Fabulous Finds: Banana Leaf

Having worked ni Malaysia for 3 1/2 years, I opted to stay away from eating at Banana Leaf. The point was that I've been eating Malay cuisine during my stay there so it's just redundant to eat at Banana Leaf.

We wanted to eat at Recipes Greenbelt last Sunday but it was under construction. Well, since it has been a long while since I've gone to Malaysia, I guess now is a good time to try Banana Leaf.

And a good time it was! The Malay/Thai cuisine was authentic. The mee goreng and prata tasted equally well as that in KL. The missus and my boy's tastebuds agreed as well.

Good food if you want to venture into Malay/Thai cuisine.


The Talented Mr. Montano

I guess you're living under an internet rock if you haven't read the blog on DJ Montano. In a nutshell, it's an ongoing real-life drama on how Brian, an HIV+ Australian, is blogging his heart out to get back USD 70,000.00 from DJ Montano, a Filipino who supposedly duped Brian of the amount, having him believe of a business to be put in the Philippines. He mentioned as well that DJ is a member of the Gucci Gang, whose members include Celine(?) Lopez and Tim Yap.

I admire Brian's guts to use the might of the pen (err, keyboard) into getting DJ to pay back his money. I envy the guy more for the amount of money he'll be getting from all those hits in his Google-Ads.
Well Brian, for all it's worth, I hope you get back that money.



Arnel had confirmed that the story [below] is true. A little bit flawed from the consul's side as to who made the initial contact - Neal Schon or Arnel. Nevertheless, the story is true and confirmed. According to Noel, the people who were lining up for interview were startled when he started singing.

Forwarded by a SOMEONE who used to work the visa windows at the US embassy.

I have a nice holiday story to share: (Apologies to Snider who's now heard this 14 times, but hey, your stories aren't getting any newer.)

Months ago a band shows up at my window. It was Lemons and Oranges, or something fruity. Asked why they would play a concert in Seattle. They claimed some following there. I asked about their music; looked at their posters, CDs, etc. At the end of the interview, they were saying, "come out and see our show tonight." This invite was probably due to my withering questioning, and since they thought they were hot stuff, pride was wounded, etc. etc. It turned out that the venue is actually on the way home from the Embassy, only ten minutes away. So I says, "I can't take any free tickets yada yada yada but maybe I'll pop in."

It was a Friday. I went with two LES. We got a table, ordered some beer, fried chicken and so on. The opening band comes on. They were called "Zoo"--this I'm sure of, since I'm from Kalamazoo, the name stuck. The Zoo starts rocking out to 70/80s tunes, like Foreigner, Night Ranger, etc. But the coup de grace was indisputably when they busted out Journey. I mean, the singer was not just good--95% of all Filipinos are good singers--he was really dern good. I couldn't shut up about it. I was telling anyone who would listen, "Dude, not only does this guy have pipes, and range, he's got perfect pitch. He has only missed a few notes on some of the hardest power ballads in schlock n roll history." The LES grudgingly agreed, but they've been desensitized to the regular displays of amazing karaoke you get in Manila, so maybe they were just humoring me.

Since I'm from Michigan, I had an older brother who sported a mullet and wore softball t-shirts. His first 8-track was Styx. Ted Nugent is referred to simply as the Nuge, or Uncle Ted. The Silver Bullet invokes Bob Seger not Coors. In short, I'm qualified to judge this kind of thing. The performance was poignant for me... Images of Camaros and pegged jeans danced in my head... definitely surreal. Then.. then!... Lemons and Oranges comes on and, frankly, they were a bit of a let down. I mean, their music was Edie Brickel / Natalie Merchantesque. And that's fine --it has its place-- but let's be clear: it is a metaphysical transgression to go from Journey's "Separate Ways" into Lisa Loeb's "Stay..."

The next week I'm sitting at an NIV window next to a soon-to-be legend of an officer name Singer. Singer and I were doing FMJs and so we would trade off regular NIV applicants occassionally so that we got fair share of student visas. Singer loves the three things: the FAM, movie quotes that might cost him an EEO violation someday, and cases that make sense. Things that don't make sense, make Singer an unhappy man.

I hear Singer say, "Journey? The band Journey?" He flips through papers. He sounds unhappy.

I butt in: "What's that all about?"

He turns off his mic and looks over at me. "I don't know. This guys says he's going to try out for Journey."

I'm puzzled. "Journey? The band Journey?"

Singer goes, "That's what I just said, [EXPLETIVE]!"

"Great, another nutjob. I'll take it." Singer takes my student, I take the nutjob.

I look over his stuff and say "purpose of travel?" and all that. I start to scrutinize more carefully and realize its the guy I saw from the night before.

"Hey, does your band at Bagaberde?.. ."

He confirms and he goes on to tell me the story of how he uploaded some clips of his band that he recorded to YouTube and contacted Journey's manager, having heard they were looking for a new singer. He says they called him up and invited him to the U.S. to try out. Given the malarkey you get at a Manila NIV window, this story only got points for being original. He produced some flimsy emails and letters, etc.

So I go, in my best dubious voice, "Yeah? let's hear Wheels in the Sky!"

He belts it out for the whole waiting room and for the staff to hear (I made sure to take off my headset and let the speaker play it because what I was really doing was covering my butt).
I said, "Look sir, there isn't a person in this Embassy who would believe that story-- going to try out for Journey!-- not a soul would believe that. Except for me. I saw you sing last Friday and I couldn't shut up about how your vocals were perfect Steve Perry.

So I tell you what. I'm giving you that visa. You're going to try out. And you're going to make it...."

And the rest is rock n roll history, my friends.

(source: YouTube)


The Plan

7am. It was a typical Friday morning. I woke up and dragged myself to the treadmill to do the occasional 4km jog/walk. This was my 3rd physical activity for the week, following a previous treadmill activity on Monday and then basketball on Wednesday evening. The Griffin earphones that I bought 2 years ago at the HK airport proved helpful, plugging it on my N81 company phone and tuning it to 103.5 FM. It was at this station that I rediscovered one of the funny DJs that calmed the morning rush hour: DJ King Logan.

I first heard him on 89.9 about 9 years ago. The show was called Boys’ Night Out. I came across it accidentally when I tuned to TM after one of my evenings with the missus, who was then my girlfriend. Driving back from New Manila to Paranaque in the evening was ok, except for that mild stretch of road called Balete Drive, infamous for all those horror stories so tuning in to that funny evening show made my drive a lot less lonesome.

So anyway, as I started my Friday morning run, DJ Logan openly admitted on radio that he’ll be booking a liposuction procedure with one of those famous health clinics. He decided on going thru the knife to get rid of his excess fat since he has surrendered to all means possible to try to lose it. He ran 10km a day but he says his 195lb, 5’9” frame hasn’t slimmed down. He stressed that the liposuction he’ll be having will serve as a jump start so that he’ll be inspired to work out and keep his body fit. Furthermore, by the time the results of his lipo are noticed, it will be just in time for him to display his new improved figure in Boracay during the summer.

He asked the listeners to call/sms him on what they think about it. Some were for it while others were against it. Some said it was not “macho” for a man to go for a lipo. Logan insisted that since he has the resources (a.k.a. money) to spend, he should use it to spend for a lipo that he thinks will make him happier in his current middle-age crisis.

Logan’s lipo adventure made me think more seriously about my current battle with my weight. My recent annual physical exam proved, yet again, that I’m overweight (22lbs to be exact) from attaining a normal BMI. I’ve been stuck at the 170-172lb range for what seemed to be ages now so I think I better plan this out for real. Nope, I will not resort to lipo or any of those slimming pills. If you look carefully at those products that tell you it will make you lose weight, the fine print will show that all these equipment/pills will only be effective IF AND ONLY IF it is accompanied by REGULAR EXERCISE and a PROPER DIET.

Starting today, I hope to implement my health plan below:

1. Monday to Friday: no rice, no merienda. Drink lots and lots of water. Pantawid gutom: papak oatmeal.
2. Saturday to Sunday: eat anything.
3. Treadmill: 3 times a week. 4-5kms per session.
4. Basketball: every Wednesday evening with my office buddies. If none, replace with treadmill.
5. No colas.

I hope to follow the above program to the letter. I now weigh about 172lbs. My target weight loss is 22lbs. Therefore, my target weight should be 150lbs when this is all over.

It’s tough. But, personally, it’s better than lipo.

Let’s DO this!

"...the business is over..."

Ang galing mo idol!


Fabulous Finds: Cookbook Kitchen

The missus, Owa, and I had dinner earlier at the Cookbook Kitchen, a quaint semi-fine-dining resto hidden within the residential neighborhood of Mandaluyong City. The place was recommended by my officemate JD, who frequents such hidden dining venues in search for that sumptuous meal.

We ordered the cream of squash soup and italian toast for appetizers. For the main course, the missus ordered the Pork Steak with Honey Mustard Sauce, the Farfalle pasta for Owa, and the Parmesan Crusted White Fish for me (which I found very very melt-in-your-mouth delicious!).

For dessert, we all shared a slice of Kittin's Scarlet Cake which, true enough, lived up to its description of "Something you've never seen or tasted before."

The whole dinner totaled a little over P1,100 which we found reasonable considering the delectable meal that we had.

Btw, you can view Cookbook Kitchen's menu via their multiply site here.

Great food!


Vista Blues

"Gusto mo ng bagong (office) laptop?", my boss called.

I looked like a surprised kid on Christmas morning when I saw a fresh delivery of laptops to my boss' office last Friday which were part of a delivery for this year's budget.

"Oo naman!" I said while picking up one of the laptop bags. It contained an HP with 2GB RAM and 140GB harddisk, running on the latest Windows Vista equipped with a finger scanner. This was waaay cool since I saw my Mom buy a similar laptop with the same fingerprint technology.

So I spent half of last Saturday and the whole of today (Monday) in setting-up the laptop and transferring files from my old laptop.

Then, happiness turned to dismay.

I was able to install Outlook 97 but it was damn slow. Error-prompts kept appearing. Then, AFTER I transfered all my files I realized that the Office programs and Norton Antivirus were all trial-versions only. To add further, there was a confirmed incompatibility from Microsoft on Windows Vista Home Edition working with office-networks: the two simply don't work together.

With a heavy heart, I then decided to migrate back my files to my old laptop (running in Win2000) and give the new laptop to AC, my staff, who incidentally was the guy I picked to sign the ownership form. I heard the other guys who got the same laptop will request for a downgrade to the WinXP version to make it work with the office LAN, but I won't bother anymore. I think I'll stick with this old laptop of mine which still works perfectly.