Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In Awe of the Ayala Triangle Light Show

"It's like being in a video game!  Like Tron!  But with more colors!"
"And music!"
"Yeah!  And music! "
"And stars that glow!  Like a video game!"
"I already said that!"

My kids just rambled on and on in complete amazement under the pulsing hues of Ayala Triangle's Festival of Lights.  This is Ayala's yearly Yuletide offering, and we finally found the time to go!  So excuse me if I sound like an excited child on Christmas morn in this post.  Or, a totally tripped-out hippie.

It's a concert.  Not just your garden variety array of pretty blinking lights on a mall wall.  These lights dance in tune to Christmas songs in spectacular choreography.  Huge lit stars throb to a beat and then die down to make way for darkness... only to be interrupted by the laser-like lights that start flashing in as more lights above the towering trees vibrate with varying degrees of radiance.

The awesome thing is that you can walk right into this concierto.  Be among the pulsating lights and sounds, and feel like you're part of something magical.  It's an enchanting feeling.  And yes, a kind of 'you have to be there' thing.

The disarming display ends with the giant stars folding and closing like morning glories falling into a well-deserved sleep.  Music becomes a soft, lilting hum.  And then you are surrounded by gleaming white tear drop lights falling all about you.  Sudden serenity.  A lovely segue from the energetic, enigmatic show that was.

It's a free attraction that runs from 6 to 8 nightly all throughout the season.  If you haven't seen it, believe me, you'll need to.  Honestly, who doesn't need to experience magic nowadays?

The Festival of Lights at the Ayala Triangle.  So much like the Bermuda Triangle, you do get lost in it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happier Feet 2

This month is just full of 'Happy' posts, huh?
This time it's a happy review on Happy Feet 2!

Personally, I like it better than the original Happy Feet flick.  This sequel was a lot more focused making it more interesting, thus, giving you more time to enjoy the movie than overwork the braincells.

Ah... this calls for an enumeration!

1.  I love how the concept of global warming was hinted, but not blatantly slapped on you.  It was enough for the story to tell you how grave this phenomenon is.  One huge thing that sort of threw me off with Happy Feet 1 was the sudden animal rights thingy that was shoved unceremoniously at the end of the film.  Oh yeah, Happy Feet 2 knew the concept of smooth.

2.  The awkwardness of Mumble struggling with maturity and fighting for the acceptance of his own son is just spot on.  His awkwardness this time around was charming.  I didn't quite get why they had to make his son 'different', too, though.  Sure, awkward's cute every now and then but do we really have to make it genetic?

3.  I love the introduction of the new player, Sven, the crazy cool Puffin/Penguin.  Even Brian, the great elephant seal.  New characters in a sequel --specially those who really shake things up-- always work for me.  Comebacking characters make me smile, too.  Love how that crazy bird alien abductee is still after baby penguins!

4.  I love the introduction of Bill and Will, the Krills --and Will's rabid ambition to go up the food chain.  Nice story on aiming for a goal and journeying to achieve it.  This was a full blown movie all on its own.  Yet it segued perfectly as intermittent comic relief/sub plot through the main story of Mumble.

5.  I love how the humans are made more 'human' here.  This time, they don't just grab a penguin off the ice to study them.  They take care of them, heal them, play Led Zep with them.  Sure, I would've wanted more from them in the end --but then this IS a penguin story.

6.  I think the songs are better now, too.  I mean, hello, Pink!

Ok, back up.  Not everything is perfect.  Speaking of songs, that grand solo number of Eric, Mumble's baby, was just... how do I say this nicely... HORRIFYING!  The song was weirdly without melody.  And the baby penguin's singing voice!  Aaaargggh... that voice!!!  He's cute and all and I can even forgive his anger management issues... but THAT VOICE!

...
I'm stopping there right now.  We did have fun.  I just tend to nitpick like the judgmental hag I am.
So please take your seat --cover your ears when baby Eric starts to open his beak, hehe-- and enjoy the show.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Have a Happy Even After

Ana, my one and only BFA, has always been one of my idols in the strength and drive department.  We're friends kept apart by our different passions and pursuits, but I know what she's been through... and I know how she took that obstacle and beat it to the ground with a 3-inch stiletto.

So, when out of the blue, she told me that she has a book coming out, the first thing I said was, "It's about time!"


Now, Happy Even After isn't your typical hardbound.  It's a plethora of thoughts, quotes, and tales told by popular and not-so popular solo moms carefully compiled to form a club journal of sorts.  

The page-turner's aim is pretty simple:  Inspire, empower, and engage other solo moms to find their own strength and tell their own Happy Even After stories as persevering providers and as perfect mothers in a private book.  A journal of your most challenging yet most worthwhile journey, so to speak.  A personal diary you can visit and revisit to remind you that being solo doesn't mean being alone.

It's functional.

Emotional.

And most of all... highly educational. :)

That's the essence of living a life Happy Even After.  Have your own today.  Visit www.happyevenafter.com to order your copy.

XOXOBFA!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Adopt-a-Tree Friends

The school came up with an amazing thing called the Saturday Club.  This is basically a group kids can join for weekly field trips.  It's a neat idea because the students get to be with their teachers in less stressful conditions.  No books.  Just plain fun.
My boys have joined many of these Saturday Club outings, and for me, last weekend's was the best so far.

The teachers brought the kids to the La Mesa Ecopark.  Not only did my little city slickers get the much-needed fresh air and much-wanted nature trek, they also learned more about environmental conservation --a valuable lecture that comes with every EcoPark package.

After the educational tour and talk, the kids finally got their hands dirty with the Ecopark's Adopt-a-Tree Program.  The Treeplanting/Nursery Activity, hands down, was my boys' favorite part of the whole trip.  Oh wait... they kinda liked the Naming Rights that came with planting their own tree, too.  I mean,  MY own tree, right?

When they got home, Miro asked, "Mimi, can we visit our trees when they grow up?"
"Of course!". I said with a smile, holding the Tree Adoption Certificates the Ecopark gave them.  "You do have the adoption papers which give you full visiting rights."
To this, Kenji said, "Yay!  I'm a daddy!

Environmental, enlightening, empowering.
Now wasn't that a well-spent Saturday?

Friday, November 18, 2011

An Angrier Bird Birthday

Angry Birds here, Angry Birds there.
If you were to look up the list of trendiest kiddie party themes in the metro today, these gaming hot-tempered fowls will be perched ever so comfortably at the top most branch.  The theme is overused and abused to near overkill.

So what do you do if you really MUST have the Angry Birds as your child's birthday motif.  Surprisingly... go for the overkill.

The best way to pull off a concept is to the hilt.  And out of the three children's parties my boys went to this month alone, Bash's Birthday Bash was the most Angry Bird-tight.

In this party, decor was key.  I loved how the chairs were even dressed in the same cartoony colors of the popular game.

And there just wasn't any scrimping on the authentic birdy balloons.  Look!  Up in the sky!  It's a bird!  --why, yes... yes, it is.

The cake didn't chirp either.  It hooted!  Hooted an angry hoot!

And the photobooth was eternally flocked by kids delighted with the hefty array of Angry Bird plush caps they had to wear per snap. 

By the way, all the young guests were asked to come in Angry Birds t-shirts.  A dress code!  That splendid show of thematic organization adds a fine feather to your cap, Bash!
On the other hand (or wing), the bubbly 1-year old birthday celebrant wore an Angry Bird costume ALL THROUGHOUT THE DURATION OF THE PARTY.  Now THAT'S dedication to the theme!

No, this isn't him.  It's Miro, gone to the birds. :P

This blog's party tip on overused themes:  Push the limit.  Out of the bunch, be the most memorable.
Don't be Angry.  Be Angrier!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

DIY Creative Manipulation

Yes!  My kids have a lot of those!  From Kenji's puppy dog eyes to Miro's well-rehearsed power of reasoning --these guys can manipulate the hell out of you.  Which now makes me wonder if we have politicians in the family tree.

But I digress.

I'm talking about a different kind of manipulation.  Image and Movement Manipulation.  My kids are so into this right now that I really, really have to speed up my support system.  I need to find newer creative programs.  Better technology to match their quick thinking.  So far, their imagination is beating my resources to a pulp.

Here's their latest Mini-Movie Manips.

video

SPONGEBOND

Now Kenji's Mr. Bender.  He loves bending an existing thing into some kind of childish parody.  He found a 007 gun barrel desktop pattern on the net and quickly hunted for a Spongebob in a tuxedo image.  There's one in an episode where the hilarious talking sponge had to be a fine dining restaurant waiter.  He cleaned that image up.  Got the 2 pictures together.  And then blended the colors seamlessly.  Ooh... and annotated.

video

ANGRY CLONES

Miro took a different approach.  He's Mr. If-You-Can-Do-It-So-Can-I.  He made these popular Angry Birds images from scratch.  Gave them movement.  Gave them the actual game's play-by-play.  With, of course, matching music.  Upon completion, he was rather smug in saying, "I did that in a few minutes, Mimi!  How long do you think the Angry Birds makers did theirs?"  Ah...

Next step:  Get these boys a better Mac (our old reliable is just too slow for this kind of creative barrage now), and maybe get them into a video game designing camp come summer.

Parental support may be so damn costly... but with this kind of output, I say, worth it.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Going Gaga Over Gargling

My husband and I --we're big on snuggles, cuddles, and smooches.  Even before we got married, and even now many years later.  Being emotionally and physically comfortable with one another has always been the strong foundation of our ultimately cheesy bond.

But, this almost got a little shaky ...on our Wedding Day.

Picture this:  It's the Big Day.  In between make-up, dressing up, prep pictorial, church, one more pictorial, reception, yes, another pictorial --when do we take a mouthwash gargle break?!

Turns out, we didn't need to.  With Colgate Plax!
Colgate Plax gives advanced anti-bacterial protection for longer lasting fresh breath.  How long?  12 HOURS!  With 99.9% of bacteria totally eliminated.  All it takes is one gargling at the start of the day, then it works its magic even when you're too busy 'til night time.  How convenient and comfortable is that!

how to make animated gif
With Colgate Plax, it would've been like we gargled all throughout our wedding day!  HA!

Ok, that's just a lame, homemade gif.  But the anytime-anywhere freshly-gargled feeling IS genuine.
You can test the real deal with your own photo using the Gloo-Gloo Animation App at the Colgate Plax website.


It shows you exactly how Colgate Plax works for you.  Plus, it's super funny and super share-worthy!  
Just like this crazy gif of 2 freshly-Gloo-Glooed smoochers.  LMAO!
how to make animated gif

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nickelodeon's Planet Scream of the crop!

"This is the best Halloween ever!!!", Kenji exclaimed as soon as we got in the car to go home.

Those sincere words easily canceled out the 45 minutes we spent lining up at the entrance of the Nickelodeon Planet Scream open grounds gates, the 30 minutes we spent running and hiding out under a tiny awning when the sudden downpour of rain had everyone scampering for cover, the 2 hours we spent standing on wet ground all throughout the Planet Scream event since all the seats were already taken by those who came prepared with umbrellas. 

It was all worth it.  We've been to a number of Halloween events for years and Nickelodeon's was so far the best of the bunch.  Laid out like a fair, the event was packed with activities.

There were food booths.  Kenji wasn't leaving without his pretzels!

There were gigantic photo ops.  Miro just had to have one with Nickelodeon's top Sponge.

There were toy and candy booths where the boys scored treats.

There was the film showing of Spongebob Scaredypants which naturally captivated every kid.

And there was the horror house Scream Room!

While kids went in and out these booths, the show played non-stop on stage.  Spongebob and Patrick had 3 numbers.  REAL dance numbers --with costume changes.  Yeah, I'm talking to you, Chowder!

In the end, wet, sweaty, exhausted, with blisters on our little toes ... we decided as a unit that in all things Halloween this year, Nickelodeon's Planet Scream was definitely worth screaming for. 

Best Halloween to everyone!