Thursday, June 26, 2008

Urbanscapes 2008

I came back early last morning from a trip to the Perhentian Islands. Sunburnt, a slight headache, and dead tired... I crashed into bed and snoozed off. No strength left to remove the filthy clothes from my backpack and toss them into the machine.

But I woke at noon. The headache was still there. There were bills to pay, and so a trip must be made to downtown Georgetown. Fucking car won't start. The 3-year old battery didn't have the amp-hours to crank the starter... 4 days had dwindled the charge in it, with the help of the alarm system.

Another one of those damned days...

At least there's
Urbanscapes this weekend to lookup too... First 250 people there gets a free ticket
when the doors open at noon. But first, you must have a Klue. I'm Klueless, and anyway... I'll probably be coming over later noon. I can't just jump off the night train at Sentral and into the mess, can I?

See you guys there...

BTW, I'll be the guy with the tranquilizer rifle and ear tags... lets see how many hipsters I can catch and tag. Beware.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Not Quite Sergio Leone

Before reading... Hit "PLAY" above...

Count to twenty...

And now read the rest of this post, as the music plays...










Ella will be singing at the Sultan of Selangor Cup football match


PAS say cannot.


They want Mawi to perform instead...

CONCLUSION: PAS people have really bad taste in music...


Monday, June 16, 2008

Movie Review: "The Happening"

Manoj Night Shyamalan is back with another movie. But after seeing it on Friday, I'm far than impressed with "The Happening".

To be frank, I think it blows balls.

Not really that happening

I enjoyed Shyamalan's "Sixth Sense", and "Unbreakable". But "The Village" was a bit of a letdown. It was at this point that his famous Unexpected Plot Twist or U.P.T., had ironicly become something the audience would totally expect from a Shyamalan movie. Whatever the U.P.T. would be, people would just shrug it off and say 'oh well...'.

With "Sixth Sense", and "Unbreakable"... the trademark U.P.T. worked well but with further use in his later movies, the masses were already immunized by expectation. Hence, the element of surprise was lost.

As for "The Happening", it had a plot that was rather ridiculous. People in the Eastern United States are suddenly becoming paralyzed and committing suicide for unknown reasons. Terrorist gas/bio attack? Too much emo music? Captain Planet got fed-up with humans?

I won't spoil the plot. I'll just tell you the movie was bad. But I'm not going to write off Shyamalan just like that. Many good directors have been or are at a nadir in their careers... where the movies they spit out are nothing but a bunch of shit. Hopefully he'll be back with better stuff in future.

But not all is bad with "The Happening". The cinematography and camera shots were interesting, being taken from unique angles that somewhat creates a bit of sense of mystery. And the lead actress looked a little bit like Feist... I think...

"One Two Three Four..."

And I was surprised by the director's trademark Unexpected Plot Twist: there was no Unexpected Plot Twist.

Anyway, I came up with some theories why people were suddenly standing dumb and then started killing themselves in the movie:

  • Emo music became an airborne virus
  • Gas in the USA jumped to $10 per gallon. (Thats $3 a liter)
  • Republicans unleashed a disease to clear the East Coast of blue voters
  • A result of the dumbing-down effects of television
  • They realized they just paid RM10 to see this movie


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Pair Of Jeans For The Tailor...

I don't throw away clothes easily. I still have an olive-green shirt from 1998 in my cupboard that I wear occasionally.
That was from 1998 when U2 still sold clothes that were decently cool... and then they went for the metrosexual look and raised their prices.

Its one of those safari/military-style shirts where you can roll up the long-sleeves and button them midway to hold them in place. Its rather threadbare and tattered at the collar, but has a certain "punk rock" look to it. Good for wearing when you're going for a gig at Church Street or 62 Weld.

I guess this weekend, I'll have to pay a visit to that old-uncle tailor at Penang-Chulia. A pair of jeans has developed a hole at the rear after 3 years of being washed, worn, battered, beaten, and caught between a bicycle chain. Its the style to have holes in your denims, but where I work there's still a minimum standard to be upheld. Jeans may be allowed, but jeans with holes in the butt aren't.

Speaking of holey jeans... I remembered this incident back when I lived in Madison, on this shopping trip to Sears. For you Malaysians... Sears is an American department store kinda like Parkson or Jusco. I needed a new pair of pants, and there was a good pair of dark blue Levi's going for U$35. On the opposite rack, was more Levi's... but starting at $69. Those had really big holes in them and some looked like they've been run over with a lawnmower.

Just for the fun of it, I asked a sales assistant who was sorting out some stuff nearby. Lets call him Bud... as in Budweiser. Bad grammar from me and him are intentional.

Me: "Hey, these jeans are pretty worn out, but they're more pricy than the nice ones over there"

Bud: "Yup. 'ats the fashion todays"

Me: "Yea, I know. Funny people would pay many more for a shot-up pair than a good one" (stating the fucking obvious)

Bud: "Heh. Folks want the wornout look, so the company makes 'em look worn out once they leave the factory. An' sell 'em for $50 over."

You could buy actual wornout clothing with the wornout look... holes and all, for much less (around 10 bucks) at the Salvation Army or equivalent secondhand clothes store.

Maybe I should sell this pair on eBay instead of sending it for repair. I'd probably get U$40 for it.

This guy here has another opinion on new old-looking clothes


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Movie Review: "Starcrash (1978)"

The recent spike in gas prices has obviously not gone down well with my fellow Malaysians. My boss was grumbling about how "Badawi must resign", friends and colleagues were complaining and shopping for motorbikes or LPG-engine upgrades, sarcastic text-messages were being forwarded, and people in coffee-houses and on MalaysiaToday were ranting.

On PetalingStreet... 9 out of 10 blog pings on Wednesday night was some form of complaint about the sudden price increase. One of those was mine...

Back home in Klang for the weekend (yes, I drove back...) the conversation with family, friends, & relatives over my birthday dinner was also about... yep, the price of petrol and how everyone was gonna drive less to deal with the added cost. Ah well...

Living expenses aside, lets talk about something else... like a bad Italian film starring a pre-Baywatch beefcake, a sexy British actress and an evangelical pastor.

Like, "Turkish Star Wars", the movie "Starcrash" was also another ripoff copy of Star Wars... only much better. But the word "much better" in this case is relative... like how having a bucket of shit dumped over your head is much
better than being crushed by a shipping container filled with bowling balls. Ideally, you don't want either to happen to you. But forced to make a choice by a band of radical terrorists, you'd probably go for the former. Right?

Directed by Luigi Cozzi, "Starcrash" was one of those 70s Italian trash films that disappeared into time... until one day a couple of bored college students dug it up at a video rental store. Thanks to the Internet, you now can another read an in-depth review of this dreck, and also download it from BitTorrent. If you've got nothing better to do for tonight... of course...

Starring David Hasselhoff (yes, the Baywatch guy), Caroline Munro, and an evangelist by the name of Marjoe Gortner, this epic star wreck takes place in a galaxy far far away where planets are made of rubber balls and stars are those cheap Christmas lights you buy from Tesco:

In space, everyone can see you suck; shitty special effects
and spaceship models that look like they're
made from counterfeit Lego pieces

Our "heroes", Stella and Akton (played by Munro and Marjoe respectively)... are a duo of intrepid intergalactic space outlaws on the run from the law. Supposedly they're the best space pilots in the whole of space, and also one of the most wanted space outlaws in all of space. To suit their space outlaw persona... they have been blessed by the director with such spacey dialog such as "I hope this star buggy stays together... " or "These deadly rays will be your death" or something like that.

Yes, Caroline Munro is in a space-bikini
for the most of this movie

Fortunately, their daring tactics of flying at light speed in a straight line fails to shake the space cops, and they're both captured. Akton is given 200 years in a labor camp and the sexy Stella is sentenced to life in a penal (heh heh) colony. End of movie, I hope?

WRONG... they are freed by the Emperor of the Galaxy... But why? Why??

Most impractical (and dangerous) royal throne ever designed...

His Majesty has chosen them on a mission to rescue his only son and destroy a supersecret weapon that belongs to his rival, Count Zarth Arn (sounds like "Darth", no?). Ah... thats great. Let your only son... the sole heir to the whole Galaxy... go on a dangerous mission and he gets his ship blown up by Count Zarth's supersecret bunch of red blobs that came from a bad LSD trip. You don't even know if he's alive or dead and you send two strangers of questionable character to look for him. Wow, great decision. I bet His Majesty is also a shitty military strategist, but we'll see that later.

Accompanied by a green Captain Picard and Bobba-Fett looking robot that talks like a Texan cowboy, the team searches for the missing prince, who is likely bits of space dust now since his ship was blown up in the beginning of the film.

Their quest for the prince and sole heir to the whole damn universe (or galaxy) brings them to a planet of hostile warrior women...

Welcome to the Planet Of The Babes

...and a gigantic robot made of aluminum foil... with boobs...

A warrior woman sends a command to a giant
she-robot with boobs... by eye lasers

Captain Picard later betrays the others but is pwned by Akton in perhaps the most retarded scene ever in B-grade sci-fi... his "deadly rays" from his laser pistol fails to kill Akton... but is instead reflected back to him with a wave of Akton's hand. With laser beams that slow anyway, just about anybody not drunk enough could simply dodge it. Thats cheap special effects for you.

Aside from deflecting deadly rays, Akton can also now tell the future. I think this fantastic bullshit is being made up by him as the movie goes, with help from the director who certainly needs it to patch up the no-brainer called a plot.

David Hasselhoff later shows up in the movie and rescues Stella from a bunch of amorous cavemen. He drives off the Neanderthals by firing... lasers from his eyes. Yep, you read it... David Hasselhoff shoots lasers from his eyes in this film. Oh yes, he's also the prince that they've been looking around for, and he then leads them to the control station of Count Zarth's supersecret superweapon. You know that one that shoots out those LSD-tripping red blobs?

For some reason, our heroes are amazed by the control room's "automated computers" that constantly keep running without any human assistance. Technology must have regressed in the Galactic Age for these people to be so fascinated... sigh.

As they're ooh and aah-ing at the flashing computers, Count Zarth and his men appear suddenly from behind. You'll know they're the bad guys, because the count has a maniacal laugh and all his men dress up in black vinyl uniforms. Also, their laser rifles have these really impractical bat-wings on them that serve no purpose except to tell you that they are indeed the bad guys.

Its also compulsory for villains like Zarth to have
good teeth to go with the wicked laughter

And in typical movie-bad-guy style... the count does the dumbest thing ever in an attempt to destroy the three heroes. Ok, let me ask YOU a question...

Suppose you've trapped three of your enemies (including the only son of your rival) in your own base where your secret superweapon is emplaced. Do you...

Option A) Order your men to zap them all to death in a hail of deadly laser beams?

Option B) Set not just the whole base... but the WHOLE planet where your super secretweapon is stored to self-destruct (and destroy a Weapon of Mass Destruction that you've invested trillions into), leave, and order two tin-can robots wielding plastic swords to prevent them from escaping until the planet explodes?

Option B doesn't make any damn sense. If Saddam Hussein managed to corner G.W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Colin Powell in one of his nuclear missile silo's, he'll order his Republican Guard to finish them off with rifle fire and grenades. He won't set the whole of Iraq to blow up; Baghdad, Basra and all...

Anyway, Option B was Count Zarth's plan. Some tactical genius he is...

And some scriptwriter the scriptwriter of 'Starcrash' is...

In an attempt to escape, Akton engages in a battle with the two creaky robots using his er... LightMachete, Lightscimitar, LazerSword... umm... fuck, lets just call it a Fake-Lightsabre. He destroys one, but not before getting slain himself from a wound to the arm from the robot's plastic sword. Before dying he tells Stella and David Hasselhoff that "he'll live forever", before disappearing in a mass of sine waves from a laboratory scope. Um... okay.

Ok, by now it should be fucking obvious to you
that this is certainly a Star Wars ripoff

The Emperor arrives just in time on his flagship to rescue them. If there's a religion followed by the characters in 'Starcrash'... I'm sure Deus Ex Machina is one of the gods on the pantheon. Akton suddenly can deflect laser beams, tell the future, fight with weapons ripped off from Star Wars, and the Emperor not only arrives in the nick of time to save Stella and Prince Hasselhoff... his spaceship also has the ability to stop time, just like Doraemon's stopwatch.

Ok, so now its payback time and the attack on Count Zarth's space fortress begins. Just like Zarth, the Emperor is no military strategist either. His Majesty commands his soldiers to stuff themselves into giant dildos and... I'm not making this shit up... penetrate through the glass windows of Zarth's fortress:

Of course, with such a ridiculous assault method, the attack fails and all the Emperor's attacking forces are killed. So Stella goes off and pilots a space colony into Count Zarth's fortress, escaping just in the nick of time... and starting yet another pointless scene with multiple cheap explosion special effects. The Emperor ends with some long monologue about "peace" or something like that, and the movie ends.


If you're looking for another B-grade science fiction flicks for those times when you have little to do and lots of beer in the fridge... this is your movie. Shitty special effects, dumbass plot and dialogue, and obvious elements ripped off from Star Wars, you don't have much to think about. Also, you have eye candy in the form of Caroline Munro...

Heck, you can watch it on YouTube itself... the spoofed MST3K version of course. The sarcastic comments will make seeing this movie much easier for you.

PART 2 (just skip Part1):



YouTube links to rest of the parts here...

Now, excuse me while I try to reawaken my brain from standby mode.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Malaysia Will Launch Another Astronaut Into Space Tonight...

His name is Petrol Price.

Seriously though, there's no point lining up. The queues at the gas stations are more than 300m long in Sungai Nibong. Thats going to take at least an hour to clear. Once its your turn the pumps will probably be dry.

At the end, you've probably just saved as much as you've wasted being stuck in the queue... in addition to a risk of overheating your engine and overheating your temper...

And whatever you do, don't buy those fuel saving devices being sold on the Internet or at some promo booth in Tesco. You'll only waste your money on a scam.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Lies, Damned Lies...

... and statistics.

(click to enlarge)

But there's a bit of truth to it... no?

On the plus side, how else can you learn more about an obscure (but cool) band from Middle America like Tilly & The Wall, or OK Go ... while seated at a desk in Malaysia, huh?

Or hear about this politician who arrogantly dismissed his constituents... just days before the election?

If it weren't for internets videos like YouTube, Dato' Zein would probably still be in power.

Never underestimate the power of Web2.0