Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Cube

In the immortal words of Optimus Prime... "This is THE Cube..."

Although not as powerful as the Transformers' Cube version, the Experimental Cube: Rules of Nature earns the right to have THE to its name because it opens up an entire gateway of wonder and discovery in every child.  That's huge!  All the questions my boys ever had about nature are all in this box.  And they learn the answers by themselves. Through --wait for it-- experimentation.
AHA!  THIS is my boys' cup of tea!  Or... box of cookies.

The Cube comes with straws, strings, candles, test tubes, every tool my children need to unearth answers to nagging environmental questions.  And, a transparent box that's pretty much my little scientists' 'lab'. 

It also comes with a manual containing dozens of experiments that unearth a universe of ooohs and aaahs.  From something as complex and as PG as a Sunlight Simulation.

To something as simple as a do-it-yourself Puddle Evaporation test.  The manual comes complete with safety tips, nature trivia, and 'lesson learned' sections as well.

There's no stopping the amazement sessions with this educational toy.  Every inquisitive child who has the knack for hands-on knowledge will love this!  Plus, it hitting home with kiddie-level environmental awareness is a delectable icing on the box of cake. 

Oh yeah... there's no stopping the mess, too.  Too bad the Cube doesn't come with a floor mop.  Tsk.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Angel's Pizza Combo... pure win!

We were looking for something different for Pizza Night --and we just got what we asked for.
Thanks to Jing's keen sense of discovery, he found this little pizza shop called Angel's.  At first glance, it's nothing much.  The flier they sent out was no great shakes either.  But when they said PIZZA.  PASTA. COMBO. on the box --they meant it!

Once opened, the pizza looked unassuming.

But once you grab a slice, you'll notice that it's actually 2 slices welded perfectly together by a thick layer of mozarella.  Careful peeling reveals that your Ultimate Cheese Pizza is actually right on top of a Meaty Pepperoni Pizza.  So ... hotdog!... you just got 2 pizzas in one without even knowing it!  Miro and I are cheese people while Kenji and Jing are true blue carnivores so it all works out. :P

About the PASTA. COMBO. thing, Angel's also has this unique menu item called Pasta In A Dough.  It's pasta shoved right in the middle of a super thick pizza.  So it's like the pizza is a bowl with pasta in it.
Mmm... interesting, eh? 

(My pathetic photography is so not doing justice to this awesome pizza find so I guess you'll just have to see it --and taste it-- to believe it)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sharkboy, in the Twilight of his Life

Cluelessness Alert in a bit... eherm.

One of the movies we watch over and over and over 'til the DVD grooves disappear is Robert Rodriguez's The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl.  Aside from the fantasy/adventure/action platter it serves, Miro and Kenji continue to be amazed that this flick was co-written by a then 7-year old Racer Rodriguez (son of director Robert Rodriguez).  That tidbit is quite an inspiration to them.  Hence, their imagination's relentless pursuit for the same feat and glory.

Anyway, here is where the cluelessness part comes in.

Taylor Lautner's fake abs on the left was a premonition of what was to become on the right.
I just found out VERY recently (say, a few days ago *drops head in shame*) that the shark-raised boy my kids idolize is also the same werewolf young, hot-blooded women are pining for.  Who would've guessed that Taylor Lautner --that spunky, pint-sized martial artist known as Sharkboy,  grew up to be Taylor Lautner --this armor-abbed Jacob of Twilight???

Ok, maybe a lot of you did.  But I didn't.  I didn't give the ultra-popular vampire saga that much attention.  I love vampires, but not Twilight.  Sorry. :P

When I showed the boys what 'Sharkboy' looked like today, Miro was like, "WHOA!  That's one scary tummy!".   And then said, "I like him better when he was Sharkboy.  He was fun before.  Now he's just muscles."

Kenji's concern was simpler, yet very valid.  After seeing several photos of  today's Taylor on google, he was like, "He's always naked.  Did he lose his shirt, Mimi?"  

Yes, Kenji... Yes, he did.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Burn Notice for the Boys

Funny you should find Burn Notice on a parenting blog, huh?
Well, believe it or not, the action-packed Fox TV show is actually one my boys' favorites right now.

Miro, my documentary-loving geek, likes it for the step-by-step do-it-yourself segments.  We are a DIY family, after all.

Burn Notice has in-story narratives --as told by the lead, Michael Westen-- that teach you how to build your own bomb.

How to properly install a makeshift bug (or bomb).

How to tail a target undetected using a variety of strategies.

Educational, ain't it?
Now don't get your panties in a bunch.  The DIYs on the show aren't real.  Some of them are, but a good chunk of the instructions have been pulled out or twisted to fallacy.  Otherwise they wouldn't have been allowed to air.  Pshaw.  It's the idea of an ammo-making DIY on Primetime that really floors me.  So much boldness!  Love it! 

Kenji, my little insatiable daredevil, likes the show for the action, of course.

Nothing like a good show of spy standard-issue hardware.


And more firepower!

It's a delicious James Bond fest but with more brains to it than just a parade of scantily-clad women.  It creates a spark in a child's imagination (with my children anyway) and for me, that's always a good thing.  I mean, just this morning, I spied the boys working on a 'bomb' using Lego bricks, Sculpey clay, and a couple of Slinkies.  Haha!

Calm down.  It's not set to explode any time soon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Still Communicado


It was Miro's First Holy Communion.  Woot!

It was my first time to have a part in a mass.  Double woot!

And Jing and I didn't get struck by lightning in the two and a half hours we were in church!  Woot-de-loop!

After many years of absentia, we're still communicado after all. :D

One thing baffled me, however.
I can understand the changes in the tunes of the old praise songs (I couldn't sing to any of them anymore.  Geez!).  Updating is never a bad thing.  But in the old days, I knew the pews were important.  Because those were where the faithful knelt to express respect and worship to the Lord.
I didn't see any of those in the Rockwell Church.  I thought maybe the kneeling would have to be done on the floor, but the chairs' almost nil distance to one another wouldn't allow that either.

Wow, times did change.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Escape to Escape Games

You find yourself alone in a strange room.  You've never been here before, and you have no idea how you got there.  All you know is that you want to escape.

With that, Miro and Kenji welcome you to the wonderful world of ESCAPE GAMES!

My boys have been hooked on this kind of online gaming for 2 years now.  Specially Miro who finds great joy in squeezing out his brain juices on weekends.  Sometimes they attack a game tag-team style --for when one of them needs to take a break and recharge his close to imploding central nervous system.

They have a long hit list of escapist favorites, and here are the top 3.  These score the highest in their gaming meter because each game comes in a series.  Each game ends a story with a glorious fanfare to freedom --and then leads to another story (a.k.a., the next game).  If you remember the book Choose Your Own Adventure, these games are the high-tech, kickass versions of that.

Terminal House Games
Come on in.  Each game takes you to a different house you have to escape from.  The story here is still a bit sketchy.  Something that involves a crashed UFO, a bald blue guy, and a pretty pink extraterrestrial.  Ok, ok, it's a work in progress.  You have to wait for the next game to put the puzzle pieces together.

And speaking of puzzle pieces, the brain teasers here are the codes you have to crack at every turn.  My boys like that.  It makes them feel so Indiana Jones without moving a leg muscle.

Neutral Games
What I think this series has going for it is the pure awesomeness of its art direction.  The graphic style is just incredible!  Which is good enough so it compensates for its lack of solid theme.  The stories aren't necessarily threaded together here.  Some are, some aren't.  But 10,000 points for eye candy, well done!

Of course, strategizing needs to be done again.  Tools are also given to achieve certain tasks and unlock secret doors.  But logic is your strongest hardware so you better dive in with a lot of that.  Your reward in the end:  more visual pleasure at the exit, the kind that will send your mind a-whirl!  Kinda like a carousel ride after a math test.

Esklavos Games
Ah, THIS is the funnest!  This is my boys' cream of the crop Escape Game addiction.  Here, the stories are well thought of.  There's build up to an end that you can't quite see yet --and that's what makes it very exciting.  All you know is that you're on an alien world and there are 2 freaky characters you need to move about to solve riddles... uh... riddling every level.

Yes, unlike Terminal and Neutral, you don't play in the first person with Esklavos. You assume an alien life form persona.  Which to my boys is another exhilarating experience.  Aside from brain bogglers, action and adventure is the name of this game, too.  So it's a full package!  And... the story is just starting to unfold.

My own logic to this gaming phenomenon --if kids choose to be glued to the Mac for an hour or two, then at least allow them to be glued in a productive way.  Not to just some random shooting bloodbath arcade game off the net.  But to a game that would make them think, judge, rethink, decide, and really succeed.

I run a geek farm, don't I?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Yeeeah... We Like It LOUD...

(It's the season of love so I'm going to make this as cheesy as possible.  Brace yourself.  You have been warned.)

Our love has always been based on loudness.  I was a club DJ and Jing was a bassist in a rock band.  We would spend late nights and early mornings in gigs, causing racket after racket, mayhem after mayhem.  And that's how we fell madly in love.  We just seem to crave the same stage, the same attention, the same level of fun.  We have that infinite need to be heard because we have something worthwhile to say.

The next loudness the world heard were wedding bells.  (Our motif was burnt copper --how loud is that?!)

Soon followed by the almost deafening wails of babies.  And when that kind of loudness hits you, you know it's about time your legacy of loudness gets passed on.

Now, we teach our boys to embrace the concept of being heard.  Be it on stage.

Be it at their very own art exhibit.

Be it at work or at play.

These boys are also highly-opinionated rascals --and Jing and I couldn't be more proud.  That's what we'd like to call a parenting WIN!  That's how you teach young'uns to live life to the fullest.  That's how you teach them to love.  No holding back.  Live and Let Loud!  Timid people rarely make history, after all.

And that's just how loud a history the new Loud For Him and Loud For Her scents from Tommy Hilfiger are about to make.   If these fab fragrances were human, I'd say they could be Jing and I --spreading the LOUD in the name of love.  (Aha!  I told you this would be cheesy!)

To know more about Tommy Hilfiger's Loud For Him and Loud For Her, visit Nuffnang's LOUD contest page and Tommy Hilfiger's Facebook Fan Page.

Thundercats, not Blundercats

Flashback:  When I was but a little girl on a dare, I did an amazing Cheetara twirl and jump combo from the school wall's ledge.  An impressive move which landed me in the hospital and one that I wouldn't be able to do again even if I tried.

That was way, way back in the '80s.  But all the pain and humiliation came back to me big time when news that Cartoon Network is welcoming my old friend, The Thundercats, into its stable of cartoon shows early this year.  There's a lot of hype going on for the new character designs.

Allow me to be the wet blanket to all the excitement though.  I am not digging the new look.
It's riding on the anime trend.  Big eyes, supermod built, funky Final Fantasyesque costumes.  Sure, they look good.  But to an old geezer purist like me whose nose twitches and eyebrow automatically lifts upon the mere mention of a remake, this isn't doing it for me.

The feline humanoid residents of Thundera are meant to be more animalistic than human, more gladiators than waifs.  They're supposed to be poised for war rather than a Cosplay convention!  By God, it's the old characters' rugged buffness that willed me to think I was invincible enough to do that stupid childhood stunt!

Then again, that's just me.

Rumor has it that the remake is a tactic to prep the new generation of potential younger fans for the upcoming live action movie in 2012.  Uh, talks of THAT movie have been going around since 2008.  I'll believe it when I see it.

One fan couldn't wait that long though.  He's already made his own Hollywood casting call in brilliant computer manipulation.

Fab Fan Made Thundercats Movie Trailer
With a beyond awesome movie trailer to boot!

Gnarly, eh?!  As my brother once said in exasperation, "Why couldn't I have been born a mega geek?  Why did I have to be so goddamn cool?!!!"
WAHAHAHAHA.... owww... my aching knee caps...

Monday, February 7, 2011

For Kids Only?

At one point, somebody just has to put a cork on the right brain and put the faculties of the left brain to good use.  Ladies and gentlemen, my rant for today is focused on the candy business.

Yes, these are candies --cleverly packaged in the image and likeness of pills.  To what end, God knows.

Oh, look!  It even has its own expiry date.  Save for the knock-off chipmunk clipart, this packaging earns several claps for authenticity.

It IS creative.  But when an innocent child who's been chewing on these sweets chances upon her mom's blister pack sheet of high-powered headache pills, he wouldn't know the difference... even if the candy version is more colorful.
Uh-huh.  Can you say ER?

And it doesn't stop there.
Wowza!  Cigarettes marketed for kids?!  Hey, why not!  It's only paper and foil wrap --perfectly harmless.  Heck, it's still candies inside, ya prude. 
I guess the idea here is to have a child familiarize himself with holding a cigarette while he's young so he won't have to go through the awkward stage of fumbling through first-time smoking when he's reached legal age.  It only wants to help.

Honestly, being cleverly artistic is good.  I'm the last person to be uptight about that.  But there's really nothing wrong with keeping a child's innocence a while longer, while they're still kids.  Shoving the adult world into their candy-colored world is just being reckless and downright stupid. 

By the way. when you rip open the 'cigarette', it reveals powdery, off-white rock sweets.  Thank goodness (or what's left of it) they're shaped to look like spinal bones and not uneven rock chunks made to look like 'something else' --or else this rant would never be over.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Death of a Volunteer Chaperone

And just like that, my tag-along mom card has been revoked.

It all started when the boys entered Primary School.  Of course, the big school have big rules that champion big boy independence.  So the kids who used to cling to my leg during a field trip are now more than glad to ditch me for their school outings.

I'm proud of them, seeing how they've grown physically, mentally, and emotionally.  But I can't help but feel left out (literally and figuratively).  Now I can't be around to lug their heavy back packs, or wipe sweat off their brows, or chase after them when they stand too close to the edge of the crocodile pen.  Just like what I used to do when they were in preschool.  Now, that's what the whole clan of reliable primary teachers and aides are there for.

I can't help but be a little paranoid, too.  The venue is a remote area 2 hours away.  There ARE a lot of students in a class.  What if Kenji darts off when the teacher isn't looking?  What if Miro gets sidetracked by an interesting iguana and falls behind the tour line?  What if they get lost???
I should really stop watching Criminal Minds.

I've been fighting myself from picking up my phone and calling the teachers, just to know if the boys are ok.  To do that would be embarrassing, right?

Soooo... all an ex-chaperone can do is wait.  Wait.  And wait 'til they come home.
Only 3 hours to go.


Uniquely Ukay

Or... Fringe Benefits.
I couldn't decide what to title this post.

Or if I should start it with a quote from my dad.
 "Why must you want everyone's attention on you????!!!" - my dad to me.

Shucks, he means well.  Loosely translated, that's... "Honey, you are such a unique dresser!"
Big thanks to that popular surplus shop called, Ukay-Ukay!  (Ooh... I can almost feel you cringing)

Ukay-Ukay isn't anything new.  It's a cramped clothes store found on every block of your neighborhood.  People come here in secret.  And people still think it's a dirty hellhole where the old clothes of the dead (the violently killed ones, according to urban legend) are donated.  Maybe.  But if you're a smart skirt shopper, you will find unopened boxes in the back room of this tiny hole-in-the-wall.  Inside these, the clothes are actually new, incredibly unique ones shipped from China, Hong Kong, even Timbuktu.

Slightly damaged, these items didn't make it in the Quality Control line.  If you don't mind restitching a snagged zipper or sewing in a missing button or in bagging an insanely huge discount, then you're good to go.

These items didn't make it in the Taste Test line either.  Hence, the uniqueness.  Some look gawdy, strange, outlandish.  But if you're a natural with mixing and matching and flashing some kind of attitude --again, you're good to go.

These are just some of my Ukay-Ukay finds.  So far, I haven't ran into anyone who's wearing exactly the same designs.  That isn't much of a surprise, is it?

Ranging from Php100 to Php 300, I believe they go into the Best Buy/Good Job Section of my shopping track record.   That's because I'm an incredible budgeteer.

And yes, dad, I do love the attention. :P