Wednesday, July 28, 2010

When rain dawns on you, dance

Three and a half weeks of dancing with 2 more weeks to go. When it's debutante season, more like when your friends decide to have their debutante balls 18 days apart, it's cotillion practice here, cotillion practice there, people are stressed and the rain's not helping.

It is officially T minus 12 hours until I find out whether I get into University or not. So here I am, with my fingers crossed, wondering whether or not I'll be getting any sleep at all tonight. There's this sinking feeling in my gut; a mixture of excitement, nervousness and nausea.

Meanwhile, I hope I'll be able to make those long overdue Snickerdoodles next week. Make them Vhie! Don't be a lazy bum!

I've also got to remember I always have my digital camera with me at all times. So why not take some photos? Forgive my last few posts for being so...uncolourful.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Good Samaritans do exist

You wanna know what can kill a person? PANIC!

Especially if you're someone who's lost a wallet one time too many before. That's exactly what happened to me yesterday. I happily made my way to cotillion practise early afternoon and about an hour later, I reach into my bag to find it EMPTIER than usual.

My wallet was MISSING!

Panic strikes. I'm those kind of people who put EVERYTHING in their wallet; ID card, Octopus card, discount cards, Membership cards, cash, spare change, receipts - a whole lot of if I may add, pictures. Basically, my entire LIFE is contained in that 6" x 3" black Nine West pouch. I had everyone search high and low and all around but still, my wallet was nowhere to be found with some of my friends trying to figure out how you can lose such a large wallet without noticing.

So I start to break down in fear of what my mother would say, not to mention the cost of having my ID card replaced, when suddenly my brother calls and asks if I had lost my wallet.

Turns out a guy found my wallet in the minibus and found my student card, called the school who then called my brother who gave me the number the guy left to contact him.

In addition to my relief, I was ever so thankful that good samaritans do exist in Hong Kong.

- Messer Girl

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Excuses, excuses, excuses

I deeply apologize for my short absence and lack of new posts for the past 2 weeks or so. I've been very preoccupied lately, with 2 debutante balls coming up, it's cotiliion practises left, right and dead centre 8 hours a day 3 - 4 times a week. Talk about an intense workout.

I can actually imagine my blog pulling a Molly Weasley on me, "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?"

But I will update soon. Look forward to Snickerdoodles this friday because Abercio Isip begged me to make something for the last day of cotillion practises, plus he probably just misses my baking. I remember the first time I brought Snickerdoodles to one of our Youth gatherings; the boys went crazy for them. That means I've gotta make double on friday.

A Knight and Day movie review might be coming up, quite a little overdue, I know, but it'll be up =)

Plus a very special dedication post to Jeselle Christinne Isip after her extravagant party this Saturday.

So 'til then, toodles.

- Messer Girl

Friday, July 9, 2010

Bittersweet Double Chocolate Brownies

I know I promised SoldierDiva something Cookie Monster theme. Unfortunately, I'm a little tight on budget, but I had to make something because I missed her so. Though, I AM hanging tightly by a very thin thread on this one because it's bittersweet while Kristine's got quite the sweet tooth based on my past creations. Do you like bittersweet anything??

It's Double Chocolate Brownies! I really enjoyed baking these since I've always baked them brownie-mix-in-a-box for potluck Christmas parties. Shhh!

In addition [I feel like I'm back in that examination hall writing essays], this recipe has minimal ingredients - definitely something you can whip up without worrying whether or not you've got the right ingredients in your kitchen cabinets, as well as the easiest clean up job since I didn't need to use the electric beaters, which are quite a hassle to clean. I washed all my pots and pans well before the brownies were done.

Double Chocolate Brownies


80g butter
40g unsweetened cocoa powder
145g sugar
2 eggs
60g All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
100g chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC(350oF)
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the cocoa powder and sugar.
  3. Add the eggs, stirring to combine.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder plus a pinch of salt into the saucepan. Stir to combine.
  5. Add the chocolate chips then stir to combine.
Spoon into a greased tin of your choice (8-inch square is best for this recipe) and smooth surface. Bake for 20 - 30 mins, or until a cake skewer comes out clean. Leave out on a wire rack to cool. 

When I took the pna out of the oven it made me whish I had only set the oven to 20 minutes or even 15 minutes instead of 25. The brownies are dense as steak is well done. I had hoped they'd be chocolatier

Even more so, I wish I had used milk chocolate chips instead of dark, hence their dark appearance and bittersweet taste.

They taste good nonetheless, or I'd like to think so because my little brother gave it an 8 out of 10 and he's got quite picky tastebuds. I've learnt, since I've started baking, that if he comes back for more, that means he likes it. If he eats one, shuts up and never touches them again, then it's back to the drawing board, or should I say kitchen counter, seeing as cutting board wouldn't exactly fit in this context either. With that being said, I'll trust him [he came back for 2 more], but I have yet to get a perfect 10 from him. The highest he's rated was a 9 out of 10 for some Lemon Squares I made last year - which my mother wasn't so ecstatic about [she thought they were too sweet]. Oh well, you can't please everyone.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Yes Bella, stop trying to take your clothes off

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Genre: Romance, Fantasy
Release: June 30, 2010
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Dakota Fanning, Bryce Dallas Howard as Victoria

I am appalled at the fact that Hong Kong cinemas released this on the exact date but they release a lot of other movies at least two months late, appalled I tell you. What kind of marketing strategy is that? Movies like Toy Story 3 would reel in the dough at a much faster rate seeing that it's shown in 3D.

I, being known for my love for movies yet my inextinguishable hate for the Twilight Saga, have been asked numerous times if I'm going to see Eclipse. Unfortunately, my love for movies prevails; I watched it, not very comfortably if I may add, but I watched it.

Synopsis: Kristen Stewart returns as anti-heroine Bella Swan whose life is in constant peril as Victoria sets out and creates an army of newborn vampires to avenge the death of her beloved James whilst being caught in between her bestfriend, Jacob, and her boyfriend, Edward, as she makes one of the most life-changing decisions one can make in a single lifetime.

Never before have I watched a film in which almost all the characters are clumsily tripping over their hormones. There were enough kissing scenes to make you want to vomit last night's dinner onto your lap, or should I say, too many that the most important one and the best throughout the film at that, i.e. Jacob-Bella kiss, failed to make an impact. [I stopped counting after 7 but I think there were 11 kissing scene, give or take a few]
Furthermore, for a story that's supposed to be thrilling and passionately exhausting, it was rather depressing. The dialogue, which took up about 80% of the movie, droned on without even a speck of emotion, the characters, namely Edward, had to constantly say how he was feeling. They weren't acting I can tell you that, they were merely spitting out their lines as if they were desperate to just get it over with. Taylor Lautner did a more impressive job on expressing his undying love for Bella without much help of dialogue [You could at least tell that the boy was, I don't know, ALIVE?] , but Robert Pattinson's acting ability has been established ever since he played Cedric Diggory - a role in which my favourite part was when he died. Kristen Stew on the other hand -- [Let's not even go there]
At this point, I was already sporting a headache; And just when I thought things couldn't possibly get any worse, Jacob and Edward's neverending bickering made that headache escalate to a migraine. They sounded like an aging unhappily married couple whose sole purpose is to make the other feel utterly miserable.
[Somebody stop me before I deliver my own head on a silver platter] 
On a lighter note, the opening scene where Riley Biers becomes a newborn vampire was quite impressive. Xavier Samuel's acting wasn't too shabby either. As a matter of fact, the few short scenes of Riley Biers, be it when he's angry or confused or homicidal - hungry would be a more appropriate word, gave Eclipse the littlest bit of substance that the main cast should've delivered.
The interpretation of Jasper and Rosalie's human lives didn't disappoint either. Having read the book myself, I was glad they kept that. However, I was let down when Billy Black told the history of the Quileute tribe, they cut off the part where he actually explained HOW the tribe became shapeshifters. 
From where I see it, despite how certain factors were up to par, Eclipse deserves a D. D for dull, dead and depressing.

Story: D
Acting: D
Direction: C-
Visuals: D
Average: D
- Messer Girl

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Team LaRusso or Team Parker: a Karate Kid Showdown

Should Daniel LaRusso and Dre Parker face one another, who would win the fight?

After rewatching 1984 original Karate Kid last night, it was relieving that some of the dialogue remained unchanged but here's the run down of the differences between the two movies.

Daniel LaRusso moved from Newark, New Jersey to Reseda, L.A.
Dre Parker moved from Detroit to Beijing, China.

Point for Dre Parker

There's a little bit of a language barrier between Dre Parker and the locals along with greater cultural differences, making it more difficult to fit in.

Daniel LaRusso learned Karate.
Dre Parker learned Kung Fu.

Point for Daniel LaRusso

Self-explanatory. The "Karate" Kid.

Daniel LaRusso and Mr. Miyagi got to know each other prior to training Karate.
Dre Parker did not.

Point to Daniel LaRusso

Makes for a good film; it introduces the depth of both characters to the audience. To Dre Parker, Mr. Han was non-existent and rather irrelevant until he was just about to receive another beating.

Daniel LaRusso was around 16 years old, seeing as he had gotten a drivers license.
Dre Parker was 12.
Considering the slight romantic touch to the story,

Point to Daniel LaRusso

Dre Parker, along with his classmates, were simply too young.

Daniel LaRusso and Ali's parents had almost no interaction with the exception of meeting one another as the pair were about to leave for a date and they had already judged him because he was downtown, she was uptown.
Dre Parker had gone and written an apology letter, in the hopes that Mei Ying's father would allow he and Mei Ying to remain friends after she almost missed her violin recital because of him.

Point to Dre Parker

I bow down to Jaden Smith. After living in Hong Kong for almost 17 years, I have yet to master the Chinese Language, be it Mandarin or Cantonese. But the point is Dre Parker and Mei Ying's father had at least interacted one another

On a different note, the cinematoghrapy of the 2010 version, with respect to the tournament scenes, displayed the gravity of the situation where a the opponent delivers a blow, breaking his leg. This gives the audience time to sympathize with Dre Parker, which would deliberately push them to the edge of their seat as they watch him try to pull himself back up. In the 1984 original, Daniel got up too fast for the viewers to fell all of those emotions.

Point to Dre Parker

To conclude, we have a tie.

Daniel LaRusso: 3
Dre Parker: 3

We can go on forever, comparing the two movies, but I'll leave the rest to you. What comes down to it is both movies weave in their own direction, both having their ups and downs, yet both worth watching.

So are you Team LaRusso or Team Parker?

[I'm definitely Team LaRusso, Parker's got quite an attitude. Put me in a room with him, you mught need to get the coroner]

I'd love to know what you think of the remake, what you liked or didn't like. Vent if you must.

- Messer Girl

Monday, June 28, 2010

Karate, Kung Fu, whatever

The Karate Kid (2010)
Genre: Action, Drama
Release: June 11, 2010
Cast: Jackie Chan as Mr. Han, Jaden Smith as Dre Parker

Sequels are never better than the original, what more a remake? I think that's why they're called "The Original".

Likewise with music, most of us do not like our good ol' classics to be remade, altered, let alone touched. I remember cocking an eyebrow when I heard about the remake, thinking, "It better do the original justice", but I've come to see remakes as vessels that pass on age-old stories and values to younger generations - even though the new 12-year-old "Karate" Kid is actually learning instead Kung Fu. Well, as Taraji P. Henson said, "Karate, Kung Fu, whatever!"

Synopsis: Young Dre Parker moves from Detroit to Beijing. Within a week he facies a girl, gets into a run in with a couple of kids who just so happened to know Kung Fu, gets his backside whooped a couple of times and discovers that the handiman, is not just a handiman. He and Mr. Han then visit the Kung Fu School to make peace with his perpetrators but earns a ticket to the upcoming Kung Fu Tournament instead. He then trains in the art of Kung Fu to learn how to defend himself and earn respect from those who humiliated him.

The 1984 original was known for its "wax on, wax off" tactic, only to be replaced by "jacket on, jacket off, put in on the ground, pick it up and hang it up". Daniel LaRusso waxed cars, sanded a wooden floor, painted a fence, and refinished Mr. Miyagi's house. While Dre Parker simply worked with his jacket. I guess Mr. Miyagi's the crazier teacher, Mr. Han. Even more so, I had imagined Mr. Han to be a much wiser looking man. To put it straight, I watched Jackie Chan practise Kung Fu last night, not Jackie Chan playing a character who's a master at Kung Fu. 
[I think I've watched too many Jackie Chan movies.]
Clearly he has reached an age where performing stunts he did two decades ago isn't as easy anymore, but who better to play a Kung Fu guru than Jackie Chan? He, nonetheless, breathed life to the movie as Qi is believe to for all things living. I saw more of Mr. Han than Jackie Chan towards the end of the movie when he told a wounded Dre Parker, "I --". Oh, watch the movie you!
Jaden Smith, on the other hand, can act, but there's a lot of room for improvement. Certain parts of comic relief weren't delivered well enough.
[Can I get a "Ba-Dum-Tchh"]
But he's young, there's plenty of time to mold him in to a better actor. On another note, I found his character to be a little too young to have such raging hormones, i.e. to be completely smitten. 14 or 15 would have been a slightly more appropriate age. We wouldn't want our 11 or 12-year-old siblings or kids to be snogging around when you're not looking, would we?
As far as cinematography and direction goes, it was nothing to spectacular. I personally thought it could have done better to add more essence and vibe to the action scenes. The pan shots of iconic landmarks of China, however, were astounding. Furthermore, their decision to bring The Karate Kid to China, differentiating Dre Parker from Danial LaRusso, who merely moved to Los Angeles, makes his desire to prove himself that much more believable seeing as he is quite the fish out of water.
[Boy, do I know how that feels]
All in all, the movie carries it's own gravity and flows in it's pace. Had the title been different or had the 1984 original Karate Kid not existed, The Karate Kid (2010) proves to be a mind blowing movie all on its own whilst teaching the values of respect, honor and perseverence.

You are advised not to watch the original before you watch the remake.
Story: B-
Acting: B
Direction: C+
Visuals: B-
Average: B- 

- Messer Girl