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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

BLOG -- Recap of July

So, here is my recap blog for July. This month was much busier for me. Like my June recap blog, I will mention everything that happened this month, even if I blogged about it. If anybody is curious on my thoughts on anything, as always, please go ahead and ask. :)

Outings/Events in July:
- Celebrated my birthday almost everyday during my birthday week.

- Went karaoking for 2 hours. I was at a new place and was checking out its computer catalogue while singing, haha.

- Went clothes-shopping and splurged slightly.

- Had a BBQ lunch at work. It was Olympic themed. I enjoyed it very much.

- Had drinks with my co-workers after work (x2). One time I was eating a donut that a co-worker got for me.


Exposures:
- (beer) Rickard's White -- bitter! Not as bitter as Carlsberg, though.

- (beer) Creemore -- bitter, but tolerable.

- (cider) Somersby Cider -- sweet and delicious.

- (alcohol) Gin & Tonic -- very delicious and refreshing.

 - (restaurant) Finn Izakaya -- the food is good and the service is good.

- (restaurant) Kinton Ramen -- a very busy place! Good food, though.

- (restaurant) Asahi Sushi 

- (restaurant) Wow! Sushi


Finished...
Watching:
- (Anime): iDOLM@STER: The Animation -- I enjoyed what I could of it. I didn't understand everything, but I liked what I saw. Especially all the singing and dancing.

- (Anime): Basilisk --  Very good, but such a sad ending. I will not acknowledge that ending and will just make up a suitable ending for myself.

- (Movie): Snow White & The Huntsman

- (Movie): Easy A -- Fun and funny movie. The structure is very similar to Thank You for Smoking

- (Movie): Brave -- Not what I was expecting from the trailer, but still enjoyable. Very heart-warming.

- (Movie): Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

- (Movie): The Amazing Spider-Man -- Very enjoyable.

Playing:
- (PS3): Uncharted: Drake's Fortune -- It was very fun and creepy at the same time.

- (PS2): American Idol -- It's funny to see the performers mess up.

- (PS2): Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana -- I'm so happy that I beat this. Now I can check out the sequel.

- (PS2): Gitaroo Man -- This is super hard!

- (DS): Ontamarama -- This game is horrible so far.


Reading:
- Nothing this time.


Currently... 
Playing (not all at once):
- (PS3): Record of Agarest War Zero 
- (PS3): Folklore
- (DS): Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja 
- (DS): Professor Layton and the Last Spector
- (PSP): Persona
- (PSP): Hatsune Miku 2nd Diva 
- (Wii): Fortune Street 
- (Wii): Rhythm Heaven Fever  
- (PS2): Ape Escape 3
- (PS2): Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Watching:
- Nothing right now.
 
Reading:
- (Novel): JPod by Douglas Coupland


That's it for July! What a busy month. Here are a couple of random photos:

A Foosball table that the company won for consuming lots of alcohol.

This chocolate came from Peru. I've kept the ribbon and placed it on one of my stuffed toys.



Thanks for reading! :)

Sunday, 29 July 2012

EXPOSURES (FOOD PLACES) -- Asahi Sushi, Wow! Sushi

So I've been going on a sushi-eating spree this month. There were weeks where I found myself eating sushi almost everyday. Well, during this time, I checked out a couple of new places.


ASAHI SUSHI
****UPDATE****

March 30, 2013 -- I just found out that Asahi Sushi has changed management. Due to this, my thoughts on this restaurant is no longer relevant. I have removed this part of the blog until I've gone and tried the new Asahi.

Location: 7000 Bathurst Street, Thornhill, Ontario (Bathurst & Steeles) Google Map
Contact #: 905-760-1294 (according to Yelp.ca)
Website: None
Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): Sushi
Price Range (for a main dish): ??? -- ($??? lunch sets; California Rolls: $???; Dynamite Rolls: $???; Salmon Sashimi: ???)
Restaurant Size: ???
Recommend? ???

Brief Impression
REMOVED UNTIL RE-VISITED.

What I Ate / Drank...
TBD -- ???


WOW! SUSHI

Location: 11 Charles Street, Toronto, Ontario (close to Yonge & Bloor) Google Map
Contact #:  (416) 923-1888
Website: Click!
Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): Sushi
Price Range (for a main dish): Mid -- ($10-$15 for lunch sets; California Rolls: $5.00; Dynamite Rolls: $8.00; Salmon Sashimi [4 pieces]: $7.00)
Restaurant Size: Small
Recommend? Yes!

Brief Impression
Just like Asahi, the inside doesn't look all that spectacular. The outside canopy doesn't exactly scream "Good sushi here!" either (check it out). When you get past that, though, you get friendly, efficient service, and terrific food. The sushi here has a lighter taste. This place has good soy sauce, too!

The neat thing at Wow! Sushi is that it has otoro on the menu. Otoro is, according to Wikipedia, the fattiest part of tuna (it should melt in your mouth). It is supposedly very high quality and very expensive -- and I have never seen it offered at any other sushi place I've been to. Wow! Sushi has otoro priced at $20 for 4 pieces of sashimi and $12 for 2 pieces of sushi. Sounds quite pricey to me. My curiosity will drive me to try it out one day.

Another thing I should mention is that the hours listed on Wow! Sushi's website is only for the online ordering. The actual restaurant is open way before 5 PM.

What I Ate / Drank... 
Salmon Sashimi -- Yummy! The presentation was pretty cute. The chef placed a small yellow flower over the sashimi.
California Rolls -- Delicious!
Dynamite Rolls -- Very good. I was a little sad that it had some spicy sauce on it. I can't take spice very well.

California rolls and dynamite rolls. Looks standard, but tastes yum!


Thanks for reading! If you have any comments or want to know more about anything, feel free! :)

Sunday, 22 July 2012

BLOG (Personal) -- My Birthday Week (July 16-July 22)

Well, my birthday was some time this week. Yay! And boo! As I've mentioned to some of my friends, I'm happy to be alive -- not so happy that I'm getting older, especially at this age (my heart feels too young to be this old!!).

As a result of this "special day", almost every day this week has been some kind of celebration for me. So... I'm going to blog about it. Haha, it's my birthday -- I get to indulge however I want (sort of).

MONDAY JULY 16, 2012

Cake! And an alien! Mmmm... (greyed out company secrets)

I got cake... at work! Yay!!! I was working at my desk when one of my team-mates appeared out of the corner of my eye. He didn't say anything so I continued working. Then I heard the sounds of a container being placed on my desk. I turned to the sound and reacted to the sight of a delicious-looking slice of cake... and a mysterious blue alien. I turned to my team-mate and he said, "Happy Birthday!"

What a surprise!! The mysterious blue alien is actually a mini massager (that vibrates, hahaha). Unfortunately, the vibrating sound is too loud for me to even think about using it at work -- everybody would know when I'm using it; plus it could be distracting to others. I use it quite often at home, though. It's so soothing and relaxing... hehehehe :)

Monday was also the first time I wore high heels and platforms. Such a killer on my feet.


TUESDAY JULY 17, 2012

I took a day off work today. I spent the morning at a mall, doing a bit of shopping. Then I watched The Amazing Spider-Man. I really enjoyed it (I cried a few times, haha). I'm a little biased, though, 'cuz I like Emma Stone (I really like her deep voice).

Then I went home and changed (to my heels again), and met up with my sister and friends at Guu -- this really cool Japanese tapas bar place.

It was totally fun and awesome. I was the only one drinking alcohol and my friends were playfully teasing me -- saying that I owe them money and playing tricks with my vision.

Later in the day, the servers started gathering around a table in the corner, holding tambourines and shakers, and sang happy birthday. I smiled, thinking, That singing will be for me, too. None of my friends left the table during the whole time, so I figured that servers won't be singing happy birthday to me.

Little did I know...

I made a wish and blew out the candle. Looks like the candle 
can fall over and set the creme brulee on fire.

When servers started coming my way with shakers and tambourines, my first thought was, Is it also somebody's birthday in the group what was sitting next to us? When the servers stopped right next to me, it finally hit me that my friends -- super sneaky that they are -- organized this for me! I was super embarrassed, covering my face every now and then, as the servers sang Happy Birthday. The more embarrassing thing is that one of my friends took a video of it all...

Before we left Guu, I had to use the washroom. The woman's stall was occupied so I used the guy's stall (the washrooms are individual stalls). When I was done, I made sure to put the seat back up :)


WEDNESDAY JULY 18, 2012

Shoyu ramen with rich soup and pork belly.

After work, I met up with another group of friends and we had some ramen. I was very happy -- I haven't seen some of them in a long while. I wasn't fully over my drinking yesterday at Guu, so I had water this time. 

We talked about random things, like when we first drank alcohol (2nd year in University for me), if we ever got drunk (not yet -- at least not how they defined being "drunk"), which ramen guy we would date based off of their looks (none of them -- not really my type, haha).

After ramen, we went to a park, sat on a bench (then a table), and continued talking. Hehe, lots of fun. :)


THURSDAY JULY 19, 2012 

After work, today... was my outing with my team-mates! I've been looking forward to this day all week. Today was the day we would go karaoking. Kyaaaaaa!!!! ~~~~~ I get to hear my team-mates singing. Kyaaaaaaaa!!!!!! ~~~~~~~~~ 

First, we had a couple of drinks at a bar (I had water). Then we went to Finn (another Japanese tapas bar). The food there was pretty good. I enjoyed what I had. I was a little sad that the dynamite rolls had spicy sauce on them (I can't take spice very well, and I love dynamite rolls). While there, I had a couple glasses of wine.

Next, we took a taxi to our next location: Bar+ Karaoke & Lounge.


I did not sing this song. Can you recognize what it is? :) 

Karaoking with my team-mates was AWESOME!! We sang for over two hours. During that time, I ended up drinking three shots of something and a glass of gin & tonic. Haha... I never imagined I would drink so much... Drinking them made my voice lower -- at least that's what I'm saying. It was really difficult for me to sing high notes that night.

I sang:

-Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow -- The Shirelles
-I Want it That Way -- Backstreet Boys
-Lonely Boy -- The Black Keys (my boss was dancing along with the video)
-Nothing on You -- B.O.B./Bruno Mars (I was trying so hard to hit the high notes, lol)
-Careless Whisper -- WHAM
-Bad Romance -- Lady Gaga (this is more my sister's song. I don't listen to Lady Gaga)

Almost everybody sang. One team-mate refused, but I caught him singing along at times. Ahhh... I wish that it could go on forever! XD


FRIDAY JULY 20, 2012 

Nothing happened today. Too tired and dazed from last night's karaoking.


SATURDAY JULY 21, 2012 

I met up with an old friend and we went karaoking for three hours. Haha, I really wanted to sing again. I had a really awesome time, and sang some songs I don't normally sing. Fortunately, I did not record them (because they sucked), but I recorded this:


Me singing The Beatles' "Yesterday". (The screen will stay black 
so just hit "play" and do something else)


SUNDAY JULY 22, 2012 

Well, I'm just blogging away while listening to this really cool anime series called Master Keaton. It's an old series, but it's got lots of substance and pretty good and intense music sometimes. I'm going to play some video games later.


Thanks for reading! I hope you all had as great a week as I have. :)

Sunday, 15 July 2012

BLOG -- My Preferences for Video Game Console / Handhelds

So... a week ago, I got into a brief discussion about PS3 games and Xbox 360 games with my friend. Currently, I own a PS3 and an Xbox 360. When it comes to buying video games, any games that are available for both the Xbox 360 and PS3, I always try to buy the PS3 version. That essentially means that I have a very small collection of Xbox 360 games. This got me thinking:

For other gamers who own both consoles, how do they decide which version to get for which games?

My friend said that he sometimes bought Xbox 360 games out of pity. Then a couple of days later, I read my friend's blog, which provided another reason. That got me thinking: maybe I should blog about video games, too, haha. So this blog will be about about which consoles / handhelds I personally prefer and why (some of these reasons may be very obvious).

I hope I do not offend anybody. Being a gamer pretty much all my life, I do have my biases (which will probably show throughout the blog). If you disagree with anything I say or if you have anything to say, feel free to comment :)

DS vs. PSP
My Preference: DS

ABOUT THE DS
I prefer the DS over the PSP, because... well... it has a longer battery life than the PSP, haha. Whenever I think about the DS and PSP, I always think of this VG Cats comic. Switching out games while commuting is much easier as well (I can be pretty lazy sometimes over the smallest things). Having touch functionality isn't always a benefit, but it does make the DS more versatile (you know, for times when I can play video games with only one hand). I also love that it's backwards compatible with GBA games. There's also a lot of great games, but I don't that to be a major factor for preferring the DS over the PSP.

ABOUT THE PSP
The PSP... I personally don't get it as a handheld. I think the PSP is better suited as a console instead of a handheld. In a way, I think Sony believed that, too, after releasing AV components so the PSP-2000/3000 and even the PSP Go can be hooked up to the TV. To me, that just doesn't make sense for a handheld. If you're going to be home in front of a TV, you might as well be playing video games on a console. 

I also found the PSP too bright, even at its minimum brightness level. I can't play on it for more than an hour or my eyes will burn. That really makes it difficult for me to progress and finish almost every game I want to play on the PSP.


PS3 vs. Xbox360 vs. Wii
My Order of Preference: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii

ABOUT THE PS3
Even though the PS3 no longer has backwards compatibility with PS2 games, the PS3 is my preferred console because it is region-free; meaning I can import games from other regions and the PS3 can play them. It is the only console that is region-free. I also think it has the best controller design -- and it doesn't use batteries (yay!). Being a blu-ray player is also great. Headset use isn't always the best, though (for some games).

ABOUT THE XBOX 360
The Xbox 360 comes second... simply because it does. Besides not having too many exclusive games (that I'd want to play) on the console, the controller being a little clunky, and having to pay a membership if you want to do online play, I don't have much beefs with the actual console. I do for the Wii, though.

ABOUT THE WII
The Wii comes last, because... well... you know how I mentioned I sometimes get lazy over the smallest things? Well, the Wii is great in offering a number of options -- you can play Gamecube games; you can play with a regular controller instead of the Wiimote for many games; you can do online play for free... the Wii can be very versatile with game selection and control options. Here is my beef: the prep work that comes with it. Those of you with a Wii might wonder, what prep work?

Well... 

If I want to play Gamecube games, I would have to get my Gamecube-specific memory card and Gamecube controller and stick them into their slots. Then when I'm done playing for the day, I'll have to remove the controller and memory card (I don't want that area getting dusty) and put them away. And I would have to do that every time I play a Gamecube game. 

If I want to play with the classic controller instead of the Wiimote, again, I would have to take the classic controller out of my box of controllers and then hook it up with the Wiimote, and then put it back when I'm done. I can't leave the classic controller in the Wiimote, 'cuz the Wiimote has to be recharged pretty much all the time. 

If I want to do online play, I first have to get my friend's friend code for that game specifically. Every time I want to do online play with that same friend for a different game, I will have to get a friend code for that specific game. Uh... it's a bit too much. By the way, I haven't done online play on the Wii for many years now -- if it's actually different from what I just described, please let me know.

So... yeah... the Wii comes last because I'm too lazy. Often when I think about playing a Gamecube game, I'm turned off when I think about all the motions I have to do in order to start playing. Of course, it won't stop me all the time. But it still stops me. I don't have to do any extra hookups of any sort for the PS3, unless I need to recharge the controller (and I don't mind that because I know it's not using batteries). The only extra thing I do with the Xbox 360 is popping in the batteries for the wireless controller or hooking up the wired controller.

The Wii also has horrible storage capacity, but that's a given.


3DS vs. PS Vita
My Preference: Neither

My overall opinion on the future of handhelds, well... I think it's going in a wrong direction. I have next-to-no experience with these handhelds -- this is just what I'm speculating, based on what I know. I think both the 3DS and the PS Vita are doing something right... and wrong. I don't own either right now, but chances are I'll own a 3DS first.

ABOUT THE 3DS
Why the 3DS first? Simply because I'm betting it will have a game that I will absolutely want first (Phoenix Wright vs. Professor Layton -- please, please, please be released! Lol). It's great that the 3DS is backwards compatible with DS games (though my DS Lite is still kicking so I don't need a 3DS for that) -- that's what the 3DS is doing right. The 3D function is neat, but I could care less about it (I'm betting it would make me dizzy, and I'm not for anything that sucks the battery life dry like a vampire). What the 3DS is not doing right, in my opinion, is this: region-locking.

I can understand that region-locking is there for online components (just like how there's region-specific content for PS3 owners. ie. if you have a Japanese PSN account, you'll be able to access the Japanese specific content on PSN. If you have a North American PSN account, you'll be able to access the North American specific content on PSN, etc.). Why region-lock the games, though? Nintendo's history with handhelds, at least from the GBA and beyond, they were region-free. And I did import a number of DS games -- a number of Nintendo DS games. Now, if I want to play a 3DS game that's only available in Japan, I'll have to buy a Japanese 3DS. It just sucks. 

ABOUT THE PS VITA
Alternatively, the best thing about the PS Vita is that it is region-free (thank goodness!). The worst thing about the PS Vita is that it is not backwards compatible with UMDs (physical PSP games). It's fine that PS Vita games are in, what I'd imagine to be, a better format, but backwards compatibility would have been nice, since it can actually play PSP games (digital copies only).

Hahaha, the 3DS and PS Vita are complete opposites in terms of those factors. And because of that, I have no sure-fire choice. 


OVERALL THOUGHTS
After laying out my thoughts about these consoles and handhelds, I've come to a couple of conclusions: 

1. Having backwards compatibility and being region-free are very important factors to me when considering a video game console or handheld. 

2. It's gotta be easily accessible (aka I should be able to start up a game with the least amount of effort -- turning on the system, TV, and popping in the game would be ideal).

Backwards compatibility is so important to me because I don't always have the time to play all the games that I buy. When I do get to them, it'd be nice to know that I can still play them on a current console / handheld and not one that I stored away just for that purpose.

Being region-free is extremely important because I would simply like to have that option to import, and not have to spend the extra money to get an identical piece of hardware (that just plays different games). Can you imagine just how many extra consoles / handhelds that would be? And all the space it would take up?!

Being easily accessible is kinda a given, at least for me. If there are lesser amounts of obstacles, even small stuff, then chances are higher of whatever you want happening, to happen.

And that's all I got to say for now about this, lol.


Thanks for reading! If you have any thoughts, please comment :)



Sunday, 8 July 2012

REVIEW/THOUGHTS [Movie] -- Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Format Watched: In theatres (Saturday, July 7, 2012)
Approx. Runtime: 105 minutes (1 hour, 45 minutes)
Language Watched: English
Type of Movie: Action, Historical (semi), Horror
Overall Impression: Ridiculous concept for a serious movie. I enjoyed it.


PERSONAL STANDING (Pre-exposures, thoughts, etc.)
My first exposure to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was this trailer:


 When I saw that trailer, all I thought was: what the heck?! Why is Abraham Lincoln being used here as a character, to hunt vampires? Does this movie need that kind of historical element? Frankly, I thought it was ridiculous. A historical figure... hunting vampires.

I wrote it off, deciding not to watch it. Then about a week ago, I saw this photoshopped image floating around on Facebook:

In case you don't know, the one being chased is Ed from Twilight.

I've never watched Twilight, but I found the image sooo funny. Thanks to that, I decided to give it a chance.


STORY
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter follows Abraham Lincoln (obviously) from boyhood to adulthood. In those years, he gets recruited by Henry Sturgess to become a vampire hunter. Abraham agrees, mainly wanting to avenge his mother's death (she was killed by a vampire).

Later on, Abraham decides to put his vampire hunting activities behind him and pursue the abolition of slavery. The vampires, though, want him and essentially his ideals destroyed.

HISTORICAL ACCURACY / ROLE OF THE VAMPIRES
There were a few historical moments, like Abraham rising to presidency. I imagine they would be accurate (date-wise), so some won't complain about it. The vampires, though, I'm sure were NOT historically accurate.

Even so, the vampires played a huge part in driving the story and shaping Abraham's character. The nice thing is that it meshed well -- the vampires did NOT seem like some tacked on idea.

TONE OF THE MOVIE
Contrary to the concept being ridiculous, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter presents itself as a dark, gritty, and serious movie. As far as I remember, no jokes or anything were done during the whole thing -- and I liked that. Even though I was kind of expecting some ridiculousness (well, the horse scene was kinda ridiculous, but I found that more cool than anything else), I was quite happy that it didn't go that route. Since the movie took itself seriously, I was able to take it seriously.

That said, anybody going in expecting comedy / parody / anything ridiculous will be greatly disappointed -- so don't.


ACTING/CHARACTERS
The acting was good! I have no beefs here.

CHARACTERS
I think considering Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunter just adds flavour to his character (it has a nice ring to it). It also gives him a conflict to explore: who does he want to protect most? The people? Or those he loves most? Unfortunately, he is the most fleshed out of all the characters. We don't get much backstory or information on the other characters. We get to see a bit of Henry's backstory, but not enough.

The vampires' lore here is kinda interesting. I think they're still weak to sunlight here, but they deal with it the way humans would deal with sunlight (didn't even notice that until after the movie ended and I was discussing it with my sister and her fiance). There are no wooden stakes here -- they're weak against something else. They also don't turn into bats -- they turn into something else.


MUSIC
The music isn't memorable, but it works. It doesn't detract from the scene -- it heightens it.


ACTION SCENES / VISUAL EFFECTS
I think there were some cool action scenes. I gotta warn you, though: this movie is really bloody. There are a lot of slowdown scenes of vampires getting chopped / stabbed and blood splattering everywhere.

There weren't much visual effects used (unless you count the blood splattering -- I think those were visual effects). What they did use were used well.


CLOSING THOUGHTS
I enjoyed Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I would recommend the movie as long as you do not expect it to be a comedy (of any sort). This movie is serious through and through. I haven't yet read the novel this was based off of, but when I do, I will update this blog to include my thoughts.

Thanks for reading! If you want some more input about something I didn't cover, feel free to ask. :)

Normally, there would be a "Spoilers" section, but I think I covered everything I wanted to talk about.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

BLOG -- Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day! Today is a lazy day for me, so I'm going to skip blogging this week. I'm going to spend the rest of today playing video games, cleaning my room, and just plain relaxing (a.k.a. doing whatever I want). I think I deserve it, after being so crazy-busy this month. I'll save what I was going to blog about for next week (when more people would be around to read it).

To those celebrating Canada Day, I hope you have a great day! To those who are not celebrating Canada Day, I also hope you have a great day! :)

Here are some videos of fireworks that I found on Youtube (not celebrating Canada Day, but whatever):