Archive | February, 2010

Entourage – Let’s Hug It Out Bitch!

A while back in 2008 I became a TV series junkie and started exploring a lot of new shows.

From those listed Pushing Daisies and Dirty, Sexy, Money both got cancelled part way through the second season (very sad)..obviously too intelligent for the US audiences. Thankfully Dexter turned out to be excellent, I’ve watched ALL seasons of the Soprano’s and The Wire – two of the best TV series ever made in my opinion..I’ll watch both of them again in full and I’ll write about both of those later..they are a bit heavy and require a little more thought and consideration though.

Just started Chuck and it’s ok but a bit cheesy and predictable, tried Reaper but it get’s repetitive very fast. A new found favourite is the UK series Skins, pure excellence. Also Californication is good, just started Lie To Me – seems good so far. House was a favourite but also got repetitive after a while, CSI is always a good filler, some UK series I threw in too are IT Crowd and Shameless both pretty entertaining, watched all seasons of The Shield – not bad but certainly not up to The Wire, fell asleep during The Tudors and well that sums up most of it.

Those which I’ve got but haven’t started yet are as follows:

  • Mad Men
  • Glee
  • Dollhouse
  • Supernatural
  • Life
  • Fringe
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Weeds

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Movie Review – The Hurt Locker – Riveting!

The Hurt Locker

In the summer of 2004, Sergeant J.T. Sanborn and Specialist Owen Eldridge of Bravo Company are at the volatile center of the war, part of a small counterforce specifically trained to handle the homemade bombs, or Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), that account for more than half of American hostile deaths and have killed thousands of Iraqis.

I’ve been meaning to catch this one for a while, when the Oscar nominations come out I like to try and watch all the films mentioned if I haven’t already – especially those with multiple nominations. Eyeris has a good round up here – Oscar Noms! I Hope Avatar doesn’t nom nom everything – I’ve caught most of them but not all.

This movie surprised some people by going head to head with the 2009 blockbuster Avatar at the Oscars, both The Hurt Locker and Avatar have received 9 Oscar nominations each.

The funny part? The Hurt Locker is directed by Kathryn Bigelow who happens to be James Cameron’s ex-wife and also the director of Avatar! Strangely enough however I still haven’t watched Avatar.

Anyway more about the movie, simple speaking it’s GOOD..very good indeed as indicated by it’s 8.4 score on IMDB (not that I trust IMDB as much as I used to). I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t climb into the Top 250 at some point.

The best description I’ve heard is a disturbingly close and claustrophobic look at the strains of disabling bombs in Iraq. That’s exactly what it is.

It’s reminiscent somewhat of The Kingdom which pales in comparison to this, Syriana had a similar topic too but was a different kind of film completely and Rendition which is in the same area of subject matter but about something different again.

The cocky swagger and gungho attitude of Jeremy Renner as SSG William James somehow reminds me of Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man and he truly deserves the Oscar nomination he’s received.

The film itself is very gritty, very intense and very in your face. In some aspects it reminds me of Jarhead as that too is very claustrophobic, intense and personal.

This movie is less about action and more about humans, why they do what they do and how they can keep doing it. What drives some people? Why they may seem crazy to us but their actions to them are perfectly justified.

It’s an exquisitely shot and directed movie and I never found myself confused, wondering why they did that or feeling sleepy once.

There’s been a lot of complaints from Iraq vets and other combat type fellas that the movie is full of technical inaccuracies and the whole thing in bogus. Honestly do I give a shit? NO..it’s a freaking movie not a documentary. I always wonder where people get off slating a movie because it’s not historically/technically/etc perfect, it’s supposed to be fantasy that’s the whole point of movies.

That aside I think it’s a great film and if you haven’t watched it you should!

I give it a Baghdad bombing 9/10.

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Why I Sold The Panasonic Lumix LX-3 And Bought The Canon S90

In the middle of last year I was looking for a new compact camera as my beloved Fuji F31fd had gone missing in action and I really needed something portable to carry around.

At the time the two contenders were the Canon PowerShot G10 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 (LX-3) which I compared in the linked post.

Myhorng was in the same situation, he had the Fuji F31fd previously and had just bought the G10, which gave me a good chance to test it out.

I decided to get the LX-3 as it was smaller than the G10…in the end, it turns out it just wasn’t small enough with the protruding lens and very annoying lens cover.

I wanted something that could serve as a backup for the dSLR I use to snap ‘serious’ pics, it turns out (of course) that the LX-3 still can’t even come close to the pics from my ancient D200 and it was just a little too bulky to pocket which turned me off from using it too much.

Then along came the Canon S90, the reintroduction of the legendary Powershot ‘S’ series. Almost everyone I hang out with jumped on the bandwagon and grabbed on (KY, Ringo & Jac for starters).

Canon Powershot S90

This little monster comes with:

  • 10 Megapixels
  • 3.8x optical zoom (35mm equivalent: 28-105mm)
  • F2.0-4.9 stabilized lens
  • Digic 4 Image processor
  • Dual Anti-Noise system
  • ISO 80-3200
  • Manual Control
  • Raw Shooting
  • 3.0 inch PureColor LCD II (TFT) screen

The camera measures 100 x 58 x 31 mm and weighs 175 g

Yes the Lumix was wider (24mm vs 28mm) but I actually found in reality that works against you unless you shoot mostly landscapes/cityscapes it’s better not to have such a wide lens as it gives more distortion especially when taking close up shots.

And the S90 – an f/2.0 lens with ISO3200! Wow who needs flash and seriously you don’t, this camera can take pics sans flash is almost any level of light. It even has a candlelight mode on the dial for super low light situations, yes it’ll be grainy…but through experience I’ve found pics from this kinda camera are for blogging and sharing online not printing A2 posters or billboards so it doesn’t really matter.

So far after using the S90 for a few weeks, the only thing I’ll miss it from the LX-3 is the really nice 720p video it takes (some can be seen here).

The S90 only takes normal VGA video, but for blogging use it’s fine enough, I’m no movie maker anyway. In low light it wins, the auto mode is super smart (you rarely have to use anything else) it has a dial on the front AND the back (two dials is more than the low-end Canon dSLRs have :P) so changing settings is a breeze.

It doesn’t come with any funny dangling bits, the pouch is nicer and the camera really is pocket size.

If you’re looking to buy a compact camera now I’d say get the S90!

I’ll take some more pics with it and give it a better review when I’ve used it for a few months.

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Happy CNY 2010 – Gong Hei Fat Choy, Kong Xi Fa Chai

Happy CNY 2010

So here it is again and in 2 days we’ll be entering the year of the Tiger, although I may be a Tiger in name I’m not in Zodiac (I was born in the year of the horse and no I’m not 44 this year).

I’d just like to take this opportunity to wish everyone that celebrates it a happy and safe Chinese New Year and for those that don’t – enjoy the 4 days off and do something productive!

If you are going to balik kampung please drive carefully, adhere to the reduced speed limits and watch out for the new super powderful & portable laser speed cameras the Polis have.

Go and enjoy some family time, eat some good food, play some cards and have a lot of laughs.

I’ll be out of KL for a couple of days and will honestly enjoy the break. Sadly all the mechanics are super busy this past week so I didn’t get to service my car. I guess it deserves a rest for a few days too 😀

So have fun, drink responsibly and don’t drive unless you need to (today and tomorrow) it’s gonna be jammed like mad and made worse by Ops Sikap.

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Nuffnang Tiger Run At Jaya One – Official Pictures

You might remember last week I blogged about My Dream In The Year Of The Tiger and the Nuffnang Tiger Run.

Well the event was held last Saturday (February 6th) at Jaya One and turned out to be very interesting indeed.

It turned out to be a 3km run around Jaya One including some pit-shop challenges at 4 locations where tasks had to be carried out. Luckily the weather was perfect, it looked like it was going to rain but it held off until after the run was over meaning it was nice and overcast and not too hot.

Of course the first thing that had to be taken care of was registration.

Nufnang Tiger Run Registration

The Project Alpha crew were there too capturing some of the happenings.

Project Alpha

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Movie Review – Inglourious Basterds – Coolbeans!

Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds

In German-occupied France, Shosanna Dreyfus witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa. Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris, where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema. Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine organizes a group of Jewish soldiers to engage in targeted acts of retribution. Known to their enemy as “The Basterds,” Raine’s squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget Von Hammersmark on a mission to take down the leaders of The Third Reich.

Finally got around to watching this masterpiece, I didn’t catch it at the cinema due to the heavy handed censorship carried out on these kind of films.

I don’t know why but Quentin Tarantino has a special knack for making extremely cool films, the whole concept of cool can’t really be defined..but he just seems to be able to do it.

Perhaps due to the fact he’s an uber film geek and his movies tend to be very self-indulgent, whatever the x-factor is – he seems to be able to do it consistently (All the way back since Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction).

He’s had a couple of misses (can’t say I was a big fan of Jackie Brown), but other than that his films have been stellar.

This is an interesting movie and Quentin has been working on the script for the past 10 years (he started it even before the Kill Bill series) and finally it’s gone into production.

It seems to be well received already pushing into #70 on the IMDB 250 with a current score of 8.4!

The casting is great and I have to say Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa just steals the show, he deserves an Oscar a Golden Globe and whatever else they can throw at him.

Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa

He’s extremely devious, intelligent, slightly scary and very intense but manages to be somewhat comical at the same time.

The rest of the cast do the job fairly well, Brad Pitt seems a little me wooden than usual in this film – but perhaps that’s what Alda the Apache was supposed to be like.

There was a lot of rumoured ‘stars’ in the film and 2 of Quentin’s’ favourites do make appearances in the movie (Although only as voices – Samuel L. Jackson and Harvey Keitel).

The baseball bat wielding nutcase the Bear Jew was supposed to be Adam Sandler, which would have been interesting and the English Lt. Archie Hicox was supposed to be Simon Pegg.

It’s a fairly long film but the pacing is excellent, it never gets draggy. The dialogue is snappy, witty and humourous and there’s plenty of unique characters to keep you interested.

The cinematography, camera angles and lighting are just superb, the soundtrack is good but not particularly memorable.

Of course don’t watch this if you are expecting a history lesson, the plot is complete nonsense in historical terms. This is WWII according to Quentin Tarantino.

Definitely one of the best films of 2009, I give this a nazi bashing 9/10.

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My Dream In The Year Of The Tiger

Last year was a super expensive year for me and well this year is set to be even more expensive, last year I bought a house…and changed car to the Airtrek Turbo (which also turned out to be very high maintenance!).

Airtrek Turbo

But I haven’t regretted either at all! Although finding someone to do my renovation now is giving me a bit of a headache and the car still has a couple more things to be fixed (and a couple more things which aren’t broken but I want to change anyway..Brembo anyone?!).

Luckily Tiger Beer is giving away a truckload of cash to welcome in the new year – Tiger Beer is the official beer for the Year of the Tiger! You can find the full details on the Tiger Run page here: https://www.nuffnang.com.my/tigerrun/

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I Drove An Aston Martin V8 Vantage In Malaysia!

And no, it wasn’t in my dreams!

I’ve always been a huge lover of Aston Martin, a proper homegrown British luxury car marque. Although it’s debatable if Aston is still really British or not (partially Kuwaiti owned now).

The actual car I fell in love with was the Aston Martin Virage Volante convertible.

Anyway a good buddy of mine knew I’d always been a huge fan of Aston Martin vehicles and it so happened, he himself was purchasing one…an Aston Martin V8 Vantage to be precise (the most sporty amongst the Aston Martin cars) and he promised that I would be amongst the first to drive the V8 beast.

And well, let’s just say he held true to his promise (thanks buddy!). He was calling me all day long on a fine (but rather busy Sunday) I reached home after midnight and managed to get hold of him and he said he was dropping a friend off them coming over immediately.

I didn’t know what the fuss was about as I didn’t know he’d gotten the car yet. But I said sure, I’ll meet you when you get here. So he called me when he arrived and when I walked out from my appt past the guard house I was greeted with this sight.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

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Continue Reading · 28 Comments · Cars/Motorsport