Friday, October 27, 2017

Stranger Things: Episode 17

17. The Gate
An impromptu reunion unfolds at casa Byers. "Close gate" starts to make sense, with Joyce asking Eleven if she can close the portal she herself has opened. But killing the mind means killing the body, which happens to be Will. Joyce, Nancy, and Jonathan bring him to Hopper's cabin to "burn" the shadow monster out of him while Elle and Hopper head to the laboratory. Steve and the rest drive to the tunnel entrance to locate the hub, which they incinerate. The shadow monster finds the heat hard to bear and finally leaves Will's body, just as Eleven and Hopper reach the gate. Summoning all of her strength, she forces the otherworldly portal to close, hopefully for good. Owens survives and gives Hopper Eleven's adoption papers, while she is left under observation for at least a year. They allow her to have a night off to attend the school's Snow Ball. As the kids dance the night away, a quick glance of the Upside Down shows that the shadow monster is alive and well, looming over the school.

Stranger Things: Episode 16

16. The Mind Flayer
As the lab is attacked and its personnel are devoured one by one by the monstrous creatures of the Upside Down, Mike convinces Joyce that Will has been taken over by the shadow monster. They put him to sleep with a sedative shot and evacuate with Hopper and Owens to a locked room before the main power is cut off, leaving them trapped. Bob volunteers to reboot the routers. Nancy and Jonathan arrive at the gates of the lab just as Steve and the kids do after fleeing the abandoned garage. Bob reinitiates the mainframe and almost makes it out alive but is killed by one of the monsters right in front of Joyce. They all flee the scene leaving Bob's corpse and Owens, who is still trapped. They rendezvous at casa Byers waiting for their next move. The kids figure out that hurting the shadow monster possessing Will could mean affecting the whole super organism connected to it. Distracting it, Will sends them a message via Morse code. As they await the next attack, Eleven arrives just in time to rescue them.

Stranger Things: Episode 15

15. The Lost Sister
Tapping into her mother's visions, Eleven runs away to Chicago this time to find her "sister". Kali AKA "008" (Linnea Berthelsen) can create and manipulate illusions, and has spent much of her teenage years rounding up the people of Hawkins Lab for revenge while orchestrating petty crimes on the side with her gang of outcasts. She becomes Eleven's coach to better control her telekinetic powers and convinces her to join them in their cause. Tracking one of the men she saw in her mother's visions, Eleven comes close to killing him, but backs out last minute when she sees his children. The man claims that Brenner is still alive and that he can bring them to him, but police interruption has left this option unexplorable for the time being. Contemplating on the true meaning of family and friendship, Eleven decides to travel back to Hawkins after seeing a vision of Hopper and Mike in trouble at the laboratory, leaving her long lost sister in her life of crime and hiding.

Stranger Things: Episode 14

14. The Spy
Hopper and Will are rushed back to the lab where the former gets a thorough scrubbing while the latter is sedated and ends up suffering from some sort of selective amnesia. The lab people dismiss Will as a lost cause and suggest that they start torching the lair they just found. Will tells them that he knows a way to defeat the shadow monster, convincing Owens to send his team to a certain location in the lair that holds the answer. Dustin enlists Steve's help to get rid of his pet but they find out that it has escaped from the bunker after shedding its skin, meaning it just grew in size once again. Lucas and Maxine rendezvous with them at the old junkyard where they set up a trap. They are in for a surprise when the bait does not attract just one but rather three of the monsters they are anticipating. As they get trapped in an abandoned bus, the creatures retreat to their lair where they attack the lab team who were apparently led into a trap by the entity in possession of Will's body. Their next stop? The lab.

Stranger Things: Episode 13

13. Dig Dug
Nancy and Jonathan spend a night in a motel en route to wherever it is they are going to reveal their town's little secret. They contemplate on the status of their non-relationship. Dustin tries to get rid of his pet but only manages to lock it down their bunker for the time being. Eleven runs away from home to find her mother. She communicates with her the best way she knows how and ends up getting glimpses of what really happened the day she was born. Lucas tells Max everything that she needs to know about last year's events but she shrugs it off as one big lie. Will gets a premonition of Hopper's current situation and location. With the help of Bob, they figure out that his sketches are not a puzzle, but rather a map of Hawkins. They eventually locate the tunnel and Hopper, just in time before he gets consumed by the vines. The Hawkins Lab people also arrive with enough fire power to fight the enemy, but burning it proves to have an adverse effect on Will as well, who drops to the ground and starts shaking wildly.

Stranger Things: Episode 12

12. Will the Wise
Joyce arrives in time to see Will have another episode, but the shadow bonds with him completely by the time he snaps out of it. Eleven comes back home to a fuming Hopper after seeing Mike with Max at school and telekinetically tripping her on her skateboard. Grounded, she finds a box of files from Hawkins' Lab containing a dossier on Terry Ives, her mother. Nancy and Jonathan head over to meet Barbs' parents but realize that it's a trap. They are detained at the laboratory where Paul Reiser (Sam Owens), Brenner's replacement, explains how the organization is now reformed and shows them what exactly they are facing. Dustin keeps his pet from the Upside Down in his house and in secret as his friends continue to search for it. It grows bigger and bigger in a span of a few days and starts to resemble the monster that Eleven killed. What Will can't express in words regarding his psychic connection with the shadow, he draws, leading to Hopper's discovery of a huge tunnel underneath the dead pumpkins.

Stranger Things: Episode 11

11. The Pollywog
Eleven gets more and more impatient as the days pass by, but is still forbidden by Hopper to see Mike because it's "not yet safe." Dustin finds what he thought was a Pollywog in the trash can and adopts it before getting on full research mode as to what it really is. Showing it to the gang, it gets recognized by Will as the slug from the Upside Down that he vomited a year ago. Max, who is now part of the gang, asks Lucas about what happened to Will. Steve gives Nancy the cold treatment post-hangover. Hopper traces the cause of the dead plants and crops back to the laboratory where Will gets his therapy sessions. Joyce watches the tape recording from trick-or-treat night and sees the static white noise take the form of the monster on Will's sketch. Will gets some advice from his mom's boyfriend Bob (Sean Astin) on standing up to his demons so as to stop them from haunting him. When he gets transported to the Upside Down, he faces the monster, but it starts to bond with him.

Stranger Things: Episode 10

10. Trick or Treat, Freak
Eleven wakes up in the Upside Down, sees an alien portal, and destroys it before emerging on the other side. She runs over to Mike's but sees Brenner's group there. Scared, she hides in the woods. Fast forward to 1984, she asks Hopper if she can go out in disguise for Trick or Treat. He says no. The boys go to school in Ghostbusters costumes, only to find out that only they dressed up for Halloween this year. Joyce is worried about a sketch she finds in Will's room, that of the giant monster from the Upside Down. Max is terrorized by her older brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery) who blames her for their transfer to Indiana. Hopper investigates an ongoing pumpkin catastrophe which he thinks might be connected to the Upside Down. Jonathan lets Will go trick or treating on his own and heads over to a Halloween Party. As Mike rescues Will from one of his episodes, he admits how he misses Eleven and how he thinks she's still around. Dustin goes home and finds something strange wriggling in the trash bin.

Stranger Things: Episode 9

Pittsburgh, 1984. A group of juvenile delinquents rob a house during Halloween. A car chase with the police ends in a tunnel where one of them makes the structure collapse with her mind. Will and his friends go to the arcade one night and are curious to know who MADMAX is, breaking the top scores in all the games there. They speculate that it might be Maxine (Sadie Sink), their new skater girl classmate who just moved in from California. Will gets a flash and is briefly transported back to the Upside Down. He is taken to regular counseling sessions at a laboratory, but his episodes are dismissed as post-traumatic stress. The doctor is revealed to be part of the same organization Brenner belonged to, the same one still investigating the Upside Down. Nancy and Steve visit Barbs' family and have dinner with them. She is still racked with guilt about what happened to her friend. Hopper drives through the forest and makes it back to his wooden house for dinner, castigated by Eleven for being late.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok

Odin's (Anthony Hopkins) departure for Valhalla marks the return of Hela (Cate Blanchett), the Goddess of Death who also happens to be his firstborn. Banished from the realm with all traces of her existence eradicated, she is back with a vengeance to seize her birthright. Overwhelmed by a much more powerful sister they never knew, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) find themselves in a precarious position that seemingly has no solution. Trapped in Sakaar as one of the Grandmaster's (Jeff Goldblum) gladiators, the God of Thunder must battle the reigning champion without the help of his hammer. That fighter is none other than the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), who has been missing in action since the aftermath of Ultron. Convincing a fallen Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) turned bounty hunter to fight for his cause, Odin's son assembles a formidable team to rescue Asgard not just from the clutches of his evil sister, but also from the prophesized apocalypse referred to as Ragnarok. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

[MISSOURI] Budget and Itinerary

SATURDAY: 14 October 2017
Megabus (Chicago - St. Louis - Chicago) - 12.50

Saturday, October 14, 2017

[ST. LOUIS] No Gateway Arch for You

It's just that I don't think people really go to Missouri for sightseeing. Place "Tourism" and "United States" side by side, start mentioning states, and it'll probably take you a while to get to MO. People seem to go there either to study or visit friends. In my case, I am visiting a friend who is there to study, which satisfies the hypothesis. It wasn't an easy process, though, because it seems the universe wanted me to suffer for this decision for some reason. In the end, I was triumphant. Tired, but triumphant.

Friday, October 13, 2017

[ILLINOIS] Budget and Itinerary

WEDNESDAY: 11 October 2017
American Airlines (Washington DC - Chicago) - 66.20
Airbnb (3 Nights) - 81.00
Ventra (One-Way) - 5.00

Thursday, October 12, 2017

[CHICAGO] Cloud Gates and Skylines

Depression came back with a vengeance in Chicago for all the wrong reasons. It's been quite alarming lately, how the interval between my bouts of obsession eventually leading to depression is getting shorter and shorter. As you grow older you'd like to think that you are getting wiser and you understand your glitches and what makes them tick better. At the same time, I guess I'm just getting more hardheaded and bullish when it comes to pursuing what I want and clinging to it. Oh well.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

[WASHINGTON DC] Budget and Itinerary

MONDAY: 9 October 2017
Megabus (Philadelphia - Washington DC) - 5.00
Airbnb (2 Nights) - 50.00
Sbarro (NYC Combo) - 9.23
Fuel Pizza (Bacon Cheese Fries + Coke) - 7.57
Smartrip (Card + Load) - 16.90

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


The depression died down a bit when I reached the capital. I still maintained my new evening schedule, though. Washington DC is amazing after dark even if you have a shitty phone camera. Just taking a stroll is a worthwhile activity because there are a lot of parks and various places to explore. There is this two-mile stretch that they call that National Mall. Suffice it to say that most of the attractions you'll like to see are within this area. I can't imagine gallivanting out there in a sweltering afternoon, though.

Monday, October 9, 2017

[PENNSYLVANIA] Budget and Itinerary

SATURDAY: 7 October 2017
Megabus (New York - Philadelphia) - 12.00
Airbnb (2 Nights) - 65.00
SEPTA (One-Way) - 2.50
Wendy's (Son of Baconator Combo + Frosty) - 10.55
Dunkin Donuts (1 pc Donut w/Hash Browns & Water) - 3.85
Bike Shop/Moriarty's (Tequila Shot + Baileys) - 13.50
SEPTA (One-Way) - 2.50

Sunday, October 8, 2017

[PHILADELPHIA] A Philly Weekend Night Out

I was starting to get depressed and I dreaded the thought of spending the weekend in Philadelphia. The original plan was to check out the U Penn Museum. The first Egyptology course I took online was courtesy of this university and I really just wanted to see their collection with my own two eyes. But then again, without Broadway to rescue me from my mood swings, depression pounced as soon as Megabus parked somewhere in downtown Philly. It pounced. And then it devoured me whole.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

[NEW YORK] Budget and Itinerary (3)

SUNDAY: 1 October 2017
Wow Air (Reykjavik - New York) - 305.00
Airbnb (6 Nights) - 198.00
Newark Express (One-Way) - 17.00
MTA Card (Reload) - 40.00

[MANHATTAN] Broadway Barrage, Season 2

It was also October last year when I returned to New York to launch Broadway Barrage. The idea is to stay in Brooklyn for a week and do nothing other than catch a train to Manhattan every night to watch a Broadway show (two on Wednesdays) for five consecutive nights. It was totally a coincidence that a plan for season two this year came into being. From the looks of it, this seems to be the beginning of an annual tradition that I am so willing to keep, depending on finances and time constraints, of course.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Kinky Boots (Broadway)

Charlie Price (Stark Sands) is the reluctant heir of his family's four-generation-old shoe empire, but he has no intention of fulfilling that role. Running away to London with his girlfriend Nicola (Shannon O'Boyle), he is forced to return to Northampton following the sudden death of his father. Clueless on how to save the company from bankruptcy, he follows the advice of assembly line worker Lauren (Delaney Westfall) who suggests finding a niche market that can save them from closing down. One night he finds inspiration when he crosses paths with Lola (Billy Porter), a fierce and brutally frank drag queen headlining his own show in a London cabaret. Noticing that the boots they wear for the show can't possibly support a man's weight, Charlie heads back to the factory and gives his 100% in developing a line of kinky boots for men, even bringing Lola in as head designer. The move casts a doubt on his competence to lead and is met with ridicule from all sides. Will his efforts be enough to rescue the struggling family business?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Book of Mormon (Broadway)

Elder Price (Nic Rouleau) and Elder Cunningham (Brian Sears) are all set to spread the good news of their religion to the world. As they await the announcement of their destination, the former couldn't help but fantasize about the location he's always had in mind: Orlando. When they find out that they are being sent to Uganda, both of them put on a brave face and are sent off with a Lion King inspired farewell at the airport. But Africa is not what they thought it would be. Welcomed with skepticism and ridicule by the very people they will try to convert, the two find an ally in Nabulungi (Nikki Renée Daniels), the daughter of the village chief who dreams about a better future away from such wretched place. Faced with the real life challenges of AIDS and military violence hounding the people of the village, the duo must endure the hardships in order to fulfill their mission, but do they have enough stamina and faith to do so?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

War Paint (Broadway)

Manhattan, 1930's. Elizabeth Arden (Christine Ebersole) is informed by her husband/Marketing Chief Tommy Lewis (John Dossett) regarding her archrival Helena Rubinstein's (Patti LuPone) comeback in the New York cosmetics scene. Returning from Europe, she brings along the promise of scientifically-proven effective make-up as opposed to her competitor's products that are allegedly of inferior quality and heavily reliant on attractive pink packaging. When Helena's Marketing Director, Harry Fleming (Douglas Sills), complains about being undervalued in the company, he decides to defect and offer Arden not just his expertise, but also Rubinstein's trade secrets. Considering his wife's move as an act of emasculation for his ego, Lewis retaliates and allies with Rubinstein. As both women wage a war against each other for supremacy, they must also confront emerging industry challengers, as well as double standards and prejudice against powerful women in 1930's America. 

School of Rock (Broadway)

When Dewey (Conner John Gillooly) is kicked out from the band that he himself has formed, he refuses to take responsibility and moves in with his best friend Ned (Steven Booth), much to the chagrin of the latter’s girlfriend Patty (Becky Gulsvig) who calls him out for being the freeloader that he is. When Rosalie (Jenn Gambatese), the principal of elite school Horace Green, phones Ned’s residence for an urgent substitute teaching position, Dewey pretends to be his friend. Blinded by the weekly USD950 salary he can use to join the Battle of the Bands, he goes to class and tries to wing it, but sees actual potential in his students after hearing them play classical music. He then comes up with an even brighter idea: He will teach his students how to rock and recruit them to form his new band. But how far can he go with his game of make-believe before the parents eventually figure out what’s really going on?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Aladdin (Broadway)

With petty theft and small-time schemes up his sleeves, street rat Aladdin (Telly Leung) manages to survive every day in the streets of Agrabah. Locked up in her ivory tower and being coerced to marry a prince she barely knows, Princess Jasmine (Courtney Reed) would give everything to escape from her prison of luxury. When the two cross paths at a busy market, sparks begin to fly, but their difference in social status is a clear indicator that they can never be together. The Sultan’s vizier, Jafar (Dennis Stowe), is hungry for power and would do everything to grab it from the reigning monarch. When he finds out about a magic lamp, he taunts Aladdin to get it for him in the cave of wonders, where he frees a Genie (Major Attaway) who grants him three wishes, one of which is to become a prince so he can pursue the princess. But with a vengeful villain on the way, their happiness is just not guaranteed. Are three wishes enough to grant them a happy ever after?

Monday, October 2, 2017

Miss Saigon (Broadway)

SAIGON, 1975. A young and naïve Kim (Eva Noblezada) arrives in American-occupied Saigon to flee the Vietkong controlling the north. Clueless and in need to survive, she is taken in by the Engineer (Marcus Choi), a pimp cashing in on soldiers’ lust by providing them the women that they require. The newbie’s innocence catches a GI off-guard. Depressed and wanting no more than to go back home and leave the atrocities of war behind him, Chris (Alistair Brammer) is reluctant to fall in love, but finds in her the one thing real and beautiful in a nation ravaged by two conflicting ideologies. Love during times of regime change is always an exciting and inspiring story, but can they really have a happy ending when they are forced to live oceans apart?

Sunday, October 1, 2017

[GREENLAND] The Greenland Fly-By

I know what you’re thinking: “Oh great, he was in Greenland too.” Calm your tits, sarcastic hater. I HAVEN’T BEEN TO GREENLAND. It just so happened that Wow Air flew over the territory yesterday en route to New York. There’s really nothing much I could do about it, you know. The goddamn island was on the way. It was a six-hour flight and I was seated by the window when I suddenly saw white thingies that looked like clouds at first, but were definitely not. What could those be? Ice?

[SUÐURNES] Budget and Itinerary

FRIDAY: 29 September 2017
Icelandair (Zurich - Reykjavik) - 16,620.00

[GRINDAVIK] Sulphuric Skinny Dipping

Thinking of an Iceland layover? DO IT. Both Icelandair and Wow Air offer really cheap trans-Atlantic flights and the latter even gives you a few days of stopover in Reykjavik for free. Of course, booking earlier means getting cheaper tickets! What I like about the country is that the tours are very organized and even if you only have a day or two to spare, you are sure to find something that will easily fit in your schedule. I think the best one is a trip to the Blue Lagoon. Why? It’s so close to Keflavik International Airport!
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