Friday, 30 September 2005

Five What-Why's

Some random questions I asked myself over today...

  • What do you do when you're stuck in a rut and can't get out?
  • What do you do if you know you should leave but can't bring yourself to do so?
  • What do you do if your car runs out of petrol while you're in the middle of going up one of those winding ramps up a multi-level car park?
  • What do you do when someone pisses you off so badly you just wanna throw her off a building but can't because you're on the ground floor?
  • Why do I keep updating this blog so religiously when I should be spending more time working?

Thursday, 29 September 2005

An Interview with a Decent Interviewee

I love it when interviews go well.

Yesterday I had a pretty good one, interviewing this new singer from Taiwan. She was smart, articulate, and she talked a lot. Meaning she gave us a lot to write about lar.

A lot of times, I have to interview the Chinese stars in Chinese, but this time, she spoke pretty good English, so the interview was significantly easy to conduct.

Maybe it was because she's still new to the industry and is still 'fresh' when it comes to dealing with press. Some seasoned celebrities tend to answer even the wierdest questions (When do you trim you nose hair?) with the most PR of answers (Oh, I do it if the script calls for it).

In fact, a lot of the big names tend to be so professional that they can quote from the movie production notes word for word. That can be damn frustrating. What I want most out of an interview is something INTERESTING,GODAMMIT, something that can't be lifted from a press release or a website.

If everyone kept saying the same quotes over and over again ('Oh, I came into this film because I liked the director'; 'Oh, I read the script and thought it was interesting'; 'Oh, I thought this would be a good challenge to me'... BLEH), then all of us might as well just forego the damn interview, and then cut and paste the quotes from all the older interviews lar. But then, where's the fun in THAT?

Back to yesterday's interviewee. She was bubbly, talkative, and she gave us a lot of nice anecdotes and short little stories about her life to make a nice feature.

Of course, it helped that she was quite cute too. :-)

Most of the time, entertainment stories I do can be a bit generic (same questions, same answers), but at least this time the girl gave me enough fodder for a decently er.. decent story. Enough that I managed to almost finish it on the day I did the interview, which is prety rare. :-) (SHHHH!)

Maybe in a later post I'll write about just whom I've interviewed before, and who I liked the most. For now, I've got to prepare for ANOTHER interview in two hours time....

Wednesday, 28 September 2005

The Epiphany and The Anti-Dramatic

I had an epiphany recently.

I was writing something, and I realised, "Oh dear. I'm becoming a Jack of all Trades, and a Master of none."

I''ve done entertainment, environment, general, health, sports, reviews, and I still haven't decided what I'm best at. I can write about anything under the sun, but whether I can do it well is another question.

How to progress like that? Aiyor...

Cannot cannot, I must find something I'm really really good at, and try to specialise. Cannot simply apa-pun-tulis, or else I'll NEVER be taken seriously.

PS... On a separate issue... FOR GOD'S SAKE people, don't be so melodramatic can or not?!?!?!?! It's supposed to be FUN. FUN, I say! When isn't FUN anymore, why bother doing it? Because people will be disapointed that you're not doing it anymore? PLEASE lar. Do it for yourself, and you'll be a lot happier...

Tuesday, 27 September 2005

Nix This!

I have a new author hero, and his name is Garth Nix.

Ok, so he isn't THAT new to me after all, but I've just finished reading the first two books of his Keys to the Kingdom series - Mister Monday and Grim Tuesday, and I kept thinking, "Goddamn, these are good books. I wish I'D written that!"

I've reviewed his Old Kingdom series before - Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen - and thought those were really brilliant examples of children's fantasy books, as good as Narnia and His Dark Materials, ALMOST as good as Pratchett's A Hat Full of Sky (which is still my all time favorite Children's fantasy book), and is most certainly a lot better than the Harry Potter books.

Keys to the Kingdom may or may not be better than the Old Kingdom (both series' have nothing in common with one another, BTW), but while I was looking around for a copy of Grim Tuesday to borrow (too broke to buy it you see...), I actually reread Mister Monday.

If the fact that I reread it ONE DAY after I'd finished it in the first place shows that it IS pretty darn good eh?

Nix, like Pullman and Lewis, writes in a way that makes you wish for more, and makes you sad when the book is over. It's simple, not overly detailed, and the story is engaging enough that you do not feel bored at any point of the book (certainly no pointless Christmas holidays or Quidditch matches in THESE books!).

To me, any book that makes me wish I'D written it instead is probably one that I would read over and over again. And one that I would recommend whole-heartedly.

Reviews later this weekend perhaps...

Monday, 26 September 2005

A Fan Club for an Angel on Fire? Sign ME up!



Don't know why there is a sudden rush of posts about this mysterious Fireangel? Well, me neither.

So why am I posting this? Well, because if there is ever a bandwagon worth jumping aboard, it's a bandwagon that involves a (VERY) cute chick! :)

So head on over the the Official Fireangel Fan Club site HERE, and declare your undying devotion to this cili padi of a girl, and or head over the KY's pimp blog HERE to learn more about her!

Update (12:00pm)

Apparently, the reason why there are so many posts on FA is because it's FA DAY today! Woot woot! Imaginary Absolut Ribenas all round! And make sure there's more vodka than Ribena this time!

Check out YeePei's post HERE for more posts on FA Day!

And remember, it's always a worthy cause if there's a cute chick involved! :-)

Sunday, 25 September 2005

And my wallet went THUD...

I was browsing through MPH Mid Valley just now, and what should I come across but THIS book:



Now, under normal circumstances, I would have GRABBED the book off the shelf and IMMEDIETELY paid for it... but this time, a combination of several factors, namely:
  • The book cost RM109.90! GAH!
  • I was dead broke because of my trip to London
  • I am still holding out for a review copy...
stopped me from getting the book this time.

I was shattered. I WANT to read that book! WAAAAA!

Anyone have a spare RM109.90 lying around that they can lend me? :)

Friday, 23 September 2005

Some shameless promo and then some...

I've been really busy, and hence, have not been able to update the blog properly (also because I want to cut down on blogging in the office, like I've said before). Maybe for the next few days as well. Sigh... Oh well, there's always BUMI -TENGAH if you want somethign to read. I just added Chapter 2.3 today. Hehe.

Anyway, I'm also catching up on my sleep. My sleeping time has been out of whacked since I got back from London, and I really want to spend my weekend catching up on sleep and readjusting my sleep-clock.

Besides, my larling is in town, and I have better things to do than blog now... Hur hur hur.

Anyway, regular blogging transmission shall resume when I've caught up with my personal sandman and given him a right walloping for running too fast and leaving me behind.

Thursday, 22 September 2005

CS-Eyeris: My very own poster!

Here's a poster to go with Tuesday's entry on CSI spoofs! Courtesy of The Visitor. Hehe. Not bad actually. :)



The Original post is HERE

Tuesday, 20 September 2005

CS-Eyeris: Potential CSI tie-ins

I have no idea how this post came about. I was talking to Daphne about the possible prequels (horror of horrors!) that JK Rowling could come up with for the Harry Potter books, and all of a sudden, I got an idea for a CSI: Hogwarts thingy. Then the others came about.

Call it magic. Or just the work of a over-stressed and over-imaginative mind.

CSI: Cybertron
Someone has disassembled Wheelie somewhat brutally. The Autobots' in-house detective Nightbeat and a team of Autobots led by Wheeljack are on the case to find the criminal and thank him for ridding Cybertron of the most annoying Transformer ever made. May contain lewd scenes robots screwing their parts together.

CSI: Highbury
A detailed CSI investigation is being conducted into a horrifying tackle on Sol Campbell during a Sunday morning kickabout which left Campbell with a broken leg. The main suspect is Pascal "Can't defend for nuts" Cygan, who would not get a sniff at the first team if Campbell was available. However, investigations hit a rut when prime witness Arsene Wenger claimed not to have seen the tackle.

CSI: Hobbiton
With Frodo and Gandalf gone sailing, and Aragorn too busy making heirs to care about The Shire anymore, Sam, Merry and Pippin form their own CSI team to tackle unsolved mysteries involving heinous crimes committed against the hobbits; such as stolen vegetables, spilt ale and squashed mushrooms. May contain gory close-ups of hairy feet.

CSI: Hogwarts
With the recent increase of crimes since Voldemort's return, the Ministry of Magic has set up a new CSI team to investigate various crimes that have ben committed. With the latest magic and most high-tech wands, they solve cases by sitting around eating Chocolate Frogs, waving their wands, and generally coming up with the same person all the time. Unfortunately, they can Never Name Him, so they can never close cases.

CSI: Hoth
A bunch of rebel droids on Hoth investigate mysterious cases of dead tauntaun. Bad smells abound, on the outside AND the inside.

CSI: Petaling Street
Prominent Malaysian bloggers Mack and Minishorts trawl the Malaysian Blogosphere searching for crimes committed against the morality and the sanctity of the Malaysian bloggers. May contain speeding inducing, action-packed scenes of Professional Blogbuster Peter Tan zooming around on his modified wheelchair (complete with blue lighted under-seat and cup-holder). Profanity optional.

CSI: Sesame Street
In the pilot episode, Elmo is found torn apart seam by seam by a letter of the Alphabet. But WHICH LETTER? Ernie (who suspects it could be an 'S') heads a sophisticated CSI team armed with dictionaries and calculators, with Oscar the Grouch as their forensics expert (I've seen that piece of garbage before!), and Super Grover as their main interrogator, and The Count as their in-house accountant. (May contain disturbingly bad grammar, cheesy dialogue, annoying furry monsters and a lot of counting.)

CSI: Singapore
The crack CSI team in Singapore go around Orchard Road taking samples of spit from the ground, analysing them in their highly sophisticated labs, and once they have found the source of the spit, sends them a fine. (May include poodles)

The London Diaries: Six Things I liked most about my trip

Ok, last post on the London trip. I'm a bit busy now, so gotta put this in point form. :)

1) I got to see all the places and buildings I'd been DREAMING of seeing since I was a kid and poring over Childcraft encyclopedias. Places like Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Tower of London and the Tower Bridges were AWESOME.

2) It was great to finally be visiting a country where English is the main language. I just realised that most of the countries I've been to NEVER had English as their first language, so it was a relief to have people understand what I was talkign about when I ask them for a ticket to nowhere...

3) London is BLOODY EXPENSIVE, especially if your salary is in RINGGIT. GAH. Great sandwiches though. (then again, since I WAS on a budget there, all I ever ATE were sandwiches most of the time. esides all the room service in the hotel on my first two days of course).

5) GREAT weather for walking in. Except the time it rained. Drat. Another thing I noticed while walking around London was that there were sirens going off every 20 minutes or so. And that the tubes always had delays, which was why I rather walk than spend time waiting around in tube stations.

6) The British Museum is AWESOME. I spent half a day in there and I STILL wanna go back again...

Monday, 19 September 2005

The London Diaries: Five Notes To Self

1) If it looks like it's gonna rain in London, bring an umbrella. Don't be an idiot and think, 'Nah, the weather report said it wouldn't rain'.

2) Don't ever try walking from St. Paul's Cathedral to the British Museum again. It's F-A-R.

3) Two words : Lip Balm(Cracked lips! OW! OW! OW!)

4) Always bring an iPod when staying in a hostel dormitory. It comes in handy when one of the guests in your room happens to snore louder than than the sound of tube trains.

5) Don't ever agree to go for a press conference TWO HOURS after you're scheduled to land after a thirteen hour flight. *YAWN*

I wanna go home... More later.

Saturday, 17 September 2005

The London Diaries: Four Hours of Getting Lost

At the time of writing, it's 8:31pm, and I have only 20 minutes 23 seconds left to write this post. Oops, make that 20 minutes 15 seconds now. Oops, 19 minutes 5 seconds. GAH!

Anyway, I won't waste too much time rambling here now. Here are some of the things I did and saw today (I was online this morning at the hotel, now I'm in a hostel on a 7p a minute Internet connection...):
  • I met Lyn (that's three posts in a row now, Lyn!) at the hostel today, and we went to the Arsenal FC stadium, Highbury, where I took some pictures, bought some souvenirs for my brother, and checked out the new Emirates Stadium also.
  • Then, we went back and went walking over to Tottenham Court Road where she ditched me to go sell a TV (don't ask).
  • I then went searching for Forbiden Planet, the 'Cult Entertianment Megastore!' but managed to go round in circles once, ending up in Covent Garden once, and finally stumbling upon it after an hour of getting lost.
  • Once there, where I spent almost two hours poring over all the toys I'd seen on the web but never seen personally. Too expensive to buy though.
  • I then went out to look for another toy store Vincent had told me about, but got lost again and ended up at Covent Garden MArket.
  • There, I spent some time staring at buskers, bought CDs for a friend, and decided it was too damn cold to walk around, and went into the Tube.
  • I then took the tube to Westminster, where I saw:
  • The River Thames!
  • The London Eye! (it IS a real eye-sore)
  • Big Ben & the Houses of Parliament (Up close, this is really awesome. I took so many picutres of it that I feel really sheepish now)
  • Westminster Abbey! (I didn't go in because it was closed, but I tok pictures outside. Oh well, at least I can tell people I've been there oledi)
  • After that, it was getting late, and I was cold, so I decided to screw it all for a lark, go back to the hostel, makan, took a bath, and here I am on the computer typing as fast as humanly possible.

So that's day three of my London trip. It's just a rundown of what I did. More thoughts and opinions on the place next time.

Tomorrow, I'm going to the British Museum!

Friday, 16 September 2005

The London Diaries: Three Things I didn't Know about Fruits

I've just finished breakfast in my hotel, and I discovered three things about the fruits here:

1) Grapefruits are actually very small pomelos!

I always wondered what grapefruit were like, so when I saw it on the room service breafast menu I couldn't resist ordering that. And they tasted just like POMELOS. Yes, the kind they sell by the road when you're on the North-South Highway, and in those rows of stalls near Ipoh.

Heck, they ARE pomelos, just very small ones. Potong stim betul.

Anyway, here's my bowl of fruit:



That said...

2) Raspberries are now my official favorite type of berries.

Yes, I like them more than strawberries.

which brings me to...

3) Cranberry juice tastes like Ribena.

Nuff' said.

Can you tell that I'm Malaysian? :)

Now to pack and go out into nice sunny London! Regular blog transmission (and more London adventures) will resume when I get home on Monday

The London Diaries: Two Sights Seen on a Busy Day...

I know it's morning in Malaysia now, but it's only midnight here. Just got back from the movie premiere I was covering and saw Michael Owen and Alan Shearer walking in together. Heh.

Anyway, although I'm still not in my 'official' sight-seeing days yet, and was relatively busy today, I still managed to see one or two landmarks of London that I've often heard of and always wanted to go and see, the Royal Albert Hall, and Trafalgar Square, where the Nelson's Column is... Here are the pictures:





Tomorrow and Saturday are my official sight-seeing days... Only two days and so much to see... Whee!

Oh, and I doubt I'll be updating the blog after this, at least until I get back to KL on Monday morning.... Until then, seeya!

Thursday, 15 September 2005

The London Diaries: First Day Rainy Blues...

Hewo from London... :) It's 2:22pm in the afternoon here, and I've just finished my interviews.

I'm back in the hotel right now, on my 20 pounds a day Internet, and drying my clothes with the hair dryer after getting caught in the rain while traipsing around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens on the way back from the Dorchester (where my interviews were held) to my hotel.

Just my luck that I get caught in typical English weather while in a park with no umbrella or raincoat. Drat.

Oh well. I'm here, and I'm gonna have fun, rain or no rain. :-)

Today's basically take up by work, so I'll only be going sightseeing tomorrow. Lyn has generously offered to take me around, and even helped me bok a hostel to stay for Friday and Saturday night. Thanks Lyn! I owe you two pints. :)

A few things I noticed on my first day here:
  • Great and cool weather! Until it started raining today, that is.
  • Bloody expensive to call mobile phones on public phones lar...
  • I spoke to ten people on the way from Heaththrow to the hotel, and only 2 of them were English. One was African, one Polish, one Sikh, two were Asians, and another I cold tell, but definitely NOT English...
  • Mmmmmm. the seafood pie in the hotel is good...
  • Got confused with the trains... nearly got lost...
Ok, more later. Since I already started using the internet, and paying 20 pounds for the 24 hours, might as well make the most of it eh?

Tuesday, 13 September 2005

London Bri-idge, here I come, here I come, here I come...

I've been rather busy these past two days scurrying around preparing for my trip to London tomorrow, as well as rushing all my deadlines before the trip.

Needless to say, I'm really excited about it because it's gonna be my first trip to London ever.

Next to Barcelona, London is probably the second city I wanted to go the most (Yes Lyn, I know you've been to both... sigh)

In fact, I'm so excited about it that I'm gettinga bit paranoid right now. I got whacked in the stomach by a really hard shot yesterday at futsal, and today, it hurts a little. Every little bit of pain is making me paranoid. I'm imagining that I might get a fever two hours before the flight, and be forced to skip the trip. I imagine that my money will be stolen before I get on the plane. And last night I even dreamt that I overslept and missed the flight.

Gah, keep calm, keep calm. It's only London.

RIGHT!

I'm going to LONDON! YAY!

(More later. Lunch now.)

Monday, 12 September 2005

Where to stay in London?

Can anyone out there suggest a good and cheap place to stay in London?

The keyword here is CHEAP. :) And I don't mind hostels, as long as it's CHEAP (Preferably BELOW 20 quid!)

And yes, I'm going there this weekend. :) Anyone wanna meet up there? Right. :P

THANKS!

Sunday, 11 September 2005

Book Review: The House of Storms (Ian R. MacLeod)

Continuing my pledge to post a book review every weekend (which pretty much FORCES me to READ the books in the first place), here is the short review of Ian R. MacLeod's The House of Storms, the sort-of sequel to The Light Ages, which I reviewed some time ago HERE.

Oh, and I decided to do away with the 'Main Characters' section of the reviews, mainly because I'm too lazy to think of what to write there, and besides, the characters are usually mentioned in the synopsis already anyway...

------------------------------------------------------------------------



Title: The House of Storms
Author: Ian R. MacLeod

Synopsis:
The age of aether still reigns; its pale glow illuminating the land. All bear the mark of aether's extraordinary influence, except the changelings, banished to Einfell, that strange land untouched by the Age of Industry, that lay at England's troubled heart.

When Great Grandmistress Alice Meynell, ruthless matriarch of the Great Guild of Telegraphers, brings her son to Invercombe, west of Bristol, she expects him to die there. Though her power and grace are legendary, not even she can halt her son's disease. In desperation she travels to Einfell, to seek favour from one who once trusted her.

And Ralph is cured. Far away from the filth of industrial London, he is drawn away from his family responsibilities to the world of nature and to a fisherman's daughter Marion Price. Together they plan to run away, to defy the rule of the Guilds, even to change the world and how it sees itself.

But Alice will not let love stand in the way of her in her insatiable lust for power - nor the very land she professes to love - even if it means plunging England into a long and bloody civil war.


What I liked:
  • After The Light Ages, I'd wanted another book set in the same world, with aether.
  • The setting and the chracters are well-developed as usual
  • The ending was quite thrilling, in a pretty understated kind of way (which means - I don't know how to describe it)
  • Alice Maynell is one despicable woman! Ok, maybe not THAT despicable, but you WANT to read about her getting her just due!
  • Still a pretty cool parallel England to the real one

What I didn't like:
  • A bit slow at parts
  • Not as compelling as The Light Ages, maybe because I'm not that big a fan of family dramas (which this book is quite heavy with)
  • Some parts just bored me. I think it was slightly too overloaded with details at one point.

Summary:
A lot of what I think about this book I already mentioned in my review of The Light Ages HERE.
So I'm not gonna repeat myself.

Anyway, like The Light Ages, MacLeod's parallel world is described so vividly that you can't help being sucked into the world yourself.

However, like The Light Ages, I also couldn't decided whether I like this book or not. One one hand, the thought of a parallel world run by aether is fascinating, but on the other hand, I can't help the feeling that that world would also be a GREAT setting for something a lot more er... action-packed (ok, ok, PULP FANTASY-styled) story.

Don't get me wrong, The House of Storms is a pretty good read in its own right, but sometimes, it gets bogged down with a little too much detail. And one has to read VERY SLOWLY to grasp what is happening.

The Visitor Looks for a Wife...

Award-winning screenwriter and film-maker The Visitor (The Duke of Ahbengness, Ultimate Movie Snob, Defender of Eyeris-Insulted Ah-Bengs and Legal Indonesian Workers, occasional haunter of this blog, bestower of the title 'Ugliest Blog in the World' on this blog) is looking for people to act in his upcoming film, Offerings, as 'The Wife'.

Julai Roberts has already declined the role because The Visitor was to cheapskate to pay the RM1 million appearance fee the actress demanded (He offered to pay her in dog biscuits), while Halle Berry decided to turn down the role because she still hasn't gotten over the trauma of Catwoman.

So, The Visitor is now looking for other aspiring (and less finicky) actors, and issued a plea HERE on his blog:


We are still looking for an actress to play the Wife.

Late 20s, early 30s. With strong facial features. Able to speak Mandarin or Cantonese.

Please do contact me if you're interested. We need to confirm our talents by this week, the very last window of opportunity for us to hold casting.

My email: akuhantu@gmail.com


So, if you can act (or like to think you can act), go on over to The Clouded Moon and find out how you can star in groundbreaking, blockbuster horror-comedy Offerings!

If The Visitor likes you enough, he might even give you the merchandising rights to the movie.. (Hint, whatever you do, DON'T diss the Afro)

If you CAN'T act (or think you can't), then you can also help him out by giving him money.

Or, alternatively, just go to his blog and check out an incredibly cool picture of me HERE... Now THAT'S entertainment!

Friday, 9 September 2005

The Perks of the Job...

Don't you just love a job where you get to...
  • Ask a pretty girl for her number without looking suspicious,
  • Ask her out for a lunch date without any problems,
  • Ask for her age and marital status without looking like a desperado,
  • Get a professional photographer to take her picture,
  • And get permission to call her out more often...

...all in the name of work?

Hehe.

It was all for an interview! Legitimate work! Honest!

(My larling is gonna SOOO kill me if she sees this....)

Thursday, 8 September 2005

Everybody was Street-Fighting Too...

(Because I'm busy at the office and am trying to cut down on blogging in the office, here's another 'sneak preview' of my next post, in which I'm posting the pictures first, and then writing the post later tonight.)

Quick, how many of you can tell me your favorite memories regarding THIS:




THIS:



And THIS:



(Pictures taken from Coin-Op Museum)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Update: 6:35pm)

I'm waiting for an interview at a coffee joint, and since there's free Wi-fi here, I thought I might as well update the blog while I'm waiting.

Anyway, I'm gonna talk about Street Fighter II here. Yes, THE Street Fighter II. The game that was one of THE game to play back in video arcades during the late 80's, and THE game that sparked a flood of other fighting games of the ilk.

I LOVE this game. In fact, I was near OBSESSED with the game. Didn't mean I was very good at it though, but heck, it was one of the few arcade games that I could play over and over again without getting boared.

One of the best parts of it was that it had 12 bloody character to use! TWELVE!

First up were the 'normal' warriors:
  • the cool Japanese warrior Ryu (HADOKEN!)
  • the Aggresive American blonde fighter Ken (SYORYUKEN!)
  • the cute Chinese chick Chun Li (BTW, S-Kay, the Helicopter kick move is DOWN + UP + KICK)
  • the wild green Brazilian half-man half-monster Blanka (Bzzt Bzzt Bzzzt!),
  • Guile the American soldier with a table for a haircut (SONIC BOOM! or rather, as the Ah Bengs would have it, ALIK-KOO!),
  • Japanese Sumo wrestler E. Honda (Lightning palm! OOK UIK!)
  • Giant Russian Wrestler Zangief (Damn his Hurricane move was a KILLER)
  • Indian Yoga Master Dhalsim (complete with extendable limbs and YOGA FIRE!)
Then there were the four 'bosses:
  • American boxer Balrog (M. Bison in the Japanese version, this was the lamest and easiest 'boss to fight. Know how to punch punch only wan)
  • Spanish pretty boy Vega (Balrog in the Japanese version, this guy was FAST)
  • Thai kickboxer Sagat (TIGER! TIGER UPPERCUT! Damn tough to fight, this guy was the BIG BOSS in the first, crappy version of Street Fighter)
  • And finally, the BIG BIG BOSS himself, M. Bison (Vega in the Japanese version, this guy was pretty tough to fight, but I found him easier than Sagat...)
I think it was the novelty of the game, and the fact that all twelve fighters had their own strengths and weaknesses that made it so popular. I certainly found the moves and the characters a lot more interesting than the fighting itself, so I usually WATCHED people play more than I played myself.

I watched/played this game so much that I could even hum each character's 'home ground' soundtrack music. And I used to imitate the moves, and physically 'fight' with friends using paper balls as Hadokens.

As for playing it itself, I loved it. When I DID play, I lked to use Chun Li and Vega most, because I prefer fast characters most. Plus they were the only characters that could jump of the walls, a useful skill if you find yourself pinned down by Ryu's continuous Hadokens or Sagat's Tiger Punch (be careful not to get caught by their Dragon Punch and Tiger Uppercut though).

I was never very good at using Ryu or Ken though. I could never pull off the Dragon Punch moves smoothly enough, and I'd end up getting grabbed by Zangief instead. I was pretty decent at Blanka and Guile though, since like Shanks says, they are the easiest to use.

As for Zangief, Dhalsim and E. Honda.... Too slow for my liking lar.

BTW, my dad was never very happy with me for playing video games though, so my forays into video arcades were pretty limited at the time. But when I did, I'd head STRAIGHT for the Street Fighter machines to watch the Ah Bengs play.

Man, those Ah Bengs in my town really could play that game. They'd put in 20 sen, then randomly select ANY character by just flicking the joystick without looking, and then proceed to beat the living hell out of all the characters in one sitting. Ten they'd continue with another character and so on.

Sometimes, I would be happily and quietly playing on my own and trying my best to get to the next level, but then an Ah Beng would just come by, STAND next to me with his legs 'kangkang' in front of the machine, put in a coin, and then beat me FLAT in record time, PERFECT.

GODDAMMIT. No WONDER I never turned out to be any good at it. All those beatings by the Ah Bengs really shot my confidence to bits.

Anyway, I didn't find the subsequent 'sequels' to Street Fighter II as fun as this one though. Characters like Cammy, T. Hawk, just didn't have the same endearing feeling to them as the original 12 characters.

For me, Street Fighter will ALWAYS be about Ryu, Ken, Blanka and Guile and gang. One item on my wishlist is an actual arcade machine of Street Fighter II. Damn I wish I could have that in my house.

Then maybe I can finally practise finishing the game with Dhalsim without a bloody Ah Beng coming in halfway through my fight with Sagat and kicking my ass PERFECT-ly.

Wednesday, 7 September 2005

A Disoriented Wednesday Morning

Came into the office feeling all dizzy and disoriented from a combination of the following things:

- The grogginess of having just woke up thirty minutes ago
- The adrenaline rush from driving at breackneck speed to the office
- Getting the news that the meeting I was trying to make it to was cancelled five minutes BEFORE I arrived at the office.

It's a weird feeling, that. Adrenaline rush + overpowering sleepiness + extreme annoyance = Disorientated Eyeris.

I sat down at my desk just now wanting to pull the head off Optimus Prime.

Gah, I need my coffee.

Everything happens for a reason

Everything happens for a reason.

Sometimes, when you think a whole country, or even the whole world is against you, one of the best things one can do is take a step back, and think about why it is all happening to you.

No matter whether it is misinterpretation, misunderstanding or even blatant hate, there is always reason for everything. Things don't always go your way, and when they don't, they don't for a good reason. Even when one is being yourself, one cannot possibly please everyone. but with a little care, a little tact, and a little understanding of others, maybe one can avoid being hated.

But yet, there is always a silver lining to everything. Things could always be worse. Learn the lesson, and you might just come back better and stronger.

Have a good break, sit back, and think this through: Maybe, just maybe, it may be time to grow up a little.

Tuesday, 6 September 2005

Eep. I got Tomorrow'd

And I was wondering why my hits suddenly tripled...

Singapore: What I DO LIKE about this island...


And THIS post was just meant to be a filler until I could come up with something better while I was over there...

Monday, 5 September 2005

The Spy Who was Me

Does anyone else remember THIS?





(I'm gonna post this picture and that question here first, and then update with text later tonight... Something like a sneak preview of the post. Why? Because I'm trying to cut down on blogging at work... hehe...)

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(Update: 10:42pm)

Dammit. no one else ever read the book above ar? Dammit.

Anyway, this book is called The Usborne Spy's Guidebook, and is one book I have very fond memories of as a child. So fond was I of this book that when I saw it in Singapore MPH the other day, I could not resist buying it.

I first read it when I was still in primary school, having borrowed it from the sad little public library we had in Temerloh (which incidently, DID have a few gems in it. Looks can be deceiving, no?). I loved it so much that I kept reading it, returning it, and re-borrowing it over and over again.

Why do I love it so much? Why, because it teaches you to be a SPY, for god's sake!

When you're a kid, being a SPY is cool. It's UBER-cool. And even though I hardly kew what REAL spies were like, I wanted to be one.

This Spy's Guidebook taught you how to be a Good Spy, and how to confound the Enemy Spies. It was just too bad I didn't have any Enemy Spies to confound. Sigh...

Anywa, this book is obviously for kids. And what fun I had with it when I was one myself.

I loved playing with the 'games' and ideas the book had. In one page, they taught you how a Good Spy must learn to stalk an enemy spy properly. And how to contact a fellow Good Spy without the Enemy finding out.

It was cheesy as hell, but when you're a kid, you really didn't care. I spent hours making my own portable Spy Kit, which was essentially a 'disguised' matchbox complete with
  • Matchsticks and little bits of string for leaving codes
  • A little flapping piece of paper filled with secret codes
  • Tiny pencils for writing emergency notes to fellow Good Spies
  • Rolled-up dried leaves that one uses to disguise your notes
  • Tiny bits of candles for writing secret, invisible messages
It even had a cool secret thread mechanism that makes the contents of the matchbox 'pop-out' when you pull it. And To top it all off, you could even disguise the matchbox as a stamp collection! How cool was that!

Ok, it's sounds a little cheesy and tacky now, but when you were a kid, you didn't care about those things. Making your own Spy Kit was COOL.

I also loved the invisble message part. It taught you how to use juice or wax as invisible ink, and how to leave 'secret messages' for fellow Good Spies. Damn fun, I tell you.

Another part of the book that captivated me was the disguise part. Having grown up with Five Find-Outers and other detective books, I loved the idea of disguises. And this book taught you how to make your own wigs, your own false beard, and even how to make yourself look fat!

Ok, so looking 'fat' was just sticking cushions inside our clothes; the 'wigs' were made out of dusty unwanted baseball caps and looked really stupid with all that string stuck on it with the words 'Sekolah Menengah Abu Bakar' still embroidered on it; and the 'false beard' was a piece of wire with glued on pieces of cotton that kept falling off, but it was great fun at the time.

I think I even managed to persuade my brother to wear a disguise, and we had a contest with our family to see who had the best disguise. Yes, we were young and innocent then. But hell was it fun.

One of the most endearing bits of the book is that despite telling you that a Good Spy must be 'inconspicuous' and not 'attract attention', all the little cartoon spies in the book still go around in those funny little trenchcoats and federa hats (like you see on the cover of the book).

Now, as a 'grown-up', I find it really funny. But back when I was a kid, I wanted a trench coat and a Fedora too. It was COOL.

It's also funny how they assume that you are the 'Good Spy' and there are 'Enemy Spies' all out to get you. What we were actually spying on, I don't really know, but I didn'treally care at the time.

Anyway, there is also The Usborne's Detective Handbook in the same series, which I don't remember much of now (I liked spies more than detectives, see), so until I get THAT book, I won't talk about it much here.

But anyway, if anyone sees this book anywhere, buy it for your kid, or future kid. It's gotta be one of the fun-nest books for kids ever written. It certainly was for ME.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go finish my NEW portable Spy Kit...

Saturday, 3 September 2005

Book Review: Shaman's Crossing (Robin Hobb)

In a bid to justify my calling this a 'book blog', I shall hereby pledged to post book reviews here every weekend, and to at least have one or two book-related posts once in a while. Hehe.

Anyway, here's a book review I really should get down to finishing, especially since I'm soooo broke right now...

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Title: Shaman's Crossing (Book 1 of the Soldier Son trilogy)
Author: Robin Hobb

Synopsis:

When the two-hundred year war between the kingdoms of Vania and Landsing ended the Landsingers were left in triumphant possession of Vania's rich coal and coast territories.

When young King Troven assumed the throne of Vania thirty years later, he was determined to restore her greatness, not through waging another assault upon their traditional enemies, but by looking in the opposite direction and colonising the wild plains and steppes to their east.

Over the next twenty years, cavalry forces manage to subdue the rolling plains formerly wasted on nomadic herders and tribesmen.Troven's campaign restores the pride of the Varnian military and to reward them, Troven creates a new nobility that is extremely loyal to their monarch.


Main Characters:
  • Nevare Gerar - The second son of one of King Troven's new lords. Following in his father's footsteps, a commission as a cavalry officer at the frontier and an advantageous marriage await him, once he has completed his training at the King's Cavalry Academy.

What I liked:
  • It's Robin Hobb! I've been waiting for a new book from her since last year's Fool's Fate, which was one of my favorite books last year.
  • I actually managed to finish the book within a week or so. Not many other authors can compel me to keep reading the book like Hobb does
  • Interesting developments in the story. Though the plot seems a bit too simple...
  • The method of succession within the nobles is pretty interesting. First sons take over the holdings, second sons are soldier sons, third sons are priests, and so on
  • Hobb's is very good at hinting at a larger plot in her books. In this one, her constant undermining of the women in the story hints at a greater purpose in later books.
  • One can sense that there is more to the plot than what happens here. Which bodes well for the subsequent books in the series...
  • At least she doesn't leave any cliffhangers leading into the next book...

What I didn't like:
  • The main character, Nevare is damn goody-too-shoes lar. Definitely not as cool as Fitz.
  • The plot is too simple. In this first book at least. It mainly follows Nevare's life in the Academy. Though it resembles Fitz' training in Assassin's Apprentice, it's not as good.
  • It seems like a fantasy version of Enid Blyton's boarding school books at some parts...
  • Some editing problems here and there. Spelling errors, mostly. Unforgivable!
  • The ending seems a bit rushed... but still works. For me.
  • I gotta wait another YEAR to read the next book!

Summary:

My main opinion about Shaman's Crossing is that it really isn't as good as her previous series'. But it was still good enough that I couldn't put it down.

Hobb still retains a touch of mystery in the story, constantly trodding down the women in the plot, but hinting at a greater purpose for them in later books. Let's hope that really does happen.

Nevare is not as compelling as her previous lead characters (yes, even the whiny Althea and the weak Wintrow in Liveship Traders), as he is too much a daddy's boy and thinks too much of following the book for my liking. I like my heroes and heroines to be rebellious, see...

But for all my gripes, Hobb DOES leave a lot of room for the story to expand. There are countless possibilities for each of the characters, and there are dozens more sub-plots that could take root.

All in all, Shaman's Crossing may not be as good as the previous books, but at least with Hobb, you can never tell how a book will turn out eventually, because there is so much more room for one to imagine what could happen.

THAT for me is the mark of a good fantasy writer. And that's what make Shaman's Crossing my favorite book so far this year. DESPITE its weaknesses

Singapore: What I DO LIKE about this island...

Let's try something for a change. Instead of me complaining about how much I hate coming to Singapore AGAIN, I'll try now to list out some things I actually LIKE about Singapore (besides being able to see my larling, that is).

Here goes...

1) One thing I DO like about this place is that if it starts raining, you can STILL get around without getting wet. Most of the city is connected via underground tunnels, bridges, MRTs, etc. You don't get THAT in KL...

So yesterday when it started raining cats and dogs before I left the house, I didn't even need an umbrella. I only had to dash across ONE road to the MRT station, and then from then on, I was indoors all the way from Tampines to Orchard and to the Esplanade, via MRT and tunnels. Which brings me to...

2) MRT. Like it or not, I have to admit the MRT here IS a lot more convinient for people like me, who like to just wander around a place by foot. And it goes to all the places I usually go to, which mostly consists of...

3) Toys shops! I like shopping for toys here. Sure, I have a lot of my regular shops in KL, but there ARE quite a number of things sold here that I can't get in KL. So my first day here is always spent hitting the toys specialty stores and looking for things to buy. PROVIDED I have enough money to buy them, that is. If not, then I'll have to resort to reading free books at...

4) Borders, Wheelock Place. I've mentioned before HERE and HERE that the one in Berjaya Times Square doesn't come CLOSE to the one in Singapore. My main reason? I can spend HOURS loafing around Borders Singapore, but in Times Square, the most time I've spent there is a full 20 minutes only. BTW, another place I like to spend my time in is the...

5) Libraries. Goddammit. I wish they had libraries like these in KL. Whether its the new national library, or the one in Ngee Ann City, or any other library, NO SINGLE LIBRARY in KL comes CLOSE to the lousiest one here.... sigh...

6) Burger King. Yes, the Burger Kings here taste better. Period. But that's about it though.

7) PopcornPop, Esplanade. A HEAVEN for movie poster collectors, I ALWAYS somehow end up walking the 2km-long underground Citylink Mall from City Hall MRT station to the Esplanade just to go gawk at the posters there (and to see how much the ones I have are worth...). After that, I then continue...

8) Walking across the bridge from the Esplanade, pass the Merlion, under the bridge to Fullerton Hotel, and walk around that area. It's a nice place to walk in, especially after a rainstorm. There are cute little statues all over (one where a group of little boys are jumping in the river, and another which is just a family of cats... very cute), and it helps that the place has lots of trees, and a river. Yup. It's one of my favorite routes to walk around in Singapore.

That's about it for now, I guess. Will add more if I feel like raking my brains or scraping the bottom of it later. For now, seeya! Regular blogging transmission will resume on Monday... I think.

Thursday, 1 September 2005

Running away from Post-Merdeka Biru-biru

FINALLY! The Kempen Belog Dalam BM is over, and It was fun! Thanks to all who participated in this silly 'mou lei tou' exercise of ours, even though BM may not be your most fluent of languages (Especilaly in Sharon's case! Great pantun, Sharon!).

What we thought would be just a bit of fun attracted more than fifty bloggers (though some Lepas Kapal-Terbang on us, for various reasons... hehe) and some even put up the old-scool, unique but damn bloody ugly banner Vincent created.

Now, if you still haven't had enough of Merdeka posts, you can head on over to the Merdeka Blogger Project and read the ones there.

As for EoE, I'm outta here.

Literally. I'm off to Singapore to see my larling! Yay! (Yay the 'see larling' part, not the 'going to Singapore' part, BTW)

So unless I can get hold of a computer there with Broadband (yes, I'm spoiled now), I'll see you on Monday! Then again, I most likely WILL be online again over there. So tune in tomorrow for my monthly complaining about how bored I get when I go to Singapore!