Archive | October, 2009

Movie Review – Orphan – Thriller!

Orphan

The tragic loss of their unborn child has devastated Kate and John, taking a toll on both their marriage and Kate’s fragile psyche as she is plagued by nightmares and haunted by demons from her past. Struggling to regain some semblance of normalcy in their lives, the couple decides to adopt another child. At the local orphanage, both John and Kate find themselves strangely drawn to a young girl named Esther.

I finally got around to watching this, I’ve heard a little about it – mostly good things but have avoided checking any scores or reviews.

After watching I checked it out and it seems to do well with a pretty solid 7.2 on IMDB.

Personally I think it’s one of the better thrillers of this year, it’s not a horror movie so don’t be mistaken and it’s certainly no terror like Drag Me To Hell.

Either way it’s a good film, Isabelle Fuhrman is phenomenal as Esther and the parents are well played by Vera Farmiga (who tends to get typecast to these roles) and Peter Sarsgaard (who has mainly been in B movies).

It’s filmed well, tension is created by great use of music and SFX combined with interesting camera angles, close ups and shallow depth of field shots.

The movie just gets more and more twisted as it goes along and I did guess the ending before it came, but it was still original and thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

If you go into this expecting a horror, you’ll be disappointed – but if you watch this with an open mind as a thriller you’ll enjoy it greatly.

I give a scissor in the eye 7/10.

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Kota Kinabalu (KK) – Monsopiad Cultural Village (Kampung Kebudayaan Monsopiad)

After the Sandakan Town Tour we headed to the airport and flew over to KK.

Shortly after landing we headed on over to the Monsopiad Cultural Village, which was an interesting experience to say the least. They say you haven’t seen Sabah if you haven’t been to the Monsopiad village!

Monsopiad Cultural Village (Kampung Kebudayaan Monsopiad)

We arrived just in time to catch the end of the dance performances, so we checked that out before going for the tour. It was pretty dark in there and it was overcast so it was pretty hard to capture things clearly (someone donate me a D3s please :D).

Tribal Dance

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Continue Reading · 9 Comments · Malaysia, Photography, Trips & Travel

Project Airtrek – Choose Tyres For Your Car – Mitsubishi Airtrek Turbo

Choosing tyres for your car is a very important thing, for most people (who care about their safety) the two MOST important parts of a car are the tyres and the brakes.

Because together those two components are totally responsible for keeping you on the road and coming safely to a stop. A lot of people upgrade their cars with power mods but they don’t improve the handling and most totally ignore the brakes which is just silly. If you can go fast that’s great, but how do you plan to stop?

If you’ve been following my blog and Twitter you’ll know I recently got a new car a Mitsubishi Airtrek Turbo and from the state of the tyres it hadn’t been driven for a while.

One tyre was quite bald and they were all hardened and starting to crack, they were so old the tyres on the car aren’t even manufactured any more. I don’t remember what they were something G2 I think.

Anyway it was the most urgent thing for me to get the tyres changed ASAP so I did it the day after I got the car. I did a lot of research first, but I wasn’t totally sure of the tyre size because I didn’t have the car in hand yet, standard it runs on 215/60R16.

I knew the car was running on larger rims tho, Enkei Bortex RPM2 at 17″ but wasn’t sure of the width.

Enkei Bortex RPM2

Using the tyre size calculator I worked out I could go for 225/50/R17 and be within 1% of the original tyre size (recommended is stay within 3%).

On my Satria I was using Pirelli Dragon tyres, and changed to cheaper tyres just before I sold it (Goodyear Eagle NCT5) which were rather noisy. Sayang though, only changed the tyres for 3 months then sell the car, oh well.

You can find some great info on tyres and prices here:

Tyre Price List [V2] – At Lowyat Forum.
Tire discussion thread V1~ – At Lowyat Forum.
Tyre Price List 3 – Autoworld Forums (The original source of the price list)
ZTH Tyre Section

The lists also include recommended shops, and the shops which have the best prices for certain tyres. It turns out most tyres are cheapest in Klang, but well I didn’t want to be bothered going to Klang and I didn’t know if the hardened tyres would last so long. I also checked out specialist Airtrek forums to see what the members were using.

After my research I decided on the Falken FK452 an Ultra High Performance tyre with great reviews at a reasonable price. Universally loved by performance folk, the only complaint is they don’t last that long. I can live with that!

Falken FK452

There are a lot of choices out there in this segment like Goodyear Eagle F1, Hankook S1 Evo, Michelin PP2, Bridgestone Adrenalin RE001 or RE050, Yokohoma S-Drive, C-Drive or A-Drive, Toyo T1-R and so on.

It turned out however, the rims aren’t very wide, as I wanted to move up to 225 but they were already a bit stretched with 215 tyres and guess what, Falken don’t make my size! Calculating again I found the best size was 215/55/R17 – only 0.6% different from the stock rims. I could get the lower end Falken Ziex ZE-912 but I didn’t really want to go for those, mixed reviews.

Falken Ziex ZE-912

The slightly odd size limited my choice somewhat as most performance tyres start at 225 width or 40 profile, I had a few choices and could have got a RE001 for really cheap but it was a 2007 tyre (50% discount).

I called a few shops from those recommended on the forums and Hup Shun in Sunway had the most range in my size and seemed to give generally good prices and good service.

Hup Shun Tyres Auto Car Care Sdn. Bhd.
11, Jln. PJS11/7, Bandar Sunway
46150 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-5632 9926 , 5637 2275

So I headed down there on a Saturday afternoon to check out what they had, I looked at a LOT of tyres and did some Googling on my phone at the same time checking prices and reviews. I find a great place to check out fair reviews is https://www.tirerack.com/.

One thing to bear in mind when buying higher end tyres is where they are made, you can get the exact same tyre made in Japan or made in Thailand and they will be different prices. Make sure you get the Japan made tyre if possible because it’s worth the difference. Also check the date code and make sure it was manufactured within the last 6 months.

In the end I went for Goodyear Eagle LS2000 Hybrid II, a very new tyre but an update of a well loved existing tyre (The first gen LS2000).

As you can see on the left it’s the last series before the Ultra high performance tyres, I did consider the Eagle F1 Asymmetric but the newer ones honestly seem to suck – a lot of complaints. Revspec 02 looked decent too, but a bit hard.

Goodyear Eagle LS2000 Hybrid II

So I went for something with high performance but also comfort, so far so good. The tyres are quiet, smooth and handle well and it has generally good reviews. Seems to be long lasting too, which is always a bonus!

I haven’t really pushed them yet though as they aren’t worn in, bear in mind it takes 2-3000km to get your tyres into optimum condition and make sure you keep them correctly inflated.

You should also rotate your tyres every 10,000km to ensure even wear.

Depending on the hardness of the sidewall you may also pump the pressure higher than the recommended level, you can experiment a bit and see what gives you the best comfort/performance. The recommended tyre pressure for your car is just an estimate and it’s based on stock tyres so don’t be scared to try out some different pressures.

When shopping for tyres you really need to narrow down to what you need/want as there are so many types. The first constraint is obviously the rim/arch size, remember use the tyre size calculator and stay within 3% deviance from the stock size.

Then you need to choose comfort or performance and which is more important (because you can get something in between).

Then of course you have a budget so set your budget for all 4 tyres and installation/balancing/alignment, then go shopping!

I set my budget at RM2000 for the tyres and it came in just below that (RM480 per piece including everything).

More soon!

Airtrek power! You can find all posts about this car under Project Airtrek.

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Arthur’s Day In Malaysia With Black Eyed Peas At Sunway Lagoon!

One of the BIG events this year was Arthur’s Day, celebrated all around the world with our very own KL being one of the parties.

With Black Eyed Peas coming to town, it was set to be a big one. Early in the day I headed to the press conference in KL Hilton to grab a picture with the Peas, I was at the Meet & Greet thanks to Digi Music.

Me and the Black Eyed Peas

Taboo said my shirt was cool! Over all it was a horribly organised event, we were told to be there at 4 sharp and nothing started to about 6.30pm…by the time we had left it was time to head to Sunway in the middle of the worst jam ever. Apparently it was due to BEP themselves being late.

Then I was called and told I couldn’t take my SLR to the concert because we had been switched to Silver passes rather than Media passes (which was the correct choice of course). Free beer vs can take pictures, beer wins of course la!

We finally reached Sunway about 9pm after making everyone wait for a long long time. It was a bit of a waste of time really, but at least got the picture above!

Thankfully one of the top bloggers in Malaysia, Desmond Kiu had upgraded us to Silver so we had free flow Guiness – totally awesomesauce!

Free Flow Guinness

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Continue Reading · 5 Comments · Music, Parties & Gatherings

Movie Review – Surrogates – Sci-Fi!

Surrogates Movie

People are living their lives remotely from the safety of their own homes via robotic surrogates — sexy, physically perfect mechanical representations of themselves. It’s an ideal world where crime, pain, fear and consequences don’t exist. When the first murder in years jolts this utopia, FBI agent Greer discovers a vast conspiracy behind the surrogate phenomenon.

Well it’s been a good year for Sci-Fi so far with the surprise that was District 9 and the superb (possibly one of the best films of all time) Star Trek.

This film could be compared to many others in concept, Matrix, Eagle Eye, i-Robot etc. But thankfully it’s different, and it’s not an amazing film but it’s definitely watchable and I enjoyed it.

The basic premise is the same as anything starring Bruce Willis…Bruce Willis saving the World!

No surprise there. It’s got a reasonable score of 6.5 on IMDB (but then I’m starting to doubt the credibility of IMDB scores as some great films get slated and some steaming piles of shite get huge love).

Anyway Surrogates is a decent sci-fi flick, worth watching on the big screen.

Just don’t expect a masterpiece! It was nicely paced, fairly well shoot, decent cinematography and bearable acting.

If you’re a sci-fi fan, go watch it now!

I give it a face-melting 7/10.

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Picture Published In The Star Today – Without Credit

Once again The Star does what it seems to do consistently, publish a picture without any credit at all. Unlike the Malay Mail who published a blog article of mine without permission then printed an apology.

This issue with The Star has also been discussed in depth on Shutter Asia:

Malaysian Newspapers and Photo Credits

RAGE also used my pictures before without credit.

Anyway here’s the article and picture of Hannah Tan in The Star today on page 3.

Hannah Tan - The Star

Here’s the article online: Catch Hannah Tan at the movies and another picture used without credit in the DailyChlli version – Agent Hannah is Gonna Get You

The original photoshoot is here and the pic used below.

Hannah Tan in Genting

Oh well, I hope The Star learns their lesson and starts crediting soon. Even in the worst case they should put “Picture courtesy of Hannah Tan” but they don’t put anything at all implying they own the picture.

Which they definitely don’t, I do. I gave permission for Hannah to use the picture for editorial publication on the grounds that the picture is always credited. So it’s not her fault because I know she tells them what to put for the picture byline.

If you think this is wrong, please write to The Star editor and complain, feel free to cite this blog post.

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Continue Reading · 22 Comments · Media Coverage, Photography, Serious Issues

Wrigley’s Extra Professional Mints

Oral hygiene is an important issue, after your milk teeth have dropped out and your adult teeth grown into place you only have one set left for the rest of your life!

You might remember a while back I had to find a dentist urgently because one of my fillings dropped out.

I use an electric toothbrush, floss, a tongue scraper and mouthwash! So I take my teeth fairly seriously.

I also (try to) go for regular check-ups at the dentist, although I am a little overdue at the moment.

Anyway the point is, Wrigley’s (yes the famous chewing gum folks) have come out with a new range of mints (Wrigley’s Extra Professional Mints) which aims to reduce potentially harmful bacteria in your mouth and give you a noticeably cleaner feeling tongue and mouth.

Wrigley's Extra Professional Mints

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Continue Reading · 11 Comments · Advertorial, Food/Eating

Project Airtrek – The Beginning

I’ve been wanting to change car for a long time, but due to saving for something else and financial commitments it really wasn’t a smart thing to do. So I had to bite my tongue, suck it up and carry on.

Not that I minded my previous car, the best Proton ever made, the Lotus tuned Satria GTi 16v.

Proton Satria GTi 16v

It was a great car with a solid engine the 4G93P, I spent some money on it sorting it out and it ran really well. It was getting too hard and too low and having a two door car especially with a growing dog (and growing girlfriend) was getting very inpractical.

The hardness came from performance tyres, TEIN adjustable suspension, nylon bushes and whiteline sway bars. It cornered like it was on rails, great for the track, hard cornering and lane weaving but not so great for everyday bumpy Malaysian roads.

I did quite a lot of performance mods to it too (mivec manifold, custom exhaust etc) without going the turbo route I got a lot of power from an N/A car. The next ride I wanted however must be a turbo! I’d always wanted a turbo car so I started looking around. Plus I needed something auto/tiptronic and with 4 doors, so that ruled out coupes and sports cars.

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Movie Review – Drag Me To Hell – True Terror

Drag Me To Hell

Christine Brown is an ambitious L.A. loan officer with a charming boyfriend, professor Clay Dalton. Life is good until the mysterious Mrs. Ganush arrives at the bank to beg for an extension on her home loan. Should Christine follow her instincts and give the old woman a break? Or should she deny the extension to impress her boss, Mr. Jacks, and get a leg-up on a promotion?

Back to his heydays of Evil Dead and Army of Darkness Sam Raimi has come out with a great modern terror film, yes that right the genre is terror not horror.

It’s cheesy, OTT gore and black comedy moments galore with a tense soundtrack and great cinematography.

I actually had quite low expectations for this film and was pleasantly suprised, it was actually really good! It scores an impressive 7.5 on IMDB.

For some reason I kept thinking the lead was played by Reese Witherspoon, but it’s not of course – it’s Alison Lohman who plays the part terribly.

The show is stolen however by the crazy gypsy lady Sylvia Ganush played by Lorna Raver.

In terms of concept it’s an old fashioned film with misdirection, suprise and suggestion but rather than becoming boring it’s really very enjoyable.

For Raimi fans (especially his early works) this is a must see, and generally a must see for anyone into horror/terror flicks.

One of the better films of 2009 definitely, if you haven’t watched it I suggest you do so immediately!

I give it an eye popping 8/10.

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