Monday, November 30, 2009

Let's Cyber

Happy Cyber Monday! I hope everyone had a lot of tasty eats and found some awesome shopping deals this weekend. Now that the season of giving is officially underway, I was hoping you guys would be able to support a group I just joined by voting for them on Facebook and/or giving a small donation.

This fall I started volunteering as a mentor for Minds Matter. It's a great non-profit organization, which helps transform the lives of accomplished high school students from low-income families by preparing them for college success. We meet every Saturday with our mentees to help them set goals for what they want to accomplish, and we also work with them very closely to help them gain admission to amazing collegiate summer programs at institutions such as Columbia, Exeter and the University of Michigan. I work with a really bright sophomore from the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn. He's great at math and science, and he eventually wants to go to school to be a lawyer.

In addition to my mentoring responsibilities, I'm trying to raise $1,000. The money helps pay for all of the application fees and attendance costs associated with the summer programs. It's a really important goal to reach because all of the kids come from financially disadvantaged households. Without Minds Matter, most of them most likely wouldn't be able to attend, or even apply, to these programs.

You can help out in the following ways:

1. Donate some cash at my fundraising page. Every little bit helps. Whether you donate $5 or $50, your support is hugely appreciated. If I get $15 by Thursday, the donation will be matched. It's also the end of the year, so you can use your donation for tax write-offs.

2. Vote for us on Facebook via the Chase Community Giving program. You can vote until December 11, and the top 100 charities get $25,000 from Chase. Being in the top 100 also gets us to the final round, where the top charity receives $1 million and the five runners-up will receive $100,000. This could be huge, so just follow these steps:
- Go to the Minds Matter page
- Allow the Chase Community Giving app
- Vote for Minds Matter
- Post to your Wall so all of your Facebook friends can see your vote

Monday, November 23, 2009

Team Bella

I watched Twilight and New Moon within a 12-hour span this weekend. I honestly never had any interest in the teenage vampire saga until I saw the New Moon trailer a few months ago. It had vampires, werewolves and secret sects -- I thought it would be just like Underworld, but without Kate Beckinsale kicking ass in a tight leather bodysuit and UV light guns.

I wanted to go straight to New Moon, but it was recommended that I first watch Twilight to get up-to-speed on all the background. So, that's how I spent my Saturday night. And it was totally worth it. I was sucked in. The moment it finished, I started checking Sunday showtimes for New Moon. I went to the 11am showing, which was quite an experience.

There were probably only 10-15 guys in the theatre, but I was definitely the only one who showed up by himself. I couldn't find anyone else to go with me! All my friends who are fans already saw it on Friday, so I was out of luck. I actually don't mind seeing movies solo, unless it's a comedy, but this was a bit awkward, even for me. When I was exiting the theatre, an employee was hawking memorabilia and Team Jacob and Team Edward gear so I'd have something to commemorate the experience. Yeah...

Obviously, I'm now a fan. My sister asked me if I was on Team Edward or Team Jacob. I'm on Team Bella. I have a newfound crush on Kristen Stewart. She's cute. I do think that Edward has a solid wardrobe. The man wears some cool jackets and suits. Jacob just runs around in shorts and no shirt, showing off his 30 pounds of muscle* like some Jersey Shore guido. What a douche.

I must say that Peter Facinelli's Carlisle bears a striking resemblance to Tom Cruise's Lestat**. He is one of the all-time greats. He's found popularity with two generations of teenagers because of Can't Hardly Wait and New Moon. All I have to say about that is, "Who's gonna want you now, Aman-DUH?!"

I didn't just watch emo movies all weekend. To counteract all the angst, I watched John Woo's Red Cliff. It was awesome. See it.

*Side Note: The Homewrecker said she and Powers are throwing a party on Taylor Lautner's 18th birthday. Guys did countdowns to 18th birthdays for girls, such as the Olsen twins and Lindsay Lohan, but this is the first time I've heard of the opposite situation. I think it's time Chris Hansen started a female version of To Catch A Predator.

**I'm probably too old to watch New Moon if I'm able to make references to Interview with the Vampire.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One Emo Hill

I can count on two things every Monday night: hearing Ed Westwick's debonair English voice telling me to stay tuned for an all-new episode of Gossip Girl, and a super emo song at the end of One Tree Hill.

I always set up my DVR to record Gossip Girl one minute early, and I never watch it live because I like to fastforward through all of the commercials. Every time I start my recorded episode, I'm in the last 10-20 seconds of One Tree Hill. Without fail, every episode ends with one of the characters staring into space in deep contemplation over something dramatic that just happened, while a super whiny, slow and most-likely acoustic emo song plays to accentuate the emo-tastic quality of the moment.

Just a few more thoughts on my favorite show, which I don't watch but love to critique:

- Haley still has a music career, and Nate plays professional basketball? And they live in North Carolina? C'mon! Even if I got past the fact that Haley's music could never go platinum, and Nate looks more like an Abercrombie store employee than a pro basketball player, a couple like that would live in L.A. or New York. They're the most unrealistic professional couple ever.
- I loved Hilarie Burton and couldn't get enough of Chad Michael Murray's preternatural ability to squint in every scene, but since they left the show, the female talent has become exponentially hotter. Amazing.
- I still maintain that Jake and Peyton belonged together. Bring them back!
- Will Nick Lachey ever come back to the show?

I didn't like any of the One Tree Hill pictures, so I just went with Chuck Bass. So awesome.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Taste of Chinatown

I had a massive craving for Chinese food two weekends ago, so I texted all of my friends that Sunday to see if anyone wanted to go on a Chinatown food crawl. Unfortunately, I'm a huge loser -- no one wanted to eat with me.

Screw my friends. I don't need them. It's not like I talk to people mid-meal anyway. I'm much too focused on the culinary delights set before me.

I only had three objectives on this particular food crawl:
1) Go to Lan Zhou to try the handmade noodles
2) Revisit the fried food cart at Mott & Canal to get more chicken
3) Get a chocolate-covered cannoli in Littly Italy

I figured anything else I eat would just be a spur of the moment decision. Here is how it went down:

Lan Zhou
144 East Broadway
What I Ate
- Beef noodle soup, $4.50
Success! This was delicious and extremely filling. The noodles were top notch. I didn't try them that day, but the dumplings here look amazing. They don't look like the mangled product you get at Prosperity Dumpling or Fried Dumpling. They're wrapped well, and fried perfectly so the wrapper is nicely browned. I'll be sure to come back when I'm not on a food crawl so I can stuff myself.

Unnamed skewer cart
Northwest corner at Forsyth & Division
What I Ate
- Hot dog on a stick, $1
I had to get this because it was a flashback to my childhood. Growing up in the Philippines, I ate hot dogs on sticks all the time. It's probably why I was a chubby kid. When we moved to the states, my mother sent me to lunch one day with a couple of hot dogs on sticks. All the kids just looked at me like I was some kind of freak -- "why is your hot dog on a stick?" America is a scary place. It probably didn't help when I brought siopao. I need flavor; my classmates were eating bologna and American cheese sandwiches on Wonderbread, and that just didn't cut it for me.

Unnamed fried food cart
Southeast corner at Mott & Canal
What I Ate
- Fish balls, $1
I discovered this cart last Sunday with Disco Stu. We tried the chicken legs for $1.25. Greasy goodness. You could feel it going down. I wanted to come back to try their noodles and/or spring rolls. It must've been my lucky day because on this day, they had deep-fried fish balls -- 5 for $1. Heaven. It's another street treat I used to eat as a kid. Yum.

Fong Inn Too
46 Mott Street
What I Ate
- Taho, $1
Another treat from the motherland. I was on my way to get dumplings when I saw a sign on the awning that said they had taho for $1. The version served at this establishment wasn't as high in syrup as I'm used to, nor did they have the tapioca balls. For $1, it was close enough for me. Filipinos actually buy this stuff from street vendors in the morning and eat it as part of breakfast. It's a nice sugary start to the day.

Fried Dumpling
106 Mosco Street
What I Ate
- Fried dumplings, $1
I just needed something salty before I devoured my cannoli. I'm big on alternating between salty and sweet. And a quick note on how I rank the $1 dumpling establishments:
1) Prosperity Dumpling
2) Vanessa's Dumpling House
3) Fried Dumpling

Cha Cha's
113 Mulberry Street
What I Ate
- Chocolate-covered cannoli, $3
Up until this point, I had spent only $8.50 for my entire food crawl. I leave Chinatown for dessert in Little Italy, and they charge me over 1/3 of what I had spent to that point just for a cannoli. Those Italians... It wasn't enough for Marco Polo to steal our noodles. Now, they're overcharging me for a delicious cannoli. So ungrateful. I can't wait until Chinatown learns how to make cannoli. They're going to put Little Italy out of business. $1 cannoli! Payback time.

Total damage was $11.50. This will probably go down as my cheapest food crawl.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Put Your Face on Cereal

[me] & goji appeared on the Today show a couple of weeks ago, and they made special mixes for each of the hosts. The cereal capsules featured the individual photos of Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, Ann Curry and the rest of the crew. The idea was such a hit, they've made it a standard option for customers to be able to put their own photo on the capsules. Luda even got in on the action. He's pimpin' all over the world and eating healthy.

But don't leave all the creativity to the celebrities. You can do it, too. Be creative. Use the option to your advantage. Maybe you and your girlfriend just broke up, and you can't get her out of your mind. Create a mix to win her back. Load it with goldenberries and call it "Nature's Sweet Tart for My Sweetheart," and put a cute picture of the two of you from the early days when you were pretty hot & heavy. It's bound to melt her heart. If that doesn't get her crawling back to you, I always advocate the Say Anything method. Stand outside her house holding a boombox, which is blasting "In Your Eyes," until she takes you back. Some might say this is stalking. I say it's romantic.

Visit www.meandgoji.com to make your own custom mix and personalize it with your photo. It's like you're very own Wheaties, but more healthy and tasty. You no longer need to overachieve to get your face on a cereal. Eight gold medals? Six NBA championships? Nope. Keep underachieving and coasting by. All you need is a digital photograph.

(Note: If this sounded like a blatant sales pitch for [me]& goji, you're damn right it is. I don't hesitate to whore out my friends. Speaking of friends, the Hottest Guy on Campus & Goji Adam are in NYC today. If you would like to join in the debaucherous goji-fication of the city tonight, get in touch with me.)

Monday, November 09, 2009

Facebook Dislike

You've probably used the "Like" function on Facebook multiple times, but if you're like me, you've been wondering when a "Dislike" function would come along. According to Mashable, that day has finally arrived. The Facebook Dislike plugin has been developed for Firefox.

Sick of all those gushing Favre & Tebow status updates while your team is sucking it up? Dislike. What about when you see people in college/grad school complain about all the studying they have to do, forcing them to take a break from their hard life of going to class and hanging out? Dislike. Friends from back home are buying houses with their significant others, yet you're still trying to figure out how to get renter's insurance? Dislike. Teachers are sad because they have to return to work after a 3-MONTH SUMMER VACATION? Dislike just doesn't quite cut it. Someone will have to develop a "Fuck Off" function for that scenario.

What's the first thing, I'm going to Dislike? The relationship status of LF, the former long-distance, online, Jewish love of my life. After a very public and heartfelt plea, she took me back, only to stop communicating with me and become involved with a nice Jewish boy.

I understand we had a few issues, such as living on opposite coasts and not really knowing much about each other, but we had a lot of things in common. We're both very close to The Homewrecker, we're Facebook friends, we graduated from U of M, we like Gossip Girl... What more do you need in a relationship?

Well, I can play her game. I'm going back to my roots. That's the last time I try to cure The Feva.

Note: the Facebook Dislike plugin is experimental. Your friends will need to install the plugin to see the Dislikes. Everyone get it!