Master Chef Romania

Who says that Romanians can’t make an entertaining show? Well, I did till now.

Johnny insisted on me watching Master Chef Romania. And if Johnny insists on something than it must be good.

This isn’t entirely a Romanian show because the original Master Chef was aired in UK (from 1990 till 2001). But for once the Romanians have taken a good show and kept it that way. They even kept the original logo but I’m guessing this is a must for every country that airs the show.

The three Romanian judges (The Chefs) are Florin Dumitrescu, Catalin Scarlatescu and Bontea Sorin.

The thing that really makes me like these judges is their ability to not give a crap about who you are, what you do, your personal problems, etc. They only care about the cooking abilities of each contestant.

This is really a big improvement taking in account another Romanian show Romanii Au Talent (Romanians Got Talent) where the judges only vote in the beginning but the public gets to vote the winner (usually people vote out of sympathy).

At first I was very surprised when I learned that Chef Florin is only 24 years old and I’m guessing a lot of people were. But it just proves that age means nothing if really want something. And apparently he really wanted to be a Chef.

Although many people like him because of his charismatic smile, my favorite chef is Catalin Scarlatescu. Between the 3 of them he is probably the best.

The other thing that I like about this show is the contestants. Of course everyone has a favorite and almost everyone hates a certain housewife, but I really do like how each of them bring something different.

A lot of my favorite contestants were eliminated but there are still 3 more in the show:

My all time favorite is Paslaru Simona.

She is probably the most calm person I ever seen on television. I really do hope she will win or at least be in the top 5. She deserves it and not just because I like her, but because she is a fast learner, knows how to respect others and is really a well rounded person.

Her cooking skills weren’t able to shine since other contestants had more skill and luck, but she is consistent in her cooking. In episode 10, she really wowed the judges when she entered the elimination round and was able to figure out 20 ingredients out of 40 from a soup. The other contestants made fun fun of her (in good spirits), telling her to take it easy or she would eat the entire soup and the others won’t have anything to taste.

Another contestant which I like is Nicolae “Mimi” Mariana.

To be honest she is a better cook than Simona and probably has a better chance of winning. She is also one of the good people on the show. She isn’t into gossip, being mean or other similar things. She is there to learn and with some luck win the competition.

At first I didn’t like her. She started crying on the show because of personal problems (her son was beat up and ended in the hospital) but she passed that phase and is constantly proving her worth. After all she got on the show with “Yes” from all the judges.

And last but not least is Petru Buiuca.

He is probably the most competitive of them all. He really wants the Master Chef title (can you blame a man for wanting 50k). But unlike certain people, he doesn’t cheat and he isn’t mean on purpose.

He knows who is a threat to him, who isn’t and he also respects others when they deserve it. He isn’t a two faced person, he likes to win on his own merit without sabotaging the others *cough* like a certain housewife*cough*.

Of course I have my least favorites on the show, but somehow I doubt any of them will end up winning. They did shine at first but on the way they lost that spark and now they have to struggle just  like the rest.

In conclusion, this is a good show. There are a lot of interesting things to be learned and you can’t watch an episode without eating something. Of course there’s the drama that goes on in the show because of certain people but in a way you can’t have a cooking show without adding some spice.

Socially awkward

3 weeks have passed since I lost my job and in this period of time I actually tried to put some order into my life.

And I did.

At first I was lost in space because I just had way to much free time on my hands but now it feels normal. I  don’t procrastinate all day long. No, I actually have time to study for my exams (which start this weekend), I get things done around the house, I have more time to go out with friends (and what a shock I had this weekend), I even had 5 interviews (but I went to 3 of them), read books, watch movies etc.

In general I am calmer.

That job, although I loved what I doing, was really bad for me. It just ruined my entire social life. All I did was work, go home and hang out with Johnny in my free time. And that’s how it was for 5 years.

I really am a workaholic.

This weekend, I went out with Johnny and his friends. I know his friends, we went out a few times before and I really enjoyed their company. But this weekend I realized that I am really out of touch with almost everyone around me (except Johnny).

I just sat there and listen to what they were talking. I just had no idea what to say. They were talking about Romanian celebrities, different TV shows, what kind of spa do they go to, what kind of treatments and creams they use for cellulite, what shops they visited, eventually they started talking about their jobs but it was only for a brief moment. And they just kept on like this the entire night.

And I just sat there, smiling from time to time. At one point, around midnight they aired Midsummer Murders on ProTV and for an hour or so I just watched the TV.

First of all, I was expecting not to relate to their beauty talk (fortunately enough I don’t have any cellulite, my skin is in good condition and besides my belly I am fit) since I am a tomboy, but I  wasn’t expecting not to be able to get a word in at all.

It’s funny and sad at the same time. Socially awkward, yup very much.

Now I know that to a certain degree I won’t be able to relate to most Romanians because truthfully I am an Otaku and I get all my info, entertainment, friends from the Internet but it would be such a waste of my wonderful personality if I don’t make new friends.

I’m likable, sometimes funny, pretty (beautiful its way out of my league), smart enough to know when to shut up and when to talk, and in general a good person.

Now, I should just stop worrying about everything and just enjoy myself. After all even the weather is on my side, since it started raining in the same week I quit my job and it hasn’t stopped since then. Who knows, it might stop if I get a job, so if people want nice weather then they should hire me. 😀

The Body – Stephen King

The third novella from Different Seasons, The Body is probably going to be one of those books that I’ll always remember.

Why? Because you always remember your childhood friends and all those idiotic things you did as kids, even if you don’t keep touch anymore. And lets face it, we will never have friends like those we made in our childhood. This is how I feel about this novella, it’s like a childhood friend that I never lost.

The story revolves around 4 boys that go in search of the body of a young boy killed by a train. As they travel, they discover how cruel the world can be, but also how wondrous.

The boys are Gordie, Chris, Teddy and Vern Tessio. They all come from dysfunctional families (are there any other type?) and they try to come to terms with the harsh reality of growing up.

Gordie has to come over the fact that he is the invisible son and that he will never be as loved as his older brother who died in the war. Chris is beaten up everyday by his father and almost everyone in the small town they live expects him to become a delinquent like his older brothers. Teddy is almost blind and he can’t hear in his left year because his drunk veteran father burned it and Vern is just real slow when it comes to the brain department.

Yet, these four boys strike up a unique friendship as they head off to find the body of the young boy who was killed by a train.

As they walk along the railroad tracks toward the presumed location of the corpse Chris and Gordie have different discussions about their current situation and their futures. The sincerity of their discussions is really heartbreaking. While Gordie may have a difficult time coming to terms that he will get separated from his friends at the beginning of school (he will go to college classes while the rest will be in shop classes), Chris pushes him on even if it means for him to lose his best friend.

Chris really put it straight forward: “It’s asshole if your friends can drag you down“…”Your friends drag you down, Gordie.  Don’t you know that?

I won’t spoil the ending. This is a book that MUST be read in order for it to have a meaning.

“The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them – words shrink things that seemed limitless…”

It’s amazing that Stephen King wrote that considering he manages pretty well to transform emotions into words. And pretty well is an understatement.

This is a really sad story. The story of growing up and not knowing what the future lies ahead, who will be there for you, what decisions you must take in order for everything to be alright, if things will be alright.

I don’t know if Stephen King has written any more stories like this one, but I hope he hasn’t. This is so beautiful and so sincere that I doubt anything will be as meaningful.

You know, I might relate to this novella, my friends could also relate to it, but will future generations be able to relate to it? Do kids these days still strike up this kind of friendship?

I was thinking that without my friends, my childhood would’ve been really horrible and I doubt I will still be the me I am today. Believe it or not, I to had a “Chris” that pushed me forward whenever I needed some pushing. In fact, unlike the “Chris” in the novella, my “Chris” is still around nagging me to do certain things that I would probably not do on my own.

From all the friends I had as a child, at least I still have one.

Gupt: The Hidden Truth

Caution: If you don’t like spoilers then don’t read this post at all. 

I’ve been wanting to see Gupt: The Hidden Truth ever since I read that Kajol won an award for portraying a negative character. I really couldn’t imagine Kajol, the sweetheart of Bollywood, being mean and violent.

The plot of the movie is full of twists and turns, bloody fight scenes (only Bollywood actors can deliver) and a very abrupt ending in my opinion.

The plot :

Sahil Sinha (Bobby Deol) comes from a wealthy family. He is the stepson of Governor Jaisingh Sinha whom he does not get along with whilst the Governor tries to get close to him. Sahil enrolls in college where he is reunited with his childhood friend Isha Diwan (Kajol) and meets another girl Sheetal (Manisha Koirala). Both girls are in love with Sahil, but Sahil loves Isha.

Sheetal is set to be married with Sahil, but Sahil objects to the wedding arrangements and tells the world that he is in love with Isha. In the process he threatens his step father with a knife. The next day, Sahil step father is brutally killed and Sahil is blamed for it.

As expected, Sahil is sentenced to prison. But, with the help of an old inmate and Sheetal (who still tries to win him over) he manages to escape from prison. Out of the prison he goes to Isha and tries to find out who is the real killer of his step father.

In the process he is hunted down by inspector Udham Singh (Om Puri). After he tries all the possible suspects, the inspector Udham investigates the Diwan household where he finds the knife used in the killings (well the set from which the knife used for the killings came from). Isha’s father confesses to killing the governor because he was angry that the governor would not let Isha marry Sahil.

But in a twist of events, it is revealed that Isha is the real murderer. She attempts to kill the inspector and Sheetal but fails, as she is shot by the inspector and dies in the arms of Sahil.

You know, I make it sound better than it actually was.

Gupt: The Hidden Truth won three Filmfare Awards, and Kajol was the first woman in the history of Filmfare Award to win  Best Villain award and that at the beginning of her career.

But, it lacked so many things, for example, I cringed seeing them dance. They were so rigid. The lip syncing was truly awful and the movie, from my point of view, had only one cool song.  The story was good, the actors were good but the rest was not.

Even so I enjoyed the movie. It was a change from my usual picks.

I was also happy to see that Manisha Koirala was in it. While Kajol and Bobby Deol’s careers are still going strong, Manisha Koirala is a bit of a mess at the moment. In fact, it’s a miracle she still makes films at her age (42) but now I’m being an idiot.

Manisha Koirala is probably one of the few actresses in Bollywood that can act. The years may not have been good to her, her personal life may be a mess, but she still has talent. The only thing she lacks are the right connections and a good movie to give her the boost to re-launch her career. That and a little more self esteem.

Even so I doubt she’ll be able to make a comeback. It is easier for men to make a comeback than for women, and I doubt she will charm anyone in the state she is right now. I’ve found this article about her on IndiaGlitz and this is how the beautiful Manisha Koirala looks today:

Dulha Mil Gaya (2010)

Another day, another hindi movie.

And this time I picked something a little more recent: Dulha Mil Gaya (2010).

A cute romantic comedy with Sushmita Sen (former Miss Universe), Shah Rukh Khan (King Khan as he is known in Bollywood), Fardeen Khan and Ishmita Sharma, both new actors for me.

I don’t have a base on which I pick my Bollywood movies, except Debu’s recommendations, but this one just happened to be on the first page of my random notebook (used for movies and books I wish to see/read).

I know Sushmita Sen from the year she won Miss Universe along with Aishwarya Rai who won Miss World. This was way back in 1994. It was the only year I actually watched the Miss World pageant. It was a really good year for India in the beauty department. In fact I don’t think any other country managed to win both top spots at the Miss World pageant ever.

Unlike Aishwarya Rai who shoot to fame instantly, Sushmita Sen career as an actress took a more slower pace. How do I know this, well I remember that the first movie shown on TVR1 that sparked the Bollywood trend on Romanian television was Devdas (with Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai) and they followed with Main Hoon Na (with Shah Rukh Khan and Sushmita Sen). 

From those two movies I loved Main Hoon Na more, because it was funny, and I involuntarily became an instant fan of Shah Rukh Khan.

Now, back to “Dulha Mil Gaya“.

The film revolves around Shimmer (Sushmita Sen) an international super model who likes to hang around Tej “Donsai” Dhanraj (Fardeen Khan), a heart breaker. Donsai is known for his reluctance to marry and the fact that he can be an idiot, much to Shimmer liking.

Donsai is given a big blow when he learns that the only way to inherit his father empire company is by marrying a Punjab girl, named Samarpreet (Ishita Sharma). Donsai is saved by his lawyer that tells him he can marry her, leave her in India, and just continue with his playboy lifestyle like nothing ever happened.

Samarpreet doesn’t like the fact that her husband left her behind and decides to follow him so they can sort out things. After three months, Samarpreet comes to Donsai’s home to look for him, where she finds him with another woman. She  has a nervous breakdown, gets hit by a car and as “fate” dictates she ends up with Shimmer.

When Shimmer learns about the entire thing she decides to give Samarpreet a makeover in order to make Donsai fall in love with her.

The rest of the movie you’ll find out by watching it or reading about it on Wikipedia. Here’s the official trailer of the movie, if anyone is interested in it:

I wasn’t expecting the main story to focus on Samarpreet and Donsai. I mean, you got SRK and Sushmita Sen playing in it, but they take a step back when Ishita Sharma and Fardeen Khan come on screen.

That’s something new, especially in Bollywood when big actors are known for being drama queens on the set of movies. That doesn’t mean that SRK character isn’t portrayed as a hero or that Sushmita Sen character is second in beauty to anyone in the movie.

It’s more like they are the caretakers of everything and everyone. It’s a good movie to watch if you have a few hours to spend on the couch in your own living room. I would rate it 6, maybe a 7 out of 10.

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