Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Memory Lane 懐かしい ... Monkeys

I LOVE animals with a passion!

They're cute, they're cuddly!

But NOT fuckin' Monkeys!

Nasty beggars that seem sad and vulnerable until you fall for their ruse and then they go for the kill!
...Not literally, but you get my drift.

Don't trust those cute furry faces because they know hot to use their good looks against you.

Case and Point:
I was in Malaysia and I had bought a coconut to cool down during the hot part of the day.

There's my Coconut.

After I drank it, I got it cut up and put into a bag.

There were tons of monkeys where I was and one was standing next to me and I offered it one.  Trying to do the nice humanitarian thing.

Thieving Bastard that's very distantly related  

Well, the little thief saw I feel for its act and climbed up my leg and grabbed at my bag o' coconuts!  I pulled for a bit but then I realized, I didn't want this think biting or scratching at me because who knows why kind of disease it had: Rabies, HIV, Ebolasyphilitis A-Z!  WHO KNOWS?!

Long story short.  Don't feed those greedy bastards!  They just take take take and if they give you something, it's probably something you don't want.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Show: A Young Doctor's Notebook

 I can't stop raving about this series, but I can't help it.
This series is bloody brilliant!...no pun intended

IMDB's synopsis:
Russia, 1917. Straight out of medical school, a young doctor is sent to a remote village in the middle of nowhere to run a small hospital. The young doctor soon discovers that the realities of his profession bear no resemblance to his training and learns that textbooks are no help to him now.

My synopsis:
Young Dr. Vladimir Bomgard, newly graduated from med school bumbles his way in the middle of bum-fuck-nowhere Muryevo Hospital.  He's ailed by isolation, alcohol, drugs, his older self...you name it!  This dark comedy series has it all: sex, blood, gore, death and drugs.  

Honestly, for a better synopsis, click HERE!

Believe me, this is a light day for him.

Oh, did I mention that Donald Draper and Harry Potter are the main characters.

When I watch this show, I don't know whether to cringe at the almost Tarantinoesque blood and gore or laugh at the slapstick humor that the Brits are known for.

I love the banter between the young and senior Dr. Bomgard!  Sometimes it's like the blind leading the blind but their interactions are priceless!

I already loved Jon Hamm from his performance in Mad Men, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Million Dollar Arm but I think this was the first time I saw Daniel Radcliffe as an actor beyond just being Harry Potter (David Copperfield doesn't count because he was REALLY young).

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Memory Lane 懐かしい...Malaysia Hop on Bus

If you have a free day with nothing particularly planned, hop on the City Tour Bus

I forget what it's officially called, but it was such a brilliant idea, I wondered why more places didn't do this.  You pay a single fee for the day or for a single trip.  If you have a day pass, you can get on and off when ever you like at any of the stops.  This idea only made it to my home town last year and I did this trip back in 2008.

Check out some of the great things I got to see from the Bus!

I can't wait to go back!

Memory Lane 懐かしい... Cendol and other goodies from Malaysia

I LOVE Cendol!

I first had it in Malaysia and it was my go to dessert to cool down.  In fact, it has to be my favorite sweet from Malaysia.

This is what I would call the food for the Gods or Ambrosia but better!

I just love it and there are so many different ways to make it!

I was looking up the recipe and found this site
Here's one that I found online:

Cendol Batter Recipe

5 Tbsp Hoen Kwe flour (mung bean flour)
4 Tbsp rice flour
1 Tbsp tapioca flour
½ tsp salt
625ml water
A few drops pandan concentrate
1. Combine all the ingredients and mix well.  Cook on low heat, stirring constantly until the batter thickens and turns translucent.
2. Prepare a bowl of iced water.
3. Put a small amount of batter into potato ricer and squeeze into iced water.  Repeat until all the batter is used up.
4. Transfer cendol into container. It’ll keep in the fridge for about 4 days.

Cendol Drink Recipe

This is the recipe I used for my restaurant cendol drink, and it’s heavily modified from what you can expect to get in Malaysia.  That’s because I don’t have access to fresh coconut milk; I use packet coconut milk and add a bit of evaporated milk to it.
3 TBS cendol
60ml clear sugar syrup*
80ml coconut milk
20ml evaporated milk
½ cup shaved ice
30ml palm sugar syrup **
1. We put the cendol in a glass, then add all the other stuff and top up the glass with cold water. Feel free to experiment with sugar amounts and adjust to taste.
* made by dissolving 2 cups white sugar and pinch of salt in 375ml water, then cooled. Store in fridge.**made by dissolving 2 logs Indonesian Gula Jawa or Gula Aren in 4 cups water, then cooled. Store in fridge.

On a side note,
I wanted to post other pics of food that I enjoyed over in Malaysia
Very delicious pineapple tarts that I got from Chinatown in Melaka.  It was still warm!
My lovely couch surfing host made a lovely spread of food for us

Here is more from our lovely host!

I have no idea what this drink is but I LOVED IT!

And now, for something different:

A chicken stew with lemon sticky rice and a lovely limeade.

I like checking out franchises in international settings to see what they do to accommodate local tastes and food and this Micky D's did such a great job I think!
I was eating an egg sandwich but I ordered a HUGE cup of Mile (I LOVE Milo!) and I had to take a picture of the paper menu with a Chicken Pita sandwich and Azuki bean sundaes

Monday, March 23, 2015

Movie: Mr. Pip

So, I look and see what Netflix has to offer from time to time and every now and then, I find a gem.

Mr. Pip is one such movie.

I am huge Hugh Laurie fan but the synopsis is what drew me in:
In the early 1990s, civil war plagues Papua New Guinea. Against this backdrop, eccentric teacher Mr. Watts forms an unlikely bond with a 12-year-old local girl over their love of Charles Dickens's novel Great Expectations.

This movie is PG-13 and deals with very hard issues about civil war and oppression as well as corruption for the rating it received.  I feel like movie addressed these topics artfully and would move you emotionally but it wasn't doing it so much for shock value as much as telling a story from a girl's point of view.

Matilda lives with her mom in Bougainville or the Solomon islands of Papua New Guinea and are stuck there since a blockade kept people from leaving the island or entering.  Mr. Watt is the only foreigner left and he takes it upon himself to teach the children about literature after all the schools on the island shut down.  He reads to them 'Great Expectations' and enthralls everyone with Pip's journey.

Unfortunately, there is a civil war waging around them and Matilda uses her vivid imagination to block out the less than savory parts of her life: violence, death, etc..

Who ever was in charge of Costumes must have had lots of fun!

There are some beautifully shot scenes on site as well as in New Zealand.  When Matilda gets lost in her imagination, she is placed in Dicken's world and time.  The costumes are so vibrant and fun, and the setting is perfect for the story they are telling.

On a side note, I really appreciate this movie because the story telling was beautifully done with stunning shots of Bougainville and the movie was well casted.  All in all, I thought it was tactful when dealing with hard issues and very poetic with their writing or setting up a scene.

On a side note:
Other movies that deal with similarly difficult issues/topics: Hotel Rwanda, the Pianist, Casualties of War, etc...
These movies did a good job of portraying these horrific times but there is usually too much gore, swearing and sex - especially for the more recent movies - for it to be PG-13 so the ratings usually were rated-R.  If I were to show the aforementioned movies to a bunch of 13-year-old kids, I don't know if I'll be comfortable with showing these movies in their entirety even though many say that preteens and teenagers are desensitized to media.  Granted, maybe I was a weird teenager back and that liked and sought out movies that were a bit more gritty and pushed you emotionally but Mr. Pip does it artfully and tastefully - if you can even use those words for these harsh topics.

Point being, I thought it was well done.  A bit of an emotional roller coaster but well done.

Bring Tissues.

Interview at Toronto Film Festival

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Memory Lane 懐かしい... Batu Caves Malaysia

I can't wait to go back to Malaysia!  I can't help but think about all the fond memories I have of that country.

The Petronas Towers...again!  I can't get enough of this structure.  I had to find a bus somewhere near here to get to Batu Caves.  Luckily my CS hostess told me which bus to chose because it would otherwise be confusing.

Batu Caves takes its name from Sungai Batu or Batu River and is one of the most visited Hindu Shrine outside of India.

This shrine is dedicated to Lord Murugan.

Great view from up here

A really amazing cavern main of Limestone

An obligatory Monkey Pic.

Let me tell you though.  This monkey slighted me when I was offering it some coconut, the greedy bugger thought what I offered it wasn't enough.  SO, it decided to climb up my leg and pull at my bag of coconut from my hands!  I didn't want any monkey disease so I relinquished my hold on the bag and Lo!  Behold the little thief!

I've grown to mistrust monkeys but they're still amusing critters

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Happy National Ag Day!

The one thing that I love about where I live is that we do take pride in our produce.

Just to give a shout out to the farms that I love to visit and are open for the public to come and see as well:

Hamakua Mushrooms
This farm grows and ships mushrooms statewide and their mushrooms can be found in big name super stores like Costco.

Watch them grow

Hawaiian Vanilla Company:

This local company spent years trying to learn about cultivating vanilla and has done an excellent job of turning this experiment into a lucrative international business.

Volcano winery is located one stop after the national park's main entrance.  They infuse a lot of the local fruits with their wines to get a unique flavor of what grows here.  The best part is doing tastings outside right by the vineyard and getting a tour by the owner, Dell Bothoff.

Kahua Ranch:
This spot has a special place in my heart because this is where I held my wedding reception and the sunsets are absolutely breath taking!
You can buy their meat, as well as enjoy an evening dinner, a day of horseback riding or workshops like sheep shearing.  


Big Island Tea Company:  Check out this article

And...I'm not even going to touch the various Coffee farms all around, so have fun with that :)

Movie: Scott Pilgrim vs the World

For all the gamers and closeted-gamers-that-don't-want-to-be-associated-with-gaming-but-still-love-games-on-the-inside, I've found the perfect movie for you!

Meet Scott Pilgrim!

Scott Pilgrim is a musician for Sex Bob-Omb and his group is competing in Battle of the Bands to be #1.  Along the way, Scott falls in love with a new girl in town but in order to win her heart, he needs to battle all of her evil exes!

I know the premise doesn't sound all that great but it's all the little details in this movie that makes it so fun!  Gaming fans along with comic book fans will enjoy the little references.

I know I did.

Reminds me of the old Adam West Batman series

Reminds me of old RPGs where you would go up to an item press B or something like that and it'll give you a nice little descriptor...before you throw it!

You remember those games or even the game walk-through with sections that tell you about the 'monster'...?

This movie is like going through an Role Playing Game.  There is also reference to their source material, the graphic novel by Bryan Lee O'Malley.

Just go watch it.