Saturday’s story: remember those who serve

Remember those who serve
by unknown

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. “How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked. “50¢,” replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.
“Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. “35¢!” she brusquely replied.
The little boy again counted his coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.
When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies. You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011)

mp’s rating: 2/5

The movie can be summarised into three words: marriage, honeymoon, baby. All three in two hours.

It was a very long movie, and the plot was a very long one indeed as well, and it was just… long. It had minimum plot twist and minimum action.

Well, okay, it was not that bad, and I enjoyed the good scenery during Edward and Bella’s honeymoon, but it was such a long movie for only those three stories…

The Twilight series tell the story of Edward Cullen, a vampire, Bella, a human, and Jacob, a werewolf. It’s basically a love triangle, with Edward being the Prince Charming that all girls dream of having. And the drama begins…

Well, I believe that all of you know more about Twilight than me, so I’ll just make this review short.

Good cinematography, okay-only acting, and predictable and a little bit dull plot. However, it was better than I expected though. To be honest, I was quite entertained (yet in this sense, it depends on with who you watch the movie, and not necessarily how good the movie itself).

“Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.”
Stephen King

Read more: Twilight Movies: Top 10 Reasons Grown Women Love It, a very interesting article indeed.

For the love of Disney: the top 10 + 1 questions

Have you ever wondered if whether the ‘about’ me description on my home page is true, because I never actually post anything about Disney? (well maybe a couple posts about some Disney movie reviews).

One of my friends post this on Facebook the other day: If Disney Princesses were real, and I am reminded of how much I love Disney.

“We’ve always loved the Disney princesses in a fairy tale sense, so we’ve never imagined they were real. But one graphic design student at the Arts University College at Bournemouth in the UK had the creative idea to bring Disney characters to life using photo manipulation.”

Princess Jasmine from Disney’s Aladdin comes to “real” life via a graphic artist’s rendering

Pocahontas is working some Barbie-like proportions.

Princess Aurora of “Sleeping Beauty” looks like a supermodel. Those cheek bones!

We can understand why everyone is obsessed with Esmeralda,
the stunning gypsy in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

Megara from “Hercules” looks like she’s up to no good. Perhaps because she had to work for Hades.

If mermaids were real, Ariel of “The Little Mermaid” might look like this.

Beautiful Belle may not fall for Beast right away, but he’ll find a way to win her over.

And here’s his latest addition: Mulan!

photos by: jirkavinse.wordpress.com

So here are some of my own made-up questions about Disney:

1. What’s your favourite animated Disney character (female) and why?

This is a hard question. Like HARD hard. I have three competing candidates: Mulan, Belle, and Tiana.Well, you might have guessed why those three are on my top list. They are all smart and hardworking girls.

Mulan has some identity crisis at first and then she decides to follow her heart, and becomes the saviour of China. Belle is a smart girl who thinks that there is much more to life than just this, and her attitude of loving someone not because of the look, but because of his heart is really the highlight of the story. Tiana, a girl who first thinks that life can only be lived by hardwork, yet in the end believes in love.

My vote will go to Belle, because she makes me believe in the beast – an imperfect guy will be perfect, if you just love him.

2. What’s your favourite animated Disney character (male) and why?

Again, hard question. My three candidates will fall to Aladdin, Naveen, and Eugene.

I guess Aladdin is the first male character whose personality is so well developed in Disney movies, compared to other Prince Charming who just fight the dragon and save the princess. The reason I love Aladdin is because he’s the street rat,yet he has that potential in him that no one sees. Yet he meets Ginnie, and with Abu, he gains the confidence and the self esteem to accept himself as he is, and that’s what we want from guys: confidence!

Naveen in The Princess and the Frog also lives up to my expectation. Even though raised as a Prince, his lifestyle is damaging his life, and this is what I see from most guys as well: when it’s time to be serious, leave your childlike attitude and grow up.

Eugene in Tangled is just… my dream Prince Charming (I think). He is quite a bad boy-ish, but he is actually a nice guy; he just hasn’t found the right direction. Yet in the end, during those critical moments, he finally chooses the right thing to do. Besides, he has a very good sense of humour.

So the final vote. I’ll choose Aladdin. Although a street rat, he has a lot of potential in him, and if nurtured correctly, he is going to be a great guy someday. His humility and attitude impress me.

3. What’s your favourite animated Disney character (non-humans) and why?

The three candidates are Maximus (the horse in Tangled), Marlin (Nemo’s father in Finding Nemo), and Sebastian (the crab in The Little Mermaid).

Maximus, because he is so loyal and full of spirit, not to mention that he is a royal horse and he can fight! Marlin, because he is such a loving father, and Sebastian, because he is just adorable. He worries too much though, but in a humorous way!

So I guess, the vote goes to Maximus.
(No Mickey Mouse, Pooh, or Donald Duck, seriously????) Well, yea… sorry to disappoint you guys.

4. What’s your ultimate Disney pet?

Maximus, of course! (or Toothless in How to train your dragon. Sadly, it’s not Disney).

5. Who’s your ultimate Prince Charming?

Now I’m considering Aladdin or Eugene… Hmm…. I think Eugene, because life will be more fun with him around. =D

6. Who’s your favourite Disney Princess?

Actually, Ariel. Just because she is so pretty, she can sing very well, and she IS a mermaid!

7. What’s your favourite animated Disney movies?

If I can say all, I’ll say all. But the top three are: Up, The Princess and the Frog, and Beauty and the Beast.

And of course, my the ultimate one goes to Up. It is a very heartwarming story, with beautiful concept and it tells about why life’s worth living.

8. What is your favourite Disney soundtrack?

Hmm, HARD. Okay, top ones: I see the light (Tangled), I’ll make a man out of you (Mulan), Be our guest (Beauty and the beast), I just can’t wait to be king (Lion King), A whole new world (Aladdin), Beauty and the beast (Beauty and the beast), Kiss the girl (Little Mermaid), The Call (Chronicles of Narnia), Circle of Life (Lion King), Go the distance (Hercules), I won’t say I’m in Love (Hercules), Aloha O’e (Lilo & Stitch), Once upon a December (Anastasia)…

I don’t think I can choose. So I’ll let my iTunes choose for me, and the most played song is I see the light (Tangled).

9. Who is the loveliest Disney couple?

Carl and Ellie in UP, of course! It is the first movie that is actually able to make me cry in the first ten minutes.

Just in case you think it’s cheating, my second loveliest Disney couple award goes to Aladdin and Jasmine.

10. What is the funniest scene in Disney movies?

Top one: the scene in Toy Story 3 where Buzz does that Latin dance, it’s hilarious. Second: the scene in Tangled when Eugene fights Maximus, frying pan vs sword. And of course, third: the scene in Pirates of the Caribbean 2, where Jack Sparrow runs for his dear life from the cannibals!

+ 1. Why do you like Disney?

So here’s the $100 billion question: why do I like Disney? Not only that it’s entertaining, full of inspirational stories, and funny, it also makes me believe in magic. The real world nowadays are full with children who try so hard to grow up faster, full of skeptics who just believe in the art of science, and full of humans who do not dare to dream. Magic happens, and it still does. It’s in those moments that take your breath away, in the pure smile of a child, in the warm sunlight, in every hug and kiss, and in the heart of those who believe.

And seeing these creative arts make me fall in love with Disney even more! :)

Tuesday’s Tale: Together at Last

Talking yet again on long distance relationship (as I have been talking for 2 weeks now in my Tuesday’s post), here is a heartwarming pre-wedding video of a couple who have spent their years being separated from each other, and in the end of their journey, they finally be together forever. The years they have spent apart did not break their relationship, it made the relationship stronger.

What a creative and lovely shoot indeed!

Year 2, Semester 2 reflection

Third year is approaching soon, so what subjects should I take next year? Or specifically, what breadth subject should I take? This is the time of the year when I am stressed out due to choosing the right subjects to prepare me for the future and to make my life easier.

So I have one more slot for semester one, and all the breadth subjects that I’d like to take are offered in semester two. Plus, the ‘quite ok’ subjects that are offered in semester one have timetables that clashed with my other subjects. Oh boy, this is hard.

I’d like to take some marketing subjects, or linguistics, but they are all a bit hard or have a lot of subject requirements. So now I’m drinking a hot chocolate milk at 9.15pm at night, looking back and forth at my multiple tabs of possible subjects.

Here are some possible subjects: The secret life of language, grammar of english (yes, I know, my grammar is very poor), language and identity, and leading change in a complex world. Do they sound interesting? Ehm, not really.

Okay, back to the main topic. The semester 2, year 2 reflection.

It was quite a hard semester – full of essays and assignments and exams, but I survived.

Personality and Social Psychology. At first I thought this will be the number one subject that I will definitely love, as I am highly interested in personality and the social aspect of humans. Well, it turns out that I didn’t really enjoy this subject. Well, there are some interesting facts and behaviours to note, but I kinda think that the subject is dull (or is it just me?). As I said before, I am not the type of person that can learn theories. I don’t want to be learning and remembering researches without knowing the application to the ordinary real lives. This subject’s exam was so hard. I just wish that I’d get a decent grade… Good enough to enable me to enrol in Honours program.

Cognitive Psychology. Well, again, I do not like the mind… Yes, it is fascinating, but I really think humans are complicating things… I’m not really interested in the theories and the possible explanations of how the mind works, I’m more interested in the why does the mind think that way. Same as previous subject, the exam was hard. I really wish that I will get a decent grade.

Deafness and Communication. An interesting subject, and a creative one indeed. I learn more about deafness and its community and I think it broadens my horizon. It reminds me of how important education, family, and a supportive community are. I think I’ve done fairly well for this subject. Aiming for h1, so please please please….

Introduction to Media Writing. Although it is the most demanding one (assignments: profile writing, review, travel writing, PNA, opinion piece, news story, and group presentation), I really like this subject. It takes me out of my comfort zone and force me to explore my creativity and talent that I didn’t know exist. Most of my writings are already published (see portfolio to browse through the latest ones), and I’m quite proud of that. My tutor was so good, and this subject really gives me hands-on experience in writing. I really hope I’ll score well for this!

So… the breadth subject hunt for next year will continue again soon…

And just a note, I’ll be going to Sydney from Wednesday to Saturday, and will be quite busy during December (my sister’s graduation, going back home to Indonesia, holiday trip to US and Singapore), so there will be irregular postings from now on (not everyday as I used to do). I wish you all to have a great holiday ahead!

Happy early holiday! making salmon canape for a home party last week ;)

An insider’s guide to picking a cafe in Melbourne

Many thanks for Meld Magazine! Read original article here.

MELBOURNE is home to many wondrous cafés, but let’s face it – it has plenty of not-so-good ones too, and even some horrible ones.

An espresso machine portafilter and tamper. Photo: Wikicommons

YOU can judge a good café by the coffee they serve, and that depends on the brand of coffee bean, the type of coffee machine and the type of milk they use.

These are what people in the biz call ‘controls’, but there are plenty of other variables that come into play, like the barista’s skills and the service.

As a traveller, a coffee lover and a barista, I’ve had some good coffee experiences and some bad ones. So I’ve come up with a list of ten things you should look out for that will (hopefully) allow you to embrace the good and avoid the bad.

From my experience, you should run from a café if…

1. The portafilter handle is not fixed into the grouphead

I know that sounds pretty complicated, but it’s not. When you first enter a coffee shop, pretend to look around and fix your eyes on the coffee machine. Does the barista put the spoon-like handle that holds the coffee grounds on the counter or on top of the machine rather than fixing it straight into the its place in the machine (the grouphead)?

If so, run. Your coffee experience is about to be ruined because the handle is not hot enough to make your espresso.

2. The frothing wand is stained with milk

While some of you might drink your espresso black, almost 90 per cent of the coffees I make will have milk in them. Baristas use a frothing wand to aerate the milk and make it smooth and silky. After using, the frothing wand must be wiped to prevent clogging, so if the frothing wand is stained with milk, there’s a good chance the barista has not cleaned it. Your milk will be nowhere near perfect, let alone hygenic.

3. They are using plastic tampers, instead of stainless steel ones

To make a decent espresso, a barista should tamp (press down on the coffee grounds) with a pressure equal to 15kgs. The tamper is the puck-shaped utensil used to press the coffee grounds into the portafilter. There is no way to achieve the right pressure with a plastic tamper, which is why you should head to the next café…pronto.

4. The barista puts their milk jug on the “designated” spot to froth it rather than holding it there by hand

I’ve been to a couple of cafes that used this method, and I’ll never go back to them again. The first time I saw a barista fill the jug with milk, put it on the designated spot and start turning the pressure handles, I was surprised. Unfortunately I had ordered my coffee already. Big mistake – it ended up being a rubbish coffee.

5. The barista pours their milk straight into the coffee cup without working on it first

I know there are plenty of people queuing up for coffee, but I don’t think a professional barista should skip steps and go straight to pouring the frothed milk into the cup just to save time. After frothing the milk, the milk needs to be swirled to ensure the perfect mixture of air and milk. If they don’t do that at your café, your milk won’t be silky or smooth.

6. The cafe staff aren’t friendly or are not educated enough to answer your questions

Here is a true story about a cafe that uses 5 Senses coffee beans and a Synesso coffee machine (both of which are good), but makes horrible coffee. Once, as I entered this highly rated cafe, I was greeted by unfriendly staff and a grumpy barista. That made me suspicious, but I discarded my gut feeling and proceeded with ordering my coffee anyway. The coffee was too hot, burnt and with bubbles on top of what should have been silky smooth milk. As I sipped my horrible coffee, I saw at least five people walking out of the café in response to bad service. This cafe is now top of my never-go-to-again list.

7. It’s 30 minutes before closing time

I’m not sure if it’s because they’re exhausted or because they want to go home straight away, but the staff and baristas at some of Melbourne’s most popular cafes can turn pretty nasty just before closing time. As a result, it’s not wise to order your coffee just before a café closes. The barista has probably started to clean the machine already and will be thinking of home, so his or her mind will not be on the job at hand.

8. It’s 30 minutes after opening time

Based on experience, the coffee machine has an optimum heat level at which it is able to produce your cup of coffee just right, so it needs time to warm up. I know you need your caffeine fix, but patience is often the key to an awesome coffee.

9. It’s rush hour

If it is a good café, the chance they’ll make a bad coffee when they’re super busy is lower. But even the best baristas slip up once in a while, and it can ruin your opinion of the place forever. That’s what happened to me at one of Melbourne’s best known coffee spots. They burnt my coffee when they were busy, and now, when people try to convince me how good the coffee is, I just can’t believe them.

10. Your gut feeling tells you to get out of there

Sometimes, the best judge is your own gut feeling. So if your gut is telling you the coffee will be no good and the cafe is dodgy, follow it… and run!