Review in SMS – Pitch Perfect

19 11 2012

ONCE IN a while a movie comes along that restores your faith in the fact that a celluloid treat can just be that – a treat – and not exactly an excruciating cerebral challenge that can burn all the calories from your two slices of pepperoni pizza… long before you’ve actually taken the last bite.

PITCH PERFECT, starring Anna Kendrick (to me of “Up in the Air” fame, not exactly “Twilight”) is exactly that!  Even in the age of Glee and Smash on TV, this movie still bursts with freshness and excitement, matched only by the beating of my heart, threatening to leap off of my chest.

Anna Kendrick, whose career has been part critical acclaim, part commercial sugar, is the movie’s certified star.  I didn’t think of her as a singer before, though the fullness in her sometimes chirpy voice should’ve clued me in.  The many songs bring to life the movie’s title, but nothing as much as Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are” did.

Well, until they topped that with a finale song even I didn’t see coming.  It’s true about the movies, “the endings are always the best!”





Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved

36 Things

12 07 2010

36.  AFTER THREE unsuccessful attempts, I’ve finally completed the Starbucks® Coffee Company’s Christmas Traditions Promo Card.  I redeemed my 2010 planner at their Las Piñas store on New Year’s morn, just hours after I was treated at the hospital for firecracker-related injury – also a first.

Starbucks Christmas Traditions Promo Cards

My Starbucks 2010 Planner, plus three bags of New Year's gifts.


35.  I’ve been in the same job for the past 14 years and two months.

34.  My beverage of choice be it at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or at Starbucks® is Hot Chai Tea Latte served over ice.  Strong on the freshly steeped tea, easy on the steamed milk.  Unfortunately, neither has perfected it, just the way the Sodexho Coffee Bar at Intel Corporation in Folsom makes it.

The very kind staff at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf didn't mind me taking a shot of their fragrant chai tea loose leaf blend. It was a bouquet of cardamom, cinnamon, star anise and fennel, with hints of ginger and black peppercorn.

My chai tea latte over ice is finally served! Notice that it's quite milky white, unlike in the States where they put more of the steeped tea. Chai tea latte should be a mug of spicy black tea with milk and sugar, profuse with notes of cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, fennel, ginger, and black peppercorns.

I've kept these beverage rewards cards all these years.


33.  I’ve been meaning to prop up my Americana Wooden Birdhouse at the terrace.  But I haven’t gotten around to actually doing it.

32.  The first time I’ve ever seen a movie on 3D here at home was when I saw Toy Story 3.  I thought the Dolby 3D glasses over my Emporio Armani prescription spectacles were putting too much strain on my eyes.  I didn’t know the lump that was forming in my throat had managed to escape through my eyes.

Toy Story 3 movie tickets

31.  The best motion picture I’ve seen in the past six months is Up In The Air.

Movie ticket for Up In The Air

30.  During flights, I take photos of the airplane’s wings at 30,000 feet.

Took this photo of an airplane wing on a flight from Penang in Malaysia to Singapore.

29.  I’ve never seen an episode of Glee.  But I never miss watching Royal Pains weekly – on its original time slot and on both its encore screenings on Saturdays.

28.  While I prefer tempura batter to be light and fluffy, I don’t mind the heavy batter Healthy Shabu-Shabu uses on their mixed tempura.  My favorite in their platter is the shiitake mushroom caps.

A small portion of Healthy Shabu-Shabu's Mixed Tempura

27.  Gourmet’s Farm grows the sweetest, most fragrant basil leaves.  I bought one packet, stuck it in the fridge, and forgot about it.  Three days later, when on a whim I made my angel hair pomodoro, I got arrested by the unusually heady, invigorating scent that tearing Gourmet’s Farm’s basil leaves emanated.  Basil had never smelled that good to me!

Gourmet's Farm's Sweet Basil

Really fragrant Gourmet's Farm sweet basil leaves ready to perfume my pomodoro sauce.

The actual Angel Hair Pomodoro I first used Gourmet's Farm's Sweet Basil on. Sumptuous!

26.  Mapúa Institute of Technology, where I studied in high school, was near Baker’s Fair where I used to get my favorite hopia monggo.  Nineteen years later, I serendipitously discovered their ube ensaymada.  Simply scrumptious!

Baker's Fair's Ube Ensaymada

Purple yam swirls through the brioche.

25.  I eat noodles using chopsticks from Shanghai that my friend Tenz gifted me with.

Chopsticks from Shanghai, courtesy of Tenz.

My favorite chopsticks piercing through a pile of Beef Tendon Noodles from Kim Hiong!


24.  The big Zara S-A-L-E is going on.  There is one item I didn’t get before – because it was still full-priced.  Hahaha!  I wonder if it’s still available.

Zara S-A-L-E, 2009.

23.  One of my principles in life is:  “Never pay full price!

22.  The only vegetable entrée I consistently ask for everywhere is Ampalaya Con Carne (bitter gourd with beef in a fermented soybean sauce).  At Max’s, I’d rather have that than the all-you-can-eat fried chicken they are currently offering at a very reasonable – almost a steal – Php 165.00.

Max's Ampalaya Con Carne


At Maxim's Tea House, Ampalaya Con Carne with Rice can be had to go.

21.  I prefer fried chicken to be doused by nothing more than a good Worcestershire sauce.

Max's fried chicken


Worcestershire sauce does wonders to fried chicken!

20.  My tea of the moment is TAZO Mint Blend, courtesy of my Ninong Allan Paz.  It’s a caffeine-free herbal infusion described as a bracing blend of mint with a pinch of tarragon.  Doesn’t that sound lovely?!

A pile of this wonderful tea from Ninong Allan Paz!


The description of this tea blend alone is half the fun already!

19.  I adore Cibo’s Farfalle Genovese.  This dish of farfalle (bowtie pasta) in a wild mushroom cream sauce with fresh basil pesto is both heaven on a plate and a party in your mouth.

The family size serving of Cibo's Farfalle Genovese


Farfalle Genovese on my plate

18.  Still at Cibo…  I always ask for extra slices of fennel bulb and fronds whenever I have a plate of their Spaghettini Alla Romana (spaghettini with sardines in oil, fennel, and red pepper pesto).

Cibo's Spaghettini Alla Romana

17.  My favorite Chicken Tinola (chicken in a gingery broth with chili leaves) is not my own, but my friend Stave Michael’s.

Stave Michael's Chicken Tinola


This has got to be the best homecooked Chicken Tinola I've ever had.

16.  My favorite commercially available cookies are Mama’s Kitchen’s Mango Chewies from Iloilo City.

A box of Mama's Kitchen's Mango Chewies from Iloilo City


These are the best cookies!

15.  Buon Giorno! at the Cliffhouse in Tagaytay makes amazing Bruschetta and Insalata Caprese (Caprese Salad – tomatoes, basil, buffalo mozzarella).

Buon Giorno!'s Bruschetta


Buon Giorno!'s Insalata Caprese

14.  Of the many malls, The Podium gets decked in the best Christmas decorations.

The Podium, Christmas 2008.


The Podium, Christmas 2009.


In Christmas 2009, Victorinox Swiss Army held an exhibit at The Podium.


I loved the golden Christmas trees that hung from the ceiling.

13.  Whenever it’s on the menu, I ask for fresh Chrysanthemum Juice.  Here, I get it only at Banana Leaf and at North Park.

Fresh Chrysanthemum Juice at The Banana Leaf

12.  Long before Up and Toy Story 3 wrung my lachrymal glands dry, Finding Nemo had done so seven years earlier.

I found Nemo!

11.  I waited for the results of the voting in the 121st IOC Session, and I was quite saddened when Chicago lost in their bid to host the Games of the XXXI Olympiad (the 2016 Summer Olympics).

One of the placards in downtown Chicago as the city awaited the announcement of the winning host for the 2016 Olympics.

10.  The Highlander Steakhouse at Tagaytay Highlands makes an excellent Salad of Hearts of Romaine and Smoked Salmon.

Tagaytay Highlands' The Highlander Steakhouse's Salad of Hearts of Romaine and Smoked Salmon


I served myself with a lot of the smoked salmon! Greeedyyy!!!

  9.  I’ve had the best Chicken Curry dishes at over 30,000 feet up in the sky, on board Air India and Jet Airways flights.  The New Bombay Authentic Indian Cuisine at The Columns on Ayala Avenue and at The Podium is a nice place to go to here at home.  Besides the curry, I super love their Saffron Basmati Rice.

Chicken Tikka Masala Curry at The New Bombay Authentic Indian Cuisine


Saffron Basmati Rice

  8.  I have three notebooks in current (simultaneous) usage status – the Superman notebook I made, the Cardinal Notes from Mikko, and the Daily Notes by kikki.K from Friendship.  They’re for my essays, work, and all other notes of personal importance, respectively.

MIT Cardinal Notes from Mikko


kikki.K Daily Notes from Friendship


The cover of the Superman notebook I made.

  7.  More than ever, I have become really grateful for friends far and wide.  Not a single day passes by without me having conversations with Friendship, Batman, and Superman – no matter how busy each of us may be.






  6.  I’ve developed a deeper appreciation of Anderson Cooper, anchor of CNN’s AC 360O, after reading his memoir Dispatches from the EdgeA Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival.

My book of the moment!

  5.  I woke up with Maroon 5’s Sunday Morning playing incessantly in my head.  Sang it a number of times in the shower.  So it turned out to be a looong shower.

  4.  For three years in a row, Batman has always been the first one to greet me on my birthday.  And there has always been a gift.  I sure hope he does keep that tradition this year.  Hahaha!

  3.  I’m craving for the U.S. Beef Ribcap Tapa & Garlic Overload at Mr. Jones in Greenbelt 5.  TheCorporateTeener highly recommends it.  “Tapa” in this context loosely translates to strips of beef that had been cured.

  2.  I believe in this: “There comes a point in your life when you realize who matters, who never did, who won’t anymore…and who always will.  So, don’t worry about people from your past. There’s a reason why they didn’t make it to your future.”

Adidas Samba shoes... my favorite!

  1.  My favorite shoes are still the Samba by Adidas.  They’re the best!

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

He made me do a double take at my backpack

29 03 2010

Up in the air... at 30,000 feet, a snapshot of the Singapore Airlines plane I was on on a flight from Malaysia to Singapore.

THAT, AND text my superhero friends – Superman, Batman, and Cezter (yes!) – about everything he said and did that resonated with me.  I’ve worked with someone (almost) like him twice in the past.  And I have to tell you, it was never easy.  His job is and will never be easy.

But Ryan Bingham, played with a smug glow of self-gratification by the George Clooney, does manage to make it look all too easy.  In Jason Reitman’s Academy Award-nominated picture “Up In The Air,” Ryan is a corporate hatchet man – oops, a career transition counselor, to be politically correct about it – who flies all over America, firing people.  Yes, he makes his living by ridding other people of theirs.  But oh, saying “firing” could get him into trouble.  It should be “letting go of people.”  He faces these people and icily sticks the knife into their hearts, declaring their jobs to have either become “redundant” or “no longer available.”  And that they are being let go.

I say “icily” because no matter what these people’s reactions are, nothing is going to ruffle Ryan Bingham’s composure.  So, unruffled as he is, he unleashes his signature line: “Anybody who ever built an empire, or changed the world, sat where you are now.  And it’s because they sat there that they were able to do it.”  Quite cheesy to hear for someone who just realizes someone has moved his or her cheese!  And yet, Ryan Bingham chooses to finish off each “letting go” – okay, “firing” – with this line as he whips out a folder that summarizes the severance package, as well as the career transition assistance he offers.

Once he has freed up more swivel chairs and more desks, he’s back pulling his standard, nondescript carry-on luggage, through yet another airport check-in counter.  He breezes through X-Ray and body scanning not only because he packs light (just the way I do it too!) but because he has reduced traveling to a science and an art down pat (he knows very well to line up behind Asians!).

I sat in the movie theater – by my lonesome – feeling that Ryan Bingham has reduced his own life to an endless series of business trips.  He keeps racking up millions of miles (“I have a number in mind and I just haven’t hit it yet.”) and doesn’t look afraid that it may be all he has to show for.  His rationale in spending even his per diem – like the $40 he gets for each dinner – is only towards its conversion to more miles.  He sheds any form of attachment, a philosophy he hawks to packed hotel ballrooms in speaking engagements called, “What’s In Your Backpack?”  He says that “your relationships are the heaviest components of your life” and I believe him.  After all, he couldn’t even establish a relationship with his one-bedroom, enough to look forward to coming back to it from 30,000 feet up in the air.

While documentary-like snippets of the fired employees almost thrust the issues of a downsized America to my face, I couldn’t help but wonder that “Up In The Air” could very well be more a metaphor on Ryan Bingham’s life.  Everything was, as the title says, up in the air.  And while delayed realization on family, relationships and purpose in life comes to our protagonist – courtesy of a fling with fellow frequent flier Alex and showing the ropes of the business to corporate newbie Natalie (Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, respectively) – it does feel late in the game.

I felt so sorry for Ryan Bingham that when he finally got the ten million miles he has been dreaming of, he doesn’t have the carefree spirit to stare at the big airport airline destinations board, pick a city, and just go.

I didn't know I was channeling Ryan Bingham when I stood in front of the Glorietta 4 cinema schedule board initially undecided on which movie to watch. I decided on "Up In The Air," arguably one of the best pictures I have ever seen!


Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.