Monday, February 28, 2011

Oh, Oscars! (aka Oh, Franco!)

Before you proceed, if you haven't watched the show, please leave this page and come back tomorrow. Don't wanna get cursed for giving away spoilers...



OK, you're still here. Which means you HAVE seen the show and are looking for some post-show commentary. Well, you have come to the right place!

The whole thing started of course with the Red Carpet, and overall, there were more hits than misses but I'll leave the fashion commentary to the aweks...

Meawnhile, the Star Movies broadcast started with their own glamorous pre-show held in Hong Kong. Nice location, but didn't quite fancy the hosts and the guests looked only half-interested. Probably because it's 8.30 in the morning and they had to be decked out in evening gowns.
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And when the show finally started, I was mesmerised. Simply because it was in HD, and everything looked gorgeous and clearly defined. The opening montage was rather funny as hosts Anne Hathway and James Franco were dropped into the world of "Inception" and bumped into the likes of Alec Baldwin and Morgan Freeman.
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And I continued to be awestruck by the set design. WOW, WOW, WOW...

Then the actual show started, and Hathaway and Franco started to talk. And it started going downhill from there. I love Franco as an actor (refer to my Oscar's predictions), but I didn't get what he was going for as the co-host. He looked uncomfortable and jittery from the start, and his whole "selamba" shtick (or was it "sembelit" shtick?) didn't quite work.

Hathaway tried to be the cheery one but with Franco refusing to play ball, the chemistry simply couldn't be established. And seriously, why did he have to go drag? That is sooo Malaysian humour lah...
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I continued to be awed by the production, but even the presenters missed their mark. E.g.: Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. What were they on about, really?

And isn't it ironic that the best bits of tonight's "supposed-to-be-younger" Oscars were delivered by 214-year-old Kirk Douglas? (Although I was genuinely worried for his health the longer his segment went).

There were a few good speeches (that's what the Brits are for), but none could even crack the Top 10 Best Oscar Speeches Of All Time, I reckon.

As for the results; you should know by now that I've been sore about Christopher Nolan not nominated for Best Director since the nominees were announced, and I continued my rant on twitter this morning on the same thing.
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Everything else went according to the script I guess as "The King's Speech" won the top 2 awards and the Best Actor gong for Collin Firth. I can't say they didn't deserve to win, but the predictability added to the whole dullness of the show.
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And oh, they also had Gwyneth Paltrow SINGING. Whoo-freakin-pee...

I would most probably watch it again tonight, but only cos the show looks good in HD. And I think I will need to watch "127 Hours" another time to regain my respect for Franco...
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P.S.: Some people think Franco was stoned while hosting the show. I won't go down that road, but if YOU wish to do so, click HERE

Weekend In Penang

So, after three long years, the folks at Alt Media went for a brainstorming retreat this past weekend in Penang. Woohoo!
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And the venue of choice was the Flamingo at the Beach Hotel in Tanjung Bungah. A pretty nice place that exceeded at least my own expectations.
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It didn't kick off on a right note though as a 6.10pm flight from KL meant we arrived right smack during rush hour, and boy, can Penang really rival KL, no, Bangkok, in the heavy traffic department.
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We finally arrived at the hotel close to 9pm, took a quick dinner and were off to the brainstorming bits.
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I won't get in the details of the brainstorming (trade secrets mah), but I will just say that it was a great session with a fine balance of work and ample time for everyone to chill, mingle and go wild where appropriate :)
And it was a pretty relaxing getaway for me personally. I mean, look at the view from my room...
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...Didn't do much of anything else but eat (they serve some good food really for a hotel), and catching up on sleep. Yup, 10-hour sleep-ins are a rarity for me, so again, woohoo!

Apart from that, did the obligatory walk by the beach to soak up some island sun.
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And it was great to see the rest enjoying themselves...
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And what about my Jalan Jalan Cari Makan adventure? I had in fact asked MHI viewers to share some must-try Penang makan places and I got more than 160 comments and suggestions. But without my own transport, it was a challenge for me to track down these places.
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Lucky for me, we had some time before leaving for KL yesterday and the bus took us to Penang Road where the famed Nasi Kandar Line Clear's located. Jackpot!
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And despite a full tummy, thanks to a scrumptious lunch of mee mamak, laksa, chicken wings and kuey teow at the hotel, I wasn't about to let slip the chance of experiencing a classic Penang kandar meal.
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The place itself has been around for over 80 years (!), and is still maintaining its alley location (don't think it's for the lack of moolah to move into a proper restaurant).
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We ordered nasi, sotong, telur ikan, ayam, sayur and the centrepiece was this awesome fish head curry...
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Pity we had to rush it, so we couldn't really dig in and savour the stuff on our table. But overall, I'd give it a 4/5.
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And then it was time to head to the airport and bid Penang goodbye. But I'm pretty sure I'll be returning pretty soon. After all, I still have over 150 other suggested makan adventure to work on...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Oscar 2011 Predictions

So, the Oscars are just around the corner, and here are my simple predictions:
...BEST PICTURE“Black Swan”
“The Fighter”
“Inception”
“The Kids Are All Right ”
“The King’s Speech”
“127 Hours”
“The Social Network”
“Toy Story 3″
“True Grit”
“Winter’s Bone”

So many great movies this year really, and there are actually a couple more that should be on the list, including "The Town". And for most of 2010, I had "Inception" on the top of my list, until I saw "The Social Network". I've picked "The King's Speech" to win Best Picture on other forums, but I'm boldly changing my mind now and putting my money on "The Social Network", a masterpiece of a film featuring the finally realised dream team of David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin.
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BEST DIRECTOR
Darren Aronofsky for “Black Swan”
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for “True Grit”
David Fincher for “The Social Network”
Tom Hooper for “The King’s Speech”
David O. Russell for “The Fighter”

The Academy has been itching to give this to Fincher, and whaddya know? He has a film that would deserve him the win this year. David Fincher to win. Press "Like" here...
BEST ACTOR
Javier Bardem in “Biutiful”

Jeff Bridges in “True Grit”
Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network”
James Franco in “127 Hours”
Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech”
Oh man, I thought James Franco was absolutely brilliant in "127 Hours". Despite knowing what's gonna happen, and the fact that Franco had little interaction with anything/anyone else, he kept me at the edge of my seat while stirring my inner emotions with mere grunts and facial expressions. And Eisenberg gave a credible breakout performance as Mark Zuckerberg. BUT taking home the award will be Colin Firth, who did a splendid job in portraying a flawed British royal.
BEST ACTRESS
Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right”

Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone”
Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”
Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine”
Portman gave the performance of her lifetime (so far). I was terrified and absorbed in the story of the stuggles of a BALLERINA, for God's sake. And finally, I can look past the Bollywood debacle that was "Attack of the Clones". Natalie Portman to win....

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
"How to Train Your Dragon"
"The Illusionist"
"Toy Story 3"

"How To Train Your Dragon" really delighted me last year, but "Toy Story 3" made me care and cry a little bit at the end. Woody & Co will take home the trophy...
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
"127 Hours"
"The Social Network"
"Toy Story 3"
"True Grit"
"Winter's Bone"

I have all 7 seasons of "The West Wing" on original DVD, AND, the flop that was "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip". Which means I'm a hardcore Aaron Sorkin fan. OF COURSE he will win!

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
"Another Year"
"The Fighter"
"Inception''
"The Kids Are All Right"
"The King's Speech"

"The King's Speech" was all about Firth and the dialogue. Another no-brainer here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What's In My Backpack? (Adapted From The Largely Female "Game": What's In My Handbag?)

So, just for the fun of it, I decided to play this largely female blogging "game" i.e.: What's In My Handbag? Only thing, I don't carry around a handbag (it would be a big problem if I DID carry around one), so I've adapted it to What's In My Backpack?

So here's my backpack:
 And here's all the stuff in it:




Not terribly exciting, huh? But here's the rundown anyway...

1. HP Laptop: My work laptop that has served me really well. Only had to send it down to maintenance ONCE in the 4 years I've had it. During weekends, it's also used to play Dora the Explorer games (not by me, obviously).


2. Ipad: What's special about it is its casing. It's cool when people look at you funnily for bringing in a piece of wood to meetings. The same people would then get terribly jealous when they realize what it really was. Hah!


3. Paris Map: Yup, it's still in there for whatever reason. Or maybe it's my "Secret" technique to ensure I'll return there pretty soon... Even without me realising it.


4. Ipod: Mainly for music and FIFA 11. And, yup, Dora The Explorer games.


5. Sentosa Monorail Tickets: OK, maybe I should get rid of these. Not gonna go back to Universal Studios until they install outdoor air-conditioning...


6. Umbrella: Not just ANY umbrella, it's actually a tonton.com.my umbrella. You know, to protect you from the rain when you, um, surf the internet outdoors...


7. Assorted Pens/Pencils: Mainly to use for MHI, it's my own collection of hotel stationery (loads more are lying everywhere). And here, I have stuff from Goodwood Park Hotel Singapore, Cyberview Lodge and Holiday Villa Subang (hey, they're not gonna bill me now, are they?)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sudirman In Memory

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Today marks the 19th year that the late great Sudirman Haji Arshad has left us. I was watching the tribute on Malaysia Hari Ini earlier this morning and I have to say that it touched me more than I thought it would.

Personally, it took me a while to be a fan of Sudirman simply because when I was growing up, the people around me thought he, well, sucked. “Macam kera kena belacan”, was the phrase often used to describe him.

But looking back now, I can only say that Sudirman was a man ahead of his time. He stood out not only because of his unique voice and over-the-top showmanship, but he was a true visionary, and a patriot.

Think about his mega concert at Chow Kit Road. That was simply genius. Here’s an entertainer who knew who his audience was, and gave them something to remember for their rest of their lives. And he did it while flying the Malaysian flag high and proud.

Watching clips of his performances, it’s evident that Sudirman really thought about his performances; everything is choreographed and executed to please his audience. I used to laugh at his colourful costumes, but that was all part of his act that has made him irreplaceable.

Music wise, he never ceased to innovate. In fact, the first album of his that I bought, “Kul It”, I bought it because he had Hillary Ng of Search playing the guitar for most the songs. It was a great touch as suddenly Sudirman had a more rock-ish sound, which he also projected through a fresh new image then.

The fact that he was a qualified lawyer also made him the source of inspiration for many who wanted to grow up and “nak jadi macam Sudirman”. And if you remember, he was also the first entertainer to come up with his own cola drink called “Sudi”. I regret now that I never had a taste of it.

I am not going to mention the awards and hit songs he chalked up during his 16-year career ‘cos the list is a pretty long one. But the question is: how much of his music and achievements does the current generation actually know? Has the tributes and posthumous recognition been enough for someone that for a while, carried the entire local entertainment industry on his shoulder?

Al-Fatihah.


(This post was originally published in gua.com.my a couple of years ago)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Las Vacas Great Steak Challenge 2011

So, another year, another Las Vacas steak-eating competition. Took part for the very first time last year, and it took very little convincing for me to give it another go this year.

The competition's bigger than ever with 62 participants this year, and for the first time too, it's held at the joint's other outlet in Mont Kiara.
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..The rules are the same though; the person who eats the most steak in 40 minutes, wins. Easy peasy. But was it really, for me?

I was determined to do better than last year, which means anything above 500gms would be an improvement for me. No way I was gonna win it, so at the very least, I had to recoup the RM100 investment.

And on that count, I did pretty well I must say. We started with 2 pieces of 300gms of black angus ribeye, and yup, I finished those.

...But by the third piece though, I was already struggling. Chewing fast became a chore, and the steak didn't taste as good when I first started. But by the end of the 40mins, I had finished 3/4 of the final piece.

Like I said, I never expected to win, but I left with my pride intact. Haha. The winner chomped down (get ready for this), 2.38kgs of the stuff. I know, giler ke apa??? Dude was declared the champ and also won a trip to Australia.
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...But this was it for me. As I write this, meat sweats are still pouring down my body, and with that, I declare I am retiring from all eating competitions. Now, can someone recommend me a good cardiologist?
For more pics, check out the MHI facebook page HERE
...Pics: Nazrul Tahir (sibuk je nak credit)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Finally... The Rock Returns!

Anyone who knows me, knows how big of a wrestling fan I am. REALLY big. To cut a long story short, I've been a fan since the 80s, have bought tons of VCDs and DVDs, have had the privilege of meeting PERSONALLY the likes of Mick Foley, The Big Show, FBI, Tori Wilson, the late Chris Benoit and Scotty 2 Hotty and have even watched live events, including one that featured Stone Cold Steve Austin, Chris Jericho and The Rock in New York.

My favourite of all time? The Rock, of course. And really, wrestling has not been the same since he left for Hollywood a few years back.

Anyway, admittedly I've not been watching the weekly shows religiously for the past few years (although I still buy the PPV DVDs), and wasn't aware that The Rock made a comback recently on RAW!
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...OK, so that's me, not him. But the comeback's for real apparently... Just watched the youtube videos and man, I had goosebumps lah. He is in fact THE MOST ELECTRIFYING MAN IN SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT.

Just look at the reception he got as he entered the arena. I'm pretty sure the dude himself has missed these sort of moments incredibly.

And before I tear up, I ask you jabronis to watch the video....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

8 Social Media Types I Dislike (I Can't Say "Hate" Cos Some Of The Culprits Are My Friends)

1. The "Praying" Sort
"Pray everything's gonna be ok". "Pray tomorrow I'll get the jeans that I want"... NEWSFLASH: Tweeting is NOT praying. Sure God will hear you wherever you are, but actually getting down on your knees to pray is a MUCH better option than typing tweets on your sofa.

2. The Broken Brigade
Ah yes, folks who don't even realise they're butchering other people's language. Eg: "This concert is suck!!". No, YOU suck...

3. "Woot Woot"
What does it even mean, anyway? "It's Friday! Woot woot!" Let me give you a kick in the ass and see if you'll still be woot woot-ing away...

4. Just For Laughs?
Usually happens with FB status updates. "Hehehehehe" "Ekekekeke" "wakakaka" for no apparent reason. I guess the stat that says one in ten Malaysians suffer from some sort of mentall illness is right after all.

5. The So-Called Busy Bees
"OMG, It's 5pm and I haven't had lunch!". "When will work ever be done? Sigh.". Well, maybe if you stop updating everyone about how busy you are all the time (and sighing), you might actually get some work done. Just a tip.

6. Cryptic Maniacs
Usually done to fish for comments. Eg: "Hmm... I can see it now". Lame.

7. Rempit-gitis
"Bowink. SoRk aKew naK gi MaNEw nie??? Ekekekeke". Please lah. Can't you spell like, you know, regular humans??

8. "I Have A Car And Here's 500 Pictures Of It"
Yup, we're all proud of the stuff we have and there's no harm in sharing with the peeps you know. But berpada-padalah. Your BMW still looks the same no matter where it's parked. We get it, you have a nice car, get over yourself.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The 7 Coolest Things Of The Past 7 Days

1. Egyptians finally get what they want
Thank God for no more bloodshed

2. A Transfomer (finally) auditioned for Idol
Missed it? Watched it HERE

3. Rode this bike on national TV
And the common comment? "Comelll"... Not making this stuff up, folks :)
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4. The new Justin Bieber movie is out
You know I'm only mentioning Bieber to get more blog hits, right? Bieber, Bieber, Bieber, Bieber, Bieber, Bieber, Bieber...

5. Arnold Schwarzenegger to return to acting
The US economy must be REAAALLLLLYY bad...

6. Lady Gaga unleashes new single Born This Way
What way? A Madonna copycat? (listen to it, peeps)

7. Mary J Blige performs in Malaysia for the first time
Thanks, but read my lips: WE WANT ME-TA-LLI-CA...

Monday, February 07, 2011

The 7 Coolest Things Of The Past 7 Days

1. The looong weekend
What's not so cool: The loooooooooooong queues at highways. Terpele'ot kaki, ok?

2. 4 straight wins and counting for Liverpool
And some people actually paid 50m for someone to prance around for 65 mins? I can do that...

3. Anderson Cooper still alive and kicking
Assaulted and abused in Cairo, the Silver Fox recovers to broadcast from a "secret location". Someone give him red underwear and cape, already!

4. American Idol still alive and kicking
Although I'm not so sure if Randy Jackson is now the comic relief or villian?

5. F1 teams reveal their new cars one by one
Some people choose to remain ugly though. And by "people", I mean you, Sauber...
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6. Britney Spears returns to No 1 on the charts again
Just proves that nothing is more important in life than the power of... auto-tune.

It was launched recently, but a must-read during this Idol season.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Food, Glorious Food!: January 2011 Edition

Let's get straight to the point, shall we?
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We go to KLCC once a month probably and the last visit saw us trying out this Indonesian place called Bumbu Desa. Looked fancy from the outside and is a good place to take your foreign clients or friends who might wanna sample authentic Asian cuisine (after mamaks and nasi campur, of course).
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And looking at the dishes being displayed, I was pumped up for a truly satisfying nasi padang experience. Have a look at some of the dishes we ordered...
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...But really, it wasn't as mind-blowing as your eyes might want to believe. The cumi cumi (sotong), was really salty, the tempe was was just OK, and overall, it still has quite a way to go to top my fave spot for nasi padang, Sari Ratu.
......Next up, a really good place for excellent Japanese grub, Zen at Sunway Pyramid. Traffic and parking might be madness in that area during the night, so my advice would be to valet park your car right next to the restaurant and walk in.
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Everything's super duper fresh here, and I'd recommend you the sushi set with beef. In a word, bestlah!
... ... Unlike KLCC, we're at Pavilion almost every weekend. (Got Zara there lah). We've tried out most of the better makan places there, but still working our way through the whole Food Republic line up.
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And one of the the most recent new tries was the Serai Satay Bar. I know, I know, makan satay kat shopping mall? Belum cuba, belum tau kan?
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Anyway, took the um, variety plate, and it had 2 sticks of chicken, beef and mutton each. I must say that it's not that bad at all. The downside? RM10.60 for 6 sticks. A bit on the cekik darah side.
... ...Still at Pavilion, Pepper Lunch is where we'd go for slightly healthier fare. Ahem. It needs you to do some grilling though, but the result would be worth the self-grilling bit, I can assure you.
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...And lastly at Pavillion, don't leave the place without tucking into some dessert at MOF Japanese Sweets & Coffee. No need to go too fancy schmancy, just the soft serve ice cream with fruits would do the job nicely.
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That's all for now, and if all goes well, I'll soon be reporting from Las Vacas for the Great Steak Challenge. It will be MZul vs Food indeed...

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Torres Schmores

Not really that bitter that he's left the club, but because the first Liverpool jersey I bought in ages has his name on it, and now it's useless.

I went to a store in Birmingham last May and it was between a Torres or a Gerrard jersey and the sales guy actually said, "Are you sure?" when I picked the no 9 shirt. Ah well...
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But the thing is, I don't feel as much pain as I did when Ian Rush left the club, or even when Fowler was shipped off to Leeds (Leeds!!). (Both came back to the Kop, btw)

Which means, I have already moved on. (I guess part of it is also because the dude's in bloody astro ads!)

And I'm sooo looking forward to an all-new Liverpool under King Kenny. An all-new Pool which includes the twin strikeforce of Luiz Suarez and Andy Carroll.

The future is bright indeed...

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