The Reveal

The room was a wreck.  Mismatched furniture.  Faded paint.  Ugly light fixtures.  Knick-knacks crammed intro crowded spaces.  The homeowners tried to make some improvements, but the room kept getting worse.

Thus begins a home-improvement TV program.  After interviewing the owners, the designer draws a plan to maximize the room’s potential.  Program producers create suspense by building up to a moment referred to as “the reveal.”  Viewers watch the progress and ooh and aah with the homeowners when they see the new room.

Over time, the world has become like a neglected room.  People bring in things that don’t belong.  They arrange priorities in ways that hinder potential.  Lives become dull, overcrowded, and ineffective.  Self-improvement projects offer little help.

The Bible is God’s plan that shows the best way to live.  God builds suspense throughout the Old Testament.  Then, at the appointed time, comes the great reveal–Jesus!  Upon seeing Him, Simeon exclaimed, “My eyes have seen Your salvation. . . , a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel” (Luke 2:30-32)

We become part of God’s great “reveal” when we follow His design and Christ’s example.

— Julie Ackerman Link

(Source: Our Daily Bread)

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R-Patz, YOU’RE DEAD!

R-Patz, YOU'RE DEAD!

Run for your immortal life Edward!
[Photo Courtesy of IGN.COM]

Ed Sheeran – Drunk (Official Music Video)

In connection to my previous Album Review, here’s Ed Sheeran with his latest single/Music Video Drunk. No animals were harmed during the filming of this video. Enjoy!

Album Review: Ed Sheeran +


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In the era where White Guys With Guitars (known as WGWG) are making waves (well, not really, just in this popular TV show called American Idol), here comes a British guy with not just a guitar, but with a distinct voice.  He goes by the name of Ed Sheeran.  He is absolutely on the rise to super-stardom as he already won two Brit Awards!  That’s pretty amazing.  Let’s check his tracks:

  1. A-TEAM  – Nice way to jump-start the whole promising album.  His voice is promising and pleasing to the ears.  The melody is catchy that gives listeners a preview of what’s in store come next tracks.   The vibe of the song seems like a fusion of Jason Mraz and John Mayer.
  2. DRUNK – One of his current singles.  I personally love this track.  It shows his quirky, witty writing skills
  3. U.N.I. – The guitar background sounded like a Bieber track! Haha!  The songs showcases a bit of his rapping skills ala Mraz.  I can hear this as a background song for a TV show or something.
  4. GRADE 8 – It started off with a nice drum beat to cue in more of Sheeran’s rapping skills.  Very nice track.
  5. WAKE ME UP – It sounded like he did this through one of his live shows, like an impromptu thing.  I cringed a little when he sang something about Shrek and BluRays.
  6. SMALL BUMP – Another personal favorite of mine.  I really love this song!  I like the cool vibe of the melody.
  7. THIS – Ok here it is: I just fell in love with this track the moment I heard it.  The song is so heartfelt and emotional.  Definitely the I-would-sing-in-front-of-the-woman-I will-marry kinda song.
  8. THE CITY – Another upbeat track. Just OK for me.  Sounded a bit cheesy and boring.
  9. LEGO HOUSE – Definitely one of Ed Sheeran’s best and biggest tracks in the album.  I absolutely love this song.  One of my favorite summer songs.  The best part of this song is the hook efore the chorus. #OnRepeatMode
  10. YOU NEED ME, I DON’T NEED YOU – This song sounded so much like a Jason Mraz track.  He sounded like a Jason Mraz copycat.  The pop-flavored track is catchy though.
  11. KISS ME – Another powerful ballad that engages the listeners to feel how beautiful Ed Sheeran sounds.  He hits the notes perfectly and beautifully, a bit rough around the edges, but I absolutely have no problems about it.  You can feel his intensity and real emotions coming out of this particular song.
  12. GIVE ME LOVE – The final track of the album.  You could actually hear this song in a Victoria’s Secret Commercial (FYI).  Ed Sheeran delivers yet another powerful song that ended up with a lovely backup vocals.  Wonderfully written. Soulful. Nice one to end a very promising debut album.

Side Note: The Deluxe Edition features additional tracks.

Final Thoughts: I really like this album.  Ed Sheeran is extremely talented and gifted with fantastic writing skills.

Songs to be put on your Playlist: Lego House, This, Small Bump, Drunk, Kiss Me

Grab this album if you like: Jason Mraz, James Morrison, John Mayer, James Blunt, Paolo Nutini.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Movie Review: ROCK OF AGES

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From the same guy who gave you The Pacifier, Bedtime Stories, and Cheaper By the Dozen 2, Adam Shankman offers you Rock Of Ages. ‘Nuff said.  I had the urge to end the movie review right there but hey, he is also the director of such modern classics as A Walk To Remember and Hairspray, so let’s move on.

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David James/Warner Brothers Pictures
Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta in “Rock of Ages.”

Rock Of Ages tells the story of a small town girl Sherrie and a city boy Drew (cue in that Journey song Don’t Stop Believing), who meet on the Sunset Strip while pursuing their Hollywood dreams.  Their rock ‘n roll romance is told through the heart-pounding hits of Def Leppard, Joan Jett, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Night Ranger, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, Whitesnake, and more. (Warner Bros.)

The musical premiered in 2005 on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles then it was moved to Broadway in 2009.

For a theater musical, everything should be done in a grand way, that the actors should “over-act” in order to transcend the exact feelings and emotions to the live audience–like serving milk in full glass.  It’s acceptable to be O.A. on theater.  However in movies, you do not have to always overdo things.  As for Rock Of Ages, the milk is OVERFLOWING, more like a champagne tower.

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David James/Warner Brothers Pictures
Catherine Zeta-Jones, foreground, as a crusading political wife in a scene from the movie, set on the Sunset Strip.

Personally, the song sequences were too choreographed (and poorly at that), that the backup dancers were somehow fighting for the spotlight, while the main actors stood there, looking dull, while doing steps that are too rehearsed.  The songs that were originally sung cheesy, becomes cheesier, resulting to a massive mockery of the classic rock tunes, as well as the whole Rock ‘N Roll Era. 4 Cheese Pizza topped with Parmesan Cheese, Cheeze Wiz, and Cheese Curls, anyone?


Hey don’t get me wrong.  On the brighter side, Tom Cruise clearly and undeniably stole the show as the ROCK GOD Stacie Jaxx.

If you love Classic Rock Anthems then you’re in for a treat.  I would consider this movie as the guiltiest of all guilty pleasures.  Just enjoy the movie and the music.  That’s all.

3.0 out of 5

Now I Know (From Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul)

Now I Know

by Blake Lewis

     Okay, I’ve got a big confession to make: I knew practically nothing about American Idol before I auditioned.  I didn’t know millions tuned in each week.  I didn’t know  they had theme nights and celebrity mentors and guest judges.  I didn’t even know who had won when or who won what.

     I just didn’t know.

     I didn’t know about the night the three divas — Jennifer, Fantasia, and LaToya–were in the Bottom 3, or about Constantine’s rebellious rock.  I didn’t know Carrie Underwood grew up on a farm.  I would have totally come in last place in an Idol trivia game.

     Honestly, I had never even seen a full episode before I auditioned.

     Oh, I’d caught a performance or two as I walked by the TV at a friend’s house.  I remember watching Elliott Yamin.  He had that neo-soul sound I love.  He knew who he was as a vocalist.  I liked him a lot.

     Other than that, I didn’t have a perception about American Idol one way or the other.  Well, maybe I did–I thought it was a bit cheesy.  But hey, I didn’t know

     My friend Josh called me the night before the auditions hit Seattle.  “Hey!  The American Idol auditions are tomorrow.  You have to come!”

     I thought it over a bit and asked myself, Why not?  After all, I had the same chance as anybody else.  I had nothing to lose.  I had just quit my job doing construction to focus on music full-time and was living with my family again.  I told myself, If you make it, you make it.  If you don’t, you don’t.

     There was only one problem–I missed the registration.  I was a bit disappointed, but later that night I was playing a show at the Triple Door in Seattle, and Josh called me again.

     “Hey, I just went to Key Arena and registered for American Idol.  You can go there right now.  There’s no one in line,” he said.  “It will take you two second and then tomorrow morning I’ll pick you up at five, we’ll make some sandwiches, and we’ll go audition.”

     I didn’t realize it was a conversation that would change my life forever.

     The next few months were pretty much a blur.  They were so full, so exciting, so packed that the details get all mashed together in my mind.  I did some beat-boxing–that I know–and I did a lot of singing.  I met some of my biggest inspirations, which was awesome.

     It was cool to sing with Rudy Cardenas again.  We’d been in two different Seattle-based a cappella groups–Kickshaw was mine and M-Pact was his.  Rudy was the friend I could trust, the friend I confided in.  My low point hit when he got cut from the Top 24.

   I had a great time writing a song with Chris Sligh and playing guitar with my man Chris Richardson.  But even when it was down to the top 10, I still didn’t really understand what the American Idol experience meant, outside of the little bubble we lived in as contestants day and night.

     Then I made it into the Top 3, and flew back to Seattle to film the homecoming piece of the show.  When I landed at Boeing Field, I started to get it.  That’s when I finally began to understand. To know.

     Everywhere I went, there were hordes of people.  Westlake Center was packed, people filled the plaza.  Seeing all of those faces, those fans, those friends–all those who came to see me, to appreciate my art–that was really tight.  And my mom and dad were there, of course.

     I was getting it.

     I met Pat Monahan of Train.  I beat-boxed with Sir Mix-A-Lot.  We hit all the FOX affiliates for TV interviews and went to four different radio stations.  I had a house party with seventy friends.  It was all incredible and overwhelming.

     On the return flight, I sat and thought about it all.  You see, I put myself and my goals out there to the universe all the time.  I believe that things happen for a reason, and if you project yourself in a positive way and just be true to yourself, then good things will come back to you.

     Just hold on and stay true, even through times of struggle.  Never stop imagining, wishing, and planning.  Someday those wishes will start to take shape.  It’s amazing. It works.  For me, American Idol was absolute proof, validating that it can happen to anyone.

     Trust me; I know.

     Now I really, really know.

Les Miserables – Official Trailer

I just got goosebumps simply by watching this trailer. I think Anne Hathaway delivers. Oscars buzz? Let’s see! Can’t wait!

Forbes.com Reveals The Highest Paid Actress For 2012

This year’s list of Forbes’ Top 10 of Highest Paid Actress is in!  And the actress who came in first is someone who has been criticized for her underwhelming acting.  Here’s an excerpt from the news posted by Dorothy Pomerantz of Forbes.com:

Studios are notoriously stingy when it comes to paying young actors for the first film in a planned franchise. Forget about the $10 million they would have had to shell out to get a big name — an up-and-comer is lucky to get $800,000.

That changes dramatically when it comes to the third and fourth films in a series. Suddenly, the star becomes indispensable and the studio has to pay up. That’s whyKristen Stewart has vaulted to the top of our annual list of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood.

At this point, could anyone else play Bella Swan inTwilight? Probably not; if the studio tried to switch in another actress, fans would revolt. So for the last twoTwilight films, Stewart has been able to demand an estimated $12.5 million per film, plus a share of the profits.

Her two co-stars, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, get paid the same, but Stewart earned more than them this year because of Snow White and the Huntsman. Stewart’s earnings between May 2011 and May 2012 totaled $34.5 million, helping her rank 43rd on our Celebrity 100 list. (The list measures a combination of money and fame.)

At 22, Stewart is the youngest woman on our list by 16 years. The next youngest is Kristen Wiig who is 38. Last year Stewart ranked 5th on our list of the Highest-Paid Actresses tied with Julia Roberts. This year Roberts ranked 6th.

Women are still paid less than men in the movie business. The 10 actresses who make up our list earned a total $200 million compared to the $361 million brought in by our top 10 men.

Source:http://www.forbes.com/sites/dorothypomerantz/2012/06/19/kristen-stewart-tops-our-list-of-highest-paid-actresses/

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Source: Enzo Fornino/LFI/Newscom

With the cult-like success of the Twilight Saga (with Snow White And The Huntsman on the side), Kristen Stewart is at the top of the list!  And she has not shown any improvement in her acting!  It goes to show that superior acting prowess can get you somewhere (Oscars, Golden Globes, etc. ), but choosing the best roles, or to be a part of a MAJOR movie franchise (and of course with a bit of luck) can make you the highest paid actress.  Here’s the rest of the list:

Forbes’ Highest Paid Top 10 Actresses For 2012

  • 1. Kristen Stewart, $34.5 million
  • 2. Cameron Diaz, $34 million
  • 3. Sandra Bullock, $25 million
  • 4. Angelina Jolie, $20 million
  • 5. Charlize Theron, $18 million
  • 6. Julia Roberts, $16 million
  • 7. Sarah Jessica Parker, $15 million
  • 8. Meryl Streep, $12 million
  • 9. Kristen Wiig, $12 million
  • 10. Jennifer Aniston, $11 million

Final thoughts: What more if Kristen Stewart can REALLY ACT?  Peace to all die-hard fans.

Happiness!

  • Do you listen to Classical Music?

               – nope

 

  • Can you touch your nose with your tongue?

               – I can’t

 

  • When you think of applesauce, what comes to you mind?

               – American Pie? Haha!

 

  • Black Ink or Blue Ink?

               – Black

 

  • Do you like chicken?

               – Oh yeah!

 

  • Is your mouse wireless?

               – yup.

 

  • Do you wear sunglasses?

               – I’m not a fan of it.

 

  • Have you ever tried dog or cat food of any kind?

               – no!

 

  • Milk or Dark Chocolate?

               – Milk.  I just couldn’t stand the taste of Dark chocolate.  Chocolates for me are made to taste sweet, not bitter. =P

 

  • What color is your towel?

               – yellowish…prolly because it’s dirty already…im kiddin.

 

  • Milk shake or Smoothie?

               – Smoothie.

 

  • Do you like to drink water?

               – Of course.

 

  • What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done?

               – i cant think of any.

 

  • Pork chop or Chicken?

               – Chicken

 

  • Day or night?

               – Day

 

  • Have you read “I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I Have To Kill You” by Ally Carter?

               – I’m not a bookworm so NO.

 

  • Are you a fan of bubbles?

               – not really.

 

  • What number is this question?

               – Shox I dunno! 18?

 

  • Did you answer the last question right?

               – I dunno! Haha!

 

  • When you see the color yellow, what comes to your mind?

               – Happiness! =)

 

If you have any questions or surveys that I could kill time and answer, feel free to send them to franco_buendia@yahoo.com

Windows Surface Video Reveal

Wow.

Steve Ballmer has just officially announced Microsoft’s own tablet called, Surface, gearing up take Microsoft and Windows 8 in a Mexican standoff with the iPad and Android.

What do you guys think? Can Microsoft go head to head with Apple products? Sound off below.

Windows Surface Video Reveal.

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