Tuesday, February 23, 2010

DWJ's Enchanted Glass

How could I resist!!! Diana Wynne Jones putting out forth yet another of her delightful books this year is too much to resist! She is the author that has made the genre of science fiction and fantasy my absolute favourites. Despite her advanced age and a bout with lung cancer last year, she has somehow miraculously managed to produce another book, Enchanted Glass. I know I have long outgrown her stories but no one else writes quite like her (one of my many objections to Neil Gaiman is that he is just not DWJ).

Book Description: Aidan Cain has had the worst week of his life. His gran died, he was sent to a foster home, and now malicious beings are stalking him. There is one person Gran told Aidan to go to if he ever got into trouble—a powerful sorcerer who lives at Melstone House.

But when Aidan arrives on the doorstep, he finds that the sorcerer's grandson, Andrew, has inherited the house. The good news is that Aidan can tell immediately that Andrew's brimming with magic, too—and so is everyone else at Melstone. The bad news is that Andrew doesn't remember anything his grandfather taught him. Chaos is swiftly rising, and he has no idea how to control it. A sinister neighbor is stealing power from the land, magic is leaking between realms . . . and it's only a matter of time before the Stalkers find Aidan.

If Aidan and Andrew can harness their own magics, they may be able to help each other. But can they do it before the entire countryside comes apart at the seams?

There are plenty of reviews of this book by worthier sources online so I won't bother with it but it was a good read. I liked it much better than her previous book The Pinhoe Egg and it makes for some very pleasant light reading unlike the other scientific journals I have to trudge through these days with unheard-of words that simply boggle the mind (I swear, most of them don't exist in an ordinary dictionary!).

I've read almost all her books, except for a few ones written for really young readers. The books I actually want to read are the Dalemark Quartet, of which I am only able to find in Kinokuniya bookstore but I didn't have enough for all four at the time so I settled for the Derkholm series. My favourites from her are the Chrestomanci and Castle series, both of which are by far her most popular books, as well as Eight Days of Luke, Hexwood, Black Maria and The Power of Three.

I ordered the book online from MPH, very pricey for delivery and it took ages to arrive (a week plus) even though it was couriered here via GDex. The wait and price was somehow worth it when my book came along (as if you don't have more important things to do, Vanessa) and many thanks to Hema at MPH who somehow made it happen! =)

Currently on my wishlist:

The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories by Joan Aiken
(Now this book here is nearly impossible to find in Malaysia!)

Can you tell that I like British fantasy? ;-)

Something, Which Is To Say, Nothing At All

Just a small note to say that I will very probably be tied up for a week or so,
during which I will try to focus on writing my thesis (or at least part of it),
and tests,
that I have not the slightest idea how to finish it all...
And the dean has just demanded an hour of my time to participate in a Malaysian Soft Skill Scale study this Thursday.
Alas, the pitfalls of having a pretty name.

Bite me.

P/S: The post after this one will be my last for a while... I just felt like putting a ridiculously long title for this short post on a whim. Forgive me my scatterbrained ways, zoning out to my alternate universe now...

Pic credit: anarkyman.deviantart.com

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chuck and Vampire Diaries On Hiatus

Two of my favourite TV shows are on hiatus till March(!), probably due to the Winter Olympics. Network TV stations are not inclined to let their shows battle it out in the ratings with the Olympics TV programming. I only found out last week so I guess there will be less distractions for the next few weeks. It's Lent already so it's just as well (Catholics give up a vice for 40 days in Lent before Easter).

The dork-able TV series, Chuck, is currently in its 3rd season because of its very dedicated fan base who just last year, launched a Save Chuck campaign when it looked like the show was close to being canceled. It's slated for 19 episodes this season and will resume airing its 8th episode: Chuck vs the Fake Name on March the 1st. I really do hope they won't kill off Agent Shaw (Brandon SUPERMAN Routh) anytime soon because he is extremely pleasing to the eye. And hopefully, they'll bring in Bryce Larkin again soon! The more, the merrier! ;-)

For Vampire Diaries, the next episode #15 A Few Good Men, will air on March 25th 2010. The show is slated for 22 episodes for its season due to its breakout popularity and it's a guilty pleasure for me since Gossip Girl has been disappointing a lot of people recently. The last episode, Fool Me Once ended with Bonnie's grandmother's passing, the rescue of Anna's mother (the beautiful Kelly Hu!) and the revelation that the infamous Katherine never was in the tomb, leaving Damon Salvatore broken-hearted.

If you miss hearing from your favourite Vampire Diaries cast, you can follow them in Twitter! (Links below)
Nina Dobrev (Elena Gilbert)
Ian Somerhalder (Damon Salvatore)
Katerina Graham (Bonnie Bennett)
(Nina says Paul Wesley, who plays Stefan Salvatore, can't be persuaded to use Twitter..)

For more Vampire Diaries news, follow:

Tweet away! :)

Ethan Hawke in Daybreakers

Movie: Daybreakers [2010]
Directed by: Michael and Peter Spierig
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, Claudia Karvan, Michael Dorman, Isable Lucas

Last night, I watched this movie expecting it will be gory, bloody and full of nasty surprises. What I didn't expect was the less than extraordinary CG to make all the gory bits hilarious (which is how I bore all the red stuff flying in all directions). If you liked Underworld or futuristic movies like Aeonflux and Surrogates, you might like this film because it vaguely reminded me of those kind of movies. And daaamn, someone should stick Ethan Hawke in another vampire movie because I am seriously digging him as a vampire! But sadly, in an interview he said if someone handed him a vampire movie script today, he'd be like, no way! He had agreed to work with the Australian Spierig brothers for Daybreakers back in 2007 before Twilight came out.

PLOT IN BRIEF: In the world of Daybreakers, a plague has transformed almost the entire human population to vampires and the remaining 5% of humans are harvested for their blood. However, these vampires have managed to foolishly drive the human population to an all-time low and they are starving. Enter Edward Galton (Ethan Hawke) who thinks feeding on humans are unethical and only drinks pig's blood. He works as a hematologist for the conglomerate Bromsley Marks (headed by Sam Neill) who are trying to find a substitute for blood but Edward (Really, are all vampires named Edward now?) would much rather find a cure. Time is running out and these starved vampires transform into hideous desperate creatures resembling Gollum with pteradactyl wings. Meanwhile, Frank (Edward's brother) and almost everybody else seem to be getting in his way to save humanity...

[Not that many spoilers included] So who exactly are on the winning side? The vampires who can't walk in sunlight or the humans who are weak physically compared to the immortal vampires? I love the way vampires have adjusted themselves to keeping out the daylight, with their awesome cars (something you just have to see to believe). I also love the way they approach ethics in this movie, in a world of organized vampires. Of course, vampires were just created a long time ago by a man who wanted to express his views on war and invaders by describing them metaphorically through the characteristics of a blood-sucking creature (vampires).

If you're tired of vampire movies (like me, who initially refused to watch this movie but gave in to my sister's constant nagging), this movie definitely brings something new to the table (it definitely does NOT include glittering vampires and lady-loves who can't keep away from trouble) and can be watched with the entire family with the exclusion of impressionable young children. Personally, I liked it a lot and would be willing to watch it again while fast-forwarding the gory bits... (Apparently Rotten Tomatoes agrees with me with a 67% certified fresh rating!)


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Road Rage: Keep It Down, Pretty Please

I have a terrible sense of direction... :-(

I never did understand how some people can get themselves so heated up when they drive on the road. Like KL taxi drivers. Oooh, they are scareee when they're in a bad mood. My sister, Sara, is hilarious on the road! She swears to high heavens at people in the car, probably learned this in KL or can be traced to her dysfunctional childhood. Even random people walking by are not spared!

Sara driving with me sitting shotgun. Girls walk by.
Me: 0_0 (but it's not like they can hear anyway)

However, I do feel uneasy when people get angry at other drivers and show it in their driving such as sudden acceleration of the vehicle or these superhuman turns at corners (oh wait, that's me). It makes your passengers sit at the very edge of their seat, holding their breath till the engine is finally turned off and everyone can finally breathe normally again.

Scary Sara doing her thing while I'm at the wheel... XD

So you can imagine my horror when Sara flips the middle finger at some guy who ran the red light and got in the way while I was U-turning. =_= He was definitely in the wrong but the line of rempits (motorcyclists) waiting patiently behind him looked appalled. And his car was full of kids. KIDS. OMGWTFBANANAS.

I do hope Terengganu motorists won't start flippin' the middle finger at me too. Makes for some really unpleasant driving. Running the red lights are so common in Kuala Terengganu, it's expected (so you have to watch it at traffic lights). Then there are the motorcyclists who think their heads are invincible or look suspiciously underaged. Just remember that Malaysian saying,

"Pandulah dengan cermat, ingat orang tersayang." ;-P

Or watch this for good measure!

There's a movie for every occasion! XD

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How to Take Dumb Pictures in Terengganu

Sightseeing in Terengganu is kind of quiet-ish during Chinese New Year... (What am I saying, it's quiet all year round!) And the traffic jams in town are so bad around this time of the year!!! Why?!! Because people balik kampung (go back to hometown) in the holidays, even the non-Chinese! So if you're stuck in Terengganu in the holidays like me, here's a few LOL things to do if you're dead bored. And love cam-whoring.

1. Take pictures at the wonderfully ruined Terengganu Sports Stadium (which fell down after a year of of being constructed). It makes an awesome backdrop for just about anything.

My sis, Sara, acting sakai O_O

You can also try the ever popular jumping shot. Warning: Hair will fly everywhere and looks best with a good pose. This is also part of Number 2 of Things To Do in Terengganu.

2. Do a jumping shot just about anywhere in Terengganu. They're really fun to do and you should try it before your age demands you to stop jumping for propriety's sake.

This one was next to Setiu River

3. Go to a relatively quiet place in Terengganu and do muscle shots. If you get caught in this silly act, ignore the sniggers and stares that are commonplace with some of the locals here.

Sara at Ri-Yaz Heritage Resort, Pulau Duyong

4. Visit one of Terengganu's waterfalls! Sekayu Waterfall is a popular destination here for families, Chemerong Waterfall is a bit more quieter and relaxing though it's an hour long trek to the main waterfall. But it's the highest waterfall in Malaysia! How can you not go?! :)

5. Then there's Terengganu Chinatown!! The food here is so-so but here is also where Telaga Low Tiey (Low Tiey Well) is located. This well saved many people way back when during a drought when other wells were polluted and a plague had swept over this area. This happened in the 17th Century, and a good man Low Tiey provided water supply for the people and thus they named the well after him...

Nat and Melissa acting weird at this historical monument

That's all I have for this post. If I get any more ideas I'll post some more later... I was just trying to show you what you can do in Terengganu besides the islands and the museum. There's also Kenyir Lake and the pasar malam (night market) with cheap delicious food but I don't have pics of those... Wheee~

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dragon Babies

I LOVED 2009. The Year of the Earth Ox was hecka good to Dragons, mostly! My grades improved, my driving got loads better, I actually learnt how to cook (thanks Billie & Liyana!), finally got a camera and much more. The only awful part last year is that my English seems to have deteriorated somewhat. Wtfbananas. (SEE?!) But next year, I have no words to describe the bad fortunes that seem to be on every Feng Shui-yada-yada masters' predictions...

According to Singaporean Feng Shui Master Tan Khoon Yong (never heard of him):

The Dragon in 2010:
Surrounded by contingencies and making you feel helpless.
(Just what I needed... Less money... Urgh.)

On another 'helpful' site:
- Dragons may have very bad wealth opportunities this year. (Here we go again.)
- Dragons may have some study opportunities this year. (GREAT! I think.)

However, (is that a silver lining I see?) there are some good ones out there, thankfully... Such as:

1. Dragon people will be able to live a contented life through their will power in the coming Chinese Year. (Only through sheer will power will I be contented... Sounds excruciating.)

2. In 2010, Dragons are going to learn some new skills that will help them achieve many things in future. (Hah, isn't that what your 20s are for? Shaping you up for achievements in your 30s?)

Truth be told, I don't know why I even bother. Maybe it's because I'm slightly superstitious. In a skeptic har-har kind of way and I'm probably one of those kind of people who flip through several different horoscopes of the day and settle for the one I like the most.

At the end of the day, you make your own luck. Take it in your stride and should you ever get confused, here's a modern quote for all you answer-seekers:

When life gives you questions, Google has answers! (Though not necessarily good ones).

Nah, this one's better. Those old geezers really knew what they were talking about. =)

"Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down." ~Charles F. Kettering

Pic credit: bluebison.net

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy RAWR-ing Chinese New Year, folks!

I tried to mail a greeting card home yesterday...but the post office was closed...
So here's my greeting card to all you people celebrating CNY and decorating your houses today! :D
Enjoy the holiday, angpows (if you're lucky enough to still be able to get it), FOOD and catching up with relatives (while dodging questions about when are you going to get hitched?!)!
Gambling and drinking's always a given too on this holiday...
Just remember to not go overboard and drive safe! :P

And have a wonderful Valentine's Day, everyone! &hearts

P/S: I have no idea how good this movie is, but it makes me go, 'if only there was a cinema in Kuala Terengganu...'. It's one of those 'Love Actually'-type movies... I just hope it's just as good.

Monday, February 08, 2010

February Quickie!

Side note: It's a bit early in the month for one of these, but I felt like rambling while I feel oh-so-free at the moment...

Two tests down, thank bejeebies! Though that Asas Keusahawanan test was really something alright. And I might have to run another analysis for my FYP (hope all goes well)... I can't wait for my sis, Sara to come down to Kuala Terengganu for uni break! Though I have no idea where exactly to bring her... Pancakes at Pok Wan? Coney dogs at Ugly Rock? Roti canai at Hot Hot? Or maybe a safari-themed restaurant like NR or sushi by Alistair (Ming Star)? Hahaha, how can any of these compare with enigmatic sights of KL? =_=

Unless I go to Sekayu or Kenyir... Which reeks of BAD IDEA. I can't even remember the way to church here after 3 years (wth and I've been going almost every week!), much less tourist destinations an hour away. That's how bad my sense of direction is. I can manage any place with a straight road like UMT or Giant/Mydin and that's as good as it gets. XD

Anyway, worse comes to worst, we'll just have a Vampire Diaries marathon and after that, maybe I'll make her watch Chuck? Though I think she'd rather stab her eyes with popcorn kernels than watch Chuck.

As some of my friends (and family) might already know, I'm quite the rom-com movie junkie. Anything remotely chick flick-y and I'm there in a shot. But so many recent ones have disappointed me already like The Ugly Truth (not sweet at all, kind of crude) and Ghost of Girlfriend's Past (bleh chemistry between Garner and McConnaughey). I liked Leap Year though, but only just (I have a soft spot for Amy Adams and Matthew Goode after Chasing Liberty).

Two movies I'd recommend this week?

Bandslam and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (well, if you're a girl).

Bandslam [2009] starring Alyson Michalka, Vanessa Hudgens and Gaelan Connell to name a few, is not as cheesy a film as you think, it's very charming in an offbeat way. I think they marketed it all wrong though by using Vanessa Hudgens' star power. I enjoyed it hugely even though my high school days are long over. The movie's about a dorky guy (Will) and a popular girl (Charlotte) creating a rock band for a competition, Bandslam. It had a lot of positive reviews despite not performing well in the box office. But I do appreciate it for what it is and that crazy drummer guy totally stole the show for me. :P

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 [2008] is a tale of friendship held together by a pair of pants. Lol. Only watch if a) you liked the first movie b) you're of the fairer sex c) you're a die-hard fan for either Blake Lively, Alexis Bledel or America Ferrera or d) you love the books. My only complaint is that they seemed to have replaced Aaron Yoo with some other guy. Hmph. DID YOU THINK I WOULDN'T NOTICE?

Whoa there. Me thinks it's time to take a rest. Over and out. :)

Amazing Erasable Bank Notes

Hahahahaha, reading this on an online news portal today made me laugh... wtf, I am so mean.

Whatever you do, don't leave any of those new 50 ringgit notes in your pants when you do laundry. (It happened to me a couple of times and I was like, why do I suddenly feel poor? But it's like Christmas when I find them.) Some poor sod completely white-washed four of these and the serial number too. That means you can't exchange them at the bank even though they still have the silver markings, wth. A number of other old ringgit notes were in the laundry too but stayed intact (see pic). Maybe he used some kind of super power detergent, who knows? (I use Top by the way, I like the smell... :P)

If I remember right, these amazing erasable bank notes were released for Malaysia's 50th anniversary as a country, right? Way to mark Malaysia's longevity. XD

Via The Star

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Don't Take This Too Hard But...

I'm re-posting this from my course-mate's FB status update which I thought was pretty kick-ass...

An old grandpa once said...

Whatever you give a woman, she will make it greater.
Give her sperm, she will give you a baby.
Give her a house, she will give you a home.
Give her groceries, she will give you a meal.
Give her a smile and she will give you her heart.
She multiplies and enlarges what she is given.
So if you give her crap, be ready to receive a tonne of shit!

Lol... okay, okay, enough with the overt feminism. On other things, I'm glad to hear that my sister got her birthday present alright... I ordered it from this website and it got to her in two days flat after payment. In Kota Kinabalu! They're amazingly efficient!! And CIMB Clicks is amazing too (which I never bothered to use before this)! The wonders of Internet banking... =)

I got her the one in pink...

My current problem? My youngest sister's birthday is tomorrow. Sisters! Gah. It's one after the other.

Actually, I just came back from UMT's Malam Kebudayaan Tahun Baru Cina, it's the second one I've attended since studying here... I enjoyed watching the breakdancers from Penang (HOT ABS!) and UMT's Taming Sari dance (so uniform, it was great to watch). The yoyo people from Taiwan weren't bad too. And the program director, Bernard, totally looks like Ikuta Toma (really!). I went together with Ah Bak and Fu Wei and met up with Ai Yin there. But I thought the Fa Mulan play they had last year was epic!!! The angry glares! The fierce facial hair! The clashing of paper-foil spears! The fearsome Shan Yu's bull's head belt! Ah, the good ol' days...

UPDATE: I found pics!!! But I'll upload just the one... Because I look hideous in the others...

Pic credit: Wong Kang Wei (blue tie)

My camera battery was DEAD D: when I checked before I left the house, so no pictures sadly... But if I can get any somewhere I might update but chances are low considering how busy I am this week... TWO TESTS. An assignment during the hols. And 2 presentations to prepare for after CNY. *stressed*

I'm totally breaking out here. In god-forsaken zits.

Deep breaths, Vanessa. I'm going to recuperate in my bed of roses now and let the Sandman do his job. Nightie night, folks! ^^


P/S: I received some deeply saddening news a few hours ago. All my thoughts and prayers go out to my cousins and their father for their loss...

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Happy Sweet 16, Vadee!!! &hearts

Because this picture with a deranged-looking puppy is too cute... &hearts

Happy sweet 16, my dear wacky sister!!!
May the year of the Tiger be nice to the Golden Rooster! :P
I know we haven't been talking much and I miss you too but we'll have all the time in the world to catch up once I'm done this semester... =) Your prezzie shall have to wait though... I'm working on it... :P

FOR NOW, I'll just give you my list of...

The Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 16

1. Form 4 is NOT honeymoon year, contrary to what your seniors might think. It lays out the very important foundations for things you learn in Form 5. Like algebra.

2. It is NEVER alright to cut your own hair. Unless you are dead broke or have the skill of Edward Scissorhands.

3. It's not the end of the world when your best friends leave. New best friends fill in the void~ =)

4. Boys are not SCARY. They're actually quite dumb. (Not insulting anyone's intelligence or anything, but yeah, dumb. *chuckle* Am gonna get killed for this...)

5. Unkempt eyebrows are an evil to all womankind.

6. It PAYS to be pretty or to just take care of your appearance. Lol!!!

7. No one ever achieved anything by keeping mum.

That's all I have for ya, fml... Enjoy the best 2 years of high school!!!

생일축하합니다! *\(^-^)/*