Wednesday, 31 May 2006

The Fireangel Theory of Prominent Blogging

We begin today's regular blog transmission with a special announcement:
.....


First things first. I was asked by a certain cute chick to ask all 20 of you readers this:

Do you like the smell of petrol fumes?

Don't ask why.


.....
Special Transmission End (Not THAT special after all eh?)

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

Regular transmission begins:

Between getting some cool free stuff, and certain 'developments' at work lately, it's been a pretty see-saw week so far, 'saw-ing' more into the 'good' area. But then again, I've got a 'D-Day' coming up this Friday, so I'm not counting my chickens just yet.

Anyway, like the 'special' announcement above, today's post was sort of 'inspired' by that certain 'femes blogger' as well. Yes, she's femes. Why? Well, that's what the post is all about.

You see, I reckon that there are a few things that indicate whether a blog has 'made it' or not, and I reckon she fulfills some of those criteria.

Anyway, you know you have made it / are making it as a 'prominent' Malaysian blogger when...
  1. You have commenters commenting just for the sake of saying "FIRST COMMENT!"
  2. People keep dragging your name up everytime there is a blog war
  3. Every single one of yours posts has more than 20-30 comments consistently
  4. You get people inviting you for free concerts just so they can take pictures with the 'femes' blogger
  5. Almost every single blog in Malaysia links to you
  6. Other bloggers are christianed 'you-wannabes' if their style of blogging even remotely resembles yours
  7. Other bloggers think that a single picture of you is worthy of an entire blog post
  8. Just mentioning your name/blog on the subject line of one's PPS ping will generate more traffic to one's blog (well, it got YOU here, didn't it?)
  9. People give you free stuff to review
  10. Even a simple single-line question on your blog gets you more than 50 comments
  11. ShaolinTiger dedicates an entire post to flaming / partying with you
  12. Complete strangers say hi to you in the gym/hypermarket/rave/toilet

Will post more if I think of more. Now, I'm braindead.

And yes I know lots of people have blogged about this before. So?

Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Bandanna Bandits Ban Banana Banners

The word 'ban' has been bandied around a lot by bandits in bandannas eating bananas lately. Sharon had THIS POST today that was the 'inspiration' for this post.

Because there have bans have been so in vogue lately, I decided to come up with a list of things I would like to see banned as well. After all, if the excuse they gave for banning Lelaki Komunis Terakhir was that "People who don’t know about Chin Peng will think what a ‘poor old man’ he is"; and the reason they banned Daredevil was because of that 'devil' word, then logically, there are a whole lot more other things that they should consider banning also right? Right?

Anyway, here's what I think should be banned as well:
  • Boy Band concerts by obscure pretty boy groups (I refuse to call them SINGERS, let alone MUSICIANS) - they encourage bad taste in music among our youth and turn young girls into screaming wrecks
  • Toothbrushes - Because according to a oft-repeated joke, it goes in and out of a body orifice, has hair, and produces white foam. Sounds too distubring to be healthy, no?
  • The Da Vinci Code - Not because it offends me, but because I think it's crap. It lowers people's IQs and makes them think it will cause people to renounce their faith. But then again, it's probably gotten people who have not read a book in YEARS to finally pick up a book... oh wait, that's Harry Potter.
  • Petrol - Because it causes people to skip work and run around peacefully holding placards when they should be working. If we ban petrol, then they can't complain about it anymore! Yay! (Technically, they COULD complain about the LACK of it though... damn).
  • American Idol - This one 100% must ban! Because it has the word 'Idol'! It can merosot our faith! We must not worship idols! We must not spend two hours every week staring religiously at the television and scream when the idols are announced! We must not spend every week in front of the TV looking at Katherine's boobs!Then again... oh carry on...
  • Banners - these should be banned because they are banners! Only people who ban things should be called 'banners', not large cloth thingies with words and pictures on them announcing warehouse sales! Those banners don't ban things! So they should be banned because they do not live up to the ideal of the word 'ban'!
will write more if i think of more. now I got work to do, which I must do or else I kena ban jugak....

Monday, 29 May 2006

How to Do a To-Do List Of Things to Do Today: An Expert Guide

For the first time a long time, I'm getting swamped at work, so today I thought I'd do a to-do list of things to do today, just so I can get all the things I want done today done. Doo di Doo.

So I did. And here's how I went about doing it

  1. Took pen and paper
  2. Wrote down numbers on side of pen and paper
  3. Wrote first few items of work
  4. Stopped, thought about next items.
  5. Went to get coffee
  6. Came back, remembered a few things I need to do before the things I'd already wrote down.
  7. Cut out first few items, rewrote numbers, and wrote new items first
  8. Pen ran out of ink from being overzealous with the 'cutting out' of the first list
  9. Get up and borrowed a pen from colleague
  10. Wrote "Buy new pen" in list
  11. Wrote next few items.
  12. Stopped, and thought, "Hey, this would be a great thing to blog about"
  13. Wrote "Blog about To-Do List" in To-Do List
  14. Write more items after that
  15. Got up to refill coffee cup
  16. Finished list.
  17. Blogged about doing a to-do list
  18. Cut out the "Blog about To-Do List" item on the list
  19. Went to toilet.
  20. Came back, and updated the blog with items 18, 19, 20.
Dammit, writing the list AND blogging about it has already taken up my entire morning. Where got time to work samore, I ask you? Oh well, easily remedied:


21. Split list into two, and put today's list on the top, of the first list, and tomorrow's date on the second list.


Voila! A To-Do list for two days! Now I can save time doing ANOTHER To-Do list tomorrow!

Wait a sec, don't I have even MORE things to do tomorrow on top of the things I'm supposed to do today but scheduled for tomorrow? Drat. Now I'll have to redo the entire list again.

Oh well, lunchtime!

Sunday, 28 May 2006

Book Review: Batman: Black & White, Volume 1 (Anthology)

Let's try something new. I've never really done a review of a graphic novel before here, so I'll try one now. But instead of following the normal book review format I have here, I'm gonna try a 'new' format that I invented all by myself. I so smart.

Anyway, I figured I'll start off with this anthology of Batman tales I bought recently. I'ts not the easiest to review, cos it's not done by a single author or artist, but a combination of the industry's biggest names. Oh, and it's also in Black and White.

So, for today's Hopefully-Weekly-Book-Review and the first ever Maybe-Monthly-Graphic-novel-Review, I present...

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




Title: Batman: Black & White (Volume 1)
Author: Various
Artists: Various

Synopsis:
An anthology of Batman stories written and drawn by the comic industry's biggest names - Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, Jim Lee, Brian Bolland and so on. Volume 1 comprises of #1-#4 of theBatman: Black & White comics.

Artwork:
Now, I'm not a comics guy, and neither am I the artistic sort. I judge nice artwork on whether I like it or not, and not how revolutionary, abstract, bla bla bla or not. If I like it personally, I'll say so.
  • The art work in B:B&W comprises of work from quite a number of top comic artists, so needless to say, it's all very top-notch.
  • It's all in black and white, which makes the art even more unique.
  • Some of the Batmans looked a bit cacat to me, but I liked it overall.
  • It's... different
  • I love seeing how each artists portrays the Dark Knight in his own unique style.
Story (or in this case: stories):
  • Some worked for me, some didn't
  • Some very cool stories, and some rather unusual ones
  • The ones that worked were the ones that didn't really focus on his crimefighting, but more on his personal turmoil
Summary:
Overall, I thought this was a very solid graphic novel. It's certainly a novel idea: get the comic industry's biggest writers together to come up with their own interpretations of Batman, and get the best artists to draw the stories in Black and White. Then, get guys like Frank Miller (Sin City) and Jim Lee (Batman: Hush) to draw the covers, and voila! a recipe for success.

While some stories were a bit off-beat for me, I liked the book. It's interesting to read all the different takes on Batman, and is a lot more different than the normal comics which sometimes tend to get too... er... comic-ish, if you know what I mean.

Grade: A

An iNane iRamble

This is what my iTunpes tells me about my collection of mp3s in my laptop.

5397 songs, 14.5 days, 22.71GB

Yup, I have more than two weeks worth of music to listen to, and more than 5000 songs in my list. And to tell the truth, I haen't even listened to HALF of them.

So, since I have all that unheard music in my laptop, and only 512MB (around 120 songs) in my iPod shuffle, what can I do to make sure I don't just listen to those songs I LIKE, but also the songs I have not heard at all?

No, buying a proper iPod is not an option. As much as the idea of having 2000 songs in the iPod to listen to may sound appealing to some of you, it's not as good an idea to me, unfortunately.

Why? Well, based on my 'calculations', I will only listen to my iPod for about 5 hours max everyday. So I really don't need that many songs in the playlist, because I won't be able to finish listening to it in a day anyway.

No, I'd rather just listen to the 100 odd songs on the Shuffle, then when I get home, just delete the old list and then put in new songs. At least htis way I don't have to listen to the same songs day in and day out.

Besides, you can't swing a proper iPod around on its earbud wires can you?

Anyway, how do I make sure I don't listen to the songs I've already listened to before? I make a new Smart Playlist, and filter out the songs that have ONE or MORE play counts, so that I can be sure that the playlist now has songs that I've not played A SINGLE TIME BEFORE.

So whenever I update my playlist, I just replace it with songs from that playlist of hunplayed songs, and voila! I go through abother hundred songs in my stash that I haven't heard before.

It also helps me weed out the songs I don't like, so when I get home I can delete them from my collection and save some space on my laptop.

I've been doing htis for the past two months already, and I'm already down to about er... 3000+ songs I have not heard. At this rate, I'll be able to listen to ALL my songs by... er... next year....

Damn.

Thursday, 25 May 2006

Busy Me Do Meme

I've been incredibly busy these past few days, so I'm just gonna take the easy way out and do a few memes to pass off as proper updates... hehe.

I got tagged with this particular one by Erna. BEFORE she went and messed around with her template. AGAIN.

THREE NAMES YOU GO BY:

Hmmm... The problem with being semi-anonymous on the blog is that I can't really mention the names... but I CAN say that I answer to all four words in my name, plus all my internet nicks, which are:
1. eyeris 2. MCSC 3. Real Name

THREE PHYSICAL THINGS YOU LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF:
1. My ability to run off sports injuries almost immedietely, barring broken legs
2. Being able to run away very very fast
3. All my teeth are intact

THREE PHYSICAL THINGS YOU DON’T LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF:
1. Too skinny?
2. Tendency to get cramps if I over-exercise
3. Get sick too easily

THREE PARTS OF YOUR HERITAGE:
1. Malaysian (In essense)
2. Chinese (only in tradition)
3. Penangite (only in tastebuds)

THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T STAND:
1. Inconsiderate smokers
2. Dan Brown
3. Religious fanatics

THREE THINGS THAT SCARE YOU:
1. Fast moving, descending heights
2. The LDP
3. Kenny G

THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE SHOWS:
1. House M.D.
2. South Park
3. The Amazing Race

THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE JAPANESE ANIMES:
1. The Transformers
2. City Hunter
3. Naruto

THREE OF YOUR CURRENT FAVORITE SONGS:
1. Lightning Blue Eyes, by the Secret Machines
2. Chasing Cars, by Snow Patrol
3. Too Cold (Ice Ice Baby remake), by Korn

THREE MOVIES YOU CAN WATCH OVER AND OVER AGAIN:
1. All three Lord of the Rings movies back to back
2. The Incredibles
3. The original Star Wars trilogy

THREE MOVIES YOU WOULD LIKE TO WATCH:
1. The Transformers live action movie (due out in 2007)
2. Cars. Again.
3. Mirrormask

THREE OF YOUR EVERYDAY ESSENTIALS:
1. My laptop
2. My iPod shuffle
3. My Nescafe

THREE THINGS YOU ARE WEARING RIGHT NOW:
1. Shirt
2. Pants
3. Underwear

THREE THINGS YOU WANT IN A RELATIONSHIP:
1. Love
2. Trust
3. Badminton

THREE PHYSICAL THINGS ABOUT THE OPPOSITE GENDER THAT APPEAL TO YOU:
1. Nice smile
2. Nice eyes.
3. Nice figure (so I'm shallow. Sue me)

THREE BAD HABITS:
1. Not getting enough sleep
2. Drinking too much coffee
3. Buying too many toys

THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE HOBBIES:
1. Reading
2. Badminton
3. Toy collecting

THREE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO REALLY BADLY RIGHT NOW:
1. Go to Japan
2. Watch Green Day live
3. Get that Masterpiece Starscream

THREE CAREERS YOU’RE CONSIDERING OR CURRENTLY PURSUING:
1. Feature writer
2. Freelance writer
3. Professional toy collector

THREE PLACES YOU WANT TO GO ON VACATION:
1. Spain
2. Japan
3. New Zealand

THREE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE:
1. Write a novel
2. Go to Spain
3. Go to Anfield

THREE WAYS THAT YOU ARE STEREOTYPICALLY A GUY:
1. Lack of sleep during World Cup season
2. Obsession with action figures
3. Watching 8TV just to drool over Marion Caunter

INITIALS OF THREE CRUSHES:
1. HYY
2. WAC
3. TWEE

Tuesday, 23 May 2006

Pixar: The Roadkill Connoisseurs

Move over, all you pretenders and wannabe computer animation production studios.

Pixar is back and they're gonna make roadkill outta you.

Yup, forget Ice Age 2 (so-so only), don't bother with The Wild (no, really. DON'T BOTHER), try to resist buying that ticket for Over The Hedge (to formulaic and 'been-there-done-that' for me), and wait for JUNE 8 2006.

Because if you can only watch ONE animated feature this year, watch:



Why? Because it's the first movie I've REALLY, REALLY enjoyed so far this year, and is also the only movie that's given me that urge to watch it AGAIN right after stepping out of the cinema...

I've seen almost all the major animated features this year, and I have to say that Cars is stil the best, not just because I'm bias towards Pixar, but also because it seems a lot more original and creative than the other more formulaic cartoons.

Sure, Over the Hedge was pretty enjoyable too, but was still a little too formulaic for me at times. Heck, even that animated short before Cars - One Man Band - was WAAAAY better than Over the Hedge.

Besides, it's easy to animate animals and humans, but to take inanimate objects like cars and trucks and make them seem almost human, complete with feelings and all, is a lot harder.

So, gentlemen... start your engines.... CARS is zooming into cinemas on 8 JUNE 2006.

Rev up, people!

PS: Suanie liked it too. SOMEONE ELSE would have as well, but couldn't wake up for it. Noob.

Monday, 22 May 2006

Two quick sentences and a headline

It's amazing how fast one can work when you're under pressure, and being blackmailed into doing your work at the same time.

And as a result, how little time you have to blog more than two sentences.

Sunday, 21 May 2006

Book Review: Sir Thursday (Garth Nix)

They say that the books one reads shows your current mood and character. well, I must be trying REALLY HARD to relive my childhood then, since I've been reading a whole lot more children's fantasy books in the past few months than any other genre.

Oh well, I'm still a kid after all, why else would I still be playing LEGO and collecting toys eh?

Anyway, today's Hopefully-Bi-Weekly-Book-Review is one book that I'd been waiting to read since I finished the LAST book in the series. It's Garth Nix's Sir Thursday, the fourth book in the Keys to the Kingdom series.

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



Title: Sir Thursday (Book 4 of the Keys to the Kingdom series)
Author: Garth Nix

Synopsis (From Amazon.co.uk):
On the fourth day, there was war!

Following their adventures in the Border Sea, Arthur Penhaligon and Leaf head for home. But only Leaf gets through the Front Door. Arthur is blocked because someone - or something - has assumed his identity and is taking over his life. Before Arthur can take action, he is drafted by Sir Thursday and forced to join the Glorious Army of the Architect.

The Army has its headquarters in the Great Maze, a defensive area of the House. Half of the Maze has already been dissolved by Nothing, and hordes of Nithlings emerge regularly to attack the rest. If the Nithling invasion can overcome the Army and the Great Maze, the House will be lost and the whole universe with it.

While Leaf tries to banish Arthur's doppelganger on earth, Arthur must survive his basic training, avoid getting posted to the Front and work out how he can free Part Four of the Will and gain the Fourth Key from Sir Thursday.

What I Liked:
  • Very addictive read, especialy if you've read the first three as well
  • nice twist and further development to the story
  • The plot's getting REALLY intriguing now
  • Expands another aspect of The House nicely
  • Sets up the last three books nicely
  • Nice little tidbits about the Morrow Days
  • The Cliffhanger!
What I didn't like:
  • Other characters besides Arthur not really developed much
  • A tad 'been there done that' at times
  • Have to wait for the NEXT one now...
Summary:
Like I said HERE, Nix is my new hero in fantasy fiction, and this book sustains my faith in his writing. It DOES seem a little 'been there done that' at times, but then agian, it's the FOURTH book in the series already, and he still manages to keep The House interesting by adding new elements with each book.

He also interconnects the elements introduced in each book, incorporating them in the new book.This makes for a more and more developed story and complicated one, and it's becoming more intriguing with each book. Which is more than one can say about a certain Waste of Time.

This is children's fantasy in its best form - imaginative, exciting, engaging and makes you long for more. Bring on Lady Friday please!

Saturday, 20 May 2006

Early Morning Ticket Rush in Needless Panic

Yesterday morning, my alarm went off at 9am. Confused, I lay in bed for a while wondering why I woke up so early.

Then it hit me. Oh shit, it's the day the tickets go on sale!

So I jumped out of bed, turned on the laptop, and went to that site.

While waiting for the website to load, I:
  • brushed my teeth
  • took a bath
  • peed
  • went outside to get the newspaper
And when I came back the website had STILL NOT FINISHED LOADING!

GAH! Damn you kiasu people! Stop clogging up the server!!!!!

So I click the refresh button over and over again. and after ten minutes, I finally get into the website. I go to the booking page, where I can see the seating area. I click on the desired seats, and press 'SUBMIT'.

And what do I get?

"THE SEATS YOU REQUESTED ARE CURRENTLY SOLD OUT"

WHAT?!?!?!? Sold out in less than an HOUR? NO WAY!

I panicked, running around like a headless kampung chicken and call Su Yin in Signapore:

Me: Eh, The website said the tickets are SOLD OUT!
Su Yin: WHAT?!?!?! *sounds of panicking*

I was late for er... 'work' (READ: X-Men III screening), so I ran out, and while I was zooming along, called Erna for help:

Me: Eh, you have their number right? Can help me call them to book the ticket ar?
Erna: *Rolls eyes* (yes, I could practically FEEL her rolling her eyes over the phone) Ok lah.

*five minutes later:

Me: eh, got them ar?
Erna: No lar. been calling 30 times, cannot get, sowi.
Me: NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Later, as I was driving along the highway to Mid Valley, wearing out the redial button on my phone, I had a brainwave. They have a counter in KL Sentral right? I'll just pop in, take about ten minutes to get the tickets, and then ZOOM all the way to Mid Valley. With luck, I wouldn't miss a single trailer!

So, ZOOM ZOOM, masuk parking KL Sentral, ran down to the counter, where I ask hurriedly, "STILL GOT THE TICKETS?"

The girl looks at me 'one kind', probably thinking, 'what kind of idiot comes to my counter at 10am, one hour after the tickets go on sale, and asks me whether they're sold out?'

She checks the system, and says, "Still got. How many you want?"

After heaving a mighty sigh of relief, I ask for one ticket (and she stares at me and probably thinks, "So kiasu for ONE ticket only?"), pay for it, and then ZOOOOOOM all the way to Mid Valley where I manage to run into the cinema JUST as the lights go out. WHEW!

Later, after the movie, I get an SMS from Su Yin:

"The counter girl here said still got a lot lar!"

Oops. So much for all that panicking eh?

Anyway, what the heck was all that about? What was it I was so excited about? Well, here are the fruits of my 'labour':



COLDPLAY! SINGAPORE! 10 July!!! Anyone else going?

Yes yes, so it was much ado about nothing. But hey, I'd been waiting for this the past... er... week ok?

Though I still say bloody SGD170 for a free standing ticket is bloody piracy.

So I'm a sucker. Sue me.

Friday, 19 May 2006

Damn you Superman. You killed the X-Men...

Update: OK OK, since you all insist that this this review HAS spoilers (though I don't really think they ARE any (major ones, at least), I'll put the spoiler alert lor...

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT. MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD.

ALSO, SECOND GRADE LEVEL WRITING AHEAD. MAY IMPAIR YOUR ABILITY TO OPERATE KEYBOARDS PROPERLY.

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

Damn you Superman.

Damn you for stealing the X-Men's director, and leaving it with Bret Ratner, who has probably turned the wrath of X-Fans all over the world upon himself with THIS 'sequel' to Bryan Singer's films.

My first thought as I came out of the cinema was, "I HATE IT". But now that I've calmed down and pushed that fervant hypersensitive fanboy in my mind aside, I can say that ok, so it was quite a spectacle.

Besides, compared to The Darn Vanilla Code, this is a much more entertaining film, and is also more worthy of the tag 'summer blockbuster' than that self-centered Mission: Cruisable.

HOWEVER, while watching the show, I still couldn't help cringing every now and then.

Now, the X-Men comic universe is pretty much screwed up anyway, what with alternate time-lines, dimenions, planets, sons going back in time to fight alongside their fathers, not to mention Mojo - but still, the movie just does not do justice to the whole coolness of mutants.

That's the word, 'COOL'.

Mutants are cool.

X-1 was cool. When Wolverine first extended his claws, THAT was cool. When Mystique shapeshifted for the first time, THAT was cool. When Logan fought Sabretooth on top of the Statue of Liberty, THAT was cool. When Toad... ok wait, never mind. Toad was NOT so cool.

X-2 was cool too. When Nightcrawler raided the White House, THAT was cool. When Wolverine went berserk in the Mansion, THAT was cool. When Colossus's armour went up, THAT was cool. And when you saw that Phoenix shaped shadow in the lake in the end, THAT was cool.

X3? not so cool. I can't remember any cool moments. Seriously. Ok, maybe when Angel spread his wings for the first time, that was cool. And when Kitty Pryde went up against Juggernaut, that was cool. (all these were in the trailer, so they're not really spoilers, BTW). And Dark Phoenix? She's not cool She's HOT. But anyway... beyond that... nothing much lor. Normal only lor. No REALLY cool moments. No Ooh Ahh moments, just Ooh moments.

Ok lah, got SOME reasonably cool scenes lar, but overall, the movie was not as cool as it SHOULD be. What's cooler than mutants? NOTHING! That's why the movie COULD have ben cooler, even cooler than Iceman!

Instead of thinking how cool the scenes were, the actual thoughts that went through my head during the movie was:

  • WHAT? How could he do this to HIM?
  • NOOO! Why is SHE like that?
  • GAH! Don't do THAT to her!!!
  • ARGH! He is not supposed to be like that!
  • EH? What the hell is this?
  • I want Bryan Singer back!!!

Final verdict? X-Men fan boys will probably be outraged by this. Too many liberties taken, too many characters distorted, too many characters with not enough screentime... But then again, there ARE lots for X-fans to be happy about as well - Fastball special (TWICE!), fire vs ice, Dark Phoenix, sentinels, danger room... it SHOULD keep the riots to a minimum, or at least limit the rioters to the rabid purists.

But as summer blockbuster fare, it's got lots of action, a reasonably good story, and lots of er... ok, reasonably cool characters. Mutants rule, after all.

Argh, I can't decide if I hate it or love it. I think I'm gonna go watch it again, just to make sure. Oh, and so I can stick around after the movie and catch that last bit AFTER end of the credits where...

AND to watch that Superman Returns trailer again. He may have stolen Bryan Singer, and I may not like him much, but his new movie trailer looks good, so I'll be waiting for that the Big S to return anyway...

And you wanna know what I think will be the best movie of the summer? Nope, no mutants, superpeople, crytologists or religious fundamentalists. Just carburators, radiators, tyres and lots of engine noises.

Here ya go, presenting... the Pixar Cars!

VROOM VROOM!!!

Wednesday, 17 May 2006

The Da Milli Vanilli Crap

I watched The Da Vinci Code today.

Now, before I get to the 'review', I must stress that I have not exactly been Darn Blown's biggest fan. In fact, I hate the book a lot (Wanna know why? Go read my REVIEW), and think it is just a movie screenplay disguised as a book. So obviously, you're not gonna get a very favourable review from me.

Anyway, after watching the movie, I'm even MORE convinced that Dang Blong wrote the book WITH HALF A MIND ON MAKING THE MOVIE.

Why? Because the movie is actually better than the book.

HOWEVER, before you start going out to line up for tickets, I have to stress that while the MOVIE is better than the BOOK, it really doesn't mean that the movie is any good either.

It basically takes everything that's er... 'good' about the book (the twists, the 'controversial' conspiracy theory, the codes), which wasn't very much in the first place, and adds a whole lot of monologuing, bad dialogue, historical babble, some action scenes and some very bored-looking acting from Tom Hanks.

Tom Hanks is so out of place in the movie. He almost looks like he's embaressed to be in it (I would be too, with THAT hairstyle). Audrey Tautou was cute though. Paul Bettany and Alfred Moulina were wasted. And as usual, Sir Ian McKellen was the best of the cast. he made an otherwise boring character a lot more interesting, and saved an otherwise boring and over-rated cast from being one of the most forgettable big-name ensembles in summer blockbuster history. ( Oh wait, that's Troy).

This bloody movie has gotta be one of the most over-hyped crap movies in summer blockbuster history (no wait. I think that's still Troy). It's probably going to appeal most to those who have NOT read the book (of which there probably aren't many in the first place), who would enjoy the twists and conspiracy theories more. Those who've read the book would do well not to relive the whole thing over again, because the whole story stays true to the book most of the time (which is really not a very good thing).

Still, to me, this is a just a reasonably watchable, run-of-the-mill pseudo thriller-drama thingy that DRAGS and BORES for the first half, wakes up a little when McKellen comes into the show, and ends on a slightly higher note that comes two hours too late to make the movie memorable.

If anyone tries to tell me that like the book, it's the best movie ever made, I'll throw the book at him, and then make him eat EVERY SINGLE PAGE without any water to wash it down, AND stuff my ticket stub up his nostrils.

Bah. That's TWO lousy summer 'blockbusters' so far. Thank GOD I didn't have to pay for either one. X3 this Friday better do better than what those two Toms could come up with....

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

UPDATE: Just thought I'd add something else in here, before anyone makes any assumptions about why I hate the movie.

I hate it because it's crap. That's all.

I don't really give a damn about the religious point of view about this movie. IT'S A BLOODY MOVIE. PULP FICTION.

Anyone who thinks that watching this movie will (to paraphrase one of the movie's lines) "Shake the very foundations of their faith" and cause people to doubt their faith and religion, should bloody COME OUT of their turtle shells so that I can throw my book at THEM and make THEM eat the pages instead...

The Malaysian Scholar Reality TV show!

Ah, reality shows. So many of them, The Amazing Race, American Idol, Survivor, The Apprentice, The Scholar....

Wait a minute. THE SCHOLAR?

WHO THE HELL would wanna watch a bloody TV show about STUDENTS trying to get a scholarship? That's like... like... the most BORING THING ON EARTH.

Wait a minute, I'm thinking in terms of MALAYSIAN students. Malaysian scholars, who do nothing but study all day.

Can you imagine if some Malaysian TV channel decided to do a Malaysian version of The Scholar, and offered five students the chance of a scholarship, IF they get the best results in their SPM?

Wow, imagine this - HOURS and HOURS of LIVE footage, from the wee hours of the morning to daylight, and then night again, broadcasting LIVE from the students' room, studying in lecture halls and libraries, showing them doing nothing but STUDY all day.

After all, how you gonna get STRAIGHT A'S if you don't study 24/7 huh? Co-Curiculum? What's that? Social skills? Waddat? Interviews? You have to interview to get 21 A's meh?

the most exciting part of the show would be the SPM exam itself. We'd see them studying outside the exam hall, and memorising algorithms, and filling in those A-B-C objective papers, sharpening their 2B pencils... and then coming out of the exam hall looking distraught because they forgot the formula for calculating the exact amount of rocket fuel needed to power a space shuttle, or the best Nilai besides 'Bertanggungjawab' that was needed to answer that cracking Moral Education essay question.

HEck, if we're lucky, we might even get footage of some of the students CHEATING in the exam! Now THAT's television!

And the climax of the show?

Let's have the cameras show how little sleep the students get the night before the results come out, and then FOLLOW EACH OF THEM to where the results are released.

We'd have girls crying because they ONLY got 15 A1s, the guys jumping up and down because they actually PASSED the exam, and parents scolding their kids for getting that A2 that screwed up their perfect score.

And just for laughs, the follow-up shows will follow the contestants on their very first JOB interviews, just so we can see how badly they screw it up.

Yup, I'm SURE The Malaysian Scholar would be a DAMN good TV show. It's gonna be a hit I tell you. It's gonna be so big that students will be INSPIRED by it, and spend all day watching it instead of studying for THEIR exams, so the students who are actually IN the show will do better than the entire NATION of students, and they'll look really good on national TV!

Oh yeah, now THAT is good reality TV! So real it screws up an entire NATION!

Bah, where's my Cartoon Network?

Tuesday, 16 May 2006

Shallow Pop Culture Junkie Month

Hmmm. Lots of happenings in pop culture this month. While the past two weeks has been a 'Music Week' with quite a few new albums by bands I like being released, the NEXT two weeks is gonna be a 'Movie Week', with a lot of 'big' movies coming out too.

Well, first up, a recap of the music stuff:

I'd been considering several purchases of CDs these past week, (though I eventually didn't buy any because of another reason I'll mention later). Among them Goo Goo Dolls, Pearl Jam, Snow Patrol and Corinne Bailey Rae.

Pearl Jam's eponymous album should be interesting. Worldwide Suicide is a pretty decent rocker, but still, has not convinced me that I should buy the album. I love the cover though (even though I don't know what the hell it is). Still, Pearl Jam being Pearl Jam, it should be an interesting album.


I considered buying Goo Goo Dolls' Let Love In, and tested it out as well. It sounds like a lot of their previous albums, and have yet to determine whether it's worth buying.

Ok, so Corinne Bailey Rae's album WASN'T released this month, but nevertheless, it's still one that I plan to get probably next month though. I like her voice. :D

The one I REALLY wanted to buy this month was Snow Patrol's Eyes Open though. I really like Chasing Cars, which fits in perfectly right after you play Run. It's a predictably uplifting song, but I couldn't stop listening to it. The rest of the album's pretty good as well.

However, unfortunately, all my album purchases this month tergendala sebentar because of another announcement tha came out earlier this month.... COLDPLAY is going to Singapore in July.

Now, I'm not THAT big a fan of the band, but there is a reason why they are called masters of the stadium anthem, and that is why I'm NOT gonna miss a chance to see them live... Besides, I've always dreamnt of singing at the top of my voice Fix You in their concert...

And now, on to movies. Watching a couple of movies this week, among them is that the adaptation of THAT movie-script-cum-fiction-impersonating-a-historical-novel, a movie about animals going over a hedge or something, and the one I've been waiting for - The one with about the three X's (which does not star Vin Diesel or Ice Cube, BTW).

Yup, it's a good month for shallow pop culture junkies indeed...

Monday, 15 May 2006

Tanned but Sunburnt; Busy but Alive...

What a terrible weekend. I'm tanned, sunburnt, and goddamn tired from running around a sun-scorched pseudo-beach in Sunway talking to skateboard dudes and hot chicks in bikinis.

Ok, maybe it wasn't really THAT bad after all.

Besides, Liverpool also won the FA Cup during the weekend, so it's all good. Almost.

Anyway, I'm back now, just so you know (and so you don't do an Erna and call me up to make sure that I'm still alive).

Will update with a proper post later tonight. Busy Busy Busy....

PS: BTW, who were the bloggers who selamba went up to the X-Games media center last weekend and asked for media credentials? That's not the way you do it, people....

Thursday, 11 May 2006

Smiling Sexpots and Pouting Pontianaks...

Amber Chia seems to be everywhere these days. While general opinion about whether she is hot or not is rather divided (unlike the general opinion on her speaking skills, which seems unanimously negative), I actually think she is pretty decent looking. Not drop dead gorgeous, but still good to look at.

HOWEVER, I do think Amber has got it all wrong. She seems to think that her POUT is her greatest asset, that which makes her look best (the fact that she got that GUESS thingy BECAUSE of that pout probably reinforced that idea), but frankly, she jsut doesn't look good when she pouts, IMHO.

I happen to have seen her before hanging around my office a few times, and I have to say that when the girl SMILES, she looks really cute. Case in point, this comparison between two magazine covers:



Maybe it's just me. After all, pouts just don't do it for me. I don't think pouting is sexy and don't understand why models like to do it so much. The only pouting chick I like is Angelina Jolie, but then, THAT babe is in a class of her own when it comes to pouts.

Me, I'm a smiles guy. Girls with cute smiles attract me most. My larling has an ADORABLE smile that makes me melt everytime I see her.

Yup, give me a nice, cute smile, preferably with dimples, and you'll DEFINITELY get my attention. Which is also why I'm willing to suffer through that annoying Adam dude's pratter while watching 8TV's Quickie just to see Marion Caunter.

I swear Marion is the cutest chick on Malaysian TV right now. Well, she has the cutest smile on Malaysian TV anyway. Somehow, when she DOESN'T smile, she doesn't look as cute...



It's not just Asians whose smiles are better than their pouts. Some Western celebrities also need to work on their pouts. Like Jessica Alba, for instance:



And Maria Sharapova:



Oh course, less you think this only applies to goddess-like celebrities with millions to spare for plastic surgery, here's a nice little comparison of our very own favorite Malaysian blogosphere pin-up girl - Fireangel!!!!



Actually, it took me quite a while to find a picture in which FA is NOT smiling, which is a GOOD thing since she still has by far the cutest smile in the blogosphere. (ok, you can stop blushing now, FA. Now you can buy me chicken rice. Hehe). *Runs away*

Anyway, girls, girls girls... don't believe everything you see on the catwalks or fashion magazines. Pouting is SO not sexy. Most guys would prefer you to SMILE rather than pout all the while (if you pout too much, we might think you're PMS-ing, and just run away).

So, SMILE, girls, SMILE! :) :) :)

Wednesday, 10 May 2006

When Cybertron Transforms....



When Cybertron transforms, Unicron crumbles....



And then there was one... and his name is PRIMUS.

Tuesday, 9 May 2006

Negara ini bukan ada satu budaya sahaja, tau?



Celaka. Mentang-mentang pembacamu semua tau satu bahasa sahaja, dan bilangannya lebih daripada yang lain, bolehlah kamu merepek dan mengarut?

Selagi ada orang macam kamu yang begitu sempit pemikirannya, tidak majulah negara kita ini. Pemusnah budaya konon. Negara ini bukan ada satu budaya sahaja, tau?

SPREAD THE WORD:

Why is Lelaki Komunis Terakhir banned in Malaysia?

Monday, 8 May 2006

The Quiet Escape From A Noisy Hell

I stepped out of my hotel room, the quiet of the hotel corridor towards the lift lobby occasionally punctuated by the sounds of people chattering behind their hotel room doors.

The lift DINGS and opens. Stepping into the lift together with a family with two excited kids talking about the theme park. Rolling my eyes, I plug in my earbuds, and the flip the 'ON' button. The lift goes down 12... 11... 5... 3... 2... 1... DING!

As soon as the doors open, I am bombarded by the incessant noise of the place. Walking along the corridors of the over-rated and over-commercialised 'holiday resort', I try to block out the persistant beeping of video games, the constant ringing of slot machines, the loud techno Ah-Beng music, and above all else, the persistent chattering of thousands of people thronging the area left right and center.

I turn up the volume, but even Green Day on maximum volume can’t block out the annoying din. It's hard to even THINK in that insanely crowded cesspit of man-made noises.

I stare straight ahead, barging past groups of Mainland Chinese tourists deciding in very loud voices whether to go to the outdoor theme park or to head directly to the casinos, skip past the hoard of little children running around the indoor theme park (resisting the urge to trip up those scooting around in roller-shoes), and follow the brightly coloured signboards towards my ride home.

Even at the line to get on my ride, there is a throng of people arguing with one another, selfishly holding up the line as they argue with the attendents, barging rudely past you like the last ride is leaving in 5 seconds, and selfishly taking up one car all by themselves.

Shaking my head mildly, I wait for my turn, and get into the cable car with one other lady who smiles nervously as she ponders the height our ride would be taking off from.

Then, the doors close, and like a little transport shuttle leaving its mothership, my ride leaves the dock, and careens precariously down the wire, taking me home.

I turn off the iPod, enjoy the silence that accompanies the ride down, breathe in the fresh cool air, and admire the beautiful view of the vast rainforest spreading out below me.

After the hell I had to go through to get to that point, that 20 minutes ride down the mountain was a real reprive from civilisation, an escape from uncivility and commercialism.

As much as I hate going up to that mountain, I still look forward to these rides down when I can see the world beneath my feet, and feel the relief in escaping that man-made hell of blatant commercialism and greed.

You see, even if where you are seems pretty sucky, at least there is usually SOMETHING worth looking forward to in the end...

Sunday, 7 May 2006

You and what mob?

It was Reta and Peter Tan's idea:

Get A LOT of people, go to KLCC and do a flash mob thingy.

So... we gathered at KLCC, makan, minum, chatted and took a lot of pictures, and then decided to go to the Center Court where we would all whip out our cameras at the same time and take pictures with the flash on, and then DISPERSE!

'FLASH' mob, geddit?

Well, here's the 'mob' that we had:



Some 'mob' eh? Hehe. Yup, that little circle of people in the middle surrounding that bald dude in a wheelchair were all the people who turned up for the flash-mob-that-got-turned-into-a-blog-gathering-instead.

It was actually more of a flash rabble than a mob, really.

And here's the tiny 'flash' thingy that happened:



Me thinks we need more people, and more cameras, and I need to use a longer exposure to take the picture.

Oh well, it was a nice little gathering nonetheless. For the full list of attendees, to Reta's post HERE...

Thursday, 4 May 2006

Beeping Humps Killed the Radio Star

I've been listening to quite a bit of radio these days in the car, because I accidently took out all my CDs and keep forgeting to put them back in the car. (DOH!)

Anyway, I figured that listening to the radio stations a few days isn't that bad an idea now; after all, there are so many radio stations now that whenever a commercial or song I don't like comes on, I can always switch to the other station.

WRONG.

What happened was this:

I was listening to Flyguy prattling on and on on Fly FM (which I don't really mind, really, since his constant chatter is still quite entertaining), then he plays this song I absolutely HATE.

So I decided to change to Hitz.FM. Bad idea. ANOTHER song that I hate was on, but it was finishing, so I stayed on the channel.

What came along next was EIGHT AND A HALF FREAKING MINUTES of commercials (I know, I timed it because I was stuck in a jam at the time), followed by YET another crap hip-hop song with a Neantherdal going 'ungh ungh' and 'yeah yeah' all the time (Cavemen music, me thinks).

So I change to Mix FM. And the first song I hear? A song by that godawful band from Denmark whose name I shall not pollute my blog with.

So I hurriedly switch back to Fly FM, and whatdaya know, they're playing that STUPID song from Pussycat Dolls about touching their ..... .

At that point, I decided to sod it, and put on my headphone to listen to my iPod shuffle instead.

ALSO, in the past two days that I've been 'forced' to listen to the radio stations (gah, I really HAVE to remember to put my CDs back in the car), I've even managed to compile a little list of songs I absolutely ABHORE, but which seem to come on EVERY HOUR on EVERY SINGLE FREAKING RADIO STATION.

And the prizes for the five most annoyingly horrible AND horribly-overplayed songs currently on rotation on radio are....

1) My Humps (Black-Eyed Piss) - Music to take a dump to.
2) Stupid Girls (Pink) - Stupid song. Nuff said.
3) Right Here (Staind) - It is a stain on the good name of rock that this band is still going strong. The ENTIRE band should just go kill themselves once and for all, instead of just singing about it.
4) Beep (Pussycat Dolls & Will.I.Am) - BEEP! TOOT! middle finger! @#$%^&*!!!!!!!!
5) Love (Ashlee Simpsons) - L-O, L-O, L-O-KILL-ME, L-O, L-O, L-O, SHOOT ME.

I've said it once before, and I'll say it again... Thank god for my iPod

Wednesday, 3 May 2006

M-BANG! I-BIFF! 3-BOOM!: The Review



1...2....3....4....5....6...7...8...9...10...
BANG!
Dum dum dum dum...
Mission Impossible III!
Wheeee........
Bla bla bla bla
Hahahahaha...
Lalala
This message will self-destruct in 5 seconds....
BANG BANG!
RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT!!!
BIFF!
Bzzzp
Tooooooooooooooooooooooooooot
KABOOM!
SCREEEEEEEEEE!
VROOM VROOM!
Ooooo VERY hot chick.



Drool drool drool
BANG!
PFEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWW BOOOM!
BANG BANG!
YAHOOOHOOOHOOHOO...
CRASH!
HONK! HONK!
BOING!
BOOM!
1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...10...
BANG!
Bla bla bla...
Duuuuuuh........
CHOMP
ZHOU KAI! XIAO XIN!!!
ARGGGH!
BIFF! BAFF!
WHOMP.
BZZ! BZZZ!
BANG! BANG!
Pump pump, kiss kiss
TA-DA!!!
YAY!!!
Duh..........

My ears hurt and I can't remember what just happened...

-----------------------------------------------------
(PS: Thanks for all the birthday wishes!!!! :D :D :D)

Tuesday, 2 May 2006

It is a gooooood day...

You know it's a good day when....
  • You get to watch a movie for free, before everyone else
  • You get the cover
  • You get to skip a meeting when an interview comes through at the last minute
  • Two different people belanja you coffee in two seperate times
  • Parking lots magically appear everytime you need one
  • Manure United generously draws with Boro' and gives Liverpool a chance to steal second place
  • The neighborhood DVD pirates have most of the titles you ask for and even give you a discount
  • You find the item you've been searching for for A LONG TIME and it's going for cheap
  • You get everything you wanted to do done without a hitch (well, ALMOST everything)
  • You wake up in the morning to ten SMSes from hot chicks wishing you a Happy Birthday
Yup, it's been a pretty good day, I must say. Who cares if I'm one year older? :D :D :D

Monday, 1 May 2006

Book Review: Snowbone (Cat Weatherill)

I actually read this book a while back, but haven't had time to work on the review until now. But better late than never, I always say, and besides, I think the book hasn't even been published here yet...

Anyway, here's the review of the sequel to Barkbelly, which was the subject of the LAST Hopefully-Weekly-Book-Review-that-is-more-like-hopefully-monthly-now.

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



Title: Snowbone
Author: Cat Weatherill

Synopsis:
Snowbone is the natural leader of a band of wooden children, who are tracking down a group of human slavers. Their journey takes them on a wonderful flying ship from island to island, into the heart of a volcano, into the dreadful slave quarry and on to the final battle. Along the way, they make staunch friends and are betrayed by unexpected people. They also discover their own talents, weaknesses and heart's desire. With its roots in myth and magic, this is a story full of action, poetry and dark twists of fate.

What I Liked:
  • A huge improvement over Barkbelly
  • More characters, which means more interesting story
  • Much smoother and less along the conventional path compared to Barkbelly
  • Snowbone is a much more interesting lead character than Barkbelly was
  • Weatherill adds a little more depth to the story of the wooden Ashenpeakers, and the story is richer as a result
  • Less cliched than the first book
What I didn't like:
  • A few bits seemed a little out of place
  • I'd have liked a little bit more of Barkbelly mentioned in the story, just to give it a sense of connection to the first book's story
Summary:
While I said before that Barkbelly was nothing spectacular and a fairly decent children's book, Snowbone is an improvement over that first book. The addition of more wooden kids with different personalities was a good improvemnet over the monotonous single POV of Barkbelly (who wasn't a very interesting character in the first place).

The story here is also a lot deeper than the first. Where Barkbelly was merely looking for his family, here, Snowbone is fighting against the slave trade that many Ashenpeakers are born into. It seems like a heavy topic for a children's book to get into, but it is handled quite well, and even though the eventual solution seemed a little TOO convenient, Weatherill still managed to balance the subject and the flow of the story quite well.

I quite like the little mythology and history that was also added in on the Ashenpeakers, and it certainly bodes well for the future of the 'series', and if ever Weatherill decides to write more books about the wooden people, I'd love to see more back-story added in, and perhaps a few tie-ins to the previous books.

All in all, Snowbone is a somewhat satisfying and more interesting 'sequel' to a slightly less interesting first book.