like best is the fact that the characters’ pasts were probed thus making the viewer understand their relationships more (like the Baroness’ hatred of Duke and the very palpable enmity between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow).

My friend and I had to wait for more than two hours to get reserved seats for this movie but I must say this movie is worth the wait. Now I can't wait for its sequel.

14 August, 2009

Beware of Spaghetti Factory

Last Wednesday, after work, my friend and I went to Glorietta 5 and after about thirty minutes of going from one shop to another, we got hungry so I suggested that we eat out. We saw a really huge banner of Spaghetti Factory and since it’s something new to us, we decided to try it out.

The Ambiance
The place was charmingly furnished. It was quite homey actually though it had space restrictions. On its walls were reviews and articles about the place that came out in newspapers and magazines. From what reviews I read, it was a pretty good place for pasta. I sure hoped so since my tummy was already grumbling even before I was seated.

The Menu
The menu was pretty extensive but since we’re just looking for some snacks (I was supposed to be on a diet and on a soft diet at that since I just had a tooth extraction), we chose something from their merienda meals. Des and I each ordered Birdy and Spaghetti Carbonara. This had chicken drumstick with gravy, spaghetti in creamy sauce, Caesar salad, freshly baked bread and iced tea. I also ordered an additional siding of French Fries.

The above seemed too much but when our order came, I understood why it was only priced at Php99 (exclusive of 8% service charge). The serving was too small, is why! We also did a double take as the chicken was burnt and so was the bread. Whatever happened to the FRESHLY BAKED description in their menu, huh? Both looked reheated!

Never been one to waste my food, I dug in still. I had to laugh though when Des sniffed the bread.

Taste-wise, the carbonara was good and so was the salad (I couldn’t help but notice the burnt croutons in it though) but the chicken was the worst I ever had! Even our home-cooked chicken would have fared better. Not only was it burnt, it also tasted funny. I really couldn’t quite describe it but it was bitter and leaves a weird aftertaste. Des and I thought it must be because they used old oil. Also, our order of French fries tasted the same, as if it was cooked on the same oil as the chicken. Fried Chicken and French Fries are two of my favorite foods but when it’s cooked as badly as Spaghetti Factory’s, I’d rather pass. It was so horrible that I did not finish eating them.

The Service
I’m a gracious eater. Even if there’s something that I did not like in a restaurant, I would focus on what I consider to be good. I was thinking of this when the waiter ruined everything for us. It started when the bill came. They had erroneously billed us as they charged us Php99+ for the fries when in their menu, it was just Php29+. We thus called the waiter’s (I was later told by another staff that his name was Jomari) attention and when he came over, he apologized. As he was already there, I decided to give a feedback on how our meal went. The exchange went something like this:

Me: Is this how your chicken really tastes?
Jomari: Why?
Me: It tastes funny. Kind of bitter. As if the oil used was old. The French Fries tasted the same, as if it too were cooked in the same old oil.
Jomari: Ma’am, we use different oils in cooking the chicken and the fries. And you should have told us from the start.
Me: It’s ok. I just would like you to know. But both do taste funny. You may want to taste both.
Jomari: (Just looking at me. Silence. Then I saw him arch his browse and smirk and that’s when I flared up).
Me: You shouldn’t be doing that. When a customer gives you a feedback, you should take it the feedback into account.
Jomari: OK (then he left).

Like whaaaat? How rude! He shouldn’t be working in the service-oriented industry if he is like that.

I thought the worst of our meal was over but he further ruined it when we overheard this exchange he had with another Spaghetti Factory staff.
Unknown staff: What happened?
Jomari: Don’t mind them.
Arrrrgh! How could you be working in a restaurant when you wouldn’t acknowledge your patrons’ feedback? Geez.

Later, it was a different staff who came over with our corrected bill (I am sorry I wasn’t able to get his name but he was nice and I actually got Jomari’s name from him). I was wondering though how Jomari would suddenly forsook us. Maybe he did not want to hear another complaint or at the least, a feedback. Oh my. Good thing I was in a good mood then else I would have asked for the manager.

Final Words
Spaghetti Factory is located in Level 2, Glorietta 5, Ayala Center, Makati City. But if you can steer away from this place, please do. You’ll be saving yourself from unsavory food and insensitive service. Des and I were saying we would have been better off eating at Chef D’ Angelo. Now I know better though as never again will I set foot in it or in any of their branches.

No wonder Spaghetti Factory wasn’t packed with diners for how could they attract customers if their service is as lousy as Jomari’s?

13 August, 2009

The Proposal

The Plot
Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is the high-powered, no-nonsense editor-in-chief of Colden Books who coerced her assistant, Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) into marrying her to avoid being deported to Canada. He grudgingly accepts her “proposal” provided that she promotes him into being an editor and publishes his manuscript. The couple then went to Sitka, Alaska in his hometown where she meets his quirky but endearing family and (gasp!) his ex-girlfriend. With an impromptu wedding in the works and a tenacious immigration official at their heels, both Margaret and Andrew must navigate their way out of one amusing situation after the other without exposing their plan.

And oh, what happens when in their having surprising revelations about the other, the single-minded and fiercely independent Margaret realizes that she has fallen in love with Andrew for real?

My Verdict
I have been an ardent Sandra Bullock fan since I saw the movie Speed thus I make it a point to always watch her movies. And like her other flicks, this one is a gem. I admit though that during the first ten minutes of the movie, I was kind of unnerved, as I wasn’t used to seeing her play an unlovable role. I mean, Sandra usually has endearing roles (think of Gracie Hart in Miss Congeniality and Lucy in While You Were Sleeping) thus to see her being called a “witch” took some getting used to. But I guess that’s one of her gifts – making each role her own, that while watching, I began to empathize with those who were put off by Margaret’s icy demeanor.

Quotable Quotes
The movie was very entertaining because of the funny banter from the cast. Below are some of them.

While on the plane bound to Sitka, Alaska and they were trying to get as much information about each other as possible, Andrew said he already knew a lot of things about Margaret, even the fact that she has a tattoo thus it is she who has to catch up on learning things about him. Goaded, she asked,

Margaret Tate: What am I allergic to?
Andrew Paxton: Pine nuts. And the full spectrum of human emotion.
Grandma Annie: (when Andrew pointed Margaret out to her) Does she prefer Margaret or “Satan’s Mistress?”
Margaret Tate: Why didn’t you tell me you’re some kind of Alaskan Kennedy?
Andrew Paxton: We were in the middle of talking about you… for the last three years.
Grandma Annie: (taking a knitted blanket from the cabinet) If you get chilly tonight, use this. It has special powers.
Margaret Tate: Oh. What kind of special powers?
Grandma Annie: I call it the baby maker.
Margaret Tate: Ok. (Turning to Andrew) Better be super careful with this.
Andrew Paxton:
(after traipsing from Alaska to New York to go after Margaret) Margaret, will you marry me? Because I’d like to date you.
And my personal favorite is the part where Grandma Annie and Grace Paxton, Andrew’s mom had them narrate how their proposal went. It was just hilarious!

Andrew Paxton: You know what? Actually, Margaret loves telling this story, so I'm just gonna let her go ahead and do that. We should just sit and rapture.
Margaret Tate: Wow, okay... wow, where to begin... the story... Well, um, wow... Okay, well, um, Andrew and I... Andrew and I were about to celebrate our first anniversary together and I knew that he'd been itching to ask me to marry him and he was scared, like a little tiny bird. So, I started leaving him little hints here and there because I knew he wouldn't have the guts to ask...
Andrew Paxton: That's not exactly how it happened.
Margaret Tate: No?
Andrew Paxton: No, no, I mean I picked up on all of her little hints... this woman is about as subtle as a gun. Yeah, no what I was worried about was that she might find this little box...
Margaret Tate: Oh, the decoupage box that he made, where he'd taken the time to cut out twenty little pictures of himself, just pasted all over the box. So beautiful! I opened that beautiful little decoupage and out fluttered these tiny little hand cut heart confetti and once they cleared, I looked down and I saw the most beautiful, big...
Andrew Paxton: ...fat nothing! No ring.
Grandma Annie: No ring?
Grace Paxton: What?
Andrew Paxton: No, but inside that box, underneath all that crap, a handwritten note with the address to a hotel, date and time. Real Humphrey Bogart type stuff. Masculine. Naturally, Margaret, she thought...
Margaret Tate: I thought he was seeing someone else... so it was a terrible time for me, but I went to that hotel anyway, I went there and I pounded on the door. But the door was already unlocked. As I swung open that door, there he was...
Andrew Paxton: Standing.
Margaret Tate: Kneeling.
Andrew Paxton: Like a man.
Margaret Tate: On a bed of rosebuds, in a tuxedo. Your son. Your son... and he was choking back soft, soft sobs. And when he held back the tears and finally caught his breath, he said to me...
Andrew Paxton: 'Margaret, will you marry me?' and she said 'yep', the end!
Wow. If I were among the audience during this amusing exchange, I might not have been able to stifle a giggle!

Please note that I did not take down all these lines, as I was so engrossed with the movie. To view the source of the above quotes, please click HERE.

My favorite scenes
Aside from their narration of how their supposed proposal went, these are some of my favorite scenes of the movie.

When Andrew asked the haughty Margaret to propose to him on the streets of New York - on her knees. And nicely!

When Kevin, the Paxton family dog, got swooped by an eagle and Margaret saved him only to later have her mobile phone taken by the same eagle. She then waved the dog, enticing the eagle with it in hopes of getting her phone back. Grandma Annie and Mrs. Paxton saw her and thought she was playing with the dog and thought it was cute.

When Margaret and Andrew collided into each other buck-naked! And while Margaret was trying to find something to cover herself with, she ended up with the “baby maker,” which she hurriedly tossed away.

When Andrew and Margaret shared some things about their past and they found out that they like the same band and Andrew even sang the song.

When Andrew saw Margaret in one of her unguarded moments at the woods, dancing to Get Low with his Grandma Annie.

When Margaret was reminded of what it was like to have a family and she was so touched to have Grandma Annie and Mrs. Paxton fawn over her while they were having her fitting for her wedding dress. Grandma Annie also gave her a necklace that has been in the family for generations.

When Margaret tearfully admitted the real reason behind their engagement during their “wedding” at the barn. A “chase scene” ensued as Andrew did his best to go after her. He later showed up in the office where he confessed his love for Margaret and asked her to marry him because “he wants to date her.” The two then get engaged for real.

Fashionable Margaret
Another reason why I enjoyed the movie was the fact that Margaret was dressed to the nines. Being a power-driven executive, she does look the part – from her well tailored power suits to her chic bags and killer shoes. They just exude timeless elegance and sophistication.

Over-all movie experience
It’s been a long time since I watched a movie that I really like and I am glad I did not miss watching this on the big screen. It’s too entertaining a movie to miss.

10 August, 2009

Making my Feet "Happy"

Wow! I have been so busy with the Yahoo! Philippines Purple Hunt during the past months that most of my blogs from May to July were about it. But now that the said campaign is already finished, I will now start blogging about those that I used to blog about prior to my involvement to the Purple Hunt.

And so today I decided to blog about my beloved Happy Feet sandals. I rarely use sandals that are of the "bakya" type but the moment I saw these lovely pair of sandals with its equally lovely hand-painted designs, I knew I just had to buy it.

A beauty
Aesthetics-wise, each pair of Happy Feet Sandals is a work of art since it is hand-painted thus making each pair unique in itself. It also uses fun designs to express the wearer’s mood or character. I chose the one with a Japanese geisha design because at the time when I bought it, I wanted something that evokes confidence, a unique pair that is a testament to a woman’s charms. LOL.

Proudly Filipino made
But aesthetics alone will not be able to convince me to buy a pair and so I delved deeper into the product and found out that Happy Feet sandals are conceptualized by Filipinos, making it a product that showcases excellent Filipino craftsmanship. They have been around since 1975.

Happy Feet Sandals are also made from natural wood, which has a wax finish that through time and with the natural oils from the wearer’s skin, will give the wood a light sheen.

Cares for the Feet
But the selling pitch of Happy Feet sandals for me is the fact that it does care for the feet. From toe grip to arch support and heel cup, this wooden footwear caresses the vital pressure points of the wearer’s soles, giving her feet a continuous massage. Aside from supporting the arch, ball and heel to take pressure off these vital parts, Happy Feet sandals also alternately stretches and relaxes sole and calf muscles while walking to cool down muscles.

I have been using Happy Feet Sandals for a couple of months now and I can say that it does bring comfort to my feet.

For more information about Happy Feet Sandals, please visit their website at www.happyfeetsandals.com or contact them through (632) 726-5393.

03 August, 2009

President Corazon "Cory" Cojuangco Aquino, Beloved Mother of the Philippines

I first learned about her demise when I woke up at past 4:00 AM last Saturday, August 01, 2009. Unable to go back to sleep, I went online and browsed through Yahoo! News and read about it there. I was stunned but at the same time, wary. Too wary that I did not post a link of the news page in any of my social networking sites, specifically in Facebook because the week before it, there were erroneous reports about her “death.” But I buzzed about the news so it will reflect in my Yahoo! Profiles and I can easily get back to it for reference.

At about 7:00 AM, I headed downstairs to buy breakfast and came back to the condo where I saw my housemate watching the news. My wariness about the news of Tita Cory’s death dissipated into thin air and in its place came sadness.

I was only three years old when the 1986 EDSA Revolution happened but later on, I got fascinated by the stories I learned about it. One professor in college narrated that that was the time when one is proudest to be a Filipino. Another professor said that the world was so awed by what they witnessed that when Filipinos would travel abroad, they were accorded with such esteemed regard that extended to Filipinos having a special “express” lane whenever they would arrive in or depart from some countries.

I have always been proud about my being a Filipino but it makes me prouder to have such honorable countrymen as President Corazon “Cory” Cojuangco Aquino. Thank God for the gift of her to us.

Below is the message I left in her official website. You may also leave your message there and have the website as your reference for it has announcements as well as live streaming.

To Tita Cory,

You will be sorely missed. Know that you are very much loved and we thank the Lord for the gift of your life. May you in your resting place have peace and may you also continue to intercede for the Filipino people and for peace in the world.

Some people live even after their death and you are such a person to us. Your legacy lives on and even in your death and beyond it, you are still and will always be a beacon of hope and a source of inspiration to countless Filipinos and to the world as well.

With prayers.

I also posted a message that is on the same thought in Yahoo! Answers. To view the question, click HERE.

The past days, I only got updates about Tita Cory’s wake through the news on TV, online or on newspapers but today I had the privilege of personally seeing the nation mourn the loss of its mother. Cory’s remains passed by Ayala Avenue, Makati to where the statue of Ninoy is and what I witnessed was enough to give me goosebumps. It was quite moving.

The crowd was overwhelming! People from all walks of life were there – students, young professionals, the religious, the rich and the poor, the old and the young alike. These people braved the scorching heat of the sun so they could pay tribute to the lady responsible for bringing back democracy in the country.

As for my participation today, I did updates online through my Facebook account. I also threw some confetti, which we have prepared since 9:00 in the morning, right after we found out that she would be passing by our area. I also snapped some pictures from our office building.

For the complete set of pictures, click HERE. Some pictures are not that clear though as either the camera was zoomed in or I took the picture through our glass windows.

This picture of a lone yellow balloon was taken moments after the President passed by. And like this yellow balloon, may she fly freely to where Ninoy is waiting for her.

Rest in peace, our beloved Tita Cory.