Monday, 30 April 2007

Last Chance Not to Desert Your Friends

It's quite weird sometimes to be writing about people whom you know and are friends with. Over the years I've interviewed quite a number of my friends (those who were already my friends before I interviewed them, not those whom I became friends with AFTER I interviewed them).

However, I tend to be slightly less reluctant to pimp friends on the BLOG though. Besides, I like to give my friends a little hand sometimes, so this here blog is just another way to get word around about their little projects.

Anyway, there's this local band called The Deserters that some of you have probably seen a couple of times before in various indie gigs around town; and two of the guys on the band are friends from the office.

And just the other day, one of them, Zack, came up to me and said, "Hey man, would you like to buy our latest EP?"

Now I'd heard their songs before during their gigs, and I kinda like some of their songs. When I heard them live, I thought the songs had a bit of an Oasis vibe to it, but seemed edgy enough to be be reputably indie, and yet still halfway towards mainstream MOR rock at the same time.

Now dudes, if any of you are reading this, don't take this as an insult, ok? I LIKE the songs man!

Anyway, this here is the EP:

DESERTERS: LAST CHANCE





It's got four songs in total:


Last Chance:
By far my favorite song on the EP. This was the song I wished for an mp3 of when I first heard them live. After listening to it countles times since I got the EP, I can discern that I probably like this because: 1) It's catchy, 2) I like the guitar breaks and solos, 3) It's a bit of Oasis plus Goo Goo Dolls vibe to it, two bands I like a lot. MY favorite singalong song this year.

No Brakes:
For some reason, the intro reminded me of The Killers. The song itself is catchy though, but not as fun to sing.

Confusion:
Again, the intro reminded me of another band I like: Oasis. To tell the truth, I found this song and No Brakes a little less memorable than the other two songs. But that's just me...

24 Hours:
I'd heard Zack Yusof sing this before on the Voices Next Door CD, and thought it was a decent acoustic ballad. Add a little bit more production, some electronics and voila! it's that slightly better than the VND version.


To tell the truth, I kinda like Last Chance and 24 hours more than the other two songs, mostly because it's easier to sing-along to those two songs. I'm a sucker for songs with singability mar. But anyway, I'm not saying the other two songs suck. Overall, this is a decent EP to own. I like the band's style, and the songs are not half bad either.

Besides, it only cost me ten bucks.

For more information about the Deserters, check out their MySpace HERE.

PS: You can stream a demo song - Talk To Me - at their Myspace. As for the rest, just email them to buy the EP, ok?

Friday, 27 April 2007

So Little Times, So Much Shampoo...

So yeah, there's this Times Bookshop Warehouse Sale going on right now until Sunday.

I went there just now, there's lots of books, but nothing I wanted. And in the spirit of saving money, I decided to jsut pick up one measly book - Ursula K. Le Guin's Birthday of The World.

But if you insist on going anyway, here're the details:

Date: 26th April - 2nd May (1st day is preview day so bring your cards!)
Time: 10am - 8pm
Venue: 2nd Floor, Dataran Hamodal, Block A, (behind Colgate), Jln Bersatu 13/4, Seksyen 13, 46200, PJ



If you don't find any books you like, you can at least go buy some shampoo in the Guardian sale next door...

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

At Last My Life Has Heroic Meaning Once Again...

(No spoilers, don't worry)


After TWO LONG MONTHS,
at last my life has meaning again.
And I know now,
The meaning of being a hero.
At last,
I've found my true calling.
And that calling is...

Being the office supplier of new Heroes episodes every week.





OMG Episode NINETEEN RAWKS!

HAVE TO WAIT ONE MORE WEEK TO THE NEXT EPISODE!!!!

GAAAAH!!!!

Monday, 23 April 2007

How To Eat a Kit-Kat: An Expert, Limited Edition guide

Eyeris now takes a break from his regularly scheduled workload of transcribing countless interviews that were accumulated from his trip to Japan for a certain webby dude's premiere to give you this fairly useless guide about how to eat a Kit-Kat.

So I just got back from Japan recently. While there, I went a bit overboard with the Kit-Kat buying, mostly because there were so many different and wonderful looking Kit-kats, and as I'm a real sucker for Kit-Kats, especially those with cool-looking packaging.




Quite cool right? There's Dark chocolate (my favorite one when it came out here), Brandy and Orange (the most un-Kit-Kat-like of them all), Green Tea (pretty damn addictive), some weird 'whie peach' thingy (the pink one), and white chocolate (not a big fan of white chocolate, but oh well).

As a result of my happy Kit-Kat buying (and eating), I'm on the brink of a Kit-Kat overload right now, and I'm not even a quarter way through all of them. Not that I'm gonna stop eating them, mind you. heh.

Anyway, like I said, let me show you how to eat a Kit-Kat.

And don't worry, I'm not gonna run a truck over them this time. Though I might ask a Transformer to help me out later, if I have time.

No pictures though. Not that you'd want to see pictures of me putting Kit-Kats in my mouth right?

Moving right along...

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

How To Eat a Kit-Kat: An Expert, Limited Edition guide

1) Open the Kit-Kat Wrapper

2) If it's the newer plastic wrappers, then just rip it apart. But first, make sure the Kit-Kat has not been left in the hot sun for too long, or you'll have gooey stuff all over your hands, and the chocolate will get stuck to the wrapper, leaving you with a damn wafer and forcing you to lick it off the wrapper. Bleargh.

3) After you've opened the wrappers, take out the chocolate and break off one wafer

3) Now, if your Kit-Kat is wrapped in the old-school aluminium tin foil wrappers, then it's a lot more fun. Just make sure the chocolate bars are 'solid' enough, and then just BREAK them apart without even opening the foil (the foil 'breaks' apart with the bars).

4) If you're a sucker for shiny stuff, just opening it gently and then keep the foil between the pages of a book or something (this step does not in any way enhance the pleasure of eatingthe Kit-Kat. Trust me, I still have a bunch of Kit-Kat foil wrappers inside books, and I have no idea what I kept them for.)

5) Now, no matter which way you used, you should now have a single bar of Kit-Kat in your hands now. Holding the bar with two fingers (the chocolate tends to melt fast, so holding it with just two fingers minimises the amount of chocolate smears on yor hands), start nibbling off the chocolate (JUST THE CHOCOLATE, ok? don't bite into the wafer yet!) on the sides of the bar (including the two ends.)

6) If you do it right, you should be able to get the chocolate on both sides of the wafer off, leaving you with a naked-looking wafer with thin layers of chocolate on the top and bottom of it.

7) Don't swallow the chocolate yet!

8) Now, if you have two rabbit-like front teeth lie I do, you can use your teeth to scrape off the top and bottom layers of chocolate, adding to the little ball of chocolate you already have in your mouth, and leaving you with a REALLY naked-looking wafer with bits of chocolate stuck all over it.

9) NOW you can start eating the chocolate. Up to you how to eat it. Personally, I prefer to just let it melt in my mouth and then only eat it.

10) Now, on to the wafer. This is the best part, my personal favorite part. Now, the Kit-Kat wafer is made up of a few layers. First, using you teeth, of course, gently, very gently, try to bite off the top layer of the wafer, and eat it.

11) Repeat that step for the rest of the wafer. Why eat it like that? I donno. I just like the taste of the individual layers of the wafer, rather than eating the whole thing one shot. Eheh.

12) Repeat steps 5-11 for the remaining bars of the Kit-Kat.

13) After finishing all the bars, remember to lick the chocolate off your fingers. don't smear them on your shirt like a small kid ok? Afterward mommy scold.


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

Of course, you don't HAVE to follow my way of Kit-Kat-eating. Alternatively, you could always eat your Kit-Kat like all those ORDINARY people, by just breaking them apart and putting the whole thing in your mouth, but where's the fun in that? With MY way, you make the Kit-Kat last longer!


Coming up next in the Kit-Kat Chronicles: Eyeris leaves some limited edition Kit-Kats in the sun and Optimus Prime sits on them.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Venomous Sandy Spidey Threesomes



Spider-man 3.
Not a review.
Movie only gonna be released in May 1.
I got to see it way before you guys.
HA-HA!
Ok, enough gloating.
My head is full of Spiders.
Making me stressed.
Until weekend also hafta work.
Bah. Great job perks come with great job responsibility I guess.
BTW, is it spelt 'Spider-man', or 'Spiderman'?
Apparently it's 'Spider-man'.
Oh well.
Anyway.
Spider-man 3 = awesome.
And then some.
Too long, maybe.
Damn emo too.
Like, start fighting already, dude.



Black-suit Spidey = Damn cool.
Agro-Macho-Spidey = Not so cool.
But who cares, got THREE VILLAINS!
Venom = Damn Bloody cool.
Evil too.
Eddie Brock = Hanging Out! On the Streets! The Same old thing! We did last week!
Sandman = Probably the first ever New Age Sensitive Sandman in history.
Damn cool origin scene though.
Give the movie an Oscar for Best Visual Effects already!
New Goblin = Angsty.
Got two cun chicks also.
Gwen Stacey = Screamy.
Blonder than blonde too.
Kirsten Dunst = Also screamy.
Cute though. In person too. Heh.



Came out, not sure if liked it or not.
Liked half of it.
Indifferent in some parts.
But still ok fun.
Got huge kick from Venom scenes.
Was I not entertained?
Rather. In patches
Worth paying to watch again?
Well... maybe
Heck, I'd probably pay just to watch that creation of Sandman scene.
THAT scene was magnificent.
Now bring on the pirates.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Book Review: The Good Fairies of New York (Martin Millar)

I need to get my mind off a number of things, AND blow off some stress at the same time, so I'll probably be slightly more prolific here in the next few days. Not a bad thing, considering I have hardly been very regular with updates lately, right?

Anyway, it's the Weekend. Another book review coming up. And maybe later, I'll post my SPIDER-MAN 3 Not-A-Review. (yes, I've watched it. GYAHAHAHA!)

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



Title: The Good Fairies of New York
Author: Martin Millar

Synopsis (from Amazon.com):
The Good Fairies of New York tells the fish-out-of-water story of two Scottish thistle fairies who find themselves in Manhattan. The fairies hook up with two humans, Kerry (complete with colostomy bag) and Dinnie (antisocial in the extreme), finding time to help both get their acts together. A book that brings together race riots and Scottish folklore, The Good Fairies of New York is anything but a typical fairy fantasy.

What I liked:
  • Pretty damn funny
  • Pretty trippy too
  • Easy to read and not confusing
  • The Ramones!
  • I liked that even fairies have different nationalities and each one has different characteristics
  • The fairies are hilarious, especially the two main ones (who were inspired by the Ramones to start a Fairy punk rock band)

What I didn't like:
  • Some parts felt like Miller was just throwing in something jsut to keep the story going
  • But other than that, nothing much I didn't like though I would have preferred a much neater tying up of the loose ends in the end though...

Summary:
To tell the truth, I bought this book on impulse because of three things:

1) I liked the cover (Who says you can't buy a book by its cover eh?)
2) I thought the title was interesting
3) There was an introduction by Neil Gaiman (So I'm a sucker, sue me)

Anyway, I don't regret buying this at all. It was one heck of an entertaining book, with interesting characters, some interesting plots going about the whole thing, and a lot of fairies flying around wrecking havoc. What's not to like?

Miller's writing is very simple and catchy as well, and I practically breezed through the whole thing without once scratching my head in confusion as I'm wont to do with many of Gaiman's books (which is hardly a bad thing, seriously, but still gives me a headache nonetheless).

I really liekd the way he just let the whole thing go on this whole roller coaster ride, throwing in new elements all the time, and mixing it all up to make one rip-roaring adventure that sometimes doesn't make sense but then, that's fantasy comedy for you.

It's a damn fun book to read, especially if you've always thought that fairies were always a little goody-two-shoes for your liking. Here, the fairies play The Ramones, want to start a punk rock band and their king wants to force them all to work in sweatshops. It ain't no wishy-washy Enid Blyton fairytale, this, but it's still one heck of a trippy fun read.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Leave the Meat Creatures out, Michael Bay. Just give us the Transformers!

So I saw this 20 minute preview of Transformers.

IT RAWKED.



Ok, let me rephrase that. It rawked when the TRANSFORMERS were on screen. I couldn't care less about all the people running away from the robots screaming. In fact, I kept wishing a Decepticon foot would come down and squash those puny meat creatures.

But I digress.

There were four scenes we got to watch. First, the scene at the Middle Easter air base where that cool helicopter (which is actually the Decepticon Blackout) lands, and then Transforms.

I tell you, when I heard that TRANSFORMING SOUND, I almost flipped. It wasn't like throughout the whole transformation, but at the beginning though, which was abit weird. But then once the sound played, the whole helicopter just... TRANSFORMED.

It was AWESOME.

We also got to see Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Jazz, Ironhide and Ratchett in Robot form. And OMG Optimus Prime talking. It may have bee nvery mechanical, but it was instantly recognisable as Optimus Prime. PETER CULLEN RULES!

To tell the truth, as long Michael Bay puts in a lot of giant robots, the movie will be awesome. Just don't try to make it a HUMANS SURVIVE ALIEN ROBOT ATTACK kind of movie. We don't BLOODY CARE about the PEOPLE. JUST GIVE US THE ROBOTS GODDAMIT.

All those scenes with Sam (yes, SAM, not Spike) trying to pick up a chick was just lame. and Shia Lebeouf was just ANNOYING. and his parents too. ANNOYING. In fact, all those scenes with ONLY PEOPLE and NOT ROBOTS were just plain boring. I was practically WILLING the reel to move on to the robots.



Anyway, there were a whole lot of goosebumpy moments, like when the Transforming sound came on, when Optimus Prime appeared. Brilliantly nostalgic I tell you.

Sure, Bumblebee ain't a VW Bug. Sure, Jazz ain't a Porsche, Megatron ain't a gun, and Starscream looks like a Gorilla. And yeah, they still look like AVP: The Robot wars.

But GODAMMIT, ITS THE TRANSFORMERS! OPTIMUS PRIME! WHO CAN RESIST THAT!!!

Come June 28, get ready to Transform and ROLL OUT!!!

The Should-I-Should-I-Not of Húrin

Should I?
Should I not?
Should I?
Should I not?
Should I?
Should I not?
Should I?
Should I not?
Should I?
Should I not?
Should I?
Should I not?



Dang it, I probably would anyway.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

A Web of Clues For the Missing Eye

Wondering where I've sesated to?






Go Figure.

No updates for another few days, BTW. Ta!

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Book Review: Lady Friday (Garth Nix)

This review is long overdue, but then again, I'm behind on a lot of other things as well. Oh well. Here we go.

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



Title: Lady Friday (Book 5 of The Keys to the Kingdom)
Author: Garth Nix

Synopsis:
On the first day, there was mystery. On the second day, there was darkness. On the third day, there were pirates. On the fourth day, there was war. On the fifth day, there was fear...

If you've got this far in the series, you'll know Arthur's story about being chosen to save the world and The house from the evil plots of House Denizens that go by the names of days. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go pick up Mister Monday and start reading the series!

What I liked:
  • Like the other four books, it had a good pace and was interestingly imaginative
  • I love the idea of Paper Pushers
  • Story is getting very interesting indeed
  • Leaf gets more to do
  • I like the idea of all parts of the Will having different personalities to balance itself out.
What I didn't like:
  • This book somehow seemed a lot shorter than the rest, even though its not.
  • The purple cover is jsut boring lar. I liked Sir Thursday's better
  • I had a wee bit of toruble imagining some locations. Being a litle TOO imaginative perhaps, Garth? :P

Summary:
Lady Friday brings Arthur further and further into The House, and adds een more strange and weird and completely illogical plots into the mix. And you know what? Who cares if it's illogical?

What I like about The Keys to the Kingdom series is that there are no set rules on what Nix can write about. As long as he sets the story in the House (or outside it in some cases), and manages to link them together in one way or the other (it doesn't really matter how he does it), then it makes for an interesting read.

It's like how Enid Blyton could just basically throw in any kind of weird land on top of the Faraway Tree and it would seem plausible just because, hey, it's the Faraway Tree, it's SUPPOSED to have all these lands on top of it. Who cares how those lands got there in the first place? Did you ever wonder about the mechanics of how those lands REVOLVED around the tree and what the probability of a certain Land coming around twice in a book? No right? you just wanted to read about the lands themselves, the hell with how they got there in the first place.

(that said, I would LOVE to see how the Slippery-Slip worked. I want my future home to have one. :D)

What I really do love about fantasy, and most specifically children's fantasy is this element of surprise and imagination with litle regard to making everything seem logical. Who cares how Harry Potter's magic wands work anyway? It's magic! Who cares that lions sholdn't be able to talk because they have no vocal chords? Who cares that the Wishing Chair's tiny red wings would not be able to hold to combined weight of the two kids AND the chair itself? And who really cares that The House just seems to comprise of one made-up scenario and 'land' after another?

There are times when after reading a really serious book, you just want to let loose and read somethign that is mindless, but not mindless like airport novels. You want something that allows you room to imagine and create images of fantastic worlds in your mind, not something that gives you a headache trying to work out clues and where the author spends half the time explaining how the mechanisms of a certain machine or 'magical item' works.

That's why I love The Keys to the Kingdom so much. It lets me just REAd, imagine, and lose myself in The House. And no one writes those kind of books better than Nix right now, IMHO.

Friday, 13 April 2007

The Japan Jaunt: Erevators to Bonfires of Hot Carrots

Sorry about the lack of updates. Been busy. As usual.

Anyway, keeping with the Tokyo thread, I shall now illustrate why I think Tokyo is awesome, with the help from some genuine Tokyo signages:


They educate you on what kind of plants their Dewan Bandaraya plant along the streets. Here? The plants die too quickly to make this practise practical.




They tell you exactly which type of water is good to drink



And which are not.




You can't start bonfires in their temples.




Plus you also can't walk and smoke at the same time. So there is no second hand smoke to spoil your morning stroll through the park. AWE-SOME.




You have to turn off your handphones and are forbidden from answering them on the trains and buses. Makes for very peaceful train rides. AWE-SOME.




They have hot carrots. AWE... er.. and then some.



And finally...

Their signs use the same Engrish as Hiro Nakamura.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

The Japan Jaunt: Sweet Sakura Season Sights

It's almost the end of the sakura season in Japan right now, and I thought since Japan is full of flowers right now, I'd start off the posts with some pretty pictures of flowers.

First off, the sakura flowers:



This is what they look like from afar:






And now, some assorted flowers and plants:






Also, I damn lazy to write much. Later lah. :D

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Herro Nippon!

Konnichiwa!
Kimono Yukata Geisha
Shuriken Katana Ninja
Samurai Shogun Yakuza
Suzuki Kawasaki Honda
Sushi Sashimi Teppanyaki,
Ramen Miso Wasabi
Ikebana Origami Bonsai
Sake Asahi Kampai!
Tomy Bandai Takara,
Naruto Sasuke Sakura,
Gojira Totoro Gaban
Utada Hikaru Ichiban!
Watanabe Hiro Nakamura,
Herro TOKYO!
Banzai!




PS: PArdon the incoherency of this post. And any Japanese grammar mistakes I may have made. Yes. I'll be away in Japan for a few days. Regular blog transmission shall resume when I get back. Domo Arigato Gozaimas, sayonara!

Monday, 2 April 2007

OTT TMNT TNT



Oops, wrong version.

Here's the right one:



TMNT.
Not a Review.
Lean. Mean. Green.
Dude... half-shells kick butt!
Why all about Raphael and Leonardo only?
Boring! Boo!
I want more Donatello!
And er... less of Michaelangelo. Ok, maybe not too much.
Why Casey Jones so skinny wan?
Why Splinter's accent so funy wan?
April O'Neil. Hot.
GAH! She's just a cartoon!
Wait, she's got Buffy's voice!
Female ninja. Hot.
GAH! She's also a cartoon!
Wait, she's got Zhang Ziyi's voice!
Badass baddies. But nothing special.
Good action, but fighting so blur wan.
Effects quite cool, beats those rubber suits, eh?
Stupid story.... Who cares?
It's the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
Heroes in a half-shell, turtle power!
Cowabunga, dude!

Top Book Top Ten Top TopTop

Ok people, survey / announcement / cut and paste time.

Daphne asked me to post this on the blog:

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

What are your favourites?

MOST book-lovers know that April 23 is designated World Book and Copyright Day by Unesco (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation). This day is celebrated in the hope of promoting reading and publishing and the protection of intellectual property through copyright.

The date was chosen by Unesco’s general conference because it happens to be the shared date of death for literary giants Miguel Cervantes, William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega; as well as the date of birth of, among other respected authors, Maurice Druon and Vladimir Nabokov.

In Britain, World Book Day is celebrated on March 1 and this year, a survey was conducted to find the 10 books the nation “couldn’t live without” (www.worldbookday10.com/vote). The results (some of which StarMag published in these pages on March 11: Classics catch the heart) revealed that Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is the book most loved by the British reading public. It was followed by The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (in that order). The highest-ranking contemporary work of fiction was Birdsong, by Sebastian Faulks, which came 17th in the poll.

What books would Malaysian readers choose? To celebrate World Book Day on April 23, StarMag is holding its own poll. What are your 10 all-time favourite books? Share your list and we’ll tell you what everyone else is reading, too, when we publish the results of this survey in our April Reads Monthly pull-out, on April 29.

Send your list by April 15, 2007, to:

Malaysia’s Top 10 Favourite Books (StarMag)

- Via e-mail: starmag-bookpoll@thestar.com.my
- Via fax: 03-7955 4039
- Via post: Menara Star, No. 15, Jalan 16/11, 46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Your list should:
- Comprise 10 of your favourite fictional works
- Have each author’s name and each book’s full title (please be careful to spell both correctly!)


All entries MUST have the following details or they will not be counted as part of the survey:

- Full name
- Age
- Gender
- Occupation
- Mailing address


Go on, start browsing your bookshelves!

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Book Review: The Harmony Silk Factory (Tash Aw)

It's been a while since the last book review, eh? I've finished a number of books already, actually, but just haven't really gotten around to writing the review. I'll be reviewing Lady Friday soon, but I gotta get this one off my chest first, partly because someone once told me that for such a highly-rated book, Tash Aw's The Harmony Silk Factory is really nothing to shout about... And you know what? I kinda agree.

On with the review then...

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



Title: The Harmony Silk Factory
Author: Tash Aw

What I Liked:
  • Quite an easy read
  • Well, the structure of the story was interesting anyway.
  • I DID like how the story connected together at some parts.

What I Didn't Like:
  • Over-exoticised setting
  • Annoying and stereotypical characters, none of which I connected enough with to care whether they died or not
  • Too much like an airport novel...
  • Saw the twists a mile away...
  • Malaya? What Malaya?

Summary:
Let me get this out of the way: I have no idea why this book is so 'highly acclaimed'. It seems like little more than a run-of-the-mill airport book with exoticised characters, and a setting that hardly does justice to the actual location it is set in.

I finished this book quite quickly, which means it's at least an easy and engaging read. Unfortunately, if that were a gauge of how good a book is, then The Da MilliVanilli Code would have been considered high literature, and not just an airport novel with an engaging story.

Which, unfortunately, is what The Harmony Silk Factory is - an over-hyped, over-exoticised airport novel that just happens to be set in Malaya. Speaking of which, for a book supposedly set in the country I live in, I felt no connection whatsoever to anything he wrote about. Never mind that it was pre-Merdeka Malaya, he could have set it in Vietnam or China and no one would have known the difference.

Seriously, why do all books set in Asia (Malaysian, Indian, Chinese etc...) seem to be over-exoticised to pander to Western audiences? It's as if the writers are writing just so that the Western readers can feel the mysticism of the Orient, never mind that the people from the place that the book is supposedly set in would probably wonder where all that exoticsm comes from.

I may be overly harsh, but heck, it's what I think, personally. For a first book, The Harmony Silk Factory is a decent effort. But don't believe the hype about it being a brilliant book, and all the awards it's won. It's a decent read, a good airport book, but that's all, really.