Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Today I made things --

I was inspired by my cousin's banana-chocolate chip treat that I decided to make something similar --

This morning, I made banana pancakes with chocolate chips. (Yay, me!) I just got a pack of pancake mix, mashed up some bananas and mixed the two together. (For those who want to follow this, a caveat -- the amount of water you use for the pancake changes. The original recipe called for 3/4 cups of water and I only used about 1/2)

I made two batches -- a plain banana pancake and one loaded with chocolate chips!

I couldn't really taste the bananas, though -- but I'm glad that Johann ate some. (Only way I could get fruit into his system)

After breakfast, I took out my Gocco and made this:


Yes, it's a business card.
Yes, it's mine.
Yes, I sell romance novels on Ebay Philippines. ^_^

<-- I'm glad I found these images! The two ladies really make the whole thing work! ^_^

Found them here. Lengthier account of the project found in my other blog.

Monday, July 28, 2008

My cousin bakes --

My mom and brother came home yesterday with two red boxes of goodies which my cousin Mark baked. (He's the eldest son of one of my mom's younger sisters.)

He gave us a box of Banana Mini Morsel Bars, which were addicting (Johann and I couldn't stop eating them) and an assortment of muffins.

It's a family affair -- he bakes and his sister takes pictures of the baked goods. ^_^ They do it all with a hand mixer and a very old oven. (My sister said it was a wedding gift to my cousin's mom. I'd have to check on this first.)

When you see my cousins' end product, you know it's homebaked -- which I like. The mini morsel bars had a rustic appeal (not perfectly cut or portioned) -- and you can tell that he really poured his heart (and a bag full of chocolate chips) into the recipe.

Yay, Mark! ^_^

Tin's Trip to Guam part two --

My sister and I decided to relax on our second (and last day) --

We bought day passes to the "Shopping Bus" which is the most efficient way to see as much as Guam as you can.

There are two companies that have shopping buses -- the Blue and the Red. Tickets cost the same. We chose the Red because they use the traditional trolleys as shopping buses whereas the Blue line has a mix of regular buses and trolleys.


Tip #4 If you're planning to take the shopping bus for more than a day, get the week pass. It costs $2 per ride. The day pass is $6 and the week pass is $10. If you don't mind waiting 20-30 minutes to get to your destination, this is the cheapest way to get anywhere in Guam.


Here's where it gets a bit tricky -- like most subways, the shopping bus has a specific line and, depending on where you want to go, you need to ride a different line. The two most widely used lines are the Green and Yellow, which ply the same route -- but one goes clockwise and the other counter. (Kinda like the Ikot and Toki in UP.)

We were able to visit Micronesia Mall, which is far from Pale San Vitores but is a very popular shopping destination because they have Macy's there -- and they also have a branch of the only known bookstore in Guam. Bestseller Bookstore. Oh, and there's KB Toys there too.

Bestseller Bookstore had a really amazing selection of SF/Fantasy and I think Johann would have wept for joy to see all the D&D novels on two shelves. My main problem was, the books were sold at cover price. (Read: It would've been cheaper to get them in the Philippines or order them through Amazon.) But I didn't want to go away empty-handed so I picked out the most recent releases (2008) and bought about 4 book for Johann.

We had lunch at the Micronesia Mall food court which offers a wide array of cuisine -- a lot of Japanese and Korean and a spattering of Italian and Chamorro.

My sister and I had Burger King and Subway. (Again, I texted Johann and he replied: Stop Eating Stuff that you can eat in the Philippines!)

Burger King was promoting an insane burger called The Steakhouse, which has an Angus Beef patty and (in a nutshell) the contents of a baked potato in your burger.

Yes, I was tempted. But I didn't.

My sister ordered a small burger and I went over to Subway to get a Seafood and Crab sandwich. What I like about the Subway branch in Guam is they let you choose which kind of cheese you want. They had 3 or 4 kinds. They also had stuff like banana peppers!

After Micronesia Mall, we went to the Guam Premium Outlet -- we really didn't get anything from there. But they have Outlet stores for Nike (cheaper to buy it in the Philippines), Nine West (I wasn't looking to buy shoes this trip), etc.

We got back to our hotel at around 4 in the afternoon and rested. That evening, we did one last hurrah on the Shopping Bus trolley -- it was fun. ^_^

Guam is a nice place. I'd go back there for K-Mart. Hahahaha! Seriously, it's a great place to bring your children to because of the beach. (Although I worry about how they would take to the strange flight sked). The walking isn't so bad either, especially if you get a hotel along Pale San Vitores. It's more for younger people and barkadas also because a lot of the "action" happens at night.

One thing I noticed in Guam is the lack of public transportation. I saw one public bus in our area and they don't travel regularly, I'm told. I was planning to go to this used bookstore in Barrigada which, on the map, looked pretty near. But it would've cost me $20 one way by cab. And, no, no bus goes through there.

My sister and I noticed that most travelers just rent a car to drive themselves around. My sister plans on getting an international license so that she can just drive us around the next time we go there. (It is very doable because there are very few cars on the roads and the traffic light system is very efficient.) It's also fairly safe during the daytime. (Majority of the car accidents happen at night and they are usually alcohol-related.)

To end, here are some random shots of Guam:
<-- Fendi stroller!

<-- they have a lot of painted carabaos scattered all over Guam. This one was in our hotel.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tin's Trip To Guam part one --

I've been meaning to blog about my recent trip to Guam with my sister but I didn't quite know how to organize my thoughts -- for starters, we were only in Guam for 2 full days and we didn't have much sleep on one of those days.

My sister and I decided to take direct flights both ways -- so, on July 5, we boarded a plane from Iloilo to Manila and then transferred over to the international terminal to wait for our flight to Guam.

We decided to book PAL's package (vs Continental Airlines) because it was cheaper (but there are pros and cons) and because I like the terminal where PAL flies out of.

Tip #1: Take PAL even for the domestic next time... even if it costs a bit more than Air Philippines or Cebu Pacific. I don't know how PAL does it, but you never seem to have to wait long for your connecting flight to anywhere. We took Air Philippines and had to wait a long time in between our flights.

Tip #2: If you know you are going to sleep through the flight, ask for the window seat. The flight wasn't long so we knew we didn't have to go to the bathroom very often so we asked for the window and middle seat. We got to sleep undisturbed. ^_^ The aisle seat does give you more legroom but, if you have a seatmate you gets up numerous times, it's a hassle. We made the mistake of asking for aisle seats (across from each other <-- another mistake) on our flight back and had the misfortune of being seated beside two of the most restless and noisy people in the universe.

<-- our meal going to Guam. It's supposed to be Sweet and Sour Pork (but looks more like braised/stewed pork). It was delicious, though. Dessert was Magnolia Ube ice cream and a small Toblerone.

We arrived in Guam at 3am (1-ish our time. Guam is +2 to the Philippines) and were picked up by our hotel's van service. Check-in was a breeze -- we didn't have to do the standard show passport, check credit card, sign here/sign there bit. We headed to our room and slept.

Tip #3: Stay at the Fiesta Resort Guam.
It's a 4.5-star hotel with amazing service and great food.

We set our alarms to wake us before the breakfast buffet ended. It was an amusing spread -- yes, amusing. I've never seen fried chicken served during a breakfast before. ^_^ And we also had pasta with meatballs.



Majority of the visitors to Guam are Koreans and Japanese so the buffet reflects that -- there was always kimchi and rice porridge and seaweed and stuff.

The chicken was amazing! It was crunchy and crisp and had a hint of spiciness to it. I was so tempted to get some kimchi and rice and have that for breakfast. (But we couldn't find the rice! We later discovered that one of the covered pots -- of which there were 4 total was the steamed rice. The others were different kinds of rice porridge.)

After breakfast, we took in some sun and walked around the beach. (Fiesta Resort Guam is a beachfront resort/hotel.)



We rested a bit after breakfast and went to K-Mart.

Guam is said to have the biggest K-Mart in the world. We spent about 4 hours just walking around and we only got to see half before we got tired. They have a Little Caesar's resto inside K-Mart and that's where my sister and I sat down for a much-needed recharge.

The book selection there was a bit disappointing. I was really hoping to bring home books for Johann and for myself.

<-- that's it.

After the recharge, we walked back to our hotel. (We walked bothways and were *ahem* sunkissed after doing so.)

Later that day, we decided to search for the Lesportsac store(s) in Guam. We were also looking for cheap pasalubong for our helpers and drivers. We found two Lesportsac stores and one of them was on sale! So I was able to get a reversible tote at 30% off. I paid full price for my classic hobo. (I think my sister has caught the Lesportsac bug because she now "owns" my other bag. She wanted to get another one for herself but couldn't decide on a print.)

We walked the entire length of Pale San Vitores Road (which is like Orchard in Singapore). Dinner was Mcdonald's. (At this point, when I texted Johann about where we were, he texted back: Don't eat fast food!)

I tried their Chicken sandwich (which you can have either grilled or crisp/fried). I had mine fried. Hahaha!


It was yummy! ^_^ My sister had nuggets and they had very interesting dip choices. Since we weren't feeling adventurous, we ended up getting barbecue and honey and mustard.

Day 1 ended with us checking off most of the things on our "Buy list" -- the most important of all was Seth's potty. (I will write about this in my other blog. ^_^)

... to be continued

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Guess what movie I just watched --

I fear that I will always be
A lonely number like root three
A three is all that's good and right,
Why must my three keep out of sight
Beneath a vicious square root sign,
I wish instead I were a nine
For nine could thwart this evil trick,
with just some quick arithmetic
I know I'll never see the sun, as 1.7321
Such is my reality, a sad irrationality
When hark! What is this I see,
Another square root of a three
Has quietly come waltzing by,
Together now we multiply
To form a number we prefer,
Rejoicing as an integer
We break free from our mortal bonds
And with a wave of magic wands
Our square root signs become unglued
And love for me has been renewed.

From Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay ^_^

Friday, July 18, 2008

On Batman: The Dark Knight --

I'm supposed to blog about my recent trip to Guam but I watched Batman: The Dark Knight last night and had to blog about that instead.

With most sequels and multi-part movies, the stories usually fall into the trap of just featuring "the monster of the month/the villain of the month" movies but I really love what the Nolans have done with the Batman movies. With each movie, they have developed Batman's character and are exploring different aspects of his persona: Batman as masked avenger, as detective, as a dark knight, etc.

While Christian Bale is amazing as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Heath Ledger truly steals the show as the Joker. Bale's Batman still has roots in the comic books and he does a great job portraying Batman but Ledger's the Joker is truly original and he deserves the Oscar Buzz he is getting for this role. (You will be blinded by his awesomeness. ^_^)

Based on the stills and trailers, I thought Ledger was channeling Alan Moore's the Joker (from The Killing Joke) but he doesn't -- not completely. Ledger's the Joker is how the Joker should be. He plays with his own "origin" and tells several versions of it in the movie. In the end, he explains himself best -- that he simply is and nothing more.

My personal favorite is Harvey Dent simply because Aaron Eckhart plays him and he is so breathlessly amazing. I love him! >_< (I will rewatch Possession later for more Aaron Eckhart goodness.)

After the movie, my sister asked me which I preferred: Wanted or Batman: The Dark Knight.

Tough question. ^_^

I like Wanted for the cinematography and the "bullet ballet" and I like Batman for the story. =^_^=

... but that's just me.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Why I love my sister --

She recently found a copy of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles -- Johann told her that it received really poor reviews but she bought it anyway.

The next day:
My sister: It's a really nice series. People just don't like it because it negates T3.
Johann: (says something that I can't remember anymore)
My sister: It has an all-star cast pa: Queen Gorgo from 300, River Tam from Serenity and Little Foot from The Land Before Time.

Clever one, my sister is. ^_^

A book project -- 101 Must Read Books

This is inspired by The Big Read and an interesting project that is ongoing at the Romantic Times message boards.

One of P's main criticism of The Big Read list is that it is mostly "White" and my observation is that it is skewed towards two extremes -- classics and fantasy/scifi. (When I was doing the list, I was thinking Johann would probably score better than me.)

At the Romantic Times message boards, readers are trying to come up with a list of 1001 Romance Novels to read before we die --

I wonder what our list of books would look like.

May we embark on our 101 Must Read Books? (I don't think I know 1001 people ^_^)

I've based the rules on the one at the RT message board:
1) No posting copies of lists or links from other sites. This should be your own opinion.

2) Each person can post up to FIVE book suggestions at a time. Include: Title, Author and Genre

You can also let folks know why this book should be included.

4) Only suggest books that have NOT already made the thread. Read the thread, pay attention, and add a NEW book that you don't see already listed.

5) You can always come back and add more after someone else adds one. ^_^

The Big Read -- Books I have read

Found this on P's multiply site --

The directions are simple:
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own blog so we can try and track down these people who've read 6 and force books upon them ;)

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling <-- shouldn't this count as 7 books? ^_^
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible - Only the Gospels, Genesis and Revelations
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte <-- tried to, but couldn't get past the language
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott <-- plus Good Wives, Little Men and Jo's Boys. I have a copy of her A Long Fatal Love Chase, but I haven't read it yet. ^_^
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare - most of the tragedies and some of the histories
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell <-- only the sequel, hahaha!
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert <-- one of my sister's favorites. We have 3 versions, including the Norton Critical Edition. ^_^
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte's Web - E.B. White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl <-- I've read most of his books, except this one and its sequel. ^_^
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo <-- Only the abridged ^_^