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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Book Review: The Seven Streets of Liverpool by Maureen Lee

My fascination with stories about people living during World War II continues and it's normally narrowed down to people living in continental Europe, usually France and Great Britain.
This time, Maureen Lee writes about the lives of the people living in Liverpool during the war in this aptly titled book "The Seven Streets of Liverpool" - Liverpudlians living with all the bombings and the food rations and having their men go off to war and their women working as nurses, secretaries and auxiliary officers.
It's a different world filled with fear of the unknown, never knowing when the war will end and having to live with the spectre of death just round the corner.
There are so many characters in the book it's so easy to get lost as to who's who so you'd have to have this idea that this is one community of families she is talking about so better to have that in mind as you read it.
Women play a very central role in most of her novels and here - there's a sorority of sisters helping each other - wives, widows, single mothers, young ingenues - all trying their best to keep their families together while their men are away.
Liverpool as well Ireland are two places I would want to visit soon because of all these fiction novels that I've read that have used them as settings for their stories.
Definitely something to look forward to!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Movie Review: The Sensuous and Enthralling 'Call Me By Your Name'

The Oscar nominations are going to be announced later and I won't be surprised if this movie, Call Me By Your Name, gets a few major ones like Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and maybe Best Original Song, Best Original Score and by a longshot, Best Director
I was listening to the audiobook after watching the movie, and James Ivory, the screenwriter, who I'm sure will snag an Oscar for writing this, stayed very faithful to the book. I might have to reread it but listening to Armie Hammer read it is by itself such a sexy experience.
I doubt though if the Academy would vote for another gay-themed movie for Best Picture, two years in a row, but just to get a nomination, and I'm sure this movie has many Academy supporters, is by itself a great achievement.
This movie though is not for everyone. When I read that it had a special 2-day screening, in Ayala Malls I jumped at the chance to watch it, bringing Mama along, just so I can see her reaction at seeing two grown men making out on a large movie screen.
It's a very slow burn movie, typical of most Oscar Best Picture nominees. It's like we are voyeurs into these people's lives.
The lives of these characters is what I aspire for - a kind of combined polyglot - intellectual connoisseurs of art and linguistics and culture.
The year it was set, 1983, was the year I discovered Michael Jackson, Madonna and just like Timothee Chalamet's character, it was when my world suddenly transitioned from black and white to full on color.
It was a beautiful age to be in.
Anyhow, there are so many arresting scenes in the movie, scenes which made me feel so kilig, because gay men really don't get these types of scenes in most heterosexual movies.
I'm just glad director Luca Guadagnino injected just the right amount of passion, of romance, of desire, into this movie.
The last movie set in Italy that I fell madly in love with was 2013's The Great Beauty, which captured the decadence of Rome.
This movie is superbly shot showing the beauty of the region of Lombardy in northwest Italy. Just watching the gorgeous Italian summer is a wonderful experience by itself.
And the two male leads? Gorgeous!
Armie Hammer without his clothes on.....yum yum yum.
And Timothee Chalamet - what a f*****g beautiful boy!!
That fruit scene? NOW, I want to find out how an apricot tastes like LOL

My Daily Thoughts - January 26, 2018

Well, the new year is already into its first month so let me begin changes in my old habits so that I achieve the goals I want in life.

First is to lose this weight.  I am already at 246 pounds and I really really want to lose all this unnecessary weight.  I want to be lean looking.

So to do that, I will try intermittent fasting which my friend Argel did, and he looked much thinner now!

So I will start it later, Saturday, January 27, 2018, and my window for eating is between 4PM to 12 midnight.

I will just have to take note which time I took a last bite, so I can take in my time to start eating on Sunday, which should be around 2PM.  That means my last bite should be at 10PM.

I think I can do that.  I really wish I could do this everyday!!

Wish me luck!

Another thing I want to implement today is walking!  I have to walk!!  Just to lose all these weight!!  And of course, to save money.  So no more riding Grab for this coming week and ride public transportation.

Let's compare budgets:

This computation is only for Monday to Friday - January 29 to February 2.

Budget 1 is to go cold turkey and really avoid Grab riding.

*Going to school - 50 + going home (39) = 89 pesos per day -  267 pesos per week + gym days (140 + 34) = 441 pesos per week

Budget 2 is to ride Grab on tutoring days

* Going to school - 50 + gym days (174) + 1050 (tutoring days) = 1274 pesos per week

Budget 3 is to ride Grab everyday

* Going to school - 1750 + gym days (174) + 1050 (tutoring days) =   2994 pesos per week

Budget 1 = 441 * 4 = 1764 per month

Budget 2 = 1274 * 4 =   5096 per month

Budget 3 = 2994 * 4 = 11,976 per month less 1,100 (Grabrewards) = 10,876 per month

10,876 - 1764 = 9,112 savings ******** which can go to concerts and traveling etc.

* And anyway, walking is good for my health 😶😶😶

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Movie Review: Christopher Plummer Shines in 'All the Money in the World'

It's amazing to see Christopher Plummer, who is already 88, deliver such a tour de force performance in Ridley Scott's movie, All the Money in the World, for a role that had already been done (by the disgraced Kevin Spacey), so it had to be reshot.
Otherwise, nobody would watch the movie!
He played the billionaire Paul Getty in the movie and the way he handles himself shows glimpses of the billionaire's eccentricities, greed for more money, and the icy demeanor he has shown to his own flesh and blood, even when they need him the most.
I am not going to divulge much of the movie except that both Michelle Williams and Mark Whalberg are good in it.
It's set, once again, in Italy (two Italian set movies in 2 nights!) but this time, it's gloomy and dark because of the movie's theme and the events it presents.
There is a particularly violent scene where a vital body part is cut off, so I hope for your sake, that you've eaten all your popcorn by that scene.
There is a lot of discussion about money in the movie and the dangling of threats and demands which may be a no-brainer to family-oriented societies like the Philippines.
Is there a way you can measure how much you love a family member? Your son, your father, your grandson?
In this movie, everything is calculated that it almost already bordered on the absurd and ridiculous.
I'm sure you'd leave the theatre thinking, with all that MONEY in the world in Getty's stash, why did it have to reach such a long standoff?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Enjoying Hong Kong's Night Skyline From My Hotel near Hong Kong University

We're lucky to have our rooms have these large windows which showcase Hong Kong's fantastic skyline - and although my phone is still from the Stone Age, it was able to capture a glimpse of how nice these views are at night.
I keep my windows open at night so this is the sight that bids me goodnight.