Thursday, 27 December 2012

The Arabian Nights.

It will take me more than one thousand and one nights to complete this 2008 New Penquin Classics edition translated by Malcolm C. Lyons and Ursula Lyons...

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Birthday 2012.

Another year, another year older...yet none the wiser?

Merry Christmas 2012.

The kids receiving their gifts...Lego vehicles courtesy of Shell petrol stations hehehe. Me? I have had enough "gifts" throughout the entire past years. Thanks Esther for putting up with my moolah leeching hobbies.

Friday, 21 December 2012

The Road, Children of Men.

Two movies to watch for some post-apocalyptic futures.

R.E.M. - It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).

That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and
snakes, an aeroplane and Lenny Bruce is not afraid.
Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn - world
serves its own needs, dummy serve your own needs. Feed
it off an aux speak, grunt, no, strength, the Ladder
start to clatter with fear fight down height. Wire
in a fire, representing seven games, and a government
for hire at a combat site. Left of west and coming in
a hurry with the furys breathing down your neck. Team
by team reporters baffled, trumped, tethered cropped.
Look at that low playing. Fine, then. Uh oh,
overflow, population, common food, but it'll do to Save
yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs,
listen to your heart bleed dummy with the rapture and
the revered and the right, right. You vitriolic,
patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Six o'clock - TV hour. Don't get caught in foreign
towers. Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself
churn. Lock it in, uniforming, book burning, blood
letting. Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate.
Light a candle, light a motive. Step down, step down.
Watch your heel crush, crushed, uh-oh, this means no
fear cavalier. Renegade steer clear! A tournament,
tournament, a tournament of lies. Offer me solutions,
offer me alternatives and I decline.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

The other night I dreamt of knives, continental
drift divide. Mountains sit in a line, Leonard
Bernstein. Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester
Bangs. Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom! You
symbiotic, patriotic, slam bug net, right? Right.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel
Today is supposedly Doomsday/Armageddon etc. based on the Mayan calendar. Like Y2K during the turn of the Millenium, it receives major coverage from everyone to everything. And managed to caught this prog on Discovery (or was that Nat Geo) 'bout people goin all ways to prepare 'emselves for such events i.e. "Preppers". This brought me back to this R.E.M. catchy single, from their 1987 album, Document. As for today, life goes on as usual for me...I guess. 

The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey.

Watched two nights ago with Esther, as both the kids were asleep early. Nearly missed the show as we were led on a merry go round across SetiaWalk, Puchong new shopping and entertainment complex to find the TGV cinema. SetiaWalk is indeed the Labyrinth of Puchong. No minotaur but plenty of beer guzzling folks around coz the place is packed with bars and bistros. 
We finally found the cinema after asking for gazillion directions from the helpful security guards there, and prevented myself from starving to death coz I skipped dinner to make it in time after closing shop.
Since we barely made it in time, and this movie is about two hours plus long, keeping in mind I need to attend a meeting with dad the next morning at 8am, I decided to folk out RM40 for the "Beanieplex", coz it was the only slot available before the next show at 11pm, and the "Beanieplex" is something new to both Esther and myself. I have heard of those "Gold Class" and what not cinema but not this. It made me rethink about the entire cinematic experience. Call me a backwater hick, but for someone who has been sticking to GSC Summit USJ nearly a quarter of my life, it was a quantum leap from those musty, smelling seats to a "couple seats" with bean bags whereby we could lean on comfortably with nice, sleek ambient, just like a first class ride. And we could really relax coz, the place was practically new I guess, a weekday, and there was only ourselves and two other couples. The only setback is the temperature which I think is preset according to the coldest winter in Siberia. I nearly turned into Mr. Frosty but luckily Esther brought her jacket which just barely could keep me warm enough before I succumb to hypothermia. But enough about the place and the Russian winter. After downing two cups of small sausages and couple of sticks of dogs for dinner, plus a tub of popcorn shared with Esther, the highly anticipated prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy began.
It is said that Peter Jackson shot this in High Frame Rate, i.e. 48 frames per sec instead of standard 24. I dunno what that means but I'd read critics of this technology raised the point that it looks too real, like watching a HDTV, which I have seen in most of the AV shops LCD TV sample movies, and yes, to me it does robbed the "cinematic" aspect of a movie. Why, the other day at one of the malls while waiting for the kids and Esther, I was watching the latest Pirates of the Carribean and it looks like a stage play. Now, perhaps since this is the 2D version, the HFR is not obvious or perhaps even not totally incorporated, but still it is kinda "crisper" than majority of movies I have had seen. But it's all good for someone like me who has a 1000+ degrees of shortsightedness.
This is the first part of a trilogy spread over three years, meaning if I were to be alive in 2014, I get to know the conclusion. Just like The Lord of the Rings. This is based on the classic high fantasy children book, The Hobbit, written in 1937, by the late J.R.R. Tolkien. Yes, it is meant to be a children book before the author took it to another level in the epic sequel, and set ground for the Middle Earth universe (sans The Silmallirion).
Like The Lord of the Rings celluloid adaptation, the movie incarnation is visually stylised and dramatic, typical of Peter Jackson works. Since there are so many interpretations/artworks of Tolkien often cryptic descriptions of the creatures and population of the Middle Earth stories, one of the reasons I want to watch this is to see once more how they would be depicted in the movie. For once the CGI orcs, trolls, goblins look very much improved and nice (though there are a number of detractors), the Wargs look different and more fearsome, the infamous three "intelligent" trolls which nearly cook the boys, finally get to see those "giants" which are basically mountain sized stone monsters, Radagast the Brown (the subtitle calls him "Radagast si coklat") and it is great to re-visit the characters appeared in the Lord of the Rings once more.. The Great Goblin looks more like a troll than orc however, but maybe that's why it is the leader. But the infamous orc Azog, is depicted as a albino uber-orc, and deviated greatly from the book, did not die at the hand of Dain, a character which is absent from the movie but instead fought Thorin Oakenshield, and seemed to be one of the primary antagonists. Esther commented that she doesn't remember the dwarves to be so tall. And macho. Like Thorin Oakenshield for example. He looks like a dwarf popstar. And of course I am teased with the actual look of Smaug the Golden. I would have to wait for another year (or another) for that.
All in all, this first of the trilogy looks promising and well, Esther and I simply have to wait for another year. In the meantime, I think I will look up for that well thumbed The Hobbit book for a refresh course on the actual storyline.

Winter Solstice 2012.

Its thong yuen time again. Stuff meself full with glutinous balls...

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Velvet Underground & Nico 45th Anniversary (Super Deluxe Version).

In the history of rock & roll, the only artists to rival the influence of the Velvet Underground are the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. On The Velvet Underground and Nico, the group - Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker, with German model Nico singing on three tracks - essentially invented underground rock. Establishing himself as one of rock's greatest songwriters, Reed portrays the lives of junkies ("Heroin" and "I'm Waiting for the Man"), masochists ("Venus in Furs") and desperately lonely scene makers ("All Tomorrow's Parties") in songs that seethe with subversive energy. The Velvets' revolutionary sound - now so routinely imitated that its originality is nearly impossible to convey - emerges from the war between Reed's knowledge of pop song craft and Cale's avant-garde training.
- The Rolling Stones magazine 200 definitive list of the essential rock CDs.
This is the 45th anniversary super deluxe edition of the 1967 debut album by the New York City's highly influential, ground-breaking band. It consists of six CDs - the original in stereo remastered with alternate takes, the original in mono remastered with alternate takes, Nico's Chelsea Girl, the Scepter Studio sessions and few rehearsal outtakes from The Factory and finally, two very early live recordings from Valleydale Ballroom, Columbus, Ohio in 1966. Packaged as a coffee table book, it contains an insightful accounts of how this debut album (and the band) came to be, intertwined with burgeoning Pop Art movement, multimedia experiments and the sub-culture of NYC sleazy, drug-fuelled underbelly, all held together by a manager who is more popular than the band, Andy Warhol who designed the by-now instantly recognisable "peel slowly and see" banana album cover, how and why it was doomed to fail from the very beginning, leading to the band perpetual lack of recognition, which would eventually, four albums down the road, if we were to take out the last controversial one, lead to the band's collapse, unaware of the redemption that history would provide, as Brian Eno in a 1982 interview once put it "everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band". My personal take is this - either you love it or hate it. Look wise, the Velvet Underground is the ancestor of those skinny jeans, shade covered eyes, floppy haired, dressed in black/vintage clothing "Oh, I don't care" hipsters. Honestly, when I first saw The Strokes, the first thing which came to my mind was, "Hhmm, looks like Lou and the Gang". The droning, off-kilter sounds, violent clashes of the violin with jangling guitar, unconventional drumming and bass, and more importantly, perhaps the first band whose lyrics, ironically drawn/inspired by the happenings around The Factory written by their gifted singer/guitarist, Lou Reed, dealt with such frankness on decadent subjects of sexuality, drugs etc. which are considered taboo for its time. I remembered a line from Q Magazine list of albums which change the world, in their humorous way, saying something along the line, "Gears are something which the band lugs around. After the Velvet Underground debut, gears are something which you inject into your arms."  

Monday, 17 December 2012

Fat Gecko Blog Part 2.

Transmission begins once more. Part one completed. Due to various commitments, probably would not blog as often...