Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Things That Annoy Me at the Gym

A few things that annoys me in the gym:

1. Being freakin' loud in the gym, whether you're lifting or not. If you're lifting and screaming as if someone stepped on your balls all the time, perhaps you should lighten your weight or face an injury that will really FEEL as if someone stepped on your balls!

2. Hogging the machine/weights with a bunch of friends and spending like 10-15 mins between each bloody set chatting! C'mon lah, go to the gym, do yer shit and get out! Wanna chat, do it after you're done or go mamak lah!

3. The only guy previously in my gym who keeps taking off his shirt and pulling up his pants until they resembled boxers, then uses the weights and keeps making sex noises. We all KNOW you're nice and ripped, but no one likes a bloody show-off. Furthermore, he's pissing off the ladies coz they think he's being indecent! (I know this is a isolated case, but just wanted to point it out =P)

4. People who leave a puddle of sweat on whatever machine/equipment they use and don't both to wipe up.

Now what about you? What ticks you off at the gym?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jon McLaughlin - So Close

I first heard this song while watching the movie Enchanted. I absolutely loved the scene where Robert and Giselle, dressed so elegantly, stepped hand-in-hand into the middle of the remarkable ballroom, then stared into each other's eyes and danced to this very song. Jon McLaughlin himself, as the ballroom singer, sang this song so beautifully and soulfully to accompany their dance. I just couldn't help but get caught and mesmerized by it. The moment of such closeness when they danced, the loving affection that emanates as they gazed unwaveringly into each other's eyes, while dancing ever so gracefully. It was so...incredibly romantic.

Similarly, I think of him affectionately whenever I hear this song. I could almost feel the closeness of our sweet embrace or his breath against my neck. I can imagine the closeness as he places his head against my chest, while holding me tightly, as we continue to dance slowly with this song playing in the background. I feel as if time had stood still, wishing that this moment would never end, and be forever etched and frozen in time. Yes...this is just a romantic fantasy that I have never told anyone...which I now share with all of you, be it my good friends, or strangers alike.

I feel that this song is perfect as well, to bring back all those lovely, wonderful or bittersweet memories of those that you have loved...or have loved and lost. I have to admit...I've cried a few times before, listening to this touching, romantic and sad song. It's about the love that is close and yet, so far.

So, I've decided today to share this special song with all of you. To listen to while you're holding the one that you love the most. To listen to when you think of them fondly. To listen to while remembering all the sweet memories of love in your life. To listen to when you imagine yourself with that special person that you long for.

Here are the lyrics to this beautiful song:

You're in my arms
And all the world is gone
The music playing on
For only two
So close together

And when I'm with you
So close to feeling alive

A life goes by
Romantic dreams must die
So I bid mine goodbye
And never knew
So close was waiting
Waiting here with you
And now, forever, I know
All that I want is to hold you
So close

So close to reaching
That famous happy and
Almost believing
This one's not pretend
Now you're beside me
And look how far we've come
So far
We are
So close...

Oh, how could I face the faceless days
If I should lose you now?

We're so close to reaching
That famous happy ending
Almost believing
This one's not pretend
Let's go on dreaming
Though we know we are
So close
So close, and still
So far...

Song from YouTube (high quality):

The scene from Enchanted:

(Bloody hell, at 4:00, Robert's GF damn kacau daun right?!?)
Anyway, Jon McLaughlin's So Close was one of the Oscar Nominated Songs of 2008.

Monday, July 28, 2008

More Sweet Stuff from Nigella!

As the title says...enjoy! =)

Doughnut French Toast:

Raspberry Oatmeal Swirls:

Cherry Cheesecake:

Ginger Passion Fruit Trifle:

Pomegranate Meringue Mountain:

Margarita Ice-cream:

White Chocolate Peppermint Shots:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fixing My Face

I've decided to do something more to improve my face. If you missed out, go here. Today, I went to a beautician, highly recommend by a friend of mine. I've seen the before and after results after a few months of treatment had on his face and I gotta say, I'm sold.

So, I had an appointment set at 3pm today. My facial started as soon as I got there and believe it or not, it lasted 4.5 HOURS! Yes, 4.5 hours of lying on a comfortable bed, in a air-conditioned room and having your face massaged soothingly. Plenty of procedures went on, from washing, moisturizing, pimple extraction (this procedure probably killed 5 years off my life), toning etc etc...and lastly finishing off with a soothing and refreshing bamboo coal (or was it clay?) mask.

After some explanation from the owner of the place, my face is more suited for a purifying treatment, not dermabrasion, peeling etc etc...that will only cause zits to re-occur. I should also use only water-based products, shouldn't use any sun block and stay clear of any oil- based moisturizers...if I got that right. Felt kinda blur and woozy after lying around doing nothing for 4.5 hours. All in all, a good session. My face felt really clean, refreshed and smoother. My zits will probably be inflamed tomorrow, after the brutal extraction session. So, I was advised NOT to pick at them. *Note to self: Must wear baby gloves tomorrow* -_-"

Anyhow, I signed up for 10 facial sessions and bought 10 sets of amp-something (forgot what it was), which is used during each session and this entitles me to 50% discount for each facial session as well.

How much will all of this incur on my wallet?

10 sets amp + 10 facials (assuming RM 100 per session, it can vary) = RM 350 + RM 1000 =
RM 1350

1 set of sponge for facial session = RM 15
2 oil control cleansing gels = RM 100
1 oil control toner = RM 118
1 pure balance acne serum = RM 138
1 pure balance acne cream = RM 148
1 corrective cream for oily skin = RM 98


I only paid RM 1067, I will pay the other RM 900 when I go for the sessions. So I will be spending a bomb, all for better looks. Combine this with my recent car escapades and I'll probably be joining the destitute come next month.

Damnit...why must gay people be vanity personified?!?!?!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

George Town in Penang listed as UNESCO's World Heritage Site!

George Town in Penang has finally been accepted as one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. Efforts to bid for this title began since 2004 and now, WE HAVE IT!

According to The Star, the core areas encompass the historical sites of George Town, including the Lebuh Acheh historical enclave and sites such as the Lebuh Acheh Malay Mosque, Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Kling Mosque, the Goddess of Mercy Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple, Khoo Kongsi, St George’s Church, Assumption Church, St Xavier’s Institution, Convent Light Street, Little India, the museum and court building, the commercial area of Beach Street, Fort Cornwallis, Esplanade, City Hall, the clan jetties and the port areas.

In fact, there will be a ceremony at Esplanade starting from 8.30pm tonight to officially declare Penang as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which will be accompanied by fireworks!

This means more fund will be allocated for the refurbishment and maintenance of the said areas. Having this recognition also translates into a boost for the tourism in Penang, aside from being the food haven of Malaysia. Honestly, this couldn't have come at a better time, since most of the funding for Penang was removed by the current ruling BN federal government, which I believe is an act of revenge towards Penangites for voting for the Opposition to become the ruling state government we are in need of more funds to boost Penang's economy.

As a Penangite, I am indeed VERY proud of Penang's achievement and recognition by UNESCO! It's about freakin' time!

Car Woes

So I was driving to work yesterday and just when I'm nearing my office, I heard a strange rattling noise coming from the engine. As I turned into the Juru intersection, opposite Auto-city, my car decided to fuck it and killed the engine. Luckily, I sensed that this was gonna happen, and managed to stay on the left where I could suddenly stop without obstructing the traffic. I got out of my car, popped the hood open and some smoke rose from the engine, accompanied by a weird burning smell. I knew there and then...shit has hit the fan again for my car.

So...there I was, standing by the side of the road, briefly dumbstruck on what to do. I had never had my car broken down on the road before. I didn't realize that I could actually call AAM or my life insurance company for a free towing service. Luckily for me, I had actually stopped in front of a place where they towed cars! One of the workers (a Singh fella...dunno why I needed to point that out...) arrived for work, about 5 minutes after my car stalled. He offered to tow my car to his trustworthy mechanic's place for RM 60. Forgetting I had access free towing service, I agreed (brain not fully functional without morning dose of JAVA!). Anyways, I was desperate to get off the main road. So, he loaded my car into his tow truck and off we went. Yes, you read correctly...he loaded my car with me in it, onto his tow truck, which appears twice longer than those you see pulling cars while towing. Apparently, this method is preferred by towing services nowadays to minimize any chance of damaging the vehicle, especially if the car being towed is an expensive one.

After inspection by the mechanic, it seems that my car's water pump had leaked and the radiator was dry, causing the engine to overheat. I had ruled out the engine overheating as I had just serviced my car not long ago and made sure all water was replenished. Furthermore, when my car stalled, the meter didn't indicate any overheating, which was odd. Anyhow, I can actually start my car after the engine cooled off and refilled the radiator. Of course, it will continue to leak but only in small amounts, not gushing out entirely. The uncle (mechanic) was nice enough to provide me 2 large bottles of water and advised me to go for repairs at my own mechanic. He didn't charge me anything (well, he shouldn't since he didn't do anything) and sent me off after refilling the radiator.

I drove back to office, got in after 10 am, worked till 3.30 pm and then headed home. Went to my family mechanic for repairs and after inspection, it turns out that the oil gasket in the engine had also burst due to the overheating. Engine oil was splattered all over the bottom side of the engine and the engine oil tank was emptied too. Since all the damage occurred at the bottom of the engine, a top overhaul was needed. Hearing the word overhaul...I knew that it'd cost me a bomb that I could only make up by whoring myself part time.

After calculations, this whole endeavor is gonna cost me more than RM 700 and I'd have to leave my car at the shop for 1-2 days too. More money out than in again this month...! And I had just changed all 4 tyres last month to avoid being hit by tyre price hike caused by fuel hike.

WAH LAU EH! My Wira is seriously draining my coffers and I can't even go shopping with the Malaysia mega sale on!

Update: Just got my car back from the shop. Whole thing cost me a fucking bomb...RM 850 after 'discount'. Including the towing fee of RM 60, it cost me a total of RM 910, highest so far. Why does life hate me so much? *sigh* I need some cheering up =(

Thursday, July 24, 2008

More Luscious Desserts from Nigella!

Here are more delicious desserts from Nigella to spoil your diet make your mouth water! XD

Chocolate Chip Cookies (made with A LOT of chocolate!):

Chocolate Chip Muffin:

Caramel Croissant Pudding:

Ice-cream Cake (looks really heavenly!):

Eton Mess:

Amaretto Syllabub:

Jumbleberry Crumble:

Crepes Suzette:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tribute to Yoo Ye Eun

Have you ever found something that is so great and amazing, that you just need to share it with everyone you know? Well, this...or shall I say, SHE is one of them.

Her name is Yoo Ye Eun. She is a 5 year old girl from South Korea. She was born blind and was abandoned by her birth parents. Ye Eun made headlines when she played the piano on a South Korean TV show called Star King and even earned the highest points ever in the history of the show. What makes her so remarkably amazing is:

1. At the age of 3, she started playing children's songs on an old piano. She even played a song after her mother sang it to her. Her adopted mother (Park Sung Jong) was extremely surprised and saw that she has unique and great talent.

2. She is blind since birth, meaning she has NEVER taken a single music lesson and NEVER seen a piano before! How could she even find the keys? YET, she is playing is like a master.

3. Another TRULY AMAZING gift is that she can play a song, after listening to it ONLY ONCE! She only listens to the singing or the melody of a song and she can PLAY IT!

I CRIED when I watched this miraculous little blind wonder (WARNING: PREPARE some tissues...or a box of them). This is extremely touching, especially when she sang the song towards the end.

Latest on Jul 9, she performed for the Prime Minister of Singapore and this was covered by Reuters. Do take a look.

She is so endearing, utterly adorable, talented beyond words and aspires to be a great pianist some day. She is definitely a modern day Mozart or Stevie Wonder in the making. God has given her an extraordinary and remarkable talent. I only hope and pray that He will open and secure a path for her to succeed in achieving her dream of becoming a great pianist!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It can never be.....

I've fallen for him...deeper than I should have, when I should have pulled myself up. I know that I shouldn't have. I know that I should have moved on. I know that I should have shut myself off when he told me I wasn't his type. I know that we can't be together. But why did I let myself go? How did this happen? Why is it that only for him, my heart refuses to untangle itself? Why did my heart wrap itself so closely around him?

How could this happen...when it can never be? Why would I gladly move worlds for him....when it can never be? I know that he still loves his ex. I know that his heart is still occupied. I know that he's not ready to accept anyone else. Yet, I still yearn for him. Yet, I still feel his lingering touch. Yet, I still remember the scent and warmth of his neck. I've told myself many get a grip, let go...and move on. Just when I thought that I no longer felt this way, all these feelings arise again when I spend time with him. I don't want to lose him, nor do I just want to remain friends. I don't want to push on...and scare him away.

He knows about me. He feels the affections that I pour towards him. He sees it in my eyes when I look at him. He knows by the subtle, but obvious ways I treat him. He knows by the way I listen willingly to the words of his broken heart. He knows that he can come to me in tears and I will try my best to dry them. He knows that he can lay out the burdens of his heart and I will gladly carry them. He knows that he can call me anytime, and I will race to his side. But yet, his heart is still ruled by the love that he had lost, and there is only room for one. What can I do...except be there for him? What can I do...except try to make him happier and hope to bring more brightness to his life? What can I do...except help him move on? What can I do...when it can never be?

In his eyes, I'm just a good friend. In my eyes, he is everything that I'd hoped for. Because I've peered into his soul and saw how beautiful it was. Because I've peered into his heart and caught a glimmer of the sincerity and purity of love that it holds. Because I felt the steadfastness of his love shine forth. But alas, it is not meant to be mine. Alas, it is not reserved for me. Love is either blind or I'm just being stupid. can never be.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Movie Review: Hancock

Synopsis: Will Smith plays an alcoholic superhero named Hancock, somebody that absolutely everybody loves to hate. Hancock's well-intentioned heroics might get the job done and save countless lives but always seem to leave jaw-dropping damage in their wake. One day, he saves the life of PR executive Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman) who helps to rehabilitate him. However, Hancock begins to have an affair with the publicist's wife, Mary (Charlize Theron) instead.

Verdict: Not a movie about your average superhero indeed. Since I saw the trailer, I've been dying to see this. Frankly, I'd watch anything with Will Smith on it (coz he's incredibly funny and talented...oklah, also very cute). My expectations was slightly raised but it was not exactly as I had expected. Instead, it appeared milder than what the trailer indicated, but very entertaining nonetheless.

Hancock is not a superhero that you would gladly see to come save your day or salvage a situation. He's sloppy, clumsy, often drunk, haphazard and hot-tempered. Plus, he looks like a homeless hobo. Although he means well and cares for the welfare of the people, he couldn't careless about what happens in the process of helping, so he often leaves behind a trail of destruction which dips into the taxpayer's coffers. Sick of his heroic but destructive antics, he's often ostracized and criticized by the people. As a result, he often shuns the public and likes to be left alone.

Action and effects were great, as can be expected from a superhero movie with a big budget. Nothing too spectacular or memorable, but just fun to watch. Throw in some humor by Hancock's awkward behavior in certain scenes and couldn't careless attitude for whatever he does, and it's even more fun.Not much character development here, as Hancock keeps his lips sealed about his past only to reveal later on that he doesn't know anything about himself or what he really is. This is a change from the usual superhero movies, where the story or past unfolds at the start. Instead, we get a bit more development on Ray (Jason Bateman) and Mary (Charlize Theron) but it's not that significant. Both carried their roles just fine.

There are several twists to the plot here but they appear too usual. From the trailer, you can kinda expect it since you will see Hancock battling another woman will similar powers. Although there are no scientific explanations for Hancock's powers, it derives from a more mythical element in explaining how Hancock came to be, only with the help of the mysterious woman. The biggest twist for me would be the revelation on their relationship, which I think is very unique and well.....touching, to say the least (I'm trying real hard not to include spoilers here =P). I think the bad guys in this are pretty much idiotic and weird. Anyhow, they succeed to give Hancock at really hard time, but only toward the end of the movie. When Hancock is at his best, pretty much nothing can stop when he's vulnerable, then only the bad guys will strike, right?

Overall, this movie doesn't really give me the wow factor but it's entertaining enough for me.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Other: Charlize Theron looks damn hot in this movie =P

Friday, July 18, 2008

Movie Review: Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

Synopsis: In this sequel to "Hellboy" ("Super Sapiens" in Malaysia), an ancient pact existing between humankind and the mythical realm is broken. A ruthless leader treads the world above and the one below defies his bloodline by awakening an unstoppable army of creatures. Joined by members of his team from the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Development, Hellboy must travel between the surface strata and the magical realm to prevent the resurrection of a mythical "golden army" and save humankind once again.

Verdict: Since I heard of this sequel, I've been looking forward to it. Both movies showcase different worlds but are equally entertaining. The first movie focuses on old world demons, sorcery and dark, alien-like gods. This sequel unravels the mythical, magical world that exists unseen among humans, like elves, goblins, trolls, fairies etc. Of course, the variation to the tales are different and nothing like what you read in books or fantasy movies. Does it live up to the first movie? It certainly doesn't disappoint.

Though much less darker than the first movie, it shows more variation of creatures and continues to amaze the viewers with their uniqueness. Although, I think that venturing into the troll market with so many alien-like creatures about feels like something out of Star Wars instead. Great detail and effort is done to enhance every creature seen in this movie.
As for the characters, Hell Boy still remains the macho, loud, clumsy, kitten-loving and sarcastic protagonist that we love. Liz doesn't seem to contribute that much but that's alright, coz somehow, she's always meant to stand behind Hell Boy anyway (or at least that's what I notice).

As they've enter a relationship, it's oddly amusing to see how they go about handling it but in the end, the strength of their love is proven. Abe Sapien is still the lovable, telepathic genius but this time...he has a partner! Equally brainy and exuding the charms of a German professor with a heavy accent, new agent Johann Krauss joins the team as an ectoplasmic ghost encased in a robot-like suit and he is quite a delight to watch. Abe and Krauss are quite similar, very smart with no combat abilities but possess special abilities to compensate. Abe compensates with his acute telepathic senses while Krauss is able to perform special tasks when he releases part of the ectoplasm (part of his body actually) from his suit. The scene where Krauss beats up Hell Boy...with a series of mini lockers was hilarious! Prince Nuada excelled as the driven prince, torn between love for his kind and betraying them to dominate humanity, of which he chose the latter. Princess Nuala might have been forgettable, if not for her 'relationship' with Abe. It was funny to Abe getting drunk over beer while talking with Hell Boy about it!

Action scenes and the creatures involved are entertaining enough but not mind-blowing. Adding a pinch of Hell Boy's sarcasm made it more fun to watch. I preferred Prince Nuada during the fights coz he looks more graceful, fast and skilled with hand weapons. Due to his size, Hell Boy is more clumsy and slightly slower, but makes up for it by being able to take a good beating and keep standing up. He should stick more to his guns, but I guess it wouldn't be a movie if he could just blow Prince Nuala away =)

Story wasn't too bad. Typical bad guy wants to take over the world and is stopped by good guy who doesn't know how to express himself to his girlfriend, faces a barrage of enemies and wins fight with bad guy in the end. Overall, very entertaining due to great effects, good cinematography and decent action scenes.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Other: The trailer is what got me excited to watch it!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm overtrained...

For the past 3 weeks, I've been feeling crappy physically and pyschologically. Although I'm seeing the signs, I've been ignoring it...until now coz it's even more apparent. Yes, I believe I'm overtraining.

In a nutshell, I'm:

- feeling more sluggish, tired and fatigued.
- having difficulty falling asleep at night.
- experiencing lack of sleep due to erratic sleeping hours, which is a bad idea if you're training constantly.
- accumulating a sleep debt. I've come to a point that I'm still feeling very sleepy after my usual 8 hours.
- experiencing bouts of confusion, anxiety and emotional instability.
- experiencing slower muscular and joint recovery. Soreness and pain still linger after several days.
- feeling more physical and mental stress, which is evident in the current outbreak on my face.

I really need get better quality of sleep, reduce workout frequency and get more rest to let my body and mind fully recover. Hopefully I'll feel ok soon...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks on the planet, packed with numerous health-boosting and disease-fighting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. After a bit of research, here's the list of benefits that should make you consider including it in you daily diet.

Why should you drink it?
1. Green tea helps reduce risk of cancer. Large amounts of antioxidants in green tea protect against cell damage caused by oxidative stress, which can be linked to cancer.

2. Green tea helps prevent heart disease and stroke by lowering cholestrol. Even after a heart attack, it prevents the death of heart cells and speeds up recovery.

3. Green tea contains antioxidants known as polyphenols, which fight against free radicals that damage cells. Thus, it helps to fight against aging and promotes longevity.

4. Thanks for polyphenols called catechins, green tea helps to burn fat by increasing fat oxidation and raising your metabolism naturally. Although it is not so substantial, but every little bit helps.

5. Antioxidants from green tea protects skin from harmful effects of free radicals, which causes wrinkling and aging. It also helps to prevent skin cancer.

6. Green tea can help prevent and reduce risk of rheumatoid arthritis. It helps to protect the cartilage by blocking the enzyme that destroys it.

7. Green tea contains high flouride content with helps to keep bones strong and preserve bone density.

8. Green tea helps to lower bad cholestrol level by improving the ratio of good cholestrol to bad cholestrol.

9. Green tea prevents fat gain by stopping the movement of glucose to fat cells. If you eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and add green tea, it's highly unlikely that you'll gain fat.

10. Green tea improves lipid and glucose metabolism, prevents sharp increases in blood sugar levels and balances your metabolism rate. This is beneficial for diabetics.

11. Green tea helps to boost your memory and help with Alzheimer's. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer's, it helps to slow the process of reduced acetylcholine in the brain.

12. Antioxidants in green tea help prevent brain cell damage which can lead to Parkinson's disease.

13. Green tea helps protect against liver disease and failure. Research shows that antioxidants in green tea helps to destroy harmful free radicals in fatty livers.

14. Green tea helps to keep blood pressure down by repressing angiotensin, which can cause high blood pressure.

15. Blood sugar tends to increase with age but polyphenols and polysaccharides in green tea helps to lower it.

16. Polyphenols and flavenoids in green tea boosts the body's immunity system to fight disease and infections.

17. Theophylline in green tea relaxes the muscles supporting the bronchial tubes, reducing the severity of asthma.

18. Green tea destroys bacteria and viruses that cause dental problems. It also slows the growth of bacteria which causes bad breath.

19. L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, helps to relieve stress and anxiety.

20. EGCG (Epigallocathechin Gallate) in green tea helps to relieve allergies.

21. EGCG can stop HIV from binding to healthy immune cells, according to Japanese scientists. This means it can stop the HIV virus from spreading.

22. Green tea helps to prevent and relieve inflammation.

In a nutshell, green tea contains anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, disease and cancer-fighting/prevention, health-boosting and fat-burning properties (although not significant, but I bet this got you attention =P). I drink green tea 1-3 times per day and it's already a norm for me. MAKE SURE you get the pure green tea (japanese or chinese) in sachets or dried leaves to brew. Don't get those pre-mixed, manufactured green tea in bottles or cans that contain additives and added sugar. Also, don't mix green tea with milk, as milk somehow disables the effects of its antioxidants, so you won't be able to benefit from it's health properties.

So, have YOU been drinking green tea lately? =)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Movie Review: Wanted

Synopsis: Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) finds out that his long lost father is an assassin. When his father is murdered, Wesley is recruited into his father's organisation and trained by a man named Sloan (Morgan Freeman) to follow in his dad's footsteps. Directed by Timur Bekmambetov.

Verdict: A very fast-paced action movie with little character development, except for the protagonist. Storyline was a bit hard to swallow but the twist in the end is quite good. Casting is good, with a few powerhouses like Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman in the mix.

Jolie was exceptional as Fox, Wesley Gibson's mentor. Sizzling hot, full of attitude and exuding a natural grace as a sexy assassin, which is rather reminiscent of Lara Croft.

James McAvoy was believable as the sorry, dorky guy with anxiety issues turned professional assassin (kinda cute too =P).

Morgan Freeman was just alright as the Fraternity's (name of the assassin organisation) head honcho. Nothing to shout about. In my opinion, he was under-used for an actor of his caliber.

However, the action scenes movie are very fast paced and chaotic but the gunfights are a bit far fetched. The idea of curving a bullet's trajectory by merely waving your arm is definitely something new, albeit rather ridiculous, with no proper scientific explanation to back it up. Also, stopping or deflecting a moving bullet with ANOTHER moving bullet, either with the bullets hitting head on or deflecting it from the side!?! [Spoiler Alert!] Given the fact that Wesley Gibson is 'gifted' with an ability to periodically amplify his senses and see movements around him in much slower motion, no normal human being can react fast enough to a speeding bullet, let alone shoot it accurately against another moving bullet! Although this is what makes this movie stand out, the concept is still hard to swallow.

[Spoiler Alert!] There are some gaping loopholes in the plot as well. How the organisation gets its assignments for the assassins is also a bit ludicrous. Trusting 'fate' which delivers the target's names in a secret language found in weaving cloth? Any idea of logic is out the window here. Although Wesley did question about the authencity of fate's decision and justification of the killing each target, the answer wasn't very satisfactory to me.

Overall, this movie is entertaining enough but you really need to sideline logic and the laws of physics while watching this. However, the twist is the end is rather good.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Other: NA

Monday, July 14, 2008

Back from KL trip!

Hey all, I've not been updating for the past 1 week but I'm back! I just arrived back in Penang an hour ago from KL. Whole trip was very last minute but it was great!

Last Friday, I got an SMS from some good friends of mine, enticing me to make a sudden trip to KL and go club at one of KL's latest gay hangouts called Market Place. Long story short, hopped on a bus on Saturday at 1pm, arrived in KL in the evening at KTM commuter station, took commuter to KL Sentral, couldn't find the damn Monorail station (which is just across the street from KL Sentral station, but in my defense, it was kinda concealed!). Ryan and Eric were so nice to drop by KL Sentral station to pick me up and drop me at KL Plaza in Bkt Bintang, where I am to share an apartment with Martin (thanks so much for letting me stay FOC!). I got there at 7:30pm and by the time Martin and I met up with Isaac, his dear and another friend for dinner, it was already 10:30pm. Wah hungry until I became dizzy and nauseous (Silly me for not eating something earlier...but I thought dinner was supposed to be at 8:30pm la).

After dinner, we drove to Market Place and there was already a LOOONG queue when we got there at about 12am. It's like more than half of KL's gay people were there! Anyhow, thanks to Sam Sam and gang, we got in pretty fast and managed to get a nice spot at the lounge area. The environment and decor in Market Place is very nice and feels comfy. However, I felt that the dance floor seriously needs to be bigger and the music needs to be improved. I...can't stand TECHNO the whole night. Gimme some R&B please! Where's my hip hop beats? Where's my Rihanna?

It was CROWDED AS HELL that night, especially on the dance floor. Seriously, trying to squeeze into the crowd down there and attempting to dance feels like risking your life. It was friggin' packed, even going down into the dance floor was like squeezing into a can of sardines, and then placing that can into the oven. SO crowded, hot and sweaty...standing down there for 10 mins felt like being in a sauna, only the occupants were at very close proximity =P

Other highlights of the night, eye candy were APLENTY that night. There were A LOT of damn sizzlin' hot or cute guys around, thank my lucky stars. And it was quite eventful for me as well. I bumped into some ex-uni friends, bumped into some of my friends in Penang (seriously, I will meet someone I know from Penang every time I go clubbing in KL, weirdly coincidental) and lastly, bumped into an ex-schoolmate from secondary, whom I had NO idea was gay! Bigger surprise for me...he knew I was gay before this coz he saw my online profile!

We spent our time there until Market Place closed at 3am, then proceed to Jalan Alor for some great supper, while chatting and laughing till the wee hours. By the time Martin and I got back to KL Plaza and slept, it was already 6am!

Managed to wake up before 2pm and the four of us (Martin, Isaac, Sam Sam and I) met up and spent Sunday afternoon in Pavilion until Isaac sent me to KTM commuter station at 7pm to catch my bus back home.

For me, it's simply great seeing some of my good friends in KL after months! Isaac and Sam Sam, thanks the great time. MISSED YOU BOTH HEAPS! Really great seeing you both again =)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Health and Fitness: Cardio

Whether you're trying to lose fat, improve cardiovascular health or reveal those abs (which requires low body fat), cardio is definitely a MUST do. However, before beginning a cardio program, it's best to take up weight training first to preserve or increase lean body mass (LBM). Cardio or aerobic exercise is basically any exercise that increases your heart rate and requires more oxygen intake to sustain for a certain period of time.

In terms of weight management or losing fat, in my experience, cardio is the ultimate fat loss accelerator, there is no doubt about it. Unless you have ectomorphic qualities or are genetically gifted and have a high metabolism, I find that it's always necessary to include cardio to lose fat. It ALWAYS BETTER to BURN OFF THE FAT, rather than try to starve it off (I've done this before, so I know). The latter will only lower your metabolism, cause plateaus when trying to lose fat and endanger your health.

Benefits of Cardio

1. Helps to directly burn fat WITHOUT lowering metabolism.
2. Naturally increases your metabolism.
3. Increases muscular endurance and stamina.
4. Aids in muscular recovery after weight training.
5. Triggers the release of endorphins, a hormone produced by the body that makes you FEEL GOOD afterwards.
6. Helps to relieve stress.
7. Improves cardiovascular health and lowers your resting heart rate.

When should you do cardio?
I'm a fan of doing cardio in the morning, before I eat anything. Here's why:

1. In the morning when you wake up, your body is in a fasted state because it has not received any food for 8-10 hours. This means your body's glycogen stores are low and thus, it dips into your fat stores for energy needed to sustain the workout. With less glycogen, more fat is burned. Therefore, it is the OPTIMAL time to perform cardio and target fat stores almost exclusively, as ratio of fat burned would be higher. In fact, you can burn up to 300% more fat when doing cardio in a fasted state.

2. As metabolism is elevated after morning cardio, your body continues to burn more calories throughout the day than when cardio is done later in the day.

3. If you do cardio later in the day, then your body will more likely burn off what you ate first, before targetting fat stores. So, fat ratio burned will be less and more carbs will be burned.

4. You are more fresh in the morning after waking up, rather than feeling tired after a day's work. So, doing cardio will feel much easier.

5. You will feel good and fresh throughout the day, since cardio triggers the release of endorphins.

6. You can get it out off the way early and not risk skipping it later in the day due to tiredness or [insert other excuses here].

7. Early morning cardio will help you regulate and suppress appetite.

Although early fasted cardio is ideal and optimal, it is just fine to do cardio at other times of the day. However, it is not recommended to perform cardio immediately after eating, wait 2-3 hours after you've eaten. Burning more fat or more carbs or whatever is a moot point if you're NOT even doing any cardio. The MAIN POINT is to just DO IT AND BURN CALORIES, regardless if it comes from fat or carbs. Some people argue too much about this and don't even bother doing it. The MOST IMPORTANT thing is that you DO IT and be CONSISTENT FOR RESULTS!

What type of cardio to do?
Some examples of cardio exercises: fast walking, jogging, running, sprinting (HIIT), hiking, cycling etc. These are common and effective cardio exercise, some more intense and effective than others but this also depends on individual results.

There are many arguments on which is the best or most effective form of cardio. Some say HIIT is most effective (currently most popular), some say running for miles work best, others say playing sports is better and so on. Let me just say that ALL FORMS OF CARDIO WILL WORK! It just depends on your fitness levels, choosing what suits you best and finding something that you enjoy doing. For me personally, I love outdoor running early in the morning for 40-45 mins or hiking during the weekend.

The BOTTOMLINE is and key to losing fat is BURNING CALORIES! Cardio or activities such as sports that burns a lot of calories should be included if you want to shed fat.

How must cardio should I do?
If you're a beginner, start out with 3 days a week and do something that suits your fitness level. If you're never exercised in a long time, you can do something as simple as walking and move on to jogging. You can even start to take up some sports like basketball, football or swimming. Basically, start to MOVE and burn calories!

Like weight training, it's also important to progress in cardio. You can continue to improve on your cardio by increasing frequency (do it more times per week), increasing intensity(move from walk to jog to running etc) or increasing duration(from 30 mins to 45 mins etc).
For maximum fat loss, most people say it's beneficial to do cardio daily, for about 5-6 days per week (only if your fitness levels are good). This is very true, since your body is able to recover faster with cardio and you can burn more total calories per week. However, I believe that the amount of cardio you need to do should DEPEND INDIVIDUAL RESULTS. If you're getting good results by doing 2-3 days per week, then you don't have to do more (unless you want to speed things up). If 5-6 days is what you need, then DO IT! Basically, do JUST WHAT YOU NEED to get results. However, please be aware that with such frequent cardio, you need to make sure that you're eating well and getting enough rest. If you feel like you're killing yourself with cardio, you need to decrease either your frequency, intensity or duration. You can even take a break for a week or 2 and rest more to recover. Over-training will only hold you back and derail you!

Won't cardio burn off my muscles?
I've heard this a lot and I agree that cardio can be a double-edged sword, if your approach is wrong. When trying to lose fat, a small loss of muscle is usually inevitable and this is NOT caused by cardio alone, but is also caused inadequate caloric and protein. How do we go about this?

1. Depending on the individual, you can either decrease the amount of cardio (if you're doing too much) or increase caloric intake, especially protein to support your muscles.

2. Do not lower carbs too much as well since your body will burn protein if glycogen levels are constantly low. A moderate carb diet will do if you're consistently doing cardio.

3. If you're worried about burning muscle when doing fasted cardio, you can have a 100% whey protein shake (with little or no carbs) before you begin.

The issue of muscle loss is more related to someone who has a lot of muscle and will need to more carefully monitor their progress to avert a substantial loss of muscle. Average gym goers who have a moderate amount of muscle need not worry so much =)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Health and Fitness: Weight Training

Regardless if you want to lean out, bulk up, increase athletic performance, increase overall strength or just for general health, weight training (strength or resistance training, whatever you may call it) is ABSOLUTELY necessary. These days, with multiple commercial/local/private gyms sprouting up everywhere, it is clearly evident that weight training has gained much deserved popularity and is proven to be very important for overall fitness. So much so that it has actually become an industry itself!

I believe that if someone who wants to get fitter, stronger or healthier, they should DEFINITELY begin with weight training or including some form of weight training in their routine, regardless if you're male or female.

Benefits of weight-training

1. Builds more muscle, which increases metabolism and burn more calories, even at REST! Each lb of lean muscle is estimated to burn an additional 30-50 calories per day

2. Helps to lose fat and get leaner due to increased metabolism and calorie-burning. Although you do burn calories during actual workout, most of the increased calorie burning comes from the post-workout increased metabolic rate.

3. Prevents metabolism from slowing down.

4. Prevents LBM loss as you age, which in turn prevents metabolism from slowing down.

5. Strengthens, tones and gives definition to your muscles, which gives your body a better shape and look good.

6. Makes you look and feel fitter, stronger and more confident.

7. Enables you to EAT MORE to support weight-training, increased metabolism, and feed your muscles for growth and recovery! Bottom-line, you can EAT MORE!

8. Increases muscular endurance.

9. Strengthens bones and joints, thus decreases risk of ostereoperosis and arthritis.

10. Broadens your upper body, which also makes you look leaner.

Some FAQs

1. Won't I get bulky and look too big if I lift weights?
NO, YOU WON'T! It's a common misconception that most people, who have never lifted weights in their life, will have. You won't pick up a dumbbell and look like a huge bodybuilder in posters and magazines. Besides, it's NOT easy to go that big. It requires eating a LARGE amount of calories daily and a lot of supplements, coupled with high frequency and intensity training consistently for years to achieve that huge and bulky body. For average joes like you and me, we will just gain enough LBM to make us look fitter and stronger, not huge and bulky.

2. Why do females need to lift weights? Won't that make us look muscular like guys?
Again, a common question. If you want to tone up, lifting weights and doing cardio is the way to go. Both compliment each other and provide optimal results. You might get fitter and stronger, but you will not develop large muscles like guys do. This is because, to gain muscle mass, you need testosterone which exists very little in the female body. Therefore, weight training will help you TONE UP and get stronger, NOT get big like guys. You'd be surprised that some female bodybuilders actually get testosterone injections to get bigger and bulky!

3. How often should I train per week?
If you're just starting out, it's usually recommended to start with 3 times per week, on alternate days. Then, you can increase or maintain the same frequency or adjust your routine. The variations in routines are endless. The max frequency you should go is probably 5 times per week, and this are for more advanced trainees.

4. What sort of routine should I do?
For beginners (or even advanced trainees), you can begin with full/total-body training 3 times per week. For this, you should place priority on the largest muscle groups in your body; chest, shoulders, back and quad/hams (legs). The smaller muscle groups like biceps, triceps, calves and forearms can be worked as needed or left for the end of the session. Working out largest muscle groups with compound exercises gives you the best results and burns the MOST calories.

You can also do splits, which target a specific muscle group each day. For example, Monday; chest, Tuesday; shoulders/triceps, Wednesday; back/abs etc. The variations in routines are endless and its up to you on which suits you best to give the best results or suits your schedule.

For exercises and lifting methods, you can do some research online or just engage your local gym instructors to learn with correct exercises to target each muscle group and the correct form or technique to do it to avoid injuries.

5. I just need to lose fat, should I just do cardio only?
First, take care of your diet. Then, focus on your training. When beginning a fitness training program, I'd usually recommend starting out with weight training first, then adding cardio. People usually underestimate or are unaware of the effects that weight training has for improving your physique and outlook. Cardio IS a good way to burn a lot of calories (if done with enough frequency and intensity) and definitely important in weight management, but it does not help to build or maintain lean muscle. When dieting and training to lose fat, it's even more vital to include weight training to maintain or even slightly increase lean body mass (LBM). If you don't have much lean mass and are overweight, dieting and doing only cardio will burn both fat and whatever small amounts of muscle that you have, making you a weaker and smaller version of yourself, or possibly even becoming 'skinny fat'. Let's face it, looking small and thin with no lean muscle isn't very nice to look at, right? You'd just look emaciated and people around you will feel compelled to feed you!

The exception for this are people who are very overweight or obese, who need to start out slowly with mild cardio and then go into weight training when they've lost a lot of fat. This is because they are not in a good condition to start out with strenuous exercise, have A LOT more fat to burn off and their body will mostly target fat stores to burn. If you're an average joe with very small amounts of LBM and are slightly overweight, start training with weights first to increase metabolism and then add some cardio.

Remember, more muscle = higher metabolism = burn more calories!

6. I need to lose fat, so should I do high rep, light weights only?
Another common misconception. Just ask yourself this, which would help you burn more calories? Lifting 20 reps with 5 lbs weights, or lifting 8-12 reps with 30 lbs weights? I think it's obvious, right? Even if you're trying to lose fat, it's always best to lift with moderate or heavy weights for about 8-12 reps to optimize calorie-burning. You should choose a weight that's challenging and can maintain for 8-12 reps. Another reason for this is that your body will recognize a need to maintain muscle to sustain the physical workout and is less likely to burn it off, making you body target fat stores more.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Movie Review: Doomsday

Synopsis: Authorities brutally quarantine a country as it succumbs to fear and chaos when a virus strikes. The literal walling-off works for three decades - until the dreaded 'Reaper' virus violently resurfaces in a major city. An elite group of specialists, captained by Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra), is urgently dispatched into the still-quarantined country to obtain a cure by any means necessary. Shut off from the rest of the world, the unit must battle through a landscape that has become a waking nightmare.

Verdict: In a nutshell, this movie is non-stop action, full of blood-spattering violence and delightfully filled with dark elements.

In terms of character development, there isn't really much here, even for the heroine herself. But anyway, who needs it? This movie is mostly about no-holds barred action with generous amounts of gore and copious amounts of swearing (enough for too much of awkward censorship from our Malaysian board, so bear with it if you're watching in the cinemas). The only thing we get to see is how our heroine ended up on the other side of the wall safely but [Spoiler Alert!] lost one of her eyes. Rhona Mitra handled her character skillfully, effectively portraying the heroine as a tough-as-nails, no-nonsense and unshakable leader. And MY GOD, that girl is FIT AS HELL in this movie.

As for the cinematography, the area of quarantine is very well done to reflect what a long abandoned town/city would look like; full of decay everywhere, derelict buildings plagued by vandalism and years of neglect, and the street littered with bones and rotting corpses. The whole setting is basically reminiscent to movies like Resident Evil and 28 Weeks Later.

In terms of the plot, there are some gaping holes big enough to swallow a whale, but it can be forgiven, due to the aforementioned abundance in great action scenes above. Some loopholes in beginning of the movie was left answered, like:

How could the world just sit by and allow this to happen without any protest?

How could the world not even try to look for a cure in those 30 years?

How could ANY government permit such merciless quarantine, abandonment and even killing of its own civilians (infected or otherwise)?

[Spoiler Alert!] How could they possibly have erected such a tall, thick steel wall covering the entire land boundary of the COUNTRY in a only a matter of weeks?

Well, I guess it's not important enough and this IS just a movie, so I didn't let it bother me that much.

In the quarantined zone, the outcome of three decades of total abandonment from the outside world, utter moral decay, collapse of all administrative systems, total descent into anarchy and untold desperation; is two different factions formed among the remaining survivors. Both cultures are sworn enemies, but in twist, you will find out that they are more related than you think.

[Spoiler Alert!] One side developed more of a punk culture:

[Spoiler Alert!] Whilst the other followed a medieval path:

I find the first to be more believable, since it doesn't take much to become a punk. But to fully adopt a medieval culture in ONLY three decades? Kinda hard to swallow there. One of the loopholes that needs more justification I believe.

Use of camera angles and shots were excellent as well, especially in the action and chase scenes, providing enough tension to excite and rattle your nerves for a week.

All in all, would I watch is again? Hell yeah, that's for sure!

Rating: 4 out of 5

Other: Because I'm nice, here's the trailer to get you excited! =D