Day 29: People

Some people appear to be complex, and some people appear to be simple, but I think most people are complex. We can think we know all about a person but we don't know their inner thoughts and desires and what they have experienced. Busyness or having a variety of divergent interests may make a person seem complex (or interesting), but the iconic beach bum (or basement dwelling nerd) sitting by a boat that will never sail can be just as complex. Why are they here? What are they thinking about? Where have they come from? Well, I don't know if you are pretending to be cute, and you don't know that I get one of my D&D groups to call me Noona (older sister) which is a word I learnt because I like K-pop (well, you know now). It's hard to appreciate each other when we have such a shallow understanding of each other. Maybe that is why we like our friends so much. Friends understand and appreciate us, and we try to understand and appreciate them too. It is a great blessing to have friends and friendship.

That was a mind meandering, so please don't critic it too hard. It's not a solid idea yet and is rather poorly written. Today's "feel-good music video of the day" is Replay (Noona is so Pretty) by SHINee of SMENT. SHINee is made up of guys who are too young for me, so I don't appreciate them as much as I should. They are all so fresh faced.  This particular video has a parody where they are trying to convince their noona to date them. The term noona literally means 'older sister', but is used by all younger males to refer to females older than themselves whom they are friends with. The parody is very entertaining. I encourage parody watching when the parody is appropriate.


Nothing Like Leeds.

Slide show animation-esque jumble, nonsense, music by The Beastie Boys, well, Porto, León, Gran Canaria and Madrid really were nothing like Leeds.




Crystal Waters - Destination Unknown (Radio Edit) (2004)





Crystal Waters - Destination Unknown (Radio Edit) (2004)



Yazoo - Don't Go (Tee's TNT Radio Mix) (1999)





Yazoo - Don't Go (Tee's TNT Radio Mix) (1999)



Armand Van Helden - My My My (Original Radio Edit) (2004)





Armand Van Helden - My My My (Original Radio Edit) (2004)





Boston DJ'S - Move Your Body (DJ Jean & Peran Speed Garage Remix) (1997)





Boston DJ'S - Move Your Body (DJ Jean & Peran Speed Garage Remix) (1997)



De Bos - Chase (12'' Radio Edit) (1997)





De Bos - Chase (12'' Radio Edit) (1997)





Day 28: Super Junior Day

...I was lying about Super Junior Day. I would like to note though, that I was reading Life Is Too Short to Learn German, the blog, and what videos did the broken youtube connection have but a Music Core (a South Korean show) clip with Super Junior in it and Super Junior's Mr. Simple. And it wasn't Youtube recognizing my ISP either. I hope this indicates that Super Junior is getting more popular, especially since Heechul is expected to join the army in September, and Leeteuk is expected to join next year. I want them to stick around even though they are loosing members like a sieve leaks water. On the bright side, Kangin will be back within the year with his smooth voice. Since I'm gushing over Super Junior anyway, I'll give my own summary of who the members are, trying to do it from oldest to youngest, because I know that sort of thing.

Leeteuk - Not his real name, but it sort of has become it. According to tv, he likes a woman 7 years his junior and no one finds this creepy. Apparently I don't either, because it didn't affect his spot as my 2nd favourite.

Heechul - The one we make fun of for being girly. At one point he was my 3rd favourite.

Hankyung - My favourite. He left the group just as I was discovering them. His handsomeness and calmness shine most when he is surrounded by attractive men, and I don't know why that is.

Yesung - Also not his real name. Yesung means good singer, and that is accurate. Yesung also composes music and he used to be really cute at around age 20 when he wore hipster dufus glasses.

Sungmin - The guy who looks like everybody else. He seems like a sweat heart.

Shindong - The chubbiest member. Has received a lot of flak for that, which is too bad because he is a really good dancer, is funny, and seems really nice. He also has a longtime girlfriend and thus has real relationship skills. I really appreciate that he is in Super Junior, because no other K-pop group has anyone even near his girth (or mine of 36 inches), and it is good for the people to be represented.

Kangin - He got sent to the army early. He has a pleasing voice and is the reason for the parody line "I just look fat because I am filled with awesome."

Eunhyuk - My 3rd favourite member. He is a great dancer, and used to be really cutesy. He is also what I would consider to be the main rapper.

Donghae - My cousin's favourite member because he looked like Kamenashi Kazuya. I would say that Donghae in general is very popular.

Siwon - He is called the horse of the group because he works out and is muscular. He acted in Oh! My Lady.

Ryeowook - Teeniest member with the highest voice. He just recently got a lot manlier then he used to be. Like a lot.

Kyuhyun - My least favourite member, a lot due to his great popularity and the fact that he is younger than myself. He was a math olympian, and likes video games. I think we'd get along well in real life.

Kibum - Looks kind of like Donghae, but with a smoother and cuter face. Actor.

Henry - Not a member of Super Junior, but of Super Junior M. He can in theory speak four or five different languages, play several instruments, mix music, dance, and sing. He would defeat Justin Bieber in a competition between popstars who are Canadian (or who started that way anyway).

Zhoumi - I'm not sure where he goes in the list. He is the current leader of Super Junior M, as Hankyung is gone. He is 6'2" and very trim so he looks super tall. He seems like a nice guy.

Today's video is of course Super Junior. I choose Superman since it is the most recent one out. However, it starts with a picture of Siwon in his underpants, something I had never wanted to see. Why SMENT, why? It is also a clips movie. A better one is One Love, since it has cosplay and all 13 members.

From beaches and sunshine to melancholy skies.



Artwork by Bernardo Carvalho.




Found these illustrations today.


They sailed me back to Porto.


To smell the sea, to hide from the wind all these things seem so distant from my little London life. One lived beneath jumpers and almost perpetually underneath umbrellas.












La piel que habito...



'The Skin I live in' is a film by Pedro Almodovar. He is Spanish, and most probably, slightly mad.


Impeccable sets, bizarre and filthy lines, eccentric Spanish goddesses and haunting soundtracks are all standard Almodovar fair. This one however, has something else; its spine chillingly creepy.


For friends of Almodovar 'The Skin' is in the league of 'Talk to her', its sad disturbing and completely engrossing. Is beautiful-horror already a genre? If not, claim it Pedro, its yours.


Twists and turns, and layers and layers of freaks. This film is a bitter-sweet treat. Go see it, be alarmed and ENJOY.






Music to work to...


Day 27: Text Review

If the medium is the message, does dance count as a text that can be read? I don't think that matters, but here is a dance video you should watch.
I like dancing, and just this year starting going to social swing dance nights. There we have learned Jive and Lindy Hop. This video is Max and Annie doing Tango and Lindy Hop. They are professionals, so it is only natural that at 2:28 Max should be wearing the hat and at 2:30 after doing an aerial, Annie is wearing the hat, which she grabbed during the aerial. They are professionals, so it is also natural that most people could never do what they do. Someday, I want to go see cool stuff like this live.
I would also like to see this live. And yes the team in purple and black are Max and Annie.

Yesterday, Adele won some MTV awards for her music video Rolling in the Deep. The newspaper said so, so I looked it up on Youtube. She has over 118 million views for that particular video. That's 11 times David Bisbal's Youtube hits for Ave Maria. Her music video was pretty strong, with effective lighting, interesting features, a dancing ninja, and Adele - who is not your typical popstar. It also disappointed me a little that she never stood up. She only had one sitting position the entire time. On the positive side, the smashing plates reminded me of Silencio by David Bisbal, and the ninja stabbing the ground reminded me of Digale by David Bisbal. I give the music video a 3.5 out of 5, because while it was solid, it wasn't terribly interesting and I am kind of sick of that song. Here it is.

Day 26: How to Be Prententious Part 2B

Today's lesson in pretentiousness is in who you know. Pretentious people always know someone famous, or someone who is a genius, or someone who is rich. You can know these people too. Think of the most classy people you know. They are now either a lady or a gentleman (or other describing word that sounds hoity toity like "doctor", "genius", "seminarian", etc.). Example, "I cannot wait until lady Shannon invites me over for tea again." Using such formal names will probably lead to questions, so you should practice your aversion tactics. One could try; "Oh, you know, lady Shannon.", "You don't KNOW lady Shannon???", "Anyone who is anyone knows lady Shannon. Can it be that you do not? How embarrassing.", or "I met her during schooling". You can use one of these or make up your own. Be creative.

Today's hoity toity artsy movie is Silencio by David Bisbal of Vale Music. David Bisbal is not hoity toity, so the attempt kind of fails, but it does make one pine for his dancing days. Those heady hip thrusting, knee kicking, 360 degree turning dancing days. I was at his concert once, and he only did 1 1/2 twirls. He does however, actually play air guitarre, just like in Silencio. That's legit. Pretty much all his Silencio moves are real ones that he will do in concerts. Forget the Ave Maria moves of the past, this is now, and now is air guitarre.

Day 25: Measuring Distance in Canada

First, apologies because my brain is muddled from the summer heat.

Measuring distance in Canada is like a rat trying to figure out banking. Officially, distance is measured in kilometres. How many Canadians actually think in kilometres though? I would say none in my area, where all roads are divided into miles. So it is 2 miles to my friend's house, according to the mile road. How many kilometres? Well, that requires a mathematical equation. The real answer is five minutes, because in reality distance is measured in time. If you tell a Canadian how far something is in kilometres, expect this reaction: "but how far is it?". The answer they want is time -- how long will it take? And then expect the second question. "How fast?"

So how far is it to the nearest town? 15 minutes at speed limit. That's distance for you.

Today's music video is Mirotic by TVXQ/DBSK. This music video involves some lady torturing our poor heroes.

Scottish left overs...

A combination of new and old in Edinburgh.




Extreme tourism. A photo of the Scottish Houses of Parliament taken in a monsoon.




A wee castle.




The streets of Glasgow were temporarily transformed into the streets of Philadelphia for Senhor Bradgee Pitchee's latest zombie flick.


Thats all y'all.

Music for feeling in between.



'One never knows'
I read that on the back of a pearly kings jacket.
Feels appropriate on a day like today when I'm not sure quite what I feel.
Excited to begin university, nervous to start again, blue with missing places and faces from the past year, but mainly a little bit in between it all.


Music is always necessary in moments such as these, to calm down and then sail along.








Day 24: Coolness Points Countdown

I wrote the coolness points yesterday. Today what I have to say is that I realllllly appreciate that no member of Super Junior resembles in any way either G-Dragon or T.O.P. from Big Bang. I say this because I just watched a music video by yet another boyband where one or more member looks like G-Dragon or T.O.P. That makes the list U-Kiss, ZE:A, Beast/B2ST, and probably some other ones. I know they have pretty faces, but when five popstars have similar faces, that face is no longer unique.
                                                                                                                                                                  
For those of us, like myself, that often feel like failures, today is a think about stuff you can do day. Since we all have our cool points, today is the coolness points countdown. You get points for every impressive, cool, or interesting thing you do. Here's my list. Feel free to add to it.
And now the list. You get points if you...
  • Have a cool or impressive job (or you just love it) (5 pts)

  • Speak a different language (5 pts per language)

  • Have travelled (1 pt per state/province/county in country. 5 pts per country out of country)

  • Have learned how to dance (4 pts per dance)

  • Have a productive hobby (5 pts per hobby)

  • Volunteer (5 pts per place)

  • Don't care what others think of your taste in music (5 pts)

  • Have fixed something mechanical (5 pts)

  • Like both fashion and other things (5 pts)

  • Read for fun (5 pts)

  • Have achieved something you previously thought impossible (10 pts)

  • Make friends where ever you go (5pts)

  • Can cook (10 pts)

  • Think that you look good (3 pts)

  • Have learned things from television (3 pts)

  • Have gone to another country to see your favourite singer perform (5 pts)

  • Still use snail mail (3 pts)

  • Dress in a confident way (3 pts)

  • Are kind and considerate to others (15 pts)

  • Use French cooking terms correctly (5 pts)

  • Have a medieval outfit in your closet (3 pts) 

I get 95 points. How about you?

Today's "music video" was  going to be BOA's Did Ya (fan made), but instead the more cheerful La la la by Big Bang of YG Entertainment it will be. Apparently they have two songs called La la la because the one I was thinking of was more romantic, kind of a "I want you back" song. Well, whatever. This gives you a chance to see G-Dragon and T.O.P. as young people.

Breakfast #45: Soft Boiled Eggs with Truffle Oil and Mushroom Salt

title

It’s been a while since I have been on my breakfast soapbox here, so allow me to once again wax evangelical about my favorite meal. You all know how breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day, I am sure. It’s been a constant refrain of a million cereal commercials and mothers all around the world. So, I won’t bother repeating it…although it seems I just did.



Anyway.



I’m here to tell you that breakfast can be your best friend. It is exactly what you need at the beginning of your day, when the carnival of “the whole world” and all its demands/wonders/foibles has not yet made its way to you. It can be that rah-rah-rah that gets you going. It can be that comforting hug that tells you that this too shall pass. It can be the buttressing you need to get through an especially trying workday. It can be the elixir that lets you move mountains/change the world/answer 100 emails/do the laundry.



When I say breakfast, I don’t just mean what you eat, but also the time you take to eat it. Giving yourself a dedicated moment (no matter how long or short – I prefer long and luxurious, but I am aware that we do live in the real world majority of the time) to start your engine can be just as important as what you use to start it.



What’s that you say? You’re not a morning person? Well, let me tell you, with much resolution, neither am I. I hold a PhD in sleep and have, in the past, spent a good part of my life waking up at noon. But I can promise you, in all sincerity, that it is worth it. It really sets the tone for my day, gets me started confident and raring to go, instead of rushing forth blindly, blouse untucked, without plan or compass. It also keeps me from getting to lunch time starving, devouring the closest thing at hand, whether that be a week-old serving of Spam or 3 stale Krispy Kreme donuts.



Believe you me, breakfast is in all our best interests. Take the time to enjoy it. Here’s another way how.



Soft Boiled Eggs with Truffle Oil and Mushroom Salt (and toast soldiers)

  • 2 eggs (the best you can find/afford)
  • A drizzle of truffle oil, to taste
  • A sprinkling of mushroom salt, to taste
  • Toast soldiers, to serve
- Cook your eggs soft boiled using your preferred soft-boiling method. I won’t claim to have the best or sure-fire way of doing this. It’s a much-debated topic that I won’t get into here. If you’d like to know though, this is how we do it: I place the 2 eggs in room temperature water in a small pan, then place on high heat for about 5-7 minutes. I like my soft boiled very soft…just-set whites and gloriously runny yolks-gone-wild!

- While your eggs are cooking, make your toast soldiers. Toast a slice of bread, and then cut lengthways into 4 strips. You can butter these if you wish, but I forwent the butter since I used truffle oil in the eggs. A moment of uncharacteristic restraint….who knew?

- When your eggs are done, peel the tops off gently and scoop the eggs into a small bowl or cup.

- Drizzle truffle oil over the eggs and sprinkle with mushroom salt. Mix and taste…adjust seasoning. Consume immediately!



You can dunk the soldiers in the eggs or, as I love to do, just toss the soldiers into the eggs and press them down until all the egg is absorbed and the bread is a soggy mess of truffle-mushroom egginess!


title

Although we would all benefit, both health-wise and in taste, from buying free range eggs, their rich flavorful yolks are most especially enjoyed in preparations like these. So do spring for them if you can! The mushroom salt I chanced upon at one of my favorite stores, owned and operated by friends who are passionate about all things local and sustainable. You can check it out here. If you are in Manila I highly recommend a visit…it’s a charming general store type gem offering all sorts of locally sourced goodies. Bring your own containers if you want to stock up on salt and rice. I love the subasta cacao, any of the sea salts, and the lemongrass hand wash.



I hope this has inspired you somewhat, even just a little bit, to go and set your alarm clock a smidgen earlier, and celebrate breakfast! Rise and shine everyone! :)

Day 23: Mm-Bop

Why does it feel like the only good ideas for blogging come after you have blogged? It's like you are supposed to wait until a particular brilliant idea hits and then you are supposed to leap onto the computer and jot it all down while you feel intelligent and witty.

Well I don't work like that. There is limited time when both the computers are free and I am not busy.

The "feel-good music video of the day" is Shady by Sistar of Starship Entertainment. The first reason this is a good music video is that the record company is named after starships. ...I'm kidding. My actual first reason to like this video is that Heechul of Super Junior is Sistar's communal boyfriend. He is super cute at 0:36-37. I originally saw this with english subs too, and the meaning is really cute. They act cute/scared/drunk/wear high heels because they like him (and want him to like them) and that somehow makes them shady girls. Personally, I think everybody tries to act well for the person they like.

Side Note: In South Korea right now, super short skirts and shorts are modest. It is cleavage and shoulders that are immodest. That's why you see so many sleeved mini dresses there.

DJ Disco - Super Freak (1999)









DJ Disco - Super Freak (1999)



DJ Supreme - Tha Wildstyle (Supreme Ego Remix) (1997)





DJ Supreme - Tha Wildstyle (Supreme Ego Remix) (1997)



Filterfunk - S.O.S. (Message In A Bottle) (Hi_Tack Radio Edit) (2005)







Filterfunk - S.O.S. (Message In A Bottle) (Hi_Tack Radio Edit) (2005)



Jocelyn Enriquez - So Fabulous So Fierce (Freak Out) (Thunderpuss Radio Edit) (2001)





Jocelyn Enriquez - So Fabulous So Fierce (Freak Out) (Thunderpuss Radio Edit) (2001)



Day 22: Grumble Grumble Grumble

AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!
Ahem. Argh.

That's better. Well, I had just finished writing a post about being satisfied in small things, like good food and international viewers, which included a nice synopsis of Super Junior M (SJM), when I tried to post. Fail. It turns out that whenever you do things on other google owned properties, say, in a different account, they automatically change your account on blogger, so you cannot post. Whether it be signing out in a different page or signing on with a different account on a different site changing the Blogger account, I think that is pushing the limits of interaction a little too far. I don't want what I am doing on Youtube to affect what I am doing on Blogger or Gmail or any other thing. Youtube is Youtube and Blogger is Blogger, and they are different things.
Now for a recap. The "feel-good music video of the day" is Perfection/Too Perfect by SJM of S.M. Entertainment (now referred to as SMENT). SJM is a subgroup of Super Junior (Suju) that until lovely Hankyung left had seven members. Now they have 8 because it took two guys to replace Hankyung. SJM targets the Chinese market, singing in both Mandarin and Korean. Non-Suju members are Zhoumi and Henry. Henry is Chinese-Canadian, plays violin (almost became pro), can dance while playing the violin, mixes music, can speak French, etc. etc. is amazing. Fun parts of this music video are fur hats, some lame dance moves, and a bad english rap where Henry shows off his North American accent. There is also a parody of it in cyberspace where one member says "I think I look good as an 1800's Englishman." That parody by chance, agrees with me like a cherry cheese danish.

Day 21: Music Video Comparison

Thanks to posting an NSYNC music video yesterday, I decided to pull out one of my NSYNC cds and listen to it in the car. Wow it was good. After listening to K-pop for so long, it was nice to be able to sing along to the whole song. It was also nostalgic since I liked them so much as a tween (what an unattractive word tween is though). I thought to myself that I should compare NSYNC and a K-pop group. Of course, the number of members has to be similar, so this disqualifies Super Junior (13 members) and ZE:A (9 members) right off the hop from being compared. The genre and how much I listen to them also has to be similar. Thus, MBLAQ was chosen. The music videos are Cry by MBLAQ and Tearin' Up My Heart by NSYNC.

Outfits: NYSNC -- White shirts and jeans. Very 90's. Still makes me laugh.
                MBLAQ -- Suit jackety things with jewelry and eye makeup. Looks sillier but doesn't make me giggle.

Dance: NSYNC -- 90's boy band syncronized. That means the W (3 in back, 2 in front) formation. Big moves that are family friendly.
               MBLAQ -- Several different takes on the W formation. Some sexy moves. Very serious and crisp.

Random: NSYNC -- Boxing, JC transforming into Justin and back, overalls, random leaps, pizza party
                   MBLAQ -- Acrobatic swimming, kicking and stomping and punching water

Other: NSYNC -- It is awkward when young Justin Timberlake is on the bed, in theory trying to look sexy or cute. Towards the end, Christ kind of looks like he has indigestion.
              MBLAQ -- There is more dancing and close ups in general in the music video.Towards the end, one member looks like he has painful makeup in his eye.

Song: NSYNC -- Your basic "I love you" song. Nice melody.
             MBLAQ -- The "don't leave me" song?. Very serious and catchy, even though it's hard to sing along to if you don't speak Korean.

Unfortunately, I think this is a draw. NSYNC has all that wonderful retro cheese appeal (and overalls), but MBLAQ is crisp and catchy and doesn't have creepy shots of Justin Timerlake shaking on a bed. If you demanded that someone win, I'd give MBLAQ slightly more vote, but mostly because I could watch their video more often. NSYNC really is all that and a box of kleenex.

Rainy tuesday

Stuck on my head since Glasgow...










Do you want to see a cat that was born wearing a top hat? A pepper that looks like a screaming face? The worlds worst bikinis? Si, claro.


Day 20: The Trustache is Gone

I woke up this morning to a text from someone with red hair. It went something like "Did you know that Jack Layton died?". I of course, had just woken up so no I didn't know. You may or may not have known either. Who, you may ask, is Jack Layton? Well, he is the Canadian celebrity of the hour, a politician and leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP). He left on a hiatus type leave for medical reasons, and yesterday night/ this morning died. I think we will best remember him for his trustache, the mustache that you could trust. Also, he lead the NDP to their first and most historical victory yet, actually becoming the official opposition party in parliament. Before this, the NDP had the most house (House of Commons?) seats the year they were invented, which was about 80 years ago. Now, their interim leader is a former Bloc party member. The Bloc, by chance, was Canada's seperatist party before they got demolished by the NDP. Interesting political times are ahead, and they're party due to the trustache going away. Bye trustache.

Because it is a farwell, today's music video will relate...in name only. The "feel-good music video of the day" is Bye Bye Bye by NSYNC, those 90's superstars. I think their company is Zomba Records.

Seriously silly and interesting shizzle



This arrow was certainly not pointing to the playa.




Love pound shops.




CHECK IT OUT...


A very interesting blog that gives great insight into all things going down in Libya.


Day 19: How to be Pretentious

Today's blog is in two sections. How to be Pretentious, and some serious thoughts.

Serious Thought
Today I was thinking about my lack of spirituality. If I really loved Jesus, I would talk about him all the time, right? Because what you care about and like is naturally what you talk about. Therefore, if I were really spiritual, I would be like those people who I find kind of irritating (either because I don't think they're being real, or they're just too good/perfect), who talk about Jesus all the time. Then I realized that looking at them as examples meant that I am not looking at the good things that are happening in my spiritual life. I just feel like a loser all the time then. It is good to have a goal to attain to, but thinking about the things we are good at helps keep up motivated and keeps the road clear to work on what can be improved. I want to improve spiritually, but I don't think a ridiculous goal will help that happen, so maybe I'll just relax about it more and work on it as it happens.

And, now that I have spouted that, I can now fear about being a good proper example. Sorry if/when I fail you. Now onto the next subject, which is how to be pretentious, and therefore totally different and unrelated as a subject.

How to be Pretentious
Pretentious people only drink hoity toity beverages. This is fact. I know more about tea, so it will serve as the example. Let us say that you are at a restaurant.
When ordering beverages, ask the server "Is your tea made with boiling water?". All tea snobs know that the proper way to make most tea is with boiling water, not that hot water that comes out of a tap. When your server replies no, look like they're done something distasteful (sorry servers). Sigh, and say "Very well, I'll get it anyway." You may also choose to order a different beverage at this point, but you will have proved your tea snobbery either way. Remember to make scornful remarks about your below bar tea. This will reinforce your point.
If they bring up tea, remember that you "only" drink loose leaf. You should also choose a colour of tea that is your favourite and make up a reason that it is so. For example, red tea (roibos(sic)), because it is healthy, or green tea because it is healthy. Black tea because it tastes good and has such good blends. White tea because it sounds hoity toity, etc. Just remember that herbal tea is not real tea. Herbal teas are fruit infusions.

And now that I have verbal diarrhea'd enough, Go For a Soda by Kim Mitchell, as way for an apology for yesterday's music video by Kim Mitchell. Go For a Soda totally rocks, unlike Patio Lanterns. Please please watch it, especially since you probably haven't watched any of my other suggested videos. Please watch it.

Pero Bueno. The best of the Fringe.

Turning 22: A badly photoshopped photo of my face on JLO's body couldn't have been more appropriate or appreciated!




My friend, the artist, actress, and general creative G; McMC




Tom Tuck was by far my favourite comedian at the Fringe, a clever and curious bloke who spent the best part of an hour talking of lost love and Disney Straight to DVDs. The show came to a beautiful end as the audience sang -Part of your world- to the sound of a sketchy ukele.


British cuisine never ceases to amaze me.




-Just like this rainstorm, this August Day Song, I dream of places far beyond-
a lovely and fitting line from Bebel Gilberto's 'August Day Song'




Saw the Kats at Vive Le Cabaret. Oh how we laughed.


Big Old Benjamin

A ramble along the Thames with old friends.




Ao cruzar a ponte encontramos um rasta a tocar 'Dont worry be Happy' em frente A Galeria Nacional. Esquisita, doce e totalmente Londres, parecia tão longe dos disturbios e as imagens nas televisões que temos visto durante as últimas semanas, até os polícias estavam a rir!

Day 18: What Great Big Eyes You Have

Hey there,

Today, there is no chosen topic, so I will refer to my suggestion list. Yes, I did write out a suggestion list for myself. I'm a nerd like that. While looking for my list though, I had to replace it as a bookmark, and what did I use as a replacement? Canadian Tire money.

For reference, Canadian Tire is a big box car/garden/sport/home improvement type store. When you buy something there, they give you fake money which is redeemable only at their stores. I think that Canadian Tire money makes great bookmarks. It's thin, it feels luxurious because you are wasting "money" by using it as a bookmark, and it's roughly the right shape (rectangular). I also think it's more interesting than complaining about cutting a 2 metre by 90 inch (2 1/2 metre?) piece of fabric into 6 1/2 inch (25 cm?) strips.

In honour of Canadian Tire, I looked for a ballad about them. There wasn't one, so I found the next best thing. Kim Mitchell's Patio Lanterns.  Apparently most Canadians know it, even if they don't think they do. Note: this song is from the 80's.

Simple Wonton Noodle Soup

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For the most part, Saturday market time is Me Time. C is out mountain biking in, oh, some mountain somewhere. Little C is asleep or playing with the nanny. Weekend activities have yet to start, or even be planned. It’s a quiet pocket of morning that is all mine. Going over the fresh produce, seeing the new offerings from our local farms, chatting with the purveyors, (tasting all the free samples!), finding something to take home for breakfast.



I walk to my neighborhood weekend market with my bags in tow. If it looks like rain I take my battered umbrella (a fake-y Barca one we had to procure on our honeymoon during a rainy jaunt to Cadaques). The walk in itself is a time for reflection (and probably the only exercise I get every week…I know, don’t even say it). A gentle reminder to be grateful for the blessings in my life, both big and small – my family, a market that is a short walk away, coffee, hot showers & cold sheets, warm soup on a rainy night.



And all the artisans and experts, the zealous and new, along with the experienced though still as fervent, that cross my path. One of my favorites is a pair of Chinese ladies who make and sell homemade dim sum and noodles. They man a small table brimming with siomai, wontons, kikiam, fresh noodles, lobster balls, XO sauce, and all sorts of things I want to make off with. The dim sum is frozen so you can keep some stored away in the freezer for emergency wonton noodle soup.



Simple Wonton Noodle Soup

  • 120 grams egg noodles
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 10-12 pcs wonton
  • 1-2 bunches bok choy, trimmed and leaves separated
  • 1 bunch enoki mushrooms, bottom trimmed and separated
  • A splash or 2 of soy sauce
  • 6 stalks green onion, sliced on the diagonal
- Cook the egg noodles as per package directions and set aside.

- Place stock, ginger, and onion in a pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the onion is soft.

- Add the wontons into the pot and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add bok choy and mushrooms and simmer a further 5-10 minutes or until everything is cooked.

- Add a splash or two of soy sauce to taste. Take the pot of the heat.

- Pile noodles in individual bowls. Pour soup over the noodles making sure each serving gets some vegetables and wontons. Garnish each serving with sliced green onions.



This soup hits the spot on a rainy night after a tough day of work when you both want something homespun and nourishing, but at the same time don’t have the energy to prepare anything too involved. It’s all a matter of getting your noodles done, and, at the same time, putting everything in another pot to cook. We like it with some chili oil or chili-garlic oil (the type you have with siomai) drizzled on top. The volumes are far from specific as you can add as little or as much as you want (or you have). Switch the enoki with shitake or add more fresh herbs to garnish -- you can get as fancy or as bare-bones as you want with this. This version, as the title implies, is very basic...great as is but also good to build on. Until I finally attempt making my own wontons, my two ladies have got me covered. Recipe suggestions are very welcome though!



I am a big believer of Me Time for all people (young, old, male, female, married, single). Whether it’s solo market meandering, an afternoon at the spa, holing up in a museum or a bookstore, or hunting down the perfect stiletto, I think it’s important that every person finds time just for themselves. Humans need to nurture themselves to be better to other humans...my humble opinion :)

Edimburgo, because its impossible to spell in English.

Supuestamente el lugar más asqueroso de la ciudad. Lamentablemente no os puedo decir porque. La guía de la ciudad con su rebaño de turistas españolas que yo estaba siguiendo, (no tan clandestinamente como había imaginado), de repente me miró de forma sospechosa y me fui antes de saber la razón curiosa...




The beautiful new National Museum.




Maya and her portrait at the Dome's tropical lounge.




Street playtime




I saw a wonderful hula hoop lady dance/whirl/spin to this.






Day 17: Argh!

Hey All,

I have learned recently that all my good ideas for blogging come at night. However, at that point, I couldn't be bothered to go online and write them up, so I sit and hope that I remember them the next day. This failing due to forgetfulness, or the idea not seeming as cool, you are sitting there suffering because my schedules don't fit. Apologies. Apologies. I did read something interesting the other day though. The particular article I read was "If Male Superheroes Posed Like Wonder Woman" on Mommyish, but the original concept came from Bleeding Cool. I think the pictures are pretty entertaining, and the article interesting. The original picture that is being talked about is pretty conservative for comics though, especially compared to manga.

In honour of cartoons everywhere, the music video for today is Hate You by 2NE1 of YG Entertainment. I think it's a little slack, and they should have kicked more butt, but I like that the entire music video is animated.

Junior Jack - Stupidisco (Radio Mix) (2004)





Junior Jack - Stupidisco (Radio Mix) (2004)





Lee Cabrera - Shake It (Move A Little Closer) (Vocal Radio Edit) (2004)





Lee Cabrera - Shake It (Move A Little Closer) (Vocal Radio Edit) (2004)



Prince - The Greatest Romance Ever Sold (Jason Nevins Remix Edit) (1999)



Prince - The Greatest Romance Ever Sold (Jason Nevins Remix Edit) (1999)



Ricky Martin - La Bomba (Pablo Flores Remix - Radio Edit) (1998)





Ricky Martin - La Bomba (Pablo Flores Remix - Radio Edit) (1998)





Soulsearcher - Can't Get Enough (Radio Edit) (1999)





Soulsearcher - Can't Get Enough (Radio Edit) (1999)





Day 16: Complaining about movies

Hello again,

I recently watched The Proposal, the one with Sandra Bullock in it. I enjoyed the slow and calm humour, the growth of the relationship, and Betty White's "Baby Maker" blanket. What annoyed me though was that the premise of the movie, that Sandra (Margaret) was Canadian and was being deported, was totally and completely unbelievable. I know that Canadian and American culture is very similar. We watch their shows and their movies and they steal our pop stars/any celebrities that will defect. However, there are some very real differences no matter how subtle they are.

 First off, Canadians love hockey. Love. I mean it. I don't like hockey too much but you know I cared (and felt strangely patriotic) when we won two hockey golds in the 2010 olypmics. And gold and silver the olympics before that...and two golds the olympics before that. Tangent over, some of that hockey love culture should have shown itself in Sandra's representation of Margaret.

Second, we use different lingo. It is subtle, kind of like the difference between our accents, but it is there (Cultery vs. Silverware, soda vs pop, chocolate bar vs candy bar). Throwing in some Canadian words would have made the perfomance more believable.

Third, Canada is a rural country. We're the second largest country landmass wise, and 25% of our population live in two cities. Do city people never leave the city and therefore not know how to handle being rural/in nature? Have they never seen a cow before (this question is unrelated)? It is Margaret's (Sandra's) duty as a Canadian to pretend that she is okay with outdoors stuff, but they tried to make it funny instead.

Lastely, Canadian and American cultures are different in surprising ways. Canadians like to believe that we're polite. We also have a great sense of guilt, we try to be politically correct, and like to think that we're open minded. I didn't see any of that. I think that Sandra and the script writers should have put more effort into making her believably Canadian, because, since she doesn't seem Canadian, why should they deport her? And if there is no point in deporting her, why are they trying to hard to fake a relationship? Without a believable Canadian Margaret, the movie crumbles. Like crumbly bread, it still tastes good, it just falls apart easily.

The music video for today is Wrong Number by DBSK/TVXQ when all five members were with S.M. Entertainment. It requires little explanation other than there is a robot dog somewhere in the video.

Day 15: Catching Up

Since the original plan was to have one post per day, I am playing catch-up. Therefore, an abrieved (that's short for abreviated) post today. The "feel-good music video of the day" is... Don't Play Around by Chi Chi. I don't know who their recording company is, but I do know that this particular music video has some of the most unflattering outfits I've seen in current K-pop. They're pretty amazingly bad. You need to see how bad they are. I also know that I like this song. It's about how boys shouldn't be so pushy when hitting on girls.

Peace.

Day 14ish: Nerd Jargon

First off, thanks to that person in Germany who read this blog twice. Danke.

And speaking of German class, the geography we learn in Canadian schools is embarrassing. I learned more of the world map in German class than I ever did in geography. I did memorize the 50 US states and their capital cities though. Why? What use is that to me? The lack of world geography in schools is probably why one of my high school friends thought that Italy was a continent...and Deleware was a country in Scandinavia. Embarrassing.

Anyway, today is about Dungeons and Dragons. If you are someone who plays and enjoys D&D, you might come to say, a locked door. Being someone who plays and enjoys D&D, you would want to do a check (either you want to break said door, or pick the lock, and you need to check if you are able to do so). To check if you can break the lock (not in real life. Please don't do that in real life), you will need your d-20 (a 20 sided die. In D&D dice are always referred to by the number of sides they have, and have the cool code name "d".). You roll. You get a 10. You don't break through the door. Shucks. Your foray into D&D has failed. Better luck next time.

You have however, just learned the terms "check", and "d-20". These are important terms is you ever want to be a super nerd, a part of the elite of nerdom, a player of the epitomy of nerdiness - D&D. There's even songs about it. One I like is Tonight(D&D) by Allie Goertz(?). I think it captures the essence of D&D and those that love it.

Spice Girls - Viva Forever (Tony Rich Radio Edit) (1998)





Spice Girls - Viva Forever (Tony Rich Radio Edit) (1998)



Stevie B - Summer Nights (Trip To California Radio Mix) (1997)





Stevie B - Summer Nights (Trip To California Radio Mix) (1997)



Suzann Rye - Because You Loved Me (Radio Edit) (1996)





Suzann Rye - Because You Loved Me (Radio Edit) (1996)



Tank - Can U Feel The Bass (Video Edit) (1997)



Tank - Can U Feel The Bass (Video Edit) (1997)



Thalia - Arrasando (Hitmakers Rio De Janeiro Radio Edit) (2000)





Thalia - Arrasando (Hitmakers Rio De Janeiro Radio Edit) (2000)



Day 13: Um....

It's Monday. Monday is review day. Isn't it?

Unlike someone with red hair, I don't have witty insightful reviews. What I do have though, is an interest in juvenile movies. Movies whose plots include poop.

Today's review: Attack on the Pin-up Boys
Attack on the Pin-up Boys is the Super Junior movie, made sometime around 2007. Main characters are baby-faced Kibum, cool dancer-man Donghae, girly-man Heechul (who is great in this movie), judo-master Kangin, and the "nerd" Siwon. Siwon, by chance, looks rather more muscular than nerdy. Plot line: someone is attacking beautiful men with poop, and ironically increasing their coolness. Who could this poop thrower be?

I would say the biggest flaw in the movie was the way they built a movie around a boyband, which meant a weak plotline, potentially weak acting, and wierd gags (which are mostly satisfying). The second biggest flaw was that my favourite member (Hankyung) was in the movie for all of 15 seconds, probably owing to his bad Korean skills. Kyukyun is not in the movie at all due to a horrific car accident, but I don't care about that. His fangirls probably did though.

Attack on the Pin-up Boys had some positive aspects. It made fun of bishounens (pretty boys), involved people desiring poop to be thrown at them in order to increase their popularity, and had a giant pair of teeth in it. It also had a lot of inside jokes about Super Junior. Classy act there director. Classy act. I especially liked the part where Siwon has special powers, by which I mean the part where Heechul tries to take off his pants in order to become more cool. Those two scenes being totally unrelated, I give this movie a 3.5 out of 5. I have seen the movie three times and wouldn't mind if someone gifted it to me. However, if you don't like South Korean pop culture, or poop, don't bother watching it. You would probably be disappointed.

In order to relate to said movie, Attack on the Pin-up Boys, the "feel-good music video of the day" is Wonder Boy by Super Junior of S.M. Entertainment. At one point I heard that the movie was made to promote the song, and, I wouldn't be surprised. Many successful movies, movies more successful than Attack on the Pin-up Boys, were made to sell a product. Remember the cartoon Transformers, or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to the surprise of its producers, did better than the Wonka Bars it was intended to sell. I think in this case, the product/well beloved group did better than the movie. Enjoy.

Caren Alpert: Food under a Microscope


More and more these days people seem to be interested in their food: where it comes from, what ingredients are used, is it organic or not. Photographer Caren Alpert takes our growing food fascination one step further by literally putting food under a microscope, an electron microscope to be precise. Alpert’s gorgeous and captivating photographs get inside our food, showing you what it’s made of, below the surface level.  I love things that take an everyday object and make you look at it in a whole new way. I think “Cake Sprinkles” (pictured above) is my favorite. The colors are amazing and it almost looks like a picture taken from a sci-fi movie of planets colliding. Then again, all of her photos are pretty swoon worthy.




Oreo Cookie





Fortune Cookie





Chocolate Cake





Life Saver


From Caren: In a society where we are obsessed with our food (either overeating or undereating), let’s see if we really “are what we eat.” I wanted to deconstruct that very thing that I’ve spent so many years recording. I wanted to show what was there, but what we never actually saw.

To see more of Caren’s wonderful microscope photos, click here. You can also check out her commercial photography, right here.

Que cómico = How amusing

Stephen Fry, possibly the most eloquent, intelligent and hilarious Englishman alive.


Align Centre



Comedia escondida. A little treat from Portugal.






Spain's finest, although I personally think the translation for 'bicho' should be 'creature' not 'critter'.






Choosing the funniest moment from the Conchords was no easy task. Obrigada New Zealand.






Larry David. American comedy king/assman.


Day 12: How To...

How to be pretentious.

I only have five minutes so I have this to say. When people are talking about books, interject with "I only buy hardcover" with your snobbiest voice. This has to be supported by you having hardcover at home or people will laugh at you, but that's easy enough. The classics go on sale every couple months.

Video is Sorry Sorry Answer by Super Junior of S.M. Entertainment. It's the pretentious....no, the hoity toity version of Sorry Sorry. Somewhere out there is the self-made mockery of it. The group makes fun of themselves.

Creamy Avocado Soba

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I had been talking about living in the city so much that I completely forgot that my mum has a plot not too far out that yields a bit of fresh fruit now and then (not a grand farm or anything…excitement be reigned!). That is until she sent over a bunch of avocados. Now, understand that I had been on an avocado idea hunt since these eggs so the arrival of these impossibly dark burgundy globes was met with much delight.



A big part of the harvest was, at C’s request, prepared simply with milk and sugar. This is actually a very common way of preparing avocado here, although perhaps a bit strange to those who’ve only had its savory incarnations. But really, I swear it, almost all children here remember this from their childhood…creamy avocado mashed with milk and sugar, and kept chilled in the fridge, or frozen in the freezer (a criminally simple “cheat’s” ice cream).



But this isn’t about the buttery-sweet avocado pseudo-sorbet that is lounging in my freezer, though that would deserve more than some acclaim. This is about a fantastic avocado idea I found here. So simple, and so unequivocally good. If you are looking for a way to use your avocados this could be your new best friend.



Creamy Avocado Soba

(adapted from Oh She Glows15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta)


  • 1 medium avocado, pitted
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Zest from half a lemon
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • About 100 grams (or whatever would be 2 servings for you) cha soba (Japanese green tea buckwheat noodles)
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 3 stalks green onions, sliced (white and light green parts)
- Cook your cha soba as per package instructions. If the instructions are in Japanese, and you don’t read Japanese, then cook as you would regular pasta but only for about 5 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water. Swish the noodles around a bit with your hand, and then drain again.

- Place garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil into a food processor (I used my immersion blender) and process until smooth. Add the avocado and salt and process again until smooth and creamy.

- Place your cooked and drained noodles in a bowl with the avocado sauce and toss until combined. Add lemon zest and pepper and toss again. Garnish with green onions.



The minute I took a swipe of this sauce from the side of my stick blender with my finger I was hooked, lined, and totally sinker’d. Rich, silken, and garlicky. Like some divine avocado aioli. The original recipe includes an optional addition of basil which, as I didn’t have any on hand, I left out. I paired it instead with cha soba noodles and garnished it with green onions…changes that I think worked well. Although I know I will eventually try it with basil because doesn’t that sound just too delicious?



It should be noted, as mentioned in the original, that the pasta does not reheat well due to the avocado in the sauce. I am happy to report though that I found a way to have this the next day. What I did was I only mixed enough pasta and sauce together for one serving. I stored the rest of the noodles and sauce in separate containers in the fridge. The next day I re-heated the noodles only. When the noodles are warm, toss with the sauce. Voila! I also tossed in some leftover salmon and it did splendidly.



I am just back from a very full weekend at the beach with the lovely folks I work with. Lots of fun to say the least, but my weary limbs are calling for my blankies. Hope you had an equally gratifying weekend! And I hope you have spot of time, and an avocado, to try this dish soon!