Archive | 2009

Mitsubishi Airtrek Club Road Trip To Hat Yai – Thailand

I gave a little sneak peak of the Road Trip to Hat Yai when I got back, now is time for the full run-down!

We met up at Sg. Buloh rest stop at 12.30am on Friday night, some people were late though so we ended up leaving a little after 1am. We might quite a few stops as some people were sleepy and some monster treks guzzled the fuel.

Around 7am we reached the Kayu Bukit Hitam duty free shop and the place where we bought our insurance for Thailand, it was RM14! If you are going into Thailand with your car this is a must, also make sure you have a copy of your grant (owners slip/pink slip) or the original as the Thailand immigration will ask for it when you enter. Sun was rising and we grabbed some quick breakfast. There were 8 cars in total.

Airtrek Convoy

It’s also advisable to enter before 6am or after 9am as between those times the immigration queues will be crazy because of the busloads of tourists arriving.

The only problem with traveling at night, with your lights on you are a fast moving bug magnet..I washed my windscreen 3 times on the way there!

Bugs!

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Movie Review – The Ugly Truth – Crude!

The Ugly Truth

Abby Richter is a romantically challenged morning show producer whose search for Mr. Perfect has left her hopelessly single. She’s in for a rude awakening when her bosses team her with Mike Chadway, a hardcore TV personality who promises to spill the ugly truth on what makes men and women tick.

There hasn’t really been any decent comedies this year so I was looking forwards to catching The Ugly Truth.

It’s got a decent rating on IMDB with 6.6 and everyone that saw it (guys included) said it was entertaining so I definitely felt it was worth a watch (and of course Katherine Heigl is hawt so that’s reason enough to watch).

Gerard Butler is refreshingly different from what you are used to (looks like he put on some weight for this) and the chemistry between him and Katherine Heigl is believable.

The story is nice enough and fairly predictable, the pacing is good and the dialogue is witty and crude just how I like it.

Nothing much to comment on when it comes to sound stage or cinematography for these kind of films as it’s not really a concern.

I’m glad I watched the uncensored version though rather than catching it at the cinema.

All in all it was an enjoyable film and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for something fairly light and easy to watch (too many heavy movies lately).

I’d give it a worthwhile 7/10.

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Sekinchan With Shutter Asia – The Ricebowl of Malaysia

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you may remember I went to Sekinchan a couple of years back in June – A Trip to Sekinchan Paddy Fields with Shutter Asia — June 2nd.

I went again this past weekend, we planned to go towards the end of the year this time to catch the paddy fields just before harvesting when they are more yellow.

We were still a little early though as most of the fields were still green, I think the first week of December should be better. Unfortunately though this time of year is the rainy season, luckily in the morning we had fantastic weather and we left after lunch this time and avoided the hideous thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon.

The group picture, it was a big outing this time with around 10 cars.

Shutter Asia in Sekinchan - Group Shot

The paddy fields were a little more yellow than last time and we had beautiful blue skies to compliment the colours, it was blistering hot though.

Sekinchan Paddy Fields

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Movie Review – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor) – Geek Thriller!

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor)

Adapted from the Millenium Trilogy by the noted Swedish author Stieg Larsson the first film “Män som hatar kvinnor” focuses on Mikael Blomkvist a middle-aged indicted journalist and a talented young female hacker named Lisbeth Salander who is the real main character of the story.

The Swedes have been coming out with some awesome films this year and last year, a memorable one being Let The Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in), which has shot into the IMDB Top 250.

This film also caught my attention winning a lot of acclaim and of course, regardless of quality I’ll watch any film with a hacking theme.

It turns out that the hacking theme is secondary, this is actually a superb, complex and very well directed thriller focusing on in-depth character studies and exploring some of the darker sides of human nature. The title directly translated means “Men who hate women” so the subtext is about sadism towards women.

Very much a whodunit reminiscent of the Miss Marple movies from the 80’s (based on the Agatha Christie novels) but with a lot of modern twists.

It’s definitely not a film for kids it’s set in a cold, hard, uncomfortable reality where both of the main characters have their own serious problems.

The cinematography is superb and even though it’s 2.5 hours long it never drags and is never boring, the pace is just superb and it really takes you deep into the plot.

I’m personally very glad that’s it’s only the first of a trilogy and I can’t WAIT for the next two movies to come out. Noomi Rapaces is truly outstanding as Lisbeth Salander and I don’t think they could have cast the role any better.

It’s one of the best movies of 2009 for me, it’s a shame it won’t be seeing any commercial releases.

I give it a h4x the planet 9/10.

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Back From Thailand – Airtrek Club Roadtrip To Hat Yai

Just a quick update, still pretty tired from the drive there and the drive back. Was a great weekend though, plenty of awesome food, did some shopping and got to test out the car properly.

Will do more updates on Project Airtrek soon, my only observation right now though is my car HATES RON95 petrol…I had to pump it once because we were in a rural area and there was no choice..and wow does it complain.

Anyway seem to have solved most of the problems the 1000km trip over the weekend was sweet! More on that later.

Couple of pics to get things started. There was 8 cars in total, we met at 12.30am Friday night at Sg. Buloh rest stop, this pic is when we reached the duty free shops just before the Thai border.

Mitsubishi Airtrek Club - Malaysia

This was the hotel we stayed in, B.P Grand Tower Hotel. Good job it was nice as most of us slept until dinner time after driving all night.

B.P Grand Tower Hotel

A picture from the trip back before we left Thailand, on the way from Hat Yai back to the Malaysian border.

Convoy Back

There were only 5 cars on the way back as 3 stayed another day and left on Monday afternoon. Could have used another day there for more shopping and some massages!

Will post a full report soon.

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

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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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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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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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