That’s what the teaser poster asks, the eyes of the cowboy in the picture obscured by the angle of his battered Stetson, his right hand touching the brim, but probably not tipping it to a lady. What kind of a man is Morgan Kane? There’s a popular song by Benny Borg and the Penthouse Playboys, called A Man Like Morgan Kane, or the Ballad of Morgan Kane – you can find several versions on Youtube. But it won’t help you much, unless you happen to speak Norwegian.

You see, Morgan Kane is the most popular Western character in Norway. In 1893, Karl May took the German-speaking world by storm with his Winnetou and Old Shatterhand Western tales. Three quarters of a century later, a Norwegian banker named Kjell Hallbing did the same with Morgan Kane. Hallbing changed his own name to Louis Masterson, and between 1966 and 1978 – just twelve years -- he wrote 83 novels about the Texas Ranger and U.S. Marshall. They’ve sold twenty-million copies internationally – ten million in Norway alone, which has a population of only five million! They’re popular in Spain and France and Germany and, translated into English, they sold well in Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Canada by Corgi Books.

But they’ve never been sold in the United States until now. Now several of the western tales are about to be issued here as e-books, which is why, a little more than a week ago, a crew gathered at Peter Sherayko’s Caravan West Ranch, to photograph ‘covers’ for the eBooks.

John Michaels, President of Production for WR Films explained, “We’re redoing the covers to make them a little more interactive, so when you go to the site to download the book, you see the cover, hit it, and you’ll get a two or three second video. We’re going to sell these e-books globally, as part of our awareness campaign for the film franchise.”

Because, just like you guessed, it’s really all about movies. The plan is to start with three movies. The first, to be titled MORGAN KANE: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS, will be based on two of the Kane novels, EL GRINGO and EL GRINGO’S REVENGE. Ryan Wiik, who created WR Films to make the Morgan Kane films, is from Norway, but with scarcely a hint of an accent. When the crew broke for lunch, I asked him how he pulled the project together.

RYAN: (laughs) I worked day and night for the last four years, almost. I was sitting with an investor in Spain, and we were talking about another movie project. And then he said, “You will do well with this. But what you really need to do, Ryan, is Morgan Kane.” And I didn’t even know what Morgan Kane was. He said, “It’s James Bond of the West. You need to do this.” It’s weaved through (American) history, the same way as Forrest Gump; it’s based on this book series that’s sold 20 million copies, and I was one generation too late for it. So I had to start researching, and reading the books. I’ve read forty or fifty by now.

HENRY: Wow, out of 83?

RYAN: (laughs) I’m playing catch-up. I’ve spent about two years securing the rights, pulling the people together that I thought were the right ones to do this. Started WR Films, and we’re getting closer.

HENRY: So today you’re shooting eBook covers.

RYAN: That is correct. We thought (the covers) needed modernizing; each cover will show the essential scene of each book.

HENRY: How many covers do you plan to do – not all 83, I assume.

RYAN: Over a few days, twenty-two covers.

HENRY: What kind of a hero is Morgan Kane?

RYAN: He’s more of an anti-hero. He drinks too much, he smokes too much – it’s always a battle with this guy.

HENRY: Do you think that’s a lot of his appeal?

RYAN: I think so; it makes him easy to identify with. Because he’s not this over-muscled man (who does) everything with the flick of a finger. He goes through a lot of struggles, he’s afraid of dying, and he gets nauseous whenever he kills someone. But he’s so focused, and trains so hard. It’s part of what sets him apart, but it’s more complex than that.

(John Michaels consults storyboards)

HENRY: Were you a big western fan before you got involved in this project?

RYAN: No, I wasn’t really. This is a new world to me. And it’s extraordinary to get back to the elements with this thing. I grew up in Norway, and the Wild West – I always liked it; I just was not a western buff.

(Peter Sherayko tells propman Zack Smith and Kyle Kalama how not to handle a single-action Colt)

HENRY: Are you influenced by any other western books or movies?

RYAN: I’ve been researching a lot of movies, watching everything -- THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. I’m trying to go through all the stuff I should have seen. And as far as books – I’ve got enough with these books, trying to get through all the material. I think the first movie will be what BATMAN BEGINS was for Batman, the origin. And we’re very excited about it.

(plenty of artillery to choose from)

A couple of days later I spoke again to John Michaels, who had just been looking at some of the footage. He was in a very good mood. “We felt good about it when we were shooting it, but it exceeded our expectations. We’re very satisfied with the performances. The costumes were very authentic, thanks to our consultant Peter Sherayko. We have some really great material to promote the project further.”

Michaels has a long history in film financing and producing in both the U.S. and Europe, but actually began on the other side of the camera. “I started my internship as an actor, in a film called THE ZERO BOYS in 1984. I wanted to learn more about the process, the physical production, so I started as an assistant to the producer, and I learned hands on how to do it.

(Costumer Nikki Pelley gets to act as well)

“One thing I found about working internationally for many years is there’s an absolute interest still in the United States, especially anything to do with the western genre and the desert and landscapes of the west. It peaks their curiosity much more than anything on the east coast: the rugged West. I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and the west was always something of a fantasy to me. The discovery was when we travelled west on vacation, and it was everything we thought it was; it was boundless.

“But I learned (that Westerns) were not the most salable. It represented more risk than action-adventure or sci-fi. Certainly through the 1940s,’50s, ‘60s, ‘70s the western genre was very hot, especially domestically, before foreign markets became very important in the financing of films. People are still fascinated by the western genre of yesteryear, but the future has to have a hook. I don’t think you can do a traditional western per se, unless it’s a TNT original or other cable movie, where you don’t need big numbers for recoupment. People like to watch them; they’re family-safe generally.

“But our picture will be for adults. There will be violence in it – love, lust, money, greed, temptation, betrayal: all those wonderful things that make a theatrical picture. It’s going to be an actioner that can carry to foreign markets, appealing to the domestic, too, who warm up to these kinds of pictures, as evidenced by TRUE GRIT, and of course COWBOYS & ALIENS that is opening this weekend.”

There’s still a lot to do. They’re talking to directors and actors, but no one is set yet. They will be making announcements soon. And a first draft of the script is coming soon. “The script is being written while we speak. We have a very edgy writer who read the books and has a great understanding of the characters, of story. We’re expecting a first draft the first week in August. He’s an interesting guy, but he’s not a marquee name, at least not yet.”

What’s the approach to casting Morgan Kane? “It’ll more than likely be a non-familiar face. We’re going to break a new star with Morgan Kane, and have a very visible supporting cast to surround him. People won’t have a prejudice against this person coming in. They’ll see him as Morgan Kane – that’s our hope.

(Megan Albertus getting made-up to look man-handled)

“Our plan is to do it in New Mexico. It has the correct terrain, that stark western sagebrush look; also we’re enticed by the New Mexico tax incentive. And we feel that they have competent crews that’ve been established over the years. We want to make a big picture and put all the money onscreen.”

Kjell Hallbing died in 2004. I wondered how his son feels about the project. “He’s excited. There’s always been people who wanted to film Morgan Kane. There was a Norwegian television movie made about him, but it wasn’t very good, and that’s all that’s been done. We’re doing it on a large Hollywood scale. I think it’s going to be a real tribute to his father, and he’d love to see that happen.”

(Ardishir Radpour slightly ahead)


AMC announced today on Thursday that their Western series HELL ON WHEELS, centered on the building of the trans-continental railroad, will premiere on Sunday, November 6th, following an episode of their highly successful THE WALKING DEAD.

Starring Anson Mount, Colm Meany, Wes Studi, and Common, it follows Mount’s character, a former Confederate soldier out to avenge his wife’s death. The title refers to the traveling saloons, brothels and gambling dens that moved on wheels to follow the track-layers -- Historian Stephen Ambrose wrote a wonderful book on the subject by the same title. Here’s a preview:


Not a Western but still of great interest, COPPER will take place in 19th Century New York City. It’s the story of a young Irish cop in the infamous, teeming immigrant community of Five Points, the area brilliantly portrayed in Herbert Asbury’s history, GANGS OF NEW YORK, later filmed by Martin Scorcese. The flatfoot will also be dealing with the black community of Harlem, and Manhattan high society. The first-ever original drama from BBC America, it will lens in Toronto, Canada starting this fall, and begin airing next summer. It will have a ten episode season.

It’s co-created by writer/producer Tom Fontana, who won Emmys for writing HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET and ST. ELSEWHERE, and recently wrote BORGIAS, and writer/producer Will Rokos, who was Oscar-nominated for writing MONSTERS BALL. In addition to Fontana and Rokos, series will be also exec-produced by Christina Wayne, late of AMC, where she exec’d on MAD MEN and the terrific BROKEN TRAIL, and Barry Levinson, whose writing, directing and producing credits would take all day to list, who won his Oscar for directing RAIN MAN, and is in pre-production to direct Al Pacino as GOTTI.


In Facebook on Thursday I reported that a movie was being shot around 5th and Spring Street in Downtown Los Angeles. My informant told me that there were many dress extras bustling about, and a glimpse in a production truck had revealed paperwork referring to the film as ‘Untitled Western.’ Further investigation on Friday revealed more, and the fact that the film was neither untitled nor a western, and I was not asked to say more until the location wrapped on Saturday.

The film is ‘THE MASTER,’ and the period is the 1950s. It’s a work by writer director Paul Thomas Anderson, who has previously brought you such films as BOOGIE NIGHTS, MAGNOLIA and THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Apparently The Master fiction story parallels the story of an actual religion started in the 1950s, and still quite active, and the filmmakers wish to keep a low profile. It stars Amy Adams, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix.


That's right, the segment I was interviewed for is now viewable here:


Built by cowboy actor, singer, baseball and TV entrepeneur Gene Autry, and designed by the Disney Imagineering team, the Autry is a world-class museum housing a fascinating collection of items related to the fact, fiction, film, history and art of the American West. In addition to their permenant galleries (to which new items are frequently added), they have temporary shows. The Autry has many special programs every week -- sometimes several in a day. To check their daily calendar, CLICK HERE. And they always have gold panning for kids every weekend. For directions, hours, admission prices, and all other information, CLICK HERE.


Across the street from the Hollywood Bowl, this building, once the headquarters of Lasky-Famous Players (later Paramount Pictures) was the original DeMille Barn, where Cecil B. DeMille made the first Hollywood western, The Squaw Man. They have a permanent display of movie props, documents and other items related to early, especially silent, film production. They also have occasional special programs. 2100 Highland Ave., L.A. CA 323-874-2276. Thursday – Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. $5 for adults, $3 for senior, $1 for children.


This small but entertaining museum gives a detailed history of Wells Fargo when the name suggested stage-coaches rather than ATMS. There’s a historically accurate reproduction of an agent’s office, an original Concord Coach, and other historical displays. Open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Admission is free. 213-253-7166. 333 S. Grand Street, L.A. CA.


A staggering number of western TV episodes and movies are available, entirely free, for viewing on your computer at HULU. You do have to sit through the commercials, but that seems like a small price to pay. The series available -- often several entire seasons to choose from -- include THE RIFLEMAN, THE CISCO KID, THE LONE RANGER, BAT MASTERSON, THE BIG VALLEY, ALIAS SMITH AND JONES, and one I missed from 2003 called PEACEMAKERS starring Tom Berenger. Because they are linked up with the TV LAND website, you can also see BONANZA and GUNSMOKE episodes, but only the ones that are running on the network that week.

The features include a dozen Zane Grey adaptations, and many or most of the others are public domain features. To visit HULU on their western page, CLICK HERE.


Every weekday, TV LAND airs a three-hour block of BONANZA episodes from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They run a GUNSMOKE Monday through Thursday at 10:00 a.m., and on Friday they show two, from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m.. They're not currently running either series on weekends, but that could change at any time.


Check out your cable system for WHT, which stands for World Harvest Television. It's a religious network that runs a lot of good western programming. Your times may vary, depending on where you live, but weekdays in Los Angeles they run DANIEL BOONE at 1:00 p.m., and two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.. On Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. it's THE RIFLEMAN again, followed at 2:30 by BAT MASTERSON. And unlike many stations in the re-run business, they run the shows in the original airing order. There's an afternoon movie on weekdays at noon, often a western, and they show western films on the weekend, but the schedule is sporadic.

RFD-TV has begun airing THE ROY ROGERS SHOW on Sundays at 9:00 a.m., with repeats the following Thursday and Saturday.

Also, AMC has started showing two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN on Saturday mornings.

On Saturday mornings at 8:00 a.m. Pacific time, TCM is showing two chapters of ZORRO RIDES AGAIN, Republic’s fine western action serial, starring John Carroll, Duncan Renaldo, and featuring action directed by John English and William Whitney.


When I started writing the Round-up about a year and a half ago, skeptics told me I’d never find any readers because you can’t balance a laptop on a saddle. I went ahead anyway, and thanks to you good people, I know I’m not wasting my time. For the record, I’m averaging now better than 2,600 hits a month, and growing. A few months ago I added a Facebook page, so that when news stories broke I wouldn’t have to keep rewriting the Round-up, and the Facebook page has been very successful as well.

I’d been encouraged to add a Twitter feed, but I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea. It seemed to me that it was repetitive of Facebook, and not as good: you’re so restricted in the number of characters that about all you can say is ‘See Facebook page.’ Besides, no one cares what I’m doing every minute – not even me. And Tweeting stuff like, ‘Am waiting on line for C’boys n Aliens’ is like saying, “I’ll be away from my home for three hours if you’d like to rob it.”

But I thought I’d give it a try. I started my Twitter feed, and immediately had four followers: women so beautiful that I don’t believe any of them are real. Over the next several weeks I Tweeted interesting stories, and soon had six followers! I thought I was making progress. In truth, I had already peaked. I am now down to two followers, an actual Western person, and a beautiful woman from Alabama who likes NPR. Today I was checking for interesting stories, and came across a man who had just come back from seeing Cowboys & Aliens, and loved it. Great! I reTweeted it to all of (both) of my followers. Then I realized that the original message had come from my one Western guy, and I had Tweeted it back to him! And to the beautiful NPR-fancier in Alabama. I feel like a horse who’s been chasing his own tail. So unless anyone has a good reason not to, I’m going to let that last Tweet by my Twitter swan song.

That's it for tonight, folks! Keep an eye Facebook for updates, and on Twitter if you have nothing else to do! Next week, Part One of my interview with TV's BRONCO LAYNE, TY HARDIN!

Happy Trails,


All contents Copyright July 2011 by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved

Giveaway Winner!!

Congratulations to....

the lovely Charlotte!!! I will be emailing you shortly for your address and be sending you a package this week!

I hope you all are having a fabulous weekend!

Red-cooked Pork Belly

I must say, hopefully without sounding too smug, that I love living in Asia. I love living in a region others refer to as exciting, exotic, and mysterious. I guess, if I am completely and totally honest, I always wished I was a bit more exciting, exotic, and mysterious myself. Years and years of self-tanning, real-tanning (I’ve tried it all, from beer to baby oil), hair-straightening, starving, and quit a lot of tears are a testament to this quest. Thankfully, I've come a long way since then and have learned to accept that outside appearance (no matter how pale or round) does not have anything to do with inside fervor. So I’ve claimed my Asian-ness as something that is rightfully mine…down to the very bones and blood, by birth and by God-given right (as it should be seeing that I was bred, born, and raised here!).

I try to live it to the fullest measure – the beaches, the flip flops, the amazing fresh seafood that I can pick so to the bones with my hands that even a wily cat would have nothing left. The flavors that are brazen, brilliant, and not for the faint of heart. Piquant native onions. Sili labuyo – our tiny, native bird’s eye chili that can bring a grown man to his knees. More garlic than deemed decent. Knobs of ginger always (always!) present in our aromatics bowl. Wansuy (cilantro) – that bright, green, unmistakable herb whose smell can send me into a happy trance. Gata (coconut milk) – that lends a special creaminess to both savory dishes and desserts. Tanglad (lemongrass) – a hardy stalk that grows wild, with a unique lemony flavor all its own. Bagoong (shrimp paste) – Famous/infamous for its pungent bouquet. Patis (fish sauce) – Adds a savoriness that is much more robust than salt alone.

And that’s not even taking into account all the dazzling, colorful, and can’t-be-ignored flavors that hail from my other Asian neighbors – Kaffir lime, Thai basil, Vietnamese mint, Curry, star anise, sriracha, sambal, soy sauce. So many ways to be delicious.

Red-cooked Pork Belly
(Based on recipes here and here)
  • 700 grams pork belly, bone in and skin on
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 star anise
  • Ginger, 2 inches sliced
  • 1-2 cilantro roots or about 6-8 culantro leaves tied in a bundle
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 cup shallots (small native onions), peeled but left whole
  • Whole dried chili (depending how spicy you want it)
  • 2 long strips of orange peel
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine
  • Water
  • Green onions, about 6 stalks, sliced
  • A small bunch of cilantro, torn
- Par-boil pork belly: Put the pork belly in a wok containing enough boiling water to cover the meat completely. Continuously skim off the scum as it forms on top of the boiling water. Boil for about 20 minutes then drain the pork belly and set aside to cool. The boiling liquid can be reused for the braising after straining through a fine sieve. When the pork belly is cool to touch cut it into pieces of about 1.5 inches cubes.
- Melt the sugar and the vegetable oil in a wok over medium high heat. Continue heating until the sugar is slightly brown, about 3 minutes. Add the cubed pork belly and brown it with the caramelized sugar, about 8 minutes. Be careful as it may spit and sputter and you don’t want any hot-fat-and-molten-sugar napalm to get on you.
- Add the star anise, ginger, garlic, cilantro root/culantro, shallots, chili, orange peel, and the green parts of the green onions to the pan. Brown a bit and let them pick up all the caramelized bits.
- Add soy sauce, shaoxing, and enough water (or par-boiling liquid) to almost cover the meat. Cover and stick in a pre-heated 350F oven until meat is tender, checking occasionally to make sure it is not drying out (and adding some of the par-boiling liquid if it seems too dry). This could take 2-3 hours. You want it meltingly soft with the fat relaxed and jiggly.
- When meat is tender, remove from oven and simmer rapidly, uncovered, on the hob until sauce has reduced a bit.
- Garnish with white and light green parts of the green onions as well as cilantro.

I love pork belly. It is an awesome cut of pork and so agreeable to a long, slow cook. It becomes unctuous and soft and oh so decadent. And it is the perfect canvas for Asian flavors. I especially like it when prepared in a way that renders it sticky, sweet, and spicy – all of which this dish does. I like to use it with the bone in and the skin on because this really adds body to the sauce. This recipe is based on the ones I found here and here. Caramelizing the pork belly in melted brown sugar is something I have never done but is so worth it. I like to finish it in the oven as I like using its gentle heat in dishes like this. We have this on a pile of steaming rice, but I think it would also do well atop a mound of egg noodles.

All this rhapsodizing is not to say I don’t get equally passionate about cuisines on the Western hemisphere…or the ingredients and produce you find there. I do! But there is something about the personality of Asian cuisines that is so disarmingly audacious, at the same time preciously familiar (to me), that it will always own a part of me. And I it.

Note: My column in the Yummy magazine August issue (already out in newsstands) also reflects my love for Asian flavors. I share my own version of Asian-style meatballs with noodles. The whole issue celebrates Asian food. If you are a fan of any Asian cuisine check it out! Lots to try :)

Maria La Del Barrio's Pinoy Version

I just attended a Press Conference of the upcoming Teleserye in ABS CBN the “Maria La Del Barrio” at Dolphy Theater. After the long wait, it will finally air on August 15, 2011.

The press con was star studded. Press and bloggers ask some questions, and one of the questions that marked in my head was why does it took so long to finally air this Mexecan teleserye in Pinoy version? This was answered by Rory B. Quintos the Director, “it took so long because there were lots of things to finish before we got the signal to start the shooting and we did some brain storming to come out with such a beautiful teleserye like this, because we want the viewers to watch continuously for almost 6 months”.

I think they put more spices and effort to satisfy the eyes of the viewer, just like me, I’m fond of watching teleseryes and I’m expecting that they will come out with such beautiful and extra ordinary teleserye.

Maria La Del Barrio features two of the hottest stars in the industry today, Erich Gonzales and Enchong Dee as they give life to the characters of Maria Hernandez and Luis De Vega.

So folks, in just a few days to go, we will have a new Mexican teleserye in Philippine version, none other than the “Maria La Del Bario”. It will be another Teleserye that most Pinoy will definitely watch every night. Perhaps love will be in the air again.

Please do watch every night the “Maria La Del Barrio” and it will start this coming August 15, 2011 at the Kapamilya Station, ABS-CBN Primetime Bida.

Ang Babae sa Septic Tank on Big Screen

Is this really is it! This is it! What a hilarious title? What would you think if you hear this kind of movie title, Ang Babae sa Septic Tank?

Ang Babae sa Septic Tank is an indie film which was shown first in Cinemalaya. The movie is comedy starring Eugene Domingo together with some local stars. Eugene Domingo is one of the know comedienne in Philippine Cinema, her talent had made her to where she is now, and she had made herself well crafted on her chosen career. With that talent she won herself Best Actress at the 7th Cinemalaya International Film Festival.

The movie won five major awards including the Best Actress for Eugene Domingo, namely the Best Director for Marlon Rivera, Best Screenplay for Chris Martinez, Audience choice Award and the much-coveted Best Film Award.

To give a brief about the movie, it is a comedy film that traces where ambitions sometimes lead to. It chronicles a day in the life of a trio of misguided film-makers when they decided to produce a movie they assure has a caliber to earn… an Oscar. Yes! An Oscar! In short Ang Babae sa Septic tank becomes a laugh trip art of romanticizing a certain reality in Pinoy culture – here its poverty – that may be minimized but could never be eliminated.

From Cinemalaya to Star Cinema to big screen. Produced by Quantum Films, Martinez-Rivera Films and Straight Shooters Media. So, if you’re curious enough why this movie bagged five awards and if you’re eager enough to know why it is titled Ang Babae sa Septic Tank? Then better go to the cinema on August 3, 2011, the movie will be shown to over 40 theaters nationwide.

Sew Weekly Challenge: Nautical or "Don't be blinded by the pasty whiteness"

As you may be able to tell from other posts, I love Vogue patterns.  They are just soooo pretty, and I love the possibilities of what these patterns could do for my closet.  I decided it was finally time to tackle one that I've had cut out for six months now.

Vogue 2859 - I fell in love with the blouse, but I may need to make the dress after seeing Kat's lovely version.

I decided to take my time (since this would be my first time making a Vogue pattern), use the simulated French seams again, and finish it properly.  Well, I got it finished and there was one slight surprise:
It shows a bit more skin than I had EVER anticipated.

I love the color, the shape, the details...but sweet monkeys in a basket, I did not expect to be showing my midriff!  Granted, I've been working out like a fiend for the marathon so I'm not too upset, but I'm afraid the glare off my skin might blind passerby.

I'm disappointed because I worked on this blouse for about nine hours, only to not be able to wear it for nine months out of the year here. 

If I made it again, I would add four inches to the bottom.  I'm going to blame the midriff factor on my bust being a bit larger than the 1930's norm. 

This definitely doesn't feel like a 1935 design.  Rather, I'm feeling more like Annette Funicello and I need to be rocking out on a beach somewhere.

I'm still going to wear it during the summer.  I'll just need to keep working out in order to wear it, so I guess that's a good incentive?

Disappointment mingled with joy that I conquered the toughest pattern I've come across yet.  Totally bittersweet.
On a happy note...Rob loves me.  A lot.

I did not realize how much until I came home and found that he had made me a cake.  He cut up a marble sheet cake...


...and made marshmallow fondant ... and transformed it all into a Tardis.

My awesome boyfriend made me a TARDIS! *SQUEEEEEEEE*  (I might have flipped out with joy)

We are taking it to one of my favorite restaurants tonight to celebrate my birthday with my friends (most of who love the Doctor as well).  Totally geektastic!!

Well, friends, if you are still interested in the birthday giveaway, there is still time to enter!

Have a great evening, all!

Medchef Anniversary

Cakes here….cakes there…cakes everywhere….

Well, that’s the environment when I attended the 1st year anniversary of MEDCHEF. A lot of cakes at the table, I think all the cakes are blockbuster because the table was just like it has been hit by a storm. A lot of people continuously chatting, downstairs…upstairs… almost everywhere is full!!! I wasn’t able to watch the program downstairs because most of the bloggers and guest clog up the way and there’s no way I could take my shot of viewing the program. Thank goodness that some of the models went up to let us see what kind of cake they are modeling.

Apparently, their cakes taste good, but I am longing to taste their best seller cake. Hoping that the next time I visit their store I’ll get a chance to taste it.

Guests, bloggers, models and whoever on that night was very much delighted because the people experienced the sweetness of all the cakes presented.

One of the owners of Medchef, Chef Hasset was very busy going around and estimating the guests. Judging from their faces, it seems that they are very much surprised with the number of people visited their anniversary celebration. I’m sure most of them love the cake just like me. Every bite gives smile to everyone.

So anyone who crave for something different, something sweets, something artistic visit the Medchef to feel life to the fullest.

Discovering new taste…new food…new experience…is coming…’till next post.


It hurts!!!It really hurts!!!

We, parents are very protective of our kid, that’s why we don’t want them to feel any hurtful experiences, we are after on their safety and happiness, right mommies?

Unfortunately, vaccine is really part of a baby’s life. Even though they feel pain during their vaccine, they still need it to fight against those harmful diseases, to protect them from illnesses and to boast their immune system for the unfriendly environment as they continually growing up.

I should be tough and brave for my 2nd child Gelo, because I have already experienced those vaccine moment on my eldest son Maki. But as you can see in the video, I’m still scared and worried about Gelo, given the fact that I don’t want injection also, maybe that’s the reason why that feeling is still there.

My son's pedia ask me to put Gelo on the bed, as she starts to clean the area where she will inject, I started to take a video. Look at the video, my sister in law was the one holding gelo’s hand, when it should be me!!!But of course, I need to take a video on him and besides I don't like injections. While doing it, I keep on talking to my son's pedia that Gelo sometimes holds his breath that scares me a lot. Because I was so talkative Dr. Lazol could not concentrate on what she's going to do. Silly me disturbing my son's pedia. Finally, Gelo shouted…………………..it hurts!!! It really hurts!!! I worried, my son is only a baby.

That was my feeling, a mommy's emotion. If your kids get hurt, you feel it too. You will do everything for them not to feel those things, to make them safe all the time.

More vaccine experiences for Gelo, well…more scary and worried moment for me…But I know it will help my baby to be healthy and strong all the time.

More stories about Gelo…coming soon…

America And Me - Part Two

As my own mother accused me of racism in my last post, I feel compelled to write some nice things about America. Starting with this rambling blurb about music east of the Mississippi, for which we have almost no relevant photographs.

Clarksdale, Mississippi
A fat man who I presume to be the manager of a band sits chain-smoking by the stage in the Morgan Freeman-backed Ground Zero blues club in Mississippi. He sits through the first instrumental unimpressed, distracted almost. Then, after a song and a half, he hauls his massive frame onto the stage and picks up a guitar that looked comically small in his hands. His name is Big T and he's here to play the blues for us.
Photo: Wee Mo
When the big man gets going, his gyrations are unmistakeably phallic. His mouth moves in involuntary spasms in time with the music, too. It's not the first time I've seen a performance like this, but that doesn't mean it's anything short of fucking incredible. The band rattles through Mississippi blues standards with aplomb, stopping regularly so Big T can get back on the cigs.
After the third or fourth break, with the crowd good and oiled, Big T introduces another musician, a suited Methusela called Johnny Billington. The 77-year-old is crumbling by the minute, but has just enough control of his faculties to clamber onto a chair on stage, fold his legs over themselves like a muppet, then grab a guitar and perform just two songs – eight of the most unforgettable musical minutes of my life. When Mr Billington plays the blues, there's no doubt he's lived through every hardship he describes, and probably some he's forgotten. His crumbled face hasn't, though, nor has his scorched voice. It's hard to believe he's got many miles in the tank, but hearing the engine in its final sputters is nothing short of a genuine privilege.

Memphis, Tennessee
Al Green is much younger than I had imagined. When singing perhaps the world's most tender, lovely balad, he sounds old, weary. But that was in 1972 when he was just 26. Now 65, he has been a church man for the past 34 years.
Still, it's not unreasonable to expect big things at the First Tabernacle Gospel Choir, a couple of miles away from Graceland. This is Memphis, he is a goddamn soul legend after all.
After a slight delay, when the reverend comes out, he sits on a leather-bound throne, being nothing short of a nuisance to the others on stage. He talks over a deacon at the lectern, makes jokes when a steward goes through the announcements, and sits sipping at a bottle of Gatorade, for all the world looking like a fat, truculent teenager.
Photo: Wee Mo
One of the choir steps forward and launches into an almost implausibly enormous hymn/anthem. It starts slow and is irritatingly repetitive: “God is marvellous, so marvellous, marvellous, marvellous...” But after a few minutes, the music builds and the singer becomes more animated. Soon he's doubled over, screaming and sweating. Eventually, he retreats back to the rest of the choir, sobbing in rapture. It's an astonishing and almost unsettling few minutes – indeed too much for one German family who walk out mid-screech in apparent protest.
At the height of the fervour, most of the congregation is standing, desperately trying out-do their neighbours in a display of religious ecstasy. The winner is a gigantic woman in a purple frock who launches into full body convulsions, moshing in the name of the Lord. God must be on hand to stop her from having a goddamn embolism, as well as her pals, who are there to fan her and sit her considerable ass down.
It's also finally enough for Green to snap out of it and take the mic from his distressed clergyman. After a bit of mumbling, the band picks up again and the suddenly the man of God is out his fucking nut on the Holy Spirit. 
He runs out in front of the lectern and looks briefly ridiculous doing a lizard-in-a-dessert quick step, as though the very fires of hell are burning his holy feet.
The entire thing goes on for about 15 minutes, after which everyone feels quite exhausted. Well, almost everyone: “I know you probably got some of my CDs in your car – ain't no shame in that. Heck, I got some of my CDs in my car, to remind me of the old me. To remind me of who Jesus saved! Somebody say 'amen!'”
If someone was doing an impression of a demented preacher, they'd likely come out with Green's chat: “Testify! Sanctify! Can I getta witness?'” He screeches, he wails – he's a sequence cape away from being James fucking Brown. He warns us that at any moment he may start speaking in tongues (he doesn't).
Photo: Wee Mo
Make no mistake about it, this is a performance first and ego-outing second. Some brief, delirious chit-chat is then followed up with a full-on funk arrangement, complete with wawa-pedal guitar, and soul-saw keyboard.
Unfortunately, after that, there are no more delays before the full-on god-talk. Large sections of the eulogy are total nonsense; incoherent noise even if you could understand every word through his thick accent. Even when reading scripture directly from The Book, the reverend distracts himself, railing against credit cards and mobile phones. Naturally, Jesus is the answer to everything and god is apparently a kind of benevolent loan shark: “We got dark days ahead of us, with this deficit and budget and what not... But American wouldn't have no deficit if it just leaned on the everlasting arms of the Lord!”
This shit goes on for two hours. There are no more songs; there is a collection plate. At the end of it all, I'm left with two questions: “How much of all of this is genuine? And if it's not, does it really matter?”

Nashville, Tennessee
Like Memphis, Nashville isn't really a modern home of music. It's more like a living museum. Yes, the bars and clubs are full of live country music, but almost none of it is new. The crowd wouldn't want new even if it was offered to them either. Instead, everyone is happy to throw money (and shapes) at any act willing to trot out any of the “classics” – play it, Sam, so long as we know the tune. As the majority of country songs sound idiotically samey – and the lyrics seem to cover only heartbreak and mundane daily activities, like truck driving, or hitting the pub after work – Wee Mo and I are quickly bored by the whole thing.
Photo: Wee Mo
That is until we accidentally discover Clay Canfield. Imagine Sam Elliot at a Halloween party, dressed as a country and western singer – that's yer man. He's not playing country, though, in fact I wouldn't know how to properly describe his style, other than singularly impressive. Playing the moothy (harmonica), singing and simultaneously attacking the strings and drumming the body of his guitar, Canfield's is a hypnotic, powerful performance. As he's half-steaming, every song is sandwiched between a rambling, half-funny, half-sad story. Like Johnny Billington, Canfield lives his music. The country crowd don't really know how to take it all, especially when he borders on letting his emotions run away when describing a beautiful song written by his dead friend. At the end of performing it, perhaps to avoid getting more upset, he rolls it into All Along The Watchtower. Without exaggeration, I tell you it's one of the best covers I've ever heard, by anyone. Ever.
Unfortunately, for us we only get to see the last half hour of his extraordinary show. Worse still, he is followed by Woody and the Tremendous Bores, a six-piece of professional dullards who trot out several dozen utterly forgettable country classics. They are one of the whitest, most frigid bands I have ever seen in my life. The hissing steam from Clay Canfield powerful, warm post-gig piss had more soul than this lot.
But hooray for Clay Canfield! Hooray for what he does!

Asheville, North Carolina
Clay Canfield was the most talented individual we saw during our musical week in the States. Johnny Billington was the most moving. Al Green was perhaps the most unforgettable. But the best overall performance? Like a good music festival, that came totally by surprise, at an expected venue from an unexpected band.
Asheville is one of those towns where weirdos congregate, some relieved to be able to express themselves, others intent on being weirder than their weird neighbour. What's the difference between this and neds trying to out-do each other with louder tracksuits and more garish trainers? Answer: a postcode. You get this kind of thing in places like Brighton, and art schools across the world. Personally I find the whole thing a bit fucking wearisome.
But, for all that, creativity of all kinds is encouraged. Out on the street there's a ramshackle percussion group with around 50 people participating. Some are even in time. Up the road there's a juggler, and a fiddler, and a clown, and a double bass, all fighting for tourist dollars.
We duck into the Jack Of The Wood, which for those who know it, is not unlike the Uisge Beatha in Glasgow's bohemian West End. Within a couple of minutes, Pierce Edens and the Dirty Work pipe up.
Though it's a widely-known musical fact, I will repeat it here: any band featuring a double-bass player is a sure-fired fucking success. When that player looks and performs like System of a Down's Serj Tankian, then all the better. And when he's backed by a drummer that looks like Ronnie from the Shield on eccies, and a guitarist that looks like the ever-creepy Mr Lizard, then better still.
Not Pierce Edens, nor Asheville for that matter
Thus the Dirty Work, the grungy, old-New World sound for Pierce Edens. I once wrote about Sigur Ros playing in Scotland, describing my amazement as the frontman shredded a bow on an electric guitar “sawing away like he's slaughtering a troublesome hog”. I think of that again when listening to Edens singing, where his vocal chords are the bow. He looks 30-ish, but sounds like smokes a 1,000 a day and gurgles gravel in the morning. The sound is something like the throaty one from Gomez singing Nick Cave tunes, but that's probably doing the band a little disservice. I've got no doubt they listen to the eclectic Australian (they've probably never heard of Gomez) but Edens's songs are original works, and Cave's influence is no more than just that.
Anyway, with a bourbon in hand, it's their end result that impresses me the most – them that I can imagine playing a tent at some far flung festival, being covered in pints of celebratory beer and piss. Fingers crossed it happens for them some day.

Maki's First Ever Exam

All parents feel delighted if you see your kids doing well in school. One of the proofs that will mark that your child is doing well in the school is the exam.

The even took place in Maki's school. It was his first ever exam, first time to experience a test like that and take note he didn't have any review!!! The result, well, he got a few mistakes on one of his exams and the rest were all perfect. Since it was Maki first time and we as well, we weren't able to review him because we didn't knew that they were going to have an exam. Maki was sick before the day of the exam that's why we weren't informed the teacher that they're going to have an exam on the following day. Maki was brought to his pedia because he was sick then and was diagnose with a flu. So he was treated and was instructed to take a rest in just one day. Then on the day of the exam, which we didn't that it was their exam, he wanted to go to school even his still sick. He was so eager that we just allowed him to go to school and he even take the exam. He really love to go school and we really glad about that.

I am so proud of my son even his only a nursery, he loves to go to school, he has a big interest on it. Every night we always have a study session before we sleep. I noticed that after that study he continuously study on his own, he just sat down on the floor and reads some of his book, and guess what…he even went on answering some of the exercises in the book in advance. We just always tell him that he is going to answer his book in school. He loves to read, he loves to color and he even knows all the colors.

Yah! I’m a proud mama!

More experiences…more surprises…more learning with my eldest Son…’till next post…

Birthday Giveaway!

Friends, it was my birthday last week, and I really love celebrating my birthday.  I want to share that joy with you because I really want to use my birthday present from Rob:

Meg the Grand stationery!  With orange envelopes!!

(It's like he really gets me, you know?)

Not only did he get me some fabulous stationery, he got me stamps!  With my picture on it!
This picture to be exact:

Love love love.  Need to start writing and sending some letters - stat.

Well, there needs to be something else in this package besides a letter from Yours Truly.  How about some fabulous vintage fabric?

Approximately 3 yards of electric green cotton with houses, birds, butterflies and giant flowers on it.  Totally 70's, and totally love it. 

I'm also giving away a golf bag sew on embellishment, a stick on Bugs Bunny embellishment, and some super crazy ice cream cone patches.  Aren't they wild?

Some large and small black buttons, two large white buttons and little rosettes...

as well as three yards of this totally brilliant fringe could be yours!

In order to win this fabulousness, you need to tell me in the comments what you would make with this fabric.  I have been holding onto it for YEARS, hoping I could come across the perfect pattern to show off the birds/houses/flowers, but nothing has come my way. 

This giveaway is open to all blog followers (including you lovely international folks), and will close Friday, July 29 at 11:59pm CDT. 

Have a fantastic day, all!!