Thursday, August 23

Disappearing Acts

In the September issue of Vanity Fair, Susanna Andrews writes about Arthur Miller's Missing Act: "For all the public drama of Arthur Miller's career—his celebrated plays (including Death of a Salesman and The Crucible), his marriage to Marilyn Monroe, his social activism—one character was absent: the Down-syndrome child he deleted from his life."


Wednesday, August 22

Bread Talk

It was such a busy day after the rather long weekend and I was looking forward to enjoying a little reward to myself: a bun of Berries and Cream from Bread Talk.

So imagine my surprise (and slight disappointment) when it turned out to be mostly strawberry stuffing and no cream. Nyar. Although in fairness, nag-uumapaw lang siya sa strawberries ha. Pero nyar pa rin.

Bread Talk is supposed to be the Krispy Kremes of Singapore. Only that for the last few years, their designer breads had also conquered the Philippines. There are lines all the time whenever I pass by a branch, and at one time I was trying to enjoy my cup of coffee when a swarm literally descended on the Gateway branch, the same crowd I was avoiding at the mall. It turned out that Carmina Villaroel of QTV's Day Off was trying her hand at baking bread.

But really, why call the store Bread Talk? Someone said the owner wanted the people to talk about the bread. But in my head, I imagine that this is the wicked sort of pick up lines that bakers use. Somewhere along the lines of:
Hey baby, you've got some really hot buns.
You won't forget my baguette.
The filling just won't go away.
Don't let me stuff you.
Nyar, BreadTalk, look at what you made me do. What happened to the tagline, "We Make Your Day"? But pretty nifty, noh?

Sunday, August 19

First Love, Last Rites

If you're after a fun, enjoyable and light long weekend reading, then this book is not for you. Then again, this depends on how you define "fun" and "enjoyable." But definitely, First Love, Last Rites, the first collection of short stories by Ian McEwan, is not light weekend reading, however you look at it. This book succeeded in disturbing me, but in a good way.

I couldn't finish the stories in one go. It was too painful to read. The same with the other stories. There's a man who was raised as an eternal two year old by his mother, and then she meets a man and decides her little boy has to grow up, now. There's the man who supposedly saw a little girl before she fell off the ridge. Butterflies were never so disturbing.

The last story in the collection, "Disguises," is the source of my unease. A stage actress retires to take care of her nephew when her sister dies. Away from the stage, she brings her penchant for dressing up to the everyday routine she shares with ten year old Henry, who suspects that not all kids have to wear little soldier's uniforms to dinner with their parents. But he wears whatever it is he finds on his bed every afternoon, for he does like the stage--they have this tiny theater made from a fruit boxes and peopled with cardboard cutouts. It wasn't until he makes a friend out of new seatmate Linda that dressing up disturbs him. Or it could be that he got disturbed after he got drunk on his first taste of wine while dressed in a wig and girl's clothes. If that can't make you doubt your aunt's parenting techniques, then what will?

Here's some unsolicited McEwan trivia, according to The Guardian: He wrote the "unsuccessful" film The Good Son (Joseph Ruben, 1993), "about a sociopathic child, intended to reverse Macaulay Culkin's goody-goody image." As for "unsuccessful," again that's arguable. It's the most interesting Mac film in my book, as it departs from his painfully cute roles. It's right up McEwan's alley, I must say, at least based on this early collection of stories.

Still a tangentially related trivia: According to the Wikipedia page, there were previous attempts to film The Good Son had been shelved for various reasons. At one point, the role of Henry had even been awarded to Jesse Bradford, who now stars in the Hollywood remakes of My Sassy Girl and The Echo. Iza Calzado reprises the same role she had in Sigaw.

Anyway, got my copy of First Love, Last Rites (Book #15) in that book stall along AS Walk for Php180. Took me over a month to finish it, considering that it's a very slim volume (125 pages) and contains eight stories. But again, as I've said, this isn't light weekend reading.

DIY Sunday

In an age of convenience, people tend to just walk inside a store and buy stuff. That's what 7-11 is for, and I really don't mind NOT doing my own laundry, but Simply Thrifty emphasizes that all this convenience is "expensive and making people lazy."

So she presents 100 Things you can make yourself which includes hair conditioner. There's one kind where you can combine rosemary and olive oil, but you can also you mayonnaise to deep condition your hair. The site warns its readers to use "real" mayonnaise and not salad dressing, as this will only dry your hair. So no Mayo Magic then.

Because of the positive feedback, she then came up with 100 more other things you can make yourself.

Of that later list, I was curious about how to make mulled wine and margaritas, as well as how to make your own moleskine-like-notebook (3.5 x 5.5 x .5 in) using substance 20 bond paper -- the type you use in your copier and printer, and how to build your own pc. Attempt the last two things only if you're confident of your reflex skills.

I was reminded of when I was little and my mother was suddenly interested in making her own vinegar. So she took home loads of pineapple skin and packed the juice and pulp into huge glass jars which she stored in all the kitchen cupboards and even under the sink. Weeks and months later we had way too much vinegar than we could use, but I remember that they were tangy and tasted better than any vinegar we ever had.

And we're not even talking about her make your own pickled singkamas, sibuyas or peppers phase.

Saturday, August 18


I like caturdays

and then there's the caturday that never ends

This last one is from Ape Lad, who clai ms that his grandpa came out with the very first Laugh Out Cat cartoons, featuring Meowlin Kitteh.

If you throw $50 his way, he'll draw you a "critter, creature or varmint," of your choice and send you (or your friend) the original color artwork on a postcard sent (in an envelope).

*hint hint*

Thursday, August 16

More Thrilla in Cebu

Almost a month after their Thriller video captured the web by storm, the inmates in Cebu are said to be practicing their next dance routine, "Together in Electric Dreams," which will be unveiled in two weeks in YouTube.

It's going to be a big production: They hired a choreographer, and prison security director Byron F. Garcia says this new dance video will be his birhtday gift to the current governor of Cebu, Gwendolyn Garcia, who also happens to be his sister.

I was initially excited by the news, until I realized they're doing Phil Oakley, not Debbie Gibson. I'm seeing a pattern here: Garcia clearly likes his 80s music, but only those sung by guys. When will the Correctional women put out their video of "Electric Youth"?

Wednesday, August 15

That bag, c'est moi

Look what I found:

It's a Parcel tote bag, which I got with tags and all in the ukay store which sheltered me from the rain earlier tonight. Actually, that's not the exact bag I got. Mine is a deeper purple, with black straps and yellow vines and flowers, and the bottom is a sort of dark burnished gold. I trawled through the Loop website (Nice, but flash heavy) and couldn't find the exact same bag. But you can look here to see the ruching detail not quite obvious in the above photo. Alternative Outfitters, which calls the bag "vegan and cruelty-free," also has a detailed description:
A Parcel classic silhouette made of ultra chic satin nylon in supple iridescent shades has zippers every which way but loose and adorable unique Parcel printed straps. The ruched side detail on the exterior pocket brings to mind French knickers and memories of no knickers!!! Headphone grommets keep your iPod, Nano, MP3 headphones from getting tangled so you can listen to your tunes effortlessly.
Truth be told, I was there because all the other convenience stores couldn't give me change or the stuff I needed to really buy. But it's a blessing in the sky in disguise. It's a happy happy find for Php150. Of course, not necessarily healthy from a personal finance point of view. But I found lotsa bags in that second ukay store than the one I first went to, in which I previously found a Tintin tote. This isn't their lucky day I suppose.

Anyway, it was a fun find, and it's not everyday that I find a bag that's made (seemingly) just for me.

Wednesday, August 8

Going Green

Nick Kindelsperger and Blake Royer of The Paupered Chef in an article in The Washington Post point us to a very familiar scene:
Cooking for one can be a frustratingly wasteful adventure, as we've both figured out the hard way. Even settled down with respective girlfriends after cooking-solo singlehood, we still find ourselves with the problem of herbs. One moment we're tossing heaps of beautiful fresh basil on pasta, and the next the refrigerator drawer (that alleged "crisper") has a large bag of unappetizing blackened slosh, which goes into the trash. Not only is it wasteful, but restocking the fridge every time a recipe calls for a teaspoon of parsley is expensive.
Rebecca Blood points us to several solutions. There's the bouquet method, where you plunk the bunch of basil in a glass with water, in room temperature and away from direct sunlight. The stems will later grow roots, and will probably last from a few days to weeks, given the proper conditions.

Another technique is what Mental Masala calls pseudo-hydroponics
which involves your basil, a glass or vase, and a plastic bag with holes in it:
When you bring your basil home, trim the stems with a clipper, remove the rubber band or twist tie, and place the bunch in a glass or vase. Add a few inches of water to cover the base of the stems. Then take a plastic bag and cut a few holes in it (the fresh shiitake mushrooms I buy come in a bag with holes pre-made, so I often re-use them for this purpose). Place a plastic bag over the basil leaves and place the assembly in a well-lit location, but out of the direct sunlight. Check the water level daily and add more as needed. If all goes well roots will start sprouting from the basil.
Here's a photo of how it looks like:

Now all I need is a really healthy bunch of basil. I think I've been watching way too much of Jamie At Home.