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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Caught Up In Complacency

Complacency - a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.

Apparently I have become too complacent and self satisfied with my blog readership and have not been delivering enough good material. So to satisfy my Number 1 Fan (see comments), I will attempt to write an insightful post about being complacent.

A good friend rang me yesterday at lunch time to tell me that he found a new job. I was very happy for him. When he told me that he also got a huge increase in pay, I was even happier. However, this did make me assess my own situation, and I came to realise that I have become so complacent with my job, I didn't see the work train leave right before me.

When I first started working, I promised myself that I would never become complacent at a job. While I was working, I was constantly on the lookout for better work opportunities. It didn't mean that I would apply for those jobs, but it did keep me informed out what was happening in the work force and what the pay was like. When my job started to look like it wasn't going to go anywhere, I was strong enough to demand change or I would quit. As things turned out, I found a better role within the company after being offered yet another role. However, I have now been in the same position for two years and things have not changed, or look to change too much.

The job is pretty good as jobs go, but I don't see too much potential to move up in the corporate world. I had become too relaxed in the job and with that meant my own promise to not become complacent had occurred without me knowing. I used to always think about how I can improve myself but now I just go to work each day and work through another day.

This call from my friend has reminded me that there are plenty of opportunities out there and I just have to believe in myself. My friend didn't have any experience in regards to this new job, but yet he was able to get it. He had already been to 5 other interviews, so must have applied to 10 times more jobs. He graduated the same time and me and despite joining the work force later, he has gone ahead in leaps and bounds. That is because he is willing to take a chance and try something else when things are looking stagnant.

I have given myself another two more weeks to see what the outcomes of the performance reviews are. If it turns out that I don't get a pay rise, I will definitely need to start researching the market again. Only then can I keep challenging myself to do better and work towards an early retirement.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

YouTube Music Video Mash Ups

Everyone so often, I would just log onto Youtube and just get seriously hooked. There is so much good stuff, both from professionals and amateurs. There are snippets of clips that you may have always wanted to find, or something is bugging you about an ad and you can look it up. It is endless the amount of things you can find. Recently I was watching all the slam dunk competitions from the NBA all star competition each year.

Today, I was just looking up a Destiny's Child video "Say My Name" after I had read an article about Kelly Rowlands from Destiny's Child. In the article, the writer mentioned that two members of Destiny's Child had been replace in the music video. I just wanted to check it out. From a Destiny's Child search, I found the video I was looking for, but then I also found this great mash up of their Say My Name song with Britney's Toxic song.

This then led to other mash up videos by the same guy, such as this Justin Timberlake song.

This then led to other links involving Justin Timberlake, like this whole video that was done by someone using The Sims video game.

This then led to a video mash up between Justin Timberlake and Aaliyah dancing.

This then led to a link of a vocal battle mash up of Aaliyah versus Ciara.

Anyway I think you are getting the point. It keeps going on and on and there is so much good stuff. Some of the vides are of great quality and must take a lot of time and effort from the creators, with no financial pay off for them. They are just doing for the enjoyment and to pay tribute to their favourite stars. I applaud all those people and hope they keep churning out interesting stuff for us viewers, sometimes stuff that is more entertaining that from the professionals.

Edit: Just a couple more clips.

These notes will crack glass.

The mini divas of the 90s. I remember listening to all these songs growing up.
The undisputed queen of pop in the 90s, Mariah Carey.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I Need To Go Now

I have a fairly weak bladder and need to go to the toilet quite often. At work, I would go use the toilet 3-4 times a day. I usually drink about 1 litre of water during work hours. Some day obviously I drink more and some days less. I always drink at least 600ml of liquid as I finish one bottle during a day. If I drink less than that, I feel quite bad acutally.

I see that some people such as the work mates in my cubicle may only go to the toilet once or twice a day. Thats pretty amazing considering they drink a lot of coffee. I remember on holidays overseas with my friend Paul, he would drink a lot more water than me and may only go to the toilet once for every two times that I go.

Coupled with a weak bladder, I think the thought that I have in my head of having a weak bladder also makes me go to the toilet more often. I am worried that if I don't go now, there may not be a toilet later when I really need to go. This nagging thought in my head makes me go to the toilet more often than I really need to I think.

I know that when push comes to shove, I can hold off a lot longer before going to the toilet. Sometimes for example, when I'm driving somewhere, even before I reach half way, I may already feel like going to the toilet. However, since I don't really know of any toilets along the way, I keep going. Then I am surprised that I can actually hold it for another hour or more until I get to my destination.

Other examples of when its my head that dictates that I need to go to the toilet is when I'm working really hard and am so rushed off my feet that I forget to go. Since my mind is pre-occupied, the nagging thought that I need to go does not enter my mind. Today for example, I was working so hard that I went to the toilet only one time. It probably had to do with drinking only 600ml of water and also expending a lot of sweat, but still I didn't keep thinking about it.

It's convenient in Australia to go to the toilet when you want since there are so many. But overseas, like when I was in HK, I was literally busting and couldn't find any toilets at all. Even some restaurants don't have toilets. Then I ask to use their private one, in which they point to some toilet that is only allowed for workers. Eventually I found a McDonalds, but even that had only 2, yes, 2 whole toilets. The queue for it was so long, but luckily the guys queue was much faster. The ladies were lining up all the way down two floors of stairs. Crazy eh.

I will try not to think about going to the toilet so much and practise holding it in a bit longer. This will mean that I don't have to constantly look for a toilet when I'm out and as a side benefit, I will also save that little bit of water from flushing as we are currently in a bad drought.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Asian Cup - Australia vs Japan

The disappointment. I knew that Australia wasn't playing well, but I still hoped they would pull out a miracle like in the world cup. Kin, Paul and I went to Glen Waverley to watch the match. There was quite a good turn out, considering it is only the Asian Cup and soccer is still a small sport in the country. But it is gaining momentum and people are starting to be captured by it.

To the actual match, Australia were outplayed for most part of the match. Their goal was a good goal from a corner kick, but they let all that hard work go to waste when they let Japan reply almost immediately. I still hadn't stopped celebrating yet and was making phone calls when Japan alreayd replied. The Australian team consisted of the same members as the World Cup squad, but they just seemed to lack cohesion and firepower. I guess a good coach does make a big difference.

Australia did their best to hold onto from draw despite a Japanese onslaught in extra time. However, they couldn't grab the opportunity when it came to the penalty shootout. Harry Kewell and Lucas Neill, two of Australia's highest profile players and most senior memebers were unable to convert their shots, putting Australia in all sorts of trouble. Japan on the other hand, held their nerves and slotted their first two penalties. Australia were playing catch up from there and couldn't manage a miracle. Hopefully Australia lift their game and we see them qualify in the Asian region now for the next World Cup.

The Comic's Lounge

We went to The Comic’s Lounge on Friday since Jo had some tickets for a discounted price. I agreed to go since it only cost $6.50, despite some reservations due to the last comedy festival act that I went to where it was so boring. That previous comedy act was by Peter Berner and it was really not funny. It was also uncomfortable as the crowd was rather quiet and it wasn’t cheap either, at about $30. That was some money not well spent.

However, I’m very pleased to say that The Comic’s Lounge is some of the funniest entertainment I’ve been to and it was so worth the money. Apparently, the normal cost is about $25, and even at that price I would still go back. The night was awesome and I had heaps of fun.

Jo, Phuong and I traveled by car to The Comic’s Lounge in North Melbourne to meet Kin and Rowena who had arrived earlier. We grabbed some quick food, really bad sushi from a Chinese sushi take away. Then we ate the sushi out in the cold tables outside the shop. If I had known that the Comic’s Lounge a)served food and b)served humungous servings for a decent price, I wouldn’t have eaten and just ate inside. Not to worry, I now know for the next time, as there will be a next time.

The Comic’s Lounge is a huge upstairs room, with a bar at one end, the stage at the other, and all these tables in between. You are seated at a table with your friends. This was a great environment as it was very comfortable. You get a drink from the bar at any time and drink it at your table where you can talk to your friends as well as listen to the comedians. They also serve snack foods, like nachos, wedges, chips etc. The servings are so big that one serve will fill you up even if you hadn’t eaten dinner. The comedy started at 8:20pm and four acts plus the host later, it ended at 11:30pm. There are breaks in between some of the acts.

The comedians that we saw that night were from memory, David Hallin (surname possibly mispelt), Chris Bennett (a special appearance since he happened to be at the club), headline act Gab Rossi, and headline act Tahir (Habibi from the SBS show Pizza). I forgot the hosts’ name but he did short gigs in between the acts and then introduced them. All the comedians were hilarious and I didn’t stop laughing all night. My favourite was Gab Rossi, since he combined music into his act as well and I love music. Some of his songs were so funny I hurt my stomach laughing. But all the acts were great, with the common theme from all comedians on the night being Australia’s multiculturalism, or more precisely, ethnic stereotypes. The stereotypes were very true, and I being ethnic myself, didn’t find anything offensive. I was there for a laugh and knew it was just jokes, not like one guy who got upset when Tahir started joking about circumcision. He said it was not relevant, and Tahir’s hilarious comeback was that, he was Turkish and was circumcised, so it was relevant. Tahir’s impersonation of a Vietnamese accent cracked our table up the most, since all of us have Vietnamese friends or are Vietnamese and could relate to how accurate the observations and accent was. I guess that is what separates a good comedian from a bad one, the good ones are great observers and can pick up on something that we all see and hear but may not perceive in another way.

I definitely recommend you go along to the Comic’s Lounge. I think you have to pre-book for tables and it’s very busy so you can’t just rock up expecting there to be room, not on a weekend anyway.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Internet Addiction Part 2

You know you are addicted to the Internet when you write a second post about Internet addiction. You can read my first post here. I just read an article today, on the internet of course, about How we've become hooked on the net.

I guess its only natural for the Internet to become an addiction. Addictions are just anything that we crave out of proportion. I will be the first to admit that I have a partial addiction to the Internet. I couldn't imagine life without it. I could probably manage a few days without it, but after that I would be struggling. Now that I have broadband, like the article says, I pop in and out of my room a lot, just for a quick check of email or to read something on the net.

The Internet gives me a sense of "being connected" (pun intended). It makes me feel like I can reach out to people anywhere, learn about anything and do most things online. If any breaking events happen, I will be able to instantly know and even write my opinion about it. It has an immediacy that only a mobile phone can rival. However, the reach of a mobile phone is restricted to people you already know.

I find that the Internet is a very useful tool. I run a business off it, I learn information off it, I am entertained off it and I can meet new people off it. It has all the tools that are needed for people to satisfy their needs and wants. How the Internet might change in the future is anyone's guess. Mine is that it may get even more interactive, with things such as smells and virtual realities possibly becoming the norm. You could literally be transported to another world through using the Internet and a virtual reality simulator. I might get to satisfy my wish of travelling in space and landing on foreign planets, all without leaving the comforts of my chair.

My New Porsche

I just got myself a new Porsche today. I've put a photo of it below.

So did you see it, look closely and you will see it. No? Still can't see it. Here, I've put an even closer shot of it below.

Ok so I didn't really get a Porsche in the normal sense. I haven't got that much money. I did get a Lacie Porsche 500GB External Hard Drive. From the blurb about the drive, it says that it is designed by the world reknowned Porsche Design company. A quick Google search and you get the Porsche Design website. The company profile says that the founder, Porsche Lizenz- und Handelsgesellschaft mbH, did design the first Porsche 911. He created this design company to create other works of art.

I have to admit, as far as external hard drives go, this one is very sexy indeed. It does have a touch of class about it, with the clean lines, brushed metal, neat plugs at the back. A very minimalist look. I just hope the interiors work as well as the exterior looks good. It is a functional item after all so hopefully the hard drive is of good quality. For now though, the case looks very nice sitting on my desk. I've even moved the speaker and cleared some papers from around it so that it can have its own spotlight.

The Great Global Warming Swindle

I just watched "The Great Global Warming Swindle" documentary and I have to say that it was quite interesting. I always believed that CO2 emissions are causing the Earth to warm up, and I still believe it after watching the documentary, but it did make for interesting viewing.

I think the good thing that the documentary made me do was to question my long held belief that global warming was due to CO2. This is most likely true, but it never hurts to question things and ask for more evidence.

If you haven't seen the documentary, I suggest you see it whether you believe in global warming due to CO2 or not. The documentary suggests that global warming is just a political exercise and that the real reason for global warming is due to solar patterns. It makes some good arguments and if you watch the documentary alone, you may actually believe that CO2 don't cause global warming at all. The documentary is a good case in how any data can be misrepresented and displayed so that something else is the result. It's only when you read about the negative arguments where all the flaws show up. The show went and interviewed the documentary maker and probed him on all the flaws in his documentary. He sort of side stepped all the questions which made me realise how all his arguments are so flawed.

A lot of the flaws are blatant misrepresentation of facts, choosing to show facts when they suit an argument and omitting facts when they don't. This isn't scientific practise, this is called propaganda. The main case that solar patterns are causing global warming looks great when a graph up to 17 years ago was used where the two data tracked really well. However, recent increases in temperature that did not correspond to increases in solar spots foiled that whole hypothesis. There are many many other things like that in the show where graphs of data are misused and not shown completely.

The current debate over global warming is a very hot topic and this documentary is clearly trying to cash in, just like his claim that environmentalists who belive in global warming due to CO2 are trying to cash in. Despite all the flaws in the documentary, the fact that it does make you think whether we are being told the whole truth about global warming and question how accurate data are, is a good thing. The more people question this topic, the more accurate the data will be and it will tell us whether global warming will be the destruction of mankind. I for one will take steps to reduce my carbon emissions where possible. I don't see any harm in taking preventative measures if they are not hugely inconvenient and costly. We may be saving our own futures after all.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Job Is Not About Making Friends

"A job is not about making friends, it's about making money, and stealing office supplies" - Hilda Suarez, Ugly Betty

Firstly, don't judge me because I watch Ugly Betty. It's corny and stupid, but it's a relaxful hour on Sunday where I can sit on the couch and not have to think at all. I swear, the hour goes by and not much thought processing goes by in my head. Then I wonder where the hour has gone and why I wasted it, but that's another story about my laziness.

On this week's episode, Betty was having problems with her work mates, who she also thinks are her friends. Her sister Hilda told her that work is not about making friends, its about making money and stealing office supplies. I have to agree on the making money and stealing office supplies part, but I think you can also make friends at work. I like to think I have made some good friends at work.

If making friends is your only purpose for working, then you are also delusional. Work is after all about making money, or the majority of us wouldn't be there everyday. If going to work and seeing your friends is the only thing that makes you happy in life, you need to get a life. But I believe that having friends at work does make work that much more palatable.

I've asked some friends at work how certain other people can go through a whole day without talking to anyone and just sit there and either really work or pretend to to work. I couldn't handle that. How boring would a job be if you didn't ever talk to anyone or don't get along with your work colleagues. That would be one of my worst scenarios. I enjoy chatting to people at work on a variety of topics and I go to different people to talk about different things. There are the electronics enthusiasts that I talk technology with, the food enthusiasts that I happily talk food with, the people who I can go to for advice and people who I talk work with. It's a nice mix of people at work and talking to them makes the day just that much more enjoyable and helps me get through another day of making a measely salary.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hard Earned Do(ugh)?

This post is from my friend Kin, who has taken objection to me using the term "hard earned money" too much. Note that some parts that he wrote about me are hugely exaggerated for effect and comedy.

Kin Writes:

First of all let me explain why I am writing this article for Thanh’s famous blog. Well it was really inspired by several quotes Mr. Do has placed in some of his articles in regards to this “HARD EARNED MONEY”.

Let’s get one thing straight. I do not dispute or doubt Mr. Do who like the rest of us deserves every penny we make. In our generation, a large chunk of us had the privilege of receiving high education and as such landed us where we are today. However, a lot of time and money was invested prior to that. Late night studying, stress before exams, and that struggle in landing that graduate job after finishing university. Nothing came to us easy back then but now we are enjoying the fruits of our labor.

As most of us are working in a big clean office with abundant resources and freely accessible facilities, should we not spare of a thought for some of the less fortunate who really have to grind it out to put food on the table and rid of those unavoidable bills in their mail. Sure, people like Mr. Do have to work in a high pressured environment where deadlines and project completion are measures of his success. He would be coming in 9 to 5 every weekday pouting around at his desk or at the lab with the frame of mind for work, work, work and receiving that big fat pay slip in the middle of every month. His money was earned fair and square and has every right to spend as he pleases.

But what my beef is, well not really a beef, was Mr. Do’s constant public statements of wasting his “hard earned money” every time he spends it at a crappy restaurant or at the cinemas watching the latest Hollywood flop. Everyone else here would feel gutted too if they feel like they got ripped off or did not get their money’s worth. But let’s face it. Our money is not that HARD to come by. With unemployment in Australia at a 30 year low, and in some industries, there is high demand for talented individuals like Thanh Do whom would be paid handsomely along with other benefits and perks to attract him in spending 40 hours a week of his time in a comfortable white-collared environment.

Now my point and issue really is Mr. Do’s use of the loose term “HARD EARNED”. I would dispute his use of that term because I take into perspective the different circumstances others have or had to experience. What I mean by this is not an issue of the dollar values they take home everyday from work, but on how they had to earn it and the scenario they had to face. The example I will lay out is my mom and dad. The latter is in his late 60s still pushing it in the kitchen which he has been doing a good chunk of his life. His scenario is different now but in the past decades it was almost literally a matter of survival for our family to meet the everyday expenses of food, rent, clothes, transport, education, and health. Mom probably had it worse as she first tasted hard labor at just 10. Again this was not to save up for the new IPOD Video or go on a trip to Tahiti, but a matter of taking care of her own parents and a rather big number of brothers and sisters. Once motherhood arrived much later in the stages of her life, it was continuous work and sacrifice to provide for me and my brothers also. Today the fruits of their labor (and all other parents) are evident in the house we live in (especially Mr.Do’s), the cars we drive and the education we received.

This is just my example of what I believe “HARD EARNED” means due to that fact my parents were and still probably get paid less for grinding it out daily compared to high-flying executives on 6 digit salaries like Thanh Do.

From our perspectives, most of us can say we aren’t and never had it that hard. Though some of us have mortgages or other money dependent issues in our lives, the fact of the matter is, there is just not that level of desperation anymore in our jobs. Australia is a great country where you are not going to starve to death or live outside in the streets just because you don’t work. Though jobs are very important to us it just can’t measure up to where it was for parents and their parents. Taking Mr. Do as an example again, it is known that he is still unmarried and lives at home still. Of course I’m sure he helps around the house with the expenses (NOT!!!!) but the fact of the matter is if he loses his job today, he should have that flexibility and time to seek other earning options like a new job or business ventures like his multimillion dollar corporation which he is now the sole owner. Any disruption in his earnings should not affect his lifestyle in any great deal.

As I stated earlier, I do believe Mr. Do is an honest, diligent and competent member of the workforce. The dollars that roll into his piggy bank are rightfully his. It would just be more fitting and appropriate for him to describe his income in other words such as “deserved”, “precious”, “stolen” or “lucky”. Leave the term “HARD EARNED” out of respect for people like my parents and the many other battlers past and present.

A rich and happy Do

My Reply:

I admit that sometimes I throw the term "hard earned money" around a bit loosely, but I don't think its all entirely untrue. I know that the hardships my parents experienced also are much more than mine and I'm constantly thankful that I live in such a great country full of opportunities. However, I can only judge things from my experience and I think working is hard. Also, I think there is a misconception that if you are doing hard manual labour, your money is "hard earned". Well I have to disagree with that to an extent. Manual labour is one form of "hard earned" money, but so is using one's mind. It is very taxing on the body as well to think all the time.

My manager had commented on this just last week and I couldn't agree more. He said that people underestimate how much work it is to think. I can totally sympathise with this. I know that you get physically tired from a day of heavy lifting, but you will be able to go to bed and fall sound asleep. However, someone who has to think all day will sometimes carry those problems home with them, and those thoughts circulate through your head all night and you can't sleep. I've had this before, where a problem from work will keep going round in my mind all night so that I can't sleep well. It's not as easy as flicking a switch to put those thoughts away.

Therefore, I think I'm entitled to use the term "hard earned" money as the money isn't just rolling in if I do nothing. I also have to fulfil certain demands from my company, some of which isn't exactly easy. They may not be physical things, but its equally hard to come up with new fantastic ideas (I work in the New Technology group of our company) and ways to do things. You go through a lot of stress and head scratching when new things don't work and you have to try and find out why.

I will try to use the term "hard earned money" less as I am guilty of throwing it around sometimes. I will only use it when I really feel that I have been ripped off unfairly.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It Takes Two

The It Takes Two finale was on tonight and I was so glad that Jolene won. She was clearly the best throughout the series and set such a high standard, right from episode one. Initially, I thought she had a really good voice but didn't care too much for her. I don't watch All Saints so really didn't know much about her. However, as the weeks passed, I foudn that I was really supporting her.

Jolene and David were definitely the best couple on the show. Their chemistry seemed the most real to me. A few other teams didn't seem to get on too well, like Julia and Dave, Troy and Krystal and even Jo and Anthony, who I felt seemed a little fake. The people who I felt really connected were Daniel and Kate, Mimi and David and Jolene and David. This just made me believe and like their performances more. The show is called It Takes Two after all.

Back to Jolene and David though. I really liked them becauase they seemed to get along so well, and in the finale I think it really showed, with both at tears at the end of their final song, Dionne Warwick's "That's What Friends Are For". The usual comical David was actually very serious and got a bit teary during the song. I love David's usual humourus style and his self depricating humour. Jolene also turned out to be very funny too, with some great one liners. Someone give her a hosting role that involves some singing so that we can hear more of her voice. She has a really good voice. She was good from the start, but with David's tutorials each week, she became great. She got right into the performances and I thought tonight's finale really showed how much she has improved. They did a reprise of two songs during the season and this time she was even more smooth and controlled and the stage presence was even better.

Here is my favourite performance of Jolene and David throughout the season. It's Gloria Gaynor's "Never Can Say Goodbye". This was the Jolene's breakthrough performance where she really discovered what she was capable of with her voice after some persistence from David for her to stretch herself.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Federer's Fantastic Fifth

Those of you who are long time readers of this blog will know how much I love watching Federer play. I was writing last year about his fourth Wimbledon crown, now I can add one more to it.

Not surprisingly, Federer again won Wimbledon, but not without a massive challenge from what is now his arch rival, Rafael "Rafa" Nadal. The match was so close and I actually lost faith in Federer during the end of the second and start of third set that he could win. Usually there's this calm feeling when I watch Federer play as you know he can lift his game and win. However, when he is playing Nadal, he looks his most vulnerable and you never quite know whether he can win.

It took Federer all of his experience and grass court nous to beat Nadal this year. While Nadal threatened for a set and a half last year, he has clearly become an even better grass court player and was in with a chance to win during the whole match. It was only Federer's great serve and grass court instincts that saw him win some crucial points in the first and third set tie breakers and then hold off some break points in consecutive service games in the fifth.

The mighty graceful Federer has matched Bjorn Borg's five Wimbledon's in a row. He will again be the favourite next year, and apart from some massive injury or some weird lost of form, he should again be in contention for another title. At the rate at which he is winning grand slams, he may become one of the greatest male tennis players ever, if not THE GREATEST.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Movie Review - Transformers

***** NO SPOILERS ******

I went and saw Transformers on Cheapo Tuesday with my friend Kin and there was a mad crush of people. We totally forgot that it was school holidays so all the kids were out in force. And being kids with little money, they were all ready to watch a movie on cheap Tuesday too. However, all the people probably made the Transformers experience even better. A full house always feels different when the movie is also good. The whole audience gets into it and it just improves the movie even more.

When Kin told me that the movie was directed by Michael Bay, the director of Pearl Harbour and Armageddon, I wasn't sure if the movie was going to be any good. I had been to watch quite a few blockbuster flops of late, with Fantastic Four 2 being the worse, closely followed by Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and finally Spiderman 3, which was at least good for a half of the film. However, I'm very happy to report that Transformers is definitely Michael Bay's best film.

Transformers is what I expect of a blockbuster action flick, full of action. Wherease Fantastic Four 2 was so slow and the ridiculous story crawled along, Transformer's ridiculous story flew along, keeping us the audience totally entertained. The jokes in Pirates and Fantastic Four were so obvious and not funny and just seemed so try hard. Surprisingly, there was a lot of humour in Transformers and they were genuinely funny. The lead character, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) does a grab job and carries the movie really well. I've never seen him before but he has very good comic timing, with the jokes very natural and not forced.

I know a movie is good when I was busting to go to the toilet and was waiting for an oppurtunity to make a dash for it. I didn't notice the time go by at all and finally I couldn't hold it any longer and ran for it. When I came back, I quickly asked what I missed and apparently I missed a battle scene where one of the Autobots get into some trouble. The Autobots are the same as from the cartoons that I used to love watching. They are the good guys from another planet that are here to stop the bad guys from the planet, the Decepticons. Don't you love the names. The Autobots are lead by their feerless leader Optimus Prime and the Decepticons by Megatron. Again, don't you love the name, so 80's.

The visuals are stunning, combining real life action and CG seemlessly. When you see battles between the humans and the robots, you are so engrossed by the action that you don't even notice that the robots are computer animated. The shots of the robots transforming are jaw dropping. The various parts changing and the sliding camera angle so that you go under, behind and over the robots are wonderful.

Transformers has all the elements for a great film, good versus evil, boy chases girl, the Earth is about to be destroyed, man has to save the Earth, great battle scenes and cool cars. The story is simple and ridiculous. The Decepticons are coming to Earth to find the All Sparks, which is a cube that gives them the power to turn any object into another virtually indestructible Decepticon. The Autobots are here to also retrive the cube and stop the Decepticons. However, Star Wars was an equally simple story. It's about doing the story well. The audience is kept entertained the whole time and not given time to let their minds wander. Battles follow crisis situation mixed in with Sam's personal problems and adventure. I actually cared for the main characters this time unlike the other blockbusters I mentioned earlier. I cared whether Sam and his family, Mikela (the girl Sam is chasing and who becomes an allie) and the Autobots survive. All this while still driving the story forward and towards a fitting finale.

Overall Rating: **** Loved the film, great action scenes mixed in with Sam's personal story. Lots of humour as well. The story travels at a fast pace and the two hours go by too quickly. I could watch the robots transform many more time. Brought back lots of memories of the old cartoon series. A must watch film.

Monday, July 02, 2007

iWant an iPhone

It may be all the marketing hype, or it just may be because it looks and sounds like such a good product, but no matter the reason, I want an iPhone. However, as Australia are always so far behind, its probably going to be another year before the iPhone gets here.

After watching the video below of the functions of the iPhone, I want it even more. I love my iPod mini already, with its mono colour screen and old click wheel. All it does is play music, but I already carry it everywhere. Now imagine adding to that a phone, an internet device, a data storage device, a photo viewer, a video player and a music playing device and the iPhone has this geek drooling. And once again, Apple have come up with such a stylish device and unique and seemingly easy menu navigation tool with the touch screen. The click wheel is excellent but the touch screen looks even better.