Almost every blog that I am reading now reminds me that today is 31 December 2009, last day of the year, if not, the decade.
I am not going to bother making a list of resolution. Because I don't even remember my resolutions for 2009, let alone keep it. Maybe I did hit some of my targets, but if I can't remember them, then maybe they are not that important after all ;)
Since tomorrow will be a new year, I thought I would do some typical soul searching reflection thing. Then I realise my life is busy and full. I am filled with activities and surrounded by people. Some of these events are thorns in roses, and some of these people are pain in the arse. But looking at the bright side, roses are beautiful, and once in a while we come across one sexy arse, so I just have to sit back and enjoy whatever life throws at me!
In this year of 2009, many things happened. I learned to let go of certain things, learned to not have regrets, learn to live with regrets, learned to relax and enjoy...
I look back and smiled, because I know how far I've come.
Thanks to my family, best friends, good friends, coursemates, jackasses, and bitches.
Without sadness, I can never know happiness. Without jackasses and bitches, I can never know good family and friends.
Happy New Year 2010!!
PS : I know that the title is totally irrelevant. Jumping is due to the fact that I have a mountain load of tasks to do today, an event to organise, a last minute appointment to prepare and many other chores to do. Jumping is also due to the fact that I just had a excessive influx of sugar consumption. And I am jumping because I crave for ice cream NOW!!
If that is not a full life, then I don't know what is... ;)
Right after my trip to Cameron Highlands, I went up north to Penang with my uncle and aunts. We stayed in Penang for three days two nights, in two different hotels. The first night was in Copthorne Hotel near Butterworth, the second night was in Vistana Hotel, directly opposite Bukit Jambul Shopping Mall.
Christmas decoration at the lobby of Copthorne Hotel
Me and my grandma
I swam!!! No la... More like floating on the board... Damn... I can't swim...
View from the balcony of my hotel room
Copthorne is just next to the sea... Splendid!
The highlights of this trip was in Queensbay Mall. That place is a shopping heaven!!
And you might wonder...
Why is he staring at a sink?
And why is she sitting on top of a toilet bowl...
We are in T-BOWL!! A concept restaurant that serves everything in the toilet atmosphere!!
Chicken mi sua served in toilet bowl
This is the size of that humongous big chicken drumstick!
My cheese baked tuna crab rice
Check out the cheese!! I LOVE CHEESE!!
Raymond is practically licking the toilet bowl!! LOL!!
Finish eating lo~~
Time for desserts!!
T-Bowl brought food playing and eat shit to a whole new level!!
I went to Cameron Highlands with my family last Wednesday and Thursday. A friend of my dad is kind enough to rent us her vacation apartment in Tanah Rata to stay in. The trip was really really fun!!
I'll let the pictures do all the talking ;)
The pictures are all taken with my handphone. Quality aren't exactly tip-top but good enough la... Damn I wish I own a DSLR!!
On the way to BOH tea plantation
From the "hanging cliff" of BOH tea plantation
Yours truly... Ryanne... ;)
Me and me mum
My Teacino with a dash of vanilla
Introducing my SS bro, Raymond
Another SS picture of him waiting for my parents outside the toilet
Damn Raymond is TALL
A brief visit to the Smoke House
How can a trip to Cameron Highlands be complete without pictures of flowers?
German kids running on giant vegetables
My mum devouring a huge corn!!
Ryanne futilely try to "act cute" *DISASTROUS*
Raymond "filially" hold my handbag for me He looks like a handbag model right?
My dad checking out the sky
Me dad, Raymond and I Mum was MIA~~
This is the most fun trip I have had in years!! I mean, this is the FIRST time my university semester break coincide with school holidays. And this is the FIRST family vacation we had in years. Although it was only two days, in Cameron Highlands (I used to hate that boring place) but it was really fun spending time with my family ;)
I heard of the title of the movie. I knew the movie was directed by acclaimed Oscar winning director James Cameron. I saw some promotional shots of the movie with blue people in it. Other than that, I have no idea what this whole movie is about.
Until I watched it this evening.
And was totally blown away by it!!!
This movie is about a marine, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) being sent to some planet where he was suppose to replace the place of his dead scientist twin brother to explore a new planet. He met other scientist Grace (Sigourney Weaver) and Norm who controlled Avatars, synthetic clones that were made to look like the native aliens in the planet, with their minds. Jake was later recruited by the military colonel to report to him because he believed that diplomatic measures were useless against the aliens and all they wanted was the precious metal buried underneath the natives' sacred Hometree. In the Avatar, Jake was attacked by some mean looking big ass animal and was rescued by Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). She brought him back to her people and Jake was accepted by the people as a foreigner who was there to learn after Eywa, the natives' goddess showed signs. After 3 months, Jake went through all the passage of rites as a native and gained the people's trust. He also fell in love with Neytiri. However, the humans wanted to attacked the Hometree for the precious metal and killed a lot of natives. After learning Jake's true intentions, he was out-casted by the tribe. To gain their trust back and to help the natives fight for their homes, he tamed the Toruk, a legendary bird that the natives believed can only be tamed by great warriors at dire times. Jake lead the aliens against the human and finally drove the human away from the planet.
The plot is relatively simple. The story wasn't anything remarkable. But the flow was so exciting that I totally forgot to predict whatever that is going to happen next. There was not a moment of boredom in the movie. Every scene was filled with heart- pumping action, imagination-filled creations, tear-jerking emotions... There wasn't a second that the audiences weren't feeling anything. Unless one was asleep during the movie and I doubt that that is possible.
This movie was supposed to be done ten years ago. I am extremely glad that James Cameron did this movie now. Because technology ten years ago can never produce this kind of result. This movie is part live action, part motion capture, heavily CGI-ed with newly developed stereoscopic filming technique specially developed for this movie. The natives looked so real and everything else in the movie is so creative. Insects that were beautiful, move in ways that surprised me, and so creatively designed. Plants that glowed in the dark, turn fluorescent at tactile, plants that don't look like plants, etc. And the action scenes were brilliantly done!! One moment you see Neytiri on top of a tree, the next she was sliding gracefully down the leaf of a tree, the next she was doing flips on a branch, the next she was on a huge colourful bird, etc. And the slow motion techniques used to emphasize the effects of the movements. Simply brilliant!!
I also love James Cameron for his mind. I love many concepts in the movie. The natives in the movie emphasis on Eywa and the balance of life. It is like a bold reminder to human that we need to understand and communicate with our surroundings. The natives loved the nature and embrace nature as it is the provider. But human, we can destroy homes and lives, just for monetary wealth. The theme of the movie also boldly reminded us of our own arrogance of trying to teach the aliens English, giving them highways and houses. It didn't occur to the humans that they don't need us and they were a far more supreme and sensitive species than the human race.
Another concept that I love about this movie is the "connection". There were these tentacles at the end of the braid of every native. They just need to make the connection by letting these tentacles entwined around the tentacles of their "horses" or their "birds" or their "spirit trees". It is literally like a huge network that connects the natives through biochemical interactions. Very much like our own Internet where the tentacles are like the USB port or something. It is very creative isn't it?
The soundtrack of the movie is also awesome. And the composer of the scores are no other than my favourite James Horner. The soundtrack captured every essence of the movie and played the feelings of the audiences like how Carlos Santana shreds his guitar. It was perfect and I think the reasons that I had goosebumps and that I actually sat up straight during all those nerve-wrecking-I-don't-know-if-he-is-going-to-die moments is because of the scores.
Great storyline. Brilliant actions. A total visual buffet with the special effects. And a total audio feast. This is one hell of a movie. I would love to watch it again.
I absolutely salute James Cameron as a director, a creator and an imaginator!!
Ratings : 9/10. This movie is THREE hours long. Bring a jacket and empty your bladder before movies. Large amount of popcorn and drinks might be necessary. Or you will be so blown away that you forget to eat.
WARNING : This is an article that is very heavily laden with words. Skip the whole thing if you don't care. I just can't contain my anger and disappointment after following this incident on the newspaper and Internet for almost a week.
Last week, a 14 year old girl had come clean with her story. A story of betrayal, a story of immorality, a story of ignorance, a story of cruelty and last but not least, a story of bravery.
A 14 year old girl went for a karaoke session with her classmates. She was drugged by her male classmates and raped. When she was conscious, she dare not tell anyone about the incident, hoping that it would go away. Unfortunately, those classmates of hers bragged about the incident at school, leaving her no choice but to report. Surprisingly, the school ignored this incident, stating that it didn't happen in the school compound, therefore none of their business. The girl went to the police and the police told her to forget about it and concentrate on her PMR exams. With no choice, she went to the media. And now sympathies are pouring in like rain.
But does it help?
This story made me think. I shuddered at the horror of being betrayed and raped by friends. I sighed at the ignorance of our education system. I am utterly disappointed with our so-called justice system.And I am thoroughly disgusted with the attitude of the society. Imagine if this story wasn't told through the media and was told by the girl herself, her family, or relatives. She will be discriminated and labelled as "unclean" or "slutty" or "stupid". Imagine if the media didn't shine enough light on her unfortunate incident, she will still be bullied and insulted by her classmates and relatives. Imagine if this incident wasn't big enough for the police to take action, she will still be living in darkness, taunted by her rapists everyday in school.
I am also very disappointed in the morality and mentality of the so-called "Eastern culture". Some people actually made her the culprit and said that she did it onto herself by being friends with guys or going to karaoke with guys. Some said that she should be the conservative little girl who should stay at home. I wonder if these people have been living in the Victorian Era or something. This is the 21st century. Like it or not, youngsters nowadays like to play and have fun. And karaoke is just one of the many ways. Instead of properly educating the young about these entertainments, adults forbid the youngsters from having fun which in turn challenged the rebellious side of the teens. Seriously, parents, can't you see that not every kid is the obedient school nerd who stay at home and study, and sometimes your kid isn't very obedient. Your irresponsibility and unwillingness to educate your child is a contributing factor to his/her action because the more you forbid it, the more they want to do it!! Same situation applies here. Why make the victim the evil culprit here by saying that she seduced the guy into having such thoughts when the truth is the adults didn't educate the boys to keep their dicks in their pants? And screw the Eastern Culture if the society only expect the female to be modest and well-groomed.
Besides that, I am utterly disappointed with our education system where some idiots actually took pride on earlier of the millennium. To quote from Sin Chew Daily, "我們的教育培養了一群只會考試的機器、一群不愛考試的孩子，但我們的教育忘記了培養一群有溫暖的心的孩子、忘記教會孩子怎麼用心生活、忘記了塑造他們的人格。" (Our education system produced a group of robots who do well in exams and a group of children who hate exams. But our system forgot to produce caring students, forgot to teach them how to live, forgot to instill morality and ethics in them.) Looking back, what have we produce beside robots who memorise and regurgitate everything? What happen to the compulsory teaching of Pendidikan Moral and Sivik? What happen to dedicated teachers whose jobs are not only to teach things in the textbooks but also instill morality and ethics into the young? This, my dear readers, are the milder consequences of teaching students to memorise 36 "moral" definitioninstead of actually teaching students MORAL! The school involved in this incident have really irresponsible administrators. How can you lock a girl out of justice just because it doesn't happen in school? Those boys are still students from that very school. The girl still studies in that school. How can the teachers pushed her away, into a world of darkness and loneliness? The stupid Eastern Culture of "Jangan jaga tepi kain" (Don't mingle in other people's business) should really be abolished. Our country fail miserably at producing a caring and responsibility community. Clearly all those bullshit laws like Pelan Integriti Nasional or Wawasan 2020 is not working.
My heart goes all out to this girl. She is very brave indeed, to expose the story and to make sure her perpetrators take responsibilities of their actions. I hope the community really wake up to this distress call from the morality of this society. I hope that this story won't be like the heat of the moment and be swept under the carpet after some time. I hope that law-makers are really doing something about it instead of drawing up another useless bound-to-fail policy.Most of all, I hope that this girl can walk out of darkness with so many support from people around the country.
This might be my next piece after I mastered Canon In D (which is not an easy piece at all!!)
This play wasn't really smooth technically. He slipped a few times. I haven't check out the tabs yet but I am quite sure it is hard because this is one of the best ones I can find on YouTube. And this song actually made me want to play!!
This, on the other hand, is by a pro who performed in a benefit concert some time ago. The play was superb!!
I am into classical pieces on guitar these days, non?
I didn't play Left 4 Dead. So no comparisons between the former and this latest instalment of zombie shooting spree. But this game alone is one hell of a game.
I wasn't really much of a gamer. And I am definitely not pro in this game. But this game really got me addicted to it!! It has 5 different maps and it allows single players, campaign players and versus mode. Single players, well, as the name suggested, you play alone as the survivor. Campaign mode and versus mode is a collaborative game where a hub and a host is needed. Campaign mode needs a maximum of 4 players, playing the human survivors battling the infected. Versus mode needs a maximum of 8 players, with alternate chances of playing the survivors and infected.
According to my friends who have played the first instalment, they said that the maps were longer this time. And there is the additional melee weapons and more insane gun power. Imagine AK 47, mounted machine guns, military snipers, grenade launchers and many more. Melee weapons include the chainsaw, katana sword, crowbar, an electric guitar (WTH?), cricket bat ( I like this one) and many more.
The species of infected also increased. We have a female version of boomer, the jockey, the hunter, spitter, charger, tank and many more. It is actually quite disgusting and bloody. But when you actually play the infected in versus mode, gosh, it was fun!! All you have to do is collaborate and attack the FOUR humans, compared to playing humans and shoot whatever that is moving.
Overall, this game provides the adrenaline rush to make you lose all image and curse rather loudly in cybercafes. Also provide you with enough horror to scream like a girl when you appear to be the macho muscle guy. Of course, female gamers often surprise the guys with how good they are at leading, shooting, screaming and screaming (applicable to certain female only).
Ratings : 7/10. Best zombie killing I've ever played. More convincing and exhilarating than House of Dead or Zombieland.
I am seriously addicted to this song after listening to the piano cover by Ryan Jones (mentioned in my previous post).
So I took my guitar, learned the song, and started singing. This song was recorded with a simple software and was done in one straight take. I tried to make the song sound original, hope it doesn't come out as out of tune. Forgive me for the guitar sound. I am not quite sure it is the recording software problem or the microphone problem. Alas, this is just for fun, so not so pro~~
Hope you guys enjoy~~
PS : Please leave a comment to help me improve on either the singing or the guitar play. Seriously appreciate some "tunjuk ajar"! Again, sorry if the video sucks~~ :)
This is an amazing cover by Ryan Jones. He played the song like a master. He conveyed the message and emotion of the song so perfectly!! It is as if the melody alone spoke for the song without the lyrics!
This is one amazing piece, beautifully arranged and skilfully played!
Kudos to Secondhand Serenade who came out with the scores in the first place. I love the song when it first came out and I like the lyrics very much. This is one brilliant song!
I've been listening to the soundtrack of 500 Days of Summer these few days. Thank you ANDREW for downloading the tracks for me!! Alas, my line is extremely noob~~
Anyway, the soundtracks were fantastic. I feel like I am reliving the moments of the movie when I am listening to the tracks. But one particular song that really grabbed my attention is this song by Carla Bruni. Yup, Carla Bruni, the French First Lady who was originally a singer.
I love her voice. So beautiful and natural. And the guitar serenade of the song!! Superb!! Even though I don't understand a word in that song (most of my friends know that I don't listen to songs that I don't understand the lyrics) but this song really appeal to me! French language itself is already like a beautiful melody that blends so well with the universal language of music!
Well, YouTube-ing means one video will lead to the next. And these few are the ones that got my attention. Enjoy~~
Maybe I should not limit myself to songs where I understand the lyrics. There are plenty of French, Italian, German songs that are wonderfully beautiful!!
I am not a fan of animation. I never really like animation. But this one is one good animation.
The story told of young Carl and Ellie meeting each other as children. They were fans of adventurer Charles Muntz. The first half hour of the movie showed us Carl and Ellie marrying each other, and all their lives together. Finally Ellie died of old age. To honour Ellie, Carl who also got sick of his mundane life, tied their house to a lot of balloons and flew to Paradise Falls, somewhere where Ellie had wanted to go since her childhood. Unfortunately, a wilderness boy scout of sort, Russell, hid under Carl's house and got flew to South America altogether. In the process of getting the house next to Paradise Fall, Carl met a rare bird, Kevin, and a talking dog, Dug. Also, Russell was being a pain in the butt for Carl. When Carl finally met the famous explorer Charles Muntz, he discovered that Muntz was trying to kill them for mistakenly thinking that they wanted to steal Kevin away. After a lot of adventure, Carl saved Kevin and the whole bunch while the evil culprit died. Happily ever after, ala Disney.
I am quite surprise that this is a Disney production. This one is very mature and it is no longer the usual cutesy fairy tale with the typical Disney style. It deals with impotency, death, divorce, single parent, absent parent, disappointment in a kid, and many more. I am also very touched by the love story of Carl and Ellie. They literally built their lives together and around each other. The most touching part is when Carl saw Ellie's Adventure Book and realised that all her adventures in life wasn't about going to Paradise Falls or discovering rare creatures, but to build a life with Carl. I also love the thing about Carl doing everything he can for the wife, even when she is dead. Besides the emotional mature parts, I also love the comical humour part. Russell being the royal pain in the butt is really really funny!!
The animation was pretty good. The landscape animation on South America and the waterfall were very surreal. The design and concept of the rare bird Kevin is funny but astoundingly cute at the same time! Initially, Russell appeared as usual to me due to his extremely "sepet" eyes on his very fat round face. But as the movie progressed, he actually looked cute to me. Overall, the animation was real enough to be convincing, but comical and cartoon-ish enough to remind audiences that this is an alternative reality. I mean, who can float a house all the way to South America?
Another thing I love very much about this movie is the music scores. The OSTs fit in the movie perfectly and it played such a major part in the emotions of the movie. The theme was played with different instruments, at different pace, in different situations. And I am amazed at how the same tune, played with different styles, can influenced the mood of the movie so much!! Kudos to the music director!! Sound wise, the voice actors are virtually unknown, which actually make the movie better! I am so sick of watching shitty animated films with the voice of Brad Pitt or George Clooney that has relatively repeated or no plot.
In a nutshell, I would say that this is one interesting animated film in a whole new category of its own. The concept and the story is new and fresh. The characters are very well-written. The movie actually made me cry and smile and the same time. It is very touching and it leaves a warm feeling inside of me.
Ratings : 8.5/10. High ratings due to amazing OSTs and very very nice story!! Highly recommended!!