Thursday, May 31

Book: Ender’s Game

This is my first sci-fi book this year. Though I don’t think I did read any sci-fi last year or the year before that. This was recommended by one of my friends, and to my delight, it was a fantastic book.

Ender’s Game follows the story of Andrew ‘Ender’ Wiggins, a six year old boy who lives sometime in the future. Earth has gone through two battles with buggers, or insect-looking aliens, and is getting ready for the next invasion. We are introduced to Ender on the day when he has his monitor removed. The monitor, well…. it monitors his actions and behaviour and transmits this to the IF or the International Fleet, the organisation responsible for recruiting commanders for their starships to fight against the buggers.

Being a Third in a United States that only allows two children per family, Ender is always the object of scorn and ridicule, more so now that his monitor has been removed and no one is there to ‘protect’ him. Kids at school bully him and hate him for being the extremely intelligent child that he is. On the day his monitor is removed, Ender gets into a big fight and injures one of the kids badly.

A day after the fight at school, Ender receives a visit from the IF, who take him away to Battle School to begin training for military command. The Battle School is a space station, thus Ender has to leave his family behind. He doesn’t mind it much, as he dislikes his brother Peter, who has such contempt for Ender that he often threatens to kill Ender. However Ender will miss his sister Valentine, as she is the only one that he truly loves and cares for.

At Battle School we follow Ender through his strife and the many obstacles that stand in his way. He goes through a very tough time, even for a six-year-old genius. He is manipulated and pushed to the limit by his teachers. He is shunned and alienated by the other kids. It is here that I find the book most interesting. The tactical strategies of battle that Ender comes up with, the leadership qualities and how he commands respect, the unorthodox ways of teaching and leading his army: these are the things that make the novel great in my opinion.

I love Ender and I feel for him. I understand how harsh and challenging it can be when you’re different. Ender’s intellect, conduct, and his way of thinking and treating others are the things that make me love him so much. I just can’t explain how fantastic and creative and imaginative this novel is. I just love it to bits….

The novel won two awards for Orson Scott Card: the Nebula Award for best novel in 1985, and the Hugo Award for best novel in 1986. The Nebula and the Hugo are the two notable awards in science fiction. Hurray for Orson Scott Card!

Ender’s Game is highly recommended. And just another bit of info, the movie (based on the novel and its parallel novel, Ender’s Shadow) is currently under production. No cast list yet, but you can bet that I will wait to see it.

Wednesday, May 30

Oh wouldn't it be lover-ly?

This entry is long overdue….

My birthday present from hubby were tickets to go watch the musical My Fair Lady, which was staged here in Kuala Lumpur form the 15th to the 20th of May. Hubby and I together with sis-in-law and her husband went to watch the 3pm show on Saturday the 19th at the Plenary Hall in KL Convention Centre. It was my first time watching a presentation in KLCC so I was really looking forward to being there.




I thoroughly enjoyed myself that day. The performance was good. I loved the singing and dancing and camaraderie between the actors. I thought it was splendid!

During the show however, kids were restless. Yup, kids. They allowed kids in there. I mean little kids. There should be some kind of regulation that says no kids below 6 or something like that. So that was a distraction.

And the difference between KLCC and Istana Budaya were the lax rules. In Istana Budaya, as is practised elsewhere where musicals and plays are concerned, once the doors are closed, they remain closed until intermission. If you were late, that’s too bad. You’d have to wait till intermission to get in. Not here though, people kept going in and out and that too was a distraction. Not good!

Maybe on their part they were trying to make theatre more ‘audience friendly’ so that it would appeal to all. But what good are first class facilities if you can’t have first class attitudes?

Wednesday, May 23

Much ado about 113.4 grams

Today I shall show you how I eat my Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Yes, it’s a slow dull day….

First, unwrap your burger and place it in the middle of the wrapper. Put the top bun half aside. See all the chopped onions and gooey cheese? Yumm….

Next, take your fries and arrange them in a vertical fashion. Horizontal won’t work, because if done horizontally, the fries will fall apart when you bite into your burger. No chilli sauce. Sacrilegious! Ok, if you must… fine… add chilli sauce. Just so you know, ketchup’s way better…. but I don’t add anything to this burger.


Now fold the top half of the wrapper over your burger like so, and fold the bottom half also to form a little pocket.


Ta-raa! Now you can eat without messing up…. Enjoy!


When hubby and I were dating, I found that he also ate like this. Soulmates! Hahaha....

Friday, May 18

Birthday weekend

I celebrated my birthday last Saturday. So it was a day for me, me and more me. Hubby and I took almost the whole day for our outing.

First we had to have our breakfast so we went to our favourite hangout. Where else but at the golden arches. Yep we went to McD’s. We both had the hotcakes, and were so stuffed we couldn’t move after that. But it was just the beginning of our outing so we dragged out butts off and went to Kota Damansara to check on the progress of our future home. It was coming along nicely. Hubby and I stopped at the clubhouse and looked at the area around surrounding the pool. What fun, can’t wait to move there!

After that we went to the Curve, and first stop was Borders. I promised myself not to buy anything, even though it was my birthday and I deserved at least that much of a treat. But no, we just spent time walking between the aisles. Well, I spent my time browsing the aisles, while hubby was seated comfortably with his book. I was satisfied with my ‘rounds’, as I had spent more time there than usual. We stayed at the bookstore for somewhat close to two hours. It was such great fun! Ok, for those of you who don’t know me, you must be thinking, “What a loser. What great fun is there is spending hours in a bookstore?” If you must know my life is filled with books. And one of my favourite hangouts is the bookstore. And one of my favourite smells is the smell of new books as soon as we enter the bookstore. Aaaaahhhhh…… relaxing……

Rumbling tummies signal the time for lunch. Off we marched across the street to Ikano to Fasta Pasta. Hubby ordered the pappardelle while I had the linguine. And we shared a Caesar’s salad. I guess it must have been for sharing as the portion was huge. But I must say that it was one of the best Caesar’s I’ve tasted thus far. It even outshone my linguine! Yumm!

Once in Ikano, we decided to stop by the Crocs store to take a look at the crocs sandals. Such ugly little things mind you. Well, they looked ugly in the beginning. And to our surprise, the store was jam packed with families, all looking for crocs for their kids. Whoa! We had earlier promised to try them on the next time we saw them on sale, because we wanted to know if they were really comfortable as claimed. Since they looked freaking ugly and yet many people own them they must be comfortable right? Right. And they’re so light. I mean when I read lightweight, I could imagine it being somewhat light. But to my surprise it was sooo light. Really really light, if you can imagine that. And the jibbitz! Wow so many and so cute…. By the way, jibbitz are the d├ęcor thingies you dress up your crocs with…. Ok I’d better stop, lest I sound like an ad. Oh one last thing, the crocs that look like thongs and ballet slippers don’t look too bad. Ok I’m done with crocs.

After this we went to Ikea. We went round the whole store, so you can imagine how tired I was after that. We went to look for a wedding gift too for a friend. After this I was just too tired to walk some more. We wanted to stop by Starbucks for a drink but it was so full, so we ditched that idea. We stopped at a McD’s drive thru on the way back to get some iced tea to quench our thirst.

What a truly exciting day it was. And I almost forgot. Hubby presented me with my birthday present while we were at Fasta Pasta with such style and gusto. Haha, he simply set it on the table after we finished our meal. It was tickets to watch My Fair Lady tomorrow at the KL Convention Centre! Oooooh, the best gift I’ve ever received! So I’m off to see the musical tomorrow. What fun!

Someone's 'ead restin' on my knee,
Warm an' tender as 'e can be.
'ho takes good care of me,
Aow, wouldn't it be loverly?
Loverly, loverly, loverly, loverly….

Book: Stardust

Stardust is the second Neil Gaiman novel I’ve read this year, the first being Neverwhere.

Stardust tells the story of Tristran Thorn, who dwells in the village of Wall. The village of Wall is next to a meadow where every nine years folks from all over congregate for a fair, including folks from Faerie, a place beyond the meadows. Stardust begins with a story of Tristran’s father and follows him to the point where Tristran was born. We understand from the very start that Tristran is special, and different from the others at Wall.

The story then takes flight when Tristran, a young man now, makes a somewhat rash promise of bringing back a fallen star for the most beautiful girl in Wall, Victoria Forrester. In return Victoria must give him whatever he so desires. And thus we follow Tristran on his quest to find the fallen star, journeying through Faerie and meeting its many colourful folk, some with malicious desires of their own.

This fantasy romance (if I may call it such) is a very interesting story. It reads like a fairy tale, but it is more ‘evil’ and probably more ‘adult’ than the fairy tales that we’ve grown up with. I enjoyed it immensely and was somewhat sad to finish the book. A good read indeed.

Thursday, May 10

Movie: Spiderman-3

After the exciting first and second movie, we are given a third instalment of the boy-next-door superhero Spiderman. We see Peter Parker as finally being able to juggle his everyday life with girlfriend Mary Jane and his superhero life.

With three villains in this movie (new Goblin, Sandman, and Venom) I thought this was going to be really exciting. Well, suffice to say that I was a wee bit disappointed. There was so much going on, drama and sub-stories and I was a little overwhelmed. Well, the director was probably trying to tell his tale, and trying to answer questions. Ok I got that. But where’s the magic that was in the first two movies?

I felt like the movie took so much time dawdling here and there. The fight sequence should be fantastic too right, considering Spidey has three nemeses? Wrong. I felt like there was no oomph to the scenes, and the only duel I enjoyed was between Spidey and Harry, which was the first duel scene. After that it was just too busy with stuff going on everywhere.

Maybe it was sitting in the second row that made me not enjoy the movie so much, so it’s not fair for me to be so harsh. I did enjoy it. Well, not really. My exact words were, ‘It was ok’.

So if you want to watch an ok movie, go ahead. After all it is Spiderman. Perhaps you’ll get better seats and who knows? You’d find it more enjoyable than I did.

A prelude to spidey

Last Wednesday I went to catch Spiderman 3 at the cinemas. It being a public holiday and Spiderman 3 a newly released movie, I couldn’t book tickets online. Well, coz I was about a week late. Well, I forgot that the cinema accepted advanced booking and had advanced ticket sales as well.

We got to GSC in Mid Valley Megamall at about 9.20 a.m. and already a queue was forming. Hubby joined the queue and told me to go get breakfast from McD’s and to wait for him there. So I bought us breakfast and chose to sit at the counter with the stools, underneath the huge double arches of McDonald’s. So I sat and I waited and I ate and I waited. The queue grew longer and longer and snaked its way through all the way to McD’s, and it wasn’t even ten yet. The cinema counters opened at ten, but by 9.45 the queue had almost reached in front of where I was sitting.

When the counters opened, they had to make special announcements stating which counters would sell only Spidey tickets, and which shows were already sold out. Even though they mentioned that the first show had been sold out, the crowd didn’t thin out. Instead it grew even longer! It went all the way past the double arches where I was sitting and grew all the way to the entrance to the Gold Class! Look at these photos….

This was taken before 10 a.m.


This was taken at about 10.15 am.


Hmmm, Malaysians really love their movies, don’t they?

So how was Spidey you ask?

Well that’s another entry altogether….

Monday, May 7

Movie: TMNT

This is the third and last of my 'opinions' on the three movies I watched recently. Well, I watched Spiderman 3 too, but that will have to wait....

TMNT

When I was a kid, my brother and I used to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on TV. They were the coolest talking animal superheroes. And they coloured our vocabulary with words such as ‘cowabunga’ and ‘dude’. So I was really excited at having these turtles being made into an animated movie this year.

I watched the movie some weeks ago, and I was impressed. Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo and Michelangelo reunite once again to fight off some evil monsters who appear every several thousand years or so. I found the story quite enjoyable to tell you the truth. At first I was quite disappointed to see the animation of the human characters. They were kinda lame, like your average cartoon. But then the turtles came and the monsters came. And they were cool. (See…. I sound like a kid now). The turtles were really awesome with their CGI and after a while, I sort of forgot they were all CGI. Yes they were that credible.

I really liked the movie and I think most of the adults at the cinema did too. The kids, well, the kids were squirming in their seats after a while, so I guess it wasn’t much fun for them as it was for us thirty somethings.

I would recommend it to all, especially to all the 80s kids.