Friday, June 27, 2008


It was the first time I went sailing. I am talking about really sailing here. Sailing with the power of the wind to move the boat, without a motor to runs it. Of course I was planning to blog about it. Unfortunately, Jaclyn's camera broke down and I was unable to get the pictures to go along with the story. Well, she finally got the pictures out thanks to EJ card's reader.

When Jaclyn's granduncle insisted to take her sailing, Jaclyn turned to her group of friends for companionship. Fortunately for me, she didn't forget about me. Unfortunately for her, I was the only one interested. It was a Sunday morning after all. Noone is willing to wake up early for anything on a Sunday morning.

It was the 9th of March 2008, a day after Duncan's birthday (as well as Samyvellu's) and one day after the national general election. Many people have chose to stay home that fateful day out of paranoia of possible post-election riot. Way I see it though, there is no place safer that day than in the middle of the sea.
Me at the Sailing Club in Port Klang.

This is Jaclyn. Notice how I shifted the angle a little to minimise the glare. Brilliant photography? Not really cos I should have just turn on the flash. LOL.

Unfortunately, her granduncle (GU) was away to prepare the boat so there wasn't anyone there to hold the camera for us. He also managed to contacted another of his friend to joined us.

GU was briefing us on the trip even before we arrive. At all times, we must ensure we have one hand on the boat. Each of us must remain in our position no matter what. We are not to try anythingwe have not been taught or briefed on before. Erm.. actually, I can't remember all of them now.

The mast of our boat and also my favourite photo of the day.
This shows our bearing of the direction the boat is moving.
The helm, or the big steering wheel. Learning some basics before the journey begins.
Einstein's Theory of Relativity - Am I tall or is GU short?
Aye aye Captain! All ready to set out.

We started out by engine but by the time we reached windy water, it was turned off with only the power of wind to bring the boat forward. We were really sailing. For lack of an accurate term, I was helping with setting up the sail and pulling those ropes as we change the direction of the sail. They are hard works but fortunately, I have the muscle for it. Too bad there wasn't any pictures of me in action. That would be so cool.

My camwhore moment on the boat.

Jaclyn definitely looked more at ease out in the sea than me.

Apparently, in non-competitive sailing, one person is actually enough to manage the boat. I really admired these two men to still have the strength in their age for such a hobby.

Contrary to popular belief, we weren't just letting the wind take us where it was blowing. With the right technique, we can even sail against the wind, and with decent speed too. Me.. I couldn't understand the dynamic of it all. I just let go when I was told to let go and pull when I was told to pull. GU was actually quite impressed with how well I took instruction and performed the required tasks. He was equally impressed with Jaclyn ability at the helm as most people are unable to steer a boat properly the first time. Most people which included me, who took the boat in circles when I tried. Paiseh!

Captain Jaclyn Sparrow with her crew.

Just posing. I couldn't steer a boat if my life depends on it.

It was a hot and sunny day but it didn't remained so for the rest of the day. When dark clouds began to gather, we turned the boat around to head for dock but we didn't make it before it rained.

It wasn't the perfect storm but it was still quite heavy. Despite the condition, we continued to leave Jaclyn at the helm since she was doing such a great job. We docked just as the rain was coming to a stop, then packed up the sails, rolled up the ropes and head for home.

I was developing a healthy sexy tan from beginning. At the end of the trip, my skin was blazing red, despite putting on the sunblock twice during the entire trip. But I don't care about the sunburn.
A first time at anything is always a memorable experience. The rain did nothing to dampen the spirit or memory, just make it more exciting. I didn't suddenly develop a passion for sailing but I definitely have a great time.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hulk Smash!!!

There was two reasons I wanted to watch the new Hulk movie. The first was because Edward Norton is Bruce Banner and I thought that casting was sheer genius. Why didn't I thought of that?

The second was the scene in the trailer where Bruce Banner actually stepped out of a flying helicopter, with the intentionof bringing out the Hulk in him through sheer extreme agitation, since he recently just managed to suppressed the Hulk.

Damn. That was taken straight out from the Ultimate version of the Hulk. In the comic, Banner had successfully suppressed the transformation into the Hulk through medical science. But when the military needed the Hulk to fight an unstopable enemy, they didn't think twice to just push Banner off the helicopter. The panic, fear and madness felt by Banner as he plummeted to the ground from so high up in the air was enough to turned him into the Hulk again just moment before he crashed with a loud thud. Brilliant. Only from the wildly creative mind of scribe Mark Millar.

Back to the movie. It opened with a quick introduction to the origin of the Hulk. In an experiment on radiation imunity went wrong, Banner became the Hulk, destroyed the lab and injured his lab partner and love interest Betty Ross. Also in the openning sequences are flashes of documents addressed to Stark Enterprise and Nick Fury from SHIELD, each making reference to famous characters in the Marvel Universe. So when the story takes us to the present, where Banner is in hiding in Brazil while looking for a cure with the help of a mysteriuos Mr Blue, I can't help but wondered if that was Dr Reed Richards aka Mr Fantastic himself from Fantastic Four. He turned out to be a Dr Samuel Stern, whom Banner must return to meet back in the States if he is to have any chance of ever suppressing the Hulk.

But even before that trip, the military already located his whereabouts and a band of highly trained soldiers, together with mercenary Emil Bronski was dispatched to capture him alive. Of course the Hulk came out and they didn't stand a chance.

By the time the Hulk and Emil meets for round two, the British mercenary has already been enhanced by the US Super Soldier programme and was already stronger and faster though not yet bigger. It was interesting seeing a soldier pitting his cunning and agility against the pure brute of the Hulk. However, his guns could not harm the Hulk and the battle ended with him broken and almost dead.

As Banner and Betty continued their run, Emil received a second dose of the Super Soldier serum to further even the odds. Earlier before that encounter, Bruce actually did looked for Betty the moment he returned to US but when he saw that she is already seeing someone else, he left her alone. After all, if you truly love someone, you let her go. If she comes back to you, she is yours. If not, it was never meant to be. Right?

Well, it was meant to be. Even after seeing Banner transformed into the Hulk, she continued to stay with him. There was even a King Kong moment where in a scene after Hulk rescued Betty, she woke up to an apparently nervous and clumsy Hulk. The giant just soften up at the mere sight of the woman he loves.

The story doesn't ends there as Banner finally met up with Dr Stern. The cure apparently worked and just as the Hulk was banished from Banner's system, the military busted in and took Banner away. Emil, disappointed to lost to the Hulk without a rematch forced Stern to use Banner's blood sample on him, turning him into the Abomination. His anatomy is a little distorted which is quite interesting. He also became bald and because he was not wearing extra large and loose pants like Banner, he loses that as well. His pants and hairs are not the only things he lost though as a full frontal view also revealed that he no longer has what is every mens' favourite piece of muscle. Ahem..

This is the scene I was waiting for. Unsure if the Hulk was truly suppressed, Banner needed a trauma at its highest level to try draw out the monster within, so he decided to throw himself out a flying helicopter. The Hulk emerged and they both clased like only Titans can. Noone was supposed to be physically stronger than the Hulk in the Marvel universe but the producer wanted to give him a real challenge. Not only is the Abomination stronger but he was also more well trained in close quarter combat as a soldier.

As an ardent movie fan who take the fight scene very seriuosly, I find it unacceptable that this version of Hulk was able to defeat the Abomination. What I would do differently if I were the director is to have them in a more primitive fist fight with the Abomination having the upper hand due to the skill he already have but with the Hulk keep coming back for more. Despite all his skill, Emil will finds that it was not enough to overwhelm the Hulk's brute strength. The Hulk would also not be the one using weapon but the Abomination will. And plenty of collateral damage from the fight.

The anatomy of the Hulk as presented in the CG was rather impressive. Take it from me that I do know abit on this subject since I draw a lot of muscle bound men. If they could retain a little resemblance of Norton to Hulk's face, that would be even better. The texture however, does not like like skin some of the times. And they move too fast. Big creatures like them could not possibly move with that kind of agility. Just look at Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong, especially the scene where he fought the 3 rexes. They are by no mean slow, but there was a certain weight in their movements that was more realistic. And that was an excellent fight scene. No need to smash cars into fists like gloves.

Other than that, I really have no other complain. The movie even managed to get abit emotional at times although I doubt anyone would actually shed a tear. There was some light humour that blended in very well like the purple pants that Betty bought for Banner. In the comic book, the Hulk is always wearing a torn purple pants. Then there is the time when Banner got his Brazilian wrong and told some rascals not to make him hungry because they won't like it when he is hungry. The movie also hinted on a possible new nemesis when we saw drops of Banner blood falling on Dr Stern's wounded forehead, causing it to swells.I didn't recognise the name but Stern must be the Leader, another archnemesis who battle the Hulk's brawn with brain. The cliffhanger near the ends however, takes the cake when we see Robert Downey Jr in a cameo as Tony Stark aka Ironman telling General Ross that they are assembling a team, obviously refering to the Avenger, which is rumoured to be an upcoming Marvel live action movie project.

I suddenly find myself wondering how an Avenger movie would be like if Peter Jackson directs it.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Petrol Price Hike - Two Ways To Look At It?

With the recent price increase on petrol, I was expecting comments aplenty on this subject. I have my two-sen worth and would have told my story that night itself if I wasn't feeling so sad then. Why was I sad? When a day comes when I can finally laugh about it, perhaps then, I will write about it.

On 4th June 2008, the government suddenly announced the price hike of petrol from RM 1.92 to RM 2.70 per litre - a whopping 40 plus percent increase. This, coming not too long after an announcement by the same government that the petrol's price is only expected to rise in August.


As was the case everytime such an increase was brought on, the people of Malaysia rushed to the nearest petrol station to "enjoy" one last bite of the old price. It must be almost six in the evening when I pulled up into a petrol station in the Seremban R&R, and I have not heard yet. I usually fill up my tank in the morning before I head for the office but on that day, I thought maybe it will not be such a bad idea to fill up there and then, considering that it hasn't been a terribly hot day. I ended up with just buying a drink as I was very thirsty. About 5 minutes after I left the station, Roy sms-ed me informing me of the price increase effective from midnight.

I just left a station and it was not packed, so I thought he must have mistaken. After all, I have my own inside source on this matter and Duncan has not informed me about it.

I made a stop in Kajang to helped Silas and Rachel buy an ear thermometer and decided to eat there too when Wendy called me, reminding me to fill up. OK.. maybe Roy hasn't mistaken, he was a bright chap right?

I sms-ed Duncan to confirm and he informed me he knew about it an hour ago. What? And he never thought to tell me? Some friend. So much for my inside source.

As I drive out from Kajang, it took me more than 20 minutes to just turned around the bend of a shop block. It was the first time I was there at such an hour so I didn't suspect a thing, thinking it must be always like that in there.

But no.. the whole delay was caused by the many vehicles lining up to enter a petrol station just around the block. For that, I was stuck for 20 minutes over a distance of a mere 300 or so metres. Though the road I travelled to go home that night was mostly wide enough not to be affected by such jam, I can see that every station is packed with a long line of vehicles waiting to go in. I estimated that it would probably take an hour for anyone before they can fill up. I thought of how I entered an almost empty petrol station and did not fill up. On top of that, I realised that I actually received an sms from one of my bosses about the increase as early as 5.17 pm but I didn't notice it. Bummer..

Duncan called me later. He too was stuck in a jam near Uptown Damansara as everyone was trying to enter the petrol station. He cursed and asked why are Malaysian like that? I brutally and honestly replied," Because Malaysian are broke."

We all know this. We need this subsidy for no other reason than we are not making enough money. As my own job stabilised these past few months, I suspected I may be making more than quite a number of my friends, if you don't count my colleagues, that is. But that amount is probably only as much as what a waiter in New York can makes, minus the stress. And of course, I also need to pay my car installment and the cars in my country is super-expensive. The economy is in shambles and anyone who try to tell you otherwise is either his/her own boss or the government. That is why we are all broke.

Let's face it. Rich people are not going to be bothered much by such increase. You won't be seeing Donald Trump inside his car waiting to have his tank filled up. You don't expect Michael Schumacher to stop driving around his fuel-thirsty Ferrari. We lined up for hour(s) to fill up so we may saved peanuts and have our heads filled with endless doses of negativity as we wait because we are not like them. We have a job and we are just over broke.

I am not rich (yet) but I do not want that kind of negativity. I drove home straight and fill up the next day. It was 29.9 litres for RM 80.85, meaning I just lost RM 23.44 just by paying the new price. Way I figured it, if I thought my one hour is worth a mere twenty-plus riggit, I don't have the vision for greater thing in live. And a man without vision shall perishs.

How can we look at this? We can continue to complain about the rising the cost of living or we can do something about it to ensure that we are above being affected by these costs.

ps: I was wrong. Most of the famous blogs I read did not mention about the increase. Even among my blogging friends, only Peter and Silas posted something but even that was just repost of materials they read elsewhere.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Talk About Love

"If you really love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it's yours. If it didn't, it was never meant to be."