FB Alternatives?

I recently checked out the MeWe platform as a potential alternative to Facebook and while navigation takes some getting used to, the lack of Ads is something I thought was worth checking out. A few days in and..it’s not bad. I doubt though if checking for fake news or deep fakes is already built in the system, especially if you’re on the free account. More on this later. I like the focus on communities/groups, although the push notifications being set to ON by default was annoying at first. Best to turn it off as well as the email notification prior to joining any group, if you don’t want it sounding off every time someone in the group posts or sends a message. For now, I’m keeping the app in my social media smorgasbord to see its potential.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I read about Liker somewhere as another FB alternative but have yet to get the app. Anyway, I still will have to stay on facebook rather than get all my contacts to join MeWe or Liker, which can take a lot of time if ever the alternatives get any grounding and scale up. Would be nice to finally have some healthy, hopefully better competition for facebook.

Wanna check MeWe out? Here’s my link if you want to connect.

Seat At The Table

I found this very informative talk/video encouraging, stimulating and hopeful in almost equal parts. While the responsibility lies largely on this generation, it helps paint a brighter future if we start getting our act together as a global community and start working together instead of in silos, enormous challenges in themselves but not impossible. Which other generation has had the privilege to solve the world’s problems with all the information we need at our fingertips?

Another video I found highly informative and inspiring is this ted talk by Simon Anholt. It’s encouraging to know that about 10% of the world’s population share the same values/perspective as global citizens/globalists. That can make up a country with the 3rd highest population in the world. If you think in these terms, know that you are not alone in worrying about our future and where the world is headed.

No Spoilers, Just Thoughts on Avengers Infinity War

 

infinity2

Needless to say, I’ve been waiting for this movie screening with not the least bit of excitement.  After waiting for another week half-dreading, partly not-caring for spoilers, I saw it.  First screening of the day in a newish mall cinema with free popcorn and drinks that I didn’t get to touch and some ticket sale profits going to a foundation.  Might as well make the most out of the experience.  This is one movie that I needed a sort-of debriefing, and maybe another viewing.  It was a lot to take in.

It’s now one of my favorite MCU movies

It was an accomplishment bringing together all these superheroes in one movie without making it a mess.  It was awesome!  Although I wanted to see more of the others i.e. Cap, Black Widow (and where was Hawk Eye and Ant Man..??), overall the superheroes were given ample screen time to shine.  The character focus is strong but it was not lacking in plot twists.

The super villain is super

Thanos was a worthy opponent, worthy enough to gather all the characters to fight for the universe.  He was a villain that not one group or subgroup or faction can beat and looked the part — big, thuggish built, purple skin tone and all.  I love how they added depth to his character by showing some struggle on his part in this war he can almost easily run away with.

The lines and delivery were spot-on 

Unlike DC, Marvel has a knack for witty lines, one-liners and even quotable quotes.  The back and forth between some of the originals and new avengers were definitely not just fillers and comic relief was just enough this time (thought it was a little too much in Thor Ragnarok) to lighten what can otherwise be a very dark tone, ala Marvel TV‘s Daredevil or Jessica Jones.

The ending was more than I expected

Although I’ve read a bit of the comics and narratives, Marvel still pulled a surprise in the ending that, basing on the reactions of some hardcore fans,  has elicited unbelief or shock or stress depending on your level of fangirl or fanboy attachments.  Case in point, one of those sitting beside me covered his mouth in shock for a good few minutes into the credits, and another one held her head in between her hands while looking down at the floor.  It was fascinating to say the least.

Overall the movie is a success; going in breaking records in the box office, and winning and satisfying fans all over.  It was worth the hype.  Worth the wait.  Worth the 2nd or 3rd viewing.

Perhaps the body count will drop..?

Wandering in Taipei

taipei museum

It was a spur-of-the-moment trip that turned out really well; a next visit becomes a must. Taipei turned out to be a gem; a very budget traveler-friendly, culture-rich, foodie paradise. One long weekend spent there would have been enough, but you’ll definitely go for more.

We were supposed to just visit Japan for the 1st time this year, but news of visa suspension in Taipei starting June and promo fares from different airlines for this destination got me curious and gave me itchy feet. So we booked a 3-day weekend trip around mid-July for my birthday. Unfortunately, the visa suspension was moved to September of this year while they’re working out the whole process. We still went anyway; applied for an e-visa online and got them in a couple of days. Kudos to Taiwan embassy for a quick and efficient visa application process.

While there, we tried AirBnB for the first time abroad after the first day at a hotel near the airport. As an AirBnB host myself, I fully support this community and was not disappointed. The listing we booked was a fully-equipped studio minus a kitchen, with basic essentials provided. Having a loosely set itinerary, we were lucky enough to find a room in a hotel the first night in Zhongzheng District, one of the recommended spots where many landmarks like National Museum, Library, Book street are walking distance to. Walking aimlessly, we saw and sampled food stops where the locals flocked; had traditional breakfast at an intersection near Chongqing South Road aka book street before checking out the museums, libraries, stores and parks. If you’re a fan of milk tea, lots of good shops abound and the drinks are really good (and cheap!).

taipei peace park

Taipei_museum2.jpg

After the morning stroll and breakfast, we checked out of the hotel to transfer to our Airbnb booking in Zhongshan district; It would have been easy with the train but we opted to get a cab first what with baggage and all, plus the place is relatively near so it won’t put a dent on our budget. Before hailing a taxi though, we tried if we can successfully ride the train armed with just waze and some guidance from several google searches. We stumbled upon a mall called SYNTREND and some IT shops nearby. Woah, were we tempted to buy some tech stuff. Turns out Taipei can be a good source for your tech/gadget/PC needs (NAS, Hard drive, VR, etc.) if you’re into those (like me!).

After exploring this trendy mall and IT hub, we sampled some snacks, more milk tea, juice tea and hailed a cab to rest a bit in our room before exploring the night markets. If you’re new to this, Nighxia night market is a good place to start; not as overwhelmingly large as Shilin yet food quality and variety is pretty good.

taipei_street2

The street food scene in Taipei is just amazing! At first I wondered why all my search results of Taipei including any other keyword i.e. culture, nature still bring up food recommendations. Will it not be a culture trip as well? But sampling the street food from almost anywhere and in night markets, I eventually understood; Taipei food game is so strong, you can’t mention it enough.

This almond tofu dessert is a light and refreshing treat.

taipei_street1

This peanut roll with ice cream is so flavorful. The peanut shavings are just right, but added with the flavored ice cream scoops and coriander, it becomes something strangely delightful.

taipei_street.jpg

We tried so much more like the giant deep fried seafood wontons, seafood/oyster omelette, fritters, mochi, skewers, we didn’t have room anymore for the other good stuff. We didn’t stuff ourselves silly, and somehow the food, though mostly fried, were not too heavy yet satisfying.

This Hello Kitty Kitchen/Café was a welcome surprise we stumbled into while finding our way around the city.

taipei_street4

By the 2nd day, we were feeling more comfortable, surprisingly settled in and adhering less to the just-in-case itinerary I drafted (I prefer to not be touristy and do as the locals do when I travel). We decided to revisit some places we saw on the first day and explore a bit more around them. I couldn’t help but admire the simplicity yet advancement I was seeing — most of the building were old yet functional in terms of architecture and interior; big commercial buildings coexist with small businesses/shops and do not seem to threaten the other’s existence; bikes, motorcycles abound and share the same roads and lanes with cars and other motorists (no dedicated bike lanes needed) and are highly safe, they can park without locking the wheels and some even leave their bags and helmets on their bikes.

taipei nights3

taipei nights2

Taipei’s transit system is probably one of the best I’ve tried; it was well-connected and user-friendly, you can reach any place in Taipei (haven’t explored outside the city) and even the airport by it. The city seems big but no wonder there were more people using bikes, motorcycles and the MRT than cars. They say this is a sign of advancement and I couldn’t agree more. The traffic volume (cars) seems more or less the same on the weekends and the weekday we were there.

Lastly, there was a modesty about the city, in the age, design and look of their buildings, the cars on the road, the prices of their products and the bustling food (especially street food) scene. There are not many western brands as well as the local businesses seem to thrive and are not ousted by big brands. It seems this is a city that is properly developed, not given in to over commercialization or gentrification. It maintains its cultural identity. Quiet revolutionary comes to mind.

taipei nights

Now before I geek out and overthink, I’ll just go back to vacation mode, enjoying a milktea.

taipei milktea

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