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Krispy Kreme: A Social Drama

December 17, 2011 14 comments

Hey, everyone! Been away for quite a while, and I’m not quite back. It seems life just ‘knows’ I hate roller-coasters! Anyway..

So I woke up today, feeling a little weak and lightheaded, and decided I should have some vitamin D. Got in the car, with my wife and evil daughter, and headed to Marina Crescent. Sure enough, it was one of the best shots I made in months (years?). The breeze was refreshing, the sun was amazing, and seeing my daughter run around and waving at the sea and screaming in utter joy was absolutely priceless.

Then of course I thought I either smelled Doughnuts.. or Homer Simpson. And thank God it wasn’t Homer. So I walked into the double K, got some original glazed, sugar glazed, chocolate glazed, to name a few. As the jolly salesman was getting my stuff ready, I noted some really nice sketches hung up here and there. I really liked them. But there was one that caught my attention. Something was not right:

This is supposed to be a family, right? Well where in the world is the dad?! It’s a single mom driving the kids to the.. well they’re going somewhere.. but it’s a single mom! There is NOTHING wrong with a single mom driving her kids to some place fun, for a vacation, but this isn’t a soap opera. This isn’t a reality check. And this certainly is not a place to have your subliminal messages in the face of your customers! Maybe Krispy Kreme’s customers didn’t notice. But if I did, I’m sure someone else has.
Maybe you’re thinking: “well what’s the big deal?” – I’ll tell why it’s a big deal: it’s a big deal from a business/commercial point of view. If I was in charge of supervising this artwork for KK, I would without blinking reject this. What’s so hard in adding a dad in there and have a complete, happy, and loving family vacation? I mean.. I did it in less than 10 minutes!

Dear Krispy Kreme:

I enjoyed your delicious doughnuts. I fixed the wife’s sunglasses, got her her husband back, and wanted to save the tennis racket from falling off, but then I thought sometimes you just lose your racket, you know? Just don’t lose the father, please.

Much love,

Minstrel.

Kindle. Aramex Kindle.

April 6, 2011 2 comments

So I ordered Kindle from Amazon, based on a recommendation I got from a user. I’ve always been reluctant in getting it because it just.. well.. how can anyone trust a paperless book? I mean sure it is a nice idea and all, but how would all my other books feel if this ‘eBook’ walked in on them? You can read a book anytime you want, and this has always been the case. But not being able to read a book because it’s out of battery? That is flat out absurd!

Aramex building / warehouse in Ardiya, Kuwait. I got there one hour before they closed!

Now this other user told me that she’d felt the same way about getting a Kindle, that she didn’t quite figure out how to feel about having all her books on the go wherever she is. But that actually sounds quite nice, doesn’t it? Indeed. Yet, I think if a person is more of a serious reader, then the eBook will not sit well with them. If a person, however, is more of a gadgets geek, then the eBook will probably be the natural next step.

Service counters upon walking in. I really liked the red on the wall.. gave me thoughts for my crib.

So I went ahead and ordered it. I myself am a very impulsive buyer. I buy first and then think about whether I need it or not, like many other people. I mean, I do try to keep Warren Buffet in mind and remind myself of his tips for better financial management, yet the heart has its own agenda. Actually, I guess a lot of the motivation came from what I heard from this other user. Heck, she said it was worth it and she was all about reading! Who am I to question her judgment?

An hour before they close and they had 243 visitor for the day. Healthy business, huh?

It took around a week for it to get here. And it was perfect because it arrived one day before I left to Dubai, so it was good that I was able to read something en route, albeit the only thing on there to read was the Oxford Dictionary. Which is another issue I need to resolve soon; I can’t seem to find the right books for Kindle. Books that suit me, I mean. Considering that I’m big on everything that’s Japanese, it’s a bit of a concern that I’m not able to find anything on Japan, except for a Tokyo tour guide.

So the number on the screen showed mine with a shy beep, but found no one at the seat. Aramex employs ghosts, too!

And this is another thing about eBooks. What if you don’t find ‘your’ kind of books? Obviously I’m very new to this Kindle business, so I wouldn’t know if there is a solution out there already, and I’m too lazy to visit the online forums that discuss issues concerning every gadget on the planet. But at least I have it! That’s what I keep telling myself. The other side of my brain, on the other hand, tells me that I should have gotten an iPad. Sure it would be perfect for my one-year-old daughter, but why would I need it if I got a desktop PC, a laptop, and an iPhone? I mean, there’s a limit to being an impulsive buyer, right?

The moment the box and I first saw each other. Romance at its best!

Honestly, no there isn’t. People these days are competing against each other to get ‘the latest’ in everything. I guess we can say marketing people are doing a good job, after all! Forget word of mouth, like this girl who told me about her own experience with Kindle (was she paid to say that??), but I’m talking about the bombardment of hundreds and thousands of brands and ads wherever we go. Walk down the street with your pen and note pad.. er.. sorry, your digital note pad and take note of how many ads you see from where you start your journey to where it ends. You wouldn’t believe it, but they’re everywhere – it’s shoving products down your throat is what it is!

Naturally, I couldn't stand not opening the box in the car! Plus, it's always good to check if you get the right order...

But, as long as you are aware that you are aware of what marketers are doing, then you should be alright. Still it’s always nice to buy something new, isn’t it? I mean the smell of it, the plastic wrap around it, the box with all the crazy cargo addresses on it, it makes one feel as though they’ve achieved something!

Yup. It was a Kindle alright. Thanks, Amazon and Aramex people : )

You know what’s the best unacknowledged part of buying a new product like this one? It’s how much you imagined it would weigh but completely takes by surprise with how light or heavy it actually is. You know what I’m saying? Anyway, now I have a Kindle with no eBooks on it. And I might – just might – think of selling it. Not because I don’t like it, obviously, but because it’s a bit more thrilling to sell something you JUST bought! What can I say.. I’m a natural born salesman : )

Frenemy: Review

March 11, 2011 Leave a comment

So I watched this movie the other night, released in 2009, and the only reason why I got it was because it had ‘Zach Galifianakis’ in the list of people starring in it. If you haven’t watched the movie yet, this article is definitely a spoiler! So watch out. Unless you don’t mind. Obviously, though, I wouldn’t want to talk about the plot, the characters, the events and the ending. That’s boring. Rather, I’d tell you what the movie’s about generally. Details are left for you to watch : )

When it comes to movies, and much like books, you can actually tell a lot just by looking at who directed it, who the actors are, read the brief on the back, and recognize the genre. Well, let me tell you this: nothing about Frenemy is what you’d expect. Heck, even the brief does in no way prepare you for what’s coming. Did they do that on purpose? I got no clue. They either wrote a misleading brief intentionally, or they didn’t quite hire the right guy to write it, simply because it just does not fit with the plot and events in the movie!
Of course when you read Galifianakis, at least to me, nothing comes to mind except The Hangover. And if you didn’t laugh watching it, well.. you probably lead a very boring life. Regardless of that, and just from reading the title, I had the impression that Frenemy was about Friends and Enemies, and since the DVD had the poster shown above, I thought, “well..this is about Zach having to constantly make decisions that are life-changing but is torn between a friend and an enemey”. Or so I thought. The movie is (brace yourselves) deeply philosophical and at times very disturbing.

You heard me. And here’s the kicker. Zach is only in the movie for mere minutes! But that’s fine. See, sure I bought the movie thinking he’s in it, and I still enjoyed the movie very much, but it just is very confusing to have this… brief… on the back of the case when it in fact has nothing to do with it. Here’s what the brief says:

After a group of friends witness a horrifying crime, they wonder how they were lucky enough to escape, unharmed, while one friend did not. Through this self-discovery they start to understand the meaning of their own hilarious yet twisted fate. As their time starts to run out, the chance at redemption isn’t too far behind.

I got so confused to a point that I still have lingering doubts that maybe.. just maybe.. I misunderstood the point. And it would be nice to know that I have missed the point, actually! So what does the movie talk about then?
Well, ultimately, it explains, throughout the span of the movie, the concept of Evil. What is Evil? Is ‘evil’ different from ‘being evil’? What is God’s role in the presence of Evil?And the scariest part: how can ‘evil’ be rationalized?

We’re talking about the story of one guy here.. just one.. definitely not a ‘group of friends’. This guy has a friend who simply seems to be imaginery however way you look at him, although he does exist. And this friend seems to be the source of influence for our protagonist. They go from one place to another committing hideous murders and talk about it afterwards. And at the end they both meet the same fate, with a rather biblical twist.

My rating? a humble six (on a 10-point scale). Would I watch it again? No. But it was a nice non-Hollywood experience. So go ahead and watch it if you like twists.

Happy New Year, by the way : )

Categories: Silent Laughs

Oh My Golf!

September 1, 2010 2 comments

I was just going through Yahoo! sports blogs, which I like because of the group of wonderful writers that are there, and I came across this one. I can’t say I was stunned or even surprised, but it sure was strikingly.. silly. Now I’m doubting the saying, “Accidents happen for a reason.” Because we all know, as Master Oogway tells Shifu in Kung Fu Panda, that “there are no accidents.”

Now let’s sit back and watch them make laws that all stones in the field should be made of rubber.

On Fellow Bloggers…

August 4, 2010 2 comments

Today I’m going to bring to your attention, dear readers, something I noticed about a fellow blogger whom I respect and admire. She’s the one and only Miss Good Egg of the Storm in Tea Cup blog. Miss Good Egg, hereinafter referred to as MGE, is a girl who’s acutely aware of her surroundings. Now, what got my attention was some of the lingo used by MGE and Sarah Jessica Parker, which more or less had the same taste, though not necessarily word-for-word.

I was very fond of Parker’s use of language in Sex and the City, which was witty, articulate, savvy, & skeptical, all with a pinch of sarcasm that would not escape the trained ear. It’s the way she used specific words that would courageously construct a well-balanced sentence; it just makes you want to be a writer.
At times, I believe Desperate Housewives uses the same type of lingo used by Sex and the City, albeit less humorous and a lot eerier. Fact of the matter is I like intellectually stimulating sentences that uniquely describe an event or situation that has nothing unique about it.

Now, some may consider Parker a little too gay to admire; by gay I mean eccentric and un-natural. But we’re not talking about acting or physical appearance, are we? No. I’m talking about how she developed a unique style of speech (through Sex and the City?) that resonates even in movies like Failure to Launch with Matthew McConaughey. Especially the scene where they got trapped in the room (or whatever it was) and had to talk things out. Not gonna ruin it for you if you haven’t watched that movie! But go ahead and watch it, and listen carefully to what Paula (Parker) says right after Tripp (McConaughey) asks her if she has real feelings.

Now back to Miss Good Egg. I came to know that she’s an English Literature graduate who’s also a bookworm. And a lot of us are (cheers!). Through reading her articles and different expressions amidst the ups and downs of her blog-life, to which many of us observe rather closely,  I came to realize that her sense of lingo is not very far from Carrie Bradshaw’s (Parker in Sex and the City). MGE’s words may have that witty yet very sarcastic tone to them at times, and at other times she just sounds faded.. again very loyal to Bradshaw’s. Or she may just sound breezy and cheerful.
But it’s really her choice of words that I’m very interested in. It’s how sometimes she describes the feeling of being stagnant with a strong sense of cynicism; I guess she knows, just like Carrie Bradshaw, what it means to be stuck in the middle. She says she is, and I choose to believe it.
I often find myself visiting her blog while having Dictionary.com open on another tab, for the particularly interesting terminology that she uses here and there. So if you’re like me and you like the intellectually stimulating writing, look no further. She’s a good egg (the Easter Bunny is not on her friend’s list, though…I checked.)

As it is, she’s taken a vacation from blogging while the lot of us are waiting for a good comeback. Here’s to the Good Egg! (Clink!)

Categories: Silent Laughs

Comic Strip

July 24, 2010 1 comment

Get it?

Categories: Silent Laughs

Served up!

July 23, 2010 4 comments

So today I decided to let the world in on my secret recipe for making the perfect cup of chino, or cappuccino in some parts of the world. Of course, it is important to mention that beverages are far more important to me than food. Give me a Dr. Pepper six-pack and I could survive three whole days without food, which is an obvious exaggeration and would not want you to take me seriously. But just to get the point across, I’m the kind of person who loves to mix things together when it comes to drinks. Nothing alcoholic, of course, the brain is a terrible thing to waste, as they say. Other than that, I would say that enjoying a drink, whether hot or cold, can probably be evolved into something of a hobby. It just is so much fun to imagine the taste you want to achieve and then bring all the ingredients together for the perfect murder! So, without further delay, here’s how I do my cup of Morning Breath (I know it sounds nasty, but it explains a lot!)

You get the cup ready. I know some of you may be terrified at this point, but washing your cup thoroughly especially at your work place is vital. See, each employee has a cup. But can you really guarantee that no one’s using your cup when you’re not looking? You’re probably asking who in the world would want to use someone else’s cup? Simple, the same person who doesn’t know that it’s your cup, since your pretty name isn’t written anywhere on the cup. So just rinse it well, yeah? Now for the second step:

Add the sugar. See, there’s a debate amongst us Beverage Lovers: any drink that requires sugar to make it drinkable is a drink not worth drinking. Whereas, as some would argue, coffee is aroma-based and therefore does not require sugar (hence it is worth drinking). That is a baseless and pointless accusation, in my defense of all sugar-based drinks! Tea is amazing without sugar, if you cook it right! Sugar is love, baby. The more sugar you add in your drink, the more love you get out of it. All that while keeping in mind that too much love can smother you, of course. But for me two table spoons of love is good enough to call it a drink!

Add two tea spoons of Nescafe. I tried using different coffee brands, this one works well for my taste buds. Like I said at the beginning, it’s all about how you imagine it to be! You can get yourself a packet of Cappuccino ready-made sachets, you’ll rip it, pour it, add water, stir it, and it’ll be ready. All within less than  a minute. But where’s the romance in doing that? Excuse me for saying this, but it’s exactly the difference between making love and…well….you know….the other thing. So going back to coffee, add more or less Nescafe depending on how strong or light you want your coffee to be.

Grind it. This is very important. Grinding the sugar and Nescafe together before adding the water is important in avoiding bad chunks of coffee floating around in the cup; and believe me, they’re hard to eliminate once they’re there. So grinding them together will result in the following:

A beautiful brown semi-powder that loves hot water. However, I would take this opportunity to apologize for the out-of-focus picture. I guess everyone wanted to help out in some way once they knew I was documenting this experience. And I had to accept the helping hand, really. So I made the coffee, they took the pictures. Still, I thank them and would appreciate their future help on similar blogs! Now, all you need is water. Just make sure the water is just as hot as the temperature outside and you’ll be fine!

This is an extremely important step. Only use a couple of drops of hot water, nothing more! I found this out after many failed and rather disappointing trials at wanting to achieve a rich, thick and creamy substance. Adding too much water will kill this goal for good; you cannot fix it once you’ve done that. So be very careful. Take a deep breath, hold the kettle steady, and watch where the water is just peeking out the nozzle, then slowly but surely drop a couple of drops, maybe three, onto the brown love powder. If you’ve done that successfully, then rejoice, you are moving on to the next level! If you failed, well..can’t help you..just do what you want with it…. loser….

This is what you want to see first. Mixing very little water with that love powder will give you a big chunk of love mud. This is good, you might be taken aback thinking that you’ve done something wrong, but no. This is what you want it to look like. Now keep mixing until your arm feels a little warm and numb, and behold the magic before you! The dark love mud turns into…

…Golden-creamy love mud! If you notice the time on the previous picture and this one, you’ll see that I kept stirring for two minutes. I normally take longer than that, since I love to spend time with the ingredients that change the way I feel about working in the morning. But since this is for educational purposes, I’m putting you on a fast-track to learn the trick from the master! Let me tell you something else about being creative. At this point and this far into making Morning Breath, I want you to realize that the world is between your hands now. I usually add four peaces of peanut, split in half, with the golden-creamy love mud for sensual and sensational flavor.  You can break some biscuits, or add some ginger, or throw in some lemon or coconut snow flakes. Just imagine what the flavor is, and work hard to get there. You won’t regret it.

Now, once you’re done mixing, add some hot water onto the love mud to make it a little more controllable. Go ahead and use two plate spoons of Coffee Mate to give yourself some insurance in case the coffee was too strong. And if it weren’t, heck it still tastes great! I found out, after hundreds of experiments, that one spoon will still give you a bitter after-taste. Three spoons will make it taste like a cup of coffee that’s suffering from amnesia, since you won’t be able to tell whether it’s coffee or just milk. So stick with two. Two spoons are just it! Now mix mix mix mix…

Again the focus issue. Very sorry. But forget that for a minute and focus your eyes on what you got now. A good mix is what you got, for sure. Now things are ready; you’ve passed the danger zone. The only trick now is altitude and distance, as explained in the following picture…

Altitude in the sense that you don’t want to pour water with the kettle so close to the cup. This won’t give you the soapy, bubbly, and funtastic texture of the drink! So be proud and hold your arm up high, aim well and pour it like it’s raining! Make it SPLASH religiously! Except, here’s the second part of the story, you need to keep your perfect distance from the cup as the splash will surely jump onto your precious clothes. If you’re like me, I usually use any of my colleagues as a shield. They mind of course, but it’s exactly why I don’t tell them to keep their distance. So just remember, altitude and distance. But hold on just a moment, jumpy! Don’t fill it up just yet, take your time to stir some more to make certain no rebellious chunks will appear at the end. Perfection is essential!

See the look of love on its face? Well, imagine the taste if peanuts were there or any other magical flavor! I usually draw a heart-shape in the cup as a ritual before I start sipping, but I’m simply showing you the white board, you gotta grab your marker and sketch away! At this stage, you’re done. Congratulations, you’ve made Morning Breath for a fresh start. Nine minutes to make, true. But nine minutes of love, baby. Where else would you get love so warm and cozy? Here’s to a fresh start…

Bon appetite! : )