Sunday, January 30, 2011

Iron Maiden: part II

The second song to display will be one from the new album. It's a cool and very mellow song about, as za title suggests, Coming Home. It was written by Bruce Dickinson (the vocalist) who is also a pilot, and so there is a lot of references to his flying.

Sorry for the silly video but didn't find any live versions of it. Beace.

When I stand before you shining in the early morning sun
When I feel the engines roar and I think of what we've done
Oh the bittersweet reflection as we kiss the earth goodbye
As the waves and echoes of the towns become the ghosts of time

Over borders that divide the earthbound tribes
No creed and no religion just a hundred winged souls
We will ride this thunderbird, silver shadows on the earth
A thousand leagues away, our land of birth

To Albion's land
Coming home when I see the runway lights
In the misty dawn the night is fading fast
Coming home, far away as their vapor trails align
Where I've been tonight, you know I will not stay

Curving on the edge of daylight til it slips into the void
Waited in the long night, dreaming til the sun is born again
Stretched the fingers of my hand, covered countries with my span
Just a lonely satellite, speck of dust and cosmic sand

Over borders that divide the earthbound tribes
Through the dark Atlantic; over mounting stormy waves
We will ride this thunderbird, silver shadows on the earth
A thousand leagues away, our land of birth

To Albion's land
Coming home when I see the runway lights
In the misty dawn the night is fading fast
Coming home, far away as their vapor trails align
Where I've been tonight, you know I will not stay

To Albion's land
Coming home when I see the runway lights
In the misty dawn the night is fading fast
Coming home, far away as their vapor trails align
Where I've been tonight, you know I will not stay
Coming home, far away when I see the runway lights
In the misty dawn the night is fading fast
Coming home, far away as their vapor trails align
Where I've been tonight, you know I will not stay

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Iron Maiden: part I

With the Iron Maiden concert in March approaching, and seeing as many people still don't know about the awesomeness that is Iron Maiden, myself having only gotten to know them 10 years ago... I decided to post a song every once in a while with some explanations or just the lyrics.

Not everyone likes Iron Maiden or metal in general, that's fine. It's ultimately a matter of taste. But you better show Respect (yes capital R, actually gonna go all out and quote Aretha Franklin: R-E-S-P-E-C-T!) to a band that has made 30 or so albums over a span of 30 years, sold over 85 million records with little radio and TV exposure (the church most probably helped a lot with their whole anti-devil-worshiping-music campaign, just as they did with The DaVinci Code... silly people won't learn that no publicity is bad publicity...), they've also played over 2000 live shows, and are still going strong! Their last album released last year peaked at number 1 in 30 countries. Lots of 30s there haha. Blame Wikipedia...

They even have their own plane! Ed Force One (Ed being the name of their mascot who appears on every single album cover). They use it to carry their crew and equipment all over for touring. The lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson (one of the most awesomest vocalists ever) pilots it lol.

Now which song to start with? Such a hard choice...

Zo without further ado! One of my favorite songs by them: Hallowed Be Thy Name.

This is a song from 1985 about a guy waiting in his cell for his hanging o.O very psychological and moving song. This is the live performance at the 2001 Rock in Rio concert. The sub-par YouTube quality ruins it a bit but it's nice to see 250,000 people going nuts over the wild performance! Yes 250,000...


I'm waiting in my cold cell when the bell begins to chime
Reflecting on my past life and it doesn't have much time
Cos at 5 o'clock they take me to the Gallows Pole
The sands of time for me are running low

When the priest comes to read me the last rites
I take a look through the bars at the last sights
Of a world that has gone very wrong for me

Can it be there's some sort of error
Hard to stop the surmounting terror
Is it really the end not some crazy dream

Somebody please tell me that I'm dreaming
It's not so easy to stop from screaming
But words escape me when I try to speak
Tears they flow but why am I crying
After all I am not afraid of dying
Don't believe that there is never an end

As the guards march me out to the courtyard
Someone calls from a cell "God be with you"
If there's a God then why has he let me die?

As I walk all my life drifts before me
And though the end is near I'm not sorry
Catch my soul cos it's willing to fly away

Mark my words please believe my soul lives on
Please don't worry now that I have gone
I've gone beyond to see the truth

When you know that your time is close at hand
maybe then you'll begin to understand
Life down there is just a strange illusion.

A cold cold night...

Last post we left off at how tolerable walking out in -6 degrees is.
But is it the same when standing in -18 degrees? NO! But we'll get there.

Last week, Quijote (who lost his Don because he proved useless in Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles), Alejandro decided to have dinner at a place we like a lot. They got there before me and, realizing that the guy (sexy word incoming -> henceforth referred to as the dude) was in quite a bad mood and rather intoxicated, tried to warn me, but it was too late...

Arriving at the scene, I did not notice anything wrong. The dude explained that it was the memory of his mother passing away, that he was sad because he wasn't on good terms with her when it happened, and that instead of eating (since the kitchen was closed by then) we should drink some wine. Being oblivious to the fact that the dude was already quite drunk, I agreed and went and bought 3 bottles of wine from the nearby conbini (again convenience store).

Thus began the longest night any of us ever had in Sapporo. By the second glass, the dude had become quite violent, and The Eye of the Tiger had become annoying to say the least after the umpth time we heard it. Quijote being the heavy drinker he is (drinking a whopping 1 glass of wine!) made Alejandro and me gulp down our glasses to drink as much as we can, thus minimizing the alcohol intake of the dude...

That is when Jake arrived and I cursed myself for forgetting to warn him not to come either... And that is when the dude really became troublesome. More than once, we thought he'd start a fight over nothing, but Jake was calm and gracious, and eventually, like a master ninja, just got up and left without the dude being the wiser haha.

Next comes the part where we tried to get the dude back home. We got into the taxi and went 'approximately' in the direction of the dude's house. The first part of the taxi ride was when the dude started yelling at the poor old driver for taking a longer route than he needed, and Quijote and Alejandro calming him down. Eventually we reached what the dude initially thought to be his house, and turned out not to be... The second taxi ride was when the dude started yelling at the poor old driver (again) for not having children... and Quijote and Alejandro calming him down.
We finally got off at a conbini (slap yourself if you don't already know this word) near his house, and thankfully the guys working there knew him! So he calls his wife to pick him up, gets in a fight with her on the phone, and hangs up... *Super facepalm is in order* and we run after him trying to stop him from buying beer. We order another taxi and wait 15 minutes or so outside for it, and the following equation became apparent to me:
-6 °C + thin sox + sneakers + walking = OK!
-18 °C + thick sox + sneakers + standing = NOT OK! NOT AT FEKIN ALL!

By the time the taxi arrived, the dude had sobered up and knew where his house was.

So a couple hours drinking wine, 2 taxi rides and a nice refreshing wait in the snow, we were back where we started, much, much, hungrier. So at nearly midnight, our choices of places to eat were limited (everything closes so early here) and so it was off to the yakitori place where the mascot is a chicken samurai(?) carrying a shish kebab instead of a sword... love that place! Cheap beer and fried chicken? Yes please! So not all was lost, and Pen2 even joined us so there was someone other than me drinking something other than water... useless Quijote and Alejandro...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dinner? No thanks trying to lose weight...

After ending the last post on a food note (kinda sounds like foot note? meh beykha...), thought I'd ride that wave into this next one. So the second night after arriving and finding out about the gas (got the bill for that half a month and it's 120$ or so... ouchies! So visiting me now is not recommended coz I'm making up for it by not using the heater anymore so it's below 10 degrees inside most of the time lal which is fine by me with Jeddak's 3abayeh or robe), realized that 2 weeks outside Hokkaido makes you miss some things. And people maybe, but mostly things, mainly Soup Curry! Soup Curry is best eaten at Picante and Picante is the second home for someone called Ted, so I call Ted and naturally, he agrees to meet up. Jesse and James also come, Jake is stuck at work and arrives after we're done.

Now Soup Curry was a dish I was not particularly fond of, but it certainly does grow on you, especially when it starts getting cold! And cold it gets! But more on that later.

After finishing, went with Jake to Jacksonville's so that he could have dinner. Me having had dinner decided to just go with some chicken wings and a beer (bill was 1010 Yen tihi I love silly numbers).
Then we decided to look for an "apparently" good Russian restaurant in the neighborhood. We did a whole clockwise turn around the block and finally found it across the street from Jacksonville... so had we turned the opposite direction, it would be a 30 second walk lol. But it was not a loss! For while looking, Jake noticed a new Sushi place, and noticed that the prices were quite cheap. So he decided to go in and try it real quick. The bastardo, fully knowing that my favorite is salmon (he prolly didn't but I just wanna call him a bad name), ordered just that! And me being a good friend who doesn't like to let his friend eat alone (I'm not just wanted to taste it too), ordered some too. The plate comes with 2 pieces and costs 105 Yen which is quite cheap! Needless to say it was blissful, and I ended up ordering 3 other plates... flat fish (forgot the name in Japanese), crab and another salmon to wash em all down with! Bill was 777 Yen for me (again with the fun numbers heh).

The other realization of the night (other than Jake sux and Dal was right about me being a little piggy), was that -6 degrees is not a big deal at all, even with sneakers and ankle-high thin sox. The night after that however, was a totally different story, but that is for the next post...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Vacation and back

Too lazy to write about the vacation :) so only gonna say it was a blast! Not nearly enough time to see everyone I wanted to see, and more importantly (yes people FOOD > you in case you didn't know...) I didn't even get to eat a chicken sub at Mike! Nor was I able to go to CafeSho... what a waste of a vacation tbh heh.

Needless to say, 4 hours of sleep accompanied by lots of eating and going out means 2 things: some extra weight and eventual collapse and sickness. Thus begins the story of the trip back. Zo I was supposed to come back on Tuesday, but had high temperature and ended up postponing until Friday to get better. The idea of getting quarantined for fear of bird flu outbreak was not appealing...

So begins the long trip back.
The flight from Beirut to Dubai was awesome. I was sitting on the very last row in the plane, and the whole section was quite empty. The cabin crew was having a party in the back area and would take turns to eat on the seats next to me, so we all became buddies :)
--> Time taken: 3:20 ish (all times will be ish coz I'm too lazy to check mkay)
--> Total time: 3:20

During the stop in Dubai, met Ele, a very nice Aussie going back to Indonesia, and so I had someone to chat with from there on (I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE! OR SOMETHING! OR MYSELF IF NONE ARE AVAILABLE!). We stayed on board while they cleaned up and waited for the new passengers to embark, so I took a couple photos of the tarmac from the back door. Will post them when I get back home.
--> Time taken: 1:40 (while reading these parts, just imagine each letter getting written as you
--> Total time: 5:00 read along, kinda like in the movies with the typewriter sound effects)

In the next part of the trip, the cabin crew was less pleasant. One (guy) was hitting on me, or just being annoying by asking me to buy him the huge red teddy bear the silly girl 2 rows in front of me had... either way, he was annoying. And another (also guy) was encouraging me to chat with the first one and to give him my PSP meanwhile... aba2ash 7adan yest7eh?! L3ama... Walla for the first time I appreciated the famous quote captain Kanaan Jr. (the useless one) keeps using: STOP HIRING MALE CABIN CREW FFS! Other than that, they had gay ass movies. I had tears in my eyes by the time The Switch was over.
--> Time taken: 7 (a bit less actually but rounding makes addition easier so shush)
--> Time it SEEMED like it took: 12:23 (no addition here so more accurate figures)
--> Total time: 12:00

Supposedly, there are daily flights from Kuala Lumpur (all the cool people call it KL so from hereon that's how we'll refer to it) to Tokyo at 11:00 (AM)... except on weekends yay! And as by then it was already 6:00 AM Saturday, the next flight was at 23:00. This meant I had... 17 hours in KL! Awesome. The good thing is that there are faaaaar worse airports to be stuck in for 17 hours. KL airport is just awesome. Walked around duty free area for an hour or so lugging around the baklava and arak I bought from Beirut duty free (more on that later) until I reached the airport hotel. The cheapest room goes for about 50$ for 6 hours. But it was fully booked. They told me to come back at 10:00. But by that time I had found... the movie lounge!
Right next to Starbucks (not that I buy anything there but for those that do it's cool), the movie lounge is a bunch of couches around 4 TV screens, where there are plugs and free internet (there's actually free WiFi everywhere). There was Good Luck Chuck on (or a censored version of it at least hehe didn't watch so donno). I took over a couch and one 4th season of How Ah Met Yo Mama and two meals later, it was already boarding time.
--> Time taken: 17:00
--> Total time: 29:00

Final stretch of the journey. Lots of Japanese people (the best people to be in large groups with, as opposed to Mediterranean people...). Lucky as I am, I had an empty seat next to me in all 3 flights that day(s). And there was a very nice Saudi family behind me. The father works in Japan so they all live there. Good choice imo. Slept most of the flight.
--> Time taken: 7:00 (also 6:45ish but rounding up again)
--> Total time: 36:00 ish

That's ofc without the hour and a half+ it took to get to Beirut airport in taxi, the 50 minutes or so it took from Narita to Zoya's using the skyliner train. COOL ASS TRAIN! And what's even cooler? Me not getting lost! Oh yeah! Then there's the 40 minutes to get to Haneda and hour and a half from there to New Chitose airport, then the 40-minute train ride to Sapporo station, and finally the 25-minute walk home. Usually takes 15, but I underestimated lugging my luggage in the snow! Mountains of snow you have to navigate around! Next time I'm taking a taxi...

Before the long walk though, as I came out of the station, there was a group of volunteers raising awareness for... something... I think it was related to the police coz there was a big mascot in police clothes? But I still have no clue what the sweet old lady told me.
She walked up to me and was like: bla bla bla bla bla. Kyoo wa (today is) bla bla bla bla bla.
Me: soo des ka (is that so)...
Sweet old lady (with a shine in her eyes that not only did this foreigner understand what she just said, but he also seems interested): blablablablablablablablablabla. Kyoosekete kudasai (please take care).
Me: hai! Wakarimashita (OK! Understood).
She gives me some fliers and free tissue (for the people that always have a runny nose, allergies, or are just cheap, Japan is an awesome place for you! Everyone gives out free portable packs of tissue with ads on them!) and sent me on my way. When I attempt to read the fliers and have an idea what the hell that was all about, I'll let youz know :)

Finally back home, I open the door, (and this is why Mules (that's Nadim) and I always vie for the leadership of the Mules club) and am pleasantly surprised by the warmth of my place... until I realize it's because I forgot the heating on... two weeks ago... nice big fat gas bill incoming :( Opened the tap, and the water came out nice and... brown hehe. Good thing I switched to mineral water after starting to smell metal in the tap water lol. Took the obento (lunch box) I bought from the combini (convenience store) and went to sit down and eat, and bumped my elbow on the stupid handle on the side of the bed. And down went the chicken and noodles face first onto the carpet... sigh. First signs of frustration arose then! Dirtiness will not be tolerated! And I was hungry... Now being a scout for 20 years, grabbing what I could with my hands and putting that back in the lunch box for eating later was not problem. It's the cleaning that was a pain, especially since cleaning delayed the aforementioned eating!! Did I mention I was hungry? Did I mention I'm hungry now?