Thursday, 30 September 2004

Payday! Payday!

Wheeeee! Payday! Payday! I love payday!

And the best part of this is, it comes just in time for the opening of Times bookshop's new store in KLCC, where TPC members get discounts. Whee!!!

Here's a mail I got today:

The Times The Bookshop outlet at KLCC has been relocated to the concourse floor recently.

Join us for the weekend at KLCC to enjoy discounts on your purchases.

Exclusive for TPC members only
20% discount on all items except magazines, yellow tagged and promotional items
FREE! tote bag upon purchase of nett RM150

Date: 2nd & 3rd October 2004 (Sat & Sun)

Venue: Times The Bookshop, KLCC

New location:
Lot C21A, Concourse Level
Suria KLCC
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
50088 Kuala Lumpur
(T) 03-2382 9098

So it's off to Times KLCC we go! (with a short stop at Payless Amcorp and Ampang Point first.)


Tuesday, 28 September 2004

Bizarre Bazaar of Pizzas (or how Peter Rabbit beat up Barney the dinosaur)

Note to self: Don't read another compilation of Dan Piraro's Bizarro comic strips before going to sleep, unless I want to end up dreaming about talking chihuahuas, Barney the Dinosaur with a John Travolta hairdo, and other assorted weird stuff.

Bizarro is currently one of my favorite comic strips, and I managed to pick up a compilation of his comics at Payless on Sunday for only RM6 (along with a little hardcover edition of The Tale of Peter Rabbit for only RM2).

Anyway, I spent last night reading it (Bizarro, not Peter Rabbit), and ended up not sleeping well because I kept having this weird dream where I was interviewing said chihuahua about Quentin Tarantino directing an episode of Barney the Dinosaur (If I'd read Peter Rabbit as well, Peter would probably have clobbered Barney in the dream).

Ever since Gary Larson stopped drawing The Far Side, and stopped people from publishing it on the Internet (read what Larson had to say about this here), the void in bizarre and weird cartoons have been filled (in Malaysia, that is) by Bizarro and John McPherson's Close To Home. Of these two, Bizarro is my favorite because of the weird sense of humor Piraro has, and the fact that his ideas are usually pretty original (Tarantino directing Barney, for god's sake!). It's also pretty fun to spot the weird symbols (such as firecrackers, aliens, fish tails) he randomly scatters about in his cartoons.

I'm in a cartoon reading kind of mood right now, mostly because I interviewed two famous Asian cartoonists recently (Pakistan's Nigai Nazar, creator of Gogi; and Fang Cheng, one of China's most famous veteran cartoonists), and it was interesting to see how different they are from what we imagine them to be. Plus I got to meet Malaysia's very own Lat!

Other comic strips that are my favorites right now are Meehan Streak (bunch of cavemen running around getting philosophical), Sherman's Lagoon (about a stupid shark and his friends), and of course, Peanuts (Good grief!). Two other interesting comics about office/IT that I also read are Dilbert (but of course), and User Friendly (which is hilarious, especially when the Dust Puppy is around).

I think I'll read Peter Rabbit tonight...

Monday, 27 September 2004

What a goooood weekend.

This is my routine on weekend afternoons these days:

Scenario 1
Wake up at 12pm, take a bath, drive out to Ampang Point, lepak at SF Coffee for a while, read a few more pages of my overdue book.

Yesterday, it was the same, except when I looked up, it was raining cats and dogs.


Oh well, there's always Payless Books.

Scenario 2
Wake up at 12pm, take a bath, drive out to LRT station, take LRT to Taman Jaya, walk to Amcorp Mall, and lepak at Ultimate Toys for a few hours.

Raining outside?

No problemo.

There's always Payless.

1) I don't have much of a life.
2) I lepak a lot on weekends.

But then again, isn't that what weekends are for?

And after all, if there's nothing to do, there's always Payless...

Thursday, 23 September 2004

Book Borrowing Blues

Dina of The Gongkapas Times has this blog about borrowing and lending books: No, You Can't Borrow My Books. The title sounds like she's really selfish about her books, but to tell the truth, most book lovers tend to be like that.

Personally though, I have no qualms about lending books to people, provided they lend me some as well. Am guilty of borrowing a friend's (you know who you are. hehe.) copy of The Name of A Rose TWO YEARS AGO, and still haven't finished reading it. Well, at least I DID lend you a few hundred other books, plus I'm already halfway through TNOTR now anyway. Hehe. (Please don't kill me.)

Anyway, one reason I have no problem lending books to people is that most of my books were not very new to begin with. You see, I buy a lot of my books from Payless Books, where the books are mostly paperbacks, and mostly beat-up and dusty. I've even gone to the extent of buying entire fantasy series' from Payless, and scouring EVERY SINGLE Payless in KL to look for that elusive second or third book to complete the series, even though I can probably get it new from Kinokuniya. So I'm stingy. So sue me.

Another reason is that I want to spread the joy of reading certain books to others. I LOVE recommending books to people, especially those that I love, like my Pratchetts (which I lend out a lot, but the people I lend them to never seem to be as enthusiastic about him as I am).

I don't really mind dog-ears on pages, since I do that myself sometimes, but the only thing I hate is when people leave my books OPEN and FACE-DOWN, so that the spine is STREEEEECHED out, and the pages become loose. I bloody KILL people who do that.

Another thing I can't stand is when people spill water/dahl/ketchup/Campbells' mushroom soup all over my books/magazines. Not only does water make the pages go wrinkly and ugly, the food stains stink. EWWWWW.

AND, if its a first edition hard-cover, NO WAY am I gonna lend you the book. So there!

Wednesday, 22 September 2004

What would you ask authors who dream of electric hobbits?

Got some feedback about the new site layout, and it was mixed. IreneQ said it is boring, bland, and lacks character (she liked the old layout, neon colours and all). The Visitor said it looks too normal. Meanwhile, some said it's a lot better, and doesn't hurt their eyes so much... oh well, can't please everyone, eh?

Anyway, Daphne of Places That You Will Go has this post 'The Beastmaster speaks' where the author actually responded to her review. Then she mentioned that she is also preparing questions for Jennifer Donnelly to answer.

That got me thinking. If I could ask any author just one single question, what would I ask? Here are some that I came up with:

1) Enid Blyton - Can the Wishing Chair fly to one of the lands on top of the Faraway Tree?

2) Terry Pratchett - What would happen to the Discworld if one of the four elephants carrying it had to take a toilet break?

3) J.R.R. Tolkien - What's the deal with Tom Bombadil eh?

4) J.K. Rowling - How the HECK do you keep the Snitch INSIDE the Quidditch grounds and prevent it from flying off to Timbuktu the instant it's release?

5) Philip K. Dick - Why Android SHEEP? Why not goats, chickens or mosquitoes?

6) John Grisham - If you knew you could sue a single person in the entire world and get away with it, who would that person be?

7) Agatha Christie - Why oh why, didn't you put a disclaimer at the beginning of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd to warn readers against flipping to the end to find out who the murderer was?

8) Enid Blyton (again) - If the Secret Seven were to team up with the Famous Five, would they be called the Tiresome Twelve?

9) Lyne Truss (author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves) - What? do you, think of... this! kind of, sentence - eh?!?!?

10) Robert Jordan (author of The Wheel of Time) - When's it gonna finish, eh?

Tuesday, 21 September 2004

Reeeevamp! Reeeevamp!

Got a bit tired of the black look of the blog (plus people kept telling me it's ugly and hard to read), so I decided to change the colors around for a sunnier look. Heh. DO tell me how it looks. Am colour blind.

Also launched my all new, all-singing, all-dancing sports blog, Eye on Sports! There, I shall write on sports-related stuff. Any sport. Didn't start off on a good note though, with Liverpool losing last night to Manure United. Oh well...

Monday, 20 September 2004

Panduan LOTR (ENG-BM-AB) yang manyak baik sekali

Back by popular demand (actually, by two of the three readers of this blog, bless their souls), is the Panduan LOTR (ENG-BM-AB), Versi Tigak!



Anduril, flame of the west, forged from the shards of Narsil.
The man who can wield the power of this sword can summon to him an army more deadly than any that walk this earth.

------------------The BM translation---------------------

Anduril, Api Barat, dipalsukan dari serpihan Narsil.
Lelaki yang boleh menggunakan kuasa pedang ini boleh memanggil kepadanya suatu tentera yang lebih membinasakan daripada mana-mana yang pernah berjalan di atas bumi ini.

------------------and now, the Ah Beng version!---------------

Angluli, Balat Mali Punya Api, pakai itu sudah picah punya pisau - Nasik buat punya.
Taiko yang boleh guna ini pisau besar boleh panggil manyak-manyak itu manyak bahaya punya askar-askar, lagi bahaya dali itu dulu sudah jalan-jalan atas tanah punya askar-askar.



How do you pick up the threads of an old life?
How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand there is no going back?
There are some things time cannot mend; some hurts that go too deep that have taken hold.

---------------The BM translation------------------

Bagaimanakah kamu mengutip benang-benang kehidupan yang lama?
Bagaimanakah kamu meneruskan lagi, bila dalam hati kamu, kamu mulai faham bahawa tiada lagi cara berpulang kembali?
Terdapat beberapa benda yang masa tiadk boleh perbaiki; beberapa kesakitan yang terlalu dalam, yang telah memegangimu.

-----------------and now, the Ah Beng version!------------

Macam mana lu mau kutip itu dulu hidup punya tali-tali?
Macam mana lu mau buat lagi, pasal dalam lu punya hati, sudah manyak paham pasal lu tak boleh balik lumah punya hal?
Ada sikit hal, itu masa tak boleh lepair punya. Ada sikit sakit-sakit, sudah dalam sangat, sudah tangkap lu.



Where is the horse and the rider?
Where is the horn that was blowing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain;
like wind in the meadow.
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.

------------------The BM translation-----------------------------

Di manakah kuda dan penunggangnya?
Di manakah tanduk yang telah ditiup?
Mereka telah berlepas seperti hujan di atas gunung;
seperti angin di padang rumput.
Hari telah menurun di pihak Barat, di belakang bukit-bukit, ke dalam bayang-bayang.

---------------------and now, the Ah Beng version!----------------

Mana itu kuda sama dia punya jokey?
Mana itu tanduk yang dia olang tiup-tiup?
Dia olang sudah hilang atas bukit besar, macam itu hujan;
macam itu angin tiup dekat itu padang bola.
Hali-hali sudah turun pegi Balat, belakang itu bukit, masuk dalam tempat gelap-gelap.

Friday, 17 September 2004

Robin' Hobb-its

Robin Hobb is one of the best fantasy writers I've read in recent years, and I love her books to bits (which explains why my books are falling apart). Here is my review on Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy, Liveship Traders trilogy and Tawny Man saga in the Star today:

Assassin's Destiny

Thursday, 9 September 2004

Pre-Zzzzz reads

It's eleven in the morning, I just got to the office, and it's too early to work (for me, that is). My eyes are droopy (from the late night Championship Manager session last night), and I wish I could go home and sleep.

Hence, the inspiration for this post, a list of some of the things I like to read before I go to sleep.

1) The most boring book on my reading list - Usually the one I'm least keen on reading, but have to finish anyway, because i) chances are I'm behind on my review for that particular book, and ii) if it's boring enough, I might actually sleep better.

2) The stack of magazines dumped beside my bed - which consists of some Empire, Q, FHM, and so on. I just grab one, read a couple of lines, and then go to sleep. Helps that there are nice pictures too. Nothing sets up a nice dream than a couple of pictures of Halle Berry in a bikini...

3) Any part of the first 300 pages of Lord of the Rings - Which, to me, is the most boring part of LOTR, and if reading one of Tom Bombadil's songs doesn't make you want to go to sleep immedietely, nothing else will.

4) Comics - Never realised this until recently when my brother nicked my stash of FHMs, (leaving me with only my stack of comics, and no bikini pictures of Halle Berry), but comics make for pretty good light reading. You can finish one issue in about five-ten minutes, and they don't require much thinking... perfect for pre-sleep reading material. Just don't blame me when you get nightmares of giant robots flouncing around with men in tights.

5) The instruction manual of one of my new Transformers - Usually accompanied by some clicking and clacking sounds as I attempt to transform my new er... toy into something resembling a futuristic tank that looks like a worm. Go figure.

Now, excuse me while I make my fifth cup of Nescafe...

Thursday, 2 September 2004

Robots, Death, Silk and Marshwiggles

Since I'm seriously behind on my Finished-Books count (am still stuck halfway on The Name of the Rose and Opposite of Fate), I really can't say that I've read any good books lately. Or rather, FINISHED any good books lately. Unless you count the September issue of FHM. No? Didn't think so.

Anyway, I decided that for this post, I'll list down some of my favorite SF and Fantasy characters, just for the heck of it, and due to the lack of inspiration for more Ah Beng-LOTR translations.

Do take note that this is a personal list of characters whom I've READ about. those I have NOT read about but may be the favorites of others may not be here, for obvious reasons. But feel free to recommend your own.

Here we go then, in no particular order:

1) Eowyn (from The Lord of the Rings) - A lot of people don't like her, especially those who watched the movie without reading the books, and Pervy Aragorn Fanciers who think she is a B***H for making googly eyes at their hero.

However, in the male dominated world of Middle-Earth, Eowyn was the only female character who actually DID something other than giving presents and sewing a standard. The part where she faces the Witch-King is one of my favorite scenes ever. I COULD do without that Mills & Boons-esque love scene with Faramir atop the battlements of Minas Tirith though...

2) Silk (from David Eddings' The Belgariad & The Mallorean) - I don't care what people say about this fantasy series, it's still one of my favorites. Reading it is great fun, and in Silk (aka. Prince Kheldar of Drasnia), the series had an incredibly sarcastic yet undeniably fun characters in modern fantasy.

A nation of full of spies is already a laugh, but Silk is possibly the funniest and most outlandish spy in modern fantasy. I loved him so much that, I even stole some of his sarcastic quotes.

3) Puddleglum the Marshwiggle (from CS Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia) - He's a marshwiggle, he lives in a swamp, he eats frogs, and has the most negative 'Half-empty glass of marsh water' attitude this side of the wardrobe. Plus, he was the best thing in that least appealing of Narnia books - The Silver Chair.

4) Death (from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series) - While it's inevitable that at least one of Pratchett's characters would make it on my list, I had some problems choosing just ONE that is my favorite, so I included two instead. First up, Death. Yes, DEATH. The skeleton guy dressed in a black robe and hood and holds a scythe, rides around on a white horse name Binky, and TALKS IN CAPITAL LETTERS LIKE THIS.

Now, for Pratchett's version of this guy, add a good heart (though I wonder where he puts it), a total lack of creative imagination and complete confusion about what human beings are like. Makes for lots of great plots, philosophising about death, and generally, lots of laughs.

Oh, and he has a skeletal rat as an assistant, who is basically, the Death of Rats.

6) Daneel R. Olivaw (from Isaac Asimov's Foundation and robot books) - Daneel R. Olivaw is... interesting. As a state of the art robot that looks, feels and acts like a human being, but is bound by the Three laws of Robotics, he was an interesting paradox.

He was first introduced in the first Elijah Bailey robot book - Caves of Steel - as the robot-hating cop's new robot partner. His interaction with Bailey is one of the best robot-man relationships ever, and the foundation (pun not intended) for the rest of the robot books, as well as the Foundation books after the initial three.

7) Raistlin Majere (from Weis & Hickman's Dragonlance series) - Arguably the top of the list of favorite for anyone who has read Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends, Raistlin Majere was the most interesting character in a fun but predictable series that was filled with cliched characters and predictable plots.

As the power-hungry mage who is also devoted to his friends (for a time, at least) Raistlin managed to be good and bad at the same time, while not falling into the boring predictability that the other characters, including his goody-goody twin brother Caramon, fell into.

8) Nanny Ogg (from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series) - Ahh... Nanny Ogg. The most fun-loving drunk witch in the Discworld. The good friend and partner of the greatest witch in Discworld, Granny Weatherwax. Loves alcohol, naughty songs about wizard knobs, chatting up casanova dwarves and sex. Commands an army of children, one of whom (Shawn Ogg, to be exact) IS the entire army of Lancre (also its royal butler, gardener, waiter, and privy cleaner).

What's not to like about her?

9) FitzChivalry Farseer (from Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy & Tawny Man saga) - One of the best developed fantasy characters in modern fantasy, Fitz is the bastard son of the King-to-be of the Six Duchies, but is destined never to ascend the throne. His life is probably one of the most tragic disasters I've ever read, and the way Hobb writes, you also care A LOT about him.

The way he goes from unwanted bastard to royal assassin, to the saviour of the country, and then fading to obscurity in the Farseer trilogy makes for a compelling read, while in the Tawny Man saga, all the loose knots in the end come together so nicely that you just want to cheer for him, especially after all that he has been through.

10) Death of Rats (from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series) - SQUEAK! Squeak squeak squeak SQUEEEEEAK! Squeak squeak squeak squeak, squeaky squeak squeak.