Getting into the Holiday Mood

December 14, 2014 @ 7:44 pm (Permalink)

8th Army Band Holiday Concert 2014

On December 13, I had to go to my organisation’s holiday party. I honestly didn’t want to attend, but since I am one of the committee members, I felt like I had no choice but to go. Let’s just say I was a big scrooge about this party, and my introvertedness was rearing its huge head. All I could think is “Bah, humbug!” and I was certainly not in a holiday mood.

Today, though, was a different story. I saw several weeks ago that the 8th Army Band was going to do their annual holiday concert at the Seoul Arts Centre. I’d been to one of these concert years ago, and the fact that it’s held at the Seoul Arts Centre is a huge deal. Plus, this was going to be a FREE concert, so I invited one of my friends, who invited their friend, and we all met up to attend the concert. I was told that we needed to come to the venue early to pick up tickets, and I urged my friend to get there two hours early. We got there at 1:30, and I got our tickets. We were given the front row seats in the middle section of the auditorium. That made me ecstatic. It meant I didn’t have to deal with someone tall blocking my view, I had plenty of leg space, and I had a good view of the performers on stage.

Oh, this experience was FABULOUS. The opening number was Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12-24″, and that just set a great tone for the rest of the concert. The first part was performed by 8th Army Band, and the second part was performed by Seongnam Philharmonic Orchestra, with Oh Miseon as the soprano opera superstar. Guh. I cannot express just how amazing everything was. Our seats, the songs, the performers . . . asdfjkl;asdfjkl;!!!

I am now in a bubbly holiday mood! :D Holiday concerts like these will always make me happy!

3 Comments » | Filed Under Korea, Music, Social Life

A Monumental Gaming Accomplishment

December 7, 2014 @ 9:06 pm (Permalink)

Final Fantasy X HD Logo

Way back in December 2001 (or January 2002), I received Final Fantasy X for the PlayStation 2 as a gift from my wonderful daddy, a game I’d been wanting ever since I heard about it. I remember when I first played it, and I remember the sense of awe I had with the game — the sweet PS2 graphics, the gorgeous opening theme of “To Zanarkand”, and the amazing gameplay that came with it. As a turn-based JRPG fan, this game rocked my socks. Unfortunately, though, Final Fantasy X suffered the “Unbeatable-itis” syndrome that has met with every single other FF games I’ve played. Meaning, I’ll play an FF game, but I never get around beating the game. Until today, my FF gaming status looked like this:

  • Final Fantasy III: 20% complete
  • Final Fantasy IV: 3% complete
  • Final Fantasy VI: 30% complete
  • Final Fantasy VII: 30% complete
  • Final Fantasy VIII: 45% complete
  • Final Fantasy IX: 75% complete
  • Final Fantasy X: 80% complete
  • Final Fantasy XIII: 60% complete

I admit, my attempts are pathetic, but now I can proudly say I’ve beaten an FF game! December 7, 2014 marks my beating of Final Fantasy X HD Remaster on the PS Vita. I started the game in March, and I’ve been playing it on and off since then. With the news of Suikoden II coming out for PSN, that encouraged me to finally tackle the last dungeon to fight the final boss. I’m glad I took that plunge because I’m thrilled that I’ve finally beaten an FF game! Took me long enough — practically almost 14 years! To end this entry, here’s a mini-review of my thoughts on the HD remaster version of the game!

  • I’m not a great judge of graphics, but I thought the game looked quite breathtaking on my Vita!
  • The soundtrack . . . adsfkjld;asfkjdfkljsad. BEAUTIFUL EVEN AFTER ALL THESE YEARS.
  • Tidus and Yuna’s voices still annoy me after all these years.
  • I enjoyed the battles, so I didn’t mind the grinding . . .
  • . . . HOWEVER, Yunalesca and Braska’s Final Aeon boss battles just about nearly made me want to throw my Vita across the room.
  • Thank gods for Aeons. Especially Anima, who demolished Seymour’s arse in his final incarnation. Speaking of which, he proved to be an annoying little prick!
  • Bottom line — I’m glad I played and beat this. Having it on the Vita was much more convenient for me than playing it on the PS3. Playing this allowed me to fondly remember my high school gaming days.

5 Comments » | Filed Under Video Games

My Favourite Things: December 2014

December 6, 2014 @ 10:26 pm (Permalink)

My Favourite Things

I’ve decided to do this “My Favourite Things”, a monthly meme that focuses on what I’ve been obsessed with for the past four weeks. This meme is hosted by Raisa and Eirene.

Kindle Paperwhite and Coffee

For the past month or so, I’ve been obsessed with reading The Lord of the Rings and/or The Hobbit fanfics on my first generation Kindle Paperwhite. These are epically long fics (majority of them are 100,000+ words long), and they are addicting. Super addicting. I’ve stayed up until 3:00am one day reading a fic I just couldn’t put down. Thorin Oakenshield and Bilbo Baggins are the two culprits who wouldn’t leave me alone. I don’t know what it is about these two, but they need to shut up, haha! Seriously, though, fanfics own me. And there is nothing better than getting in my cosy bed after a long day of work with a cup of coffee while I escape into the wonderful world of Middle-earth with drama, humour, and angst through well-written fanfics by fans like me.

Speaking of coffee, I also discovered coffee I actually LIKE that’s not espresso-based. I got my dad a Keurig machine for his birthday in August. Since then, he and I’ve been trying out different K-Cups brands to see which are good. I discovered that my favourite is the Green Mountain Blueberry Coffee and Newman’s Own Special Blend. The latter is really great in that it’s so flavourful to where I can drink it without adding any sweetener. I’ve got other flavour/brand to kill, but once they are gone, I’m only going to buy these two.

And that’s my two-cents for this meme! Hopefully I’ll be able to do this regularly, so I hope to see you guys next month for the January edition!

2 Comments » | Filed Under Books, Food, Memes/Surveys

Slow Cooker Experience

December 2, 2014 @ 9:12 am (Permalink)

A couple of years ago, I nagged my dad for a slow cooker. It took me a while to convince him to get us one because he didn’t think it’d be a useful appliance. However, I wore him down, telling him that this is something I could utilise, saying that I wanted to cook more, but it’s hard to do so when I’ve got an evil split shift which really means working twelve-hour straight. So he got us one, and I used it twice since then to make beef stew.

Beef Stew

This was my first attempt. This attempt was a major learning experience for me. I kept envisioning my first attempt ending up with stew exploding all over the countertop, and I was even alarmed when it started “spitting” at me, but I ended that by placing a heavy coffee mug to keep the lid on tight. Regardless, the stew turned out well. This one was more savory and more clearer because I added too much liquid and I used Korean daikon because turnips were nowhere near me. For seasonings I used thyme, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and coarsely ground black pepper. This was a hit with my parents and me.

Beef Stew

Couple of days ago, I made the beef stew again, but I changed things up. Instead of Korean daikon, I substituted it with sweet potatoes. For the seasoning, I added a bit of rosemary and bay leaf. This stew turned out to be much sweeter — I blame the sweet potatoes — but it was still good. So much better than my first attempt! Just, nom.

Now, though, I need to branch out and try other recipes in the slow cooker. Never mind that I like stew and I like how it’s so easy to throw it in and let it cook for hours. Maybe I’ll try chili next time . . . Anyway, if you guys have a favourite slow cooker recipe, point me in that direction! I never say no to good recipes :D

3 Comments » | Filed Under Food

Veterans Day Weekend

November 11, 2014 @ 2:54 pm (Permalink)

I was able to get a bit of a reprieve this Veterans Day by taking Monday off, thus giving me a four-day weekend. I’ve enjoyed this much needed break that was full of many good things and a couple not-so-good things :) Here’s my adventure!

Iced Latte at Chansbros

My weekend started with me going to exchange some money and then stopping by the new branch of Chansbros. Chansbros #1 is my favourite coffee shop, but I found out Chansbros #2 opened, so I finally checked it out. The coffee is different here (but still good!), there are more selection of drinks here, and it gives a great view of the Itaewon’s entrance . . . all in all, it’s nice place, but I still prefer Chansbros #1! I much prefer their iced latte over the new place’s.

Butter Chicken and Vegetable Biryani from Taj Palace

Later I utilised Ynot Takeout to order some butter chicken and vegetable biryani from Taj Palace in Itaewon. This was the first time I used Ynot Takeout, and I’m glad I did. Normally, I wouldn’t want to pay an extra 4,000 won ($4 USD) delivery fee, but work had got me to be so mentally and physically drained, that I decided to use them this once. My food arrived within 30 minutes, and it was all warm and delicious! I’ve had Taj Palace before, but it’s been years since I’ve eaten there. I’m glad their quality hasn’t shrank since! Their butter chicken was one of the best ones I’ve had since Tiger Masala had closed. All the other ones I’ve tried in various Indian restaurant tasted nothing like this. Plus, the portion was huge! It was enough to last me four meals. :D

Sangdangsan Fortress

Sangdangsan Fortress

Sangdangsan Fortress

Sangdangsan Fortress

I went down to Cheongju on Saturday to visit a friend. We went to Sangdangsan Fortress, and it was an amazing trip. We didn’t walk around the entire fortress — for one, I was wearing the wrong pair of shoes! — but what we did view was amazing. The autumn foliage was gorgeous, it was fascinating to see a fortress that was intact, and we even saw squirrels! I was even momentarily struck with a vivid scene where I imagined to be a warrior in the 1600s, standing in front of the fortress, and watch an arrow come straight at me from one of the archer’s holes. This is a place I’d like to come back again and walk around the entire fortress. Just gotta remind myself to wear the right shoes! All in all, I had a great time in Cheongju, but coming back to Seoul, I encountered traffic jam hell on the expressway. I was not pleased that my 1.5-hour ride turned into a 3-hour one! I swear, Gyeongbu Expressway HATES me.

Chicken Avocado Panini and Iced Vanilla Latte at Kafe Nordic

Sunday found me going back to Kafe Nordic, one of the other cafes I like in Itaewon/Hannam area. There, I bought me an iced vanilla latte, and I tried their chicken avocado panini meal. The panini wasn’t bad — I really liked the bread and the cheese, but the flavouring of the chicken and avocado was bland. Not a meal I’d get again, but I still like their coffee and their cosy cafe!

Then I went to my hair salon and got my fringe trimmed and had them chop off about 3-4 inches of my hair. The bottoms were so damaged and kept getting tangled, so I knew it was time to cut my foxtail off. The foxtail being the bleached tips from when I dyed them blue/purple.

Curries and Bread at Taj Mahal in Ansan

I went back to Ansan on Monday. I met my friend whom I went there with last time, and this time we decided to try a South Asian restaurant. We decided to try Taj Mahal, a Pakistani/Indian/Nepalese/etcetera restaurant. We got the chicken curry, mutton palak, roti, paratha, and mango lassi (which isn’t pictured), all for 24,000 won ($24 USD). This meal was so much better than our Indonesian restaurant experience from the previous visit. The chicken curry was different, yet tasty, but I was sore that they didn’t have makhani! There are quite a number of other South Asian restaurant there, so we’ll try those next time.

And that’s pretty much it! Tuesday (today) is my bum day, so I’m just relaxing at home. I hope everyone else had a good weekend. And remember to thank a veteran in honour of Veterans and Remembrance Day!

4 Comments » | Filed Under Food, Korea, Social Life