Monthly Archives: January 2008

Must control fries consumption

After reading the article “Why Do Fries Taste Sooo Good?” in Reader’s Digest, I have decided to moderate my fries consumption. Especially learning that these popular snack foods have been cooked twice; I just can’t imagine the amount of oil that goes into those fries. Moreover, these fries contain acrylamide which is formed when foods are baked or fried at high temperature. According to Clark University research professor Dale Hattis, acrylamide causes thousands of cancer-related disease in America per year. That’s not all. These greasy foods also contain trans fats, a kind of fat which is responsible for clogging the artery. I don’t think I can completely give up on fries, so I’ll just eat these in moderation.

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Depp has depth

By merely looking at the movie poster of the film, I was able to predict that Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of the Fleet Street is again a Johnny Depp-Tim Burton collaboration. The poster belches out a sense of gloom, bleakness and mystery, which generally constitute Burton’s personal style. I admire Tim Burton’s profundity and Johnny Depp’s brilliance, ergo it is my obligation as a fan to see their new offering.

Sweeney Todd offers an unusual pairing of horror, musical and dark humor. But Burton is able to execute it really well, of course with the help of the impressive actor Johnny Depp. The film is set in London, dark London that is, as the opening clips show us. The story begins with a series of flashbacks of Benjamin Parker’s bereaved past. He was arrested by Judge Turpin, who is played by the very salient Alan Rickman, for a crime he did not commit. As a result, he was sent away from London. After years of being away, he comes back with a new identity, Sweeney Todd who then seeks to revenge against Judge Turpin. This time, he’s not a man of refinement anymore, but a man who bears a likeness to Grim Reaper. Madness has gotten the hell out of his good side. As a form of revenge, he then establishes a barbershop which in the next minutes of the movie will turn into a murder spot.

This is definitely Tim Burton at his best, excellently executing everything from visual elements to music. The set designs, costumes and makeup are outstanding. They all successfully come in useful in building up the grim atmosphere of the movie. The film is also full of graphically disturbing moments, wherein almost everyone in the movie house would either cover their eyes or utter a heavy heave because of sheer disgust. But if you’re really squeamish, you can always do the first one. I also love how Burton injected humor in the film. It’s subtly interposed, but still element of grim is present. Johnny Depp is as always impressive. And the man can sing Sondheim score. His singing stint is not operatic, but it is nevertheless effective. Helene Bonham Carter who played as Mrs. Lovett also adds to the greatness of the movie. So does everybody else, from Alan Rickman to Sacha Baron Cohen.

Let me share you some of my thoughts after watching the movie.

1. What’s Borat doing in the film? Lol.

2. At one point, I felt like I was watching Harry Potter. There was one moment in the film when Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall all appeared simultaneously.

3. Sweeney Todd is more of a shaver, not barber. Lol.

4. Never watch this movie alone. Share the disgust with somebody. Also, never munch on a hamburger while watching. Don’t ask me why.


Serbs them right

Behold the rising stars in the world of rackets! The Serbs. Recently, their performances have been incredibly incredible. Specifically in Australian Open. Two of the six Serbs who entered the competition are still on a roll. They’re Novak “The Djoker” Djokovic(Men’s Singles) and Ana Ivanovic(Women’s Singles). They both have improved dramatically in the past years. A year ago, Djokovic had only reached the 4th Round of the Australian Open and Ivanovic was eliminated in the 3rd Round. But this year, obviously vengeance is theirs. Ivanovic, who creamed Venus Williams and Daniela Hantuchova,  will compete in the Finals against the fifth seed Sharapova, who floored Justine Henin in their Quarterfinals match. Djokovic, on the other hand, and Roger Federer will battle it out in their Semifinals match to determine who among them will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the unseeded French dark horse of the competition.

Now that I have mentioned “The Djoker”, I want to convey my commiserations to the fans of Heath Ledger. His death was truly tragic and unexpected. He’s just 28 and at the peak of his acting career, it was so unfair for him and for the industry. We lost a very fine and brilliant actor. Watching his last film “The Dark Knight” would just make us nostalgic. But then again, it’s the last time we’ll see him on big screen. I then suggest you bring rolls of tissue paper and buckets in the movie house lest you cry heavily the moment Joker appears on screen. As for me, I would just give a heave and bask in his brilliance.


6-0, second set

The recent performance of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Australian Open has been surprisingly impressive. Tsonga crushed Youzhny in their Quarterfinals match last Tuesday, completing his assignment in three straight sets. I was rooting for Youzhny because he’s the seeded player, and apparently has more experience than Tsonga. Then again, the unseeded Tsonga did not show submission or fear. In fact, he was oozing with confidence. His forehand shots were tremendous and very precise. He knocked down eight service aces. And he had total control over the second set, which probably was responsible for the subversion of Youzhny’s morale and confidence. On the third set, Tsonga kept on hurling impeccable shots which gave him a lot of points. Youzhny, on the other hand, did not show any sign of recouping from his very miserable loss in the second set. Tsonga finally took this opportunity to cream the fourteenth seed in their match, heading off to Semi-Finals against my other favorite, Rafael Nadal.


Fundamentals of effective cramming

In my entire academic life, I can safely say that I have already mastered the art of cramming. Yes, cramming is indeed, an art. Despite what most people think, it takes an undeniably exceptional skill to pull off a cramming session and still emerge unwounded. Of course, the output of the session must give you, at least, satisfactory results. This logically follows that cramming should be executed with thorough preparation and undivided commitment. In short, to be an effective crammer, one must be able to cram the right way. Since effective cramming is not formally taught in school, many crammers still come out as flops. So, in order for every co-crammer to harvest good fruits from the activity, here are some musts on how to cram the proper way.

1. Six cups of coffee. Ten is the ideal.
Needless to say, caffeine comes in very useful in the cramming activity, especially if one needs to stay up so late. Ten out of ten crammers will emphatically agree. When to take this? It is suggested that one should consume a cup of coffee before he begins the session. Remaining cups may be downed during the entire activity at specific intervals. Caffeine can be administered orally or intramuscularly.

2. Prepare an arsenal of foods.
Feed your brain! For it to function well, you must consume food. It need not be a heavy meal, sandwiches will do. Apples and chocolate bars are highly recommended. They stimulate your brain cells.

3. Assemble all the important materials.
Books, pens, notebook, extra sheets, extra pen, internet connection, ample light, clean work desk. What’s the purpose of cramming if you don’t have all your materials?

4. It’s now time to work your butt off.
I know, this is the sucky part. The reason why you resorted to cramming in the first place is to avoid work, but whether you like it or not, it has to be accomplished. So, first things first. Arrange your stuff. Go over the topics and lessons you need to work on, then allot time for each. Once done, start the session. If you want to add a little something to this very tedious activity, you might want to consider my suggestion. Every time you engage yourself in cramming, time your whole session. Record your best times, then learn to outdo yourself by beating those.

5. After working, get some rest.
But then you realize, you had indeed stayed up so late – it’s already the break of day. Just in time for breakfast.

So far, the things in this list have been found feasible. Crammers who follow the list above are able to reap good fruits from the process. Hopefully, this may serve as a useful tool for other crammers out there. Just always remember, cram the right way!


Banapple = Nirvana

We were in want of sustenance: Kevin, Kringle, Camae, Sam, Nikole and I. We traversed the turbulent EDSA while discussing where to sate our hunger. The table was open for suggestions, and Sam proposed Banapple. Sam has been talking about it since forever, so we settled for Banapple just to check out what that shop has to offer.

Banapple is situated along the Katipunan stretch. Coming from Taft, it took us roughly an hour to reach the place. I have never heard of Banapple before, so I made speculations of what it actually is like. I thought it would be the likes of Dencio’s, Via Mare, Le Souffle or Tropezz Restaurant Bar. Apparently, I was wrong, not even close. Banapple is a pastry shop. Yes, pies and cheesecakes.

The shop’s logo explicitly explains the shop’s name. Banapple is a portmanteau of the words banana and apple(I’m so stupid for not figuring this out). I thought it was catchy, appealing and clever.

As we entered Banapple, we were welcomed by the very accommodating waitresses of the shop. The place is relatively small, but the ambiance is casual. Of course, it wouldn’t be a pastry shop without baked foods. A display of tempting cakes and pies breasted us, which made Camae very excited. We settled down, and perused the menu.

The shop has actually a wide array of foods, from sandwiches to pasta. They also serve meals with rice, which, in this case, made me very excited because I’m really really hungry and I particularly want a heavy meal. I ordered chicken rolls smothered with this sauce which tasted really really good. When I took my first bite, I actually heard the Hallelujah chorus. The chicken rolls were superbly made, and as I have said, the sauce. YUM.

Of course, our visit would not be complete without trying out their famous cakes. We ordered five slices of cake and I was the first one to munch on the Super Caramel Cake. I love caramel, in fact, I can eat every dish that has caramel on it. Anyway, about the cake. It was overly sweet, but I enjoyed every bite I had.

Curious of who the owner is, I peered over the counter and searched for someone who exhibits the aura of a pastry maker. Sam, apparently, knew I was looking for the proprietor, so she interrupted my search and told me that the owners are GJ and Maricel, they’re actually a couple. Cool, right? I find it very lovely that they work together, considering also that their business revolves around food.

Now, here comes the bill. The prices are actually not that hefty. The foods only cost around P80 – P150. I think it was pretty fair that the owners priced that way, so it’s all good. Nikole paid for all of the expenses by the way. Thanks Nikole!


Art of stroking

What I love about tennis is that no matter how many people surround the two players, everything still boils down to them. Yes, the audience helps in boosting the morale of the players, but who in the first place controls the ball and places it delicately within the confines of the lawn court? The racquet holders. Yes, the racquet is the sports implement in tennis. And sometimes, this could be the channel of a player to express what he feels. For instance, the art of racquet impinging.

To vent out what the tennis players feel, they usually scream. It’s psychological. It is even applied in the real world. But sometimes, when they are so enveloped with their own emotional distress and could not handle anymore the torment, what they do is they usually impinge their racquets on the court, in this case the mowed grass. However, they will get violations, or at least will be warned, for an attempt of destroying the racquet. Indeed, racquets are sacred for tennis buffs. And I, for one, am a tennis buff.

I don’t particularly play the sport. Well, I tried it once, but apparently, beginner’s luck wasn’t with me at that time. On an attempt to chase the ball, I tripped and fell, leaving bruises on my knees. I took this as a sign; tennis was not for me.

Then why do I consider myself a tennis buff? Because I spend ten hours a week watching tennis. Yes, in my leisure time I can just curl up and watch tennis(and football). Of course, I have a favorite player. I love Roger Federer for he is an all-around player. He can hit all of the fundamental shots with high proficiency. Whenever he’s at the baseline, he dictates the game by giving accurate ground strokes from both wings. More important, I admire his forehand. It is arguably his weapon in killing every ball. David Foster Wallace even described the exceptional speed, fluidity and brute force of this forehand motion as “a great liquid whip”. He also can give excellent slice shots which go through the court with great pace and throw off opponents.

The way he serves must also be noted. Federer generally serves with placement and precision, but on occasion he will hit a powerful serve to keep his opponents off balance. His footwork, balance and court coverage are exceptional. He can hit strong topspin shots while running, allowing him to switch from defense to offense. Emotionally, he also knows how to control himself. Federer is capable of performing in high pressure situations, often saving match points during crucial times in a match.

Roger Federe