Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The day before Christmas


Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!!! 

I've decided to stick around at home today and tomorrow.  It's just so crowded in stores during Christmas time and I like to avoid the traffic.  xP

I think it's okay to have a simple Christmas.  Today, I vacuumed my room and dusted out my bedsheets.  Doesn't it sound great to sleep in a dust free environment on Christmas eve? lol

At least someone seems happy about it... x3

During holidays or any day where a special dinner is in order, in our family, each of us contributes by cooking or buying at least one dish.  Mom made turkey and chicken.

(✪㉨✪)

 ヾ(*д*)ノ゛


GIVE ME MEEEEAT~!!!!

I made "Vermont Curry."

 "with a touch of apple and honey" 

 It was good but I didn't taste any apple or honey.  Guess you could say it had a hint of sweetness..

I bought Melona bars too.  These things are expensive! 5 dollars for a box of 6!
image

Almost forgot, my bro bought a spinach pizza.  It had an interesting taste; a combination of spinach puffs and pizza.


Tonight, I'll probably snuggle with Scruffy and watch some Christmas television.  image

Merry Christmas guys and happy holidays! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Idiot driver making right turn...



Today while I was on my way home from driving my sister to work, I came across one of the most stupid drivers I've ever encountered.  I've been lucky not to run into many crazy drivers in my lifetime but then again, I don't drive much to begin with.

Back to my story, I was on a one lane road, passing a lake with some neighborhoods to my right.  About 5 cars away, I see a large, vehicle... sorry, can't say what kind of car it was but it looked similar in size to a GMC.

So that car looks as if it's waiting to make a right turn into my lane.  I'm driving at about 45mph and that car is slowly inching its way out.  I think that like most cars, it's going to wait until I pass because obviously I have the right of way and I'm clearly in sight.

Right as I'm about to pass that car, maybe 6 feet between me and them, they start to make their turn!  They do this as if I'm not even there.  I'm going too fast to stop, and my mind is in overdrive.  I know that I can't stop, so my best bet is to swerve to the left.

I barely miss hitting them.  Adrenaline is coursing through my veins by now and I'm in fast-n-furious mode.

Looking back in my rear view mirror, I can see that car has stopped mid road with a car waiting behind them.  I find it amusing that they were so shocked.  I mean, they should be.  Their idiocy almost cost them a bad accident.  The hit would have definitely caused them more damage than me as their driver's side was located on the point of impact.

This situation made me feel somewhat triumphant in a way because hopefully, this whole incident could have shaken some sense into this careless person.

I've run into stupid drivers before, and every time, I would be the one having to slam on my breaks or yield to them as they got away with their stupidity, time and time again.

Well finally, for once, I had the upper hand. 

- They would have gotten hurt from this possible accident much more than me.

- They were the one making the wrong move so they can't hold anything against me.

- They had to stop to make way for ME.


And I could see that they were shocked.  Perhaps, shocked at their own great mistake.  They could have gotten severely injured simply because they couldn't take the time to look to their left.

I really hope that this experience has opened their eyes and will make them think before making decisions on the road.  Especially when turning right.

She's eating again! ^^

I've been very happy for these past few days and am so thankful because my dog is finally eating again!  I felt like I had a large weight lifted from me because she's finally starting to recover.  It's one of the worst feelings to see a dog refusing to eat for so long.

Recently we've been feeding her this low fat dog food the vet prescribed us.  She's okay with it but I can tell she really wants the food we used to give her (a mixture of homemade chicken and rice w/veggies).  I'm also glad to see that she's finally starting to drink water on her own.  No more giving her water through a syringe.

She's starting to walk again which is great because she wasn't moving around much for a good 4 days.  On the 5th day, she started accepting food and sitting up.  We were all so relieved.

The weather has let up after a long cold front and my dog is enjoying the warm sunshine.  Dog's always enjoy the simple things in life. ^^

Anyway, thank you so much for listening to my worries if you've been reading.  Lady is doing much better now and I'm feeling so thankful.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sick dog...

Hello again.  These past few weeks, the weather has been relentlessly cold and along with the bad weather came bad news for my dog.


She got sick this past Friday, throwing up throughout the morning and not eating.  We took her to the vet and got the news about her pancreatitis.  They also mentioned issues about her heart murmur and possible kidney issues but she's old, 14-years-old to be exact, and that kind of news doesn't shock me...  I just felt bad for her because the vet told us that pancreatitis can be very painful for a dog.  Anyway, she got prescribed pain, nausea, and antibiotic medications and we took her home.  They told us the only thing we could do was to make sure she didn't eat anything for 48 hours and after that, see if her symptoms improve.

It's been about 4 days and we've been giving her water through a syringe because she eventually refused most of the water we offered her.  She hasn't eaten at all since her diagnosis.  It's so strange not seeing her eat because she's usually so crazy over food.

I've been reading up on pancreatitis and most of the forums say that it really just takes supportive care and eventually, the pancreas should settle down.  The thing that worries me is her loss of appetite.  Luckily, I found a site that talks about what to do with an anorexic (without appetite) dog.  I know it's not a cure or anything but it gives me some hope.  I really don't want to watch my dog waste away to skin and bones if I can help it.

That said, I'm not sure how often I'll be writing on my blog for the time being.  My mind is so occupied with my dog that it's hard for me to think of much else, even Christmas.

Anyway, you all have a wonderful Christmas and I'll be doing my best supporting my dog.  :)

Happy Holidays!

TV Series: Once Upon a Time


'Once' weaves reality with fantasy in a surprisingly effective way.  This show is clever in creating anticipation through the possibility of introducing new fairy tale characters with each new episode.

The protagonist is un-traditionally, not a teenager.  I had expected someone younger with the fairy tale theme tending to use younger actors for the protagonists in media.  Well, 30 is the new 20, right?  The story starts with Emma Swan (played by Jennifer Morrison) alone on her birthday and she just turned 28.  She's conned by her biological son to visit the elusive town of Storybrooke, located in a distant corner of Maine.  The inhabitants of this town are are under a powerful curse by the Evil Queen and cannot leave or else, "bad things happen."

Despite Emma's persistent furrow in her brow, I'm very charmed by all the actors in the show, including her.  I especially like the character Rumpelstiltskin.  He has a great back story and I'm glad the writers gave him a "more-than-meets-the-eye"kind of appeal.

Robert Carlyle does an excellent job with his part as Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold.  He creates an interesting sociopath of a character.  Although initially appearing creepy and hostile, this version of Rumpelstiltskin is hiding something deep down so we can't label him as simply, evil.

The same can be said of the Evil Queen/Regina played magnificentally by Lana Parrilla.

This woman is great at making herself appear sweet and genuine but then turn around and immediately change her demeanor to a grade-A cold hearted b*tch!

It's amusing to watch her and I'm amazed at how she toys with my emotions.  She can really make me hate her in one moment but in another, make me feel sympathy.  That's a talented actress for you.

And she plays the part of the possessive adoptive mother so well!  She's in a consistent cat-fight with Emma over Henry (pictured right) throughout the show because he's Emma's biological son and Regina's adopted son.  Speaking of Henry, he sure is annoying in the first few episodes.  Not intolerable, but annoying.  So annoying, that there were moments where I wanted to punch him.

So far, he's been okay.  They've toned down the whole, 'overly-enthusiastic-that-it's-cringe-worthy-kid' act about halfway through the first season.  At least now I have some sympathy for the kid.  That reminds me, I wonder why the writers never elaborate on why Henry is so against Regina, a.k.a. the Evil Queen.  I mean, okay, she's the Evil Queen but she's playing this persona of his adoptive mother and the show has never shown her doing anything to earn his hatred of her...  That makes the first 3-5 episodes all the more frustrating with the confusion over his defiance towards his adoptive mother.

As a final thought, if you think this show promises happy Ella-Enchanted fairy tale land, you'll probably want to find another TV show.  After watching through season one, I can say that 'Once' is quite dark.  Creepy even.  Sure, there are light moments, but of course, towards the end of the season, it gets darker and darker.  It's not unlike a horror movie where you don't want to continue watching it at night but you can't stop because the suspense is killing you.  The story is great.  That, on top of the possibility of a new beloved fairy tale character being introduced will keep you watching.  There's a fair share of blood and gore and towards the end season one and some disturbing crime elements that somewhat creeped me out during the night.

I highly recommend this series to the fairy tale enthusiast and anyone who wants a show that brings an interesting, and darker twist to fairy tales.

Images from: http://screencapped.net/tv/onceuponatime/

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Workplace ethic: complainers are endearing?

This is something I've observed over the years of working at a variety of jobs.  There are two people involved in this situation: The enabler and the complainer.

The conversation is usually small talk with the complainer well, complaining in a whiny kind of way, and the enabler smiling, laughing, agreeing, and making it seem like the complainer is the most endearing and interesting person in the world.  I really don't get why this is.  I mean, I don't like listening to others complain all day..  Not in a whiny manner that is.  Maybe it's because I have a more proactive approach to my problems.

I personally don't like this behavior because it reinforces bad work ethic in the workplace and it lowers morale.  This is the evolved complaining culture of America where complaining is a conversational topic anywhere and anytime in a work setting with little to no consequence.  It's non-productive and sadly, contagious. 

It also baffles me why some people actually like these complainers!  They treat them like they're a cute little kid whining about why they don't like something except for the fact that they're a grown adult that honestly, looks ridiculous.  It's really annoying and in a way, frustrating.  It's sort of like being in high school and seeing the stereotypical 'popular kid' win over everyone even though you can see they've got a bad personality.

Does anyone else notice this behavior in their workplace? 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Hello! :D

Hello again!  How was everyone's Thanksgiving?  With my family being so un-traditional, we had a nice quiet dinner eating Korean bulgogi and kimchi.  No turkey had to die for us this year.  XD

It was nice not having the stress of baking a turkey.  I recall doing that one year and it took so much work... and our family doesn't even care for turkey!

We've decided that this Christmas, we'll be un-traditional again and have a 'Japanese style' Christmas.  What is that you ask?  To those who don't know, Christmas is popularly known as a couple's holiday in Japan.  That means it's a big deal for people to hook up and have some gf/bf to spend Christmas with.  Now, for all the sexy singles it's a nice time to spend a peaceful night with the family with some good ol' Christmas cake and KFC.  Yes, KFC.  They've earned quite a name for themselves in Japan and make big $$$ selling fried Chicken on Christmas.  Our family won't necessarily buy from KFC but we were thinking of something along the lines of fried chicken where we won't have to cook much.

This whole situation just works for our family since most of our extended family resides in Hawaii, thousands of miles away and we're just not obligated like before.  Basically, we can do whatever the hell we want with no strings attached.  So un-traditional holiday it is!

Recently I've finally nabbed a new job~!  *Does a happy dance*  It's temporary but I really don't care because at least I won't have to work in retail as much.   It's at an exhibit with insects and sea creatures and it's just a great, positive environment to be in.  I still have my other job, but I can work there less because I have hours elsewhere.  They also pay more, albeit just a little bit.  But hey, it can make a big difference if the dollar amount changes.  XD 

There is also a new Korean market that opened fairly close by (note: I don't have to drive 45 min - an hour to get there).  The one we used to go to was all the way in downtown and we didn't like going there much because of the drive.  Now that we finally have one that's 20 minutes away, it's total bliss.  I can finally get melona bars!  Has anyone else tried these?  They're so yummy! :9

The Korean market has a lot of other cool stuff like kimchi, banchan (side dishes), housewares, thinly sliced korean meat, and soon, they'll even have a food court!  There's tons of Korean goodies in that store that we just can't get at a Vietnamese/Chinese market.  It's great to have more variety. ^^

 A pretty seat cushion I found...  ”^W^”

What else....  I've started using this social site where people from around the world can talk about their interest in Japan.  People from Japan can use the site to talk to other's around the world.  In my experience of using it, it's a neat way to give and take.  For example, I help people in Japan learn English while they teach me some Japanese.  It's all through writing but it's helped me learn a lot about sentence structure and I feel like I understand a lot more than I used to.  It's also cool because we can ask each other questions about the other's culture.

A recent example is a Japanese friend asking me about the 'American Christmas'.  I write back to her in English but I also translate to Japanese so she can point out my errors and give me tips on what a more common phrase would be (she's much better at using English than I am at using Japanese).  I tend to have to rely on Google Translate but still, I've learned how to phrase things so that they translate more smoothly.   There's also the fact that there are many things with no direct translation.

I've had to explain to another Japanese friend I correspond with, the use of 'in' and 'at'.  I've found that the Japanese language doesn't distinguish between those two words the same as it does in English.  People will find interesting facts like that while talking with people from Japan.

I highly recommend people to try social sites with Japanese - English speakers.  It's a great way to learn Japanese reading/writing and some basic conversational Japanese.

日本語は学ぶことは本当に楽しいです!^^

XOXO Gossip Girl: America's take on the many Asian dramas about elite society?


I know... this show is old news.  6-years-old to be exact.  But on Netflix, there is one nice thing about old TV shows and that is the older they are, the more seasons are listed.  As of now, the entire series is up for the taking.  That totals to a daunting 121 episodes that are roughly 42 min each.  This is gonna take a while but I'm up for the ride.

What I first found fascinating about this show was the small, yet significant similarity to Boys Over Flowers.  Or perhaps it's closer to Heirs..  Regardless, both have rich and elite teens plotting against one another in high class society.  I was very curious to see America's take on this material.

I find it fascinating to see the cultural differences between the two shows.  One can learn plenty about culture through media.

Some major differences between Asian and American television is the sexuality.  At least, in the comparison of Korea vs. America, the sexuality is far more intense in American television.  Sex appears to be a light topic among teens in America where simply kissing is a big deal in Korea.  And not french kissing.  No, no, that appears to be forbidden territory with the high school teens of Korea.  It takes forever to build up to that light kiss on the lips and by the time that happens, the American teens are already taking it to the bedroom.

I also noticed that I have never seen any of the Gossip Girl characters actually in the classroom.  And I'm already into season 2...  Most of Gossip Girl takes place in the homes of characters or at parties/events.  If they're in school, they're making out in the courtyard.  In the Korean dramas, at least 50% of the show takes place on campus.  Hmm... that says a lot about Asia vs. America's emphasis on school, lol.

Another major difference is the bullying.  Boys Over Flowers is full of mean to sadistic bullying schemes and makes Gossip Girl bullying look like child's play.  Actually, in Gossip Girl, most of the misdeeds are fairly straightforward with most people being quite confrontational about it.  This is an interesting topic because it says a great deal about Americans and Asians.  It's sort of like how Japanese people tend to be non-confrontational compared to Americans in general being confrontational.  

So far, I'm having a great time watching the show.  It's extremely entertaining and I love the differences between all the characters.  I especially enjoy watching Chuck Bass...


What can I say?  I have a thing for the bad boys; they've always got the best character development. ;)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Should I or shouldn't I?

I'm at a sort of crossroad right now.  Recently, I've 'temporarily' landed a new job.  It pays better, I won't have to deal with clothes, and I have a set schedule.  But it's temporary.. D:

The reason I'm starting to think about the big 'Q' word is also because there's upcoming schedule conflicts and I'm starting to feel the effects of the "downer culture" in the workplace.  What is "downer culture?"  I'll give an example.

I walk into the break room for my 30 minute lunch.  I open the door and there's a bunch of my coworkers chatting.  Great.  Walking over, I grab a seat and sit nearby.  Now one would hope that coworkers could have a nice chat about some mindless cr*p about the weather or even a TV show they watched recently.  I wouldn't even mind if they were talking politics.  But no, 90% of the time, they're b*tching about work and repeating sh*t that everyone already knows about.  They're not thinking of solutions.  They're complaining.  Which is totally understandable in a stressful job but seriously, we're all on break.  Could we leave out work related stuff for at least this sacred amount of time we have to be away from it all?  I notice there's a newbie nearby and I FEEL for her.  I mean, she's just started this job and I can only imagine what she must be thinking being in this room of disgruntled associates complaining about the job she just got hired for.  Trust me, I've been in her shoes and that doesn't help with new hires.  It's like tying an anchor to the fresh morale of the workplace and letting it sink into the farthest depths of the abyss.

That is "downer culture."  It's when the majority of the workplace has a dark, grim, and sad outlook of their job.  When coworkers talk with each other, a lot of it is complaining about their job without including proactive measures to fix their problems.  It's complaining without solution.  And it can potentially reduce the enthusiasm and optimism of the workplace, much like a cold wind blowing out a small candle. 

A person may not notice it right away, but it's there, varying from minimal to larger levels and beyond.

Now back to the main question.  Should I quit?  I really want to.  I have a new job, there's some schedule conflicts coming up, and I don't want to deal with them.  And I hardly ever work at that job anymore. 

This spring, I'll be taking a CNA course to get certified and I know there will be many schedule conflicts...  The thing is, this job I want to quit has these certain, 'special' work days where we can't deal with them until a few days before.  It's pretty lame and for a job that has so much flexibility, this is a glaring flaw in the system.

Well, I'll keep thinking about it.  I've gotta sort out my pros and cons. ;)

Monday, November 11, 2013

ANIME: Brief Opinions and Reviews 03

WataMote - Watashi ga Motenai no wa dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!













English title: No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular!
Release date: July, 2013
Creator: Tanigawa, Nico (Manga, 2011)
Genre: Slice-of-life, Comedy, Tragedy

Story: Otome game obsessed Kuroki Tomoko has extensive experience in relationships and dated hundreds of boys... in otome games.  In reality, Tomoko has never dated a guy and has lost contact with many of her friends from middle school.  Now she's starting her first year of high school.  What will become of (extremely) socially awkward Tomoko?

Review: This is the first time I've ever watched a tragic comedy genre anime.  Combining the two themes creates an entirely new flavor which is something along the lines of bittersweet and sarcastic.

Tomoko is a character that touches the lonely soul in all of us.  I can only cheer her on as she stumbles through the social obstacles of life.  The way that she overly fantasizes and mentally spites those around her who seem happy gives her character a certain realism that isn't often seen.  Sort of like what a person could be thinking deep down but never actually shows it on the outside.

Despite Tomoko's many tragic failures at trying to fit in and make friends (and the depressing mood that comes along with it), there are some instances where she does succeed in her own way; there's also many hilarious moments created in her attempts to socialize.  One of my most favorite parts of the series is how Tomoko childishly torments her younger, more mature brother.  She basically forces him to interact with her every so often or else she gets super dramatic and threatens to kill herself, lol.  


Mirai Nikki












Release date: October, 2011
Creator: Esuno, Sakae (Manga, 2006)
Genre: Supernatural, Horror, Action, Romance, Psychological

Story: Amano Yukiteru AKA, "Yuki," is a loner who spends most of his time blogging on his cell.  He doesn't have any friends so he makes up two imaginary friends by the names of Deux Ex Machina, the God of time and space, and the servant Murmur.  One day, Yuki's phone starts to post blogs before he can write them, clearly detailing events before they actually happen.  At first Yuki is elated to find he has the power to tell the future with his new 'Mirai Nikki' or "Future Diary."  This feeling soon ends when he discovers he's been put into a battle royale game with 11 other players by Deux who's not so imaginary after all.  The last player living will be pronounced the new 'God' of time and space.

Review: I was looking for another 'survival game' kind of anime and eventually stumbled across "Mirai Nikki."  What hooked me at first was the main character being a socially awkward boy who spends most of his time on his cellphone, blogging about his life.  I guess I'll always love the socially awkward ones.  The idea of mixing a supernatural power with modern technology such as a cellphone was really cool and I love the strategies they came up with.  Personally, I had to pay really close attention to what was happening so I could understand explanations that came later.

The element of horror presents itself early in the series with the mystery behind the girl Yuno who's crazy obsessed over Yuki to the point of stalking him and doesn't bat an eye when it comes to killing.  I really like the Yuki/Yuno story because she's so crazy yet he has to trust her as she's the one protecting him. 

The stylized animation and facial expressions are very well done  It's impressive what the animators did because of what little they had to work with; the manga doesn't have nearly as much expression in characters' faces compared to the anime.

I highly recommend people to watch "Mirai Nikki."  It's a great survival game anime that has a nice blend of tactics and psychological horror. 


 Psycho - Pass 













Release date: October, 2012
Creator: Shiotani, Naoyoshi; Urobuchi, Gen; Production I.G. (Anime, 2012)
Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopia, Cyberpunk, Psychological, Drama, Action, Crime

Story: What if an individuals' criminal potential could be measured?  Psycho Pass takes place in the future where a person's 'crime coefficient' can be measured through a cymatic brain scan.  Tsunemori Akane starts her first day of work as an inspector for the Public Safety Bureau's Criminal Investigation Division, Unit 1.  She learns that she'll be working with people known as 'latent criminals' who have had their crime coefficients deemed too high with no chance of recovery.  They use a weapon called "The Dominator" which can only fire at criminals with a high enough crime coefficient.  Violent and disturbing crimes are being committed within the city and they suspect there is a mastermind pulling the strings.

Review: I got seriously mind-raped by this anime.  I guess it's because I haven't watched a good psychological genre in a while.  I love the high-tech environment and how society was under oppression by a higher intelligence.  It's quite familiar, being a theme I see a lot in sci-fi.

The idea of people getting measured for their crime potentials or how dangerous they are is an intriguing proposal for 'the better of society' and I like that this anime explored what would happen if this system were to exist.  All the characters were interesting and the antagonist was well fleshed out and had some understandable motives, despite how twisted he was.

There were some truly freaky episodes in this anime and it's scary because there's a high possibility that the messed up, psychotic people just like the ones in this show, exist in reality.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Anime Food!: Brock's Cream Stew


Hello again!  My apologies for taking so long to make another 'Anime Food' post.  Enjoy!

During my childhood days of watching Pokemon, I would often see Brock cooking this white stew thing.  It would look so yummy but I had no idea what it was..  And even though my entire family and extended family was Japanese, none of them ever made something like this.  (T__T)  The closest thing I got was corn chowder.

Only recently did I discover that it's called cream stew and luckily, it's quite the easy recipe. ^^

I remember the very first time I made this.  I used a cream stew mix pack from the store (the one that has the blocks that you melt in the pot).  That turned out pretty bad so I highly recommend people make this one from scratch.  It's really does taste so much better this way. 

I'm lazy so instead of having the pretty diced pieces of carrot, I threw in some baby carrots.  XD

Close up ;3

I found this recipe on Little Japan Mama's recipe blog.  I tried her recipe first but after finding I didn't prefer the outcome of the stew's consistency, I modified the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

Cream Roux
- 3 cups milk (add more if you want a more liquid consistency)
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/3 cup flour (add more if you want a thicker consistency)

- carrots (1/2 bag of baby carrots or 2 large carrots)
- 1 potato
- 1 bunch of broccoli (crown part)
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 1 small tray of chicken 
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- salt/pepper for taste

In my opinion, the best way to start this recipe is by prepping the vegetables and chicken.  First I slice and dice the carrots and potato.  I put those in a covered pyrex bowl and microwave them for around 2 minutes each, take them out and poke them with a toothpick to check, and then zap them again in the microwave for another 1-2 minutes.

Meanwhile, I blanch the broccoli in boiling water, 2 minutes on one side and 2 minutes on the other side.  If you have a large pot that submerges the entire bunch of broccoli, just 2 minutes should be enough.  Once it's blanched, chop off the top part of the broccoli (the crown) and rip it into bite size pieces.

After finishing all that, I dice up the chicken and onion and fry those until they're cooked.  

Now it's time to work on that cream roux.  Pour the milk into a (large) pot and add the flour and butter.  Stir all of that on low heat, slowly turning up the heat until the mixture thickens.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Feel free to add other seasonings as well such as parsley. 
*If you want a thicker mixture, add more flour. 
*If you want a more liquidy mixture, add more milk.

Once the cream roux is at the consistency and taste you prefer, dump all other ingredients (except potatoes) into that pot.
*Tip: Add the potatoes at the very end because if the mixture is too hot, it melts the potatoes and leaves a weird, starchy consistency to your cream stew.
*Note that the vegetables and chicken will have their own water content so if the cream roux is consistency is too thick for your liking, keep in mind that adding all other ingredients may water it down.  So you may not have to add more milk.

And you're done!  Great job!  Enjoy your cream stew over some hot rice.  ^^

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Heirs: I finally get to see Lee Min Ho in a 'rich-boy poor-girl' drama AGAIN! xD


Release date: October, 2013
Director: Kang Shin Hyo
Writer: Kim Eun Sook
Actors: Lee Min Ho, Park Shin Hye, Yoon Jin Seo
Episodes: 20
Genre: Romance, Chaebol

The excitement of the great Lee Min Ho starring in a chaebol drama reached my ears soon after it was released.

This drama gets off to a good start.  Fated soul mates meet in the foreign and exotic land of Orange County and go through various escapades together and eventually fall in love.  Only later do they meet up again in Korea and realize their vast social class differences.. Yet fate has it that they're living under the same roof!  Cohabitation drama it is! 


I'm not a big fan of the first few episodes taking place in Cali (as novel as it may seem) with all the stereotypical 'white people' of America but what can you do...  Koreans going to school in America has been a long-standing, strange rite of passage that's slightly difficult for me to understand.

At least the American setting serves as good humor.  It's funny to see the Korean's view of a stereotypical Californian American.  Apparently in their eyes, most white people are blonde and blue-eyed, beach girls have perfectly toned bodies, and the surfer dudes are unintelligent potheads.  Well, at least they got one part right with the two obese Americans huffing and puffing while chasing the couple down the street.  They hit that nail on the head.  lol

 "I'm a sad, handsome, rich boy....  Feel my emo..."

Lee Min Ho appears as another troubled rich guy.  W-wait!  No, not the Goo Jun Pyo kind of rich guy but a NEW and improved rich guy, with more poise and a better hairstyle!


 Now this guy, he's the more 'Goo Jun Pyo' kind of character, albeit a bit meaner.  Is that even possible?

I'm quite interested in this new mean rich boy, Choi Young Do, played by Kim Woo Bin.  There always has to be at least one of these archetypes in chaebol dramas.  XD  But I don't blame them.  The 'bad boys' always add that necessary spice to dramas.

Despite all the stereotypical characters in this chaebol drama, I'm still excited to see how they all play out.  The characters still seem somewhat unique to me, even though it's an age-old formula.  This drama has a slightly more mature feel compared to Boys Over Flowers.

 "Love me..."

Prepare yourself for watching many of Lee Min Ho's brooding scenes like the one above for the first few...... errr..  many episodes to come. ;D

Regardless of how my tone sounds, I'm really enjoying this drama, especially now that I've caught up to the part where there all safely back in Korea.  ^^  I'm so glad I'm past the 'Cali adventure'.  In all honesty, all the acting that was done in English was waaay too forced and overplayed.  My eyes and ears were burning from the terrible acting.  I wonder if native Koreans were aware of the cheesy scenes in English...

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pokemon-Y: O-Powers and Earning Lots of Poke $$$

In my opinion, O-Powers are VERY poorly explained in the game.  I hope this clears up a few things about O-Powers. ^^

O-Powers
Can I say screw Mr. Bonding and his terrible explaining skills?  I did not understand O-Powers at all for almost my entire time of gameplay.  I always thought he was just this weird guy you would find in a hotel room and he would *ahem*, "bond" with you when the screen turned black.  I'd be left wondering what inappropriate things he was doing to me in the dark...  After bonding time, he would give me some kind of bonding power that I didn't know how to use.

Back to the topic, O-Powers are found on the PSS (Player Search System) screen that's located on the bottom screen of the 3DS.  Simply toggle with the R or L buttons to get there.

PSS screen

Once there, click on the icon circled in red.


This screen should pop up.  If not, click the arrow to the right to get to it.  Click the 'O-Power' icon.


This screen should show up presenting you with all the O-Powers you've collected from Mr. Bonding.  The bottom part of the screen shows a sort of battery kind of feature with several circles that are highlighted green.  This is like a gauge.  When you use O-Powers, it takes a toll of around 2-5 or more 'green circles' when you use O-Powers on yourself.  The toll is less when you're generous and use it on other players/friends. 

The effects of these O-Powers last 3 minutes each.

There's also a timer clock on the far right of this bar and as the seconds go by, the 'O-Power Battery' slowly recharges.  It actually refills quickly.

One of my personal favorite O-Powers is the "Prize Money Power."  I'll tell you why in a bit...

I only recently got Prize Money Power Lv.2.  I didn't know it existed until now...

 
 You can see here it states the toll for using it on yourself and for others.  It's 5 circles for yourself and 3 circles for others.

Here I clicked on Prize Money Power Lv.2.  My 'Prize Money Power' leveled up after using it several times.

So here's the deal.  Most people who've played Pokemon already know about the 'Amulet Coin' and how if there's a pokemon in your party that's holding it AND participates in the battle, the prize money will double.  Well what if you could add even more money to that?

I've been using my Prize Money Power while battling the Elite-4 and it's significantly raised my Poke-cash winnings.  Here's the layout of how much I earned in different scenarios with the amulet coin attached:

- Without Prize Money Power: Around 15000 for each of the Elite-4 members and around 20000 from Champion Diantha

Prize Money Power Lv.1: Around 26000 from each of the Elite-4 and around 30000 from Champion Diantha (sorry, don't remember...)

- Prize Money Power Lv.2: 52000 from each of the Elite-4 and 65280 from Champion Diantha

As you can see, by using O-Powers the amount of money increases significantly.  So please, use your O-Powers while playing throughout the game and increase your earnings.  Another way to earn extra money is by going to the Battle Chateau and issuing a Writ so more NPC's are available in it.  The Writ expires at midnight so if you want to make the most of it (it costs 50000), issue the Writ as early as you can. 

What's so great about extra money you ask?  Well, I guess it depends on the player.  Personally, I enjoy buying clothes from boutiques in the game and dressing up my character.  There's also the 'star' restaurants in Lumiose City that require you to pay a fee to get into the 'nicer' areas of the restaurant to possibly battle more NPC's.  Although the Pokemon League is my personal favorite way to level up pokemon.  

And O-Powers are not only good for earning extra Poke-cash, but it's also good for hatching eggs faster, increasing exp points, raising attack stats for battles, and much more.

I hope that this explanation was helpful to you.  

Here's a few more tips I'd like to share:

1.) The soothe bell isn't necessary for evolving Eevee into an Espeon or Umbreon.  So if you somehow lose it through trading (as I did), don't panic!  Pokemon amie works just fine for getting an Eevee to evolve.  A good way is to breed an Eevee at the Pokemon Daycare and with the newly hatched Lv.1 Eevee, play with it in Pokemon amie until it has at least 1 heart level.  My Eevee evolved into an Espeon during the day when I did this and I only had to level it up to Lv.10.

2.) Pay close attention to Pokemon 'natures', especially if you're going to get a special Pokemon like a legendary or an exclusive like Charmander, Squirtle, etc.  Make sure it's a desirable nature before you take the pokemon.  NOTE: You can always save before the scene where you get the pokemon so you can turn off your 3DS and start over if the nature of the pokemon is undesirable.

3.) IMPORTANT!: Try to refrain from saving in Lumiose City, especially outside.  I heard that there's a game glitch that can ruin your save file if you save outside while in Lumiose City.  I personally stay away from saving in that city at all.

4.) If you want to fill up your pokedex early, an easy way to do it is to go on Wonder Trade which is one of the icons besides O-Powers.  You can offer up any pokemon you want to Wonder Trade and you'll get random pokemon back.  Beware though, you don't know what you'll get in return (meaning it's not exactly a fair trade) so don't go sending off your rares and legendaries on Wonder Trade.  Some people are nice and give decent offers but there's always the chance of getting that lame Bidoof-us.  lol

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Back to work...

Yeesh, after almost a month away from work, it's so weird going back!  After staying in another country, (especially a foreign one), their ways sort of rubbed off on me so it's strange to be back in my own.  (>__>)

In Japan, everyone is so polite and nice, it's a slight slap in the face coming back to America where the politeness can vary quite a bit.  xP  Gotta put my 'tough coat' back on.

Yesterday was my first day back at work in a long time and I hate to say it but even after being gone for a while, it's strange how quickly I could re-learn everything and pick up where I left off.  The average person would be thrilled about it but not me.  I felt... jaded?  Like I've learned everything I could there and with no room for improvement, I can't grow in that job anymore...  It's a little depressing.  I'm really happy that I recently got another job opportunity as a receptionist for an exhibit so I hope that the administrator replies to me soon.  x)  I'm still looking for other job opportunities where I won't be so bored.

That day I was kind of tired and out of it (pulled an all-nighter because of the jetlag).  Most negative things weren't bothering me but this one lady managed to get on my bad side.  I mentioned something to her (it was mostly mindless small talk we're encouraged to make) and she replied with, "oh sorry, I wasn't listening.  I was on my phone.." and repeated that same phrase in different ways also adding in "stupid phone..." More like stupid woman.  I honestly would have been happier if she just ignored me and went on her merry way.  She could even have pretended to listen and I wouldn't care.  My intuition was telling me she she was being condescending. :/  

Screw that condescending b*tch and her sh*tty listening skills.  I'm gonna play Pokemon Y!  That game is so fun!  My brother got it as a birthday present for me and I didn't think Pokemon could make their games any better after playing Pokemon Black.  I guess I was wrong.  The graphics are amazing and I love the new 3D battles they made.  The new pokemon designs look sleek and I like how they're using the classic pokemon again instead of making half-hearted designs for new pokemon.

I really want to make a Halloween candy house.  I'll probably go shopping for the candy soon.  If I end up making it, I'll post some pictures.  :D

Friday, October 25, 2013

Phone blog of Japan trip

While in Japan, I was regularly updating my phone blog so it's pretty accurate in the times we did everything.  I only noticed about a day into the trip that the time on my phone wasn't showing Japan time so I had to manually type it in.

Anyway, this is just something I thought would be cool to post.  It shows all the events that happened on the trip in brief detail.  I still plan to write more in depth about the trip though!  This is just a brief and accurate overview of what we did. ;)

The newest posts are at the top and the oldest are at the bottom.  To get to the start of our journey, simply read from the bottom.  Sorry for the inconvenience! ( > __ < ) 

 
 - 2013/10/17
At home in bed.  Had to sweep my room and put all the stuff we brought back away.

- 2013/10/17
Got on the plane and went back in time to the US.  I'm pretty tired and want to take a shower....

- 2013/10/17
15:43
Made it to our departure gate.

- 2013/10/17
14:00
On Narita Express going to the airport. 

- 2013/10/17
12:51
On our way to Shinagawa Station(品川駅) from Shizuoka(静岡).

- 2013/10/17
12:50















Passing by Fujisan(富士山).  The top is shrouded by clouds.

- 2013/10/17
12:25















Matcha Float(抹茶フロウト)

- 2013/10/17
10:07



















Nice place for brekkies.  Relaxing and casual.

- 2013/10/17
9:44















Asagohan in Shizuoka. おいしい!!! ("^o^")

- 2013/10/17
9:00















Going back home today...  Almost finished packing.

- 2013/10/16
22:04















Watching some television.

- 2013/10/16
21:57



















Walking around Shizuoka's nightlife near the main station earlier.  Before this I didn't know there was another 109 building besides Shibuya..

- 2013/10/16
21:30















Ebi-mayo roll

- 2013/10/16
21:28















Dindin time! ^^

- 2013/10/16
18:30















Time for dessert!

- 2013/10/16
18:20















Going to try go hyaku en(五百円) grapes...

- 2013/10/16
18:15















Found Ni hyaku en(二百円) on the ground!

- 2013/10/16
15:47
I believe we can see Fuji-san(富士山) from the station!

- 2013/10/16
15:46















Made it to Shizuoka Hotel Associa!!!  I want to find a sento...

- 2013/10/16
14:22
Getting closer to Shizuoka(静岡)!

- 2013/10/16
12:20
Just transferred to the Kodama Shinkansen, bound for Shizuoka.

- 2013/10/16
11:22















Ekiben for brunch.

- 2013/10/16
11:19
On Shinkansen Sakura headed for Shin-Osaka(新大阪駅).  This morning we went to the Hiroshima Peace Museum.  It was a very emotional experience. 

- 2013/10/15
18:52















Kitsune Udon(狐うどん) at Hanamaru(花丸), Hiroshima.  Taste was good although I should have got the small. 

- 2013/10/15
15:49
Almost back at Hiroshima.  It was a nice trip down south even though we only had a few hours.

- 2013/10/15
14:54















Plenty of farmland in southern Kyushu.

- 2013/10/15
14:38















Lots of mountainous valleys on the train ride back.

- 2013/10/15
13:49















Kagoshima mascot?

- 2013/10/15
13:44















Tsubu Ichigo Jammu Pan: Ok taste but nothing special.  A bit too sweet for my taste.

- 2013/10/15
13:41















Tsubu Tsubu Ichigo Miruku.  It doesn't taste like milk...

- 2013/10/15
13:34
On the Shinkansen Sakura heading back to Hiroshima Station(広島駅).

- 2013/10/15
12:30















Lots of volcanic ash on the ground (guessing that's what it is)...

- 2013/10/15
12:00















At the farthest south I've ever been in Japan.  Looking out at the smoking Mt Sakurajima in the city of Kagoshima(鹿児島).

- 2013/10/15
8:05



















Eating candy from a nice obasan.

- 2013/10/15
7:35














- 2013/10/15
7:34















Hiroshima ekiben for brekkies!

- 2013/10/15
7:28
On Shinkansen bound for Kagoshima-Chuou Station(鹿児島中央駅).

- 2013/10/14
21:42















Purin time! :3

- 2013/10/14
21:38
Watching Japanese television.  Walked through a few streets near Hiroshima Station(広島駅) earlier but the nightlife is pretty dead in this area.

- 2013/10/14















いただきまあああああす!!!!

- 2013/10/14
19:00



















Dinner at Mongoi.

- 2013/10/14
18:40
Checked into APA Hiroshima Ekimae hotel.  It's small and cute with a mini capsule bathroom.  ^^

- 2013/10/14
17:49
On the train back to Hiroshima Station(広島駅). 

- 2013/10/14
17:25















Finally the boat is moving again.

- 2013/10/14
17:18















Leaving Miyajima Island.  Goodbye Famous Torii gate.

- 2013/10/14
14:48
On Sanyou line to Miyajimaguchi Station(宮島口駅). 

- 2013/10/14
13:20















Almost at Hiroshima station.  Drinking this Bourbon cold cocoa.  Tastes like cold hot choco.

- 2013/10/14
12:14
Safely got on the Shinkansen Sakura bound for Hiroshima.  I'm hoping people get off at the next stop so I can find a seat.

- 2013/10/14
12:05















Leaving Shin-kobe Station(新神戸駅)..  Moving onward to Hiroshima on Shinkansen Sakura 555.

- 2013/10/14
11:15















Walked around at Harborland (Kobe) earlier.  Now we're back at the hotel for about an hour.  Time to eat the Bento from yesterday night. (^ o ^)

- 2013/10/14
8:42















Back in the station where we started.. (Sannomiya)

- 2013/10/14
8:28
On Seishin Yamate Line to Sannomiya(三宮).  Transferring to Sannomiya Hanadokei-Mae Station(三宮花時計前駅).

- 2013/10/14
7:05















Asagohan

- 2013/10/13
20:04















Memento of Gero. (>w<)

- 2013/10/13
19:24
Answer to the previous question.  "Shake" is some kind of fish.  It looks like salmon but it doesn't taste like it...

- 2013/10/13
19:16















Got on the Hikari Shinkansen to Shin-kobe Station(新古部駅).  That teaches me to make a backup plan for transfers that are too short between times....  Now to eat!
What is "shake?"

- 2013/10/13
18:43
Waiting at the Nagoya Station(名古屋駅).  We bought dindin at a 7-11 outside the station.

- 2013/10/13
16:32















Leaving Gero...  It was really beautiful and we got to see a lot.  We went to two bath houses.  It's too bad we had to rush towards the end.

- 2013/10/13
13:28 















After Onsen drinks

- 2013/10/13
12:10 















Made it to Gero!!!!!

- 2013/10/13















...

- 2013/10/13 















Mountain fauna

- 2013/10/13
10:53















Getting closer to Gero.

- 2013/10/13 

















- 2013/10/13















Heading into the mountains!

- 2013/10/13
10:23















Densha(電車) food. ("° v °")

- 2013/10/13
10:18















Stopped at Gifu.

- 2013/10/13
8:30 
On Shinkansen...  Getting off at Gero Station(げろ駅).

- 2013/10/13
On the Shinkansen Hikari to Nagoya. 

- 2013/10/13















Line camera pocky

- 2013/10/13















First traditional Japanese asagohan! ("^W^")

- 2013/10/12 















Din din! (>___<)


- 2013/10/12 

Honey Bee strawberry yogurt waffle. *0*

- 2013/10/12 















First vending machine drink.

- 2013/10/12
16:11
Heading back on Tozai Line to Karasuma Oike Station(烏丸御池駅). 

- 2013/10/12
15:53
Heading back to Sanjou.  From there maybe we can make it to one sento.

- 2013/10/12
15:25 
We were so lucky we got to the Onsen before the crowds.  We arrived at 1:30 and stayed for about an hour.

- 2013/10/12 
15:22
Going back from Kurama Onsen(鞍馬温泉).  It was very relaxing!  I'm so happy I got to experience my first Onsen there. ("^______^")

- 2013/10/12 















Going to Demachi Yanagi Station(出町柳駅).  I wish the trains were this empty when we were going to our hotel.

- 2013/10/12

Another Japanese lady asked me for directions.  Gotta improve my Japanese wtf

- 2013/10/12















Waiting for Shinkansen Hikari for Kyoto. (^0^)

- 2013/10/12
Just ate breakfast.  It was delicious.  The Japanese buffet was impressive.

- 2013/10/12
1:37 - Sat
Going to sleep.  おやすみ.....

- 2013/10/12
Btw, we're on Japan time so the actual time we got to the hotel was at 1:00am. 

- 2013/10/12















Omfg, I've never been happier to see a hotel room. (T__T)

- 2013/10/11
Made it to Osaka!

- 2013/10/11
We finally got to sit down.  A bunch of people got off at Shizuoka (静岡駅).  (- . -)

- 2013/10/11
This lady on the Shinkansen asked me if I had any water.  I felt bad since I didn't have any.  I look so much like a nihonjin, makes me want to improve my Japanese.

- 2013/10/11
Almost an hour standing in the Shinkansen...  I'm trying to imagine I'm a flamingo xP

- 2013/10/11
Starting our rigorous standing time on Hikari Shinkansen.

- 2013/10/11
Making our way to Tokyo on the Narita Express!  Probably the last time I'll be able to rest my ass before our (hopefully not) 3 hour standing endurance trial.

-2013/10/11
So we've found out that we'll probably have to stand for 3 hours but I'm just so excited and thinking, "OMG I'm in Japan!!!"

- 2013/10/11
It's pretty hot in this station...

- 2013/10/11
After plane hair sucks... I kind of wish I wore my contacts.  Glasses really don't do it for me.

- 2013/10/11















Waiting to exchange tickets for JR Rail Pass.

- 2013/10/10
On the plane.  Just saw a guy with a pillow stuck on his back!  lol!!!!