Monday, May 20, 2013

KKK: The Food Revolutionaries!

Whoa! We’re doing all sorts of things that weren’t in the blog description. Remember the PSA post? Totally out of character, right? Well here’s more, a foodie post!

Last night, my girlfriend and I tried KKK. No, that’s not the white supremacist group, but the restaurant at the basement of SM Megamall B. KKK offers Filipino cuisine, taking both typical home cooking fare and fiesta (that’s feast day for you Spanish-challenged folks out there) favorites and giving them a crazy twist. How crazy? We didn’t order it, but their menu boasts sinigang na lechon. Now, when you say sinigang, it’s typically stewed pork, cooked in broth and a sour tamarind base, with vegetables added in for texture and variety. Lechon, put simply, is a whole pig roasted over coals while constantly being moistened with an herb sauce.

Now put both of them together. You now have herb-roasted pig cut into chunks and cooked in sour, tamarind-flavored pork broth, vegetables, and green peppers, served piping hot. Get your utensils and cups of rice, ladies and gentlemen; we’re in for a long fight.

Again, this mythical masterpiece was not what we ordered last night. We took our time looking at the menu and reading the Tagalog descriptions of each item, snacking on free kropek and herbed vinegar all the while. We had two ideas at the time – go for an exotic dish and simple rice, or go for exotic rice and a familiar-sounding viand. We chose the latter for this visit – next time, and I can guarantee there’ll be a next time, we’ll go the other way!

We ordered KKK’s special rice, which is rice cooked with liempo bits and scallions (a platter of which is good for 2-3 people depending on their appetites), bottomless tanglad (lemongrass) iced tea, and KKK’s bistek (a corruption of the words “beef steak”) flakes. We were totally not prepared for it. The rice was good enough to eat on its own, the tanglad drink had me wondering why not every restaurant that served iced tea wasn’t offering it, and the flakes – oh wow, the beef flakes. It would be better I think to call them crispy beef strings, because that’s what they were.

Front row: bottomless tanglad iced tea. Back row: KKK's special rice (bowl), bistek flakes (plate). Not shown: free kropek and vinegar.
If I’m any judge, they prepared bistek the traditional way, marinating it with soy sauce and pepper, frying it to a crisp, and then shredding it. Once shredding was done, they drizzled some sweet sauce (quite possibly the same mix the beef was marinated in) onto a plate, arranged some chopped onions and tomatoes on it, and placed a heaping pile of beef awesomeness over the garnish. Genius!

It's eat or be eaten! Strike now! A close-up of the bistek flakes tower.

It’s hard not to like KKK. The decorations are amazing, from the colored bottle light pieces hanging over our heads, the dried straw / leaf lattice on the walls evoking the feel of a bahay kubo (nipa grass hut), the paired papier-mâché dolls on the tables, to the counter that looks like someone cleaved a jeepney in half and took the left side to use as decoration. The staff was attentive, and two of the waiters looked like a comedy act waiting to happen, even as they seriously went about their duties. Perhaps it’s their faces – one of them looks like he’s just barely keeping a grin from breaking out, while with the other guy’s face makes you wonder why he’s waiting tables in a mid-range mall restaurant, instead of living off his looks.

KKK was a surprisingly pleasant experience. The place was charming, the staff was great, and the food was how I like my red (Magic: The Gathering) creatures – cheap and awesome. In six weeks time, or whenever my buddies decide to have a meet-up, I’ll take them to KKK and split the sinigang na lechon three ways – I can’t wait to see their expressions and hear their opinions.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Little PSA

Hello, faithful followers.

I would like to inform you of two things that will save you time and effort should you be in the process of completing your pre-employment requirements, specifically your NBI clearance and PAG-IBIG forms.

For the NBI clearance, you have the choice of the traditional line up and wait method, or you could try to do it online. The online method requires payment through G-Cash or Perang Pinoy Padala, and a printer. Be warned though - sometimes the server will screw up and cough up a load of errors that can't be resolved from your end. However, hope is not lost for your 140 pesos. If, like me, you've forked over the money and the website refuses to acknowledge your receipt number, you can call the following numbers for assistance:

0917 523 8052


526 1294

Take note that these are not 24-hour hotlines - NBI can't afford to answer questions about their online clearance process all day and all night long, or perhaps they want to but they can't get past the red tape - but office numbers, meaning the best time to call would be 9 AM onwards. After you explain your situation to the helpful people, they will ask for and enter your data directly into their temperamental server, and send you the emails you should have been receiving had the front end of the website been cooperative. After that, it should be smooth sailing.

To the lady at the Robinson's Galleria NBI clearance satellite office who gave me these numbers, I thank you, and at the same time diss you for misinforming me that these were 24-hour numbers.

A diss also to Google f*cking Maps, whose data is I don't know how many years out of date. Heads up, people, there is no longer an NBI Clearance Office at Carriedo. Should you have complaints, you should head over to the Main Office at Taft Avenue cor. United Nations. And speaking of outdated maps, you don't get your PAG-IBIG MDR forms at 611 Shaw Blvd, Pasig City, Philippines anymore. Instead, go to DAP bldg. San Miguel Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Use Google Maps to locate the DAP building instead - you can get your PAG-IBIG MDR forms on the first floor, to the right of the entry hall.

 This ends my little public service announcement. Next post should be gaming as usual.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Wow, This Came Out Of The Blue

Remember my previous post discussing Havok? I published it early Friday morning (after having just recruited him and getting him to level 2), and in the afternoon the game developers rolled out a revamp for Havok, along with some other changes including the much-awaited Wolverine upgrade. See the complete list of updates here.

Essentially, disregard what I've previously posted about Havok. He's no longer a specialized protector that preys upon under protectors, and his move list has been heavily modified.

If you're one of those people who felt cheated of their 90 Command Points when they bought Wolverine, you may now rejoice, as your purchase is now markedly better than before. 

From a mere bleeder with regeneration and an immunity that's mostly irrelevant in PVP, he's now a bleeding-counter protector that can cheat death similar to Ghost Rider.

For Magneto owners / commanders / handlers (what's the proper term for a guy who gives an evil genius mutant orders to fight against riffraff on the streets, anyway?), you'll be pleased to know he's received a power-up in the form of a passive that gives the Magnetized status to enemies carrying metal, and allows preemptive strikes against Magnetized enemies.


And if you're already looking forward to the next Spec Ops like me, it's highly likely that we'll need Cable and the newly-released Wasp (total cost of 225 Command Points) unless you want to skip the epic boss tasks with gold. I sincerely hope more chapters come out before the next Spec Ops though - if this trend of requiring 1 90 CP hero and 1 PVP tournament prize hero (assuredly an instant 135 points) continues, I'll probably be forced to skip my way past certain tasks to keep getting Spec Ops heroes, as I don't care for and suck at PVP.

Friday, February 15, 2013

No, This Is The Real Test

About an hour ago...

With plenty of time to spare

Here's what he has to say about joining my merry menagerie.

But wait, there's more!
Family drama at its best.

So it's hero babysitting time again, with another low accuracy hero. Thank Dormammu for Dark Sigil. Here's my current babysitting / all-purpose loadout.

Totally not S.H.I.E.L.D. standard-issue

Dark Sigil gurantees a hit for Havok (or any accuracy-impaired hero, for that matter), Spatha provides a counterattack chance with a guaranteed Evasion reduction on a hit, Radian Rifle has good synergy with Dark Sigil and has a chance for a second shot, and finally Signpost to make sure I don't run out of Stamina too quickly while sniping away at the enemy squad's health at the same time.

Now that Havok's joined the crew, it's time for the real Special Operation.

He's not just a Command Point farm anymore.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cry Havok! Let Loose Special Operations 6!

In case the title didn’t tip you off, Special Operations 6 is underway in the always-in-danger world of Marvel: Avengers Alliance. This time around, the hero that could be yours for the taking is Alex Summers, also known as Havok.

The second Summers brother.

Havok is a blaster, the first blaster made available through a Spec Ops event. So far, in order of appearance, we’ve had a generalist (Mockingbird), a tactician (Emma Frost), two scrappers (Magik and Ghost Rider), and a bruiser (Valkyrie). While Valkyrie had to go through some powering up to be made worthy of being a prize (I’ve gotten her when her first two skills were still very underpowered), I can definitely say that when Havok hit the game, he lived up to his name. Why do I say that? Oh, for four reasons.
First, his basic attack costs no energy at all, and inflicts the Melt Armor status on the unlucky target for two rounds. That means the poor sap has an effective defense stat of 0 when computing combat damage, meaning he or she is going to take a lot of damage fast.

Second, his single-target ranged attack, while leaving a lot to be desired in terms of accuracy (it’s less accurate than the player favorite damage-for-accuracy weapon, the Golden Screaming Eagle), inflicts the Burning status on the victim and Removes Buffs if it connects. This includes special defenses (like barriers and shields that aren’t natural to the target) and other boosts, like damage ups and dodge ups. Also, a Burning target loses around 10% of its total defense while on fire, in addition to taking damage over time. All this goodness however comes at a steep cost in stamina - almost half of his maximum.

Third, he gets a free action that not only restores 20% of his stamina, but also buffs him with an effect that makes his attack critical hits for two rounds. Can you say pain for the bad guys? Oh yes, you can! While this does not solve his energy issues in full, it certainly helps with that problem, and critical hits are always welcome, whether you play PVP or just stick to PVE.
His ultimate (jargon for the ability gained at level 9) is a Catastrophic attack that slows and dizzies all the targets (note the plural) that it hits. As with all Catastrophic attacks, this attack can’t be protected against, and ignores avoidance abilities. It’s an area attack that inflicts two inconvenient status effects on enemies in addition to damage, so what’s not to like? The answer – stamina cost. Similar to his Plasma Wave, Plasma Spheres also drains about half of his stamina bar.

Observant players have commented that causing the Dizzy status effect on all enemies makes a great setup for the much-maligned Nightcrawler and his ultimate, a multi-hit, single-target stealthy attack that also hits all Dizzy enemies. Whether this will affect the upcoming PVP tournament or not remains to be seen.

Havok’s an energy guzzler – no questions about it. Both of his ranged plasma attacks drain roughly half his stamina bar per use. Fortunately, he comes with passives to help him with that stamina problem of his – and by that, I mean his inability to continuously blast away with plasma against his enemies. Mind out of the gutter, you!

So when you see a lot of beam spam and pew-pew flying about, that’s the best time to unleash Havok!

Monday, February 04, 2013

Almost Forgot About This One

Hi everyone! Here’s a rare sight – a last-minute addition to the 10 shows we’ll be following this season!


Amnesia is the title and central element of this show. A girl with no memories must and is the only one who can see and hear a self-proclaimed spirit from another world named Orion. He explains that he’s trapped in her soul, displacing her memories temporarily, and promises his aid in helping her remember all that she’s lost including her name. Orion posits that interacting with people she might have been acquainted with could help bring her memories back, and it seems that four particular handsome young men trigger fragments of her memories. Based on an otome game (in its base form, an interactive novel where the player must help the heroine end up with one of the male love interests) of the same name, the show’s main audience are reverse harem fans of all shapes and sizes, boasting at least four possible handsome young men to pair with our amnesiac beauty.

Speaking as a guy who’s cleared several eroge (where the player controls the lead guy’s actions to end up with one or possibly more females, including sexual situations), I’m willing to bet the game that this anime is based on is one of those that you need to clear all the initially available partners’ routes before the rest of the content unlocks. The anime makes this especially clear, as there’s a recurring character that appears to be helpful toward the heroine, yet there’s something off about him – must be the slasher smile that appears on his face from time to time when he looks at her.

This isn’t the first reverse harem show I’ve seen. I have fond memories of Ouran High School Host Club, and was entertained with La Historia Della Arcana Famiglia. Ouran had a cross-dressing girl surrounded by 6 male members of the eponymous Host Club, while Arcana Famiglia has a friendly neighborhood Mafia princess having to choose from at least 5 of her “family members.” My experiences so far with watching reverse harem anime has been positive, and I do hope Amnesia keeps the trend.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Winter 2013 Animé First Impressions

Hello, everybody! Here's the list of shows we'll be following this Winter 2013 Animé season! Don't worry, it won't be the huge pack of 20 shows like the busy Fall 2012 season! This time it will be a modest 10, 2 of which are sequels to animé shown in previous seasons, so that means 8 new shows! Are you excited? I know I am! Here they are, in alphabetical order:


AKB0048 Next Stage – The continuation to last year’s show that boasted CG idol girls performing on flying platforms while wielding microphone beam / light sabers against fascist power armor goons who are out to ensure all sorts of entertainment, down to even humming a tune to yourself, are outlawed. Watching the first season is a must, unless you've been spoiled a lot concerning the previous events. I, for one, am convinced that the acronym AKB was selected because it can also be construed to mean "Ass-Kicking Belles" - they sure are capable of it!

Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman (trans. Bakumatsu Tale of the Selfless Man Roman) – It’s the story of Robin Hood, only set in feudal Japan instead of Europe, specifically when Japan hadn’t closed its doors yet to foreigners, allowing things like floor traps powered by electric eels to exist alongside German-made zombies created from flour. Our noble thief isn’t just an ordinary cat burglar, he’d give Kamen Riders a run for their money! I'll just say that this show is Lupin The Third meets Sengoku Basara, and leave it at that.

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT (trans. I Don't Have Many Friends NEXT) – The continuing adventures and misadventures of the Neighbors Club, who have yet to a) get more friends aside from their club members, and b) notice that they don’t have to look outside their loony, zany club for friends. Of course, that would take the fun and purpose out of the franchise, so it looks like their missing the forest for the trees will most likely continue. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to see more of my favorite maniacs Rika and Sena.

Cuticle Detective Inaba – This is absurd fun at its best. Our protagonist is a police dog werewolf who has decided to leave the bureaucracy and go the private detective way, so that he could better search for his missing brother. However, his old handler, er, partner from the police force brings him back in to combat a certain Mafia lord, who is a cape-wearing goat no taller than our protagonist’s knee and eats paper currency. I swear I am not making this up. I mentioned absurd fun, right? Starting from the second episode, you get a double dose of insanity as each episode features two different stories!

Maoyuu Maou to Yuusha (trans. Demon King and Hero)– The manga adaptation I've been waiting for. Our human hero charged into the demon king's lair, ready to end a war with his sword, but is shocked to learn that the pretty, buxom babe in front of him is the demon queen. After an awkward start, followed by lots of persuasion and boobs in his face (seriously, look where our Hero is looking at in the promo image!), our hero agrees to side with the demon queen in her quest to end the war in the best way possible. Some people will watch it for the Economics 101 segments, others for the romance between the former not-really-enemies, and some for the commentaries on human life. Me, I watch it for the demon queen's hilarious attempts to get score with the hero.

Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo (The Problem Children Come from Another World) – Three children - a self-styled delinquent who’s craftier than your usual thug, a haughty rich girl, and a girl with an affinity for animals are summoned to a world of bets, games, and beings of every imaginable sort. Two episodes in, the three learn that they weren't summoned just to have fun. They'll soon be finding themselves playing for the survival of a little community, and their opponents have no intention of turning the fight into a bonus round.

Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru (trans. Caught In the Carnage Between My Girlfriend and My Childhood Friend) – One teen-aged boy gets blackmailed into becoming the boyfriend of the hottest girl in his class, courtesy of her somehow acquiring his chuunibyou notebook. It's all a sham, as she is desperately tired of all the boys confessing to her, and who better to play the role of pretend-boyfriend than a guy who doesn’t believe in love, similar to herself? Of course, the poor guy's childhood friend gets wind of this, and for her, this means war! If the image above is any indication, two more girls will be joining the fray - expect havoc!

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai (trans. Sasami-san@No Effort) – This appears to be the season’s love it or leave it series. At its core, the series is about a female hikikomori who, despite treating her doting brother like a mere servant, is actually quite possessive of him, as shown in the first episode via her attempts to brave the outside world to keep those ‘evil women’ away from him. Suddenly, the world turns to chocolate, and the ‘evil women’ – actually the Yagami sisters – start kicking the asses of chocolate monsters, and somehow restore the world to normal. If that description intrigues you, watch it. If it confuses you, find something else to watch.

Senran Kagura – Ninja girls, bouncing boobies, and panty shots, oh my! But wait, there’s more - there’s also combat! Anyway, these are the adventures of 5 high school girls who are enrolled in the secret side of a prestigious private school – you guessed it, a ninja training school. If the first two sentences haven’t clued you in yet on what to expect, this series is bursting (pun intended) with fanservice and action. This is exactly my cup of tea. It's less Queen's Blade and more of Ikkitousen.

Vividred Operation – Magical girl, er, technology-sufficiently-advanced-it-can-be-considered-magical girl show of the season, Vividred Operation boasts beautiful visuals, though some might be put off by the glorious detail and attention lavished on middle-school girls’ body parts. Seriously, I shudder thinking how many perverts made a copy of episode 1 just so they could pause the video at certain key points for their own nefarious purposes. That aside, this promises to be the action-heavy offering of the season, barring the AKB0048 continuation and the Problem Children show. If schoolgirls flying in the sky and taking on mechanical alien monsters is your thing, then watch this!