Peacock – The Disappointment

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Long waiting lists, months in advance to book, this is the process that everyone heard about when the peacock reopened after being shutdown for years. For the longest time The Peacock was the best Chinese place for a very long time, and people would fly in just to taste the amazing food. Over the years the taste deteriorated towards the end but they said with the launch of the revamped hotel the staff were for the Peacock were top knotch.

As I called to make the booking for a few people it was about two weeks ahead to get lunch on the weekend and 4 weeks ahead to get a dinner for more then 6 people. So I just booked for a few of us to try it out and I was honestly very excited to go to. We walked in and got seated within 5 minutes and it is exactly the same setting that it was 10 years ago, just a few touches, some people like that it stayed the same I was hoping that they might have decided to changes things up but at the end all I care about is the food.

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  • Spring Rolls & Prawn Toast
  • Crispy Noodles & Sweet And Sour Chicken
  • Peking Duck

Very simple order, straight forward and every Chinese place has the same sort of items, and I remember ordering at this restaurant since I was a kid. The appetizers came out quickly but the main course took over 30 minutes to get to the table and they mixed up our orders with the table next to us.

Overall the taste of the food was a bit disappointing and too oily for my taste. I was expecting it to be a bit more refined then your hole in the wall type Chinese place. It just wasn’t up to par, and the waiting list to get a reservation is getting shorter, and in my case I canceled my next reservation. The service wasn’t that great, and the food was disappointing not what I was expecting for a place with so much history.

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Review: Outlaws Inc.

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This riveting account reveals the secret corners of our supposedly flat world: black markets where governments are never seen but still spend outrageous amounts of money. Journalist Matt Potter tells the story of Yuri and his crew, a gang of Russian military men who, after the collapse of the Soviet Union found themselves without work or prospects. So they bought a decommissioned Soviet plane-at liquidation prices, straight from the Russian government-and started a shipping business. It wasn’t long before Yuri, and many pilots like him, found themselves an unlikely (and ethically dubious) hub of global trading. Men like these are paid by the U.S., the Taliban, and blue-chip multinational companies to bring supplies- some legal, some not-across dangerous borders.

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Under the Radar and on the Black Market with the World’s Most Dangerous Smugglers

I picked up this book thinking its going to be a crazy story about a bunch of commands gone bad, but turns out to be a book about the grey market of private aviation, they are neither bad guys nor good guys, just depends on the contract that they have at hand. It is one very interesting book as to how the Soviet Military broke down since they ran out of money and the Air Force turned out into the most efficient and decentralized private aviation industry known to man, no one boss, no accountability, with the powers and resources of the cold war at their hands. Where paperwork can be altered, these guys would be based and they would go, they go where they are needed with their Antonovs and Ilyushins. The book is a very interesting read, a view into the Russian mind set and to my surprise Sharjah was a major hub for Drug Smuggling, Money Laundering and more, didn’t know it was like that for so long but it was the gateway into the Middle East and Europe from Asia and Russia. Matt Potter did a fantastic job of going into the depth of this story, but the book gets a bit repetitive, it could have been about 1/3 shorter then it was, then it would have been a perfect book, but it was a very interesting read and an eye opener.

Link: Amazon
Rating:

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Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore

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Iron Man is framed by a technological terrorist and breaks out to clear his name.

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This movie from Marvel brings in the usual characters you know from the Iron Man Universe. War Machine is also thrown into the mix of this movie and I really liked how both Iron Man & War Machine were portrayed. Then there is Shield, with it Nick Fury, Black Widow, and Hawkeye, the perfect mix into this movie and they were some very fun characters. The story line is interesting and ties into Iron Man’s past and the animation is fantastic, I loved the Japanese Animation and Modern CGI Hybrid that they are doing these days. It’s an action packed story with Tony Stark following the leads wherever it takes him, fun on every level.

Link: IMDB
Rating:

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HP Spectre XT Ultrabook

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The HP Spectre XT is one of those sleek looking Ultrabooks, and the moment I saw it I liked how it felt and looked. My first real Windows 8 experience at the Microsoft store in Boston, after trying out several different machines I went for the HP Spectre XT. I liked the 15-inch screen and the touch and feel of it.

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It is a different machine then last years Ultrabooks, the ASUS Zenbook Prime I have is thin with a metal finish which makes it slippery and a very nice 13 inch screen. Its great for traveling, and light the battery wasn’t that great. But it was a great machine, but I wanted something a bit bigger then is more powerful and so that is why I went with HP Spectre XT. It has this industrial finish to it that makes it very appealing, it really looks like an Apple device, if I didn’t know it was an HP laptop. This was the machine I was looking for to jump into Windows 8, I’m not used to a laptop with a Touch Screen but it was an interesting idea, and people are always surprised when I make adjustments right onto the screen.

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Specifications

  • Operating system – Windows 8 64
  • Processor – Intel® Core™ i7-3517U (3 GHz/1.9 GHz )
  • Screen size – 15.6″ diagonal full HD IPS BrightView LED-backlit (1920 x 1080)
  • Memory – 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
  • Hard drive – 500 GB SATA (5400 rpm)
  • Secondary hard drive – Acceleration cache (32 GB Solid State Drive cache) with Intel Smart Response Technology

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Pros:

  • Beautiful Design, I Love The Clean Metal Feel
  • Touch Screen – Works Perfectly
  • Very Nicely Spaced Out Full Keyboard
  • A Decent Touch Pad, but the Windows 8 gestures get a bit annoying
  • The Sound On the laptop is very loud and clear, Which was Perfect for my need
  • Powerful Processor – Can handle anything I threw at it

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Cons:

  • Seriously Horrible Battery, barely lasts two hours
  • Substantially Heavy Machine
  • During Hibernation it Loses Battery Power

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Wrap Up

I got this laptop before the new Intel Haswell boards came out which was optimized and in all the ultrabooks. The reason why this laptop annoys me after several months of use is because of the battery, its a beautiful machine that I enjoy using but runs out of battery so quickly. It barely lasts 2.5 hours with the screen at full, and if you lower the brightness you can get it to 3.5 hours but just barely, this isn’t what we have come to know from laptops, we expect more of them. But as my first experience into Windows 8 I have to say that I enjoyed it and learned a lot, the machine itself is perfect for Windows 8, there was a lot to it that I had to figure out. For $1299 over it is a powerful laptop in a beautiful package, and the price decent, but the battery is annoying.

Rating:

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Crappy Movies – Admission & Spring Breakers

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Every once in a while I write about movies that were not up to my expectation, and thats rare since I enjoy most movies. Spring Breakers turned out to be one very weird and annoying movie, here I thought it would some crazy girls going on a crime spree during spring break, but I was wrong. James Franco made no sense in this movie either, from Spring Breakrs to Oz the Great & Powerful, I don’t know who is choosing his scripts but they need to fired. Don’t waste your time with this movie, it sucks.

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Anything that Tina Fey does I usually love, she is the genius behind 30 Rock, I have loved the show for the past 7 years. So I was expecting this to be a pretty good comedy coming from her, and the trailer looked pretty good. But this turned out to be a comedy drama, not as funny as I was expecting. I thought it would be better, and the story revolves around Tina Fey’s character, the trailer looked funnier but it seems there was more drama, not what I was hoping for.

Bulgari Hotel London

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I remember hearing about the Bulgari Hotel in Milan Italy when it first opened, nobody thought a Jewelry chain would open its own hotel, it never made sense, but now everyone is opening their own hotel. I was going to London for 48 hours and decided to try a new hotel and this hotel was an interesting one to see. London has a lot of choices, but I called American Express Platinum services to see if they had any deals on hotels on a short notice, and they did for about 40% off the normal price for a junior suite and when I got there I got upgraded to a higher level suite when I checked into the Bulgari Hotel. There are lots of hotels in London and so many boutique hotels but this was worth checking out.

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Basically I got a very large suite for the price of a room in London which rarely happens, but they said during Ramadan it is very quiet in London and that was what you could see out on the streets. I saw a few Saudi & Qatari Supercars parked on some of the more famous roads in London, and they never moved, I asked the doorman what was going on they said that they paid for the parking for up to two months so they won’t lose the spot and its cheaper then shipping the car back home, it seems some people love their spots.

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The hotel has this sleek modern feel to it, very stylish with a lot of interesting amenities. I was told they have a beautiful pool but I didn’t have a chance to check it out. The hotel is located in Knightsbridge, and most women would know this area because its where most of their shopping takes place. Personally I’m not too keen on the area because there is a lot of traffic at that location.

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Going into the room it felt like an apartment, not a room, a large living room with two types closets, a small dining table and beautiful bathroom. The first night of my arrival I had a late night burger because I didn’t have a chance to eat while I was out and I wasn’t too impressed with it, I expected room service to be a lot better, but the staff were fantastic. Very helpful and always going the extra mile to get anything I requested done.

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The room was quite different then what I expected in London, even for a suite it was huge, and it was very spacious. They hid all the power plugs in drawers and the wifi was strong all over the room which was great. And the bathroom was the best part of the room, it was huge and the shower had amazing pressure, even the size of the shower was fantastic.

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This hotel was a surprise for me, I wasn’t expecting the the rooms to be like that, and the lobby is always buzzing with people. It is one of those funky hotels you have to try at least once, I don’t think I will stay there again. One thing that is a problem for me is the high price of the rooms, I got a deal this time around but on normal days this would have been a very expensive 48 hours. I would prefer trying another one of the amazing hotels in London but this is an amazing hotel, and one I don’t mind repeating.

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Review: Pacific Rim

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As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.

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This honestly could not get any cooler, for the first time they made an amazing Robot vs. Monsters movie, not how bad they made Godzilla. Guillermo del Toro knew what he was doing when he put this movie together, he is known for his pop culture movies, but this one looks like it will go mainstream and I hope from the success of this movie that they make more Giant Robot & Monster Movies. The movie is clear, people are fighting for their lives against these monsters which are out to wipe out human kind while they take over the world and the only tool they have are these giant robots. I love the mount of nerdy and sci-fi details that Guillermo brings to his movies, and Pacific Rim is no different, but when Del Toro does it you really understand it. These robots are reason enough to watch the movie, loved it.

Rating:
Link: IMDB

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Review: Identity Thief

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Mild-mannered businessman Sandy Patterson travels from Denver to Miami to confront the deceptively harmless-looking woman who has been living it up after stealing Sandy’s identity.

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A comedy with a few fun nasty moments, the surprise for me is Melissa McCarthy who is great in Brides Maids and she has her own show, she looks harmless but is nasty in a very funny way. The perfect fit for this movie where Jason Bateman plays the nice guy who gets screwed over. And as things progress the movie gets funnier, an easy fun movie if your looking for a comedy this is a good one.

Link: IMDB
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Review: A Haunted House

Malcolm and Kisha move into their dream home, but soon learn a demon also resides there. When Kisha becomes possessed, Malcolm – determined to keep his sex life on track – turns to a priest, a psychic, and a team of ghost-busters for help.

Marlon Wayans making a comedy horror movie, I know its not a blockbuster movie or a movie you make time for, but its the right movie when you have nothing else to do and want to laugh. I laughed my ass off watching this movie, you have to watch it with a bunch of guys they will understand why. It requires zero brain activity, the best part is when he says black people don’t chase ghosts thats what white people do and it just gets funnier from there, this is as simple stupid funny movies get.

Link: IMDB
Rating:

THE OFFICE – Has Come To An End

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9 Seasons, a show that nobody thought could end, but when Michael Scott left I think a lot of people who were addicted to the, show such as myself, knew it was going to end at some point. The 75-minute episode capped nine seasons with laugh-out-loud moments and tender tributes. I for one wasn’t choked up while watching the season finale at all, no really I wasn’t, ok I was. I got really worked up about this show, it has had more of an effect then you realize. I got used to seeing The Office over the weekend, used to their episodes with Jim & Dwight getting into some crazy prank or something happening in the office and they end up not doing any work at all.

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The season finale was probably one of the best season finale’s I have seen, it gave closure, it gives you a glimpse into the characters that you have loved and enjoyed for so long. I don’t want to ruin for anyone but if you enjoyed this show then you have to watch it. I want to thank my wife for getting me addicted to this show, I watch Season 1-5 one go a few years back and slowly kept watching episode to episode. They really put a huge amount of effort into the season finale, everyone cared so much, and you can genuinely tell that they were all emotional at the end, which made it even harder to watch. This show really ended on a high note, something very few shows have done in the history of television, I even remember the crappy season finale of Seinfeld, after so long you expected to end well but it didn’t but The Office, couldn’t have ended any better. You feel like you know these people, like you are saying good bye to friends that you won’t be seeing any time soon, now I want to get all The Office Bobble Heads, it was an emotional ending, lets just say that. What a show!

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