Archive | November, 2008

Lower Wick Pitch and Putt – Some Yummy Food and Goodbye UK!

Every Sunday it was tradition for my and my homeboy Chiu to go down to Lower Wick driving range and have a round on the Pitch and Putt (when I used to live in Worcester). It’s a pretty effective use of space with the driving range in the middle and the short 9 hole course around the outside, each hole is basically a short par 3 of around 70-100 yards or so.

I enjoy it more than golf as it’s much easier and much less time consuming, I don’t get bored or frustrated by the end.

I had a warm up on the driving range first before unleashing my skills on the Pitch and Putt.

Lower Wick Driving Range

Chiu teed off..landing the bloody ball on the green almost every time with his first shot.

Chiu at Lower Wick Pitch and Putt

Teeing up to whoop my ass towards the end, I lost of course – but not by too much.

Chiu Teeing Off

After that we headed to a nearby pub for some Sunday lunch – the steak and ale pie was really good!

Anyway that was about that for my UK trip, I took it easy for the last few days, spent some time with my Mom and ate loads!

I had some lovely home made chicken pie.

Homemade Chicken Pie

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Continue Reading 11 CommentsFood/Eating, Trips & Travel, UK

Movie Review – Quantum of Solace – Bourne Again?!

James Bond - Quantum of Solace

Betrayed by Vesper, the woman he loved, 007 fights the urge to make his latest mission personal. Pursuing his determination to uncover the truth, Bond and M interrogate Mr. White who reveals the organization which blackmailed Vesper is far more complex and dangerous than anyone had imagined.

I was looking forwards to this movie (the 22nd Bond movie) since I heard about it way back when with the new kickass Bond played by Daniel Craig. Casino Royale was spectacular and I just watched it again today before going to see Quantum of Solace (and it was just as excellent as the first time).

It scored pretty well on IMDB with 7.2 (a score I think is a little high considering the depth of the movie).

Somehow it didn’t feel like a Bond movie, the signature opening gunbarrel sequence at the end of start credits was absent, the signature tune was weak and not really memorable (although they keep it current with Alicia Keyes). Then the movie itself, where were the gadgets, the smoothness? The character developement? The sinister bad guy? The wit and humour?

It seems like it’s turned into another conspiracy theory movie and it reminded me of The Bourne Ultimatum far too many times (but then they hired the editor, the stunt team and 2nd unit director of the Bourne movies…so what do you expect). I don’t think the whole MTV-style ‘gritty’ editing really suites Bond. It should have a less frenetic, more interesting pace.

It basically needs a whole lot more depth, like the Poker scenes in Casino Royale and the rest of the sizzling dialogue – this movie seemed like a bunch of high budget action sequences strung together.

Of course I love Daniel Craig as Bond, he played his part superbly but there was no real development in the movie, not enough character – not enough ‘Bondishness’.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Quantum of Solace

He certainly played the part of the cold blooded killer but he didnt have enough chances to shine as the smooth, suave and charming bond we all know and love. Always time for a quit-witted quip and to charm some hot babe into bed. Talking of hot babes.

Olga Kurylenko showed up later in the movie looking as hot as ever, you might remember her from Hitman – Agent 47, where you get to see the goodies 馃榾 She’s in Max Payne too, but I haven’t seen that yet.

As for the principle bad guy Greene played by Mathieu Amalric, he just wasn’t bad enough!

Mathieu Amalric as Dominic Greene in Quantum of Solace

Where are the truly bad guys from the days of Emilio Largo & Goldfinger?

Where are the endearing characters who are always there like Miss Moneypenny?

Where are the freaky twisted sidekicks like Oddjob & Jaws?

Where are the Bond girls with double entendre names like Pussy Galore & Honey Ryder?

Where are the cunning and resourceful escapes?

If you look it as just a movie, it’s good no doubt – but then it should be for $225 million dollars. But if you look at it as a Bond movie, it’s just not Bond.

The ending pisses me off too, it feels like it’s turned into a money leeching franchise…rather than having a proper self-contained plot you get that whole ‘it’s leading into the next movie’ feeling at the end rather than having a sense of completion or wrapping things up.

And I REALLY hate that feeling, it’s the feeling you get at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, it’s almost like the movie is a filler. But then it does go with Bond tradition, a great Bond movie is always followed by a bad one.

I give it a hope it gets better next time‘ 6/10 for being an entertaining action/thriller.

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Continue Reading 14 CommentsGeneral Nonsense

TV Series Junkie – Dirty Sexy Money, True Blood, Pushing Daisies & More!

I was never a big fan of TV when I was a youngster, I much preferred reading or playing computer games (imagination or interactivity vs a passive activity).

There was a few series I watched and as I grew up I got hooked on a few things. We had a LOT of aussies series in the UK most notably Neighbours and Home & Away. I also used to watch a lot of Heartbreak High.

These were the series where a lot of people like Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Isla Fisher started out.

Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue

As for the UK field it – the big ones were Eastenders vs Coronation Street with Emmerdale Farm and Brookside coming in after that. The ‘teen’ soap was Hollyoaks, which was pretty good – a lot of the UK TV presenters you see started out in Hollyoaks.

Hollyoaks Babes

I was a big fan of Eastenders, it’s on 3 times a week! I used to watch the 1.5 hour omnibus on Sunday afternoons after having my Sunday roast.

Eastenders

There was a few other things I loved to watched like Quantum Leap, Absolutely Fabulous and some comedy shows like Hale and Pace and Spitting Image.

Spitting Image

Lately I’ve noticed there has been some good series coming out of the USA, mostly drama/thriller types. I’ve always been a big fan of CSI (the original not the new cheesy ones) and started faithfully watching every episode starting with Season 1. Currently at the beginning of Season 4 right now.

I eventually bought into the hyper of Heroes too, and eventually watched Season 1 – which was actually really very good. I’ve just started watching Season 2…I have to say it doesn’t seem as gripping as Season 1. But then it was written in the midst of the writers strike. I’ll have to finish off the Season and see how it goes, but apparently Season 3 isn’t that great either.

Heroes

Heroes was where my new TV Series obsession started, I started Googling to see what the other top rated shows were, checking out what friends had been watching and randomly checking IMDB for reviews of series people mentioned in their Facebook status. There it began.

The ones I really got into at first were House M.D. at which I’m currently on season 4. One thing with House is you can’t watch too much of it in one stretch as it seems to become rather forumlaic, you need to watch it a little while apart to really enjoy it.

House M.D.

Hugh Laurie and his dry wit and excellent Boston accent are just superb.

I became quite a fan of My Name is Earl too, mostly just because it’s stupid fun and Jason Lee is just such a nutcase (Randy cracks me up).

Hey Crab Man! Currently watching Season 3, have loved all of it so far.

Those are the ones I started out with..and it spiralled downhill from there. Recently I started watching.

  • Pushing Daisies (Season 1 was great, waiting for Season 2 now)
  • True Blood (First episode was a bit slow but after that – WOW, can’t wait for the rest of Season 1)
  • Prison Break (Just started watching Season 1 – seems ok)
  • 24 (Season 1 was very good, gripping to the max…not sure how they can continue the same concept with the same energy)
  • Dirty Sexy Money (My newest discovery and I love it! Season 1 was fantastic)
  • Lipstick Jungle (Watched one episode and that was it…waste of time)
  • Little Britain USA (Watched 2-3 episodes, not that bothered about watching the rest – pretty bad)

After this I got my sights on Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Soprano’s (All 6 seasons), Gossip Girl, Dexter, Chuck and 24 Season 2. Of course I’ll continue watching what is good from the above.

Of course like any guy who has a girlfriend, I’ve watched all 6 seasons of SATC and the movie.

Any other recommendations?

I’ll write about some of my favourite UK series (mostly comedies) that I recommend in another post – the newer ones.

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Continue Reading 26 CommentsTV Series

Blackpool Pleasure Beach! Pepsi Max Big One, Infusion and Bling!

So after our quiet relaxing trip to Formby, we headed on up to Blackpool – the thrill center and most famous seaside resort in the UK. The most famous part being Pleasure Beach Blackpool, with the Pepsi Max Big One, which used to be the tallest, fastest and steepest roller coaster of any park in the WORLD!

As we pulled into Blackpool it was dusk, the sun falling behind the horizon and the colours of a late summer sunset appeared.

Blackpool Sunset

There were plenty of Seagulls too as it was super windy and they were enjoying the thermal currents.

Seagull

We could see all the way down the beach to the Blackpool tower and the Ferris wheel on central pier (Blackpool has 3 piers! North, South and Central).

Blackpool Beach

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Continue Reading 8 CommentsPhotography, Trips & Travel, UK

Movie Review – The Brave One – Hard Hitting

The Brave One

New York radio host Erica Bain has a life that she loves and a fianc脙漏 she adores. All of it is taken from her when a brutal attack leaves Erica badly wounded and her fianc脙漏 dead. Unable to move past the tragedy, Erica begins prowling the city streets at night to track down the men she holds responsible. Her dark pursuit of justice catches the public’s attention, and the city is riveted by her anonymous exploits.

Now this is a movie I didn’t hear much about, but it has Jodie Foster in it – so it must be pretty good! She’s been fairly quiet lately, the last thing I remember her in was Panic Room which was a solid film and Flightplan which was ok but a bit far-fetched.

She hasn’t had a really stunning movie since Silence of Lambs back in 1991, that’s quite some time. This movie is no masterpiece but it is pretty good. It has a decent score of 6.9 on IMDB and has quite mixed reviews, Jodie Foster definitely carries the whole movie and her transformation is terrifying. She plays Erica Bain who has a very interesting radio show and quite a perfect happy life…until it all goes terribly wrong.

Jodie Foster as Erica Bain in The Brave One

Terrence Howard is also excellent as Detective Mercer he plays the part very well balancing between an upright straight forward cop trying to do his job, but not being able to…and as a human being who feels the justice system is somehow failing.

You might remember him from Iron Man 馃檪

Terrence Howard as Detective Mercer in The Brave One

The movie may remind you a little of any other classic revenge movie such as the Charles Broson epic Death Wish (which also coincidentally scores 6.9 on IMDB).

Anyway this movie is definitely worth a watch, it’s pretty gripping, dark and very serious. The cinematography is very gritty and real, there’s nothing fancy here just a tale of human emotion.

The film takes you effortlessly through the tragedy of a real person in a real city in a real situation, everyone always thinks it won’t happen to them…but what if it does? What would you do?

Well you can watch The Brave One and find out what Erica Bain does – I give it a butt-kicking 7.5/10.

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Continue Reading 7 CommentsGeneral Nonsense

A Trip Up North – Formby Red Squirrels & On To Blackpool!

So after being all the way down South in Minehead and Dunster we headed back home to Worcester.

Then all the way up North to Liverpool! We were heading to the Lake District – one of the most beautiful places in the world, but the weather was rather threatening so we decided it might not be a good idea. We hung around Liverpool for a couple of days, I caught up some Uni mates (I studied in Liverpool at John Moores) and we explored the city a bit (checked out the Tate etc.). I didn’t really take any pictures there though as it was nasty and grey, nothing much to take pics of. There was some awesome stuff in Tate though (saw some original Andy Warhol and Picasso!).

After that we headed further up North, our destination Blackpool! An original pleasure beach with tacky shops and what was once the highest rollercoaster in the world! (Pepsi Max – Big One).

We stopped off at a National Park site on the way with a nice beach, a trail and a conservation area for Red Squirrels (which are quite rare) called Formby.

Cute little fellas they are.

Formby Red Squirrel

With big bushy tails!

Formby Red Squirrel

Sadly there was a noisy crowd of kids that came along, so the poor little blighters got scared and ran off. It was a nice place to walk around though.

Peaceful Walk

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Continue Reading 6 CommentsPhotography, Trips & Travel, UK

Nuffnang Nokia Silent Halloween Party at Borneo Baruk Club – KL

So Nuffnang arranged another kick-ass party! This time for Halloween with the main sponsor being Nokia, the theme was Silent Halloween – where everyone would be dancing to the tunes pumping from their headphones. Interesting concept eh?

Anyway these are the official pictures as Nuffnang was kind enough to offer me the official photographer spot for this event, thanks Nuffnang!

There were some great costumes and some really good home-made efforts (big up to Klubbkidd again for his Kurt Cobain).

It was still light when I arrived there around 6+ and lots of cam-whoring going on in front of the club.

Bloggers and Cameras

Yee Hou showing how it’s done with his big one.

Yee Hou's Big One

Dr Evil in the house!

Dr Evil

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Continue Reading 12 CommentsInternet & Tech, Parties & Gatherings, Photography