Lex Petros: June 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen...

was a far cry from being "the biggest movie event of the year" as our mainstream media describes it to be.
Warning! May contain spoilers
As someone commented, "Transformers 2 can only offer more action and perhaps not quite the level of stupidity (if you apply geography)".

Some my sentiments about the movie:-

1. Over dose of action. Movie was too long. The battles were excessive and bordering a Tamil movie fight scene. Just goes on and on and on. Just not the same when you are captivated by the moments in a movie like how Spielberg did it in Saving Private Ryan; the skirmishes were long-drawn but with every passing moment, you'd get absorbed into the characters and the event. Plus, if you don't have 200hz processing on your HD Tv, to watch the movie on DVD, everything will seem like a blur! The action is just way too fast to keep up with.

2. Use of fictitious acronyms (NEST for example, an elite task force comprising of US special forces and Autobots with a sole-purpose of Decepticon eradication and SASF) with no further elaboration, which could be more advantageous to storytelling. Mention was made of President Obama, but not a peep after that. The commander-in-chief might as well be hiding in his bunker.

3. "Untimely death" of Optimus Prime scene had no impact. I wasn't closed to being moved than I was when Optimus Prime died in the Transformers Movie animation way back in the 1980s. Now that was an epic battle between the glorious Autobot leader and the insidious Megatron. Nothing will ever replace a decisive one-on-one battle, where one will fall and one shall stand. Being sicked on by several Decepticons and being stabbed in the back isn't exactly a dignified way to go. And why is it not surprising to see his "miraculous resurrection"? What was the point of his death?
4. Untied loose ends. What happened to Wheelie? (the tiny Decepticon who tried humping Mikhaela's leg). The remains of The Fallen? What did they do with it? The fate of the Arcee triplets? (who were shot up real bad in the dessert fight scene). What happens to Agent Simmons? He was instrumental in the destruction of Devastator. Does he get commissioned with the SASF? This is what happens if the movie is dragged too long: the loose ends are not tied up.
5. Foursome-Heroes. I think the only thing I really enjoyed was the camaraderie of Sam (Shia LeBouf), Mikhaela (Megan Fox), Leo (Ramon Rodriques) and Agent Simmons (he appeared as an Sector 7 agent) (John Turturro). The latter two provided great comic relief, a needed distraction from the onslaught of metal-on-metal scenes!! Somewhat a mismatched foursome who finds themselves flung into a transformers civil war and were compelled to rise beyond their contented, urban and self-indulgent lives to be the heroes which they turned out to be in the end.

I'd give this flick a 5.5/ 10.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson: Do You Remember The Time...

Michael Jackson (1958 - 2009)

News of the King of Pop's demised came to me on Friday morning. His untimely death would mark one of the saddest day in entertainment history.

Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, Rock and Soul had passed on and even in the light of recent legal entanglements and scandalous allegations, there can be no doubt the man's music has touched our lives in one way or another.

I grew up watching Jackson. I still remember watching terrestial TV in the 80s and almost without fail be glued to the idiot box whenever "Billy Jean", "Bad", "Man in the Mirror" aired. My classmates and I would almost certainly played the "Bad" album during our year end class parties. The Malay girls in my class would nearly be in trance every time we played "Man in the Mirror". Watching the superstars wanna be perform was always fun and left the rest of us in stitches. The man brought us the moonwalk and crotch-grabbing. What else could a bunch of 11 year olds thought of doing for fun.

One thing's for sure. No other entertainer on this planet would be able to have such astounding impact he had on generations of pop aficionados.

It's sad that his life started to spiral into an abyss of betrayal, media bias and financial crisis. Still, the legend was after all, human and like any other human would stand trial before the public court of opinion. Now he no longer has to tolerate mankind's prejudice and pride for he is in a far, far better place that I would go to than I have ever known.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hallmark Star Trek Ornaments I got in 2008

USS Enterprise NCC 1701 A.
Constitution class starship.

About 4" in length. Comes in a neat box and... lights up!
One push of a tiny button on the ventral side and wala!

Light up warp drive (photonic spill vents), EM field sensor assembly
(the two small blue lights at the top of the nacelles)
deflector dish (top pic) and impulse engines (2nd pic)...
Main bride (which also lights up)
Then there's the USS Reliant NCC 1864, Miranda class starship.
About 3 1/2" in length.
Made famous by the epic battle between Kirk and Khan in ST II: Wrath of Khan
Smooth hull plating. Nice markings too.
Slight improvement over the Enterprise's hull markings
Light up impulse engines, photon control assembly and
warp drive
(photonic spill vents) and...
...lower impulse power core.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Diving Tioman 2009 (Part 2)

Dive #2. Malang Rock.
Hawkman makes an entry.
Almost got swept away by his wake...
Again, Richard showing off his bubble rings. I bet he's been having one two many Cubans
'Squashed' feather star
Red algae?
(Asther, help me out here)
Scorpion fish...
I think... and it walks!!

This fella is common bout these here parts.
Over here, we call em'
peppermint nudis
This puffer fish needed Hawkman's power of persuasion to show.
The fella was playing hide-and -seek with us. Guess who lost? *grin*
One of the moments I usually look forward to at Kg.
Salang is having a good ol' seafood dinner at the Salang Dreams Restaurant. Fresh seafood ready to order and pre-order before dinner time. Squid, prawns and crabs to grill and I recommend roast chicken, served with a hot side of potato wedges and assorted vegetables
After dinner, we discussed taking the earliest boat out so that
we could go
gallivanting in Johor or Malacca for an eating road trip
on route to KL.

Next morning...early...waiting *yawn* Even the fishes swimming below the pier weren't awake. We tried feeding em' stuff...maybe they don't like peanut butter biscuits

Stopped by the famous Kluang Train Station Rail Coffee shop for a cuppa piping hot coffee and toast with kaya and butter. Simple pleasures of life...

"Melts in your bread, not in your hands"
I took a stroll to the platform after my breakfast. Surreal!
A step back in time, if feels.
The place looks like it hasn't changed much over the last century
The thought had crossed my mind to ride a train back to KL...

Next stop...Hock Chiew Restaurant (in a little town called Yong Peng, Johor)
just under an hour from the coffee joint. Serves Hakka food

We had some red-wine chicken (not derived from Merlot)
hakka noodles...some other stuff which I can't seem to recall
and to wash down the food
dragon fruit juice with a tinge of pineapple extract
The passengers tucked-in nicely for the ride home...

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Diving Tioman 2009 (Part 1)

It's really hard to imagine that a self-professed underwater-breathing addict like me don't get out to dive much. Last dive recorded was in May 2008. So, when the opportunity came this year, I decided to take it! Francis had organized a dive to Tioman, although he decided to go to Pulau Perhentian. So, Yee Boon and I took over the organization and decided to pull our colleagues too! Izalia (boss' pupil), Lan Fang, Juk Chee and Christine.

The events of June 12th, Friday nite and June 13th, Saturday...

It's important to have a ride-in movie on the way to Mersing, so says Yee Boon. Benefits of having a DVD player in his wife's Toyota Harrier
(and by the way, I drove to and fro...enjoyed every moment of it...very nice ride)

We reached Mersing in the nick of time and got our tickets at the jetty. Ferry leaves at 2.00am!
You can see half of us bearly able to keep our eyes open.
We reached Kg. Salang (the north most part of Tioman Island) at about 4.30am. Thanks to Raja Raziz (dive instructor and my friend), our rooms were all waiting for us

Breakfast. The most important meal of the day (of course, Yee Boon had to have 2 rounds)

And after breakfast, they had to get a signal on their phones. Only a specific spot in front of Salang Beach Restaurant had any signal. Guys and girls who can't live without their cell phones

First order of things, shore dive! Good way to warm up.
The return of 'Hawkman' aka Tan Yee Boon and his trusty side-kick.
We set out to look for the Salang wreck, ended up getting lost and had to be contended with the house reef.
I found out later I decended along the wrong buoy marker.

The amazing 'Hawkman'.
Strengths: experienced in underwater combat and a formidable grenadier.
Weaknesses: Ocassional difficulty in equalizing due to small nose and flat face.

Hawksbill turtle.
Distant relative of Hawkman.

Hawkman just cannot help leaving a wake of destruction.
See the poor ant.
Must have been a victim of reckless wetsuit handling and being under all that
bulk must have been very painful last moments

Anemonae fish. Nemo's relation.

'Bumphead' Parrot fish.

Izalia, Christine and Lan Fang donning snorkelling gear for this year's swimsuit
edition of "K&P Chronicles"

Hawkman and the girls trying to bury me.

After lunch, we took to MV Diveasia 3 for a dive detail at" Seafan Garden" and "Malang Rock" at Pulau Tulai
just a stone throw from Tioman
(from left: me, Izalia, Lan Fang, Christine and Juk Chee)

Very important pre-dive chatter.

Suit up and ready to go!

Cuttlefish. Juvenile one.
Didn't even flinch until Hawkman came along. Nice!

Trust Hawkman to find a friend under 70 feet of water!

These lifeforms resemble alitter of puppies crying out for mother's milk

Understand now why they call this dive site "Seafan Garden"?

A cross between a sea cucumber and a hibiscus flower *joke
Soft corals resembling a bunch of kiwifruit!

Cleverly-disguised Stone fish.
Try spotting its eyes. Can you tell that I could be lying and it's really a rock? He he.

Ben, our divemaster guide and ...

Richard, another divemaster who tagged along. He's speciality: making bubble rings.

End of dive # 2....

and straight on to Malang Rock to get some surface time.
So, the next best thing to do is to go for a dip!

Izalia and Christine snorkelling at Malang Rock.

Hawkman and his two mermaids.

Part 2 tomorrow: Dive #3, dinner at Salang Dreams Restaurant and our journey back to KL!

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