Category: ART & LEISURE

Music Compilation: 2000 -2010 Favourites

Music Compilation: 2000 -2010 Favourites

 

Music Compilation: 90s Favourites

Music Compilation: 90s Favourites

Below is a music compilation of my favourite 90s sound.

 

 

Spandau Ballet

Spandau Ballet

Spandau Ballet

True, Spandau Ballet were gods to me during the 80s.

I loved them so much. To Cut a Long Story Short I lost my mind!

I have to thank God that Duran Duran existed at the same time for my sister, Marilou.  To be honest,  I Don’t Need This Pressure On competing with my sister’s adoration of the same band.  Tony Hadley, Gary Kemp, Martin Kemp, John Keeble and Steve Norman of SB were mine.  🙂  My sister and I had a very good Communication.  She told me news about Duran Duran and I told her about Spandau.

There are also times when she saw merchandise of SB, she would generously buy them for me.  My sister was a Lifeline.

The 80s was Gold.    The New Romantics were in.  A lot of great bands were breeding in the UK and the US was producing the likes of Madonna and Cyndi Lauper.

Though Spandau Ballet did not make it really big in America, they were so popular in the Philippines.  Highly Strung girls, like me, would scream our head off when one of their songs were played.

Sadly seeing Spandau Ballet nowadays would be Through The Barricade, this is from my point of view as a purist.  Tony Hadley, the band’s vocalist has left the group, again.  It’s going Round and Round. Who knows, Tony might rejoin again in the near future. This is my Instinction.

A Love So Beautiful (Chinese Drama Review)


A Love So Beautiful (Chinese Drama Review)

This is such a cute drama.  I have seen about 9 12 episodes, in which only 9 so far are subtitled in English.  Despite the language barrier (can’t understand Chinese), I still found the drama quite engaging.  Probably because of the script is well developed and plus the fact that the cast is beautiful and handsome and most of them are newbies, new to the business, which is amazing in itself as they do deliver good acting.  When you have a good line-up of actors, it is usually hard to go wrong.

Cast:

  • Hu Yi Tian as Jiang Chen
  • Chen Yue as Chen Xiao Xi
  • Wang Zi Wei as Lin Jing Xiao
  • Gao Zhi Ting as Wu Bai Song
  • Zhang He Hao Zhen as Li Shu
  • Sun Ning as Lu Yang
  • Lv Yan as Li Wei

I love the main girl, Chen Xiao Xi.  She’s so lovely, full of vim.  She knows what she wants and goes for it.  At the age of 16 she wanted Jiang Chen, the genius boy of her class.

This drama spans 19 years of their turbulent romantic life.  Based from the trailers of coming episodes, it will not be all roses all the way through; there are a lot of angsts and buckets of tears!

There are apparently 24 episodes.  It is probably divided into 2 series, that is why their is hiatus after episode 12.

By the way, it can be hard to wait for Chinese dramas to be subbed in English, which is rather frustrating sometimes especially when the drama is deemed to be good. I would like, therefore, to thank some hard-working youtubers (most of them hold full time jobs and study) and only do subtitling in their spare time.  I would therefore would like to encourage you to subscribe to their channels to show appreciation.

Cheers!

 

Episode 1 

Chen Xiao Xi was without any qualms in pursuing Jiang Chen.  She told him she liked him in which he replied “I don’t like you.”  This hardly made Chen Xiao Xi stopped on her track.  In fact she researched on the internet how to make someone like you back.  So funny.  love it.

I love the characters.  Chen Xiao Xi is a least a foot shorter than Jiang Chen but somehow they looks so cute together.

Episode 2

This is story about children and parents.  Appreciate your parents while you still can.

Episode 3

This episode is about Chen Xiao Xi wanting to be the class monitor.

Episode 9

This episode is cuteness overload.  Jiang Chen and Xiao Xi riding the same bike together is just the cutest!  It is a bit sad though for the second male lead.  He is rather adorable in his own way because he always put Xiao Xi first before himself.. all the time!  The main topic of this episode is joining the class debating team.

Episode 10

Episode 11 is a rather sweet.  Finally Jiang Chen is showing a romantic interest in Xiao Xi. I wish I understand Chinese so I would have enjoyed it more; nevertheless action speaks louder than words.  And it was cute and romantic.

Episode 12, their class was going on a field trip.  During the trip Xiao Xi and her friends prepared for her confession again to Jiang Chen.  They brought fireworks with them which they would lit up as she was confessing.  Unfortunately, it did not go the way it was planned.  Another girl was confessing to Jiang Chen when the fireworks burst into a myriad of colours. Xiao Xi witnessed Jiang Chen hugging the girl. Thank goodness Wo Bu Song(second male lead) was there to take the crying Xiao Xi away from the scene.

Sungka – Filipino Mancala Game

Sungka Board, photo by JMorton

Sungka – Filipino Mancala Game

I used to be obsessed with this board game when I was a little girl.

For whatever reason my mother used to discourage us playing sungka.  She was really adamant that we should not play it.  I think I heard her say that it was a game of the dead or something.  She made it sound like there was something sinister about it.

But I’ve  always  had a mind of my own, and the more I was told ‘NO’ the more I had to do it; it was like a red rag to a bull to me, a fascination of the forbidden. 🙂  I was a tad naughty!  LOL

Probably that was the reason I loved playing sungka.   I used to ask a neighbour, Lagring, who was a year or two younger than me to play sungka.   We did not bother with the wooden board; at my instigation we would just dig little holes similar to those in the wooden board on the ground under our mango tree.  We would then gather little stones and away we play for what seems like hours.  🙂

My mother always knew what I was up to as I would come home with dirty hands and even dirtier finger nails.  And of course those little holes which suddenly appeared all over our backyard!  🙂

In the end, knowing that I would not really listen, she just gave up on her embargo against sungka.  Funnily enough as soon as the ban was lifted I moved on to another obsession, Jack’s Stone!  🙂

By the way the photo above was taken at late president Ferdinand Marcos childhood residence in Batac, Ilocos Norte.  It seemed President Marcos used to play sungka as well.  🙂

Click here to see a quick tutorial.

I actually want one for Christmas, thank goodness they are easily available here.

Delicious Home Made Pickled Beetroot

Delicious Home Made Pickled Beetroot

Our good friend and close neighbour Mick regularly supplies us with fresh vegetables grown on his allotment located across the road from us.

Mick has had his allotment for over fifty years, planting vegetables and even fruit trees.

One of my favourite vegetables he grows for harvesting each autumn time are beetroots. Mick grows a popular type called ‘Boltardty AGM’. Boltardy seeds can be sown at various times during the growing year and in most types of soil. It does not have excessive ‘bolting, a gardening term, which means premature sprouting of stalks flowering stem(s). Bolting can divert resources & nutriment from the beetroot and reduce it’s quality.

All Photos By PH Morton

After harvesting, Mick then produces jars of delicious slightly sweet pickled beetroot for his family and us. We save a jar for Christmas time. Beetroot is perfect to accompany Christmas meals.  This year, Mick invited me to harvest some of his beetroot. He then showed us how to make his ‘signature’ pickled beetroot. I took various photos from harvesting to our jars filled with delicious picked beetroot. Under Mick’s tutelage and help, Jean & I enjoyed producing our own jars of this delicious vegetable. Making pickled beetroot is quite simple & straightforward. 🙂

If using home grown beetroots from garden or allotment etc., a good time to harvest is from 50 to 70 days after planting. Avoid letting the beetroot get too big. A hand or tennis ball size is ideal. Do not let the stalks/stems bolt or grow above 6 inches (15cms). Dig around the beetroot and pick up avoiding breaking the stalk/greens from the beetroot.

Thoroughly clean & wash the dirt off and trim the stalks/stems short. Again do not pull out the stems, as water can get into the beetroot and damage it when boiling prior to pickling.

Harvested fresh beetroot can be stored in a refrigerator for about seven days.

Depending how many beetroots you are pickling, you will require:-

  1. Pickling /preserve jars with airtight lids. The normal size is around 500ml, or as large as you want. Most hardware stores will supply.
  2. Pickling vinegar, which comes in 1.4 litre size. Most larger supermarkets etc supply.
  3. Brown or white sugar granules to sweeten the vinegar taste to your choice.

Place the beetroots in a suitable sized saucepan(s) and cover with water.

Boil for two hours.

Carefully strain off the water and either allow air cooling or running cold water over the beetroots then dry.

Completely remove remaining stalks/roots etc.

The boiled soft skin of the beetroot does not need to be peeled with a knife as can be easily removed by hand.

Cut or slice the beetroot to whatever size you prefer.

Pour in small amount sugar, then add a small measure of the pickling vinegar, enough to cover the first layer of the slices of beetroot into the bottom of the jar.  Sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar (to taste) then add another layer, pour pickling vinegar, then another layer, sugar, pickling vinegar until it reaches the top of the jar.

Close the jar, gently shake it then turn it upside down and leave for about 30 minutes. This will allow the vinegar and sugar to seep through the beetroot. Top up with the pickling vinegar if needed to completely cover the sliced beetroot in the jar.

If you want you can label the jar with day & month of pickling.

Home made pickled beetroot can be kept for 6 weeks to 3 months, refrigerated.
In practice, it can be longer.

But if you store them beyond 3 months and you’re worried, check for signs of spoilage (rising bubbles, cloudy liquid, unnatural colour) and don’t eat or taste.

Chinese & Taiwanese Dramas OST

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Chinese & Taiwanese Dramas OST

What makes a drama memorable?  There are a lot to consider but I think one big factor is the soundtrack that goes with it.  With just a few notes, you know what drama the soundtrack is from.

I can’t understand Chinese Mandarin or Cantonese but somehow the tune of the music gets to me.

Here is a list of my favourite.

  • Guess, by Joanne Tseng for Attention, Love (Taiwanese Drama)
  • Ending Cut, by Eleanor Lee for The Big Boss (Chinese Drama)
  • I’ll be There, by Silence Wang for Dear Prince (Taiwanese Drama)
  • Promise by A.N. Jell for Fabulous Boys (Taiwanese Drama)
  • Is This a Dream by Hu Ti Yian for A Love So Beautiful (Chinese Drama)

 

Because This is My First Life (KDrama Review)

Because This is My First Life (KDrama Review)

This is a rather tender love story.  It stars the gorgeous Jung So-Min and a return to the small screen for Lee Min-ki in a leading role after 10 years.

I would watch anything with Jung So-min in it because she is such a good actress and she has that fresh and bright screen presence, which I like.

I was really pleasantly surprised with this drama.  There are a lot of things going on with the various characters.  But in the middle of it all is a tender and sweet developing love story between two lonely and rather reserved individuals.

Jung So-min plays Yoon Ji-ho, a 30 year old assistant writer of melodrama who is being taken advantage by work mates and family and became homeless.  By sheer coincidence she ended up renting a spare room with Nam-se-hee (played by Lee Min-ki).

Se-hee at 38 had his life planned in minute details.  He owns his apartment by way of a mortgage, which he hoped to have paid in 12 years time and is scrimping every penny to do so.

Nam-se-hee has rented out his spare room but had had bad luck with tenants until he met Ji-ho. She was ideal for him.  She is quite house-proud.  When writing, she would clean and polish every surface in the house to get her inspiration.  She also loves Kitty, Se-hee’s cat.  That’s not all she avidly does the recycling.  And to top it all, she loves football/soccer.  She support Arsenal just like Se-hee and they would spend time watching the game on tv. To prevent any complication they had a contract where they agreed that they can not like each other in a romantic way.

Se-hee’s parents are pressuring him to settle down and get married.  Se-hee asked Ji-hoo to marry him but Ji-hoo had to turn him down as she equates marriage with love and affection, not just a landlord and tenant in a contractual marriage.  She wants the real deal..

Ji-hoo moved out but found that she was lonelier and so does Se-hee.  He was missing her.

I love that Se-hee is beginning to loosen up a bit from being very uptight.  It is very slowly but really rather sweet to watch.

In episodes 3-4, after Ji-hoo was assaulted by a drunk actor, whom she had a crush on for three years, Ji-hoo was at her lowest ebb.  This finally drove her to accept Se-hee’s proposal of marriage.

It is a sweet love story and Min-ki and So-Min have a good chemistry.

I can’t wait for tonight’s episode. This drama is made up of 16 episodes shown every Mondays and Tuesdays  Yey!

I do highly recommend this drama.  In the first episode there was that conversation about the neocortex.  The neocortex is that part of the brain that gives you memory and sensory. The neocortex is the price humans have to pay for evolution.

Episodes 5 & 6

Woah what happened to the gentle and tender love story developing between the leads?  In these episode they have gotten married but before you can say honeymoon period, the gravity that pulled them together is now putting them asunder. Friction no less.

I supposed you can see a mile off when Ji-hoo behaved like a new bride and develop a cute proprietorial affection to her husband, Kitty, the cat and the house, that Se-hee can only pull back.  He doesn’t do affection from a wife or anybody.  He wanted a paying tenant.  His goal is clear to him.  He wanted the marriage to last for 2 years, until then they will go their separate way. still platonic, bordering on being really strangers to prevent any complication.  He wanted to live alone in his little flat where he wanted to die alone as well.  This situation of course saddened the already lonely Ji-hoo.  She was so embarrassed that she put back all her defences on high alert.  It is war! 🙂

I am so looking forward to how this story develops next weeks.

Episodes 7-8

After walking out from her writing job, Ji-hoo found a part-time job as a waitress at a nearby coffee shop called YOLO (You Only Live Once) from her husband’s workplace.  It was only time that he sees her.  And he did.  He saw his young missus astride an expensive motorcycle with a young gorgeous man.  He felt a twinge of jealousy but stopped himself because she was a wife in name only.

The young man is Bok Nam, teases Ji-Hoo with “if you have a husband, can’t you have a boyfriend?”  Which concerns her as she feels the loneliness from her pretend marriage.  Bok Nam continued to shower her with time and affection, treating her very well in a touchy feely sort of way, even buying her a hair grip and a book.  Very different from her stoic husband.

The end of episode 8 was very uplifting!  It looks like a happy ending afterall for Ji-hoo and Se Hee.  She thinks that love exists as Se hee extends his hand to her asking her to go home with him.

Episodes 9-10

There was a bit of misunderstanding.  Se Hee, after receiving various misinformation, thought that Bok Nam was the stalker and rapist in a dating site Se Hee’s work have been running. Thus, he thought that Ji-hoo was in danger.  Se Hee, very out of character, kicked the very expensive motorcycle.

Bok Nam actually was quite innocent.  He was a victim of identity theft.

The hand-holding did not last long.  Again Se Hee explained in detail that they can’t be any more than landlord and tenant because after their contract marriage is over, the impact on Ji-hoo will be immense as a woman and much younger than him.

He is really getting on my nerves 🙁  He will step towards her and then pull back.  Poor Ji Hoo.  Bok Nam teases her that she has a one-sided love for her husband.  Ji Hoo was a bit concerned but she can’t help herself.

Bok Nam told Ji hoo that he forgave her husband from destroying his motorcycle because he said something lovely about Ji hoo.  Apparently Se Hee respect her and she is a good defender (as in football).  She knows how to look after herself and their relationship.

But this again did not last long because Se Hee said that she failed her defender role by kowtowing to his parents.  He was very upset when Ji Hoo went to help out on the memorial day of his family.  He paid Ji hoo for all her effort with 100,000 KRW ($90).  Ji Hoo was rather insulted and said that the payment was not enough, he had to work in her family farm in the week and make kimchee.

Episodes 11

OMG this episodes’s last 5 minutes  is the business.  It was so darn cute.  I can’t wait for it to be subtitled when I first watched it raw.  The kissing was terrifically passionate.

Woah Se Hee was  so manly and sexily forceful.  LOL

Thank goodness, I thought from the trailer last week that it was going to be a dream, the seaside kissing,  I mean.  But no siree!  Se Hee said that he had been meaning to correct Ji Hoo’s bus stop kiss.  He said that was not a kiss, not even a peck.  It was just momentary touching of lips.  He then proceeded to snog her face.  He then asked if she understood and would she like him to show her once more?  Our good girl, Ji Hoo, said yes.  … and more kisses.

It looks like it would be a rather romantic episode tomorrow based on the trailer.  But there was a quick shot of Se Hee ex-girldfriend.  Nooooo

We have only another 5 episodes.  We don’t want heartbreaks, we don’t want misunderstanding.  We want lots of loving, a lot of affectionate activities, plenty more of tonsil hockey and probably some tasteful under the sheets frolicking.  LOL

Episode 12

What can I say?  This is the episode that we have been waiting.  For an hour or so, it packed quite a dramatic, romantic, comedic and at the same time melancholic vignettes.

There were so much kissing between Se Hee and Ji Hoo (I like)  It was so hilarious at the start when Ji Hoo was really into it while here mobile was ringing.  Se Hee was a good sport, he continued kissing while alerting her of the ringing phone. Phenomenal.

This drama really is of three couples.  Se Hee and Ji Hoo of course are in the middle of it.

Ji Hoo has a couple of bffs since middle school,  Soo Ji and Ho Rang.

Soo Ji has a high powered corporate job, where she constantly suffers from sexual harassment from colleagues.  Soo Ji puts up with it most times but now and again she strikes back.  She started dating Ma Sang-goo, the CEO of where Se Hee works.  As much as Sang-goo wants to get even closer to Soo Ji, she rebuffs his advances.  She wanted to keep it casual.  She said that she lives in a shitty situation and does not want to drag Sang-goo into it.

I must say that their relationship is fun and romantic.  I love their teasing and being very sexual and yet tender romance.  Esom (Soo Ji) & Park Byung Eun (Mr Ma) have a lovely chemistry.  You actually believe their love affair.  At first I was rather surprised about Park Byung Eun.  I have only seen him playing the shady/baddy characters in dramas in the past.  He was actually fanciable as a leading man.

As to Ho Rang, she has the most heart-rending story.  She is living with her boyfriend, Won Seok, of 7 years on the small top floor apartment overlooking great scenic view of Seoul.

Her raison d’etre was to get married and be a good stay-at-home housewife.  With some manipulation she was finally able to make Won Seok, pop the question.  She happily planned a rather lavish wedding, thinking that they have enough money, after all they have been saving at least a 1000 KRW a month.  Unbeknown to her Won Seok had hardly put anything as his company was not making any money.  In fact he gave up his company and now worked as a salary man with Mr Ma and Se Hee.

Ho Rang, though very sad, won’t say anything, which only troubled and stressed Won Seok.  He knew that they are dancing around the issues of marriage, wedding and money and careful not to go into these as it would lead to a point of no return.

Won Seok had to sadly ask Ho Rang to postpose the wedding for another 5 years.  Ho Rang reminded him that she will be 35 in 5 years and have been together for 12 years.  Won Seok, with breaking heart asked her to break up. hu hu hu  Really sad.

Can’t wait for the next episode.

According to the trailer Se Hee’s ex is back in town!  Noooo

 

Fated to Love You (You’re My Destiny) Dramas

This drama is so good that it has been remade in Korean and currently by Thailand.

The story is about a timid office girl, who would try to do anything and everything to please her office co-workers, who accidentally slept (apparently this can happen 🙂 LOL) with a CEO of a large company.

Three months later, they met again but at this time, the girl found out that she was pregnant.  After a shotgun marriage, the two learned to live together but it was far from smooth sailing.  There were faced it so much emotional upheaval that the girl lost her baby.

Though they loved one another, they thought it was the unborn baby, Doggie Poop, who was holding them together.  So they decided to go on their separate ways.

But as the title says, they were fated to love.  Three years on, they met again.  This time the girl is now successful in her own right so on par with the man.  They finally got together and had a baby or two and lived happily ever after.

 

Fated to Love You (You’re My Destiny) Dramas

Fated to Love You (Taiwanese Version)

The original version is of course stars the very watchable Joe Chen and Ethan Ruan. It was made in 2008. They have a sweet, very touching chemistry.  Joe Chen was perfect to play the girl, Chen Xin Yi (Elaine).  She showed so much vulnerability that you feel for her.  You can see all the gamut of emotion running through her face.  Brilliant actress.  Ethan Ruan was a perfect foil to Joe.  Love them together.

Also the other characters were also rather adorable.  The story would make you cry and love at the antics of the other characters.

Fated to Love You (2014 Korean Version)

I love the Taiwanese version so much but I got curious with this Korean one.

OmG.  I was so pleasantly surprised.  It is of course the same story but it is still as fresh.  I have to say Jang Hyuk with his evil incessant laughter made me smile.  I think he has never look handsomer than in this drama.  His floppy curls only made him more masculine, a sex on two legs as they say, very fanciable! 🙂

Jang Nara of course is perfect to play the female lead, having the same delicate vulnerable face as Joe Chen.

They chemistry is so hot, rather sexual.  LOL

The opening scene where Lee Gun (Jang Hyuk) being the CEO of Chemical industry corp, controls the ads for their new shampoo.  He was not happy with the model who was behaving like a diva.  So he proceeded to show the director and crew how he wants the ads to look by doing it himself.  Woah sexy!  This of course, is the beginning of a very sexy drama.  Fated to Love You (Korean)

You’re My Destiny (2017 Thai Version)

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