2009 Movies

Some of them I’ve put in one line “reviews” in Flixster right after I came back from the theater, some I have not. To separate from the ones I just wrote I put those “first-impression” Flixster ones in double quotes . The movies highlighted in color are ones I think anyone should watch or they would regret it.

2009 movies watched in theater:

  • District 9
    • What a piece of work.
  • Avatar
    • By the third weekend I’d already seen it twice. I think that says plenty enough. There were scenes that gave me goose bumps; the music had so much to do with it (just like with Titanic). The whole experience affects you so much you forget your surroundings and totally immerse in it. And just like Titanic, it is such an extraordinary experience you honestly don’t care if it has the most original plot line. That brings about my personal philosophy of movie going: don’t read reviews or watch trailers before going; know as little as possible. The best thing about seeing a movie like these on opening weekend is you don’t have to hear all the people talking about it and end up going in with all the hype building up your expectations (for inevitable disappointment). Go in with a blank canvas and the only experience you will have is your own. That is so important.
  • Up in the Air
    • A movie that makes you savor for a long long time afterward, like sipping a good cup of tea.
  • (500) Days of Summer
    • “The genre of romantic comedy needs more movies like this.”
  • Ponyo
    • The beauty of it was breathtaking.
  • Michael Jackson’s This Is It
  • An Education
    • There is no shortcut in life. -Jenny
  • Up
  • Away We Go
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife
    • Because I’ve read and loved the book, I went in fully prepared to be disappointed, and an hour and half later, I wasn’t.

DVDs watched in 2009:

  • Tropic Thunder
  • My Neighbor Totoro

2009 in Facebook Status

There are lots of truth in the belief that Facebook is killing casual blogging. I look back at my FB statuses written in the past year and realize at least 80% of them could have been made into blog posts, had I wanted or taken the time. To make up for my laziness, here are my year 2009 in Facebook status*:

*I took out some for privacy and other reasons

January

was singing/dancing/freezing herself to death on the coldest night ever, watching White Plains new year ball drop & welcoming 2009 from the bottom of her heart!

thinks this is hilarious: Delete 10 FB Friends, Get a Free Whopper http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10136679-2.htm

had a terrific reunion with some folks she hasn’t seen for 12 years, then didn’t get home until 1am cuz friend’s car got towed for parking overtime.

is feeling the new year of Ox but is not quite there yet… (20 minutes…)

is spending the night calling families in China.

just got a Quicken promo email: On Valentine’s Day, Nothing is better than hearing the 3 magical words… “Get Cash Back.”

February

is invited over to watch Super Bowl with a bunch of Steelers fans/friends, even though she barely knows anything about football and is carrying cold virus.

got a quiz request from a friend that says: “xxx wants to know: Are You Weird?”… So that’s what happens to you after you tell people 25 things??

took two movie quizzes yesterday and scored awfully in both.

just came back from “The Reader” and doesn’t feel like talking.

is enjoying the Oscars very much so far.

had the best time watching art and brilliance be celebrated, talent and passion be rewarded. There aren’t many things better than that.

March

says the fact that 3 SYTYCD (her fav show) ex-finalists will be dancing as pros on the new DWTS (her other fav show) season suits her just fine.

had Chicken Lollipop, Dhedo, a super hot “Bhutanese National Dish”, and many other things Tibetan/Nepali at Himalalyan Yak. She’d definitely go there again…

“What’s on your mind?” So we don’t have to talk in third person any more? I sure am gonna miss That

just did archery for the 1st time ever..

My cat just vomited a hairball in my handbag. My cellphone’s smelling like chicken.

just came back from Chavin and thinks it’s a crime a half Peruvian rotisserie chicken that delicious only cost $8. They should charge more.

What will it be like to be standing at the center of Time Square tomorrow night 8:30pm, watching all the lights go off at the blink of an eye?

had schweinshaxe for dinner; schnitzel was also on the table… German is now #26.

April

Do it the right way, or don’t do it at all.

It’d be nice if winning the Mega Million jackpot could, instead of give me 100 million dollars, give me 10 million dollars and grant me the power to have 48 hours a day.

is heading to her 1st hiking trip in 6 months. Winter is looong…

May

saw this on someone else’s twitter: “Be yourself. Everyone else’s taken.”

Happy Star Wars Day. May the 4th be with you. http://bit.ly/6tDdo

It is not easy being 2.0.

“Having ideals is having a compass that always points to your heart instead of your brain.” – John Maeda

Beef & Lamb Gyro. Falafel with sesame sauce. Hummus. => My very satisfying lunch.

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Some pictures from the cruise trip

(We didn’t take many pictures during the trip mostly because 1. in lots of occasions it was inconvenient to carry a camera; 2. there was no point walking around with an iPhone with absolutely no service. Besides, we wanted to just relax and enjoy the time, our first ever cruise trip.)

ship

The ship, Liberty of the Seas, is actually more than twice the size of the Titanic.

shipside

more looks at the impressive vessel (the second largest cruise ship to date)

2carnivals

Two Carnival ships side by side basking in sunset

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Cheap Good Eats in Midtown East

By that I actually mean the good eats I recently discovered within walking distance from where I work (possible for lunch), but I hate long titles.

Menkui Tei Ramen

on 56th St, between 5th and 6th Ave

http://www.yelp.com/biz/menkui-tei-new-york-2

Tonkotsu TonkotsuRamen

Tonkotsu Ramen (hot in rich pork bone broth noodle soup with 2 pieces of roast pork among other things on top)

The soup, as you can see, tasted heavenly… (I know, you don’t exactly see heaven in there, but it’s okay, just go try the soup ;-)

The noodles and meat and everything else was all good, but I have to say the only thing I just cannot forget from this dish is the flavorful soup, and that alone is worth the trip.

My advice though: If you’re going to order one of the hot noodle soup entrees, try avoid going on the hottest summer days; or at least, don’t sit right next to the kitchen (if you have party of two and above you will get a table, which is farther from the kitchen stoves). They do have AC but I don’t think it’s set to the usual level you expect from an American restaurant at all. The place is small and authentic, with lots of Japanese people frequenting.

Before you go you also want to take a look at the photos section of the Yelp page to see what the entrance looks like. There’s no sign at the front carrying the name Menkui Tei.

JarJarStired

Jar Jar Ramen (cold soupless with ground pork soybean sauce, sliced cucumber, bean sprout etc), My favorite!

IMG_0087

Hiyashi Ramen (cold with sesame seed sauce, roast pork, imitation crab, pickled ginger etc)

Halal Food Cart at 53rd and 6th

http://www.yelp.com/biz/53rd-and-6th-halal-cart-new-york

Here’s how I found this one:

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What Should Be Your Major?

For the quiz junkies out there, here’s another one. I found it while lurking on Jessica’s blog :-p:

What’s Your Perfect Major?

(I know, it’s kinda LATE to ask this question, but that’s not the point)

Before I took this quiz I didn’t expect it to surprise me, because, well for people like us I think by this time we all have a pretty good idea what subjects we excel at and what we don’t. Still, taking mindless quizzes has always been a good stress reliever for me and this one turned out to be moderately interesting in that it helped me see some things about myself ever so clearly, such as, the word “molecule” does not fascinate me, at all. ;-)

Here’s my result. If you’ll take the quiz, share with me your result… (I just shared with you mine, right?)

You Scored as Journalism
You are an aspiring journalist, and you should major in journalism! Like me, you are passionate about writing and expressing yourself, and you want the world to understand your beliefs through writing.

Journalism
100%

Dance
100%
Theater
92%
English
92%
Mathematics
92%
Philosophy
83%
Linguistics
83%
Engineering
75%
Psychology
75%
Sociology
75%
Art
75%
Anthropology
58%
Biology
17%
Chemistry
17%

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Sunday, in Chronological Order

Is that even good English? I’m too tired to care. Since I took the time to shoot the pictures, thought I might as well share them.

CRW_5689

Snails in black bean sauce, Dim Sum at Guang Zhou Restaurant, Flushing

CoconutPinkberry

If you like Pinkberry but have not tried the new coconut flavor, you should.

thebug

First thing I saw at the High Line Street Fair… a pink bug.

leggyBug

Then the angle changed and the bug turned around… it was a real leggy, pink bug.

On high heels.

morebugs

Obviously there were more bugs at the street fair.

tallpeople

Bugs, and some real tall people…

IMG_0417 flowers flowers2

The plants and flowers were quite exotic for a public park (though wikipedia calls it a “greenway”).

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New RSS Feed Url

Should have done this long time ago. Feedburner.com was bought by Google and as a result my RSS feed urls have changed to:

http://feeds2.feedburner.com/walkingbetween

http://feeds2.feedburner.com/walkingbetween/comments

Please update your RSS reader. Thank you for subscribing.

(The original WordPress feed URL http://walkingbetween.com/feed or https://walkingbetween.wordpress.com/feed will always work.)

If you don’t know what RSS is or don’t use RSS, I strongly recommend you check it out. My favorite desktop RSS reader is SharpReader from http://sharpreader.net. It has an Outlook like UI and, when a new item comes in it slowly raises a light blue box, with summary line inside, in the right bottom corner of your screen, stays still for a few seconds (during which you can peek and decide whether to click on it for more), then slowly descends and disappears. You can customize the frequency each feed checks for new items, among other properties per feed.

If you can’t use desktop client Google Reader is probably the most popular web-based RSS reader out there. Just click the “Reader” tab at the top of your Google/Gmail account.

If you have many blogs you follow regularly, a desktop RSS client with notifications on new posts is, IMO, a must.

Resuscitation, 2008, and moving forward

About a month ago on Facebook my friend Jun used the word “resuscitate” to describe the action I needed to bring this blog back. She also volunteered to teach me CPR… ;-)

Although I did not take up her kind offer, I have been thinking about how best to “resuscitate” ever since. Lots of things have happened since my last post on August 4, 2008; it doesn’t feel right to just skip the past 6 months and suddenly start posting the latest things I want to write right now. I need a “bridge” post, I’ve decided, if only just for the one or two readers who were not with me on Facebook the past 6 months.

So here’s a really quick look back to the last few months of 2008, up till now:

  • The Beijing Olympics. During those 3 weeks I subscribed to almost all the Olympics blogs by major media sports writers and journalists in my RSS reader, and read just about everything that’s been written every day in the western media, NYT, ESPN, FoxSports, Guardian Sports, BBC Sports, Yahoo! Sports, CNN, ABCNews… On top of those I also read tons of message board posts and did my share of postings. It was pretty crazy. So many things happened. There were times I felt powerless. sad. And there were the times of pride. awe. and inspiration. They could go on a separate post of its own, but somehow I have lost the drive to write it.
    (or perhaps it’s the courage to write them that I’ve lost, like a climber facing an insurmountable mountain…)
  • The U.S. Open. The first time we went to see live tennis. We went on the Labor Day weekend and later for the men’s finals. Notable players/games that we watched include: Zheng Jie/Yan Zi women’s double, Djokovic vs a pretty good young guy, Li Na vs Dementieva (the freshly crowned Olympics Gold Medalist), and of course, Federer vs Andy Murray. I was hoping for a Nadal/Fed final but didn’t get it.
    Live tennis games are fun. I highly recommend you try it once, if you watch tennis on TV. Don’t buy the worst seats though, you need a reasonably good view to get yourself into it.
  • Yellowstone Trip. We were lucky enough to have caught the perfect weather, beautiful foliage, and plenty wildlife sightings that include: a black bear (next to a dead elk body), a grizzly bear (walking in the woods at roadside), a wolf and an antelope wandering in the same valley (and missing each other!), a fox-like wolf in the vicinity of a bison (of course neither was interested in the other), three different types of deer, a coyote, a group of sheep, and the best of all, an army of bisons walking right in front of our car (and right next to it within an elbow’s length). The geysers and hot springs were also amazing as advertised. They look even better on photos :c).
    One lesson learned from the trip: you need a binocular, a video cam, AND the best camera/lens you can afford to go to Yellowstone. All three are necessities.
  • The Financial Crisis. The best thing that came out of the whole thing is, it prompted me to start paying real good attention to my 401k… ; ), which then resulted in me delving into a reading fever on some of the best, and academically sound if you will, investment advices that I truly wish I had learned 10 years ago.
  • New Year Eve. Another first: First time we spent the countdown watching a ball drop with a crowd outside. It was freezing like hell, but I really wanted to go, to send off this crazy year of 2008. When it counted to 0 and all the fireworks erupted, I was cheering with everyone else from the bottom of my heart.
  • Movies. 2008 was a great year for movies. I’ve been putting in short, one paragraph reviews on Facebook (via Flixster) for movies I watched lately. Maybe I’ll make a compilation of them into a post later. I think I’ve watched 3 of the 5 best picture nominees as well as some very good ones like The Wrestler and Revolutionary Road in the last couple months alone.
  • New Food. Nepali is now added to my list of Cuisines I’ve Tried At Least Once, as #25. ;-)

Lastly, to whoever that noticed, the kitties pictures on the right is replaced with the latest Flickr photo feed. There seem to be something wrong with Flickr’s RSS feed on a set that caused the kitty set photos all broken. Until I figure out the problem this is the only feed that works here.

SYTYCD 4, Week 8 Elimination

For the first time of the entire season my predictions for who goes home went all wrong. I was sad to see Mark and Chelsie eliminated, especially Chelsie. When was the last time a latin dancer advanced to the final on this show? I don’t think it ever happened. What a bummer. If someone as good as Chelsie couldn’t do it, I don’t know if it’s ever gonna happen.

Just read here that two of the 4 finalists collapsed during the Saturday rehearsal and were rushed to the hospital. They were released soon after and had Sunday off. It seems every season something like this happen at least once to someone on the show. Maybe they (the producers) should do something about it, if they can.

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SYTYCD 4, Top 6 Perform

Best night of the whole season! I almost cried watching Katee/Joshua’s contemporary piece to Celine Dion’s “All By Myself”. It was no doubt Tyce Diorio’s best work of the season, if not all seasons. Equally powerful, but in a totally different way, was Mark/Courtney’s Jazz choreographed by Sonya. Watching it just left you in awe.

The voting this week is going to be crazy, crazy close. I have absolutely no idea which of the guys are going home. Personally I feel Mark’s strong performances last night, especially the Sonya number, probably will push him slightly over Twitch and into the final. On the girls side it won’t be so close though. Courtney is probably the one to go. I’m happy that the two girls I liked from the very beginning, Chelsie and Katee, are likely the two favored going into the final.

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SYTYCD 4, Top 12 Perform and Week 5 Elimination

The Bollywood dance was really exciting. I’m glad it was Katee and Joshua that got to do it. The costumes fit them perfectly and they nailed the dance from beginning to the end. It was very refreshing, and crowd pleasing.

I don’t know about others but I found what Mia Michaels said to Will about him carrying Jessica all the time to be cruel and totally unnecessary.

As soon as the bottom 3 was announced I picked Comfort and Thayne to be gone, but I was somewhat surprised when Nigel implied that they would have eliminiated two girls, meaning obviously Comfort and Jessica, rather than Comfort and Thayne. So the judges have no love for Jessica and they aren’t even trying to hide it.

Note: News came today that Jessica just dropped out of the show due to an injury and Comfort is now back in Top 10 to replace her.

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SYTYCD 4, Top 14 Perform and Week 4 Elimination

Once again the best numbers came from my two favorite couples: Chelsie/Mark’s Jazz by Mandy Moore and Katee/Joshua’s Contemporary by Mia Michaels. Chelsie is doing extremely well for a ballroom girl. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her in the final 4. Katee shined in Mia’s routine. I couldn’t get that “aided run” out of my head. Twitch/Kherington might be popular among viewers but I really didn’t like their Paso Doble.

When the bottom three couples were announced there wasn’t really any surprise. After Gev gave the best solo of the night I was thinking Thayne’s time was  over, but to my surprise Kourtni and Matt were sent home instead.

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SYTYCD 4, Week 3 Elimination

All the bottom 3 couples have been there more than once. None of them was a surprise. Kherington/Twitch escaped the “curse of the first” and were safe, I feel they are a popular couple. Once again I loved Matt’s solo, very well choreographed. I thought Chris and Comfort would be eliminated but it turned out to be Chris and Chelsea. So this was the first time they broke up a couple in 3 weeks.

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SYTYCD 4, Top 16 Perform

Performance wise this was the best week so far. I absolutely loved Chelsie/Mark’s Hip-pop routine choreographed by Napolean/Tabitha. Both were outstanding and the choreography was fantastic. They are a very strong couple and Adam said they were “the couple to beat”. My second favorite of the night was the Samba by Katee/Joshua. For a popper dancing Samba for the first time in his life, Joshua was surprisingly good. This is the first time I truly see why Mia said he would go to final 4, he is extremely versatile. Katee’s costume I personally felt was a bit too long for Samba. Had it been shorter it would have enhanced her hip action more. Luckily the vibrant choreography covered up a lot of ground for them.

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SYTYCD 4, Week 2 Elimination

The right couple went home. Susie for being the weakest female and Marquis, whose solo demonstrated his technique but more importantly I felt it also showed his lack of ability to interpret and express the music. He piled up turns after turns without choreographing to the music. Nigel took the words out of my mouth when he said it was all “tricks” and was not what this show is about. His solo is like the polar opposite of Will’s solo, the latter was all about interpreting the music.

Of all the solos last night I liked Comfort’s the most. I also noticed something interesting, but not surprising: it’s been two weeks in a row that the first couple that danced on Wednesday landed in bottom three the next night. Let’s see if the trend continues.

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