Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Starbucks' new lunch sandwiches + 2 new Frappuccino beverages

Starbucks Philippines is whipping up something new for its 2011 menu, and this will surely have their patrons salivating.

Beginning August 9, it will launch 7 new Hot Lunch Sandwiches and 2 Frappuccino blended beverages in all Starbucks stores. Made with high-quality ingredients, the latest in its menu promises to be oh-so delicious, you'll be having a hard time picking which one is your favorite among them.

Among the 7 sandwiches, 4 of them will be available in all Starbucks stores around the country. They are:
Ultimate Grilled Cheese
The Beef Brisket
Roasted Vegetables on Flat Bread (left)

Roasted Chicken Pesto and Shiitake Mushroom on Flat Bread
Two of them will be available in all Starbucks branches except in Baguio, Naga, Boracay, Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo, CDO and Davao:
The Clubhouse
Tuna Waldorf on Raisin Walnut Bread
And this yummy lunch sandwich can be bought only in Baguio, Naga, Boracay, Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo, CDO and Davao:
Tuna Melt on Rye Bread
And while the sandwich line says "lunch," they're actually available the whole day.

Not only is Starbucks offering new foodstuff, they're also launching 2 new blended beverages on August 9:

Don't they sound delicious?

But that's not all: they're also releasing a special limited edition dessert called the Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cheesecake. Take a look:
The decadent Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cheesecake
And speaking of limited, Starbucks Philippines is also offering a special promo on August 15 and 16, 2011. Get Php50.00 off on any of their lunch sandwiches when you purchase one plus a Starbucks handcrafted beverage (hot or cold, and not the bottled ones). This can be availed on all Starbucks branches on the said dates only.

Hungry now? I am, too. Can't wait until August 9 when Starbucks makes them all available. By then, I'll surely be rushing into the nearest branch.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2: It does all end here

"It all ends here." How apt is this statement to describe the second part of the final Harry Potter movie.

The film starts where part 1 of the Deathly Hallows left off: Voldemort opening the tomb of Albus Dumbledore and finally getting hold of the Elder Wand.

In the next scenes, we see Harry, Ron, and Hermione destroying the rest of the Horcruxes, and the big fight of good vs. evil with Hogwarts as the battleground. Within almost 2.5 hours, a mix of awe, excitement, sadness, and happiness is felt inside the cinema. And as the final shot of the movie's big 3 disappears as the credits roll, I found myself smiling with contentment.

The movie gave the book justice, as it tied all loose ends just as JK Rowling did in the book. While some back stories were omitted, I was happy that Snape's story was detailed here (this is one of my favorite chapters in the whole series). For those who haven't read the book, let me give you a hint: a really big twist.

I felt, though, that the "19 years after" should have been lengthened, but maybe the director thought that it wasn't really essential to have all that dialogue. But I'm so glad of how they did the battle in Hogwarts. That was so cool.

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson shine as they did in the past movies (would've wanted a longer Ron-Hermione kiss, hehe!). Ralph Fiennes is really fine (!) as the main antagonist Voldemort. Maggie Smith gave audiences a glimpse of McGonagall's "cool" side. And Alan Rickman is simply wonderful, giving justice to the multi-layered character of Severus Snape.

But if there was one person who stole the show, it would be Matthew Lewis, who plays Neville Longbottom.Who knew that he'd grow up to be so handsome? :)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 is really worth watching, whether in 2D or 3D (doesn't really make much of a difference). The superb storytelling is enough to keep you engaged.

"It all ends." Yes, it does. The movie gives audiences a sort of closure, a memory that would elicit a smile on your face when you recall it afterwards.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Google+: The next big social networking site?

Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, and then comes Google+. Is it the next social networking site to be in?

Late June of this year, Google made a soft run/ soft launch of Google+ wherein only selected users were invited to try out the site. From the looks of it, it's the leading search engine's answer to Facebook.

I fortunately got invited by a friend of mine who was invited to be part of the Google+ testing. Looking at it at face value, you'll see it's like Facebook during its infancy and growth stage.

My Google+ dashboard. Some names and photos were blurred for security purposes.
Very streamlined, without much going on. You'll see a timeline of posts from your Circle (more on that later), suggested friends, chat and Hangout options (more on that, too), and some others.

So what does Google+ have? As you explore your Home page (dashboard), you'll also find these:

Circles - basically your friends, acquaintances, family, colleagues, etc. This section allows you to group your friends in certain categories (you can actually put one friend in more than one Circle). It's Google+'s helpful tool for sharing what you post here. Since your friends are grouped in different Circles, you have total control of sharing and privacy. When you post a status in your dash, you can choose to make it public (visible to everyone even outside your Circle) or choose the Circles whom you want to share your post.

Hangouts - where you can not only chat with friends, but also share videos and other media with them, even while on webcam. Haven't tried it, though.

Sparks - a list of what interests you. On the Sparks page, just enter your interest and Google will list down a search of feeds related to it. And once you added an interest in Sparks, you'll automatically get related feeds.

What's interesting to know also about Google+ is that it seems to consolidate all other info related to your Google account: mail, photos, documents, calendar, Buzz, and soon enough blogs (on Blogger, most probably). I think Google is working on bringing all Google products together here and they'll all be accessible from just one's Google+ account.

So will Google+ be bigger than Facebook? As of now, Facebook seems to be ahead of the social networking game. But who knows? Google works fast and probably in a flash, or once it has games and entertainment apps on the site, Google+ might give Mark Zuckerberg a run for his money.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blogger and Picasa to be renamed, not completely axed

The news from Huffington Post made me worry at first, because of its headline, but after reading the news and the Mashable article, I heaved a sigh of relief.

Just to be clear, Google is not removing or terminating Blogger and Picasa. Rather it's going to rename them into Google Blogs and Google Photos, respectively, to be in line with all the other Google products once Google+ will be open to the public.

Methinks that this effort means that Google plans that Blogger and Picasa (or what is soon to be the former Google Blogs and Google Photos) will be integrated into Google+, something similar to the pre-2011 Friendster wherein users can access blogs and photos from their page.

I just don't know if, by the time they get rebranded, blogs using the "blogspot.com" will retain their URLs or will be redirected to another.

Let's see where this will go. Mashable says that the rebranding may happen on or before July 31, when Google+ is officially launched, so we'll have to wait for a bit for any new announcement.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Extra Excitement in your McDonald's Meal with the New Coca-Cola Can Glass Series!

Last time, it was those sexy colored Coca-Cola glasses that you collected. Now McDonald's is giving its loyal patrons a chance to once again grab hold of these beautiful glasses -- and this time they come in a whole new different look!

Presenting: the limited edition Coca-Cola can glasses from McDonald's!

Beginning July 2, you'll be able to get hold of these glasses by just adding Php25 to your McDonald's Extra Value Meal. Collect all 6 -- Charcoal, Blue, Green, Pink, Violet, and Lime -- when you order via dine-in, take-out, drive-thru, or McDelivery.  But hurry, because they're only available while supplies last!

Dunno about you, but I'm surely gonna drop by McDonald's later and collect them all! :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon goes badass

For action buffs, this is a good thing.

But if you're looking for some depth of human emotion in the latest Transformer installment, be reminded that this is a Michael Bay film. You know, explosions everywhere, hard-core action -- those kinds of works. And yeah, circular panning shots and stand-up-and-look-to-the-horizon slo-mo shots.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon opens up another chapter of the battle between the noble Autobots and the menacing Decepticons here on Earth. In the third installment, we find the US government in a more deeper connection with these alien machines and Sam Witwicky struggling from hero to unemployed. Basically it's revealed that the NASA mission in the 1960s was to covertly investigate a moon crash landing, which happened to be a ship from Cybertron. The Autobots, wanting to get to the ship before Megatron and his cohorts do, fly to the moon and find Sentinel Prime, Optimus' teacher, in the Ark. After Sentinel is revived by Optimus' leadership matrix here on Earth, he searches for his inventions, the pillars that can open a portal that will affect the time-space continuum. Having only 5 out of hundreds, Sentinel tells the Autobots that he needs to get to the pillars before it falls into the wrong hands.

On the other hand, Sam does his own investigation. Upon learning that those involved in the covert moon crash project have been disappearing or getting killed, he, with the help of former CIA agent Simmons, discover that Sentinel Prime has been used as a bait so that the Decepticons can invade Earth.

The deception does not stop there, as we learn a bigger traitor (or staunch loyalist?) through the course of the movie. Who it is I will not say, but this I can tell you: learning who this "traitor" will lead you to the next -- and the most action-packed -- half of the movie.

Like I said a while ago, expect loads of blasts, fires, and action sequences (and of course CGI) in this movie. Also see how Optimus Prime, er, transforms into a hardened soldier by the end of the film, and how Megatron is left in the sidelines and then gets some "ego boost" from a human -- a female human at that.

One thing to watch out, too, is the some kinda joke in the first part of the film wherein 2 of the smaller Transformers were watching a scene from Star Trek.

So was it worth the watch? If you liked the first 2 Transformers movies, then this will probably one not to miss, too. If you're the type who salivates while these robots shift to vehicle mode with that eee-oo-eee-oo sound, go ahead and enter the cinemas. Just don't expect some family drama (since the Witwicky parents only had a short amount of screen time) or comedy (has even less that the last one).

Is it worthy to check out on 3D? If you're all for the popcorn and drinks, and if you're a hard-core Transformers fan, I say the Php 300 may be well worth it since the whole movie is in 3D format. But I don't think it makes much difference if you watch it in 2D.

Albeit its abrupt ending that didn't give me a sense of closure (except for Simmons and CIA agent Mearing's attraction to each other), Transformers: Dark of the Moon is one movie worth watching. Suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the show. And always keep in mind that this is a Michael Bay film. The heck what the critics say.