Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Michelle Leslie is a Muslim

Funny what a 15-year jail sentence can do to one's religious beliefs. Michelle Leslie is an 18-year old Australian model who was caught on her way to a Bali dance party with two Ecstasy tablets inside her Gucci handband. At first she denied they was hers. She then changed her story that it was her friend's and she asked her to keep it in her bag. Interrogated by the police, she confessed that the tablets were actually hers, and that she was addicted to them, and that she planned to take one of them during the party.

A week later, Michelle Leslie says she's a Muslim and now wears a hijab. She is covered from head to toe, even with a headdress to cover her head and shoulders. I really don't get it - she models lingerie as part of her job and was wearing little but body paint in an event last year.

I think it's about time Schapelle Corby reveals that she's also a Muslim.

Monday, August 29, 2005

An Absurd Movie ... Unleashed

Given a choice of Wedding Crashers, Monster-in-Law, Kicking and Screaming, Lords of Dogtown, and Unleashed (a.k.a. Danny the Dog), I chose the least of all the evils. It's still a bad choice. Very bad choice.

Who would've thought that with Luc Besson as director, Yuen Wo-Ping as martial arts choreographer, Jet Li and Morgan Freeman as main characters, and Massive Attack providing the soundtrack, we'll still end up with a bad movie like this?! Compared to The One, Romeo Must Die, and Kiss of the Dragon, there's way less fight scenes in Unleashed. I'm all for quality-not-quantity, but we're all better off watching Jet Li's old kungfu movies. That was before he had crazy ambitions of conquering Hollywood. I've watched lots of his Shaolin movies and Once Upon a Time in China series, and his moves are just awesome.

The fight scenes in this movie are too unrealistic. People don't line up to attack you. They don't wait for their turn to get their butts kicked. And there's only so much beating a person can take before they go down. Even the drama aspect of the movie is badly developed. Morgan Freeman is good as always, but I guess it's not enough to inspire his fellow actors. Not sure what happened to Jet Li here, but his acting is downright pathetic. His character is supposed to be psychologically abused and illiterate, but that's no excuse to carry a single facial expression throughout the film. He was poker-faced in Hero, but his emotions still show through. As for Victoria, who is supposed to be 18 years old, living with a blind man and playing the piano all day long must've influenced her mental and emotional development in a bad way. No 18-year old girl is as carefree/happy/innocent as her.

Total waste of time. I should've just watched Sin City again.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Cross City Tunnel Walk

The Cross City Tunnel from Rushcutter's Bay to Darling Harbour is finally opened, bypassing 18 sets of traffic lights. It is also NSW's first fully-electronic toll road - no toll booths, no cash, no stopping.

To celebrate the event, a charity walk called "Walk for the Salvos" was organized before the cars are allowed through. It was not as interesting as I thought it would be. A colleague actually asked me, "What's there to see?" And she's right. It's just one long two-lane tunnel. A good number of people showed up for the walk though.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Lost in The Island

If you've watched The Matrix, Gattaca, Minority Report, and any one of Michael Bay's films, you can safely skip The Island because there's nothing new here.

The movie is about the cloning of humans as source of replacement parts for their "sponsors." DNA samples are taken from wealthy sponsors, and a matching clone is bred inside pods not unlike those found in The Matrix. Once they've grown enough, they are laid out on beds and given their first education. Instead of jacking in and having training modules uploaded into their brains, they're simply brainwashed with memories of the childhood they never had and shown promotional videos of The Island. This is how every resident in the facility believes that the whole planet has been poisoned by pollution, and that The Island is the only pathogen-free zone left.

The whole place looks industrial and utilitarian in design. The sets are probably taken from Gattaca. Everyone dresses in white tracksuits and wears white Puma trainers. (I want one!) White for the clones, black for the supervisors. Every aspect of their lives is watched and monitored, just like in Gattaca. Everyone is supposed to be content eating their oatmeal and tofu meals, waiting for the day when his/her name is drawn from the lottery and shipped off to The Island. But Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) wanted more. He started having dreams; he started asking questions; he saw a flying bug that should not be there at all. And he started getting chummy with Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson). Because of these, he was brought in for a consultation with Dr. Merrick. The same engineers who designed the retina-scanning spiders in Minority Report must've created these mini-bugs that crawl into your eye sockets, scan your brains, and comes out of you like kidney stones.

To make a long story short, Lincoln Six Echo eventually founds out the awful truth about "going to The Island." When Jordan became the next winner, he busts out of the underground compound with Jordan in tow. A whole string of inconsistensies ensue:

  • After years of brainwashing about the outside world being a dangerous place, Lincoln and Jordan have no qualms about wandering about in the desert.
  • With no real-life experience whatsoever, there were able to survive the real world pretty well.
  • Lincoln has never imagined or seen any motor vehicle before, but he was able to drive a supercar and a flying motorbike.
  • Clones are immortal. The whole police force can't bring them in. An elite team of ex-GIGN and Navy Seals can't bring them down. They fall off a skyscraper trapped inside a glass-and-steel corporate logo, and they simply walk off unharmed.
Did I mention the product placements?
Talking about lost, I rushed back home just in time to catch the last 30 minutes of the last episode of Lost's first season. Somehow, Charlie and the gang were able to retrieve turnip-head - not sure what happened to the French woman. The guys on the makeshift raft saw some bleeping on the radar and uses the flare gun. They attract a pirate ship, and Walt gets kidnapped. Jack, Kate, and John blows up the mysterious hatch. We see a long narrow tunnel leading down all the way to Season Two (coming next year).

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Tsinoy.com EB #2

After something like 8 months, I attended my second Tsinoy.com EB at Paramatta's Charcoal Mine. It's good to see the same old people like blue_chips and his girlfriend, bobmacks, akimacks, and bowen. The Korean BBQ buffet is great, too.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

City2Surf 2005

This is actually my second time to join the Sun-Herald City2Surf, but this year the company fielded a team. We were supposed to meet up at St. Mary's Cathedral at 8:30am for a group picture. By 8:45am, I was still queuing up at Hyde Park to pick up my bib. I saw this girl wearing a black Nokia Terminal9 shirt, so I figured she's a teammate. We waited at the church steps, but didn't see anybody else.

The run is supposed to start at 9:30am, but it started later than that. The Sun-Herald Start people went first, then the HSBC Start, then about 15 minutes after time zero, the Back of the Pack started running. I wouldn't really call it "running" with so many people crowding the streets. I spent the first few kilometers weaving in and out of the traffic, keeping to the footpaths as much as possible. The going from Rushcutters Bay to Double Bay to Rose Bay is relatively easy because there's lots of shops and spectators around. There are live bands and drinking stations here and there to refresh the runners. The Durex guys, the Super Friends, and the guys in full body paint are back this year, but I didn't see the running brides and the green dinosaurs.

The point from Rose Bay is where things start to get serious. The upward slope is steep, and most people are content to do brisk walking. It's not called Heartbreak Hill for nothing. By the time I got to kilometer 11, my legs can't take the pounding anymore. It's not sprain or cramps, but my knees hurt with every step I take. I figured if I keep on running, it'll make pain go numb, and I would be fine until I finish the race. Bad idea. The pain got worse so I had to limp all the way to the finish line. It's a pity because it's all downhill from there (literally). I could've shaved minutes off my time if my legs didn't give up.

Last year I did 130 minutes and 58 seconds. This year was 110:11 for 14 kilometers. Not bad. Because of a late start, my real time was actually 93 minutes and 3 seconds. Not bad at all.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Reading/Computer Glasses

Went to my health provider's eyecare center to pick out a pair of reading glasses.

The guy who attended to me was quite helpful. My idea was to look for some pairs within my price range, then select the most ideal one. The guy is of another opinion: he said comfort is first priority; we'll worry about the price later. So went through racks and racks of frames: Boss, Nike, Oakley, Emporio Armani, Calvin Klein, Polo Ralph Lauren, Timberland, Van Heusen, etc. I must've tried on more than 40 pairs of glasses. He highly recommends the Nike frames - around A$350 each. He gave a few of them to his former flame. Too bad things didn't work out. After all the wining and dining and presents he showered her with, she went back to Singapore after finishing her studies.

I feel for you, mate. Just glad you're not selling cars. It would hurt even more then.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Carnival of the Animals at Chatswood

Attended my first classical concert since coming to Australia.

The Willoughby Symphony Orchestra staged a multimedia performance art concert at the Willoughby Civic Centre Concert Hall featuring Mozart’s Serenata Notturna, Copland’s Appalachian Spring Suite, Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale, and Saint SaĆ«ns’ Carnival of the Animals. The last two pieces are the main draw because they had a computerized slideshow presentation running in synch with the music.

For Carnival of the Animals, they had two young guest pianists. They started off with the Introduction and Royal March of the Lion, and they are really good! They were a bit off-key with The Pianists, as they were supposed to be. When they got to The Swan, their fingers were just flowing across the keys. Everything is just right, with the minor exception of The Fossils. I think the lady played the xylophone a bit too loud, and didn't blend with the symphony well. Anyway, not bad for 35 bucks.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Last Amazing Race

Still can't believe Rob and Amber didn't win The Amazing Race #7. I mean, these guys are totally ruthless and scheming since the start of the race, and they deserve to win. (Huh?!) Uchenna and Joyce, who ultimately won the race, started the last leg with $0 to their credit. Heck, they had to hitch a ride to the airport and beg for taxi money there just to get to their first destination.

When Rob and Amber got on that plane to Miami at the very last minute, that should've been the end of Amazing Race 7. But no, they had to re-open the boarding gates and the airplane door just to let Uchenna and Joyce in. Reality TV? Yeah, right. As luck (or the scriptwriters) would have it, Rob and Amber got lost in Little Havana looking for "The King of the Havanas." Conveniently enough, Uchenna and Joyce's driver speaks Spanish, so when he asked for directions to "El Rey de los Habanos," he had no problems finding the place.

That said, a guy who sincerely thanks people who refuse to give him money and insists on paying the correct taxi fare before running into the final pit stop deserves U$1,000,000.