K-drama - Goong (Palace)

movies and TV, reviews 1 Comment »

the wife and I had some extra time during the holidays so we ended up filling some of it by watching the K-drama Palace on DVD. You might remember me mentioning this drama earlier in the year. We had stopped watching the korean soap after the first two discs a while back because the plot moved along at such a snail’s pace. Plus it was odd to imagine such an alternate universe with a royal family still in place in korea. But we thought of giving Palace (aka Goong) another try since we heard it was one of the most popular dramas of 2006. after watching all nine DVDs, I still have mixed feelings about the series. Ultimately I think the two leads (Yoon Eun Hye and Joo Ji Hoon) carried the show. also the drama had great visuals including set design, cinematography and costumes. but the writing was simply atrocious. all the k-drama cliches made their presence known throughout the 24 episodes. the plot was stretched out so thinly that it was just too painful to watch at times. Obviously the producers made a commitment for 24 episodes but with the lack of material, the whole series could have easily been edited down to 12 episodes. There was a lot of needless moping about - especially whenever Royal Prince Yool appeared onscreen. Both Prince Yool and his mother Lady Hwa-Young had a knack of sucking the life out of a scene. but i do have to mention that I thought Yoon Eun Hye was quite good especially in the comedic bits. We’ve already seen her star in her other drama The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince and it’s obvious she’s got a bright future ahead of her.
Goong Palace
Kdrama info: Palace aka Princess Hours aka Goong.
featuring: Yoon Eun Hye, Joo Ji Hoon, Kim Jeong Hoon, Sung Ji Hyo and Lee Yoon Ji
Country of origin: South Korea
Language: Korean
No. of episodes: 24
Original Air date on MBC: Jan 2006 through Mar 2006
No. of DVDs: 9
U.S. Distributor: YA Entertainment

Our video Christmas greeting

general, Family Talk 2 Comments »

Yup, it’s that time of the year again. Time for you all to see how the kids have grown over the past year. :)

I’d like to take this time to wish everyone a very merry Christmas! oh and a big *thank you* to all that regularly visit and comment on my blog. Hope you all have a safe, warm, relaxing and peaceful Christmas and holiday break!!

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holiday travel

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treetops adventureare you traveling for the holidays? my kids are tracked out (year round school) in January so, I’m thinking of taking the kids along to see some old friends living in Vancouver. there are some great deals on flights to Vancouver over on DialAFlight. the website can save you a bundle on flights, hotels and rental cars. while visiting Vancouver, I’m thinking of taking the kids to check out the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge along with the Treetops Adventure where you can view their grand coastal rainforest in a cool and unique way. ugh, I’m not too keen on encountering the huge crowds at the airport during the holidays but to see the kids all excited about taking the trip makes it all worth while.

Hillsong - Saviour King

music No Comments »

When I think of Hillsong Music, terms like - cookie-cutter and predictable come to mind. It’s a bit sad but true, fans pretty much know what to expect when picking up the latest Hillsong CD. Their albums don’t really sound all that much different from each other. In fact, you can probably toss the tracks from their last five releases up in the air and randomly re-assemble them and no one listening would be the wiser. But I have to say, it’s sort of tough picking on artists in the praise and worship genre. the artists/songwriters are producing music specifically for the church. so essentially they’re restricted in a sense to keep the song structures simple and the melodies easy to sing along to. it’s pretty much a catch-22. So, I’m not going to bash on Hillsong too much. Their latest CD, Saviour King is more of the same. let’s get the Hillsong standard checklist out: upbeat electric guitar based rockers, check. broad, arena-sized ballads, check. redundant Hillsong United remakes, check. and lots of bland, non-descript mid-tempo fillers, check. yup, that’s a Hillsong CD for ya. The only thing I look forward to these days in terms of Hillsong releases are the tracks originating from Hillsong United and songs by Brooke Fraser. their songs - Break Free, Lord of Lords, Hosanna and Saviour King are the highlights of the CD. Other than those tracks (along with I’m Not Ashamed and You Are Faithful), it’s pretty much bland-orama. But what can ya do? With the millions of dollars pouring into the Hillsong Church through their music ministry every year, it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll be changing their ways anytime soon…

Track Listing
1. I’m Not Ashamed
2. Break Free
3. In Your Freedom
4. You Are My Strength
5. Lord of Lords
6. One Thing
7. To Know Your Name
8. God of Ages
9. In the Mystery
10. You Saw Me
11. Hosanna
12. Here in My Life
13. You Are Faithful
14. Saviour King

Watch Brooke Fraser sing Lord of Lords on Youtube -

Purchase Saviour King at Amazon.com

toothpaste for sensitive teeth

miscellaneous 1 Comment »

DLee bioteneevery now and again, i notice my teeth being a bit more sensitive than usual. I’m not totally sure why that happens but drinking cold beverages sure isn’t as enjoyable when you have sensitive teeth. in the past, the products that were available to help with sensitivity issues were in gel form and had that undesirable tendency to numb the whole mouth. well, now there’s a new product available to help with sensitive teeth and it comes as a toothpaste. it’s called Biotene Sensitive toothpaste and it not only provides fast acting relief but it contains an active ingredient to protect against tooth sensitivity. so unlike other products that try to just mask the problem, Biotene Sensitive zeros in on the problem and prevents it from coming back.
I’ve been using the toothpaste for the last week and I’ve definitely noticed a difference in the way my teeth feel. i haven’t had any problems at all with cold drinks or even eating ice cream along with my kids. Biotene combines its active ingredient, Potassium Nitrate with a patented Enzyme LP3 Complex™ which fights the growth of harmful bacteria found in oral infections and gingivitis. as you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering about the taste. well, don’t worry a second longer because i can honestly tell you that it tastes great with no unpleasant aftertaste. it just leaves your mouth feeling clean and fresh like a good toothpaste should. so try Biotene Sensitive Toothpaste today and find effective relief for your sensitive teeth.

If Not For Your Grace

music 3 Comments »

For today’s Song of the Day, I thought I’d share one of the highlights off of Israel Houghton’s latest release A Deeper Level. The track is called If Not For Your Grace. The album as a whole is a bit disappointing. I tend to expect a lot more from Israel and New Breed. The material is simply subpar when compared to their past efforts. It just seems like Houghton is just going through the motions this time. a lot of recycled themes and by-the-numbers chord progressions. well, except for If Not For Your Grace. This song is just phenomenal. You can tell from the live recording that the song just takes the band, the vocalists and the congregation to a whole another level. If you’re gonna buy the CD, you’ll be buying it JUST for this one song.

Where would I be if not for your grace
Carrying me through every season
Where would I be if not for Your grace
Came to rescue me and I want to thank You for Your grace

Grace that restores, grace that redeems
Grace that releases me to worship
Grace that repairs visions and dreams
Grace that releases miracles!

Listen to If Not For Your Grace

Your Time to Care

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When you have a loved one suffering from Alzheimer's disease, it unfortunately can place a heavy burden on the rest of the family. It’s such a devastating disease for all involved and truly heartbreaking for family members to witness as the dementia takes hold of their loved one. I can’t imagine the pain and sadness one must feel as the once headstrong and independent grandmother or grandfather transforms in front of their very eyes into someone helpless, confused and frightened. many of the ones that are left to care for these individuals often feel alone in their journey with no one to turn to for guidance, reassurance and support. Well, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is here to help. Their mission is to help provide optimal care and services for those individuals dealing with dementia as well as provide support for their caregivers. they understand how important it is to provide the utmost care for those that are suffering from this disease and that’s why they have a variety of programs in place to help inform, educate and support the families and their caregivers. The Foundation recently released a DVD titled “Your Time to Care” which was specifically produced to help educate about the disease and demonstrate the best ways in providing care for Alzheimer’s sufferers. I recently had the opportunity to view the DVD and was very impressed with the amount of useful and practical information presented in the program. The DVD is divided into four sections. The first section titled, Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, presents a basic overview of the disease and the tell tale signs and behavioral changes to you can look for. The second section deals with Principles of Personal Care and focuses on the help needed for the individual suffering from this disease. Any number of emotions can manifest itself at odd times so in the third section, Behavioral Management, practical responses and ways to deal with inappropriate outbursts or actions are presented here. the last section, Safe Home Care, touches on all aspects of safety including keeping the loved one in a safe environment as well as tips on keeping both the patient and the caregiver safe from harm.
your time to care DVD
This DVD is a great tool in helping understand Alzheimer’s Disease and what to expect when caring for an individual suffering from the disease. If you know of someone who’s currently caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, show them your support by donating to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America or by purchasing this DVD as a holiday gift. All proceeds from the sale of this DVD help support the programs and services of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and its member organizations.

Friday Fiver for 14Dec07

ramblings 2 Comments »

Today’s Friday Fiver

1. What’s the last movie you saw?
Superbad - Loved it. it’s crude, stupid and hilarious. just the way i like it.
a favorite quote from the movie -
Seth: You know when you hear girls say ‘Ah man, I was so shit-faced last night, I shouldn’t have fucked that guy?’ We could be that mistake!

2. Are you gentle?
When the moment calls for it. *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*

3. Do you sleep with your bedroom door shut?
Nope. Need to be able to hear if there’s a break-in or kids cryin’ or the roof caving in or a terrorist attack and stuff…

4. What’s your middle name?

5. Friday fill-in: I could learn to like ___.

I could learn to like Colonel Angus.

oh God. What’s with me today???

making reservations

miscellaneous 1 Comment »

as we welcome in the new year, we as a family are bound and determined to do a real family vacation. not some weekend trip over to the inlaws or some other relatives a few hundred miles away. i’m talking - flying to a destination, staying at a nice hotel, having lots of fun with tons of family friendly activities and arriving back home exhausted but more importantly, happy and satisfied. it has been years since we took a proper vacation. mainly due to my busy work schedule as well as poor planning on my part. but this coming year will be different. we are going to plan this thing out. and with the Hotel Reservations website, we are one step closer in getting set up for our vacation. the website provides an ultra easy way of finding hotels in all the popular vacation destinations all across the globe. the site has access to more than 70,000 properties worldwide including all inclusive resorts, condos and even bed & breakfasts. you can easily book your reservations online with the convenience of also booking airline tickets and rental cars at the same time. you may even receive a bigger discount in doing so. even if you don’t take the opportunity in combining air, hotel and car rental reservations, hotelreservations.com guarantees that you’ll be receiving the best rates. we may look into making a trip down to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. oh man, we spent a week down there for our honeymoon and it was a dream. it was more than perfect. the white sand beaches, the crystal clear waters, the scenic island views and the tasty local dishes. a ferry trip over the St. John would also be necessary. the scenic tour around the island is definitely a must. we had a blast the last time. our kids would just love it. OK, that’s it, we’re booking our trip now!

christmas potluck

ramblings 2 Comments »

our christmas potluck at the office was a whole lotta fun today. we usually treat ourselves with a christmas lunch at a nice restaurant but due to budget constraints we decided to *keep it real* this year. and the whole potluck/secret santa deal actually turned out to be a lot more fun than our usual christmas routine. so kudos to our own Ms. Luwanda for organizing the whole thing. and especially for having to deal with all the bah-humbugs from the office grumps (which unfortunately included myself to some degree. sorry. Luwa!). My secret santa turned out to be someone i didn’t expect. well, I suspected just about EVERYONE in the group, but she wasn’t anywhere near the top of the list. all in all, I think i made out pretty nicely with the teddy bear speaker, musical post it notes, a crock pot cookbook and a gift card to Best Buy. Thanks Cathy!

just for laughs, I thought I’d share some of the notable gag gifts that were exchanged this past week:
-a pooping santa (a little santa that pooped out candy).
-a fart machine (with six selectable types of fart sounds including the unanimous favorite, WET).
-a stressed out rubber chicken (sort of similar to a stress ball, when you squeeze the chicken a gel like egg comes out of the bottom of the chicken)
-an NC State pacifier (for a true blue UNC tarheels fan)
-a bottle of honey labeled as a “bear repellant” (for an avid mountain biker).
-a little electronic number guessing game that shocks you when you guess wrong.
-two coupons for free burritos from Moe’s “sent by” Britney Spears (for a middle-aged colleague that has a strange fixation with Brit).

good times. good times.

save on your last minute purchases

miscellaneous No Comments »

it’s getting down to the wire folks in terms of holiday shopping especially for online e-tailers. Thanks to EdealFinder.com, I was able to take advantage of their HP coupon that’s available through their site to get free shipping for a laptop I purchased directly through Hewlett-Packard. These last minute deals can really help save some dough during the holiday season. And finding discount codes for all the major retailers is a snap by using EdealFinder.com. whether it’s HP coupon codes or 10% off your target purchase, you can quickly and easily find it on EdealFinder.com. Get some great last minute holiday deals now before it’s too late!

today’s gift

ramblings 3 Comments »

OK, here’s my secret santa update. We all exchanged “gag” gifts today. Well, not exactly exchanged, i guess. more like a covert operation. We all still don’t know who are respective secret santas are. I gave my little gift to my unsuspecting victim early yesterday morning just to throw him off. I received mine this afternoon. It wasn’t what I was expecting, really. This wasn’t a “gag” gift at all. It’s actually pretty thoughtful.
secret santa gave me this today
It’s a teddy bear that links up to an mp3 player. The bear has a speaker inside and the lights blink in sync with the music. I also got a packet of “musical” post it notes. So apparently my secret santa knows how much I love music. I’m not really sure who it is just yet but I have a couple suspects. Anyway, I brought the bear home with me and the kids just love it. I hooked up my player and blasted Tenacious D’s Master Exploder thru it. Don’t worry, it was the clean version of the song! and the kids could not stop laughing. Well, I guess I’ll let them have the bear to play with. and yes, I’ll be sure to play kid-friendly music thru the lil’ bear next time. :P


miscellaneous No Comments »

I had an eye opening conversation with a colleague of mine during lunch today. He opened up and talked a bit about what’s been on his mind lately. Apparently he has been worrying about the fact that his daughter will being heading for college next fall. “What’s to worry about? You should be excited and proud about that achievement,” I told him, not fully understanding his concern. He explained further that he was stressing out about how he’s going to pay for it all. His daughter is interested in the dramatic arts and the university she wants to attend will cost approximately $30,000 a year. OK, NOW I understand why he’s been down lately, I thought to myself. The rest of our lunch hour was all about the cost of college, the different options available including financial aid and how drastic the rise in tuition is nowadays compared to what it was back when we were both in school. I still have quite a few more years before my oldest gets to go but that doesn’t mean I’m not worried. I’m trying hard to contribute regularly to my children’s college fund but it’s tough especially with rising fuel costs eating away at what’s left of my paycheck. One thing that can definitely help with paying for college is of course scholarships. The tough part about scholarships is being able to find the right ones to apply for. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, searching for the right scholarship is as easy as a click of a mouse. Just simply head on over to scholarships.com, a website dedicated to helping students obtain scholarships and financial aid for college. You are required to register on the site before you can perform the free college scholarship search but most of that information like schools, classes and grades are needed anyway in order to filter down the list of scholarships to the ones that are right for your student. So be sure to fill out the profile as accurately and detailed as possible. When you get your search results, the scholarships are listed out with their application deadlines and the amount awarded. For the ones that you’re interested in, you simply click on the link and the detailed information along with requirements are then listed out for you. The website is definitely a great resource for students, parents and educators alike. As a matter of fact, the Scholarships.com’s educator’s section makes it quick and easy for high schools to print out information and reference guides to make available at their respective student resource centers. Now with the ever rising cost of college, finding and applying for scholarships and financial aid is a must!

oh Christmas tree…

Family Talk 6 Comments »

the christmas tree lot near our neighborhood has been packed with customers these last few days. the kids were all getting worried about not getting a good tree this year. So I rounded up the kids this afternoon and took them to find us a tree. they were all relieved to see that there were still plenty of christmas trees to choose from on the lot. we ended up getting a nice 7-footer. now the house is filled with that freshly cut Fraser Fir smell. nice. it all helps in getting this ol’ grumpy grinch fill himself up with some much needed christmas spirit.

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