More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Food Review: Kimchi Grandma Korean Restaurant

Kimchi Grandma has a few stores scattered around the place but the particular one I'm reviewing is the one located on Whitehorse Road in Box Hill. The small glassed store front leads into a very long and large restaurant inside, with a small side ajoining room that looks out on the pavement. Its a bit dark in there for my liking but when the ceiling is like 10 metres high, it is pretty hard to light the place adequately.

Dennis, Paul and I ordered quite a lot of food since we were all extremely hungry. For entrees we got the Seafood Pancake, with one slice still left on the left photo below. I was so hungry I forgot to take photos of everything until after we had nearly finished eating. The Pancake is a nice chewy texture with pieces of seafood and when dipped into the slightly sweet soy sauce, works quite well. Accompanying the entree was the assortment of side dishes that Korean food is famous for. They vary from time to time depending on what they have. My all time favourite side dish tasted a bit like abalone, but I doubt they would give that since its so expensive. It was probably squid marinated in some way. Anyway this time, we got six side dishes consisting of pickled white radish, kimchi (pickled cabbage, my other favourite), jelly in soy sauce, marinated eggplant, egg rolls and pickled bean sprouts. You can see all the empty little dishes in the left photo.

For mains we had the good old Beef Bulgogi (left dish on right photo), which is thinly sliced beef in a garlic, soy and sweet bbq like sauce served on a hot plate with various vegetables. Kimichi Grandma's Beef Bulgogi is quite good and I've tried quite a few Beef Bulgogi at different Korean restaurants. We also got another hot plate dish in the Beef Ribs (left dish in left photo). It is also a sweet bbq type flavour and the beef ribs has its own distinct flavour. The last dish we got was the Seafood Hot Pot (right dish in right photo). It is a spicy soup mix with lots of different seafood such as mussels, clams, calamari, prawns, tiny octopus and vegetables such as mushroom, radish and various types of Asian green leaf type vegetables.

The service at Kimchi Grandma was good. We were seated quickly and brought tea immediately. We were also asked what drinks we like first. The orders were taken and confirmed, also checking whether we wanted entrees first or everything at once.

The atmosphere at Kimchi Grandma depends on the night. On crowded nights, such as Friday when we were there, the noise level is quite high and there is a general buzz around the place typical of many Asian restaurants. Its make for a happy mood even if you have to shout a bit to be heard.

Overall Rating: 14/20, Food and service good and not too expensive. Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

All Hacks Indoor Soccer Team Vol 803 & 804

All Hacks,

Well last weeks mid week, post Easter, late night match was always going to test our team. Whether we could get a full side was a mystery as deep as whether there would be a token ethnic and gay person in Big Brother 06. Well, it turns out that both situations turned out in the affirmative. We managed to field a team of 6 with Masum making a low key comeback with full Terminator style knee brace. Khai also surprisingly came back despite thoughts that after he saw how well we played together, he might have decided to do a runner. But no, he has shown that he will be a dedicated member of the All Hacks team, through sickness (last years winless season) and in health (3 wins out of 4 so far). His true test will come if the All Hacks start losing (touch wood) and things aren't going well.

To the game itself, we did quite well with some brilliant solo goals from Kheang and a great strike from Masum. The match may have been closer except for some uncharacteristic Justin "Nerds FC" style goal keeping errors. After improving so much from his initial keeping style to now, watching Nerds FC must have rekindered Justin's memories and made him decide that he wanted to relieve some of his "younger years", while at the same time paying homage to the keeper on Nerds FC. With a couple goals fumbled through, we ended up losing the match 3-5.

The second game in our week long double header was a late night match. I enlisted the help of my friend Paul to help make up the numbers. A first up season appearance from Adrian insured we had a full team. We were all fired up and ready to go when we found out the other team didn't turn up. So we ended up playing a friendly match with the referees team.

The match wasn't taken too seriously and it showed on the scoreboard, with the score being 10-10. Most of the team got onto the goal sheet and had a nice light run. The match lacked the intensity of a normal match but still showed up our miscommunication in defence. We still have to be responsible for a man each in defence and mark him tightly. More talking is needed to let each other know who you are covering.

For a personal advertisement, I recently started a blog. If you have some time, come and visit it at Also if any Google ads on the page interest (or even if they don't interest you), just click on them hehehe. Give so that Thanh may grow (rich).

On the topic of getting rich, here is a very interesting article on loopholes in things. The pudding story is a classic. He even managed to get a tax deduction out of it, that's sure to delight all the accountants.

Finally, some of you may also be about to go through performance reviews like myself. Here are some very interesting articles about Human Resources that shine some light on their role in the company.
Article 1
Article 2
Article 3


Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Not So Short Autobiography

From the suggestion of Choo Choo from The Oriental Express, I've decided to write a post telling a bit more about myself. I thought I had written more about myself in my first post but I read that back and it really didn't say much.

So as you might already know, my name is Thanh. Thanh is a very common Vietnamese name for guys and girls. I think I know 5 other people that are named Thanh. In fact, I was in the same grade 4 class with another guy named Thanh and when the teacher yelled out "Thanh", there was always confusion between us as to who she was calling.

I was given the name Thanh because when I arrived in Australia, my parents needed an English name for me. So they used my Chinese name, ah Seng (in my native Chinese tongue of Te Chu), which means success and translated that into a Vietnamese word, since that is where I was born. Hence I have since been known as Thanh.

So as I mentioned, I was born in Vietnam in the town of Cholon. That part of Vietnam is where a lot of the Chinese people live and is like a mini Chinatown. I have one younger sister who was also born in Vietnam. Our family migrated to Australia when I was 6 to flee the oppression of the communist Vietnamese Government.

I first arrived in Australia and lived in the state of Victoria in a suburb called Avondale Heights. My fondest memories of those times was living with my aunty and uncle and my 3 cousins. The 5 children used to get up to lots of fun. I also remember going to school and not understanding a word of anything the teacher was saying. Anyway I adapted pretty quickly and with my love of television, picked up English very soon.

After living a bit over a year in Victoria, our family moved to the state of New South Wales and lived in the suburb of Cabramatta, a suburb not known for its neatly kept lawns and picket fences. It was more known for crime and drug dealers. But we didn't have much money and rent there was cheap. Also the fact that most of the town were Asians helped to make things easier as our whole family didn't really speak much English.

Life resumed normally in Cabramatta for a couple of years. In the mean time my language skills had improved greatly and in fact I got Top Student in the year level in grade 2 and 3, not bad seeing I didn't speak a word of English until recently. Half way through grade 4, our family packed up again and moved back to Victoria where I have been living since.

We moved into the suburb of Springvale and moved houses but still stayed in the same suburb. I went through primary school at Springvale West Primary and did well academically. I won the Science award at the end of Grade 6 graduation. I think you are starting to see a theme here, I'm a bit of a geek.

So now we are at High School. I attended Westall Secondary College, not because of its prestigous reputation but rather its close proximity to my house. I am a believer that its not the school that determines how well you do, its the person attending the school. I went through high school once again doing well. I made lots of great friends then, many of which are still good friends that I keep in touch with. At the end of high school, I got a result in the top 5% of the state and choose to do a double degree of Electrical Engineering and Science at Monash University.

University was everything that I expected and more. During uni was when I started to learn more about society and different types of people. I breezed through the first two years of uni just relying on being able to learn things quickly. Third year I had to put a bit more effort in. The fourth and fifth years were extremely hard. I was losing steam quickly and just made it over the line. It didn't help that by fifth year, all my friends had already finished their single degrees and were out in the real world making and spending money.

Once again, I made lots of friends at uni and they are still very good friends. I think that by that stage in life, you start to understand yourself more and the friends that you do pick are those that you have things in common with or traits that you admire.

Finally that takes us to currently. I've been out of uni for two years now and have only worked in the one company, Dummy Company (not real name of company). I had part time jobs during uni such as waitering, factory work and online supermarket shop assistant (I wheeled a shopping trolley around and actually did people's online shopping orders) but Dummy Company is my first "real" career job. I really like my job at the moment and I especially like my work mates, many of whom have featured in this blog. In fact, you can see their ugly faces here.

I have learnt so much in the first two year of work in the "real world" that I don't know where to start, but I'll give it a try. Work has shown me how society functions. Things are no longer the innocent situation of school. Out in the real world, there aren't lecturers to show you the right way to do something. You make your own mistakes and learn from them. There aren't tutors to remind you of assignments you need to hand in, you have to keep track of your own business or get left behind. Work has also shown me the slightly uglier side of human nature and taught me that you have to keep your guard up occasionally and pick and choose carefully who you can trust. Its been a very rapid learning curve and I'm lucky to have many friends at work, and I do use the word friend as thats what I think of them (I'm not sure what they think of me), to help guide me along. Some have been very helpful and given me wise words that I listen to and make a point of remembering.

Socially, I like to get out a lot and just meet up with friends and catch up, watch a movie and eat some dinner. I'm not the party animal type, I prefer good conversations with friends. I go out for dinner and drinks most weekend. As you may know, I really love food, good quality food. I'm constantly looking out for new and different types of foods to try. As I have said to many people, my ultimate job would be to work as a food critic. However as that is not going to be happening soon, I'm also happy to be an Engineer.

I also love watching and playing sport. I like to watch Tennis (go Federer), Australian Rules Football (AFL, go the Hawks), Cricket, Soccer, Rugby, Basketball etc. In fact I love to watch nearly all sports, even golf on a really hot lazy day. I also play a bit of tennis socially and am part of an indoor soccer team known as the All Hacks. I recently notched up my 100th game for the team, not a bad feat I reckon.

So thats my life story so far. Currently, a large part of my life is also devoted to blogging. I love to blog and read other people's blog. Blogging gives me an opportunity to voice my opinions on anything and also a way to deal with stress and issues in my life. Writing problems down works very well for me and just makes the problem seem smaller. So I'm hoping to write a lot more in the future and hopefully a few people will read it. :-)

New Name For My Blog

Some things just seem so obvious and you think, well why didn't I think of that earlier. Anyway, Stan of Brother Daniel San blog was nice enough to link to my blog. However, he had linked to my site as "More Thanh Words" rather than "More Than Words". For those of you who don't know, my name is Thanh. :-)

So I was thinking, what a great title "More Thanh Words" is. Its a play on the song title that I used for this blog since I love singing and music. It's totally unique and includes my name in the title. Its very accurate as this page is just more words from me. Its a clever funny title. So I've decided to steal the idea from Stan and change the name of my blog.

So I'm changing my blog name to "MORE THANH WORDS".

So WELCOME to the first post of my newly named blog. Hooray!

Now to some administration tidying up. Firstly, for the few people who do link to my site, if you would be so kind to change the name, it would be much appreciated.

Secondly I just checked my feedburner stats and apparently I have ONE, can you believe it, ONE subscriber to my site feed. I'm so happy, my very first subscriber. Thank you to whoever you are who subscribed on Saturday. For anyone else who likes to keep track of updates to my blog, you too can subscribe by clicking the orange button just under the title on the side bar. To be honest, I'm not sure how the site feed works. I know you need to download an RSS viewer to view the feeds and I assume that you will receive an email or something saying that I've updated new material. If someone knows how it all works, drop me an email or comment to explain it all to me.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Hunter Chasing The Rabbit

Humans are very bad at multi tasking with their brains. What I'm talking about is really using your brain to do two things, not context switching where you might think about one thing, do it and then think about another thing and doing that.

I think we've all talked to a friend while driving before. I don't know about you, but I find that if I am talking as well as driving, my reaction times to the traffic slows down and I also make a lot more mistakes. I've also tried talking on the phone while trying to keep a conversation going on online instant messaging services like MSN. I always found that I would lose track of one conversation and would have to pause on that one to concentrate temporarily on the other.

I don't know if its a male thing only because the stereotype is that women are much better at multi tasking with their brains. Maybe some of the female readers can leave comments of their experiences and whether this is true.

Anyway I decided to post some simple games to test how good your brain is at multi tasking. I think we have all done the pat your head with one hand and rub your stomach with the other. Also there is the draw a circle with one hand and a square with the other. Well, here are two more games you can try.

Opposing Circles

This one was taught to me by my boss Ron. One hand has to make a clockwise circle while the other has to do a counter-clockwise circle. What you will find is that you tend to make two circles that go in the same direction. See video example below for what you have to do.

Hunter Chasing The Rabbit

This one was taught to me by my work mate Jeffrey. One hand makes a gesture like a gun with thumb and index finger while the other hand makes like two rabbit ears using the index and middle finger. You then just switch the gestures to the other hand. See video example below for what you have to do.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

My New Web Cam

I just recently bought a new web cam from my friend Kevin's Online Shop Computer House. If you buy anything from him, tell him I referred you and he might give you a discount, well he told me he would anyway :-). I just wanted to test out the web cam and learn how to stream video on my blog, so I've taped a short Video Welcom Message to my blog.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Review Part 3 By Kin

This is the third part of the game review by Kin. You can read Part 1 and Part 2 first if you haven't read them.

A personal review of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion by Kin

Part 3: NPC and AI

It’s been a long time between my previous review and this one. My only excuse was that I was playing Oblivion. A quick update; I’ve finished the Main Quest, and other quests from the Thieves Guild, Fighters Guild, Mages Guild and the Dark Brotherhood. And believe me or not, there are more. Not as big as these other missions but there are still more to do. Business is never finished in Oblivion.

As discussed at the conclusion of my Part 2 review, I was going to finish off by talking about NPC and AI. As a reminder, they stand for Non Playing Character and Artificial Intelligence respectively. These two subjects are very closely related. In fact talking about either topic in video games must always involve the other.

A Non Playing Character (NPC) is essentially any or all of the characters in a game whom you do not control. That means any persons, creatures, thing or object that cannot be moved or manipulated by the player’s keyboard, mouse or joystick. To be plain and simple, it’s everything that you encounter, whether friend or foe, that can move, talk, attack, and simply think for themselves.

This leads to the second topic in Artificial Intelligence (AI). In simple terminology, it’s the brains of every NPC. How every NPC does or think is governed by the mind of the computer. The CPU inside every desktop computer or video game console made has 100% control of how every NPC behaves, reacts and interacts with the player. Whereas we all think with our brains, our computer counterparts have artificial intelligence.

The underlying strength of Oblivion lies deeply within the AI of every NPC. Every individual character or creature has their own mind, their own personality, and their own daily routines. The average citizen in a town would sleep during the night, and then wake up in the morning to shop or work in town (good time for an old fashion burglary). At the end of each day, it’s back home for dinner and bed. On other end of the spectrum, wandering bandits can be found hiding behind bushes waiting to launch an assault on an innocent and defenseless passerby. Characters in the game don’t just interact with the player’s character, but with each other also. Conversations and sometimes confrontations between NPCs can be observed simply by standing and watching.

NPCs can not be directly controlled, but that’s not to say they can’t be influenced. As mentioned, every character has different personalities. Their attitudes and perception towards the player are major factors to their own actions. By bribing or sweet talking to the town guards, I could easily get away with crimes when caught red handed. A good friend turns a blind eye. On the other hand, I could really piss some shop keeper off and he/she would sell me wares at rip off prices or refuse to tell me vital pieces of information.

Being the famous and much-loved hero or being the most infamous a-hole, the choices are up for grabs. How the game is played and how goals are achieved all have almost limitless possibilities. One thing is for sure, whatever is done or how it’s done plays the largest role with every NPC. Their respective AI can and will think for themselves. Their actions and their attitudes can play an integral part towards the successes of the beloved hero. Or it can simply lead to downfall for most wanted fugitive.

This concludes the final part of my three part series. I hope it will inspire many people to join me in not playing Oblivion, but living it with me.

Happy Gaming!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Blogging Is So Therapeutic

I have to say, this blogging caper is a really good thing. Its such a great therapeutic tool. Whenever I have any problems or worries, I can generally write them down and it seems like a weight is lifted off my shoulder. Instead of me thinking about a situation for a day or two, instantly after writing it, it seems that all is well again and I forget about the problem altogether, and that's the honest truth.

I think the advantage of writing your problems online is that sometimes you just want to voice the problem and not necessarily get an answer, or want the other people to know exactly what its about. For example, you may tell a friend your problem, but this may cause them to judge you differently, they may try to give a solution or they may not be interested and you are forcing them to listen. Instead, readers can decide whether they want to read a blog or not, they can close it anytime. You also get varied opinions and support from people all over the world, who you sort of know but not really (shout out to Afrobev for his continual support and comments).

Now that I feel great again, especially after the shower, I'm off to meet a friend for dinner. Hopefully there will be more happy posts in the future rather than slightly depressing therapeutic posts, as useful as they are.

Performance and Development Review of Life

At work we are about to have Performance and Development Reviews (PDR) to assess how well we are doing at work, what skills we lack and how we can improve our performance at work. Our salaries and bonuses also rely on these PDRs so you have to take it quite seriously.

What I want to know is, why isn't there a PDR for life. Wouldn't it be so easy if you and your friends could fill out a form about how you are going in life. Thanh, you got a 9 in being a helpful friend, but only a 4 in being more aggressive and striving for what you want. This would help to give you a much clearer direction in life, but instead most of us have to go through and make mistakes (some more costly than others) to learn more about ourselves.

Lately, I've been comptemplating about many more issues in my life, one of which is friendship again. I wonder if it's writing this blog that really makes you stop and reassess your life, growing older and learning more about life, or the increasing influence of my friend John who keeps saying that his philosophical outlook on life is rubbing off on me. I think it's probably a combination of the three, but I'll discuss that in another blog post should the need arise.

I had recently written a post called Recipe for Good Friendship where friendship was analogous to food. As I had written, we choose certain friends for qualities they possess that we enjoy, want to achieve or have common interests. But what if you have outgrown a friend and to use the food analogy, no longer like eating apple pie.

Recently I had an argument of sorts with a friend. I had been saying for a couple of months that I was getting sick of his sarcastic unserious (not sure if that's a proper word) attitude to life. I said that I didn't know when to take him seriously or if he was "just joking". This came to a few arguments (which I thought were serious) because he said things about me that I didn't agree about, so I then went and argued against. In turn, his response was to start the argument but not continue it and instead take the easy way out by saying it was all "a big joke" and I was taking it all too seriously. Well this made me even madder and made it look like I couldn't take criticism.

So recently we had another disagreement which once again revolved around our opinion of what type of person each other was. I said that I was sick of his constant non-serious attitude and turning everything I say against me. Either I fell for "another joke" or it was serious argument, I went into defensive mode again. This prompted him to say that in the past couple of months I had turned from a fun loving person to a bitter negative person. I thought about this a little bit when I went home and realised that maybe it was true. I wasn't bitter or negative to anyone else except him. But why was this? My conclusion was that it's a self defence mechanism. Since I never knew when he was serious or not, I too had become one of those non-serious sarcastic person around him because I didn't want to get upset again over comments that I may take seriously but he would claim are jokes.

So what has happened to this friendship. We used to get along very well but nowadays I just find it so boring with all this stupid chat and nit picking of every word or action I do. So have we just learnt more about each other and not liked it. Have I outgrown this friend or realised that maybe we never were truly good friends. When do you know that your friend no longer provides anything you need or want. What's the official clue that you should no longer be friends. And what happens then, you can't exactly "dump" your friend, so do you just talk and see them less and slowly drift apart or put it out in the open and discuss it? I will try again to talk seriously to this friend about what I feel are the problems. He may agree or disagree but hopefully we can work out a solution. Otherwise maybe we just aren't suppose to be good friends after all and should just be aquaintances.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Nokia: A Decent Factory?

I just watched a documentary on tv about one of Nokia's supplier factory located in China. Two worker's ethics advisors were contracted by Nokia to assess this factory in China that made the charger for Nokia.

Basically the documentary showed these two advisors walking around the factory and asking the obligatory questions. They discussed about working standards, pay, living conditions and any other issues facing the workers. Some workers were interviewed to give their opinions on the working conditions.

What I saw was appalling. The workers work a 12 hour day with overtime on "most days" as the supervisor said, but he might as well have said everyday because that was the reality. The workers are only paid about 500 Yuan a month, less than $100 AUD. They then had their pay deducted by 150 Yuan for food and lodging at the factory, which is compulsory. They also get further deductions to their pay if they are late or lose their ID cards even. What's worse is that their pay is incorrectly calculated to include all the overtime and on a 26 day working month so that they all seem to be getting minimum wage, when in fact they aren't if you deduct the overtime and calculate the wage on the proper 21 working days a month.

The workers, mainly female, live in the dorms with 8 sharing a tiny room. They are forbidden to keep food in their room and fraternisation with men is definitely not allowed. Any woman found to be pregnant would be fired or forced to have an abortion. (What century are we living in? Its only a job, not a prison.) The two advisors hear this and instead of saying what an atrocity, they say that they've heard worse in other countries.

The conclusion that the advisors found was that the factory was quite good with only a few issues. One minor issue was that some chemicals were stored near drinking water, which was rectified. They also "suggested" that the amount of overtime being done by the workers should be looked at, as Nokia don't want their workers to work more than the law allows. Finally, probationary worker's pay should be increased so that its above the minimum wage, which was done.

After watching the documentary, all I can say is thank heavens I live in Australia and work in a country where there actually are ethical standards. I guess when you have no options and survival is an issue, you would have to put up with terrible conditions and live with it. If the same working conditions were applied in Australia, there would be mass walk outs in all companies around the country.

What disturbed me most about the whole documentary was the superficiality of the whole exercise. Why does Nokia even bother, oh I know why, to please their investors and shareholders into thinking they run a humane company. What I hate is how big corporations try to put a spin on these terrible conditions by saying that they've had ethical reviews and everything is fine. It all comes down to money, whether I or you like it or not. If paying a tiny amount for the advisors meant they got a good report saying their company complies to ethical standards, the resultant sale of humanely produced products would more than compensate them. I'm not picking on just Nokia, I'm sure all major corporations do it. There are many stories of Nike and their sweatshops. I guess it all boils down to the fact that they can. What are we going to do, boycott Nokia and Nike products and buy Ericsson and Adidas. Would that change anything, I doubt it. Ericsson and Adidas probably are just as bad. There will always be inequality and exploitation in nations where jobs are hard to get and having one means life and death literally. Lets just be grateful of our privledged working conditions.

Food Review: Ying Thai

After two not so Thai food experiences in the past two weeks, I was going to give Thai food one last try. I went to Ying Thai located on Victoria Street in Abbotsford with Patrick and Dennis. Dennis had suggested it and said that it was not too expensive and quite good. This turned out to be very true and has restored my faith in Thai food.

Ying Thai is very small restaurant with a nice comfortable feel to it. The bright orange walls and colourful murials make for a pleasant happy feel. The atmosphere inside was busy without being overly noisy so that you had to shout to be heard. The service was good. We were brought ice water as we sat down and the waiter was friendly and efficient, reading back our order to make sure it was correct. The food and drinks arrived promptly and without fuss.

The Papaya Seafood Salad (left in picture) was my favourite dish. It was extremely hot and had yummy crisp papaya and carrots mixed with seafood and tangy lime and fish sauce dressing. The Red Curry Duck (middle in picture) was also delicious and a bargain at $13. The serving was much larger than last weeks one at Poppy’s Thai Restaurant and it also had a lot more duck in it as well. The curry was nice and creamy and went extremely well with the Thai Beef Fried Rice (not shown in picture). The rice was cooked nicely so that it had that “wok” flavour I love. The Pad Thai Chicken (right back in picture) was a much better one than that at Tantawon’s Thai Restaurant. It was still a little bit sweet for my liking but at least the noodles were all fully cooked and separate. Finally the Fish Fillet with Special Chilli Sauce was again very hot. The fish in batter was nice but the chilli sauce was a bit too salty. For drinks we all ordered the Thai Milk Tea, which was orange in colour. It tasted a bit like green tea ice cream as Patrick noted. This might sound strange but trust me, it was very nice and helped to cool the mouth from the spicy hot food.

Overall the food and service are of a good standard. The fact that the dishes were so cheap made it extremely good value for money, as usually Thai food is quite expensive.

Overall Rating: 14/20, Food and service good and value for money.
Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Time Flies As We Get Older

Humans have really bad time tracking instincts. Some animals can keep track of time very accurately and do certain things at certain times. Humans, however, couldn't track an hour accurately if our lives depended on it.

With our bad sense of time, it still doesn't explain why our lives seem to get faster as we get older. I know everyone has probably uttered the phrase "Time Flies" a million times. I have found myself uttering these words more and more. What is it that supposedly makes our lives seem to go by quicker as we age.

I can remember back in the days in primary school where the school year just seemed to last forever. Or is that my memory of it now as how is supposedly was back then. I guess back then I never really thought much about time and what things I had to get done. But from my memory I'm pretty sure I never questioned why there wasn't enough time to do all the things I wanted to do.

Nowadays, weeks blur together and soon months also start to blend a bit. I sometimes can't remember exactly how long ago things happen. Usually I always underestimate and think something has occurred more recently than it really has.

I met my friend Calvin on Monday for lunch. We both said we hadn't seen each other for a while, but could both clearly still remember the last time we had lunch. So we were guessing that it was probably two months since we've met. But upon closing scrutiny, we realised that we hadn't seen each other for 6 months, 6 months, can you believe it. It almost felt like it was only last week.

So what is this phenomenon that seems to speed up our lives. I have a couple of theories and so does my work mate Tafazal. Firstly, for my more mundane theories. I think as we get older, our lives get more and more complicated, with many more responsiblities and worries. This will occupy more of our minds and during those many moments of thinking and concentration, we lose track of time and it passess by more quickly.

A second reason I think is that most adults have to work. Work is usually not something that is utterly enjoyable most of the time. During the 8 hours of work, it may seem like long hours at the time, but afterwards, we tend to forget each individual day and blur them into one as they encompass fairly similar activities. This means that you lose 5 days of each week where it feels like you don't achieve much personally and hence feel like you get nothing done. I know you also use 8 hours when you were going to school, but the difference is, once you got home from school, you just enjoyed yourself. There was no need to cook, clean, pay bills, reply to emails etc. So you felt like you did everything that you wanted to do. Whereas now there are a million other priorities that we should do before we can do what we want to do.

My work mate Tafazal has more extreme theories. His first theory is that time is literally getting faster. As in a minute today as read by a clock was actually two minutes 20 years ago. But I hear you ask "Why don't little kids feel like time is going faster". Well the answer to that is they have never experienced anything different so to them this is normal. When you have nothing to compare something with, you don't realise if there is anything wrong with it.

Tafazal's second theory is that the human race as a whole is slowing down mentally. Hence it takes longer to do every task and this all adds up. So we are slower now then when we were kids, so it feels like there is less time because everything takes longer to do but we don't notice it because our minds are working at a slower speed. Once again kids don't notice because they have nothing to compare with. Tafazal used the example that in a sloth's time frame, we would look like falcons, but for a falcon that moves and reacts much faster, we would be like the sloth to them. I don't know how this fits in with his theory but it was interesting. I asked him to clarify but the more he clarified it, the more I got confused, so I'll just leave it to you to work it out in your own slower minds.

So to conclude, I still don't know why "Time Flies" but I think my theories may be plausible. Now I just need the MythBuster team to devise an experiment and confirm or deny the myth.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Geek Is The New Cool

It seems like being Geek is the new black this season, its cool to be a geek. New TV shows such as American Inventor and Nerd FC are cashing in on the Geek amplitude modulated wave.

Geeks are now the (gaseous molecular) stars of the show and not purely there to be embarrassed. Shows such as Average Joe (trash tv) made fun of geeks, who were merely there to highlight the perfectness (is that a proper word) of the himbos (thats a male bimbo) chasing the beauty. However in these new shows, the geeks are the (electrostatically attractive) force for what they bring along, a different perspective to life.

With the power of the Internet, geeks worldwide are having a huge influence on society. With geeks usually the first to adopt new technology, it means they are always at the forefront of what is happening. Therefore they can influence how new technologies are used and for what purposes they are used. As with the case of Internet, with some knowledge of html, one geek can influence many other people. A perfect example of this is the new emerging phenomenon of blogging (web logging). The world's most popular blog Boing Boing is run not by a multi-national company, but just your average [sum(N data points)/N] geek. Boing Boing has so much influence with their large readership that the site has been able to highlight wrong doings.

I think I'm a bit of a geek. On my own invented PI scale, how many decimal place digits you can remember in PI by heart, I only know 5 so I would rank a 5. Anyone ranking about 5 or more is probably a geek in my opinion, so what do you rank? Anyway this opinionated geek here hopes to heal the world (make it a better place, for you and for me and the entire human race) through the power of this blog. Now if only 1.7 million people read this blog every day rather than about 60, it would make it much easier to spread the message (in a hypertext bottle). Oh well, it just means that YOU, one of those 60 readers, has to work harder to help pass on the message of peace and equality for all human kind, and their pets as well.

Signing Off,

Friday, April 14, 2006

Movie Review: Cinderella Man

Cinderella Man is actually a story about boxing, you wouldn't have picked it from the title. It's a story about real life boxer James J. Braddock, played by a very different looking Russell Crowe. I could hardly recognise him at the start and during various stages in the movie.

The story of Cinderella Man is quite simple. It is as the title references, a fairytale of sorts. Braddock is a fighter who goes from his lowest point in life where he has to basically beg for money, to being boxing champion of the world. The story shows the various stages of Braddock's life through all the hardships during the depression to when he starts winning fights. Braddock's wife Mae is played by Renee Zellweger, who I really like as an actress. She always puts in a solid performance, but in this movie, she plays second fiddle to Crowe. I see why there was so much talk at the time of Crowe winning the Oscar for this role. He is very convincing and does a great job portraying the different emotions of Braddock. Too bad Crowe's real life image isn't so good, and probably was the reason that he didn't get nominated after the telephone throwing incident.

The film captured me for most of it. Even with its very simple storyline, it is inspirational to watch. And the fact that its a real life story of course adds to the effect of the movie.

Overall Rating: *** out of 5

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

All Hacks Indoor Soccer Team Vol. 801 & 802

Welcome to the All Hacks Indoor Soccer Team. Our humble soccer team is in its eighth season (usually 2 seasons a year) and have won the premiership once. You can read up on all the stats and past glories at our Official Website run by our captain, manager, accountant and statistician, Justin. You can follow the trials and tribulations of this soccer club from week to week through the Unofficial Newsletter, which I will post each week. The unofficial newsletter is less focused on the stats but rather is focused on the lighter side of the game.

All Hacks,

Welcome all to another season of the All Hacks Football Club, the original and best Nerds FC (this Friday SBS 7:30pm).

This season kicked off last week officially after we refused (couldn't find enough people) to participate in the stadium's money making "pre season classification match" and asked to be put directly into the lowest league. We are currently in the second lowest league I think.

Last week we welcomed yet another member to the All Hacks team, Khai, Ajay's workmate. The match was also apparently Kheang's 50th match according to master stat keeper Justin. Why Justin isn't work for the tax office is their lost. Anyway, Kheang made it a match to remember for himself but going coast to coast (or is that net to net) and scored a great solo goal. That goal also helped us to win the match and get off our long bogey losing streak and a good start to the season. Suddenly, enthusiam was regained (on my part anyway, I don't know about others) for the forthcoming season.

This 5 a side soccer is very different to 6 a side game. With the field narrower, the goal circle smaller and the keeper able to throw the ball over half way, the game is much more open and free flowing. We all felt this added pace and even with 8 players to rotate around, we all got tired very quickly. Ajay also joined the "CHUCK" Norris Hall of Fame with fellow two time inductee Justin. Ajay managed to make it to the toilet though unlike Justin in past incidents.

This weeks match was suppose to be a stark affair with many players saying they couldn't come, hence the call out for anyone and everyone to come. We welcomed yet another member to the All Hacks team in my workmate John. Khar and Mohamad also heeded the All Hacks distress call and came to help the team. Mohamad took time out from his hectic university studies (see, Mohamad playing for us did not cause him to fail high school) to help a team in need. "Mo" was also sporting a very large "Fro" and looked like one of his power labs experiments at uni had gone wrong (only joking Mohamad).

Much to everyone surprise, our supposed bare bones team ended up being one of our largest turn outs ever, with Justin, Maal, Ajay, Nish, Mohamad, Khai, Kheang, Khar, John and myself. This meant we basically subsituted the whole team during the first change.

This game was also my 100th match as I was informed by Justin. I was enquired by Ajay and Nish separately "How does it feel to know you have spent $1000 on soccer?" Well when you put it that way....nah its been a great ride, some highs, quite a lot of lows, but overall very enjoyable and its been great meeting some many new friends throughout this journey.

With the actual match, we won another close one, 4-3. I also managed to score a goal on my 100th match through a great lob pass from Khar. Other notables from the match were a couple of disallowed goals from Khai and Mohamad (I think, someone correct me if I'm wrong). Justin also threw out a pass that hit Khar without him knowing and went straight back into the goal area, hence a back pass and penalty. Justin managed to save that penalty brilliantly but unfortunately couldn't save the second penalty that was given away by John for entering the goal area. Hands up anyone who hasn't gone into the goal area on their first match? Its just one of those things, you can tell someone 100 times but inevitably they will not be aware of the goal area when they are playing and go into it in their first match.

So its been a good start to this new 5 a side season, hopefully we will get back to the days of old and win another premiership.


Monday, April 10, 2006

A Day At The Footy

On Sunday I went with Adrian, Ajay and Justin to watch some Australian Rules Football, commonly known as AFL footy. Our favourite team Hawthorn Hawks were playing at Telstra Dome.

Our day didn't get off to the best start with us missing the train by about 30 seconds. We got on the platform with the train still there but then waiting to buy a ticket took so long that the train had left by then. Another reason why we should introduce a smart card for credit for things such as public transport tickets.

While we waited for the train, I egged on Justin to wave his Hawks flag, which he gladly did to the Hawthorn theme song on his mobile (below left). Unfortunately, only minutes later after we got on the train, Justin snapped the stick on his flag (below right) and his mood totally sour. What this has taught us is that we should also treasure what we have, because you never know how long it will last. Also, you should never walk with a stick directed horizontally and try to squeeze through a tight vertical space. :-)

When we got to the match, we found that the queues for tickets was very long. After each waiting in a different queue to see which was fastest, we finally got in only to find the game had started. We wondered around and tried to find a seat but there weren't any rows of 4 seats left. Hence we sat right in the corner next to the coaches box so you could only see about 60% of the field. During quarter time though we quickly moved seats so that we were sort of behind the goals. We were right up high but at least we could see everything.

To the game itself, Hawthorn were doing quite well leading at half time. But the third quarter, commonly known as the championship quarter saw Collingwood kick about 8 goals to our 2. The match was basically over then. The last quarter Hawthorn came back a bit but it was all too late. Lets hope we don't have a repeat of last season where the Hawks won the first match only to win another 3 throughout the whole season.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Food Review: Poppy's Thai Restaurant

After last week's disastorous Thai food experience, I thought I would try it again so organised to go to another Thai restaurant with my friends Patrick, Dennis, Kevin, Candy and Michael, who I hadn't seen in ages. After a bit of browsing around on the internet, settled on Poppy's Thai Restaurant in Burwood. As I've said, restaurants that have a website with the menu tend to entice me to go as I can see what is available.

Poppy's is located quitely along a strip of shops on Burwood Highway next to Subway and some grocery stories. It's not much to look at outside but once inside, the surroundings are very warm and inviting. The two storey high ceilings and wooden floors give it a nice feel. The tables and chairs are solid dark wood and the table arranged nicely, a good first impression.

For entrees, we ordered the Mixed Entree and Roti Bread with Peanut Dipping Sauce. The Mixed Entree is listed as "A splendidly tempting platter with chicken satay, spring roll, Thai fish cake, vegetable samosa & prawn roll" and guess what, thats what you get, one of each. I thought there would've been at least two of each considering those items are very cheap and they are charging $13 for the dish. The Mixed Entree is your standard fried fare and the Roti bread was ok but the Peanut Sauce was good.

Mains was famous Thai Red Duck Curry (middle dish in picture), Mango Chicken (left dish), Mor Tok (seafood curry), Phuket Platter, a seafood salad (left dish in picture) and Pineapple Fried Rice. The food arrived promptly despite the restaurant being very full. Our drinks also came quickly before the actual meal, so they get points for that. Overall the standard of the food was high and all very nice. The Duck Curry was how curry should be, nice flavours that aren't overpowered by just loads of coconut milk. The Mango Chicken was ok, with the batter of the chicken a bit too heavy and the mango puree tasted like it was from a can rather than fresh mangos. The Mor Tok seafood curry was a nice mix of seafood with strong coriander and chilli. The Pineapply Fried Rice was nicely done with that strong "wok" flavour as I call it, where its just about to burn on the wok but hasn't yet. The dish that I actually liked the most was the Phuket Platter, a seafood salad. The dish was ultra hot, broken up with sharp lemon and coriander flavours and the seafood mixed in between.

Overall, Poppy's food and service is good, but its downfall is that the serving sizes are way too small for the prices. I know quantity isn't everything but when you need about two dishes to fill you up, well thats just not right, considering the dishes cost between $15-$30. After we had finished eating, we were all still very hungry so headed off to Pancake Parlour where everyone had a large dish of pancakes for dessert.

Overall Rating: 12/20, Food and service good but serving sizes way too small.
Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Is Immitation Flattery? Controversy At Restaurant Interlude

Recently, chef Robin Wickens of high profile restaurant Interlude in Melbourne has been involved in a lot of controversy. He has been accused of copying dishes from other high profile restaurants Alinea and WD-50 in the US.

I think from the pictures you can clearly see that he has copied the other restaurant's dishes. The question is, was it merely an oversight and he naively forgot to credit them. Or, did he think he could get away with it, and get credit for himself. I tend to be cynical and think that he was trying to get credit for it. He did win young chef of the year from The Age Good Food Guide and I'm sure these innovative dishes helped in achieving that.

What Wickens has done is ethically wrong, but not legally wrong. You cannot copyright a food dish, which is fair enough, otherwise you might only be able to eat a Pepper Steak at one restaurant in the world. I mean we at home copy dishes all the time when we follow a recipe from a book. But the difference here is that Wickens is making money off someone else's idea and not crediting it. I think the least you can do is to credit the other chef, its just a matter of principal. Imagine the injustice if the other chef was actually accused of copying Wickens dishes if a diner went to Wickens restaurant first. I think a chef should be inspired by a dish and at alter them to give it a different feel, infuse it with his own special touches. That should be how a good chef operates, not steal someone else's idea and try to pass it as their own.

I'm sure Wickens isn't the only chef that is copying dishes from other restaurants. As with anything in the commercial world, if it sells, others will try to copy it. Not crediting the original inventors means that firstly there isn't a comparison. Secondly most people will tend to want to try the original item rather than the imitated version. If I knew two restaurants had the same dish, I would want to try the place that invented it.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Review Part 2 By Kin

This is the second part of the game review by Kin. You can read Part 1 first if you haven't read it.

A personal review of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion by Kin

Part 2: Combat system and buying a house

This is the second part of my review for Oblivion. Please note that since I suffer from writers block it is almost impossible for me to cover every topic in my head. This part will cover two topics, Combat System and buying a house.

Combat system: An integral part of any video game is the playability. We all love a game that has fantastic graphics, beautiful sound and a smooth engine. But what good would it be for someone who likes to spend hours and hours wishing to be entertained constantly. A lot of games, past or present, have been lowly rated simply because they have no game value. They are visually and aurally stunning, but end up boring you to tears or are so unplayable you just don’t bother.

This is another impressive aspect that Oblivion has bestowed. Like I mentioned in Part 1 of my review, this game is packed with stunning graphics with realistic sounds and superior voice acting. But the marvelous producers have still managed to maintain the games overall playability and realism in terms of physics, sound effects, and character movement. Every single object in this virtual world can me moved, knocked down or flung around. I could ram myself into a table with a nicely placed dinner set and knock the knives and plates onto the floor. Every knife and plate is its own object. I can pick them up individually. They move in realistic ways and produce realistic sounds with every action depending of the shape, size and material of the object.

Now it should be clear how realistic and interactive everything is. But now the truly amazing aspect of game play is combat. We all love a good fight. But how much we love it is measured by the realism and freedom we have when confronted by an enemy or two. The character has a wide variety of moves and skills that help him or her take down their opponent. They can simply slash and stab for the quick kill. They can weave and sway around the enemy’s attacks and then launch a counter-attack. There is more than one strategy to employ when engaging a threat. Sneaking behind an enemy is possible. Firing a poison arrow from far distances is also an option. Whatever approach is taken is all dependent on preference. But to be really smart, it should really be dependent on the character’s strength and weaknesses. It would be unwise to jump on a group of palace guards if the character is weak with hand to hand combat. It would be a smarter choice to snipe your enemies, say, from a balcony if the character has great marksmanship skills. Weapons are not limited to just knives and swords. Blunt weapons such as war hammers and clubs are just a few of the many arsenals at the character’s disposal. The greatness of the overall combat system is just one of the testaments to the highly rated gaming experience of Oblivion.

Buying a house: Sure. There are vast number of Inns and Hotels in the virtual world. For a small fee, the character can stay overnight for some much needed rest. But wouldn’t it be so much grander to have a place to call home? Or better yet have a place in every city that belongs and only belongs to the hero. A place where he or she can hang their sword, sit down have a glass of fine wine, and simply relax in his or her comfortable bed. Gold is the buying/trading tool of the game. Collect enough coins and houses can be purchased. The second most expensive house is in the city of Chorrol. For a nice round sum of 20,000 gold pieces, a dream house is there for the taking. Now this place is HUGE. It was two stories, with 3 bedrooms including an en suite. I could also buy furniture from the local merchant and live in absolute luxury. It should be noted that owning houses and buying fancy tables and chairs doesn’t contribute to the storyline or the character’s skill or attributes. But it is fun. I enjoy spending some time of my own moving room to room, unloading my books and spells in my room cupboard knowing they will still be there when I come back from my big quests. To have a place to call home is priceless and it sure beats jimmying my neighbor’s door lock and then spending a night at the local jail.

This concludes Part 2 of my review. My next topics will cover NPC and AI. For the non-computer geeks out there, they stand for Non Playing Characters and Artificial Intelligence.

Happy gaming!

Above: A place to hang my hat or my sword.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee

Below is a story emailed to me by my philosophy loving friend John.

When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favourite passions - and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else - the small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouseout to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

So I think the morale of the story is to not clean your room and drink lots of coffee LOL :-).

Monday, April 03, 2006

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Review Part 1 By Kin

The follwing review of the game is written by my friend Kin. Stayed tuned for future installments as he gets further along in the game.

A personal review of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion by Kin

Part 1: Brief Introduction

Where to begin? Should I give a brief run-down of what this game is about, who developed it, or what other people have said about it. No. Anyone can simply go on a website and read the hundreds of reviews and articles to find out what they want to know about this amazing game. Game? I wouldn't just call it a game. It's a life experience. It's a virtual world. It's the opportunity to do almost anything you desire in an open environment with almost no boundaries and no rules. There is just enough time for me in the world to even comprehend how remarkable this piece of gaming software truly is. But I will try to tell some of it.

Just imagine. Controlling a character. A character you don't just pick from a list at the start of the game, but a personal custom-made male or female person. And it may not be a person. The player can choose from 10 different races. The human (or other) character's face can be customized too. He or she can be fat, handsome, old, young, anything! He or she can be anything from a good hearted warrior to an evil tyrant. His or her physical, mental and magical attributes are also varying factors.

Oblivion is a game. There is a main quest (and hundreds of mini-quest). A storyline that you must follow in order to complete it. However, there is much more than that. I have played this game for over 24 hours in total and I am nowhere near finishing this main quest. This is not because I am slow in killing the enemies, finding the lst treasure or rescuing the young princess. One of the main beauties of this game, apart from the STUNNING graphics (see pictures below), is the fact that there is just so so so much more to do while you a taking a break from your adventures or your missions. I can spend hours exploring the vast world.

There are 8 main cities which all play a part in the overall story. There areas cover a countless number of other sites such as caves, camps, towers, dungeons, etc. I could be riding on my horse and travel all around the open road and explore or revisit these far away places. I could buy and sell the many treasures, weapons, books, food, jewels to the many merchants. I can even sell them something as trivial as a pen or a piece of paper for tiny amount of gold. I can break into someone's house, kill his wife, steal his pots and pans, and other nonsense which plays no part to the story but rather how people treat you. I can spend a fair amount of time just causing mischief with the local law authorities. I even have the chance to take them all when they try to take me down to fine me or send my a** to jail. It is just an open sea of possibilities here. Words cannot explain it. Only by spending hours glued to your mouse and keyboard would it be truly appreciated.

This concludes my first submission. My next topic will be about the combat system and buying houses.

Spot The Difference

So I finally got round to cleaning my room. Now I don't trip over things in the middle of the night when I go to the toilet. :oÞ



Saturday, April 01, 2006

Movie Review: V for Vendetta

The first I had heard of V for Vendetta was that it was where Natalie Portman actually shaved her head for the movie. Also in this movie is Hugo Weaving, although we never actually get to see his face. Weaving plays V, a superhero of sorts who is out for revenge after being scientifically tested on to create a new super virus.

The movie is by the Wachowski brothers, adapted from the comic books about V. The movie is in their usual style and a bit strange but the cinematography is very stylised. The explosion scenes are spectacular and so well choreographed to go with the music. The fight scenes are Matrix like.

The movie is centred around V. He was the only surviving person from the Governments experiments to create a biological super virus weapon. The testing gave him heightened reflexes and extraordinary strength. V is on a vendetta to get back at all the people who were involved in him being experimented on. He kills them one by one with the primary target being the Chancellor Adam Sutler. V also has another motive, he wants to restore Britain back to happier days. He wants the citizen of the country to stage a rebellion against the totalitarian control of the Government, who have come into power via unsavoury methods.

V meets Evey (Natlie Portman) when he rescues her from some thugs one night. Evey turns out to be linked to V via her parents. I won't spoil the movie by revealing how but their lives are constantly intertwined.

V for Vendetta is a good movie with the viewer having to work to understand the story. The dialogue, especially of V is very sharp. I also liked the emotional connection between V and Evey. I also love the mask that V wears and want one. The masks also play a big role in the movie.

Overall Rating: ***1/2 out of 5

Food Review: Tantawon Thai Restaurant

I went to Tantawon Thai Restaurant in Kingsway in Glen Waverley last night with my friends Jo and Kin. I had been there previously for lunch and remembered that the food was quite good but fairly expensive. Well it has gone through a management change and not for the better. After last nights experience, I'll never be going back. When you first walk into the restaurant, it looks like an upmarket place with the table settings nicely arranged and a nice ambience about it. But thats where anything good about it ends. There's a reason why all other restaurants along Kingsway are packed to the max and this one isn't.

There is a lot wrong with this place and I don't even know where to start. Let me start at the service as that is where it went wrong from. We were handed menus and after we made our selections, we waited, and waited. You would think that the waitress would at least bring our drinks first. How hard is it to open the cap on a bottle of beer. Anyway it took ages for that to arrive. Also we had asked for water knowing that the food would be spicy. The water never arrived and throughout the night we asked again and finally for a third time when Jo had to physically get out of her seat, go over to the bar and demand for some water. There is no excuse for this. The restaurant may want to sell drinks for over inflated prices (which we all had already ordered) but even if customers don't buy a drink, they are entitled to ask for water. It couldn't have been an oversight as we asked the same person twice and since there were hardly any other customers, it couldn't be that hard to remember.

The wait staff were also not very attentive. It was hard to get their attention as they were all mulliing around the bar and not looking around the room to see if any help was required. Another thing that was bad in my opinion was that they left tables uncleared for a very long time. If this was supposed to be a high class establishment, leaving tables uncleared with all the messy plates didn't look very good.

With the actual food itself, it was not very good and ridiculously overpriced. We ordered a Beef Pad Thai, Chicken with Lemongrass and Tom Yum, Green Chicken Curry, Satay Beef Skewers, Roti and Coconut Rice. The Satay Beef Skewers were so overdone and totally hard and dry. The Beef Pad Thai was way too sweet from too much sweet soy and lacked any other flavours. The Green Chicken Curry was boring and just tasted like a lot of coconut milk. The Roti was again too sweet and so chewy. Compared to the Roti that I had last week at Namaskar India, this tasted like chewy paper. The Coconut Rice was again too sweet. It wasn't just me that thought everything was too sweet, Jo had commented about it before me. The only half decent thing was the Chicken with Lemongrass and Tom Yum. It was the only dish resembling what Thai food SHOULD be like, aromatic fresh flavours blending a variety of different taste sensations that jump around in your mouth.

Overall, I rate this restaurant extremely poor. It tries to be a high class restaurant but it doesn't come close to achieving it. The only thing high class about it are the prices, which is not reflected by the food. The service is also extremely poor so we didn't bother tipping.

Overall Rating: 8/20, Food is overpriced and boring, service was terrible.
Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.