The problem with Facebook...

Much like how Google promotes the use of the Internet to strengthen its commercial interests, Facebook promotes the lack of privacy to strengthen its.

I received the following email from Facebook after painstakingly going through it's privacy settings (PC, then mobile, then back to PC) trying to remove my phone number from Facebook.

Hi Josekin,

As you requested, your imported contacts have been removed. Please note: if some of your friends choose to share their email or phone numbers with friends on Facebook, you'll still see their contact information in your phonebook.


The Facebook Team

And herein lies the danger with Facebook:
  • First of all, I'm not sure if I removed MY number at all. And I can't figure it out. 
  • Second of all, now I am aware that others have their number that I can see. I'm no stalker, but this strikes me as dangerous especially for younger folks who have less concern for their own privacy (because they haven't realized the harm). 
  • The second sentence... "if some of your friends choose to share". Look, let's be honest, nobody knows that they just did, because Facebook has made privacy such a convoluted process to set and un-set.
Ugh... everything Facebook does makes me want to quit it, but I can't. Doesn that make me sound like an addict? My god it does!


Movies, again.

Yup, apprently I only eat and watch movies.

Middle seat coach on United from SFO to HKG - it doesn't get any worse than this, except that I'm paying a fraction of the price, so I guess I do deserve whatever they give me. Btw, DO NOT get the breakfast option that is Japanese Teriyaki Vegetables and Tofu with Rice: by far the worst ever airplane meal I have ever had.

Even though it was a shared movie screen for the entire coach, I managed to catch 2 pretty good movies. In fact, the flight was overall enjoyable, no doubt because I didn't have to play the elbow game with my neighbors. You see, life is much better if we all stick to our personal space.


Morning glory - Rachel McAdams stars in this girly comedy along with... wait for it... wait for it... Harrison Ford! And I'm not ashamed to say that it was surprisingly good with a lot of funny moments! Harrison's serious face (a.k.a. the Jack Ryan or "I'm the President of the United States of America" face) is still fun to watch. Recommended to watch on an airplane - the couple across the aisle kept LOLing.

Megamind - fun cartoon featuring voices of Will Farrel, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, and the fat kid from Super Bad. haha... just thinking of Super Bad makes Megamind worth it. Fun cartoon from start to finish. Brad Pitt does an awesome job as the voice of one of the heroes. I couldn't really tell that Megamind's voice was Will Farrel's. Recommended.


Nobu in Hong Kong

For those who love Japanese food, Hong Kong is a pretty nice city that blends the very affordable sushi belt restaurants as well as independent high end ones. Nobu, while not independent, was one of the first Nobus opened outside of the US. Located in the harbor-front Intercontinental Hotel, it actually is one of the best dining spots you can find in Hong Kong, offering a close and unobstructed view of Hong Kong island.

Before I delve in... here's my experience at Nobu NY for restaurant week. Also wanted to mention Gwyneth Paltrow's restaurant rec Zuma (my review)... do not go unless you don't know anything about Japanese food and want to "give it a try". Funny I never mentioned it in my original post, but the server didn't know what omakase was! And when the-PNGF and I asked where the salt was from (you know, cus it was actually tasty, the server told us "sea salt". Ugh. Zuma also ranked in top 20 restaurants in Asia for Michelin, I think. Double Ugh.

Back to Nobu Hong Kong. We ordered the Omakase and I think the pictures cover all 8 dishes. I have the menu at home so will have to recheck later.

Chilled tuna tartar with caviar kicks off a great meal; the combination was wonderful and really prepared me for the next few courses.
The next appetizer was somewhat disappointing. I can't remember all the ingredients, but I do remember the tuna that was soaked in some sweet wasabi sauce (background) - too much.

Lobster salad was very good. Slightly warm but not undercooked and still flavorful.
Unfortunately, the seafood entree was not the black cod. The seabass was nonetheless masterfully prepared and was cooked just right. The sauce complemented the tenderness very well.

The fatty tuna was the star of the meal - balanced, fresh, and full of flavors - and made the whole meal worth it
Uni sushi was among the best I've had in Hong Kong

Ebi had the subtle sweetness to it - nice piece of sushi that leads to dessert

Flan/Cheesecake was balanced and okay - nothing surprising though.
Overall, at HKD 1188, I thought Nobu Hong Kong was of great value and even greater taste. Combined with a unbeatable view and ambiance, it was a great dining experience. The servers, similar to those at Robuchon, however, still need better training. Otherwise, my only wish was that they had more of their signiture dishes on the Omakase!


Flying to US means watching movies

United's business class video on demand system is still one of the best I've seen for all long haul fights. See my review from almost TWO years ago! Oddly, however, the selection seems to be less...

Especially strange was the TV series. I ended up watching 3 episodes of The Wire Season 1... even though it was episode 2, 6 and 11. Yup, those were the only 3 on VOD...

Back to the movies.

Due Date: Robert Downing Jr and the hilarious fat kid from The Hangover (who now seems to be in a lot of movies...) make a funny pair as they road trip back from Atlanta to LA. It's okay funny most of the time and I think it kept me entertained for the most part. Not really recommended.

127 Hours: I really wanted to see this movie for some reason. Something about the story about a man being literally stuck in the wilderness that is fascinating. And the part where he has to saw off his arm. In fact, when I first read the incredible story quite a few years ago, I thought to myself that it would make a really good movie and that the hiker would gain fame and fortune from his unfortunate encounter - else he'd just be another hippie hiker. Anyway, I liked the movie although it isn't for anyone. You have to watch a good 90 minutes of James Franco struggling with hallucinations and reality - there's no real point to the movie other than our hero realized he should have told the ones he loves what he was up to when he goes on solo adventures. Oh, and there's a good 5 minutes of him hacking off his arm. Again, not for anyone. Recommended.

Black Swan: this was a theater in LA, not the flight TV. I think the first word that comes to mind is "disturbing"... then "fantastic"... then "disturbing" again. I think I need to watch the movie again to truly appreciate it. My first thought after the screening was that damn she actually had to go through all that shit to become perfect. It wasn't until the next morning that I thought... hmmm, maybe she did imagine all of it deliberately so that she can grow into the role. Maybe she wasn't crazy. Anyway, I think the point was that perfection can always be achieved if you push hard enough... right? Natalie Portman does a masterful job in the movie and certainly deserves all the credit (she's the favorite for the ultimate prize, an Oscar). Still, a disturbing movie. (Made me think of Tiger moms for a minute actually) Recommended.


Wanna watch porn?

Food porn, that is. Met up with some high school classmates for a wedding and someone mentioned my blog. Shame on me since I've been making a lot of food porn but not really sharing them. Here are four pictures, two from my birthday lunch at Bo Innovation and two from PNW's birthday lunch at Rubuchon (Macao). Both meals were fantastic (Robuchon still needs a better main cource... same as my last visit) and quite memorable... should go to Bo again even though PNW doesn't really like fusion.

I can't remember what this was; another point I will try to improve on... should be fried shrimp balls.

Bo Innovation is known for its twist on Chinese food... this is the 蝦餃 Har Gau, shirmp dumpling
Generous portions of Foie Gras at Rubuchon
One of the best Napaleons I've ever had

More food porn will come, I promise. Yesterday, I've edited pictures up to September of last year. Almost back to the present!

Emirates A380 - How big is it really?

Side note for Emirates from my consultant mind: when I checked in at Emirates,they simply put me in zone F, which means zones A-E board first, then in zone G for the Dubai-Sao Paulo... and I had such high expectations of their services. The flight was good, the entertainment system was good, the service was very nice, and the food was horrendous. But I thought they missed a great chance to convert me from Cathay though.

Imagine if all gate agents asked "Sir/Madam, are you a frequent flier member on any other airlines?" If they find some Silver/Gold/Platinum/Diamond/Other exotic metal members, they immediately offer a new mileage card (fill in contact info first) and first time user privilege (upgrade, use of lounge, board first... all if available). Wouldn't you capture some new loyal-to-other-airlines customers right away? Instead, I get dumped to zone F and spent 20 minutes in line wondering why I didn't take the Cathay flight.

All in all, the Emirate experience was still a pretty good one. I also had the chance to ride on the A380... the bigness of it can only be appreciated by pictures... and unfortunately, I wasn't flying during the day so there really wasn't an opportunity to have the A380 against a 747 or 777 to get a good perspective on its size. I shall try anyway.

Here's one of the wing of a regular aircraft (Airplane nerds please tell me the model):

And this is the A380... I can't even get a picture of the whole wing of the A380! And it covers the whole Kenyan Airline AIRPLANE!

Otherwise, the inside is a bit of an anti-climax: it looks like all the Airbus internals, although it comes in 2 floors (I didn't get to go up...). The stairs, in case that would interest you.