Yearly Archives: 2010

Darren Criss: Totally Awesome

I was giddy when I heard the news of Darren Criss coming to the Philippines. I’ve long been a fan of his since I saw “A Very Potter Musical” months back. I was also a fan of the entire Team Starkid because of all the love and effort they put to make this project. There’s also “Little White Lie”, “Me and My Dick” and of course, “A Very Potter Sequel”. A new project “Starship” will be showing soon.

When the news that Darren was going to be on Glee, I was half excited, half skeptic. As I always am when something I like breaks into the mainstream, I was worried how this would affect the Starkid fandom. Darren himself had an inkling about this and said in one tweet of his:

StarKid fans, meet your new baby brother GLEE. We’re all family now, so play nice ok? Remember, this doesn’t mean that I love you any less. Darren Criss, Nov. 10, 2010.

Let’s face it. Fans can be rabid and petty, especially if it’s about a person and they’ve crossed boundaries, there’s bound to be “I knew him first!” wars. I’m guilty of this, even though I try to curb it.

So, Darren on Glee. Excited too, yes. When he came out… um. I loved “Teenage Dream”, but to be honest, I didn’t like his role, and I still don’t. I had long stopped watching Glee, and I guess I didn’t really miss out. But I still love Darren… and Joey, Joe W, Bonnie, Devin and the rest of the Starkids.

Tonight, thanks to Glee’s popularity, I had the good fortune of watching Darren Criss perform live at Trinoma. I was with Presea, who used her A-Card to get free passes. We were surrounded by fangirls, most of whom we thought were there for Glee. Ah, we were mistaken. They were Starkid fans. A lot of Starkid fans. It was fun for us, probably not for those sitting behind them.

The kids loved our AVPM/HP Musical poster, but the Ayala people didn’t so they took it in until after the show. Boo. We also made a new friend who knew every single song that Darren sang. The stage was rather far from the audience. There was still a big gap between the edge of the stage to the first few rows so cameras had to be in zoom mode. Too bad my video camera had a limited zoom, so Darren looks really small.

Darren. Ah, Darren. Watching you live has further cemented my awe of you. Hearing you sing your songs live has made Starkid the more real for me. I sang every single song that you played, nearly lost my voice but boy, it was fun. Best song of the night? Well, all of the Starkid and Human songs, but I truly enjoyed “Granger Danger” and “Getting Back to Hogwarts”. Seriously, singing that long song and letting us go crazy with it? Totally awesome.

I think the people who were there just for Glee were totally shocked when a lot of us started singing out loud to the songs they didn’t know. Especially with the two songs I mentioned. I also loved how often he mentioned Starkid. That’s where it all started and while they weren’t physically with him, the songs made them feel a heck of a lot closer. Seriously, no drama.

While my heart is still disappointed and somewhat bitter that I didn’t get any passes for either the meet & greet or the CD signing, knowing that I’m more a fan than half those who got their stuff signed, I feel happy. I repeat. I am happy. Really 🙂 In any case, if Darren or any of the Starkids read this, please send me something signed by you *wishful thinking*

I’m currently editing the pictures and figuring out how to work the videos that I have. I got all of his performances. For a list of the songs he sang, please see this post. For the meantime, I shall head off to bed.

Edit: First video up. “Not Alone”

5th Christmas Toy Con

Today, I went to the 5th Christmas Toy Fair. It was also a joint event with the Mom’s Holiday Finds. I really wasn’t planning to get anything, but I was hoping to score some Pinky:St parts from Akihabara Toys. It was also my first trip outside after a week’s seclusion thanks to my infected eye. My sister gave me the go-signal to go out, so long as I take care of myself.

Yue, Ryan and I agreed to be there at 10 AM so we can maximize the morning. Yue arrived first while the mall was still closed. I arrived a few minutes later and Ryan came much, much later, thanks to the traffic in his area.

While waiting for Ryan, Yue and I went ahead exploring the booths that were there. According to Yue, this was a much bigger event than the last one she attended. Ryan said the same thing later on, that the space for the 2009 con was smaller than this year’s.


Here is the Akihabara Toys booth. They’re a toy store located at Malolos, Bulacan. Field trip, my fellow toy collectors?

Japanimation also had a booth there.

Since there’s so much to see, I will refrain from trying to write something in a narrative form. Instead, I will spam you with pictures (which you will see by clicking on “Read more” below) and provide some comments.

Continue reading

Dear Universe

I started blogging in late 2003, and since then, there’s this meme that I do every year. It started in Livejournal, and I first saw it through Roch of magnetic-rose.net. It’s where you write down ten things you want for Christmas, and your LJ friends will try to fulfill them for you. It doesn’t have to be a wishlist full of expensive, material things. It can also have silly things like “I want someone to go with me to an STP concert” or something.

This year, I made my list (I decided to keep it in LJ for sentimental reasons) and some friends did theirs too. However, thanks to a post on Plurk from Yvie, I thought I’d make another wishlist, this time full of things that I want to happen rather than material things that I want to have.

It’s a more tough list to make because these are things that aren’t really that easy to think of, if you get my drift. These are things that you know will affect you, your life and possibly the people around you too.

So what grand things do you wish the Universe will grant you?

House Arrest

It’s the fourth day of my house arrest. I started counting from Monday, where I first took a sick leave. I am very grateful that there’s Internet, or else I’d be bored silly. I’m also thankful that even though it’s my eye that’s infected, I can still use it. I have a cousin who occasionally get severe eye allergy and he literally is blind for a few days.

“It’s tough not to be able see, Ate,” he told me the last time he had this allergy attack. “You can’t read, you can’t watch TV, you can’t play video games. There’s music to listen to but that’s still not much.” True indeed. If I played a musical instrument it would be fine, I suppose. But my guitar lacks a string and there’s only so much I can play without resorting to chords.

I’m not making much sense now, am I?

This eye virus/infection is really something. I am not really sick, meaning I don’t have any fever or anything that renders me physically incapable of getting out, going to work and doing my job. However, it’s the kind of illness that makes you stay home because it’s quite contagious, and it doesn’t look pretty. I’ve gone through several rolls of tissue because it’s like I’m crying all the time. *sigh*

Anyway, I’m off to the doctor. My youngest brother Dion said that it’s healing how since I’m “crying” all the time. I’ll be glad to get rid of this. While getting some rest is nice, I’d like to go back to my regular schedule.

Update
Just go back from the clinic. I went to Medical City at SM Marikina and the doctor who attended to me was Dr. Jaime P. Capco. He said that while the problem with my eye is not contagious (so you don’t have to run when you see me people), it is caused by a bacterial. He had me do some tests (which proved that my eyesight is still pretty good) and said that I need two medicines: one to drop on my eye and the other to take orally to fight the bacteria. I can go out and work, he said, but I’d better take some precaution to protect my eyes. If by Saturday it’s still like this, I have to go back and see him.

I hope the medicines will take effect ASAP. As nice as the doctor was, I don’t want to see him again, and I mean that in a good way. 🙂

Hello weekend

I woke up yesterday with my right eye feeling a bit swollen. It didn’t look like it was bitten by an insect, so I didn’t give it much thought. When I got to the office, Gio commented that it was somewhat red. The nurse at the clinic gave me some eye drops to help relieve it. Later, I went to see the company doctor who told me that I might have viral conjunctivitis. She gave me a med cert and told me to go home.

I missed out on the office get-together, but that’s all right. I’d rather be here than infect everybody, then we’d all be out on Monday. Weeee. The business would love that.

Human Heart Nature haul
After a long time, I finally got to order some things from HHN. They’ve released several new products this year, which replaced some of the things that they’re removing from their line up. I’m a bit sad that the mango butter conditioner line is phased out, and they’re just emptying out their stock. It’s my favorite conditioner, and the peppermint one is really very nice.

I decided to get their new balancing facial wash. Fristine had the privilege of testing that before it launched and she said it was great. I must agree. It’s made for normal, oily or combination skin, which is exactly what I have. This wash is so refreshing and it makes my skin feel very clean. I haven’t tried the toner yet, but I will hopefully soon.

I also have the hand sanitizer, which is small enough to fit my bag. I didn’t like the smell at first, but when I got used to it, it was pretty nice. They also have a new make-up like called “Love Minerals” but since I don’t wear make-up, I’m not sure if I want to try it. Still, HHN has a lot of hits with me. I look forward to trying out their new products.

Food trip: Sambokojin Yakiniku

Last Thursday turned out to be food trip day. The guys decided that they wanted to try out that new smokeless grill place above Something Fishy in Eastwood called Sambokojin Yakiniku Smokeless Grill. We’ve been seeing the ads about it for quite some time now, and we thought it would be nice to give it a try. The day before, Arpee passed by and inquired about their prices and service, so he was raring to go, as was Gio. At first, I didn’t want to because I wasn’t feeling particularly hungry, but then again, I’m glad I gave in.

“Sambokojin”, as the waiter told us, is the Japanese god of the kitchen, which should be very apt for the restaurant since in essense it’s one big kitchen, since you cook your own food at the grill on your table. Sambokojin (the restaurant, not the god) has several sections of food that’s already prepared, like the wide selection of Japanese sushi and sashimi, as well as choices of other Japanese and Korean dishes.

The restaurant also has a wide array of meat for grilling. The clever thing they did was to arrange it by sauce, so you can take your pick of different sorts of meat marinated in teriyaki, kimchi or the special Sambokojin sauce. Seafood is also available and there was also choices of bacon-wrapped goodies. I’m a big fan of the Shitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms and asparagus.

Sauces are also available on your table. The Sambokojin sauce is a favorite.

There’s also a good selection of desserts and salads, which I unfortunately didn’t get to taste. I tried their ice cream and some pastries, but I feel that I wasn’t able to really taste them because I was so full. It’s enough reason to go back.

Buffet prices vary. Lunch during Mondays to Fridays are P495, while dinner is P595. Lunch and dinner on weekends are both P595. Not a bad deal right?

I waddled out of Sambokojin a very happy customer. Not only was the food good, but the service top notch. No sooner than I finished the contents of one plate, a service crew is right there to whisk it away. They also call you by your name, which is really nice, making the dining experience more personal. You also won’t have to run back and forth if you need an extra plate while getting your food because the entire shelf below the choices are full of plates.

My only complaint? An hour’s lunch break isn’t enough.

You can read Arpee’s post about Sambokojin here.

Update: Sambokojin will open a branch along EDSA! I saw a sign next to Dad’s/Saisaki. That’s great news for those who find Eastwood far away! More updates! I think the EDSA branch is now open! I passed by it the other day (I was on the MRT hehe). If anyone can confirm, I’d appreciate it! 🙂

Techie woes

My phone’s ancient. By today’s standards of smartphones and tablets, my phone should’ve been replaced years ago. It’s a first generation touch phone, when Nokia was still working on its Symbian phones with sliding keypads, mine was already revolutionary for being a colored phone that looks better but works as well as a Palm.

I’ve had my Sony Ericsson P800 since 2004, and I got it with much drama. I’ve lost it thrice, dropped it countless of times, tried replacing it with a Motorola and a Nokia N92, but it still comes back to me. It even survived a theft last October.

I’m somewhat proud of my old phone. It’s been with me for six years, going on seven. It looks awful now, what with the loss of the keypad (which isn’t really a keypad), the gaping front cover, the missing stylus, the broken battery cover and the peeling paint. Still, it’s long proved its durability and I know I’ve gotten my money’s worth.

I’ve used it to capture pictures of events and concerts (seriously, but I was front row that time so it was easy). I’ve installed third party apps for games and taking videos. I don’t know how many pictures I’ve taken with it, but it has, over the years, been pretty handy even if the quality isn’t that good.

Early today, I couldn’t send out any messages. At first I thought it was a network problem, as my boss was having trouble sending out messages. I didn’t really mind it, but after two hours and I still didn’t have a signal, I wondered if it were a phone problem. My teammates started teasing me, that I should retire my phone and get a new one. I was seriously contemplating on doing just that.

When I got home, I traded phones with my brother just to see if I could pinpoint the problem. His SIM worked fine on my phone, but my SIM didn’t work on his. Ergo, it’s a SIM problem, which makes me really, really sad. I’ve had this particular number for almost as long as I have the phone. I don’t want to throw it out and get a new number.

I’ll be heading to Globe sometime this week just to check if it’s still possible to save my SIM. I hope so. If not, then I just might give in and get a postpaid line. *sigh*

I suck at titles, seriously

Saturday had me visiting Riverbanks for the Hobbyworx toy fair. Last month they had their event at Glorietta 5, where my friends managed to get great bargains on some merchandise. This month’s event had fewer booths, but had a cosplay and auction activities in partnership with Cosplay.ph.

I met Ryan, then with Drew. Nothing much to look at (except for the fascinating and somewhat creepy giant janitor fish in Marikina River), so we decided to head on to Makati to meet up with the rest of the Plurkers for pizza. I missed seeing Yue because I didn’t get there fast enough.

The trip to Cubao itself was an adventure. We were stuck in traffic next to a truckload of pigs. We couldn’t take the smell, so we got off at Project 4 and took a different route to Cubao. It was a familiar place for both Ryan and myself, so we pointed out places to Drew (much like touring a foreigner, which is now a running joke amongst us). When we got to Cubao, we stopped over at Ali Mall only long enough for me to get my Pinky:St dolls and the Chopper hat for Joiz.

The line for MRT tickets was long. It was also crowded inside the train, so we sort of just squeezed against each other. It was marginally better than the horrendous traffic along EDSA. When we arrived at Magallanes, we took a jeep to Makati Cinema Square, where Joiz was with Shabby, Marsha and Jan.


Danbo and the Chopper hat


Danbo wants pizza


Danbo loves the giant juice


I like the Chopper hat!

We ordered pizza, and knowing that it would take a while, Ryan, Drew and I went to Waltermart to look at Great Toys. Drew wanted to buy a toy because I got some and Ryan got comics. :p He ended up getting Revoltech Airi from Queen’s Blade.

Dinner was fun. We had the 27″ pizza and a plate of pasta. Surprise! Busog. Took pics, made fun of Joiz then headed off to Greenbelt for drinks. I got sleepy after one bottle of Super Dry, so I had coffee. I looked so cool.

I had to leave early because I had to be up and about by 6 AM the next day for the Samsung Galaxy Tab tour. I was late in getting up, but still earlier than everyone. I should get plus points… say, a free Tab. Hehe.

Writing spree

I’ve been trying to figure out how to write the blog posts I’ve been wanting to write. Years ago, when I first started blogging, it was never a problem for me what to write. What I needed to learn then was when to stop writing. A few years later, from blogging three times a day, I was down to barely blogging thrice in a month. What happened? It certainly wasn’t for lack of anything to write about.

I haven’t finished writing my posts for last week, when I went to the cooking demo with Ryan and attended Trent’s first birthday with Drew. I haven’t even begun writing about my new toy collection, much more my toy hunting adventures with the boys and Joiz. Then there’s the dinner with friends on Saturday, Ryan and me dragging Drew around Quezon City, dress hunting with the authors and Fristine’s surprise shower dinner.

Not to mention the Samsung Galaxy Tab tour with Carlos Celdran yesterday! Weeeee.

That doesn’t even include the pictures I have to sort through. I must start now!

It’s finally November, and I’ve seen the Deathly Hallows…

Thursday night, I rushed to SM Marikina to meet Den and watch “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I”. She invited me a few weeks ago to this advanced screening and I eagerly jumped at the opportunity. However, by some sneaky twist of Fate, local cinemas decided to show the movie a day early, ahead of the rest of the world. Considering that the Philippines is already ahead of the U.S. and other western countries, thus making our November 19 showing way ahead, they went and released it on November 18, making my advanced tickets just plain tickets. Oh well, it’s for a good cause… but it grates.

Still, it couldn’t dim the excitemet bubbling within me. I was babbling and very nearly dancing while we waited for the ushers to let us in. Once inside the theater, I made a mad rush for the topmost row, which afforded a great, non-nauseating view of the screen.

Since it was a special screening, we had the National Anthem before the previews were shown. Halfway through it, a representative from the St. Camillus College Seminary said a few words. Everyone seemed to know someone, so the atmosphere felt like a sort of school gathering of sorts.

Then, the dark clouds that seems to be a trademark of the more recent Harry Potter movies rolled on screen. I grabbed Den’s hand, and sat back for a long ride.

The Fast and the Furious
It’s always a big frustration for any reader when a book they so enjoyed is adapted on screen. I often feel that while anything is possible with film these days, they are also limited to the time a film is shown. As much as I love Harry Potter, I probably won’t be able to sit for anything more than three hours for a film. I suppose if they faithfully adapted the book, it would be “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, II, III, IV…” and so on until the story finishes.

The movie is wonderfully crafted, I’d say that. Technology has improved so much since the first Harry Potter that the special effects don’t seem so special anymore. Instead, the real actors merge seamlessly with the computer animation, making the scenes more believable and realistic.

Props to the cast as well. Hagrid sums it all up in his line at the start: “I brought you here sixteen years ago, it seems right that I take you away.” (Or something to that effect) What makes Harry Potter different from any movie that has gone for so long is that the cast from the start of the movie is the same cast at the end. Sure there were some changes, like Sir Michael Gambon taking over Dumbledore’s role due to the untimely demise of Richard Harris (from Hodgkin’s lymphoma), but everyone essentially grew up in this epic film series.

It is also interesting to note that the cast has, in a way, acted in every kind of film. Harry Potter is a film set in a fantasy world, but it has a wide range of elements that let the cast be funny, scared, dramatic in various scenes. I’ve seen people laugh, cry and be scared while watching Harry Potter movies, so if the casts’ acting chops haven’t been well polished by the end of the series, I don’t know what to call it.

I enjoyed myself, definitely. While I wouldn’t say that the movie was brilliant and would win awards (except maybe for the soundtrack), it was a culmination of so many things in the last ten or twelve years. It doesn’t remove the fact that there are, however, many little things I could nitpick on, and I’m positive that it would be a rather long list.

Be warned, spoilers ahead.


Nitpicking
There’s the scene at the start where Dudley says he doesn’t think Harry is a “waste of space” and gives him tea as a sort of peace offering. How about Harry’s birthday? Where was the animosity between Harry and Scrimgeour? How about the fact that Voldemort’s name is jinxed and using it breaks all protective enchantments? Let’s not forget Kreacher’s back story, which for me is a rather crucial part in the book. Non-readers won’t really notice it, but we certainly did. One of the most captivating parts of the book is how J.K. Rowling made everyone human, no matter how powerful or different they seem.

I don’t know if the director and scriptwriters believe that 1) readers will take it for granted that “Oh, I already know that it happens” or 2) those who didn’t read won’t care and won’t wonder. Well, number one is definitely off the mark.

I did like the treatment of Hermionie’s parents leaving for Australia. It was clever and fast and very effective. I did wonder about the trio leaving and it seems that Lupin knew that they were planning something.

I teared up when Hedwig died. I very nearly bawled when Dobby died. I was amused by Ron, and at the same time found him very manly in some parts. The Harry-Hermionie kiss was hot, and seriously, if Ron and Hermionie’s kiss is anything less than that, I’d be really mad.

Best surprise of the entire movie? The telling of “The Tale of Three Brothers”. I didn’t expect them to show the story in it’s entirety, more like Hermionie or Ron just giving a quick run down. It’s a brilliantly done by Swedish director Ben Hibon.

There’s still so much I’d want to rant and rave about, which I’ll probably add later on. On the whole, the movie was a good watch. Like I said, it wasn’t spectacular, but similar to the last three Harry Potter movies, it is more of an accompaniment for the book. It will be able to stand on it’s own if the audience didn’t read the book, but it wasn’t as magical as the first few movies.

July is still so far away.