Ziti Pomodoro and a storm

31 10 2009
Ziti Pomodoro 00

eNTeNG c”,)™©’s Ziti Pomodoro whipped up as a storm ravages outside.

JUDGING BY the sound of the sustained winds and the rain outside – right this very moment at 2:12 AM (how very New York – the “212” I mean) – Typhoon “Santi” (international name: Mirinae) has made landfall finally.  It’s actually storm signal number three.

The seeming endless parade of tropical storms has continuously put a damper on weekend plans.  For like a month now.  But I will not surrender to the gloom.

What would I do?  Cook!  It’s such a comfort.  As I write away, I have beside me my second helping of my Ziti Pomodoro.  It’s basically my Angel Hair Pomodoro except that – quite obviously – I used ziti instead of angel hair.

I fear for the impact this latest storm will have on a literally weather-beaten people.  But with a little prayer and this plate of hot pasta – and yes, with a song – I’ve got this feeling that we’ll get by.

Ziti Pomodoro 01

eNTeNG c”,)™©’s Ziti Pomodoro

Copyright © 2009 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MuchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Songs for moments of extraordinary poignancy

29 10 2009

I HAVE never underestimated the power of songs in encapsulating moments of extraordinary poignancy in stunning detail.  I have always wondered as to what noble end songs have come to existence.  And then in my adolescence I found myself attempting to make sense of my anxiety.  To make tangible my conflicted insecurities.  Make real my rare moments of ebullience.

That’s when the power of songs first revealed their latent worth to me.

The past few days seem to have thrown me back to a time warp when my self-esteem was but an abstract concept, and when my capacity to care for another life form was likewise an abstract concept but whose prospects were even bleaker.  The feeling actually began with a countdown I started.  And there’s nothing like marking “one day to go” to make one’s life go completely haywire.

Oh there is.  Seeing that one day come to pass.



Copyright © 2009 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MuchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

For 24 days

27 10 2009


YOU WILL be missed.

Balloons - You'll Be Missed

Nothing like balloons to say what you mean. And mean what you say.



Copyright © 2009 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MuchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Harry highly recommends

26 10 2009
Fully Booked 02

John Grisham's "The Partner" sits atop other distinguished works.

I’VE BEEN devouring John Grisham novels one after another.  When Harry Stamper realized this, not only did he wonder if I had already seen the season 3 premiere of The Big Bang Theory but he also – and more importantly – made a recommendation.

So I scoured the city, from National Bookstore to anywhere and everywhere they sell second hand.  Fortunately, I found the book at a Booksale outlet.  This copy lacks the dust jacket but for the price I paid for it – just under 200 pesos – it was quite a steal.  Funny that it is only now that I’m sort of rediscovering John Grisham and not when I had two complete sets – all hardbound – resting on the shelf.  Back then the spines just looked so pretty to stare at – from “A Time To Kill” all the way to the “King of Torts”.  I’ve since given those away.

Fully Booked 03

Title page of "The Partner"

As with other John Grishams I finished in one sitting, I’m finding when best to crack this open, lest I wreak havoc with my schedule.


Copyright © 2009 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MuchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Fully booked

26 10 2009
Fully Booked 00

Books I intend to read again. I got all these second hand, except for "A Beautiful Mind" by Sylvia Nasar which I got at Borders.

MERRIAM-WEBSTER – the dictionary you hold in your hands, not today’s online incarnation – got me started to reading.  I mean really read.  Not recite the alphabet or count to ten.  That had already been taken care of by the time I realized I could bury myself deep in thought – with full concentration – in a book.  (By virtue of being a physical object consisting of a number of pages bound together, a dictionary is a book.)  This Merriam-Webster I’m referring to was my grandmother’s.  It was a very old copy and by that time in the 80’s when I would sit at the dining table going through it word through word, the spine had already given way.

I miss having all the time in the world to lose myself in a book, totally unmindful of the hours.  But there just seems to be not enough time lately.  I would keep on failing “finding” the time.  Then it occurred to me that the reason why I couldn’t find it was because I needed to “create” it in the first place.  So I’ve resolved to “make” the time – against “find” the time – to read.  Again.

Over the very very busy weekend, I went through my books and picked out some that I will read again.  Like the ones on the photo here, I got most of my beloved books at weekend community book sales in the States – save for “A Beautiful Mind” by Sylvia Nasar which I got at full price at Borders.  The screen play of “The English Patient” is one of two I have (the other being “Shakespeare In Love”).  I haven’t read quite that many autobiographical work but I’ll go out on a limb to say that Katharine Graham’s “Personal History” could be one of the best.

Fully Booked 01

That doorstopper of a book – "Personal History" – is the autobiography of Katharine Graham, the heiress to the Washington Post fortune.

The first step I’m taking is get these books out of one of the small cabinets I have, stack them on one of the shelves of my study table, and hopefully reach out for them and read.


Copyright © 2009 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MuchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

RAUL, Francesco TOTTI and Harry

24 10 2009
For the love of the game 00

Eight football jerseys in all. All Harry's.

IT IS just a couple of hours before midnight.  It’s one of those nights when I expect to fall asleep after a really long day.  But the zzz’s are just nowhere to be caught.  And since I’m getting exhausted waiting to lose consciousness – it’s the waiting that gets to me – I got up and just thought I’d rather wait for inspiration to come and hopefully be productive.  I’m tickling the keyboard seeing if a blog post will come out of it.

On my YM, everybody is offline except for a couple who I suppose could be at work.  I see that a dialogue box still remains open – my day’s conversation with the Oil Rigger.  We’re getting to be real good friends so I’m starting to think he might want to opt for a superhero name instead.  I left work on the dot – hey, it’s TGIF! – but I know he stayed at his until about an hour ago.

I don’t remember him declaring triumph over his battle with sleep deprivation… just yet.  And since he seems to have been preferring “appearing offline” lately, I don’t feel as guilty to buzz him.

“Still up?”

The moment he acknowledges, I start firing off messages, making a dramatic pause on a one-liner that said nothing but: “sadness.”  Oh, of course with a sad “smiley” emoticon.  Like the good friend that he is, he immediately types back: “something wrong?

I instantaneously respond with: “di ko alam” (I don’t know.)

We’re going on with our conversation, with me blabbering away through the keys until my hands come to a screeching halt upon reading: “seriously, what’s wrong with you?”   The “Grey’s Anatomy” of it all catches me by surprise.  Though I tell myself that if Harry was going for the full Seattle Grace Hospital dramatic impact, he would’ve parcelled out his message into two, beginning with:  “what’s wrong with you?”   Then underscoring the gravity of my situation with: “seriously.”

I pull my eyes away from the LCD, scroll up a bit, and really read what has gone on.  It is only then that I realize that Harry and I have been referring to totally different things.  Seriously.  But I appreciate his concern.  Yes – seriously.

Getting our synchronicity back, I tell him that I’m waiting for inspiration to come in.  But since it is already a few minutes before midnight, I tell him that I won’t mind if inspiration chooses to kick in, rather than come in.  I guess a good kick to the head is all I need.  Our talk makes a sharp turn to our sources of inspiration.  I’m telling you, it’s not as deep as you think.  Hahaha!

Before long, I have to rehash my favorite question in the wee hours: “Still up?”   My fear to be dismissed turns out to be unfounded when Harry actually tells me about a post on facebook that he is working on.  I tell him I haven’t logged on my account for at least a week.  He asks me to wait for it – and check it out – as it is something I will never have expected.  More talk ensues.

It is an album of his favorite football jerseys – eight in all.  Trying to catch his own zzz’s, he thought about an hour ago to lay these precious items on the bed and take photos of them.  I tell him that I love the one that says “10” – alluding to my birthday.

For the love of the game 05

Jersey #10 – Francesco TOTTI. This is Italy's national team jersey.


eNTeNG:  “I love the one that says ‘10’”

eNTeNG:  “my birthday is a ‘10’”

Harry     :  “you know what?”

Harry     :  “the jersey beside it”

Harry     :  “the one that says Siemens Mobile”

Harry     :  “at the back of it is no. 7”

Harry     :  “hehe”


For the love of the game 04

Jersey #7 – RAUL Gonzales Blanco. This is Real Madrid's jersey. Harry Stamper is their biggest fan!

OH-EM-GEE!  Now that’s my birthday – July 10!  I seriously – there’s that adverb again – reconsider my earlier claim that the jerseys are nice.  Because after an epiphany like that, I feel that the jerseys are speaking to me.  They are not just nice.  It’s as if they belong to me.  Hahaha!

For the love of the game 08

The national team jersey of Spain. This is Harry's favorite. Actually, one of two.

Dawn is about to crack and Harry still needs to get up early to render overtime at that city of lights.  Before dozing off he asks if I finally got my inspiration.

Yeah, I do.  And it’s not about food.


[I’m talking to Harry and writing this while a football game is actually going on on Balls TV.  It’s Spain vs. Estonia.  Harry finds it amusing.]

Copyright © 2009 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MuchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

A day’s catch and a harvest of greens to satiate two superheroes

22 10 2009

ONE WOULD usually need a searchlight with a bat-shaped insignia over the lens to shine into the night sky the “Bat signal,” so that The Dark Knight will know he is needed.  And sometimes, one would usually have to shriek like a damsel in distress so that this bespectacled newspaperman will step into a phone booth to change into The Man of Steel.  Lucky for me, all I have to do is send a text message and they will show up – superhero costumes not required.  Though I will have to admit that the stars need to be aligned for both of them to be available at the same time.

eNTeNG with superheroes

Dinner with the (almost) Justice League – eNTeNG with Batman and Superman!

It was a starlit September night not too looong ago when both Batman and Superman arrived divine – an homage to their demigod-like provenance.  As I was the mere mortal in the triumvirate, I took it upon myself to choose where to dine.  Superheroes have far bigger cares than I do so I thought it was too much already to busy their minds with the perrenial question that has plagued mankind – “Where do we eat?”

For superheroes tasked to save this world, I’ve often wondered how anything will be enough to fuel Batman and Superman – if at all they need it.  They’re not exactly in want of sustenance.  Though I can attest to their fine tastes.  As I traipsed through the stretches of restaurant options in all the Greenbelt annexes – as I traipsed while they glided more than strutted – it suddenly occurred to me to treat these two to the cuisine of the gods and goddesses.  How fitting!

Cyma Estiatorio at Greenbelt 2 – now that’s Greek to me.  Opah!

If I had saved my dear superheroes precious neural traffic from having to choose the restaurant, I might as well extend it all the way to ordering.  Fortunately, they would always let me have my way.  We had a full table that night.  We asked for the Steak (Beef Tenderloin) Souvlaki, which is the traditional kabob, skewered with fresh vegetables and grilled to perfection.  In deference to the evening’s company, I told the kitchen to make ours medium-well.  I would’ve wanted medium-rare, really pink in the center of the humongous meat chunks.  The kabob came with warm pita bread and garlic yogurt sauce.  I tore the pita piece by piece as I went on munching them.  I totally ignored the yogurt sauce.  But that’s just me.

With protein taken care of, I veered to asking for carbohydrates.  At Cyma, it could only be Solomos Angel Hair for me.  And judging from the response I got from Batman and Superman – usually light eaters themselves – it was a runaway hit.  Anybody offering me pasta can stop at the mere mention of “angel hair.”  Angel hair?  I’m there!  But the Solomos Angel Hair warrants a full accounting of all the scrumptious ingredients that go into the dish.  Writing them down now, I had to glance at my expanded girth as culling them (the ingredients) from memory – one by one – seems to be adding pounds!  Each strand of pasta was generously coated with the tomato-cream sauce, then topped with the best crumbled feta cheese.  It was a wickedly perfect mound on a pristine white serving platter.  It was so good it felt like a sin loving it too much.

It may seem that satiation came to us by way of those two dishes.  Not.  Just.  Yet.  It really did come by way of an unassuming but arguably the best soup and the best salad I’ve ever had here at home.

The Roka Salata is a salad of fresh arugula and delicate hearts of romaine lettuce, sun-dried tomatoes, and candied walnuts topped with shaved parmesan cheese in a special, original Greek vinaigrette.  I’ve taken great pride in my considerable success in reproducing restaurant-created salads – most notable my version of the Café Breton seafood salad with mangoes in a honey mustard dressing.  But I haven’t had success with Cyma’s yet.  I take it as a testament to the restaurant’s genius.  And oh yes, a testament to my failure as well.  Hahaha!

Cyma - Roka Salata 00

Roka Salata on a superhero's plate!

The ultimate in soups will have to be the Kakavia, or Greek Fisherman’s Soup.  Usually, this soup is made by fishermen from the day’s catch.  So imagine how all the more excellent this would have tasted if it were made a mere minutes from when the fish and the seafood had been caught.  After all, the best fish and seafood are the freshest fish and seafood.  Start with those and you can never go wrong.  Cyma’s kakavia was chockful with the freshest seafood, in a saffron broth infused with fresh herbs – I got the dill right away (I’m thinking it could be dill though most recipes call for thyme).  The thread-like foliage of the dill, together with the saffron, gave the soup its aromatic quality.  Each spoonful was a medley of chunks of vegetables and bites of fish, mussels and clams.  And with each (quiet!) slurp came the faint saltiness reminiscent of the seas, tempered perfectly by the natural sweetness from the juices of the shellfish and the fragrance from the herbs.

Cyma - Kakavia 00

Kakavia – arguably the best soup I've ever had in a restaurant.

Cyma Estiatorio at Greenbelt 2 – now that’s REALLY Greek to me.  And with a couple of demigods around, I couldn’t help but say, Opah!

eNTeNG with superheroes 01

The representatives of the Justice League and I moved to Classic Confections for dessert.

Sea of lights

21 10 2009

I JUST feel so blue.

Good thing someone super nice sent me some photos which I’ve been looking at since.  Both to wax nostalgic, almost melancholic…  and to feel hopeful.

I almost called this post “City of Lights.”  But he suggested a better one.  Which I’ve made into the title of this post.

Thanks a lot, you-know-who-you-are.




A tale of two tees

21 10 2009

FOR YET another time, I’m shamelessly stealing words of the Charles Dickens.  To be specific, four of the five words in the title of his masterpiece of a novel – A Tale of Two Cities.  And as with the first time I stole Mr. Dickens’ words, my choice for the fifth word of my blog post’s title is daring enough to steal even the manner by which the novel’s title is uttered.  “Tees” live up to the continuant fricative sound – “cities” – as the word is forced through the constricted passage formed by my lips.

I just realized that while my two current favorite t-shirts are both in shades of navy blue, they couldn’t be any more polar opposites.

One came from the East Coast where everything’s high fashion, theatrical, artsy-fartsy.  The other came from the West Coast where everything’s klieg lights, really big movie studios, and even bigger celebrity egos.

Tale of Two Tees - David Letterman

Snapshot taken at The Podium. T-shirt on somebody very very important.


Tale of Two Tees - UC Davis 00

I'm really lovin' this UC Davis T-shirt I have on today.

Happiness is

20 10 2009

I HAVE never gotten over the loss of my red string bracelet that I bought at the gift shop fronting the ticket counter of Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai.

But probably, I soon will.  You see, I just got a note from Harry Stamper saying that the bracelets he has ordered for me have just arrived via courier!  Notice the “s” – bracelets.  My knack for contingency plans kicked in when I sort of demanded for those – not one, but two – as pasalubong (presents).

Thank you very much, Harry!  I owe you big time.


The Jin Mao Tower red string bracelet that I "lost" ... never quite got over it.


Bracelet From Harry

An image of how the red string bracelets from Harry look like – of course minus the crystal slider pendant. Thanks again, Harry! I'll wear them on my left wrist (my "receiving" side) for good fortune 🙂