I wasn’t supporting the US in the world cup before yesterday, but I eventually started cheering for them. It got exciting by the end, and they were so close, but…it wasn’t meant to be. What a heartbreaker. Tim Howard has been labeled the hero of the game, no doubt he was amazing. It sucks that he has to lose for all his hard work.

I found these pictures this morning and my heart melted. I love it when I see rival players act really nice to one another. Granted Howard knew Fellaini and Mirallas from club sports (Mirallas is actually his teammate at Everton and Fellaini is at Manchester United so they meet at English games), but still such a sweet gesture for them to go congratulate and console him. He definitely game them a run for their money.

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The Pastures of Heaven

I finished my latest John Steinbeck read last night. The book is about a beautiful area in California, near Salinas and Monterey, called the Pasturas del Cielo, or the Pastures of Heaven. Each chapter is about a particular family or character living there. I liked how all the characters were interrelated. You might find that a secondary character in one story is the main character in another.

The Salinas Valley

The Salinas Valley

As usual, Steinbeck doesn’t disappoint with his words. All the stories were very interesting, with sad/poignant twists of fortune.

After the bare requisites to living and reproducing, man wants most to leave some record of himself, a proof, perhaps, that he has really existed. He leaves his proof on wood, on stone or on the lives of other people. This deep desire exists in everyone, from the boy who writes dirty words in a public toilet to the Buddha who etches his image in the race mind. Life is so unreal. I think that we seriously doubt that we exist and go about trying to prove that we do.

 

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It’s hard to leave, Mr. Allen. It’s a thing you’ll sometimes want to remember, and other times you’ll want to forget it, I guess. But it’s hard to leave because then you know it’s all over – forever.

There were two parts that interested me especially. One was about a man who hated his old home because it brought back memories of old age. His parents always complained about how old they were and despised how young he was. He was later inspired by a girl to renovate the house, so he completely changed the house on his own. I loved how he was taking into his own hands to bring an idea to life. Sadly at the end though, when he is about to invite the girl over, he learned she has just gotten engaged.

The next story was about the grandfather of the guy the girl in the previous story got engaged to. The grandfather came to the Pastures of Heaven hoping to recreate a family home. He dreamed of having many kids, who would have many kids and so on. He loved the idea of creating the seat for a dynasty. I absolutely loved that idea. I love family lineages and I appreciate that this man was thinking so into the future, thinking of posterity. The sad part of this story is that neither he nor his son created such a dynasty, as they could only get one son each. The house is eventually burned down in an accident. The dream of a family homeĀ  is never fulfilled.

The grandfather mentioned once to his wife (a distant cousin) that their ancestors once lived in the same home. I’ve always found that idea so interesting. Every nuclear family eventually breaks off into so many branches causing relations to grow distant. For instance, let’s say a great-great-great grandmother of mine had a family. She could have had a few sisters and brothers. They lived together under the same roof. Then a few hundreds years later, I have all these distant cousins I don’t even know about. Yet if you trace back enough, we will share a common household.

Metal City

So people know I’m obsessed with Avatar. But today even I surprised myself. I ended up watching the next three episodes (that were leaked in Mexico) in Spanish. I didn’t really understand everything, but you can tell what’s going on. Also read spoilers after each scene so I got what was going on. I’m happy I did watch them so now I won’t go crazy for the next two weeks.

These episodes showed exactly why I love Avatar. The world they live in is so damn cool. This episode revealed Sau Fu, home of the Metal Clan, a city full of metalbenders. This city was just wow. Such a beautiful city. Reminded me of Krypton without the space stuff. It is such a high tech, sophisticated place. During the night, the city becomes covered with metal domes, and in the morning, the city opens up. How awesome!!

Picture 3We get introduced to a new character, who is revealed to be Lin’s half-sister (ohh damn Toph got with two men, the women have never even met their fathers!). I think that was an interesting plot point for the creators to take. A nontraditional family, having a single working mother raise two daughters on her own.

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Lin’s gorgeous younger sister, Su Jin.

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Cloisters

I went to the Cloisters/ Fort Tyron Park yesterday and God was it beautiful. I couldn’t believe I was still in Manhattan. There was such peace and freshness in the air. I wish I could have stayed longer. It was nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. DSC02394 DSC02393 DSC02440 DSC02451 DSC02453 DSC02462

Cleaning Tasks

One of the things I need to wrap up this last month of freedom is to completely tidy up the house. The apartment has been disheveled for years, so I have spent a lot of time organizing. But with such little space, it’s hard to properly organize when we have so much crap.

Monday I finally was able to buy these plastic drawers from Bed Bath and Beyond for Ma and Abbu’s clothes. They’ve been living out of laundry bins for the past few years because it’s so easy to take out clothes. But it makes them look like peasants, so I got them real drawers that are not difficult to open up. We currently have wooden drawers, which do take a little bit of force to open, but it’s painful for Ma to even do just that. So thank God, that is out of the way. It made their room look so bad.

Same day, I also organized a storage closet.

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after

I cleaned up the bathroom mirror cabinet months ago, but I totally forgot to take before and after pics. Now that was breathtaking to see. I scrubbed off every inch of gooey crap and cleaned it out. The cabinet became so nice and pristine.

Feeling Wicked

Wednesday I finally got to see Wicked, and it was absolutely amazing. The sets and lighting were so spectacular. The story was quite interesting. I like the interpretation for the story, of how the Wicked Witch is actually the good guy, but is portrayed as the bad guy by the rest of the (corrupt) Ozians.

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In Wicked, Elphaba (named after the initials of Wizard of Oz creator L. Frank Baum) is born green and has inherent magical powers, which always made her unpopular with people. She is outraged by the Ozians’ prejudice against speaking human-like animals, who are being persecuted. She eventually has to run away because the Ozians have labeled her a criminal. It’s later revealed (though it was pretty obvious from the beginning) that her father was the Wizard of Oz.

Her enemy in the beginning is GA-linda, a dumb blonde type. You’d think the future Good Witch would be kind, calm and mature, but this GA-linda was a big snob, and absolutely hilarious. She does grow over the course of the show. She and Elphaba don’t like each other at first, but they become best friends eventually.

Picture 21Parma and I absolutely loved loved loved Glinda’s costumes. Her light blue Good Witch Cinderella-esque gown was so gorgeous that I kept imagining one of my wedding gowns to look like that!

I really liked the love story in Wicked. Fiyero was played by Justin Guarini, who was on American Idol back in season 1 and made a movie with Kelly Clarkson called Justin and Kelly. His character starts off as a cocky jock type, and he and Elphaba clash. He and Glinda hit it off and start going out. But then Fiyero and Elphaba strike up a friendship, and it develops into something more emotional between the two of them. Elphaba leaves Oz and in the meantime, Fiyero and Glinda become engaged. Fiyero’s heart still lies with Elphaba though. When Elphaba returns, he runs off with Elphaba, leaving a broken Glinda.

At the end though, Glinda and Elphaba, who are still close friends, makeup and say their last goodbyes. In the end, Elphaba pretends to die, and she runs off with Fiyero (who has since been turned into the Scarecrow).

The highlight was Defying Gravity. I first heard Defying Gravity through Glee, and I loved both the glee and real versions. But damn, seeing it performed in the epic way it was shown was emotionally powerful and beautiful. I also loved the singing of the actors in this than the original. Idina Menzel has this low nasally voice, but Christine Dwyer had a more soothing but powerful voice which I prefer way more. I wish she did a real recording of it!

Parma and I really really wanted this shirt, it’s so nice! The artwork was beautiful. But it’s $50 damn dollars. Are they psychotic?! 50? For a shirt?! Come on! Yes the artwork is beautiful, but not worth $50. We were sad about that. Aside from that, the show was everything we had hoped for and more. This was my second Broadway show ever, first being West Side Story during Macaulay orientation. I’m not a big Broadway person, but it was definitely an awesome experience. Maybe I’ll go see Frozen when it comes out…eventually.

Picture 22After the show, Parma and I stumbled unto Nanking, had late lunch and then shopped at Express and Forever21 for a bit. Then we went on home.