Monday, April 30, 2007

Today I... a text message from my mum that said verbatim, "Jon, dad n I will be going 4 spiderman 3 show 2night." I already knew from my brother's blog that he was going for the early premiere. He failed to mention that my parents would be going along too.

I have a feeling I'm being incredibly petty, but the fact that my parents are watching Spiderman 3, probably the most bomb-diggity sequel (triquel?) of the year, is bugging me heaps. It doesn't help that Channel 10 runs the damn trailer every damn ad break during Big Brother. Yeah, so I'm obviously jealous but what bugs me the most is how my dad will not appreciate the immense event that is Spidey 3. Fanboys/girls, comic book geeks and nerds alike know what I'm talking about. My dad is the same dude who only goes to the cinemas to watch Jackie Chan movies and Bond movies. I mean, he watched Lord of the Rings: Part 3 without watching the first two and made me sit next to him to explain everything that was going on! His thoughts after the movie? "Why are those two hobbits (Sam and Frodo) like the homosexuals, Karen?" Sheesh.

Anyway I'm going to avoid my brother's blog until I watch the movie because although I tell him not to post any spoilers I just know that that little shit will with much glee to boot. Fuck, I probably would. Technically everyone knows how it's going to end - Spidey will emerge victorious, Mary Jane will live regardless of mortal peril, and the bad guys will get taken down. But I'll be damned if I find out HOW he gets there. So, dong ma Jonny? I'll visit your blog again after May 3rd, you sneaky little kid.


... also found this site online that creates a word cloud of common words that appear on your blog. Insert your blog URL and let the little robots work their magic! Below is my word cloud.
Very amusing how the numbers one, two and three appear so often but four doesn't even rate a mention. I don't even remember using them much. I am pretty amazed that 'awesome' came up so little seeing as to how I abuse it so much in my vernacular. Go get one of your own and see what words you've been abusing!

add-on: Oh! I get it! One, two, three. Season one/two/three! Shows I watch hardly ever reach season four. I am the best damn blogger (three other majorly used words) ever!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

My Kind of Romantic Films

In my deluded attempt at 'working out' yesterday I now have burning biceps. Biceps.. what a word. I have a sneaky suspicion that any muscle I ever had in my body has de-evolved into fat due to my long inactivity, even if that goes against any existing scientific theory. It started with an (abysmal) run and degenerated into me playing at the horizontal bars. I'm quite proud that I can still do the same tricks I learned in primary school. Not like that's going to earn me any points in any fitness books but still -pats self on head-, it's good to know.

I watched Paris Je'Taime yesterday. I had a lot of fun trying to match the segments with the directors. Out of eighteen, I got one right. Christopher Doyle's was pretty much a given though. And I was so sure Wes Craven had directed the story involving Elijah Wood too! If you watched the movie you might be apt to think so too. Anyway, the movie really made me think about the best romantic movies I've seen. Yep, you guessed it. Here's yet another movie list by me! With commentary, as per usual.

My Most Favourite Romantic Movies As Of 2007

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Joel (narration as Clementine acknowledges him by raising her coffee mug): Why do I fall in love with every woman I see who shows me the least bit of attention?

I got so spooked out when I first heard that line and briefly wondered if Charlie Kaufman was looking into my life cause it needs to be said that that one line is in essence, my love life. Replace the woman with a man and that is just me all over. Sucks to be me. Personally I think Jim Carrey is one of the most versatile working actors in the industry. I always tell the disagreeing majority to watch this film. What usually follows is, "What the hell is a eternal sunshine of the what what?" Tsk. Lousy inbreds.

2. Casablanca
Rick: Here's looking at you, kid.

Actually that's not my favourite line in what is probably the most quotable movie in the world. But it carries the most emotional weight. This movie is probably one of the best romantic movies because both males who are vying for the attentions of Ingrid Bergman's character are real great guys. Unlike say, Reality Bites, where Ethan Hawke is a schlub next to Ben Stiller's nice guy and then Winona Ryder ends up choosing the douche anyway. Christ, I hate that overrated wallowing-in-faux-90s-pretentiousness movie. So as I was saying, you find yourself rooting for both of them alternatively because both of them need Ilsa in completely different ways. And both of them have their redeeming qualities so in the end when she goes off with ____ the grace with which the other guy handles the situation just adds the needed gravity and beauty to the love triangle.

3. Amelie
This movie is quite literally the celluloid encapsulation of the phrase joie de vivre. It isn't just about finding romantic or platonic love, it's about being in love with life and all its minute pleasures. How to fault it on any level?

4. Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Mr. Darcy: Miss Elizabeth. I have struggled in vain and I can bear it no longer. These past months have been a torment. I came to Rosings with the single object of seeing you... I had to see you. I have fought against my better judgment, my family's expectations, the inferiority of your birth by rank and circumstance. All these things I am willing to put aside and ask you to end my agony.
Best wedding proposal ever. That's how real men propose -thumps chest-. Heh. For real though, the final scene between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth in the marsh in the early light of dawn is an absolute killer. And Darcy's second proposal is much improved of course.

5. The Village
I think I know why it did so badly in the movies. M. Night Shyamalan because of his past fare has built himself a certain reputation and unfortunately at the same time painted himself into a corner. Because of The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, everyone expects a twist to happen and when it does and doesn't deliver they hate it on the film and go onto IMDb and rant. The Village suffered because the trailers painted it as a horror film. Everyone watched it expecting one. When it turned out to be about a character study in love and grief, they went ape shit.

I never saw The Village as a horror film. I went into the movie expecting a twist, sure, I mean I read the internet forums, but once the film started I was sucked into the love story between Joaquin Phoenix and Bryce Dallas Howard. To me the film was all about their relationship. Because I am quite a tactile person by nature, the incredible cinematography (it helps that the lead character is blind) with scenes like this:

had me enraptured.

6. Lost in Translation
Key scene: the karaoke scene with Scarlett Johansson singing 'Brass in Pocket'. In one fell swoop a million men lost their hearts when ScarJo sang the 'I'm special' line in the song.

Later when the credits are rolling and you're mulling about all the missed connections in your love life you'll understand why this movie is so damn good. The endless possibilities and 'what ifs' presented throughout the film, especially the final scene between ScarJo and Bill Murray will haunt you in your loneliest hour and you'll wish you had a Charlotte to your Bob.

7. City of Glass
The story of soulmates and undying love. It's a bit like The Notebook without the excessive schmaltz and dementia tangent. Off topic but this was the very first movie I saw Daniel Wu in. Even with the horrible Cantonese and floppy hair, it was celluloid love at first sight.

8. Peter Pan (2004)
I am endlessly fascinated by the concept of first love. Parents scoff and demean the idea by labelling it 'puppy love' but I am a strong believer that love can exist within children. It's the most pure kind of love for it is untainted by the baggage that comes with adult romances. Which is why I rank this film in my top 10 romantic films. The film might not have mean to come off that way and I might actually just be projecting my own issues, but the subtext between Wendy and Peter I found to be very bitter sweet.

9. Brokeback Mountain
Fave scene:

I am so tired of explaining to my mum how this is so much more than 'that gay movie' so I don't want to go into it again. Suffice to say that I always end up sniffing back tears at the end of the movie every damn time. For the last time, it's about love between two individuals who happen to be men not homosexual love, mum!

10. Moulin Rouge + Romeo and Juliet (both directed by Baz Luhrman)
I put them both together because they're quite similar for fairly obvious reasons. On a sidenote, how awesome is John Leguizamo in both of them? I actually didn't realize he was the midget in Moulin Rouge till much later on in the movie. I'm too lazy to find a screencap of my favourite scene of R+J, which is when Romeo first meets Juliet at the fish tank. The obvious but playful attraction that happen between the two are crucial in sealing the chemistry for the rest of the movie. Apart from this movie, Claire Danes will prove that her decision to leave My So-Called Life for a movie career was an unwise one due to her incredible sucktitude.

11. A Very Long Engagement
While I found the movie to be overly convulated at some parts and brain numbingly slow in others, when laid down to its bare essential- the relationship between Mathilde and Manech, it is very successful in creating a love story of hope and endless faith. It also helps that the two leads Miss Amelie Poutain herself, Audrey Tautou and Gaspard Ulliel, are incredibly pretty. In fact, lately the pretty stakes have been on the side of Ulliel. Google Image him, the boy is hot. A Very Long Engagement is another film that leaves me sniffing back tears at the end of it. You'd have to have a heart of ice not to.

12. The Princess Bride
Let's take a moment to remember the incredible hotness of Cary Elwes before the harsh years of thirtysomething life hit him. [beat] Right then. I think the great thing about the film is its fairy tale-like quality. Not unlike Peter Pan that has quite fantastical elements, it never gets bogged down by the larger than life premise or characters.

That just about ends the list. Can you believe not one Sandra Bullock or Hugh Grant film made the list? Crikey. I barely can. How will that validate their career that is afterall made up of romantic comedy schlock?

For good measure (and cause I'm on a roll), here are some scenes that I like in films that I didn't like enough to make the cut.

- the "Can I keep you?" scene in Casper. It's just absolutely gold considering it's a CGI ghost talking.

- the Keira Knightley segment in Love Actually. As a whole the movie doesn't do it for me with it's unrelenting schmaltziness but the unrequited love segment with Keira Knightley and dude-with-the-placards is quite sweet in it's inevitable hopelessness.

- alright here's one for Miss Bullock. I thought her character in While You Were Sleeping was adorable. I haven't watched the film in a long time after my mum confessed to thinking Bill Pullman was hot (ruined Independence Day for me too). I've never been able to look at him in a proper light after that life scarring confession. Thanks, mum.

I end with this quote by Ryan Gosling in an interview he did with OK! Magazine recently.
Interviewer: Many guys say they cry when they watch The Notebook.

Ryan Gosling: [Smiles] Sissies. What's the matter with them?

And one more for the LOL road.

Got to give mad props to this guy for trying.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Words from my notebook

I was going through Notebook #2 the other day making sure I had fulfilled everything on my to-do list when I came across this list I made at the beginning of the year, just before my birthday.

Three Birthday Gifts That I Want But Will Likely Never Come To Be In My Possession Anytime Soon

1. The iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner

2. A Segway
3. The R2D2 Projector

Oh well. Maybe next year.

It has also just recently come to my attention that I am no longer a teenager. Hence the delayed "Oh. So for the next 10 years whenever I write my age down it will begin with a 2?" reaction. Expect the dreaded 'final year freak-out' to happen only after I graduate.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Lego reimagined in contemporary times.

Twist and Shout
Originally uploaded by eitheror.
This was my favourite of the bunch. More over here! I guess some people just kill time on Christmas Eve more interestingly than others.

Also, see Mario Bros in Legoland

Sunday, April 15, 2007


So, for those who were wondering, I actually finished Pride and Prejudice this time around. (see: this post here). And considering the speed with which I ploughed through the book, it's hard to believe the hard time I had reading the book the first time around. Actually, no. I suspect the only reason I finished the book was because of my fondness for the movie. It's like Lord of the Rings for me. It's much easier to go through the book with visuals attached to certain scenes.

Verdict: For me, movie trumps book. If not for the superb acting or the cinematography, than because of the tracking shots. I'm a bit of a dope when it comes to long tracking shots. Dope meaning that I fall hopelessly in love with really successful long tracking shots.

Q: What's better than watching 300 on big screen?
A: Watching 300 on HUGE ASS SCREEN - IMAX, bitchezzzz.

Another Q: What's better than watching Spiderman 3 on big screen?
A: For real, it opens at the Melbourne IMAX on May 3rd. I'd advise you to check your local listings for this will be unlike any other screening. (IT'S 3D!!!!!//11/convulses/dies)

Sunday, April 08, 2007


If you've never heard of the documentary Earthling, well, on the verge of being patronizing, lucky you. Having heard of this notorious doco, I hunted it down and after viewing it, I almost wish that Earthling to me was nothing but the word 'earthling' in italics. Not because it is bad by any means, but the stark truth of the film sears itself into your brain, leaving you unable to ever feign ignorance at the subject matter.

In short, the doco is about animal rights. Yeah, I can hear the groans already but this film is not PETA propaganda material. It doesn't resort to the organization's irritating and ultimately self-defeating 'shock tactics'. It does tend to fall on preachy grounds but given the obvious direction of the subject matter, it's hard not to.

What I thought was the most interesting thing about the doco was the idea of speciesism it expounded on. The idea is that we, top-of-the-food-chain-bearer-of-opposable-thumbs humans, are guilty of not including other living planets on the Earth when we use the term 'earthling', therefore unconsciously practising deplorable acts to what we view as lesser species. Hence, the -ism. The practice of speciesism is divided into 5 sections:

1. Pets - that we own these free creatures and expect them to serve us = a big no no.
2. Food - hidden-cameras taken into slaughterhouses allow us explicit footage of what really goes behind those walls.
3. Clothing - self-explanatory
4. Science
5. Entertainment - animals as exhibitions at zoos, circuses

For the most part I found that even if I didn't fully agree with everything said in the doco, the graphic content sure did have some truly stomach churning moments. These are my thoughts on the 5 sections humans are most guilty of in specieism. I should probably warn you that there will be spoilers. I would prefer if you, dear reader whether friend or random visitor, watched the film before reading on but if you can't stomach gore (and I mean, real life gore, not the CGI stuff you see in horror films or in CSI), then by all means. Hopefully my horrible grammar and inarticulacy will be no deterrent.

For those interested, you can watch the film online here. It runs for 95 minutes.

---Here be SPOILERS---

To begin, I should tell you that I would call myself a selective animal lover. In the sense that I love some animals more than others. Whales and wolves would be at the top of my list (and not just for alliterative purposes), whereas pigeons and guinea pigs are right down there. It's horrible and hypocritical but it's the truth. Besides, I never said I was a nice person. Alright.. onwards to my thoughts on the film.

1. Pets
Having never had a pet, apart from the one day Baxter affair (see: Flickr), I can't claim to know the motivations behind keeping a pet. Friends who have pets lavish them with so much attention and care that it's hard to believe that people will rear pets for any other reason besides adding another member to the family. Yet, there exists puppy mills where pets are bred for profit. And pets that have outgrown their rearer's comfort zone only to be abandoned. It's a sick world and I lead a charmed life, pardon the ignorance. Pet shelters can only do and keep so much abandoned pets. As humane as the concept of euthanasia is, it's still chilling having to watch actual footage of dogs slumping over five seconds after receiving the lethal injection. Worse still is the footage of inproper extermination, eg. cyanide in food. Euthanasia may be the most humane process but also the most expensive and in the end the mighty dollar speaks last. This segment lauds owners who haven't more than one space for a pet yet leave them unneutered because the excess of breeding goes to become landfill waste in the long run. Which I have to agree with for even if you do manage to sell your pets, there's no telling how well they will be treated or even how long they might hold the buyer's attention.

2. Food
When I tell people that I don't consume shark fin's soup (on the grounds of animal cruelty), I often get asked if I'm a vegetarian/vegan. I go on to tell them that no, I love my chicken too much to ever give it up, eating veges only is madness! how bout you? After watching this doco, I have to ask myself why the hypocritical partiality to sharks? Then I examine my life a bit more and have to admit that the main reason behind abstaining from pork for four years was not because of an objection to the breeding conditions of the pig, but borne out of an obsession with Jewish culture. I realize now that the looming extinction of a creature has had a lot to do with my food choices. That realization was affirmed while watching the doco because the parts I squirmed the most was during the footage of whale hunting. Having always had a soft side for whales (they are my second favourite mammals after humans), watching the visceral footage was horrible. There are, of course, equally visceral imagery regarding poultry, beef and pork slaughterhouses, which really affirms everything we've heard about the practices in these places. It's not really a question of whether we shouldn't eat meat. It's the circle of life. What really matter is if it's right to torture animals so grotesquely before we consume them. To give them hormone injections to bulk them up, to force animals into pens that can only hold a tenth of them is against what nature prescribed, is it not? I wonder if having an image attached to the rumour-turned-truth will prevent me from buying crispy strips off KFC. I'll tell you in a week.

3. Clothing
Alright, so that really weaned me off my hunt for the perfect leather jacket. Touché. No mink either, point taken.

4. Science
This is the section that I want to agree with but can't. When I was fourteen, I fancied myself an antivivisectionist. I was against all use of animal in product testing or medical research, the whole righteous she-bang really. Then I turned fifteen and in biology class, I happily spliced a frog open without much hesitation. It wasn't even in the name of science for me, just morbid fascination. Two years later I talked with a friend's mother over dinner about her work in scientific research and the use of animals in said field. Now, at the age of twenty, I have to admit that I am a pro-lab rat kinda person. In the doco, it was mentioned that the use of animals are wasted as these medicines are tested on humans in later clinical trials. To my understanding, those medicines/products used in clinical tests have been finely modified and worked upon after the results of the tests on animals. So really what the humans are receiving is at that point, the most perfect formulation after trial and error. I don't know what would happen to humans if they received the rawest product. Does anyone remember the international crisis a couple years ago where four humans reacted badly to a clinical test in Germany? I don't remember the specifics but the global reaction was urgency at its finest hour. I imagine that if animal testing was outlawed, that event would be a weekly occurrence, and for those who can't remember, it was urgency bordering on terror. I suppose to make clear, I am an advocate of donating human bodies to science as well. There is a lot of people dying of cancer. Need we add to the death toll on the quest to find a cure for cancer?

5. Entertainment
The doco made clearly the difference in zoos and conservations. Our natural curiosity of the exotic is the basis behind zoo operations, the film states. Which come to think of it, is quite true. Very rarely do zoos serve conservation purposes. Living in captivity is surely not healthy for the creature. Keiko, the whale from Free Willy, anyone? What really drove the point home was the bull-fighting footage. It's just wrong, what they do to the bulls to get them to 'fight'. They prod, poke, tighten reins, stab the bulls- all in the name of entertainment. Humans are the worst kind of species because we not only force other species for our entertainment but have no qualms in using fellow human beings too; the gladiators in ancient Rome comes to mind, or a more recent example, the leaked pictures of prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib. WWE, people! I have no idea why I brought that last point up, just thought it needs to be made clear that despite the best of our intentions, all of us are guilty of being speciesist. And too easily entertained by men in lycra.

I think that at the end of the day it's a dog eat dog world out there. Only the best survive, right? Darwin and all that rot. Yet I can't help but feel for our fallen earthlings, especially those killed because some people had too much a passion for fashion. I wished that slaughterhouses in the world would only use the most humane methods in killing livestock, yet I know profits are the order of the day so expenditure must be kept to a minimum. I wished I could say I wasn't a speciesist, that to me all animals are equal, but I laughed pretty badly at the footage of the 'pigeon bowling' sport. I'm a little confused, and I'm not sure what to do to ensure that animals can at very least be granted a humane death so all I can think to do is to pass the message on so that at bare minimum no one can feign ignorance at the extent we mistreat animals. Hopefully I've done that. Thanks for reading.