Monday, May 29, 2017

May Hodgepodge

I'm quite happy that I got to spend time in this last month catching up with many friends I don't get to see often. My friend Pia moved back to the Philippines and we met up for coffee and wine in Single Origin. I joined her and a couple of our other friends Joh and Alvin about a week or so later for lunch at Cibo in SM Aura. I also got to visit Ayala Malls The 30th in Ortigas for the first time to meet up with my friends Tim, Aldwin, and Mark. (Interestingly enough, I got to visit this mall a second time several days later, but I will write about that later). I had dinner at Gringo with my ex-colleagues Auds and Marco. Also, for the first time since maybe 2003, I got to meet up with my friend Daday more than once in the same year. We met back in January and we met again this May for dinner at Spatzle in Shangri-La Mall. We ordered bacon-wrapped mozzarella sticks for our appetizer and I ordered Rosti Complet, a potato pancake topped with bacon, mushrooms, and egg and served with truffle sauce. Talk about your bacon overload (although, as many of my friends said, there is no such thing as bacon overload LOL).

Rosti Complet at Spatzle in Shangri-La Mall

For me, no month would be complete without tabletop games and interestingly enough, all the games I played in May were those I had never played before. On my first game night, I played Dungeon Petz which I think is my new favorite game. I also got to play Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, a cooperative game (thankfully, we won both rounds we played). The last game I played that night was The Lord of the Ice Garden. This one has very interesting game mechanics but it was pretty tough to come up with a winning strategy. On my second game night of the month, I got to play a few rounds of Santorini before capping off the relatively short evening with Ticket to Ride: Asia. For the first time in a long time, I actually won a game! What was sweeter about that Ticket to Ride: Asia win was that I won by one point. I have lost by one or two points so many times in the past so I was really happy to finally be on the winning side of a game that was that close.

Ticket to Ride: Asia (my red token beat the blue token by only one point!)

I also started to slowly get my place in order. The pop-up drain in my sink was damaged a while back and it was only a few days ago that I got a plumber to finally fix it. I also purchased my very own personal printer so I can print stuff at home. In my many attempts to look for the old-school peanut bulb to replace the busted one in my current light fixture at home, I realized that they aren't that easily available anymore. In fact, they have been out of stock for maybe a year now. I am starting to get the feeling that this old-school peanut bulb I need might be in the process of being phased out. As such, I started window-shopping for a new light fixture since the bulbs my current one uses might never be available again. Finally, my aircon broke down less than a year after the compressor broke so I decided to just have it replaced (more on this in my next post.) It was sauna-like in my pad so instead of spending time at home, I would normally hang out in cafes and restaurants all over the metro until I absolutely had to go home. One of these places I hung out in was Maitre Chocolatier along Jupiter which I had visited before and was interested to try again. I ordered their Frey Milk Chocobloc Marbled Crepe which I thought was really good.

Frey Milk Chocobloc Marbled Crepe at Maitre Chocolatier along Jupiter Street in Makati

I also got to watch a few more DVDs, the first of which was Mad Max: Fury Road. This movie was nominated for Best Picture at The Oscars and it won a lot of technical awards so my expectations were quite high. I have to say though that I was a bit let-down, mainly because I felt it didn't live up to the hype. It wasn't bad, but once it ended, I was thinking "that was it?" There didn't seem to be much of a story although I will say that they created a very interesting post-apocalyptic world and the action in the movie was intense and pulsating. The performances were all pretty solid too. I also watched Porco Rosso, a highly rated animated film by legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. I purchased this DVD a really long time ago on Amazon but I had somehow been unable to watch it until very recently. Strangely enough, despite the critical acclaim this film has received, I found it a bit boring. The only other film of Miyazaki's I had seen is Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind which I really love (and which like a lot more than Porco Rosso). Another DVD I saw was Sing, the animated film that had animals going up against each other in a singing competition. I actually really liked this movie even if it wasn't nominated for best animated film. (Personally, I like it more than Moana.) I have to say that the voice cast could all sing very, very well even if singing is not their stock-in-trade.

Oh, and I also purchased a new book: Slade House by David Mitchell. It was a blurb at the back of the book that got me hooked: "A Dracula for the new millennium, a 'Hansel and Gretel' for grownups, a reminder of how much fun fiction can be." Cool and interesting, right? Hopefully, I can find enough time to read this book in the near future.

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