looking for baudrillard, boorstin, or eco?

dare to hope for what is good
instead of what is merely good enough.
Dead in sin | Saved by grace | Living in hope | Walking by faith | Surviving on a prayer

+ sola scriptura + sola gratia + solus Christus + sola fide + sola Deo gloria +

jeudi, avril 28, 2005

 Out Of Character? Maybe I'm changing... for the worse

Today, I did something very out of character. I remembered the time for an examination wrongly in the worst way - I thought it was an afternoon paper, when it was a morning paper. Yes, I wrote it down. No, I don't know how it happened. It just got stuck in my head that it was an afternoon paper.

So, around rolls 930am, and Jasmine calls me, a concerned tone in her voice.

"Hey girl, where are you?"

I look at the clock. 9.30am. I realise that one of the imagined scenarios in my head the night before was coming true - I had remembered the time for the examination wrongly.

"In hall."

"Exam's at 9.30!"

"I'm on my way."

I wipe my face, grab my glasses, a fistful of pens, and go out the door. Take two steps, come back, grab my watch. Take three steps, come back, grab my jacket, and off I go. Along the way, I'm thanking God for a million and one things:

1) Thank God I was all done with studying (or all the studying I wanted to do already, anyway, I wasn't planning on doing any "last minute essential readings" that morning);
2) Thank God I was already up - I had woken up at 8.30, and had just been lightly sleeping till about 9.20, when I really couldn't close my eyes anymore and was lazing around in bed, wondering about whether to get up early;
3) Thank God that I DIDN'T get up at 9.20, because that would have meant MISSING Jasmine's precious, God-sent phone call as I would have been showering in the bathroom for 10 minutes, and could not have called her back, as she would have been stuck in the exam hall without the telephone;
4) Thank God that I was in Hall 3 and;
5) Thank God that the exam was in Hall 7, which is next door, a two-minute walk away - or a one minute run;
6) Thank God that I got there only 2-3 minutes past the start of the exam.

For some reason, I was really calm. I don't know how to explain it - it's like the worst thing that could have happened, but there were so many other things which could have gone wrong too, you know? A million and other things could have conspired to make me TOTALLY miss the exam - or at least, miss the first half-hour, which would have effectively barred me from the exam.

I also now realise the extent of how screwed-up my life has become - a number of friends and colleagues who I mentioned this to have commented that it didn't really seem like "me" to do something like this. P.S. said that I "almost turned into (him)!" My office-mate, who has known me for a paltry four (incomplete) months, also said that I seemed like the kind of person who was on top of things, and not likely to do something like this. My mother, for crying out loud, expressed her immense surprise too. But trust me, nothing can be greater than the surprise I gave myself. I think I'll go do some meditating on my priorities in life. What's happening to me?!

ETA: I wanted to write about XXX2, which I went to see after (1) shopping at Zara, and (2) watching Singing in The Rain at home, which was the triple-mocha-expresso-like heaven which I so did not deserve after pulling the late stunt in the morning, but it didn't really seem to fit with the post, so I write about it tomorrow.

[Out Of Character? Maybe I'm changing... for the worse]
Sngs Alumni @ 28.4.05 { 0 comments }

lundi, avril 25, 2005

 Paper or plastic? (aka Don't you think it's ironic that we get high on something which is totally legal?)

(This is a stupid response to Today's article on "Is Singapore a nation of plastic-bag junkies?")

To whom it may concern,

Paper or plastic? You're kidding right - you and I both know that plastic's going to win hands down in our polystyrene-loving city. And you know how I know this? Because I've bought from both Rotiboy and Breadtalk. Before you write this post off, let me embellish the tale a little: Rotiboy uses paper bags to hold its buns, while Breadtalk uses plastic.

Picture this: I buy from Breadtalk, and the counter staff shoves my Flosss bun into a semi-transparent plastic bag, dumps my Crouching Tiger Hidden Bacon into another, then puts both into another larger plastic bag. I pay, grab the bag, and go merrily on my way, whistling as I swing my bag by the handle.

Now, picture this: I buy from Rotiboy, and order two of their coffee buns. The counter staff hand me two paper bags, collects the money, and off I go. Oh dear. The bags, while cute and brown and quite possibly more environmentally-friendly, have no handles. Oh well, no whistling and no swinging, I suppose. I carefully fold the bags closed, and place them upright in my bag, reminding myself not to jostle for a place on the MRT as I make my way home. Along the way back, I decide that TV Mobile's been particularly annoying that day, and so rummage through my bag for my iPod. Found it! Oily. And slightly covered with crumbs. Because the paper bags, while being cute and brown and quite possibly more environmentally-friendly, not only do not come with handles that can be twisted shut (therefore averting the crumbs disaster), but are also porous! Which is good for my calorie-intake because those little buns pack a surprising amount of butter in them, but bad for my little Apple investment.

I am a big fan of decreasing our dependence on plastic bag usage - I refuse plastic bags when I buy small items, and I am all in for the introduction of brown paper bags in supermarkets. But apart from the differences between the two materials (I think it would be logistically impossible for a HDB housewife to go home from her local NTUC with four bulging brown paper bags without handles), the larger problem is that it's not been introduced by anyone yet. So yes, bring on the paper bag trials! Develop the world's first super-strong yet super-biodegradable paper bag! Patent it and ISO-9000 it! Put a bottle of NeWater in it and give it out during National Day!

Just... leave the trash cans in the streets please. I once held a chewing gum wrapper in my hand for two hours in Tokyo Japan, looking for a bin. (I finally threw it away at the hotel when I got back.)

[Paper or plastic? (aka Don't you think it's ironic that we get high on something which is totally legal?)]
Sngs Alumni @ 25.4.05 { 0 comments }

dimanche, avril 24, 2005

 Desperate Housewives: Gabrielle

Dear Gabrielle,

Please leave the husband, and go back to modelling. He's a liar, a criminal, been house-arrested, thrown things at the wall in front of you, grabbed you so hard that you BRUISED, made you sign a pre-nup and a post-nup -- what more motivation do you need?

Fucking leave the guy.

Mary-Alice Young (voice-over)

[Desperate Housewives: Gabrielle]
Sngs Alumni @ 24.4.05 { 0 comments }

samedi, avril 23, 2005

 Don't EVER buy fur ANYTHING. EVER.

I don't know how these people managed to film this piece without puking right in the middle. It's a French/Spanish site, but the video is probably Taiwanese or something, since they use Chinese 繁体字 within the video closed captioning itself. (This video also makes me ashamed of the chinese people I see and hear in the video - will we/they do anything under the sun?!)

In case you're on narrowband and can't download, or if you're wondering what the link is - it's an extremely gruesome video on how furs are ... gotten. I.e. how to skin a cat, a rat, and other furry rodents. They beat these animals up with baseball bats, cut off their legs (they get in the way of the skinning process), cut off their tails to start the skinning, then rip off the fur like an overcoat. And if you think that the animal's dead before this happens... you're dead wrong. The animal's probably very, very dazed and maybe (mercifully) unconscious when this process starts, but when the skin comes off... you can be sure it's in an excruciating amount of pain. There's a part at the end of one skinning that the videographer pushes in onto the carcass of the skinned animal - and IT'S STILL BREATHING. Not only that, IT LIFTS ITS SKINNED, BLOODY HEAD UP AND BLINKS, LOOKS AROUND, THEN FLOPS BACK.

I always thought that lobbyist groups like PETA were overdoing their anti-fur campaigns, but now, I think they're not doing enough.

If you think my description was exaggerating, you should click here to watch it and decide for yourself.

[Don't EVER buy fur ANYTHING. EVER.]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.4.05 { 0 comments }

vendredi, avril 22, 2005


Continuing with my super-duper movie blitz (I hereby dub this year, the year of the movie for me), I watched Sahara today after regurgitating an entire textbook in three hours (exam lah.)

After weird duds like The Pacifier, The Wedding Date, Be Cool, with the odd Hitch, Constantine and Howl's Moving Castle thrown in, FINALLY, a movie I can give two thumbs up and scream - GO WATCH! Especially if you're into Matthew McConaughey - I don't really like him - too much teeth and that weird Texas (or is it New Jersey?) drawl just rubs me the wrong way, so I hate to admit that he's disgustingly adorable in this movie, with an extremely cool buff body to match. A little sunburnt though, but I guess it's alright if we take our eggs over-easy sometimes? The first time that we see him is when he shows off his unbelievable six-pack while climbing up a raft from diving. The next time we see him, he's in a hero pose being hauled up from the ocean floor with an algae-covered coffin, with "We're An American Band" (which, due to horrible enunciation by the lead singer, sounds a LOT like "American Man") playing in the movie's background. Equal parts rogue, ex-Navy (SEAL?), bad-boy, sweet-talking charmer... and his pairing with Steven Zahn (whom I haven't seen since You've Got Mail and Out Of Sight) is just ... disgustingly adorable. It's not exactly an Ocean's Eleven caper flick, but it comes close - think Ocean's Eleven with two boys trapped in men's bodies, in the desert. That's Sahara.

Come on, would you not kill for abs like his? Useless artifact

Don't think too much - it's not a movie where you should expect too many cheem things to happen. There's explorers from NUMA (National Underwater and Maritime Agency) who are in Africa, a crazysexycool guy who's really into Civil War ships (Matt. M), and Africa. Oh, and Penelope Cruz, who's a doctor with the WHO. She doesn't really need to be there, except to be the gurl. So much for female emancipation.

There's a part in the movie where this great exchange takes place (I'm paraphrasing since I obviously don't have the script with me):
Steve Zahn (Z) - You know the guys you meet at your high school reunion, who's got a dead-end job which will last him till he drops dead, who married a shrew, and has three kids who hate him?
Matt M (M) -
Z - Well here we are, two grown men, in Africa, out in the desert, on camels, looking for contaminated water, in order to save half the African continent...
M - Yeah?
Z - So when's the time when we sit down and evaluate our decision-making priorities?
I think I snorted up a whole noseful of bubble tea during that exchange. I love it! I want to be them! They've perfected the blinkless attitude which I love and taken it to a whole new level of cool.

Ooh, another totally snort-worthy moment: Z, M and this other researcher guy (tech nerd, all movies need them) are on an external expedition, M makes a decision to stretch the expedition to search for a sunken ship, effectively ruining their trip to dive in Australia.

Nerd guy - Aw, man! But I was hoping to meet a girl on the Australia trip!
Z - (with a mock-excited expression) Naaah - Africa! Plague! Civil War! Ship of Death! Yeah!

(After typing this out, I realise that it only works if you see it with Zahn's inflection and expression. Oh well. You had to be there.)

The movie's worse than Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd in terms of Chance and Coincidence, with M and Z always running into the good doctor, and how Z and M are supposedly ex-Navy personnel, I don't know - they don't really care much for authority, and keep blowing things up. And M is a super duper ultra huge busybody - there isn't a helicopter he won't follow, a door he won't knock on, a camel he won't ride... it doesn't take suspension of disbelief to a new level, but it comes close. BUT IT'S FUN! And the music? Superbly chosen to match the sequences. Excellent stuff.

I apologise for the lack of ... restraint? ... in this post; I'm slightly delirious from the aftermath of the exam this afternoon.

ETA: Oh, one thing which really bugged me: Penelope Cruz wears a HAT. Now, I have NOTHING against hats, I LOVE hats, even when they look like chickens are sitting on top of your head. But she wears a HAT. To the BEACH. In her bikini. With her sunglasses on top. Now that's just WRONG.


It's a HAT. On a BEACH. In a bikini. WITH SUNGLASSES.

Sngs Alumni @ 22.4.05 { 0 comments }

 A watched pot never boils...

... and apparently, neither do BT downloads. I'm DYING for the most recent ep of GG to come in, but after two days, it's still at 31.8%, and it doesn't look like there are many people left in the swarm... I'm not sure if it's my firewall settings, but considering that I've been doing this without a problem for oh, say, forever, it could be that $1ngnet is doing a stupid thing and throttling bandwidth like these guys are doing. Sigh - I'm willing to PAY for online teevee, people, so saddle up and get in gear! Where's Steve Jobs and his i- when you need them?

[A watched pot never boils...]
Sngs Alumni @ 22.4.05 { 0 comments }

mardi, avril 19, 2005

 Mat-maker, mat-maker, make me a mat

I was talking to Ben about making furniture on Sunday, and in my mind, I was outfitting the imaginary apartment that I own - you know, sometime in the imaginary future. Let me tell you what would be the perfect housewarming gift for me - a mat.

Not just any mat! A mat with a square (or circle, or any other geometrical or non-geometric shape) - okay, a mat with a clearly defined section labelled "conclusions". I would really, really like one. I don't think Ikea sells them though.

(What would I use it for? To jump on! You know, jump to ...)
(I can hear the groans and screams of pain now.)

ETA: GOH P.S.!!! This is NOT one of those blogs! You can't just come in and leave NC-17 messages here - the only one allowed to make them is ME! :)

[Mat-maker, mat-maker, make me a mat]
Sngs Alumni @ 19.4.05 { 0 comments }

lundi, avril 18, 2005

 Adobe to buy Macromedia

Adobe is going to marry Macromedia for an estimated dowry of about $3.4 billion dollars.

Now that's a lot of cows.

Not too sure about how this is going to affect the industry - Adobe Photoshop with Macromedia Flash sounds like a killer combination (at least, the CD pirates think so, judging by their always packaging Adobe with Macromedia together in compilation installers), but the monopoly that it's going to create is a huge one, as both companies already have the lead in both their markets. Two huge direct competitors are going to merge - think Adobe Photoshop versus Macromedia Illustrator - so what's going to happen to the consumer? I'm wondering about anti-monopoly legislation now.

[Adobe to buy Macromedia]
Sngs Alumni @ 18.4.05 { 0 comments }

 House of D...isaster? Despair? Decomposition?

(CNN) -- David Duchovny claims he wrote the screenplay for "House of D" in only six days. It shows.

The situations that drive the plot -- about an American artist living in Paris who, in an effort to come to terms with his past, describes his youth in New York's Greenwich Village to his Parisian wife and his 13-year-old son -- are completely contrived and totally lacking in any logic whatsoever.

Creative license is one thing, but this story is a car wreck.

Okay, my love for Duchovny knew no bounds when I was in secondary school, but seriously, this guy should just go back, finish his PhD in comparative literature or something, and just be glad that he got pretty good mileage out of The X-Files.

Why, oh, why, did you title the film "House of D"? That's just a cry for help, man. Why did you do that embarassing photoshoot with the teacups? And the other one with the lycra pants? And yet another one with the other shiny pants? Why did you agree to act in Playing God? Why did you not rise to Pitt-like fame after Kalifornia? What possessed you to star in Return To Me? Why didn't you get a part in the next Julianne Moore movie after macking with her in Evolution? How is it possible that your agent did not get you anything good after The X-Files? And don't you dare even think about signing up for that X-Files II movie that I know is coming out after that Fight The Future one - CHRIS CARTER, YOUR MONEY HORSE IS D-E-D, DEAD, STOP FLOGGING IT, LEAVE IT ALONE. How did a person who wrote a masters thesis on Samuel Beckett get such a horrible review? 17% on rottentomatoes, Dave - that's a huge smelly online splat! for your movie - and I'm suspecting that Robin Williams might have had something to do with the 17%.

Why couldn't you have just stayed in our minds as smoulder-mulder? *sigh* This self-mutilation has to stop. Don't you have kids now? Are you insecure because your wife's getting interesting big-screen parts in Spanglish, and you're... a househusband? There's nothing wrong with that, it's alright if you stay at home and get the kids to do their homework. Just... stop this self-abuse, please.

[House of D...isaster? Despair? Decomposition?]
Sngs Alumni @ 18.4.05 { 0 comments }

mercredi, avril 13, 2005

 Tee hee!

What happens when you mix James Joyce with Black-Eyed Peas?

[Tee hee!]
Sngs Alumni @ 13.4.05 { 0 comments }

 Feel free to jack into my pod

A very, very, dirty pastime.

[Feel free to jack into my pod]
Sngs Alumni @ 13.4.05 { 0 comments }

mardi, avril 12, 2005

 Book Review: Two Books

So, on top of this movie-watching spree I've been on, I've also managed to read two books. Borrowed from the teacher's lounge in a very 光明正大 manner (or as 光明正大 as can be when you're walking into the teacher's lounge at 3am in the morning!) They are David Baldacci's "The Christmas Train" and Anna Quindlen's "Blessings: A Novel".

Maybe I haven't been keeping up with reading current-day novels, but these two surprised me. The first because it was so bad, the second because it was not as bad as I thought it would be.

Baldacci's story is about Tom, a war reporter who somehow gets barred from planes after going psycho on airport security when they frisked him too well (after September 11 and all, y'know.) He gets barred from flying for two years, and wants to go to L.A. (reason: girlfriend) - from New York. It's Christmas. Hence, the The Christmas Train. Doesn't help that his great-great-great-great-whatever was Mark Twain (aka Samuel Clemens, his real name) had made a similar cross-country journey when the dinosaurs ruled, but failed to make a story out of it. So Tom decides to saddle up and write his way into the sunset. (Geddit, geddit? Hyuck hyuck. Ahem. Right. Onward.)

He meets all sorts of people on the train, and he writes about them (boring), then improbable things happen (meets his ex-girlfriend on the train, meets a movie director who's his ex-gf's boss, encounters a huge boa snake, train gets stuck in an avalance, wedding takes place, he saves the day by going cross-country skiing... you know, tame stuff) which all gets so contrived that you wonder why the hell you're still reading the book. But it never goes beyond the realm of implausibility or improbability - there's always the suspension of disbelief, and although his bridge is pretty high (suspension bridge, geddit, geddit?), it's still pretty believable. Until the last chapter, when he ruins it with a deux ex machina plot. (rollover the phrase to see explaination.)

It's a total shame, because the writing is fine - the words flow, the characters are interesting, the chapters are well-paced, everything was running fine. It was like a really great Christmas present, all wrapped up with great wrapping paper, with all the scotch-tape hidden away, little folds here and there, no white showing - and then ruining it by picking the worst ribbon to give it the "finishing touch."

The second book I read was by Anna Quindlen, who wrote One True Thing, which I want to watch because Lauren Graham's in it, with Reneé Zellweger. (Boy, LG seems to be following me everywhere!)

The book started out slow, with description after description after description. I almost quit reading halfway into the second chapter because the plot seemed to be hidden under the many adjectives... until I realised that it was one of those "the world used to be slow, but the world is changing now" kind of novels. The book was writing with the pace and the linguistics of the older days (almost Victorian), and its characters lived that Victorian life - until life catches up with them, as it always inevitably does.

Plot... ah yes. Skip, an accidental ex-con, works as a land-keeper/gardener for Miz Blessing, at her large house, with a lake and acres of land. He wakes up one morning and finds a baby in her garage which he sleeps over. He decides to keep it. She (cranky, grumpy, bitter old lady) decides to help him, for reasons which unfold over the course of the book. Comic situations and a lot of soft-focus love (for the baby) goes on, until one day, the mom (and her mom and dad) come claim the baby. Baby goes back, Miz Blessing dies, Skip gets some money with her will, and... that's pretty much it. But the telling of the story - ah, therein lies the magic. Slow, almost to the point of screaming, but in the end, it's worth the effort put in. The soft-focus effect never goes away, even when the Victorian is pushed into the Modern - but the change is a creeping shift in boundaries on both sides - the Modern slowly inching its way into the Victorian, and the Victorian slowly retreating away into itself, until it passes away, with the old lady.

I have exams in a week. God help me.

[Book Review: Two Books]
Sngs Alumni @ 12.4.05 { 0 comments }

dimanche, avril 10, 2005

 Sometimes, technology sucks

Like today, when I was worship leading. Ade and I programmed everything all ready; we spent two hours on Saturday doing it! We saved it, then we made sure that it was saved properly on the Clavinova, then we called the resident expert, Andy, to ensure that it was saved properly... and then, train wreck today.

The monitors weren't switched on or plugged in properly, which led to the first song being totally out of time. Moving on to the second song, the rhythm felt sluggish and slow for some reason. The third song, thankfully, was a la carte, meaning no tempos, so it went okay. The fourth was acoustic, with me on guitar, so thankfully, it went well. Moving on to the fifth song was a challenge - I was in G, but had to move without key aids into C, which is okay for me because they're relative notes, but still, you never know what could happen. I moved alright, but I started singing the wrong song (the last two songs both had "Lily of the Valley" in them, which was why I picked them, but therein the trap lay) and then Ade also picked up the wrong song, so we ended up NOT singing one song because the mistake was magnified exponentially after she started playing.

And to think that I thought it would be an okay, boring worship because I picked all the songs from the Baptist Hymnal. It's all very regular, 4/4, 3/4, 6/8 if you're feeling funky, or maybe as slow as 2/2, but... turns out that the newer songs went a lot better. I'm not sure if I want to use hymns in my worship ever again... or maybe I should just stay away from the Clavinova...

strangeknight: I know Lessig already; he's more into legislation and policy, so his articles are slightly more "up there" than most; I love wired magazine; don't you see their link at my sidebar? Love it.

[Sometimes, technology sucks]
Sngs Alumni @ 10.4.05 { 0 comments }

vendredi, avril 08, 2005

 I hate incompetence

I don't understand why there are so many people like this in the world, and why I have to keep running into them. Is God trying to teach me patience by killing me with incompetent people?

I'm currently conducting a research project on P2P file-sharing networks - you know, your Napster, Kazaa, Gnutella networks, BitTorrent, Ares etc. I really like the topic, but doing research on it is a total bitch because there is SO MUCH information to wade through, and most of it is unscholarly material - they're all from PC Magazine, Wired.com, CNet.com etc. Not that these reports aren't good - I think they are - but they're just not published in "reputable" journals, and therefore aren't really considered "serious" research.

So anyway, I worked really hard on my proposal (which I handed up on the 4th week of the semester) and the project, and this Monday, our whole class had to present what we had to do. I go into class, and the teacher comes up to me and tells me, "I don't have your research proposal, I don't think you handed it up."

Oh my goodness. You have no idea how high my blood pressure shot up when I heard that sentence. First of all, I worked damn hard on that proposal. Secondly, I presented the proposal, and then went to revise it, taking into consideration her comments after my presentation. Third of all, after I revised my proposal, I handed it up to her personally. As in I did not dump it into her mailbox. I did not shove it under her door. I went to her room, knocked on the door, said hello to her in a pleasant tone, and handed my proposal to her in person. As in the paper moved physically from my hand to hers. There was no intermediary involved. And she tells me, "I don't think you handed it up."

So, while my blood pressure shot up to the high heavens, I managed to find my voice and tell her, "I handed it up."

She says, "No, I didn't get it."

Me: "I handed it up to you in person."

She says, "But I can't find it."

Me: "I didn't drop it in your mailbox, I went to your room, knocked on the door, and handed it up to you personally."

She says, "... huh. Your name is --- ..."

Me: "Yes, I'm --- , and I handed it up to you on Wednesday, when you were in your room."

She: "Oh yes... well, I don't have it..."

Me: (giving up, she's obviously a moron with a pHd) "I'll go print out another copy for you."

She: "... I must have lost it..."

Me: (Forget it, she's a moron, just leave it alone, people like that won't ever change, just print the damned report and shove it in her mouth.)

Why do I always encounter stupid people? One day, I swear, I will go to jail because I strangled someone in a fit of stupidity-induced pique.

[I hate incompetence]
Sngs Alumni @ 8.4.05 { 0 comments }

mercredi, avril 06, 2005

 The Wedding Date

Continuing on with my movie watching blitz (there's a bizarre momentum in all of this), today's movie I watched was The Wedding Date, with Debra Messing and that guy from the other wedding movie... uh... wait, let me google the movie... Dermot Mulroney.

My verdict? Give this one a miss, it's not even worth a $5 @ Clementi Empress viewing.

The movie is a total mess - the premise of the movie is a sort of reverse Pretty Woman - rent a guy (Mulroney) to make the other guy (who dumped you) jealous. The whole time during the movie, I was waiting to see how Messing and Mulroney eventually fall for each other. It never happened. One minute, they were business associates, the next minute... they're still business associates, except suddenly they're kissing and making out (amongst other things). There's this weird tension between Messing and her family, and there's a weird camadarie which builds between her dad and Mulroney, and then... nothing. I don't understand it - the premise was good, it was set in London, there were pretty people in the cast, and I'm very sure that there were some other scenes shot that could have tied the movie together better, but I think something went wrong in the editing room because the whole movie just sank/stank.

And it started so well too! With The Corr's "Leave Me Breathless", then Michael Bublé's "Save the Last Dance", then Maroon 5's "Secret", then Michael Bublé's "Home", then Michael Bublé's "Home" again... and I think that pretty much sums up the highlights of the movie. The Maroon 5 insert, in particular, which was played over certain (in)discretions in a boat (of all places.) Unfortunately, my enjoyment was short-lived due to extremely bad cuts in that scene. I don't mind not seeing... anything, but would it have been hard (dirty!) to run the track over the cut? There was no dialogue, there was no heavy breathing, there were no extraneous sounds to mess up a patch-job. Ah well. Not like a patch job could have saved this absolute flop of a movie.

And with this movie, I think I've exhausted all the English movie possibilities to watch (save the art house flicks), except for maybe The Pacifier, which I will watch because the oh-so-talented Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls will be making an appearance as a Principal (or something). Vin Diesel who?

[The Wedding Date]
Sngs Alumni @ 6.4.05 { 0 comments }

dimanche, avril 03, 2005

 Earthsea (and a farewell)

It's rare that a good book gets picked up to be made into a movie. Rarer still are the good movies made from books. Then we have the gold - the author who screams back (publicly) at the atrocities committed against her book. Hear Ursula K. LeGuin roar her discontent.

I've seen the Earthsea series - it's a two parter, starring Iceman "Bobby" from the X-Men series (who otherwise goes by the name Shawn Ashmore) as Ged, the hero and protagonist of the series, and Smallville pretty-but-cannot-act "actress" Kristin Kruek as Tenar, the heroine. (Incidentally, Ashmore appeared in one episode of Smallville in Season 1 "Leech", where Clark's powers are transferred to him.) The series feels and looks like an episode of Dinotopia (a series which I do not watch, but I saw the trailers on teevee a couple of times), what with all the CGI islands in the sun, and the dragons. There's also a rather pallid imitation of Tolkien's Gollum here, Ged's nemesis, whom he creates by opening up the gates of hell or something, when he shows off in wizard school - yes, think Harry Potter versus Malfoy in that Snape-inspired duel.

I need to reiterate that I have not read the books - actually, I don't even own them, come to think of it - and therefore cannot make any intelligent remarks regarding the integrity of the material to the book. But again, judging by what Ms LeGuin has to say, it probably wasn't very faithful to the source material.

In case it seems like I've been doing a lot of slacking about and watching movies, well... I have. But, to my credit, I watched Earthsea two months ago! I just put the review in cold storage, hoping that I'd write about it after I read the book, but seeing as that's a lost cause, I decided to just put in my two cent's worth now. I've watched three movies this week - four if you count the VCD of Home Fries (starring Drew Barrymore and Luke Wilson), but I've also been working my ass off all other hours, trying to get my SPSS files to churn out pretty pretty graphs and pie charts and stuff (which I've managed to figure out!) in time for a presentation and term paper due on Monday, so there you have it - work hard, play harder.

Today's movie was aided by Ms Veronica Ng, who is here on a visit from Melbourne, where she's getting all smart and sexy, working for one of Fortune Magazine's top companies to work for in 2004: PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Will she make partner in two years? Will she marry Mr PriceWaterhouseCoopers? Will she get another tattoo? And the most important question of all: Will she do my taxes for me, for FREE? :) Bon Voyage, babe! Have a good flight back to Melbourne on Monday. (And next time, bring your phone!)

[Earthsea (and a farewell)]
Sngs Alumni @ 3.4.05 { 0 comments }

 On That Day - D.H. Lawrence

On that day
I shall put roses on roses, and cover your grave
With multitude of white roses: and since you were brave
One bright red ray.

So people, passing under
The ash-trees of the valley-road, will raise
Their eyes and look at the grave on the hill, in wonder,
Wondering mount, and put the flowers asunder

To see whose praise
Is blazoned here so white and so bloodily red.
Then they will say: 'Tis long since she is dead,
Who has remembered her after many days?

And standing there
They will consider how you went your ways
Unnoticed among them, a still queen lost in the maze
Of this earthly affair.

A queen, they'll say,
Has slept unnoticed on a forgotten hill.
Sleeps on unknown, unnoticed there, until
Dawns my insurgent day."

[On That Day - D.H. Lawrence]
Sngs Alumni @ 3.4.05 { 0 comments }

samedi, avril 02, 2005

 I don't play D&D, but....

I am a d12

[I don't play D&D, but....]
Sngs Alumni @ 2.4.05 { 0 comments }

 Be Cool? Not so.

The third movie of the week (as well as the second sequel movie I've seen) was... I don't know. It was blah. Everything was there - the plot twists, the coolness of John Travolta, the hotness of Uma Thurman, the psycho-ness of Harvey Keitel, the stupidity that is Vince Vaughn (why would you act in a show called Dodgeball? Shouldn't the name have tipped you off?), the weirdness of everyone else, plus Steve Tyler and Aerosmith in concert, Danny DeVito, The (gay gay gay!) Rock and the Black-Eyed Peas, and (almost like a bonus), weird Russians and a cameo by Seth Green - what more could you ask for?

And yet... je ne sais pas - something's missing, the spark. This could have been Ocean's 12 - my gripe with that movie was that it wasn't like the original enough - this time, my gripe is that it's too much like the original - it was almost formulaic. The smoothness was fine, but last time it was Chilli Palmer trying to break into the movie business, now it's the music business. Similarities much? (Highlight to see spoiler-filled gripes below.)

1) There was a bit with Chilli's car in Get Shorty - SUVs versus hot cars. Now, it's small, environmentally-friendly cars versus hot Ferrarris.
2) René Russo, ex-wife of the celebrity in question - check. Now it's Uma Thurman, widow of the owner of the record company - check.
3) Scene on balcony - check.
4) TV used to distract Chilli from assassins - check, check, and then check again. Talk about ripping yourself off.
5) Scene in a bed where Chilli is sleeping, then is woken up by the girl (René, Uma, who cares?) because the TV is on - check.
6) A storage receptacle is used to pass important documents around - airport locker for Get Shorty, a pawnshop for Be Cool. Check.
7) Chilli is successful, and makes it look smooth and easy. Check.
8) Chilli tells the boss, who is being visited by mobsters, not to say something, but he/she says it anyway. Check.
9) Hostage situation with the chick which Chilli has to negotiate out of, which winds up looking like he knew and planned the whole thing - check.
10) Chilli making a movie deal with the bodyguard of the bad guy - check.

You think people lack originality - this film proves it. I guess there's just no such thing as a winning formula for movies. Not flicks based on Elmore Leonard books, anyway. Why, oh why, did this movie suck?

[Be Cool? Not so.]
Sngs Alumni @ 2.4.05 { 0 comments }

 Procrastination, I love thee

In a highly successful attempt to procrastinate doing my final term paper, I went to watch Hitch and Miss Congeniality 2 on Tuesday - two movies in a day! (This post, by the way, is a continuation of the procrastination. I really, really hate this term paper.) I really wanted to watch Hitch only, not Miss C2, but there was only one showing of Hitch, and it was at 9pm, so I figured I'd catch another movie before that, and Miss C2 it was.

I was rather surprised - checking out rottentomatoes.com showed that Miss Congeniality 2 totally bombed - but really, it wasn't as bad as they made it sound. It wasn't great, but it wasn't gross either. I didn't like the premise of the movie (she decides to become the spokesperson for the CIA because Benjamin Bratt dumped her - oh, the movie takes place a mere three weeks after the first movie ended), but I got a kick out of seeing Dr Andy Brown of Everwood be the biggest jackass in Las Vegas (which just reminded me of the DVDs I want to get, and which made me sigh in the darkened theatre...sigh.) It was okay lah.

I'm not sorry I had to make it through Miss Congeniality 2 to see Hitch - what took Will Smith so long to do a romantic comedy? He rawks as a moron in love. The movie was nice and easygoing - there are only two things I can think of to gripe about:

1) The scriptwriters tanked BIG TIME when it came time to write the climatic scene, where Will Smith goes after Eva Mendes. The whole movie, they were doing so well - no overly-mushy lines, no cheese, no platitudes... and then suddenly they decided to go overboard with all of the above - and more! So poor Smith had to act, and say these horrible lines which sounded like they were ripped off... I don't know where they could have possibly ripped off the lines from, but wherever they came from, they were horrible. I was cringing all the time that Smith was talking - all the time, wincing, cringing, scrunching up my face, developing wrinkles - all because of the lousy, lazy scriptwriters! I'll say no more, except that I wish they had smoothed out that part of the script with a bulldozer because it was a doozy.

2) What happened to Eva Mendes?!? When I first saw the trailers for Hitch while watching another movie, I turned to my friend and whispered: "Will Smith looks fun, but the girl looks ugly!" And then I look at the credits, and it's Eva Mendes, who looked like this in 2 Fast 2 Furious:

And then, Eva Mendes in Hitch:

What happened to that pretty face? What happened to her? What? What? Someone please tell me, because I want to prevent it from happening to me. Was it just a really good camera/bad camera angle? Good light/bad light situation? Why, Eva, what happened?

The whole movie seemed to be conspiring to make Ms Mendes look gross - I mean, a first date, and she's in a wetsuit? Nobody (besides maybe Paris Hilton and Teri Hatcher) could look good in a wetsuit. For crying out loud, it's a first date, people! NOBODY (human; female) LOOKS GOOD IN A WETSUIT!

Well then. I'm off to take my prozac. Toodles.

[Procrastination, I love thee]
Sngs Alumni @ 2.4.05 { 0 comments }

vendredi, avril 01, 2005

 TV Addiction

The sheer number of TV series-es (serii?) DVDs which are coming out of China is so high that it's not even funny, and it's making me itch very badly to go to Shanghai.

All this because I started searching on ebay for the Season 1 Box Set of Last Vegas - implausible plots and enough silicone to sand a beach, but I love it and I want to own the first season. Anyone going to Shanghai soon? Or Hong Kong?

[TV Addiction]
Sngs Alumni @ 1.4.05 { 0 comments }

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