Thursday, May 31, 2007

Slow but steady action?

It just came out in the news recently that some mamak in Kuala Terengganu was slapped with a hefty fine of RM20,000 or something like that because that raised the price of their Milo drinks to RM1.80 from RM1.50 or so after the recent increase in salary for government employees. Of course, I am quite pleased that they are finally doing something to curb the problem of raising prices indiscriminately, but it does beg the question, why do something about it only now? I mean, all this time the prices of practically everything had been going up with no corresponding increase in salaries, so why is it only now the government has decided to act against it, and in Kuala Terengganu of all places, which is such a backward part of Malaysia the prices of everything are probably still lower than anywhere else anyway. What about other mamaks around here, where the price of most drinks are already at RM1.80 or so. What about the ever escalating price of petrol? Why don't they do something to stop that? Or why not forget about imposing a toll on the new SMART tunnel in KL, and wiping that cheeky smirk off Samyvellu's face when asked whether the toll rates for the tunnel would be high and he replied "Of course lah!". I think everyone knows he makes more than he needs of the taxpayers' money. At least the government makes efforts to ensure the prices of certain controlled food items do not sky-rocket during festivals and all, and for that, they at least deserve SOME commendation, I think.

Another thing that I read about in the same paper was that they are also going to take action against car owners whose car windows are heavily tinted. Apparently, heavily tinted car windows pose some sort of security risk, and so the everyday Joes are no longer allowed to have their car windows with heavy tints (actually this is been a rule for a long time, but only now they are going out to enforce it. Dum de dum....), but heavy tints are only allowed for VIP cars. Oh, what a shocker. Well, I am not particularly bothered by cars with heavily tinted windows. After all, I always thought it would be fun to make faces into a heavily tinted car without being able to see the expression on the car owners face. :P But I think if the government really wants to make roads a little safer, they should also go after cars that have bright white headlights instead of the normal yellow ones. I tell you, every time one of those cars with white headlights is behind me, I have to make sure I don't look into the rear view mirrors just so I don't see the lights and get as blinded as a bat.

And they should also go after those nuts go drive so close to the car in front of them, their car could practically touch the one in front. Everyday when I drive to work along the highway, there's this one stretch of road just before my office where, without fail, there will always be some quack driver behind me who drives so close to me and flashes me to get out of the way so they can overtake me. They don't care that I need to keep to that lane. They dont' care that they are driving way above the speed limit. They just a happily flash away. And sometimes I just get so annoyed, I stay on that lane anyway just to bug them. Bwahaha!

And they should also go after the super annoying people who double park in busy shop areas like Taipan or SS2, and then run off somewhere and then they don't care if the driver of the car they are blocking comes back and needs to get out. And even though said driver honks so loud, everyone in the whole shop area hears it except for the superbly annoying driver who seems to conveniently lose his sense of hearing during that time. I have had my fair share of urges to smash the windows of cars double parked in front of my car and releasing the handbrake so I can move it out of the way. Fortunately (for the other car), they came back before I really lost my patience and did that.

Ah well, if I were to tell about all the annoying drivers that police should go after, I could go on and on, but those are my main gripes. So far, our local police seems to do little to curb these problems... but for the few who actually do make the effort, I salute them. Let's work to keep our roads safer and the price of our Milo ais not higher than RM1.50!

My super late comment on AI finals

Ok, yeah, it's been one week since American Idol finished, and the whole universe already knows that Jordin won. It wasn't exactly unexpected anyway...especially since Blake totally fell flat on his last performance singing the original song, which was (surprise surprise) yet another sappy feel-good ballad chosen by the AI producers. Sigh...will the day ever come when the producers finally decide to choose a rock song, or dance song, or basically not-so-half-dead song for the two finalists to sing? Only future American Idol seasons will tell.... But anyhow, I do admit that Jordin rose to the occasion and did a fantastic job on that original, which is most probably why she won the contest in the end. But it was pretty unfair for poor beatboxing Blake to be strapped with a song like that, which was so not his kind of song at all, while his competition was more than comfortable singing such ballads. If it was a more edgier and funkier song, I'm sure Blake would've wiped little Jordin all over the floor in the final performance. But anyhow, nobody said life was fair, and thus Blake didn't win. But it a way, I'm kind of glad he didn't win too coz' if that sappy song was going to be his first single as the AI winner, I'm sure I and a gazillion other Blakey fans would be puking all over the place. At least now he has the freedom to choose his own musical direction...and I'm sure he won't be as confined to the ideals of the AI producers as Jordin will now be.

Here's looking forward to more great music from the Blakeman, who no doubt has inspired a generation of future beatboxers to come! :P

Friday, May 18, 2007

One more week to a new American Idol!

I've been wanting to blog about American Idol Season 6 for ages, especially when Sanjaya was still in the competition so I could speculate on how on earth he managed to get into the Top 12 and still hang around til he was finally kicked off at at 7th place (and what was he thinking when he decided to get 7 ponytails on his head??)... but I haven't had the time until now, and after this week there wouldn't be much point anyway coz' next week is the finale! And today's episode saw the best vocalist of the lot, Melinda Doolittle, get kicked off the show at 3rd place. I wasn't really a big fan of her, but I agree with pretty everyone else who watched the show that she was such a consistently good singer, I expected her to win American Idol. But surprise, surprise, she got cut in the semi-finals, and now the two left standing are Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis. Now, me thinks Jordin is also a ready good singer, I pretty much expected her to get into the finals too after Lakesha got kicked.

But the contestant I've been rooting for throughout the show was Blake, whom from the beginning I thought was the best of the guys, even though I didn't think he would have a chance of winning with such good black female singers around (asides from Melinda, Jordin and Lakesha, there was also Stephanie Edwards, who was also a very good singer but had one very boring performance in one of the first few rounds of the Top 24, after which she was untimely kicked off the show). Not that his singing is particualarly fantastic, and I still prefer rock to the R&B sort of stuff he likes to do... but I really like him coz', for one, he can beatbox SUPERBLY well, which already sets him apart from the rest, and also, he's the first AI idol I've seen who can dance and sing at the same time... and of course, he's also pretty cute. Hehe! Plus, Simon commented on this week's show that he likes Blake coz' he takes risks by rearranging most of the songs he sings, instead of playing it safe like most of the other contestants. Which makes everyone wonder what on earth he'll do to his next song, which makes his performances really interesting! For example, in his rendition of Bon Jovi's "You Give Love A Bad Name", he actually rearranged the verses so it was R&B-ish and he beat-boxed, but when it reached the chorus it went back to rock mode... and as strange as the idea sounds, the song actually came out really well! And for some reason, I also loved his beatboxing on his version of "You Should Be Dancing" by the Bee Gees, even though the judges didn't seem to fancy it too much.

So suffice to say, I was much elated to find out that Blake is in the finals for the Americal Idol title, and I REALLY hope he wins! I mean, there's already a black chick American Idol who can sing super well, but there's no white guy American Idol who can beatbox to a classic rock song and not only make it work, but sound really good. I'm even considering buying his cd when it comes out!.... Ok, maybe not. There's always the illegal downloads. La dee da di daa...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Free stuff from Hitz and Fly!

I have been quite lucky with the local English radio stations these part couple of weeks, meaning that I managed to meet the Fly FM troopers as well as the cruisers, and I also got a goody bag from an American Idol contest on The Fly FM troopers, I managed to catch at Segi college near my place, coz' I just happened to be going home from Giant when I heard the announcement over the radio that they would be there in a while, so I scooted back again towards Segi college and waited for them to come... which took about 20 minutes, so I had a nice personal tour of Segi college while I waited. When they arrived, I was one of the first people to get right up there with them, so I got all the edible freebies, which included two cans of new Sting energy drinks (it really stings your tongue!), Chipsmore butterscotch cookies (which tastes pretty good), andBoh ice tea (dunno where I put it now), as well as a Fly FM car sticker. And for answering a question correctly, I managed to win myself a free cd! Woohoo! Too bad it's from Kaiser Chiefs, the band who sang that song "Ruby", which I don't really like, so I'm contemplating whether I should keep the cd or sell it on Lelong or something. I still haven't unwrapped the cd coz' I'm still thinking. :P

As for the American Idol contest on, well, for those who don't watch AI, what they do is that they show a password during the commercials of each AI show, and you're supposed to call up the next day and say the password before you can participate in the contest. Then you have to sing any song, but it must be modified to have the words "American Idol" in it. The best out of three contestants will be one of the 12 finalists who will battle it out to win the chance to go to LA for the American Idol finale. So I tried out a couple of weeks ago and managed to get through to the station surprisingly easily. I didn't even have to say the password coz' JJ (or Rudy, whoever it is I can't remember) just said "I know you have the password, so what song you gonna sing?". Which was lucky coz' I didn't actually remember the password, but I thought it was something like "American Idol Season 6", so I thought I'd just call and try my luck anyway. So I was pretty lucky! And I sang the classic sappy 80's song, 'Superwoman', with the words ' American Idol' in it, and made it really silly-like. I thought it was pretty good, but unfortunately, another girl who called did an even better song (even I thought it was better than mine), so I didn't win.... but I did get a free goody bag, which incuded a set of American Idol earphones (in a cool white colour) and a Star World umbrella. Yippee.

And then last week, I had a just finished teaching a class with one of my colleagues at Mont Kiara, when on the way back, we saw the Hitz cruisers at the roadside. So I parked my car and we quickly zipped across to the other side of the road to see if we could win any freebies. Unfortunately we were too late to get all the free food, but we were just in time for a contest to win some movie tickets for the preview of Spiderman 3. So of course, the two of us jumped right in it. What happened was that everyone participating had to play a game where one of the cruiser guys would yell out the name of a superhero, and we had to do the action for that superhero without making any mistakes. Of course, he showed us what action to do for each superhero, which were Superman, Batman, Spiderman and (I dunno where he got this from) Moo the Cow. And the action for the latter were squatting down and putting our fingers next to our heads to make long ears. And we had to say "Moo!". And to make things tougher, all of us had to look at this other cruiser guy who would try to confuse us by doing an action different from whatever superhero the other guy yelled out. So the game started, and I just did my best to focus on what superhero the guy called out, and totally ignored the other guy's actions even though I was looking at him. In the end, everyone else got kicked out except for me and my colleague, and we both won 2 free passes each to catch Spiderman 3! Woo hoo! I was pretty happy about that! And I actually just watched the movie last night.... and don't worry, I won't reveal any spoilers. But sad to say, I am a tad bit dissapointed with the show, and thought the first two Spidey movies were much better. Some parts of the show didn't make much sense, and in the end, everything just fell into place too neatly so that we could have the token happy ending. The action at the first part of the show was really good, when he was fighting the Green Goblin... but after that I felt it got kind of draggy. And the end fight scene was not particularly exciting. Not befitting of what may be the last installment of the Spidey movies. But there was one part when Peter Parker was dancing on the street, which I found quite amusing. But of course, I can't say any more coz' that would juts spoil it for everyone. All in all, it was just an OK movie.

But anyway, with all the goodies I got, maybe I could do some free promoting and say and Fly FM rocks! Woohoo! But I still really wanna go to LA for the American Idol finale..... *sigh*....