Month: July 2008

Singapore Garden Festival

.flickr-photo { border: solid 2px #000000; }.flickr-yourcomment { }.flickr-frame { text-align: left; padding: 3px; }.flickr-caption { font-size: 0.8em; margin-top: 0px; } Singapore Garden Festival, originally uploaded by sangsara. I went with my mom and girlfriend on some complimentary tickets, and on the whole can’t say I’m too sorry I spent a Saturday afternoon looking at indoor “fantasy gardens”, even if they were largely useless vanity projects for rich landscaping companies. Some, like the one above, made for good photos.

Bali

.flickr-photo { border: solid 2px #000000; }.flickr-yourcomment { }.flickr-frame { text-align: left; padding: 3px; }.flickr-caption { font-size: 0.8em; margin-top: 0px; } Altar, originally uploaded by sangsara. Spent a few days in Bali last week, and it was pretty awesome. I was never a fan of short, un-epic vacations before this, but now I can see myself squirreling some money away for a few more of these getaways. Seminyak was a far more pleasant and quieter place than the popular Kuta, with its gaudy local economy built around serving foreign surfers. Every meal was pretty great, and almost always half the price of their equivalents in Singapore. I daresay I had the single best pasta dish of my life served in a Belgian bar/restaurant with six fresh prawns for just SGD$12. Anyway this altar here was in a street corner restaurant where we stopped for lunch after 3 hours of walking in the heat after coming off a night without sleeping on a really uncomfortable flight on Indonesia’s Lion Air.

Film Notes: Get Smart (2008)

It’s been settling for two days now, and I think Get Smart was better than Wanted and You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, but worse than Kung Fu Panda. I liked some of the references to the old series, and I always like looking at Anne Hathaway too, but an unnecessary remake movie’s gotta have more to offer than that! I doubt many people are on the fence about seeing this anyway, so I won’t go into any details. It’s an alright 2 hour movie to see in the middle of a hot afternoon, but don’t make it the high point of your night out. I laughed a couple of times, so I’d say it was worth 3/5 stars. For the record, Wanted got 2, Zohan got 2.5 (mostly for its opening minutes), and Kung Fu Panda got 3.5.

Film Notes: Kung Fu Panda (2008)

I saw this last night and was rather disappointed with the story. This movie has gotten something like 88% at RottenTomatoes.com, which is in a region previously reserved for Studio Ghibli and Pixar movies (or Disney, if you’re old enough to remember a time when they didn’t suck). So naturally, I had my expectations high enough that anything short of a beautiful, sensitively made film that delivered the old “if you believe, you can do anything” message in new ways was going to feel like a waste of 10 dollars. Kung Fu Panda, sadly, is not that ‘something new’. And it is very flawed, structurally. I think they were just hoping that the animation and inherent panda cuteness would make up for the fact that the writers never managed to solve the problem of how to have an unfit panda convincingly best the world’s greatest warrior in combat, apart from using his ass/belly as a bouncy surface. As a result, the film looks like this: 2 minutes of Panda being a bad-ass (dream sequence)is followed …

A burger can only be wide and flat (or medium all around)

I just had to defend wide/flat burgers against tall/thick burgers for 30 mins. I’m finding that this is an argument I get into with too many people. For the record, it’s not about taste. I acknowledge that it is possible (but less technically likely) a tall/thick burger can be evenly cooked and taste great. My issue with them is one of design, construction, and symmetry. Real burgers need to be large, pleasurable meals (I’m not talking about those goddamned sliders or mini-burgers; when was the last time you ordered a half-pint as your first drink?) and a wide footprint on a burger encourages the eating of it to last longer, while visually implying a satisfying quantity. Width also make them stable against cutting actions, letting you slice in straight lines perpendicular to the plate. If you eat them with your hands, then it’s also less likely that bits are going to be squeezed out. One solution for my rage is to not think about them as “burgers”. Or to think of them as “Tall Burgers”. …

Test Drive Unlimited for cheap

I’ve spent some time on driving games recently, although generally I’m quite poor at them and like smashing into stuff more than anything. I’m overcoming that habit now and spending more time on PGR 3 & 4 than Burnout Revenge. Play-Asia is selling Test Drive Unlimited for just $25 SGD, which is very tempting. It’s a Massively Multiplayer racing game that models the entire Hawaiian island of Oahu, and has people from all over driving across it in real time, challenging each other to races and so on. I wonder how many people still play it though, and whether Atari might be discontinuing server support anytime soon. Still, for 25 bucks it’s hard to say no.

Film Notes: Bullitt (1968)

Since I don’t have a lot to blog about these days, I think I’m going to write short bits about movies I’ve seen, right after seeing them. Who this could possibly appeal to remains to be seen. I’ve also been feeling overloaded with work lately, and am making the effort to declare some break time on a daily basis, because otherwise my entire day is split between writing and being unable to write. There are no other states between them that I care to consider. Hopefully I’ll manage a film every day or two. Tonight I saw Bullitt on DVD (haven’t gotten to the special features yet). This was actually the first time I’ve seen Steve McQueen in a movie, ever. He’s pretty bad-ass and reminds me of Daniel Craig a little, and Robert Redford. The bad guy at the end looks like Clive Owen. They should do a remake… actually, no. It’s got plot holes, yeah, but the rest is a very well-constructed movie that I don’t think modern audiences would pay money to …