Thursday, 30 November 2006

Band Mixing Merriment

Ever wondered what you would get when you mix bands together?


Soundgarden + Rage Against The Machine = Audioslave
(Hit song: Cochise)

Guns 'N Roses + Stone Temple Pilots = Velvet Revolver
(Hit song: Slither)

Snow Patrol + Coldplay = Cold Snow
(Hit song: Yellow Cars)

Blink 182 + Matchbox 20 + Sum 41 = 243
(Hit song: Song No. 347)

Pearl Jam + Butterfingers = Marmalade
(Hit song: Oh Gardenia (You can't eat it on its own) )

Jimmy Eat World + Green Day = Jimmy Eat Greens
(Hit Song: Wake Me Up in The Middle of September)

The Eagles + The Byrds = The Feathered Buddies
(Hit song: I Twought I Thaw A Putty Tat)

My Chemical Romance + Our Lady Peace = Your Chemical Peace
(Hit Song: Helena is Innocent)

Rolling Stones + Beatles = Stoned Bug
(Hit song: Jumping Jack Pepper)

KISS + INXS = KINXS
(Hit song: WTFBBQKTHXBAI)

Sex Pistols + Beach Boys = Sexy Beach
(Hit Song: California Anarchy)

Metallica + Iron Maiden = Metal Maiden
(Hit Song: Enter Wicker Man)

Guns 'n Roses + Bon Jovi = Bons 'N Roses
(Hit song: It Always Rains in November)

Duran Duran + Wet Wet Wet = Wet Durian
(Hit song: Love is All Reflex)

Foo Fighters + Goo Goo Dolls = Foo Foo Dolls
(Hit Song: Everlong Way Down)

Good Charlotte + Simple Plan = Bad Idea
(Hit song: Lifestyles of Rich Kids)

Blur + Oasis = (unnamed)
(Hit Song: NONE. Band disbanded after one recording session)

Fall Out Boy + Panic! In The Disco = Disco Boy Panics And Falls
(Hit Song: I Can't Sing But I Want To Come Out With A Record Anyway Because The People Who Listen To Me Have No Taste And Can't Even Read Half The Words In Our Long Song Titles)

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Contesting Musical Weird Symbols For Narnian Poster

Ok, since I'm a little too busy to blog properly this week, lets play a little game/contest.

Who can tell me where all these weird symbols and figures come from?








First person to comment with ALL the correct answers (I'll need the name of the artiste and the album) gets a free ORIGINAL & double-sided Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion Witch & The Wardrobe poster!! :D


UPDATE: 30/11/2006:

No fun lar you people. At least guess guess a bit also fun mar. ceh. :( :( :(

Anyway, forget the contest, I think I'll give the poster to Poptart for being the only one to actually make an effort... hehe.

But do keep guessing, only if you bother to lar. :(

Now excuse me while I go to that corner over there to mope. :( :(

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Only Hot Chicks Need Apply

I need a secretary.
My head is aching.
My hands are numb.
My fingers are sore.
My eyes are red.
After FOUR bloody hours.
Of continuous transcribing.
All those damn interviews.
So...
Who wants to be my secretary?
I'll pay you in coffee beans.
Or vodka shots.
Or LEGO Bricks.
Or freebie notepads.
Whatever.
Only hot chicks need apply.
Kthxbai.

Monday, 27 November 2006

A Dream of Endless Statues

Unlike many people who reply 'Don't know' to the question "What do you want for Christmas/your Birthday?", I have no doubts at all about what I want as gifts.

Whether I can get them or not is another question altogether.

For instance, one of my greatest wishes is to get a whole set of these:



Never mind the whole Sandman bust set (which also includes the Corinthians, and Lucifer), if I can get the busts of Dream, Death or Delirium, I'd be a happy puppy. If all you can find is Despair... er... don't bother lah. hehe. so picky hor?

Failing that, I'd be pretty happy if someone rich would get me this instead:



This is relatively easier to find (there's one in Kinokuniya after all). HOWEVER, this ceramic statue, produced in conjunction with the 10th Anniversary of Sandman, costs more than RM300...

Anyone rich (and gullible) wanna buy that for me? :D :D

The Friday That was worse than a Monday

Gah.
Last Friday was madness.
Three assignments, back to back,
Resulting in a full voice recorder,
And a lot of frantic transcribing,
Because I still have TWO interviews to record today.
Oh, on that note...
What you think I got nothing better to do but blog every day wan is it???
People got work also you know?
The next person who asks me why I never update for ONE DAY will get....
Will get...
Ok, maybe TWO posts in one day.
Maybe today is that day.
But then again, I've got a full voice recorder worth of interviews to transcribe
So maybe this will be it for today.
Go kacau Hantu Bola instead,
It's its First Anniversary.
Tralala...

Saturday, 25 November 2006

Book Review: Wintersmith (Terry Pratchett)

I finally got to read Wintersmith!!!!

Ok, so it was an E-book, and i have yet to even TOUCH the actual book, but heck, since the local book distributers are taking so long to bring it in, I'll just buy the paperback instead...

(On that note, apparently Wintersmith DID land in Kinokuniya on the FIRST DAY it was released, but the book was also SOLD OUT within the first day. Beat THAT, Harry Potter!)

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




Title: Wintersmith
Author: Terry Pratchett


Synopsis (From Amazon.co.uk):
Tiffany Aching is a trainee witch - now working for the seriously scary Miss Treason. But when Tiffany witnesses the Dark Dance - the crossover from summer to winter - she does what none has ever done before and leaps into the dance, into the oldest story there ever is, and draws the attention of the wintersmith himself...

As Tiffany-shaped snowflakes hammer down on the land, can Tiffany deal with the consequences of her actions? Even with the help of Granny Weatherwax and the Nac Mac Feegle - the fightin', thievin' pictsies who are prepared to lay down their lives for their 'big wee hag' ...

What I Liked:
  • FUNNY!
  • ACH CRIVENS! The Nac Mac Feegle are COOL! And FUNNY
  • The story is simple, but still engaging.
  • Characters are ALL charming
  • Miss Treason is one of the COOLEST witches I've ever read about! BOFFO!
  • Granny Weatherwax is also given extra depth! meep.
  • Nanny Ogg is still... well, Nanny OGG.

What I didn't Like:
  • As usual, not much I didn't like. It IS one of my favorite series' by one of my favorite authors after all
  • E-book-wise, I can't complain because I had no choice. But give me a proper paper and hardback book ANY TIME...
  • This Pratchett har, sampai last last still sempat promote Where's My Cow (which is going for RM8 at the Big Bookshop Sale! Go go go and get it!!!)
  • Oh dear, is Pratchett trying to get into romance novels next?

Summary:
I've said this A LOT OF TIMES before: If you haven't started reading Terry Pratchett, WHAT THE HECK HAVE YOU BEEN DOING ALL THIS TIME?

Well, if you're complaining that you haven't been able to get into them, or dinna ken which book to start with, let me show you the way: Start with The Wee Free Men, then A Hat Full of Sky, and then Wintersmith.

If Tiffany Aching, the Nac Mac Feegle and Granny Weatherwax doesn't get you hooked to Discworld, nothing else will.

Wintersmith continues the tradition of the other two Tiffany books - focusing on the level-headed young witch, and the Feegle, and also adding the older witches into the mix.

One thing about Pratchett's books is that while you're reading it, you always seem to end up either chuckling to yourself, smiling broadly, or laughing out loud. THIS book has almost equal measures of every state of Pratchett-induced-glee, so when yo're reading it, you'll probably get people wondering what you're sniggering to yourself about most of the time.

Since it's also a young reader's book, the language and everything is fairly simple, but not THAT simple that the normal Discworld reader would be bored. After all, adding the witches of Lancre into the Tiffany Aching books was a masterstroke, and makes the Tiffany Aching books that much more fun and memorable to read.

Is Wintersmith worth reading? Oh hell yeah. Now if only our local book distributers would start learning more about what books and authors to get, instead of going "Who's Terry Pratchett?" when we ask about it...

Friday, 24 November 2006

Book Warehouse Sales are EVIL!!!!

I HATE book warehouse sales. They are EVIL I tell you.

I just realised that after I came back from the Big Bookshop Warehouse Sale at Atria Shopping Center in Damansara Jaya, and this is why I think book warehouse sales are the work of the DEVIL:

1) They FORCE you to spend money:

Sudahlar I damn broke this month. I go to the sale, and terpaksa spend RM88 on these books:



I mean, when every single one of these books are going for less than RM12, don't tell me you're gonna just LEAVE THEM on the dusty makeshift tables right???

2 ) They cause heartache:

I saw some books that I already have on sale there, going for WAY less than I paid for. Case in point:
  • Terry Pratchett's Where's My Cow, which I bought last year for RM50++, was going for freaking EIGHT RINGGIT. GAAAH!
  • Pratchett's Thud! Hardcover, which I bought for freaking RM80, going for RM24.90!!! OH WAILY WAILY WAILY!
  • George R.R. Martin's A Feast For Crows, which I bought for RM90, going for only RM24.90!!! BOO HOO!
3) They tempt you to go back again and again:

I saw so many books that I wanna get but did not have the money to get, even though they cost less than RM30 (except Bryson's book, which was RM69.90). Such as:
  • Saving Fish From Drowning (Amy Tan)
  • A Short History of Everything, Illustrated hardcover edition (Bill Bryson)
  • The Ode Less Traveled (Stephen Fry)
  • Kafka on the Shore (Haruki Murakami)
  • Straken (Terry Brooks)
  • Flight of the Nighthawks (Raymond E. Feist)
Luckily this warehouse sale is until End of December, still can go back again... GAH! SEE??? It's tempting me again!!!!

And the most EVIL reason of all...

4) They have banned books there!!!

AIYOH! I saw these books there:
  • Salman Rushdie's Shalimar The Clown, going for RM24.90!
  • Spongebob Squarepants!
  • Feel: Robbie Williams!
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood!
So, what more proof do you need? Book warehouse sales are evil I tell you!

Thursday, 23 November 2006

Word of the Week: Yarl

YARL

Definition (
Endino.com):
To "yarl" is to sing melodramatically with a sort of barely suppressed letter "r" sound lurking beneath every other syllable.

Example: Creed's Scott Stapp: "Crahn yrou trake mree highar!!!!"

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

Today's Word of the Week was inspired by the un-007-like James Bond theme song sung by Chris Connell.

Now, there's bound ot be some debate about this, because apparently, according to Jack Endino, Chris Connell doesn't yarl.

Now, I'm not a music producer like Endino, so I can't offer my professional opinion, but on the James Bond song, Connell certainly sounds pretty constipated to me....

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

The Only Reasons I Watch Channel [V] (and it ain't the music)

For want of something more er... deep to blog about, allow me to indulge in some shallow hot chick worshipping, and to show you why I've always preferred Channel [V] over MTV in the past few years:



Woot woot! I tell you, whoever hires the VJs over at Chanel [V] really knows how to pick 'em.



Exit Paula, Amanda and Cindy, enter Maya & recently, Marion.



And thank Channel [V] for Sarah Tan, the hottest babe on Astro:



And in case you were wondering, well, for me, MTV's never been the same since Sonia Couling left:




Male VJs? What are those?


PS: The first two montages above were made from pictures off NewMan magazine, which has waaay better pictures of hot babes than that OTHER men's magazine in the market, which always seem to make even the hottest babes look like they need plastic surgery.

PSS: The Sarah Tan one was from Plan B magazine. The rest of the pictures were Googled...

Monday, 20 November 2006

The Witches Take Over The Discworld

I finally got to read (and finish) Wintersmith yesterday!!! WOOT WOOT!

No, it's not out in the bookstores yet. Donno why. Instead, I had to borrow Erna's E-Book, making Wintersmith the first e-book ever that I've read in its ENTIRETY. Always a first for everything, I reckon.

Anyway, the fact that I actually finished it in one day (and then some) should show that this is one fine book. I loved it. Review later in the weekend. For now, I wanna talk about my favorite Terry Pratchett characters. Why? Because Wintersmith has elevated the wtiches to three of the top five spots on mylist of favorite all-time Discworld characters.

Now, instead of wasting more time thinking of another way to introduce the list, allow me to intorduce my current list favorite Discworld characters, in order of preference:


1) Death - ANYONE WHO TALKS LIKE THIS deserves a special mention, doncha think? But Death is not here just for talking funny, no he's here because he IS my favorite character, so much so that I always look forward to all the times in the books when Death comes out, because chances are it's gonna be either damn funny, or damn poignant. Or he can make a poignant moment seem funny. Go figure.

2)
Granny Weatherwax - It wasn't until she appeared in A Hat Full of Sky that I really began to like Granny, but after Wintersmith, I reckon she's one of the most interestingly deep characters in Discworld. Meep!

3) Nanny Ogg - The perfect foil to the cranky Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg is the most fun witch EVER commited to paper. All together now, "A Wizard's Staff has a Knob on the End..."

4) Tiffany Aching - I already liked her in A Hat Full of Sky, and in Wintersmith, she grows up, and is all the better for it. It's not because of the character per se, in fact, as a main character she is too level-headed and serious sometimes, but it's because of her relationships with the other characters around her that make her seem so much more interesting. Besides, anyone who can 'command' the Nac Mac Feegle to do anything she wants better be near the top of this damn list.

5)
Patrician Vetinari - The most sinister, sensible (next to Susan Sto Helit, that is), and cunning (almost as good as Granny Weatherwax) character in the Discworld, and the head of Ankh-Morpork, a city that could drives its leaders mad. His manipulations of Commander Vimes are simply brilliant at times.

6) Rob Anybody - Oh wailey wailey wailey! I dinna ken woot he sais, but I loves 'em anyways! Crivens! Nac Mac Feegle!!!!!!

7)
Susan Sto Helit - Death's adopted grandaughter. A sensible schoolteacher who teaches children to bash up monsters instead of denying their existence. Nuff said.

8)
The Luggage - I don't like Rincewind books much, but I have to admit that I still enjoy them a lot mostly because of The Luggage. I still can't get the image of it's hundreds of legs all wearing little red heels out of my head...

9) Lu-Tze - A bald headed monk who sweeps floors, travels through time, and follows The Way of Mrs. Cosmopolite (a dressmaker in Ankh-Morpork). Quite a charming chap, apparently, as long as one remembers Rule One: Do not act incautiously when confronting little bald wrinkly smiling men.

10) Death of Rats - SQUEAK!


Honourable mentions:
  • Commander Vimes - One of the best developed characters in Discworld
  • Sergeant Detritus - I love his siege crossbow
  • The Librarian - Oook. Ook ook OOOOOK! Ook ook.
  • Nobby Nobbs - Because anyone who was disqualified from the human race for shoving deserves an honourable mention
  • Miss Treason - Boffo!

Saturday, 18 November 2006

Book Review: Gifts (Ursula Le Guin)

Is this a record of some sort? I think it's the 8th consecutive book review I've done, consistently every week. I suppose it helps that I've been so busy at work that I've reverted back to my old habits of reading a book everywhere and anytime I can - eating, waiting or er.. driving - and this has helped me finish a lot of books lately (not to mention destress at the same time).

Or maybe it's because the books I've been finishing lately have been really easy to read. Oh well, whatever goes I suppose...

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



Title: Gifts (Book 1 of The Annals of the Western Shore)
Author: Ursula Le Guin


Synopsis (from Amazon.co.uk):
Orrec is the son of the Brantor of Caspromant; Gry the daughter of the Brantors of Barre and Rodd. They have grown up together in neighbouring domains, running half-wild across the Uplands. The people of the domains are like their land: harsh and fierce and prideful; ever at war with one or other of their neighbours, raiding cattle, capturing serfs, enlarging their holdings. It is only the gifts that keep a fragile peace.

The gifts are powers, given to protect the domains: they run from father to son and from mother to daughter. The Barre gift is calling animals. The women of Cordemant have the power of blinding, or making deaf, or taking away speech. The Rodds can send a spellknife into a man's heart, or cut his throat, or maim as they please, if he's in sight. Olm can set a fire burning at any place they can see and point to. The Callems can move heavy things by word and gesture - even buildings, even hills. And Brantor Ogge of Drummant has the gift of slow wasting. The Caspro gift is the worst and best of all: it is the gift of undoing: an insect, an animal, a place ...

Orrec and Gry are the heirs to Caspro and Barre. Gry's gift runs true, but unlike her mother, she will not use it to call animals for the hunt. Orrec too is a problem, for his gift of undoing is wild: he cannot control it - and that is the most dangerous gift of all ...

What I Liked:
  • Very much character-driven, and the characters are well-developed
  • Le Guin doesn't waste time describing scenery much, like a lot of authors tend to do
  • Easy to read
  • The plot is well-paced, and not a single dull moment, even though action is at a premium
  • Story is intriguing enough to keep you reading on and on
  • I like the different gifts, and how each gift has its uses in keeping the peace around the Uplands

What I Didn't Like:
  • Story a little predictable
  • Finished it too quickly. :-(

Summary:
I like this book. The story in Gifts is fairly simple and straightforward, and focuses very much on the characters rather than the gifts themselves, or the plot for that matter. It's almost as if the plot was secondary to the development of the characters.

Or maybe it was because the development of the characters IS the plot itself.

It would be a shame if Le Guin spent all the time developing Orrec and Gyr and then finished the book just like that, but luckily, she has another book featuring them - Voices, and I think the series is gonna be a trilogy. Which is good, of course.

Another thing I like about Le Guin is that unlike SOME authors, she doesn't waste time endlessly describing every single leaf and rock in the scenery, merely skimming through the surface, telling us enough to get a good picture of the setting in our mind, but not too much until we forget about the chracters.

Of course, the fact that for most of the book we are seeing things from the 1st person perspective of a blind Orrec also simplifies things a little in that aspect, i guess. heh.

Anyway, Le Guin is one of the best fantasy writers around right now (and yes, she's still alive), and this book, although written for a younger readership, is a perfect example of how a book really does not need a lot of gimmicks or elaborate settings to captivate a reader, just a good story and interesting characters.

Friday, 17 November 2006

Alcoholic Good Shit That Is Good For You

Useful Alcoholic things I learned (or perfected) this week:

1) The new James Bond's "Vesper Martini":
  • Three measures of Gordon’s
  • One of vodka
  • Half a measure of Kina Lillet
  • Shake it over ice
  • Add a thin slice of lemon peel
2) The new Eyeris HazelCoffeeBailey drink (good shit that is good for you)
  • Three measures of Bailey's
  • Four measures milk
  • Two measures freshly-brewed coffee (NOT Nescafe please), or one shot espresso.
  • Half measure of Torani Hazelnut syrup
  • Mix it all in a tumbler and close tight
  • Store it in the refridgerator overnight
  • Shake it until it foams and pour
  • Serves one for four nights



Anyone have any special concoctions to share, in the spirit of spreading the knowledge?

Thursday, 16 November 2006

Word of the Week: Vanilla

Note to self: In future, DO NOT go for a vanilla ice-cream tasting session in the morning on an empty stomach, or I'll end up nauseous and sick for the rest of the day and not feel like eating lunch at all.

Since I've had an overdose of it so far, I suppose I might as well make it my word of the week. Besides, who knew that it could have a definition like this:


VANILLA

Definition (from Wikipedia):
Vanilla is a flavouring, in its pure form known as vanillin, derived from orchids in the genus Vanilla. The name came from the Spanish word "vainilla", diminutive form of "vaina" (meaning "sheath"), which is in turn derived from Latin "vagina".


Er. ok. No wonder some people claim not to like vanilla-flavoured stuff but still eat it anyway...

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Craig Kicks Brosnan's Ass To Moonraker and Back

I'm one of those who thought Pierce Brosnan's James Bond movies sucked. So sue me. The only one I thought was ok was his first one, Goldeneye, and even then I thought it wasn't THAT good.

Oh, don't get me wrong, Brosnan was pretty ok as Bond I suppose - he had the looks, the arrogant air, the superior confidence about him that made him a convincing Bond. But somehow I never liked him much. Maybe he's just too... slick. And of course, it didn't help that the movies themselves sucked ass.

Which brings me to Casino Royale.

Casino Royale rocks. It's one of my favorite Bond films EVER. And I've watched quite a few, thanks to the ongoing 007 marathon on Astro.

It's supposed to be 007's FIRST mission, and boy does it pull off the whole 'origin of 007' thing well. We see him BEFORE he became this cold, calculating super-spy, when he was ordering drinks like Mount Gay With Soda (don't ask) instead of shaken Vodka Martinis.

Now, I've read the book before, and at the time I read it, I thought it would make a damn good film. The gambling parts, the torture scene... all elements of a damn good film.

I just wasn't sure they'd pull it off with Brosnan (who was Bond at the time). His torture scene in Die Another Day may have been painful, but you haven't seen a real EXCRUCIATING torture scene until you've seen the one in Casino Royale, which can only be described in one, over-drawn syllable: AAAAARRRGGGHHHH. That said, I think the guys would be cringing a lot more than the girls though....

Now, Daniel Craig... he pulls off this 'beginner' Bond damn well. He's not your conventional Bond, that's for sure.



Don't be fooled by the picture. He'll probably be known more as the Brawler Bond than the suave Bond. He's probably not half as good-looking as the other Bonds, but boy can he fight. In fact, Craig's Bond could probably take on every single one of them AT THE SAME TIME.

Blonde hair be damned, Craig is probably the most DANGEROUS Bond you'll ever see.

You look at Pierce Brosnan's eyes, you see this slick, oily, confident fella who looks more likely to try talking his way out of a situation than to kill everyone. You look at Craig's eyes, and you see this lean, mean killing machine who could kill you just by staring at you, and probably would too.

And THAT is what a guy with a License To Kill is supposed to look like. Who cares if he's good looking or not?

Oooh, and have I mentioned the Bond girls this time around?



Hubba hubba. Drool drool drool.

PS: Some idiot at the screening this morning got the sequence of the reels wrong, and we ended up watching the ending of the film in the middle. Luckily I already knew the story. Or else I'd have killed the guy in the projector room. By staring at him.

PSS: Best part was, one clueless fella thought that it was all part of the film, and was going, "Wah, that flashback in the end damn long hor?" -_-"""

PSSS: Damn now I can't get the James Bond theme out of my head...

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

How To Bengangify a Fireangel

Chats with Fireangel always seem to give me the weirdest ideas for posts.

Take this for instance: The Most Meaningless Conversation In the World. That definitely ranks as one of the silliest posts I ever 'wrote'. And what about these two stories I wrote for her while chatting online?

- The Origins of Fireangel the Superbabe!
- Fireangel and the Lame Anime Story

Anyway, we were chatting again yesterday, and midway through a conversation about my Bailey's + Milk + Coffee + Hazelnut syrup drink (of which I make one big thermos full of and keep in my fridge for er... casual drinking), in which she called me an 'alchoholic' (which is funny, since she goes out and drink more than I do), I was "inspired" to come up with this:

eyeris: milk is good for you
eyeris: alcohol is good shit
eyeris: therefore, milk + alcohol is good shit
eyeris: good shit that is good for you

And that was not all. After that, we were talking about READING (of all innocent things)... well, it went a little like this:

FireAngel: but reading is good rite.
eyeris: reading is good
eyeris: drugs are bad
eyeris: reading is not a drug
eyeris: so it's good
FireAngel: ......
FireAngel: your logic bengangifies me

Yes, the extent of my genius for the most irreverant things baffles me sometimes. But with all my brilliance for making things up, I could never make up a word as ingenious as 'bengangifies'. Gahaha.

Anyway, continuing in the spirit of bengangification, without further ado, here is a short list of:

How To Bengangify a Fireangel

  • Alcohol is Good. Milk is Good For You. Therefore Alcohol + Milk is especially good for you.
  • Reading is Good. Drugs are bad. Reading is not a drug. Therefore Reading is good.
  • Rocks are hard. Rolls are Soft. Therefore, Rock & Roll is half hard and half soft.
  • Petrol is expensive. Cars need petrol. Therefore Cars are expensive.
  • Ghosts are lifeless. Balls are always round every season. Therefore, the Hantubola folks have no lives all season round.
  • Neil Gaiman is Cool. Terry Pratchett is funny. Therefore, Good Omens is cool AND funny.
  • Transformers are cool. Michael Bay is not. Therefore, The Transformers live-action Movie is Not Cool.
  • Lord of The Rings is Fantasy. Harry Potter is not Lord of The Rings. Therefore, Harry Potter is not Fantasy.
  • Fire is hot. Angels are heavenly. Therefore Fireangel is hot and heavenly (ceh wah, next round of chicken rice is on you!)

Monday, 13 November 2006

Marker Pen + Old Photo = Brilliant Album cover

I don't know about you, but I personally think this is one of the most brilliantly-designed album covers I have ever seen:



Great use of the moustache, George!

PS: Yes, I'm busy. So this is an update. Nah!

Saturday, 11 November 2006

Book Review: The Curious Incident Of the Dog In the Night-time (Mark Haddon)

Finally got around to reading and finishing The Curious Incident Of the Dog In the Night-time, and besides being easy to read, it's also easy to review. So here we go...

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




Title: The Curious Incident Of the Dog In the Night-time
Author: Mark Haddon



Synopsis (From Amazon.co.uk):
Christopher is 15 and lives in Swindon with his father. He has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. He is obsessed with maths, science and Sherlock Holmes but finds it hard to understand other people.

When he discovers a dead dog on a neighbour's lawn he decides to solve the mystery and write a detective thriller about it. As in all good detective stories, however, the more he unearths, the deeper the mystery gets - for both Christopher and the rest of his family.


What I Liked:
  • Very interesting narrative, and unconventional perspective
  • Gives a pretty good feel of how Christopher thinks
  • Christopher is a very endearing little fella
  • Very easy to read
  • The book was actually small and thin enough to fit in the back pocket of my jeans...


What I Didn't Like:
  • Not much didn't like, really.
  • Mathematics. *GROAN*
  • Sometimes the dialogue did seem a little... forced

Summary:

This is an interesting book. I like books that have different styles of narration, and this one tries to see things from the point of view of a child with autism, and can only see things literally.

The result is one of the most interestingly narrated books Iv'e read in a while, and possiby one of the easiest-to-read award-winning books I have ever read.

As the main characters, Christopher is very endearing, and you are always rooting for him. The description of how he sees things, and how he perceives people so literally is frustrating and sad at the same time, because you start feeling for him and wish that things could be different for him, and makes you wish you could help him see things in a less literal way.

Sure, a lot of the book are fillers (IMHO) that talk about math problems (There's even an appendix about how Christopher solves a math exam problem), and other assorted trivia and knowledge that sound like they were lifted from an encyclopedia, but these were probably essential to show how literally and facually Christopher sees things, and his photographic memory as well.

And it makes you so sad that such an ingenius mind cannot understand a metaphor or a joke. The story itself is simple, but it is Haddon's stroke of genius in making us read things from the perspective of an autistic child that makes this book so much more than just the story of another kid looking for his family.

Friday, 10 November 2006

The Spirit of Love in an Aluminium Can

I saw these pretty cans in a 7-11 refridgerator one day...



Yeah, Rose Rush. I know. Don't ask.

In case you can't read the words in pretty fonts...



Woohoo, the Spirit of Love in an aluminium can. The perfect Valentine's Day gift!



Says here on the can that it's a Premium Rose Drink, The REAL Rose Taste, and is a SYMBOL OF LOVE. Ok, all you florists can go close shop oledi. Who needs to say it with flowers when the roses AND the spirit of love comes in a handy and convenient can? The perfect lover's gift for the cheapskate on the go!

After all, it only costs RM2.60!



Who says money can't buy love huh?

Whoever came up with this is a genius I tell you. And what's more, it's not even a new prodcut! This drink has been around for quite some time, apparently. Well, according to the can, that is...



Serving LOVE since 1935!

BTW, has anyone ever TASTED this before??

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

From Rockstar Supernova to LameStar Sappynova

Yo Ryan Star,

How the bloody hell did you go from Rockstar Supernova to Lamestar Sappynova? Your album Songs from the Eye of An Elephant has TWENTY bloody songs, and ALL of them sound almost the same.

You know that Back of Your Car song you sang on TV? I thought that was a pretty good song. Lyrics a bit lame, but the tune and the rocking riffs were damn cun. Heck, even your version of Losing My Religion was pretty damn good. Based on those two songs, I was actually hoping for a good, rocking album from you.

But on this album, you turned Back of Your Car into some lameass piano ting tong ting tong ting tong thing that sounds more like a bloody karaoke lounge singer's song than a rock star's song, and sounds exactly like the other 19 songs on the album.

In fact, it doesn't sound like an album of 20 songs at all, it just sounds like one bloody LONG song, all tinkly tinkly piano and nothing else.

What, you heard that that stupid MLTR band from Denmark became popular in Malaysia because of their love songs, so you also want to follow their example is it? Please lar. If this album of sappy love songs is the best you can come up with, no wonder even a lameass band like Supernova gave you a miss.

Look, I have no doubt you probably have talent and all, and the live album you released after Rockstar Supernova is probably better than this one. Heck, maybe if I listened to this album one song at a time instead of all at the same time, maybe a few songs might actually stand out.

But still... your next album, at least try to add some songs that don't sound the same as the rest lar. You're supposed to be a ROCKER for gods sake! Dark Horse konon...

Oh, your showcase at Zouk next week better not be all those slow sappy songs ok? At least give us a nice rocking version of Back of Your Car, ok? Or else I might as well stay in my car and listen to My Chemical Romance instead.

Or then again, maybe I'll just go to Zouk for the chicks...


PS: Apparently, according to Suanie, Songs from the Eye of an Elephant was released BEFORE Rockstar Supernova...in which case, Ryan, PLEASE don't go and release another album like that... And please stick to the rocking version of Back of Your Car, kthxbai.

Monday, 6 November 2006

Let's go to the zoo, there's lots of things to do....

The other day, I went to the Zoo.

It's been quite some time since I actually went around the Zoo Negara, and so I was actually looking forward to this trip.

Now, I've been to quite a few great zoos lately, most notably the San Diego Zoo and the Singapore one, I always thought our own zoo would be pretty pathetic by comparison.

It isn't.

Ok, so the facilities are a little run-down, the lake-house is an eyesore (though the birds on it are not), and it could use some upgrading.

But atmosphere-wise, I actually thought it was pretty cool. It actually looks like a real jungle (though the lack of upkeep might have a lot to do with that), and seeing the animals in that sort of environment actually made them seem... HAPPIER.

They even had a nice big 'savannah walk' for the animals like giraffes, zebras, ostriches and deer to wander around, and it was pretty cool.

While it may pale in comparison to some bigger and more well-established zoos in other part of the world, I actually liked wandering around our own zoo. For RM15, it was a pretty nice place to visit. In fact, I think EVERYONE shold go visit the zoo. Bring your kids! It's cool!

Anyway, I had some fun trying to get used to my camera (still), and here's what I came up with...

First up, a nice montage of animals...



Otters are cute:



Tigers are cool:



And so are gators:




That one looked especially happy to see me. He was probably hungry at the time and thought I was a walking pile of bones...

In fact, our reptile house is pretty damn sweeeet. The King Cobras are AWESOME.

Over at the Ape World, I especially liked this old Orang-Utan. He reminded me of an old Shaman or Medicine Man. No wonder they say orang-utans are humans' closest relatives...



Ever seen a civet cat doing a Homer Simpson impression?



While most of the animals, even the notoriously lazy cats, were pretty active most of the time, the bears are damn bloody lazy though. Almost every single one was sleeping:



and in the case of this dude, with very little regard for public decency...



Speaking of public decency, look what I caught the tortoises doing behind the bushes:



And that's not all. These tortoises seem to be pretty adventurous when it comes to sex:



Tortoise threesomes!

Now, all together now... Let's go to the zoo, there's lots of things to do....

A Late Nano Change of Mind

I'm doing Nanowrimo again this year.

I didn't make as much hoohaa about it this time compared to last year, mostly because I wasn't sure I'd do it until the second day.

In fact, I was so lost for ideas and was swamped at work that I was prepared to forget it all together.

Then, on the second day, I got a damn brilliant idea for a story (well, I think its brilliant anyway), and I managed to write almost 5000 words of notes in like, one day plus.

So yeah, I'm write back in it. :-P

Maybe this year I might actually make it to 50000 words.

Then again, that's what I said last year as well...

Oh well. :D

Saturday, 4 November 2006

Book Review: Stardust (Neil Gaiman)

It's been an eventful week, not just at work, but also around the blog as well. From banning books to plagirism to writer/bloggers, it's been a fun week, and in a way, I'm glad its the weekend so I can get back to book reviews... :)

It's another Neil Gaiman book this week, but it's not just any novel. It's Stardust, which is a "graphic novel" and also one of the best fairytale-like novels I've read in a long time...

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




Title: Stardust: Being a Romance Within the Realms of Faerie
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Charles Vess


Synopsis:
Wall is a town in England that is the border between our world and Faerie, and the people of Wall are 'guardians' of the gap/gateway between our world and Faerie.

The story in Stardust is about Tristran Thorn, who in a rash decision, decides to go into Faerie to bring a fallen star back for the girl he loves. Once in there, he gets caught up in all sorts of adventures...


What I Liked:
  • I like fairy-tales
  • Nice, charming characters
  • The whole mood of the book is very matter-of-fact, and very whimsical
  • Charles Vess' illustrations are NICE, VERY NICE
  • I like the way the whole story goes from start to finish, and it is never boring.

What I Didn't Like:
  • I want more stories like that!!! (maybe it's time to read that Susanna Clarke story)
  • Some parts may be a little too violent and scary for kids... IF you're planning to read this 'fairytale' to kids lar. Then again, Hansel and Gretel was more gory...

Summary:
It's definitely one of Gaiman's better works. It's a fairytale, in every sense of the word, and reminds me of all the Enid Blyton books I used to read. Gaiman also writes the story in a very whimsical way and gives the whole story a very fairytale-like feeling.

The characters in the story are also pretty memorable, especially all the Faerie people. the lead character, Tristran himself is a little kayu, but stil endearing in the bumbling but true hero way.

My version of the novel is the graphic novel, and I'm glad I got this version and not the normal novel version, because Charles Vess' illustrations are brilliant. They make reading the novel so much more enjoyable.

If you only read one Neil Gaiman books, this should definitely be on top of the list.

Friday, 3 November 2006

The Wheel of Blissfully Ignorant Times

If I'd never read the first five books of The Wheel of Time, I would never have known how good fantasy novels could actually be.

If I'd never read the subsequent books of Wheel of Time, I would never have known how long-winded and pointless the series was getting and start hantaming it to high heavens.

If I'd never got so frustrated with Wheel of Time that it 'forced' me to start reading Discworld, I'd never have discovered Terry Pratchett

If I'd never read Terry Pratchett, I would never have discovered Good Omens

If I'd never read Good Omens, I'd never have discovered Neil Gaiman's books

If I'd never read Neil Gaiman's books I'd never have discovered his website and his blog.

If I'd never read his blog, I would never have read this post and known that Robert Jordan's real name is actually Jim Rigney, and that he is actually very seriously ill

If I had never followed this link on the post, I wouldn't have known that Rigney was suffering from amyloidosis, a rare blood disease, and that he may not have long to live.

If I'd never done all that, I would not have felt so much guilt at hantaming the Wheel of Time so much right now.



Ignorance is bliss right?

It's strange how easy it is to criticise and lambast someone famous just because you don't know him. When I didn't know anything about the 'real life' Jordan, I was quite happy to just lambast his books and call him an oppurtunisic author milking his fans for all its worth by not finishing his books quickly.

Then again, it's easy to criticise people when we are blissfully ignorant of what the person is like in real life, isn't it?

I suppose from now on, I'll feel an additional twinge of guilt whenever I'm criticising The Wheel of Time. (Doesn't change my feelings about the Wheel of Time series though. I still think he's losing the plot, and that the middle books are still pretty much pointless).

Oooh, the guilt, the guilt!

PS: With all due respect though, I do wish the best for Mr Jordan's health, and that despite my criticisms, he is still a pretty damn good writer... I only wish that he'd just finish his damn series...

Thursday, 2 November 2006

How Books Are Banned

Overheard in an office of customs officers inspecting a crate of imported books...


"AIYOH! The word 'SEX'! BAN IT!"

"AIYOH! A yellow sponge and a topless starfish! BAN IT!"

"AIYOH! The WIGGLES! Why are they wiggling huh? BAN IT!"

"AIYOH! Mao! Rushdie! Robbie Williams! All this people vely bad wan! BAN IT!"

"AIYOH! A book on Massage! Last time I go massage parlour hor, got no massage wan, all sex sex sex only wan! BAN IT!"

"AIYOH! Disney! That Chicken Little, The Wild cartoon all so lousy, so this book sure lousy wan! BAN IT!"

"AIYOH! The MALAYAN trilogy! What kind of author is this lah, still calling us MALAYA. After it make all our students fail SPM Sejarah! BAN IT!"

"AIYOH! Midnight's Children? Must be about children sneaking out at midnight! Kenot let that happen! Afterwards got more Mat Rempit! BAN IT!"

"AIYOH! Shalimar the Clown! Eh, I sked of clowns lar. BAN IT!"

"AIYOH! APANI??? How to Talk to Your Child About Sex???!???? Teaching our CHILDREN about SEX??? Don't they know the kids are suppose to learn it from PORN when they grow up? BAN IT!"

"AIYOH! Yi Xing Teapots! After everyone drink Chinese tea only, our mamaks no more teh tarik to sell, go bankrupt! BAN IT!"

"AIYOH! Business Statistics! Last time my lecturer in college for this subject fail me! So everyone else must fail as well! BAN IT!"

"AIYOH! The word 'Rape'! They'll teach our impressionable young men to rape women! BAN IT! (Eh, who is Nanking har?)"

"AIYOH! Apani "Read-Aloud Children's Classics"???? Don't they know people should read QUIETLY so that they don't disturb other people around them? Teaching our children bad manners! BAN IT!"

"AIYOH! Music for Sleeping Babies! How can we let our babies sleep all the time??? Afterwards they dowan to wake up! BAN IT!"

"AIYOH! Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood! Must be some wacko suicide cult book! BAN IT!

"AIYOH! Breasts! Ban it! Breastfeeding? No need lah! Afterwards all the mothers start breastfeeding, all the Malaysian powder milk company bankrupt! BAN IT! "

"AIYOH! Playboy! Seduce: 100 Tips to Arouse! The Best Sex Positions Ever! Too lucah for Malaysians! BAN IT! (Eh boss, after you finish reading I pinjam can ar?)"

"AIYOH! ROBERT JORDAN! I read in some 'eyelis' blog somewhere that the Wheel of Time series is a waste of time. We kenot let our Malaysians to waste their time reading this book! BAN IT!"



Related Links:

- Silverfish Books: Books Restricted by KND Johor Bahru
- Bibliobibuli: Midnight's Children Banned
- Midnight Lily : Banned books
- Minishorts: The simplest reason is the right reason
- Sashiweb: Banned Books
- Suanie: sick/ mawi still sux/ banned books/ cheers/ finger/ lainie
- Sharanya Manivannan: Oh. My. God.
- Whereinsoever: Who’s the genius banning books this time?
- Glenda Larke: how to look stupid in the eyes of the world
- myAsylum: Profiling the Serial Book-Killer
- Eternal Wanderer: WTF?? Who the heck bans Spongebob Squarepants and The Wiggles??
- Hantu Bola: Let's ban some books
- Acid Burn: Here's something to think about
- BP Bites: Hopping Onto The Book Ban(d)wagon
- 5Xmom: Bloggers against book banning

A Bleak, Black Parade of Brilliant Morbidity

parade

From the moment the beep, beep and the first verses of The End started, I was captivated by the whole mood of My Chemical Romance's newest album, The Black Parade.

It was certainly not what I expected, especially judging from their last album, which may have had a few good songs like Helena, but was not much different from an album by those wannabe emo rock bands like Hoobastank or Simple Plan or Good Charlotte, just a little more angsty, that’s all.

Personally, it's been a while since I've heard a proper, rock album that I really liked. I'm not talking about those emo-emo Snow Patrol & Jimmy Eat World records I'm obsessed with, and not those pop-ish Brit-rock Bloc Party Orson shit. I mean rock records, with lots of guitar play, and those you don't bloody DANCE to, but HEADBANG to. Pearl Jam's newest album didn't really do it for me, and The Foo Fighter's In Your Honour was bogged down by that second disc of sleepifying songs.

In fact, the last rock album I'd really like was Green Day's American Idiot, but that was two years ago, and is STILL on rotation on my CD player.

To tell the truth, The Black Parade has been compared to American Idiot a lot. Mostly because both albums have the same producer, and The Black Parade follows a similar theme as American Idiot - where Green Day told the story of St. Jimmy, My Chemical Romance tells the bleak and morbid story of The Patient, a cancer stricken patient who tells us about his life from the deathbed.

However, the difference between this and American Idiot is that My Chemical Romance's album plays itself out more like a musical than Green Day's. Every single song, and the sequence it follows sounds like the soundtrack of a Tim Burton musical.

It's as if the band decided to make their own version of the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack - making their songs sound both whimsical, carnival-like and dark and bleak at the same time (Check out the bonus track at the end - Blood. That's the sort of song that Burton would have put in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).

The result is an album that is rocks hard but bleakly, and is addictively morbid. The lyrics may be bloody morbid, but the songs are brilliant.

Welcome to The Black Parade is one of the best songs this year for me. It brought me back to the first time I heard Green Day's Jesus of Suburbia, the different segments of the song combining together to make a brilliantly uplifting song, veering from slow, to fast, to a marching beat, and the ending with a brilliant uplifting tone.

Another of my favorites is the final song - Famous Last Words. It's the kind of song I absolutely LOVE screaming in the car when I'm in a bad mood. Also helps that it's damn catchy.

Other songs like Mama, Teenagers and Blood, all sound so... SARCASTICLLY and CYNICALLY happy that you can practically TASTE the sarcasm and cynicism dripping from the speakers. These are the songs that sound most as if they should have been in a Disney musical or something, if it wasn't for the really morbid and depressing lyrics and all the rage in the vocals.

Heck, even the slower songs like Cancer, Disenchanted (the best ballad on the album) and Sleep are tinged with so much angsty energy that you are left in no doubt that the song is not just ANY love song.

True, some of the slower songs here sound like the sort that Good Charlotte or Simple Plan might come up with, but where the song would have just been another bloody love song in the hands of those insipid (and I mean this with the full dosage of venom) bands, in the hands of My Chemical Romance, with the lead singer's snarling, sneering vocals, and the morbid lyrics, they become so much, much more memorable.

True to its title, The Black Parade is a whole carnival-like parade of depressed, angsty emotions, spilling over from one song to the other, like some kind of morbid Tim Burton musical.

It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but for me, after just two listens, it's become one of my favorite albums of 2006.

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Judging A Trilogy By Its Covers

I liked this montage I made from the covers of Nix's Old Kingdom books so much.....



.... that I decided to look for more book covers of trilogies or series that had similar themes and compile them into similar pictures as well.

I especially like the UK covers for Robin Hobb's books, they make for cool montages:









I also like Glenda's original covers for the Isles of Glory:



I hate to say this, Glenda, but the US covers really suck. :P :P

Best of all, all the above are really good books too. Who says you can't judge a trilogy from its covers, eh?

And it's not the trilogies that have cool covers. Check these out as well:







No, Lady Friday is not out yet, and won't be until at least March next year. :-(

I DID stop short of making montages for Jordan's books though. Not worth wasting my time over those...

Any other covers worth looking out for?