Life as it happens. Time as it passes.

Reviews

Amazing Talent: The Korean Kids Guitar Quintet

Somebody get these kids a plane ticket out of NoKor and into some international talent show. Believe me, they’ll end up winning. Watch out why.

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Final Pulse 11 and Blog Pulse 12

Do you have any idea how long it took for this poll to get 87 votes? It’s almost 11 months since I last asked for an opinion on what would be the best movie sequel of 2011.

As of this writing, all that’s left to be shown is Breaking Dawn and M:I 4. Nonetheless, let me now give the final count as to what 87 folks said would be the best sequel of the year:

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, P2 (46.59%)

2. The Hangover 2 (19.32%)

3. Transformers: The Dark of the Moon (18.17%)

4. Mission Impossible IV (6.82%)

5. Kung Fu Panda 2 (5.68%)

6. Breaking Dawn (3.41%)

 

So, could we just move on now, guys?

I’m putting up this new poll, as inspired by true events that happened inside a fast food restaurant here in the Metropolis. I won’t be saying the name, but in my opinion, this fast food restaurant has the most unpleasant crew, cashier, and almost every one doing “service” to people. I am saying so, because I find the same aura in almost all their stores I’ve ever been.

So, let’s see if my opinion matches those of 100 other customers:


Happy 2nd Year to Our Blog!

rcandcess.wordpress.com turns two years old today!

It’s been 720 days since we first placed a blog post here, and it has been very wonderful so far. I am very thankful that in the very least, we are able to provide people with insights, inspiration and information that help them tackle each of their day’s grind. The blog is more than just posting information and insights of whatever sort–it’s all about making sense to our readers, regular or chance.

I always go back when I first placed a blog online. That was March 11, 2009 behind the tempered glass wall of the gasoline station convenience store along Aguinaldo Highway in Imus. At that time, they had the only free wi-fi zone nearby our place. Armed with a 32 GB-memory, second hand laptop, I took my first shot at blogging.

435 posts, 386 comments and 38,023 views after, rcandcess.wordpress.com has become a frequent venue for people to be informed, inspired, or simply be relieved from the daily grind of their schedules, this author first and foremost. To be able to give birth to thoughts, either spontaneous or drafter, has become a joy for me. But that joy pales in comparison to the joy that you, our readers, experience whenever you log on and type our URL on the address box. Please keep on doing that, as I keep blogging as well!

Here now are the bests of the past 365 years, as well as a look at the all-time bests since 2009:

The most viewed blog entry in the past year was:

Raw Predictions for UAAP Season 73

The most recent blog entry to make it to the top ten most viewed entry is:

(A long-overdue) Movie Review: Inception

The busiest month was the month of

July 2010

Still, the top five words people are looking for that gets them to this blog are:

TAPSILOG, UAAP SEASON 73, BULALO, LONGSILOG & SCHOOL LOGOS

The category with the most viewed entries are the:

Sports and Leisure

So there you have it, folks! The best of the last 365 years in our blogsite. Please continue your view


Food Review: Pastry Passion

I’ve been on a diet plan for the past three weeks. It was supposed to be four weeks already, but a change in the schedule had me breaking my self-imposed law on not eating beyond the prescribed intake for the day. I paid heavily for that violation–of the ten pounds I lost in 29 days, I gained 3 more in just two nights. It took me another two weeks to get rid of the three pounds I gained.

A few nights ago, I committed another violation.

The culprit: Pastry Passion in Timog Ave., Quezon City.

A good friend of mine “tempted” me from deviating from my diet plan. I must say, he was quite persuasive enough (for a backgrounder, he’s actually a good salesman), and along with a few more chides from our other friends, I gave in to the temptation.

photo courtesy of tubbytwoshoes

 

To be honest, the object of temptation didn’t look any different from the ones I have seen from other pastry shops across the metropolis. The pull on me by the cake’s look and presentation to disobey my diet plan wasn’t as strong as the words coming out of my friend’s mouth. That the cake’s look could pass for another ordinary Oreo cheesecake probably helped in part for me to take the bait. After all, the cake wasn’t any more harmless than it appeared on the tray. My other friend recommended a coffee to go along with it. I looked at the menu and picked my usual white chocolate mocha with vanilla syrup. Setting down the plate of cake and the cup of coffee on the table, I got my mind fixed on the ensuing conversation we were having, thinking that the topic of the dialogues we were having was the real deal of the night.

Until I took the first bite from the Oreo cheesecake.

Temptation became sin.

I had to stare down on the cake in unbelief–how could an ordinarily and innocently looking Oreo cheesecake taste THIS GOOD? I had to dig inside the recesses of my memory, trying to find out if I have ever tasted an Oreo cheesecake like this–never. There was nothing in my past that reminded me of a better tasting cheesecake than the one I just had an encounter with. It was balanced in sweetness and perfect in texture. After the first bite, my taste buds beckoned for the second, and the third, and so on. I thought this was it, and I already was more than satisfied.

Until I took a sip from my coffee.

BOOM!

I don’t have a better way of saying “the coffee went perfect with the cake.” If there’s any, then that would be how I’d describe the connection between the cake and the coffee. Each bite led you to sip from the coffee cup, and vice versa. Before I knew it, I was checking my wallet and my tummy, if I still had room for one more plate and one more cup. Cess had to snap me back to reality and prevent me from shelling out another hundred bucks.

Stop and sin no more.

If ever you’re still in front of the PC reading this, you can stop right now. Get a cab or drive up to Marisan Bldg., 48 West Avenue, Timog, Quezon City, and follow these instructions:

Buy an Oreo cheesecake.

Buy a cup of white chocolate mocha with vanilla syrup.

Ask for forgiveness.


Music for the Soul: Christian Jazz Guitarist Walter Rodrigues

As a guitarist, I’ve always loved to watch and learn from the best guitarists, especially the ones who forte on gospel music. One of them is Christian Jazz guitarist Walter Rodrigues.

I like the way he renders the gospel hymns of old in his jazz guitar. Although I’m not much for Christian Jazz, the guitar renditions Walter has done are a soothing and relaxing set. I most definitely love his rendition of “Great is They Faithfulness.” It’s only now that I’m featuring his videos here on the blog.

Enjoy some of the best renditions from Walter Rodrigues here:


(A long-overdue) Movie Review: Inception

I don’t watch movies in movie houses. Believe it or not, I can patiently wait for either a free TV premiere of a film on HBO or a clear DVD release in the market.

Thus, this long-overdue review on the Oscar nominated film “Inception.”

By now, the buzz about the ending has died. That’s fine, actually, freeing me from the “spoiler syndrome” (I guess). The philosophical and analytical side of me pushed me to blog about it last night, but it seemed the king of sleep has taken hold of my eyes and my weary body. As soon as I ejected the DVD out my laptop, I was out like a log.

This morning, with just enough energy (and creative juices flowing in me) to write a review post, I am giving you my take on how the film ended. Just in case you have no idea what I am talking about, let me first backtrack a bit on two important rules about dreams in the movie:

1. A dream can look and feel so real, especially if the dream designed was based from real events;

2. In order to determine if you are in the dream world or the real world, you use a “totem”, a lightweight object that you flip, turn or tunker. If it falls, stops spinning, or simply goes out of balance, then you’re in the real world. Otherwise, you’re still in your dreams;

Having set down these two important rules, watch again how the film ended:

My verdict: COBB ESCAPED THE DREAM WORLD AND CAME BACK TO REALITY.

I’ll minimize discussing the technical evidences, but more on the analytical. Here are my reasons why:

1. Prior to waking up in the plane, Cobb and Saito were in Limbo, the deepest part of the subject’s sub-conscious, which happens to be the final level of a dream. Reaching the final level happens when you die in your dream but does not wake up yet in the real world. Normally, dying in the dream will jolt you back to reality. In Saito’s case, he died while he was heavily sedated and before the kick that could have waked him up. In Cobb’s case, he went back to his own created world in Limbo, where he was once trapped for “50 years” in the dream world. It was there that Mal stabbed her. Cobb told Ariadne that he has to stay in Limbo to look for Saito. Being hooked together in the real world, this means that Cobb and Saito now shared the same Limbo. You will notice that Saito’s mansion was also found along the seashore, the same setting for the dissipating world of Cobb. In the film, the scene transitions suddenly from Saito and Cobb having a conversation in Limbo, back to the real world. In the final frames of the Limbo scene, Saito appears to be holding the gun, about to use it. The cut transition goes back to Cobb and Saito on the plane. This means, they “died” in Limbo, and since there’s no more Limbo to go to after Limbo, the obvious result was that they came back to reality;

2. A preceding scene in the movie will serve as a pattern for escaping the Limbo. This is the scene where Cobb and Mal lay on the train tracks to “kill” themselves and go back to reality. Again, the scene for this “suicide” was in the Limbo world where Cobb and Mal had constructed their “world” for the last 50 years. The problem only arose when Cobb did the wrong “inception” on Mal that they were still in the dream world. Thus the effect on Cobb was that he retained in his sub-conscious a projection of Mal;

In Saito’s case, there was no inception of such an idea. In fact, they even remembered conversations that they have had in the past that actually brought them back to remembering that where they were was actually the Limbo of the dream world, and that the only way to escape was to die;

3. The reason why Mal “lived” in Cobb’s subconscious is because the inception was done in the shared Limbo. That means Cobb had to endure Mal’s projection in his head because, in fact, the inception he made had also affected him. While he never planted an idea on himself, the idea he planted on Mal became “viral” and “contagious” for him, as he was doing it in the shared Limbo. If Cobb was still in the dream world, none among the team members should be there, because Cobb could never project people that did not belong to his subconscious, and at the same time that were not connected to him in the dream;

4. The number 3 reason explains the presence of his children in the real world. If it were still a dream, then the children’s faces should not have projected its faces in Cobb’s dream, because Cobb’s dream were built on his own memories. Precisely why Ariadne was chosen to become the architect was because Cobb’s memories would meddle with the construction of the dream world. During the scene where Cobb was rescuing Fischer, his kids would suddenly appear, but always with their backs turned on him, because the memory he built with them had them turning their backs on him. To see his children’s face can only mean he finally got to see his children’s face for real. In the ending scene, the kids cannot be merely projections by Cobb, because Mal’s death in the shared Limbo had caused Cobb to discard all other memories that composed his own dream world. The kids were real;

5. An even harder question comes into play: if Cobb was still in the dream world, whose dream was it? It cannot be from the other team members–they had all woken up after the kick, leaving Saito and Cobb trapped inside the van sinking in the river. It cannot be Saito’s either–he was himself trapped in the shared Limbo. And if it was Cobb’s dream, it contradicts the rule of coming back to reality from Limbo. And the only possible explanation was that the dream belonged to his father, the character played by Michael Caine. But in order for Caine to construct the dream, he must be hooked up with Cobb. Caine was never in the plane to construct the more elaborate dream of the whole plane trip itself;

6. Finally, the most obvious evidence that they were back in reality was the wobbling of the totem. The totem never wobbled at anytime during their presence in the dream world. What actually caused the confusion was that the top did not actually fall and stopped spinning. But the scene where Cobb finally sees his kids face to face was real;


Gospel Music Review: The Cathedral Quartet

We kick off our music review series with a look-back at one of the most successful Southern Gospel quartets in the Gospel music world–the Cathedral Quartet.

The Cathedral Quartet started in 1963, not as a quartet, but as a trio. Glen Payne, Bobby Clark and Danny Koker composed the trio that usually performed for meetings and services at the Cathedral of Tomorrow, pastored by Rex Humbard. A year later, they added bass singer George Younce. Five years later, Payne and Younce decided to establish the quartet with its own business identity.

In the years that followed, the Cathedrals went through difficult times. Quartet members who usually filled the tenor and baritone parts came and went. It was only in the early 70’s that the quartet had a more stable line-up. Roy Tremble (tenor) and George Amon Webster (baritone) had a lengthier stint with the team compared to the ones that went before them. By 1979, the quartet had gained more popularity thanks to their frequent appearances with Bill Gaither’s Praise Gathering shows.

The final, and perhaps the more well known line-up of the Cathedrals included Younce, Payne, tenor singer Ernie Haase and baritone Scott Fowler. This line-up lasted almost a decade from 1990 to 1999, when the quartet finally retired, shortly after Glen Payne succumbed to cancer.

For 35 years, the Cathedral Quartet produced a total of 73 albums, not including the compilations of their best rendered songs. They’ve won several Singing News Fan Awards for both the group and several individual performances of each of their members. Songs such as “Boundless Love,” “Moving Up to Gloryland,” “Old Convention Song,” “The Last Sunday,” “Champion of Love,” “Oh, What A Savior,” “We Shall See Jesus,” and “This Old House,” are just some of the so many songs and hymns made popular by the powerful, soul stirring singing of the Cathedral Quartet.

Enjoy some of their music here once again!


Food Review 4: Som’s Noodle House

Image000_1Sometimes, the most sought-after diner in town is not found inside the malls or along the busy urban highways of the metropolis. And you’d be surprised to find out that, sometimes, their just on the other side of the fence inside a subdivision.

Thanks to one of my best friends Sant, we discovered Som’s Noodle House just within the subdivision adjacent to the Rockwell Center in Makati (not Bel-Air, if that’s what you’re thinking). The home-based diner/canteen specializes on Thai dishes, and has been featured in several television shows, highlighting the fact that this frequently visited eatery doesn’t even have a dining hall–it simply boasts of serving you the best Thai cuisines in town just along the street.

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Ms. Yam and Cess strike a pose in front of the counter. Sant is seen here placing our orders. Yum!

Me, Cess, Sant, Philip, Dyan, Ms. Yam and my kid brother Tim tried out some of the most recommended dishes. Since I was on a strict regimen, the orders were mainly fish and chicken. We ordered two spring rolls, spicy grounded chicken, chicken on oyster sauce, seafood rice, chicken rice and pork rice (for those who were craving for it). I forgot the last two dishes we ordered (because by that time, I was already so into the meal on my plate), but they were both chicken dishes.

Just the first spoonful of the Thai delicacy and I immediately fell in love with it. The spicy taste wasn’t like anything spicy I have ever tasted before. And I have to admit, before my encounter here at Som’s I really had no liking for Thai delicacy. But after that wonderful dining experience, I’ll sure be craving for more of their dishes.

For one, the flavor of the spices are precisely locked inside the meat. Even without the oyster sauce, the chicken alone had its unique tang. And the meat was so tender, just a few chews will do to unlock the flavors in your mouth. Plus, the unique thing about the spicy taste of the dishes was that the it was spicy after you’ve swallowed it, not on the tongue itself. That means you get to eat more while enjoying the spiciness, rather than gulping iced water to quench the hot feeling.

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And since you’re eating on the street, you have the feeling that you’re in Bangkok. With just a teacup candle illuminating your table, the ambiance is rather homey than outdoors. It was really fun eating there.

And the price? Very affordable. We ate a meal good enough for more than 8 people, and we only paid no more than 200 bucks each!

If you’re anywhere near Rockwell, ask around for Som’s Noodle House. Go get some of your friends who haven’t tried Thai dishes, and I’m sure their in for a very delectable treat!