Saturday, 24 December 2011

BLOG -- Merry Christmas! 2011

Well, Merry Christmas! I hope you all have an awesome day spending your time with the ones you hold dear. Me I'll probably be playing video games until I have to do the annual family thing. I'd rather be with friends, but I'm sure they all have their family thing, too.

Then, when the family thing is over and I'm back at home, I'm going to watch the movie I watch every Christmas: this really old Chinese movie called "Merry Christmas" (has Danny Chan, Leslie Cheung, Karl Maka, Paula Tsui). I'm pretty sure there were Christmases where I didn't get to see it (like if we lent out the movie and it wasn't returned for years -- that happened once), but I've watched that movie since I was around maybe 8 or 9 years old -- definitely when my family still lived with the grandparents. It's funny, charming, and sweet -- at least to me. And the song it features: Danny Chan's "Waiting" -- makes me cry almost every time. 

Maybe I'll blog about it next week. This week, even today -- I actually have no time. I'm working on something -- a little game for my friends. If I can get some original music for it, then I'll share it here as well.

I'm actually here to post a video of me singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". You know, as a Christmas wish to you all. Don't really pay attention to the video -- doing a video was the only way I thought of to record my voice without static sounds happening if I pronounce "p" or "s", like what happens when I use a microphone.

It's not my best, but I tried. Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

EXPOSURES (FOOD PLACES) -- Okonomi House and John's

Well... I didn't exactly know what to blog about this week. A lot of things have happened, but I've also been busy with Christmas shopping (for myself and others [just kidding about myself -- Boxing Week is my "splurge on myself" week, lol]) and work. I didn't get much time to focus on one thing that I could blog about.

I was planning to do a review about Okonomi House, a food place I went to yesterday. But then I thought: I've only been to this place once. I can't really do a fair review, unless the food or service was so bad I would never go back to it. So now I will just briefly blog about my first impressions.

Location: 23 Charles Street West, Toronto, Ontario (close to Yonge & Bloor) Google Map
Contact # (From Google Map): 416-925-6176
Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake thing)
Price Range (for a main dish): Cheap -- $6.50-$13
Restaurant Size: Small
Recommend? Yes, if you like okonomiyaki

Brief Impression
The place looks a bit run down (table/booth-wise) and their menu looks a bit ghetto, but the employees there are polite, and the okonomiyaki was pretty good. Their noodle soup could use some kind of improvement. The service was very quick. Being affordable is also a plus.

Location: 1048 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario (close to Bathurst & Dupont) Google Map
Contact #: 416-535-2493
Type(s) of Cuisine: Latin/Venezuelan (do not trust their outdated website)
Specialty (if any): Unsure
Price Range (for a main dish): Unsure (it was a company team outing and my boss paid for us)
Restaurant Size: Small
Recommend? YES YES YES

Brief Impression
This place is great. The atmosphere is warm and the employees are friendly, polite, and they know their food. All the food I tried was awesome. I don't remember the names of them, but I had some deep fried plaintain thing with tomato bits and other things on top. My main dish was their special: filet mignon. Delicious. They also serve some kind of red wine that you can't get at LCBO. I didn't try the wine, but everybody else seemed to enjoy it. The desserts were delicious, too. I had a small serving of latte creme brulée (soft and moist), wine cake (it was okay), brownie (difficult to say because I poured Grand Marnier on it), and a small glass of Grand Marnier (it burns!! Blah! Yuck!). Just... check the restaurant out if you can, ha ha.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

REVIEW/THOUGHTS [Movie] -- The Princess Bride

Format Watched [Specific Edition, if any]: DVD [20th Anniversary Collector's Edition]
Approx. Runtime: 98 minutes (1 hour, 38 minutes)
Language Watched: English
Other Language(s) Available: Spanish, French
DVD Extra Content? Yes
Type of Movie: Adventure, Romance, Comedy, Fairy tale
Overall Impression: Loved it back then, and still love it now!

PERSONAL STANDING (Pre-exposures, thoughts, etc.)
The first time I ever watched The Princess Bride was at a friend's Canada Day gathering (I think it was Canada's Day) more than 10 years ago. I missed the beginning of the movie, so I didn't pay that much attention to it (I don't like watching movies from the middle). As it continued playing, though, certain scenes drew me. The scene that "won me over" was the battle of wits between the pirate and the Sicilian. The dialogue was so hilarious, I had to keep watching from that point on. I don't remember if we finished watching the movie, but I remember enjoying what I saw.

Fast forward to last year and I saw the full movie for the first time. I LOVED IT! What a sweet, romantic movie. And the humour is just right. I can watch this movie over and over (which I have for this past week while writing this review).

While I am aware that many have already watched this movie, I will keep this as spoiler-free as possible for those who haven't.

The movie starts with a boy who's sick in bed, playing video games. His grandfather pays him a visit and reads him the story The Princess Bride.

The Princess Bride is about a commoner girl named Buttercup and a farm boy named Westley who love each other immensely. Some things happen and Buttercup is engaged to Prince Humperdinck, a man she does not love. Before Buttercup is married, she gets kidnapped. There is more to tell, but that's all I'm going to tell you!

Westley and Buttercup. What a sweet couple!

I really enjoy that even though the main focus of the story is The Princess Bride, there are still scenes between the boy and his grandfather. It's interesting and funny to hear commentary from a boy who is listening to something that is at its core, a love story. I also liked that those scenes indicated a passing of time in the "real world"; there is one scene in the middle of the movie where the boy and his grandfather are talking and the boy is holding a sandwich with a lunch tray on his bed and his grandfather is holding a mug, indicating they were having lunch. I don't know why, but I find that added detail neat.

Let me say this: there was never a moment where I thought, They're acting. That means the acting was very honest and believable. During comedic moments, there was great comedic acting. During the serious, tender moments, there was great sincerity.

The boy and his grandfather. The boy is throwing a fit 
because he didn't like what his grandfather just read.

Being a fairy tale, many of the characters' intentions, motivations, desires, and alignment are clear-cut. Despite that, many conflicts and events happen that keeps you wondering if those characters will succeed. The main characters are also witty, lovable, and charming. The dynamics of the different personalities really mesh well.
The music is great. It really sets the era (medieval times) and the mood of each scene. There are also many times where the music helped express the hopes and sorrows of the characters. Sometimes I don't even notice the music playing until it's in full force. I think that says just how nicely the music works with the movie. Some tracks include dreary brass pieces; a slow, light string (lute maybe) and flute (clarinet?) piece; a brass, harp, and organ piece that instils hope and determination; a playful string piece; and many more. Most of the music is slow and soothing.

The 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition of The Princess Bride has these special features:

-True Love and High Adventure: The Official Princess Bride DVD Game (disappointing)
-Princess Bride: The Untold Tales Featurette (neat, but short)
-The Art of Fencing Featurette (neat, but short)
-Fairy Tales and Folklore Featurette (neat, but short)
-A Twice Told Tale: The reversible storybook with two version of The Princess Bride story (not present!)

The DVD game contains three easy mini-games and at the end, depending on how you did, you'll get a word that you can use at to redeem for something. The game wasn't very fun, though I did enjoy the dialogue between the characters. Going to the princessbridegame site was disappointing as there was no place there to input some word. If they had it at some point, it was probably taken down or was moved to another site, though there's no notice of anything being moved or taken down.

The Princess Bride: Untold Tales Featurette is a short talk with some of the actors about the film and their stories. It was way too short. The Art of Fencing Featurette is a short talk about fencing and its art (quite straightforward). The Fairy Tales and Folklore Featurette is a short talk about the meanings and significances of fairy tales.

The Twice Told Tale is supposedly a DVD booklet that tells the story of The Princess Bride when flipping through the pages one way, and tells an alternate version of The Princess Bride when turning the booklet upside down and reading it the other way. This was NOT included in my version of the movie (I bought the DVD a week ago), and after reading some customer reviews on an online store site, the booklet hasn't been included in over 4 years. That's... really sucky and misleading.

One thing that I find horrible about the special features is that there is no commentary track. For a movie as awesome as this, there needs to be one! It turns out that another edition of The Princess Bride includes a commentary track. So don't get the 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition if you want commentary.

If you have never seen The Princess Bride, I highly recommend that you do. After all these years, it is still so charming and magical. Ahh... true love... :)

To end off, here's a screenshot of one of the funnier moments in the movie (of course, while still trying to be spoiler-free).

Curious about what he's saying? Then watch the movie!

P.S. As always, if you're curious about anything or would just like to comment on anything, go ahead and respond! :)

Saturday, 3 December 2011

BLOG (PERSONAL) -- The Ultimate Christmas Gift for Me

After working for about 12 hours straight on a Saturday, I am almost too frazzled to even blog about anything... but I know that Sunday will also be a busy (but exciting!) day for me, so I will put up with my restless self and do it today, lol.

This will be short and sweet, as all I'm thinking about right now is brushing my teeth, and then hopping into bed. It's sooooo cold in this room D:

Since Christmas is coming, I will let you in on what I want for Christmas -- the ultimate Christmas gift for me. No, it's not the latest video game system (whatever that may be), or a book on learning Python, or some crazy soundboard thing so I can record myself singing, although those would be quite awesome (especially that soundboard thing). What I want is much simpler, but to me, I consider it the most expensive gift of all: a lovely memory with those I care about. To look at it from another angle: somebody's time.

That would be the ultimate Christmas gift for me because, well, I'm a weirdo and a hopeless romantic, ha ha XD. I am also a sentimental person who values time spent with others over something bought with money. I believe a wonderful memory would be something that would stay with me for the rest of my life -- those joyous feelings, the laughter, the smiles, the happiness. 

Yes, memories can be forgotten, but they do have a tendency to show up again when you least expect it. I believe that once you experience something, that memory will always be with you.

I can go on and on about this -- about why I value time so much, about the significance of memories (to me), about how memories can change your current life, etc., etc. -- but I said this blog would be short and sweet. And I am sleepy, lol.

Sweet dreams to you all :D