Friday, December 28, 2007

Looking Back

I looked at my father lying sleeping soundly and alone in his bed in his room looking very old and frail. His right leg twitches every now and then. I looked round the room and I could remember a time when as a toddler I had shared this room with my parents. That was such a long long time ago. I was about 3 or 4 years old then. I would be tucked in between my parents. I would play with the blanket and climb the pillows or watch my mother read some Chinese variety magazines. My father usually reads 'Newsweek' or 'Time'.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Bought Sony Bravia 32" LCD TV

Last Saturday 8th December (2 days ago), I bought my first HDTV, the SONY Bravia 32" S Series KLVS32A10. As was expected it didn't come cheap. Well, no LCD HDTVs are cheap at the moment. It cost me RM2,950 and comes with a 3 year warranty and is insured against theft, and fire damage.

There was this other series, the U Series I'm aware of which is about RM200 cheaper (around RM2,799) but has no warranty as its contraband good. Supposedly made in Singapore and sold in Malaysia without excise duty. For an extra RM200, I would rather go for the legitimate one with the warranty and insurance. It was a no brainer.

Disappointing. Firstly, the unit offers no stereo system. The sound lacks bass even after have maxed it. There are many analog tvs out there that sound way better than this. The shop dealer lied when he said it has stereo. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect is the very poor quality image it receives and displays from the local Pay TV station, Astro. The dealer said the unit is Astro enhanced, my foot. I was watching an English Premiere League match (Manchester United vs Derby) that same night and during the whole time I could not make out the faces on the players. It was worse than watching a badly dubbed VCD. I was even thinking of switching back to my old reliable analog Sony WEGA TV. On the up side, it provided a really exhilarating theatre experience watching Dvds in the comforts of my own home and I really enjoyed that. That to me alone is definitely worth half the price of the TV.

After 2 days, I came to the sad conclusion that LCD HDTVs are the most hyped TVs ever.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

My First Film Guides

I bought my very first movie guides in the early 1990's. I bought 5 such books in one year and that was possible financially as they were like 70-80% off the original retail price ! Two of them I remember as Halliwell Film Guide and TimeOut Film Guide. The other three books, I can't remember their titles now, were just as good but contained far less entries. They made good reading and came in handy every time I wanted to read about a film that I've just watched. However, the reading materials that really opened my eyes to the vast world of cinema were really movie magazines and journals. I singled out 'Sight & Sound' as one of the materials which made me become aware that there is another movie universe out there which is far more exciting and unique and they ultimately introduced to me to the work of art house directors like David Lynch etc. and the more obscured foreign directors like Satyajit Ray etc. Once I was in, there was no possibility of turning back even I if had wanted to.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

There was this promotion at the local supermarket today giving away free lunch sets of curry rice sponsored by Maggi. I actually believed it even though I'm well aware of the saying "no such thing as a free lunch" ! When I asked for the free curry rice, the promoter promptly pointed to the fine print of the promo poster. And yes in very fine print and lost among all the colors and big words there it was the fine print stating that you have to buy over RM10 of Maggi products to be entitled to the free curry rice. I was pretty embarrassed actually and left the place quickly. Oh dear.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bought Christmas Tree

Bought a Christmas tree tonight. Not a big tree but a small one about 5 feet tall. The tree alone itself is cheap at only RM25. The deco cost much much more. I spent altogether RM60 on the deco. The lights is RM36. So the total cost works out to be around RM110.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Amazon Associates Login Problem Solved

The login problem I had with my Amazon Associates account was not due to me being thrown out of their associates program or my account been hacked by someone as earlier feared. Thank God ! Its actually due to my associates account and customer account having the same e-mail address and password. The Amazon system got confused by that. Below is a snippet of the reply I got from the Amazon support:

"... You have two Amazon accounts associated with your email address, one associates account and one retail account.

Please ensure that you use a different password for each account you hold with If you try to use the same password for more than one account you will receive an error message.

We hope that we have been of assistance in your enquiry. Thank you for participating in the Associates Programme..."

Thank God again it was just that and nothing more. And I must say I'm impressed with their prompt response. Less than half a day it took them to reply. Sure shortened my anxious wait.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Radiohead's "Faust Arp"

I listened to Radiohead's "Faust Arp" last Friday night (23rd November) after a recommendation by a buddy. He said it's quite Beatle-esque and he was right ! Probably reminiscent of Beatles work circa 1968. After the first few lines of the song, the Beatles track 'Julia' from the 'White Album' comes to mind. How about you? Have you heard it and did it remind you of any particular Beatle song?

Can't Log On To My Amazon Associates Account

Amazon won't let me in to my associates account this morning !

Its system don't even have a record of me as an associate. When I tried to log on, I got this message:

"The e-mail address and password you are using are not connected to an Associates account. If your Associates e-mail address or password is different from the one used with your customer account, please log in here. If you still have problems logging in, please contact us." (See image below):

Attempted to log on again a few minutes ago but still the same.
Now that is not good as I have several hundreds of pounds payable to me by Amazon. I have emailed them about the problem but have not got a reply yet. I just hope they cleared this matter up the soonest possible. I don't think I have been kicked out of their associates program as I don't believe I have breached their TOS. I might have been hacked too but I do not know. Well, it's puzzling as well as plain worrying. Amazon has been a good source of extra income for me this last few months and it would be a great loss if I have been dumped. I wonder if anyone else has been locked out of their account.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Movies I Used To Watch Repeatedly

I think there are periods in anyone's life where one would love a film so much that he/she would return to it again and again. For instance, in the mid-80s, I adore the film 'Back To The Future' so much that I would watch it constantly. In the early 90's, it was 'New York Stories' (the Martin Scorsese segment), 'After Hours', 'Taxi Driver', 'Blue Velvet' and 'The Godfather' where I finally obtained the video. These are the films that I watched repeatedly in the early 90's. In the mid 90s it was 'Chungking Express', 'Fallen Angels', '2001:Space Odyssey' and in the late 90's, 'The Days of Being Wild'. Is there such a phase in your life and what were the films?

For your info, I have seen Godfather way before that but as a little kid and could not recall much about it. However I do recall watching it with my family at the local cinema, Miramar, and I was simply terrifed of the opening scene as its dark and menacing that I sat it out in the washroom. It was only when the cinema was awash with the bright sunlight of the wedding scene and the loud festive music that I was brave enough to come out and follow my dad back to my seat.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Lethal 'White Rabbit' Candy

Shocking and sad as well. I've just learned that the 'White Rabbit' candy was reported to allegedly contain formalin, or formaldehyde, a disinfectant toxic chemical linked to cancer. 'White Rabbit' is actually one of my favorite candies for years. I can still remember, when as a kid, was amazed at how the inside wrapper dissolves when in contact with one's lips. Used to regard the effect as magic. After all the fond memories I had with it, I would hate to remember it this way.

This is the report:
Lethal "White Rabbit" Candy In Stores
By Amin Hosni

Bandar Seri Begawan - A popular candy called "White Rabbit"™ readily available in various stores in Brunei has come under close scrutiny by members of the public after it was reported to allegedly contain formalin, or formaldehyde, a disinfectant toxic chemical linked to cancer.The international wire Associated Press reported on Thursday that the Philippine authorities pulled White Rabbit off the shelves following tests on some Chinese made products. They also ordered the withdrawal of several candy and cookie brands, which were found to he tainted with an embalming chemical.

"Our children are eating these candies especially more during the festive season such as Hari Raya AidilFitri celebrations, while others eat it everyday," said a concerned parent through an e-mail alien reading a report published in the Borneo Bulletin yesterday. According to the AP report, some other Chinese made candies and cookies were tested positive for formaldehyde, a disinfectant linked to cancer in humans. Members of the public are concerned as this candy is sold here. Some are asking whether the relevant agencies are taking any action on it or monitoring the situation.

"I do not want my children eating hazardous food products," said a concerned parent to the Borneo Bulletin yesterday. Formaldehyde is used in resin production. It is well known as a preservative and embalming fluid, and is classified as a reasonably anticipated human carcinogen. The Philippines Bureau of Food and Drugs is said to be continuing to test other products for the chemicals from the same brand of candy.

Brunei's Ministry of Health is yet to respond to queries made by the Bulletin yesterday.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Here is the link to another news report:

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bought 'The Departed' Dvd

I recently bought the 2 Disc Special Edition Dvd of this year's best picture winner, the Departed (see pic). It costs me RM30 making it the most expensive dvd I've purchased so far this year.
I wish I could say I have seen the whole 2 1/2 hour monster epic, but no. Reason is the dvd hit a serious technical glitch somewhere into the 1 hr 20 min mark. It seems to play fine on the other newer LG model though.

But I have seen enough to say its a gripping movie. It's greatly enhanced by the excellent all round performances. I also noticed Scorcese's trademark camera movement, the swirling camera, here and there. Most notably visible in the briefing sequence.

Be warned beforehand though this film is definitely not to everyone's taste. Why? Well, there's more dialogue than there is action. Unless you don't mind that, you will find yourself regularly skipping chapters while watching it. It is not an action movie, nor is it a blockbuster. Simply put, it is a film. Its strictly for film buffs and fans of Martin Scorsese.
I can't wait to finish the film and give you the final verdict.