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Name: toan
Location: Maryland, US

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

New York City

Last week, my boss took everyone from our studio to New York City for the Photo Expo. All and all, it was a great trip. I stayed 5 days.

My friend, Mike and I took some seminars on Photoshop CS2. Basically, we just to see how Photoshop CS2 measures up with C1 Pro, which is a photo editing software. There are some pros and cons with CS2--not that C1 Pro is perfect. There are some cool features that we like about CS2.

Apple's "Aperture" also made its debut at the Expo. It's a powerful photo-editing application at $500.00 a pop. Looks like my boss is going to get it.

Aside from from Photo Expo, we went to my boss's photo agency parties, bars and sightseeings. Been in this this country for 20 years and this was my real New York City experience (I went there on a day trip to the museum 10 yrs ago). I like the city a lot but I don't think I would like live there.

Click "here" to see more New York photos.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Wine Tasting

Last Saturday, my friends John, Kathy and I went to a wine tasting. See, there is something you must know about my extensive wine knowledge--I know two kinds of wine: Red and white. Other than that, I can't tell the difference between two bottles of red wine. Hell, I can't tell the different between Coke and Pepsi even though, for some weird reason, I always asked for Coke when dining out and the usual reply from the waiters was: "Is Pepsi ok?"

"Yes," I said.

My point is: I don't know a thing about wines.

Damn! "Walk, Don't Run" is on tv (don't remember how many times I've watched this film on Turner Classic Movies). I have to finish this blog tomorrow.

Cont. from yesterday--As you can see, I am sidetracked easily. Ok, I was boasting about my inexperience in wines. So, after entering the wine store, we were carded--meaning (for foreigners reading this) we have to swear to the lady at the door that we are NOT fans of the movie, "Sideways." See, wine stores were pissed off because the character, Miles in the film dislikes Merlot, as the result, sales of Merlot dropped dangerously low. I'd heard through the grapevine that they were thinking of changing the name Merlot to "Freedom Vine" in order to boost sales. Anyway, we were given small tasting glasses and some wine lists. There were 14 types of wines listed on the list. I was told by Kathy, a serial wine-taster and mother of two, that "there were more wines" from the last wine tasting a few weeks ago. "F#%k! that means less free wine to drink," I said. Nevertheless, 14 different wines were enough to make my head spin in which led me to BWWI or Buying Wines While Intoxicated. I bought 3 bottles: Cousino Macul (Chile), Carmenere (Chile) and Santo Vin Santo (Greece). Good marketing ploy, indeed.

That night, after a long nap and much needed hydration, I brought the Carmenere bottle, pate, baguette and French cookies over John and Kathy's. Yep, more drinking. I must mention that (I can't speak for John and Kathy though I am suspecting you know what) I don't have a drinking problem. Anyway, we settled comfortably on the couch, ate baguette and pate, and watched "Funny Ha Ha." Five minutes into the movie, we bailed out on it and watched a different one--a riveting, eye-popping, high-tension thriller called "High Tension." If you like French culture, gory movies, and lesbians (particularly French lesbians) then you are in for a treat. This movie will keep you on the edge of your seat.

So, it was a great Saturday. Though I don't know shit about wine but one thing I know: It tastes great when drink with good friends.

Well, I have to go and pack. I am leaving for New York tomorrow.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

High-Speed Internet

After almost 2 weeks, 4 Comcast technicians, I have finally got internet cable set up. I almost gave it up because of the ordeals I had to go through. Anyway, things are moving along quicker now. No more waiting around, no more dial-up! no more money in my wallet.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Foreign Tunes

If you like foreign tunes, you might find these CDs quite enjoyable.

"Cape Verde," which is a compilation from various artists from Cape Verde. I like track #3, Pays Sol, sings by Nana Matias. Her voice is hauntingly beautiful. I can't seem to find info on her anywhere. How they found her for this "Cape Verde" project is a mystery to me.

"Voz D' Amor" by Cesaria Evora. She is undoubtedly the queen of Cape Verdean music. She is well known in Europe.

"Nha Mundo" is, I am not sure, Maria de Barros' first album. Though grew up in the US, her music is very much Cape Verdean. Her voice is sweet to the ears.

"Attraction" by Paris Combo, a Parisian swing band's third album. Great party music. I like track 6 and 7 a lot.

So there you have it (sorry, I can't write reviews), give these CDs a try.

I was hurrying to get this posting done (so I could get some shut-eye) when I realized that it's Yom Kippur (Jewish holiday) tomorrow and I don't have to go to work. Yes, you've guessed it--I am not Jewish but my boss is. He let us have a day off. Woo hoo! I love it. What should I do tomorrow? Maybe I'll go to the music store. I need to add some more tunes to my iPod. When the internet cable is hooked up, I'll search for more exotic sounds on iTunes store. I can't do it right now because I still have dial-up. Yes, I know, I am behind the times. My friends ridicule me non-stop. I think I developed an eating disorder as result of this. More on my pathetic life later.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Friday Already?

My choice of beverage on Friday afternoon. Good iced coffee is the kind you make yourself--extra strong. I am not a regular coffee drinker but I do like a good glass of iced coffee once or twice a week. I prefer Café Du Monde because of its dark roasted coffee and chicory. It takes 5 teaspoonfuls to make my coffee. I usually pay the price 3 or 4 hours later--I'd get all paranoid and bounce around like ping pong ball. But right now, all I care is its rich taste and listening to the wonderful "Voz D'Amor" CD by Cesaria Evora, Cape Verde's famous singer (I love Cape Verdean music). What better way to enjoy this blissful Friday afternoon. Well, gotta get back to work. I am feeling the effect of the coffee already.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Lately, for some unknown reasons, I've been watching a cooking show, hosts by Emeril Lagasse, before I go to bed. I have a tv in my room so before I drift off into neverland I'd spend about half an hour watching Emeril's show. Most people would avoid watching a cooking show at 12 mid night. Not me, I like enjoy it (the sound of sizzling steak, chicken or onions is like music to my ears). I picked up good tips from the show though I rarely cook.

I should cook more often. It's not healthy eating frozen tv dinners all the time. This is why I look forward to Fridays and weekends so I could eat out. Haha. Every now and then, I'd get inspired and cook myself something. Two weeks ago, I made a sumptuous meal--steak, stir-fried string beans and roasted potatoes with garlic and basil.
Cooking can be fun and therapeutic except for preparing and cleaning parts. Cleaning is the worst part of all. Also, it cancels out the therapeutic effect you've received earlier from cooking. Sometimes, after dinner, I left the dishes along with pot and pan in the sink so this way I could enjoy the full therapeutic benefit. Anyway, who knows what I'll cook in the kitchen next time, perhaps something exotic. First, I have to clean the dishes.

I wonder what Emeril is cooking tonight.