Thursday, 31 August 2006
Tahun ni... gua manyak malas lar. Mau tulis sumua dalam BM gua pun pening kepala. Jadi, izinkanlah gua tulis ini pos pasal itu Projek Malaysia Gembira dalam Bahasa Penjajah, ok?
Anyway, like I said, this post is my Project Happy Malaysia post. Now, I know I'm supposed to write a story. But unlike Vincent, I totally suck at telling stories. So I'm gonna do things MY way.
In. Point. Form.
Food, glorious food - Once, a friend of mine went to Europe for a while. When his mom visited him, she brought him this BIG packet of belacan. So of course he damn happy lar. So one day, he decided to fry some vege with belacan. After a lot of chee-chee-char-char frying the vege, two of his neighbors came by. One, a gwailou couple, came over and asked him "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT AWFUL SMELL ARE YOU FRYING YOUR SHOES?" The other, a fellow Malaysian student, came by and ask, "Eh, can give me some Belacan ar?"
Heck, with food like Nasi Lemak, Asam Laksa, chicken rice, satay, rojak, sambal petai, char kuay teow, nasi kandar,Hokkien Char, kari kepala ikan, tempoyak ikan, pasembor, wantan mee, cendol, durian, ABC, prawn mee, char siew... it's no wonder we bring our belacan and maggi mee everywhere we go...
Which language? - Once upon a time, a friend of mine went to Penang, and didn't know how to say 'one char koay teow' in Hokkien. Now, why he didn't try it in Mandarin I don't know, but he ended up going "Char Koay Teow Tak Mau Telur, tak mau tauge, tak mau 'si ham' satu" to the old Chinese uncle cook. And the best part is, the uncle just selamba nodded and got his order COMPLETELY RIGHT.
Then there is the Indian Nasi Kandar guy who took my orders in perfect Mandarin, and this Malay girl I know who could sing the entire Kuch Kuch Hota Hai song perfectly, and used to borow my Jacky Cheung CDs as well.
I just love how language in Malaysia is such a given thing now. No matter which race we are, you'd understand each other perfectly, and if one language doesn't work, you can use another. I've interviewed Malaysian artistes based in Taiwan and all, and when I speak to them in Malaysian slang, their eyes just LIGHT UP and they look a lot happier.
I can't think of anything else right now. My head is a blur from too much troll and ogre whacking. So I'll use my usual cop-out line right now - I'll Add More if I Think of More.
But then again, there ARE too many happy things I like about this place. Sure, there may be lots of stupid stuff as well, but heck, I would rather have a messy but not OVER chaotic country, than a boring one, or a war-torn one anytime. Overly optimistic? Who cares? To me, I'm happy now, because, like what I always tell myself: THINGS COULD ALWAYS BE WORSE.
Tuesday, 29 August 2006
Brain: Completely Stoned
Body: Dead Tired
Note to self: In future, DO NOT play whacking trolls and throwing fireballs around until 6am in the morning, especially when I have an assignment at 10am to go to.
- I'm sick
- I can't think of anything to blog about
- I'm actually busy doing work
- I'm too engrossed in the 10 manga books I just rented
- I'm in a place where there is no Internet
- I'm playing Baldur's Gate 2
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a Level 40 mage to import...
Friday, 25 August 2006
It was supposed to be just a supper date with Erna, (who got herself a new URL, BTW). But I had not reckoned on a chance glimpse of a rows of shelves filled with brightly colored books.
And from there onwards, all it took was was a step inside, a flip through, an inquiry and RM30; and I was hooked again.
Hooked to what? To THIS:
Or One to Ten of the BLEACH manga series, I mean.
So much for the The Manga Sayonara eh? All it took was for me to opened an 'account' at a comics rental store to get me back to the habit of reading book after book of manga again. Sigh.
I was reading those ten books of Bleach until 4am last night, and it brings back fond memories of reading City Hunter, Slam Dunk, Dragonball and so on until the wee hours of the night until I forgot to study for my uni exams. It also reminded me that my Chinese vocabulary definitely needs brushing up.
Anyway, the reason I opened this particular account was because of the system it has. In the past, I had to pay at least RM40-50 if I wanted to borrow a set of 10 books (each book had a deposit, and I also had to pay a rental fee on top of it). And that was on top of the 'account' deposit I had to pay as well, to become a member.
This shop? All I had to pay was RM30, and I could borrow any ten books at one go, with one week to finish it and return it, WITHOUT having to pay anything else on top of that RM30.
Not only do I save money, the system also makes sure that people don't borrow the ENTIRE SET OF 30 BOOKS IN THE SERIES and thus leaving others with no chance to read it. By making sure peopel can only borrow 10 books at one go and giving them only a week to finish them, at least it keeps the book circulation going. Whatever I mean by that. You get the picture.
Anyway, I'm done with my ten Bleach books. Now to go back for the next ten.... :D And if my past manga reading habits are any indication, I think I'll be spending more and more time reading manga after this....
Wednesday, 23 August 2006
Well, Vincent decided to do something a little different this year for Merdeka Day, so now we have THIS:
What's this project about? Well, in his own words HERE:
I decided, for this year, my project would be to make Malaysia, happy. You see, above all the complaints of racism, there are simple stories like this that warms your heart. Above all the complaints of corruption, there are powerful stories like this that bring a smile to your face.
We all have a story to tell - else we would not be Malaysians. I do not for one second believe that in all our time in this country we do not have a heart warming story about Malaysia from our own personal experience. It can be anything that contradicts the general (bad) stereotype - stuffs like a clean cop, an efficient government servant, and a considerate Penang-driver. Whatever it is, tell us the story!
I want to compile a list like I did last year, so do leave a comment if you intend on doing it on Merdeka Day (or heck, any other day). I will check your blog on Merdeka Day and publish the complete list here. Spread the word, folks!
Yup, what we want this year is not for you to figure out how to translate the F-word into Malay, but to tell us a story about something, someone, or an event that made you happy that you are living in Malaysia.
Doesn't have to be long, or too elaborate. As long as it brings a smile to anyone who reads it, and inspire THEM to come up with a story of their own as well, it'll do.
After you've done it, you can either comment here with the link to your story, or go to Vincent's blog to comment, and we'll compile the list after Merdeka.
Come one people, sporitng sikit. God knows we've got too many people complaining already, lets get happy for a change!
Tuesday, 22 August 2006
Malaysia wants the Jimmy Choos to come home
Come home – that is message the Government wants to send out to those who have ventured abroad and made names for themselves internationally in designing, modelling, singing and acting.
“There are many with the experience in Broadway. We have Malaysians who are top models in New York and London. We have people with the experience in fashion designing,” he said.
He noted that these people were experts in their fields and that the country would benefit by having them back.
Sure. Back here. Back in a land:
- Where there is no Broadway, no West End,
- Where movies like Scenario and Remp-It sell more tickets than Schindler's List or Gladiator.
- Where rock stars were asked to cut their long hair short if they wanted to go on radio or TV
- Where movies were banned by people who never even watched the movie
- Where singers aren't supposed to run or jump around on stage
- Where piracy is so rife that singers flee to other countries where their CDs will sell better
- Where locals authors are looked down upon because they are 'not international authors'
- Where a stupid engagement announcement is on the front page of papers, and the wedding is aired on national TV
Oh, and what's this about trying to build some stupid complex in London so that our MALAYSIAN athletes can go to ENGLAND to train? So when they make it in the international sports scene, are we gonna ask them to come back and run in the Sukma? Are we going to ask any pro footballers who make it in Europe to come back to play in the M-League?
Welcome to the land of contradictions, folks. It's nice most of the time, but sometimes drives you nuts.
Monday, 21 August 2006
It had everything:
- Pretty lead actress,
- Dastardly lead actor with cool moustache,
- Tremendous pre-show hype (Front page, woot!)
- Cunning product placement schemes, (free publicity, woot!)
- Gripping pre-show courtroom drama (free annual vacations, woot!),
- Exciting footage of people sitting down... (Pins and needles, woot!)
Truly, the show was so gripping it got a bunch of us staring at the TV, talking about it and sniggering aloud. For a show to be the center of attention like that, and to be the talking point of so many conversations, that truly is the mark of great television. CSI? What CSI?
Heck, I even had to leave the room because I didn't catch the first two hours, and I didn't want to accidently catch any 'spoilers'.
I'm hoping there'll be a repeat on Astro later today, so I can catch the whole damn thing again right from the very beginning. Heck, people should be bloody PAYING to watch this kind of thing...
Thursday, 17 August 2006
Anyway, this came about when I was listening to Green Day's Time of Your Life on the trusty iPod, and at the very beginning, there is a part where just before the song starts, Billie Joe actually says the F-word when he makes a mistake.
So it got me wondering... what other songs that have that F-Word do I know that I actually like? Quite a few actually, as it turned out. And that's not even counting the songs from the Team America and the South Park movie soundtracks. And no Eminem or Rap/Hip-hop songs either. No, I'm talking about songs that I usualy listen to.
So, here's a short list of songs with the F-word in them that I listen to a lot. Now, instead of me doing the list and TELLING you what the songs titles are, lets play a little game instead. How many of these lyrics with the F-Word in them do YOU recognise?
- A free for all, Futsal 'em all, you and your own sight
- It was a slap in the face how quickly I was replaced, and are you thinking of me when you Facilitate her?
- She could see from my face, that I was Fluffing high...
- You're so Fidgeting special, I wish I was special
- She's got the nerve to say, she wants to Feed that boy so badly
- The World owes me so Finger you!
- I try not to whine, but I must warn ya; 'Bout the motherFruiting girls from California
- More for Gore or the son of a drug lord, none of the above Fish it cut the cord
- Read between the lines, What's Flowered up and everything's alright
- It's in the water baby, It's in the special way we Fart...
- But first he was stripped and then he was stabbed by faceless men. Well, Frankfurters... he still stands
- What a Floppin' nihilist porcupine...
- He was a sucker for your double dose, motherFlyer turned white as a ghost
I'll buy the first one to correctly give me the names of the songs and the singer(s) a nice big F...rappe. No Googling, BTW! I'll know... Trust me, I'll know... :D
Wednesday, 16 August 2006
Well, actually it was because I needed a light paperback book to read on the plane to Bangkok (Forest Mage was too darn heavy) and Neverwhere was on the top of the first pile of boks I looked at, so thats how I ended up reading it.
Well, happily, I found that American Gods and Neverwhere are completely different books. And I enjoyed it a lot. So, for want of something to post about today, I shall temporarily forget about the idea of keeping the Hopefully-Weekly-Book-Reviews for the weekends, and post the review to...
Author: Neil Gaiman
Under the streets of London there is a world of which most people could never dream. When Richard Mayhew accidentally stumbles on this hidden city of monsters, saints, murderers and angels, he is catapulted from a safe and predictable world into one that is eerily familiar yet utterly bizarre.
What I Liked:
- I liked the way he takes everyday things and familiar names and turning them into something completely different in a fantasy setting.
- I especially liked the idea of taking the Tube stations' names and turning them into characters and locations.
- Mind the Gap. Sheer genius.
- It's certainly a lot funnier than American Gods. Not as funny as Good Omens, mind, but it still has its moments.
- The Marquis De Carabas is a cool character
- I liked the whole owing and returning debts and calling in favours thingy
What I Didn't Like:
- I've noticed that in his stories (comics AND novels) that Gaiman has a tendency of lapsing into weird surreal dream sequences that I don't really understand very much. In this case, The Ordeal completely flummoxed me.
- Richard "Fish out of Water' Mayhew reminds me too much of Arthur Dent in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
- For a main character, Door didn't seem very well developed to me
- Too many things left unexplained, too many loose ends, and too many details hankering for a sequel to be written just to explain them...
- Why isn't there a SEQUEL????
This is only the second of Gaiman's novels I've read (if you don't count Good Omens), and it's my favorite so far (again, if you don't count Good Omens).
Funnily enough, when I was in London last year, I remember looking at the weird names of all the stations and thinking that those names have potential to be turned into a cool story. Little did I know then that Gaiman had already thought of it, and turned Tube station names like Angel Islington, Hammersmith, and Earl's Court (among others) into characters and locations in Neverwhere.
Sigh. Looks like my future masterpiece will have to be about the Putra LRT stations then. Somehow, Terminal Putra or Taman Bahagia just doesn't have the same ring to them as something like Angel Islington. Though if I were to go over to Singapore, names like Buangkok and Punggol do present infinite possibilities....
Anyway, I've always liked the concept of taking everyday things and familiar names and turning them into something completely different in a fantasy setting. In fact, That's the mix of the real world in a fantasy setting concept that attracted me to the first few Harry Potter books in the first place, though it's too bad Rowling got too caught up in her own hype to further advance and develop it properly. Garth Nix does a great job at it though.
Come to think of it, it kinda helped that I recognised the names and places that were referenced in the book, and had even been to some of them, because it added to my enjoyment of the story. In fact, I doubt I'd have enjoyed the book as much if I hadn't actually heard of the places and names before. Just as a foreigner watching Sepet or Gubra would probably not fully understand some of the quintessionally Malaysian elements in them as well as we would.
All in all, Neverwhere was a really satisfying read for me. A combination of an intriguing and intersting plot, some reasonably interesting characters, a concept I like, as well as a few little neat touches here and there made this my favorite Gaiman novel so far.
Now, I wished there were more books about London Below. I wanna know what the Sheperds are like and why we don't want to know about the Underline...
So yeah. That's why lar no update.
Anyway, ever wondered why big things always seem to happen when you're away and have no access to the Internet/newspapers? For example, this time around, I've only been away from the Internet for five days, and there's a ceasefire somewhere in the Middle East, some rich American guy has bought over a half-rate EPL football club (ok, maybe this isn't so big after all); and most shocking of all, Fireangel's drowned a gummy bear in Absolut Vodka. Oi, next time use cheaper vodka lar. Or use samsu.
Oh, and how was Bangkok? It was fun. Been ages since I've gone for a vacation with my family, and let's just say that it was fun AND frustrating at the same time, as all family vacations often are. Sat in tuk-tuks. Ate a lot. Drank lots of beer. Shopped a little.
I also got lots of chances to fool around with my camera more this time around though, and take some shots that were impossible to take with the kecik camera I had the last time. I'm still trying to figure out the damn camera though. I think I need professional help. With the camera I mean. Eep.
So yeah, that pretty much wraps up the update for now. Will post later when I think of something more er.. substantial to write about, ok?
Back to work. Blah.
Friday, 11 August 2006
Anyway, I saw this post: Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries on Simon's book blog yesterday, and wanted to blog about it, but then I got sidetracked by that dastardly genie called WORK, and couldn't get down to it.
Anyway, in case anyone was wondering, here's what I think about the list. It's utter BOLLOCKS. Most harmful books??? How the heck are books supposed to HARM people? Throw themselves kamikaze-like off the shelves and hit people?
Sure, those books are controversial and all, and have a lot of stuff that may or may not be agreeable to everyone, but to say that mere books caused all that 'harmful stuff' is just rubbish.
It's not the BOOK that determines how much harm or good it does. It's the READERS who do that. I mean, look at certain holy books of religion. They are supposed to be GOOD books, but look what happens when certain PEOPLE who read them misintepret them to the extent that it causes more harm than good. Witch hunts? Suicide bombings? Aren't those er... HARMFUL activities?
Look, sure, the authors may have had EVIIIL thoughts while writing those books, but just like blogs these days, it's up to the readers whether they want to believe in those words or not. After all, some people actually believe that whatever a certain prominent blogger says is TRUE and is ALWAYS RIGHT, despite him being an INDIVIDUAL who answers to no one but himself (and maybe his occasional freebie-giving sponsor).
My point is, you can't really determine how 'harmful' a book may be. Take Harry Potter for instance. On the good side of things, it's got MILLIONS of kids to actually READ. On the other side of things, it's also gotten them to believe that J.K. Rowling is a brilliant writer (which she is not. She merely has really good plots, ideas and marketing) and that everyone else is crap. So a whole generation of kids are going to grow up worshipping Rowling as the Tolkien of their times. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a really horrible prospect to me.
Bah. Enough serious talk. Let's get a little silly. Because if others can come up with a list of books than are purportedly 'harmful' to the world, I can as well.
So here are my personal top ten most harmful books ever written. And I've even given REASONS!
The Eyeris List of Top Ten Most 'Harmful' Books ever written
1) The Da Vinci Code (Dan Blown) - Harmful to lovers of actual good writing
2) Travels (Michael Chrichton) - Harmful to your stomach (Yes, it's THAT crappy. And it's supposed to be NON-fiction)
3) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (JK Rowling-in-it) - Harmful to your kids' reading habits. (They might not want to read anything else anymore)
4) Who Moved My Cheese? - Harmful to suckers
5) No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting - Harmful to Insomniacs (I swear this is a real book. I saw it in Payless)
6) Wayne Rooney: My Story So Far - Harmful to your intellect (more like an insult, actually, but you get the point...)
7) Confessions of a Heiress (Paris Hilton) - Harmful to your sanity
8) The Book of Bunny Suicides - Harmful to bunnies
9) The Complete Far Side 1980-1994, two volume set - Harmful to your wallet and credit card limit
10) Puteri Gunung Ledang: The Picture Book - Harmful to your butt (just seeing the cover will make you fall out of your chair in disbelief)
Tuesday, 8 August 2006
Is incredibly stupid.
Sure, it has its moments here and there, is funny in parts, and that Mexican actress is one hot chica...
Ok so she plays a nun. She's still hot. See here:
Anyway, I actually had high hopes for this movie (ok, maybe not THAT high. its a Jack Black + Nickelodean movie after all) because it even has the director of THIS movie:
But seriously. Compared to Nacho Libre, Napolean Dynamite actually has more CLASS.
At least Napolean Dynamite had THAT dance sequence. And the line: "Vote for me, and all your wildest dreams will come true." And a llama.
Nacho Libre? Oklar, it had a few genuinely funny parts. But I wouldn't pay to watch the movie. Go borrow a DVD or something.
Unless of course, seeing Jack Black waving his spandex-clad ass around on the BIG screen is your kind of thing, then go ahead, pay for it....
Me, I think I'll go watch some South Park to cleanse my memory of that traumatising image...
Monday, 7 August 2006
- Fried Chicken Wings
- Sunny Hyper Parabolas
- Despicable Poetry
- 27 Minutes in a Traffic Jam
- The No-Talent Dudes
- The Tableclothes
- The Chan Ah Kow Band
- The Two-For-Ones
- Bottomless Pothole
- Saman 154
- Illegal Karaoke
- Stinky Beans
- Yaucharguai from Hell
What, cannot ar? If people can call their bands We Are Scientists, 30 Seconds to Mars, Blink 182, Carburator Dung, U2, Funny Rabbits (!!!), Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, and Old Automatic Garbage, why can't I named mine Fried Chicken Wings?
PS: Who's going for We Are Scientists on Wednesday night???
Sunday, 6 August 2006
I've been longing to get my hands on Illinoise ever since I heard Snow Patrol's Hands Open, which referenced Sufjan Steven's Chicago on this album. And since I couldn't seem to find it (at a decent price) around KL, I asked my sister to bring it back from US for me...
And now I have not just Illinoise, but Greetings From Michigan as well! Whee!
It's funny, but usually I don't listen to these genre of songs. But after er... acquiring the songs from the entire album, I found I really liked the tunes and melodies on Illinoise, so I asked my sis to get it for me.
Sufjan Stevens is apparently on a quest to record albums about all fifty states on the US, and he's now done... er... TWO.
Well, if it's anything as good as Illinoise (I haven't really heard Michigan yet), then I'll probably be having all fifty in my colelction. god knows how long it'll take him though...
One funny thing about his songs is the bombastic titles. With titles like:
- They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From the Dead!! Ahhhh!
- The Tallest Man, the Broadest Shoulders / Part I: The Great Frontier / Part II: Come to Me Only With Playthings Now
- The Black Hawk War, Or, How To Demolish An Entire Civilization And Still Feel Good About Yourself In The Morning, Or, We Apologize For The Inconvenience But You're Gonna Have To Leave Now, Or, 'I Have Fought The Big Knives And Will Continue To Fight...
However, it's some of the songs that have less bombastic titles that I'm pretty much addicted to. Songs like Chicago (the song that was referenced by Snow Patrol), John Wayne Gacy, Jr., and Decatur, Or, Round Of Applause For Your Stepmother! (ok, so this title is pretty long as well), all have beautiful melodies, and very eloquent lyrics to boot.
The lyrics are something I really like especially, because they talk about not the usual stuff, but some really weird stuff and ordinary stuff as well. Sometimes I even wish I wrote them... sigh...
Some of the songs even remind me of Simon & Garfunkel, others are just dreamy and relaxing... Definitely a far cry from the noisy rock songs I've been listening to lately. Yup, considering the mood I've been lately, I think gonna be listening to these two CDs for a loooong time...
Saturday, 5 August 2006
But anyway, I've finally finished reading American Gods, and I must say I kinda like his style. On with the review then...
Title: American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman
Shadow is a man with a past. But now he wants nothing more than to live a quiet life with his wife and stay out of trouble. Until he learns that she's been killed in a terrible accident.
Flying home for the funeral, as a violent storm rocks the plane, a strange man in the seat next to him introduces himself. The man calls himself Mr. Wednesday, and he knows more about Shadow than is possible.
He warns Shadow that a far bigger storm is coming. And from that moment on, nothing will ever be the same...
What I Liked:
- It's NEIL GAIMAN.
- I liked the idea of the old gods vs new American gods angle
- The plot is pretty interesting, and keeps you guessing at what the whole thing is all about.
- I liked how he blends all the different gods from different cultures together
- It was cool trying to guess which god was which and from which culture.
- The whole story has a rather laid-back feel to it - sort of relaxed pace but still engaging.
- Wednesday is a pretty cool character.
What I Didn't Like:
- Some parts were rather graphically violent and horrifying. But then it's Gaiman, so THAT'S ok.
- Some of the weirder and more abstract scenes were just that - weird; and a little hard to picture in my mind.
- IMHO, Certain things in the plot didn't seem to do much to help the plot at all.
This is the first Neil Gaiman NOVEL that I'd read, and I overall, I kinda liked it. It's got a little bit of his comic book style in it - that weird blend of horror, fantasy, and imaginative plots - and is pretty damn readable as well.
I've always liked it when books blend cultures together, taking sort-of familiar elements from each culture and bringing them together. In this case, the use of gods from all sorts of cultures all over the world makes for and interesting
The pace is pretty even throughout, and even in the slower parts, you still wanna read on. Funnily enough, the book kinda reminds me of Good Omens, only more sombre and not as insanely funny.
Yup, reading this book has definitely given me a small taste of Gaiman's novel-writing style, so I'm looking forward to reading Anansi Boys next (which is supposedly a 'sequel' of sorts to American Gods, and maybe Neverwhere as well.
Friday, 4 August 2006
It's been a long time since I've been this glad to see a weekend.
To say it's been a long week is probably an understatement.
I'm looking forward to chilling out at home, getting a haircut (to get rid of the mullet), eating my favorite Taman Melawati chicken rice, and basically doing nothing else.
Now, back to work.... MAYBE I might update later, but don't count on it...
And yes, I'm still alive. The cough hasn't killed me yet.
Thursday, 3 August 2006
This stupid cough is killing me.
And there are still two more days to go to the weekend.
Tuesday, 1 August 2006
Anyway, I was in Kinokuniya last week, browsing around and lamenting my dwindling funds, when I came across this:
Book two of the Soldier Son trilogy! Robin Hobb! Woohoo!
And so, being the weak-minded being that I am, I just GRABBED it off the shelf in the same manner I did to book one, exactly one year ago. And proceeded to starve for the next four days before my salary came out.
Then, I also saw THIS book:
Dragons of the Dwarven Depths?!?!?!? The Dark Chronicles, Volume 1?!?!?!?!? Do we REALLY need another Dragonlance book? After the insipid bore that was the War of Souls trilogy, Weis and Hickman have really lost the plot. They should have quit with Dragonlance: Chronicles and Dragonlance: Legends, which may have been shallow fantasy, but at least they were immensely entertaining in their own right.
This one apparently is an 'untold story' from the War of the Lance (which was when Chronicles and Legends are set pretty much), and just smacks of W&H trying to revive their careers by going back to what was their most popular works.
Nope, I'm not gonna buy this. Will probably read it (and finish it) in the bookstore, but nope, I'm not buying it unless I see it in Payless, and even then, only if it's below RM10...