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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Best of Malaysia

Who says Malaysians have no attitude?
Here are a few of the best examples of  Malaysian Attitude!
My hat's off to this upstanding citizen (Yes, please read it with a generous dose of sarcasm). 
Not only did he (yes, I'm being kind here, it's a "he", or what passes off as one) try to rob my parking spot - as I had waited with my indicator turned on for a while - he then swoops in at the last second trying to hijack my spot. Having failed to steal my spot, he then proceeded across the road to triple park at the location you now see!
Brilliant! His parents must be so proud!
 
Who says there's a problem with Malaysian Education?
 
 
Innovation at its best! 
Multi-functional device - not only does it dry your hands but it tests your powers of observation as well.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

TV Series - Young Justice

Series Title
Young Justice
Genre
Animation
Year
2010/2011
Story
Based on, as some would say, the comic series Young Justice, but I beg to differ and say it’s the Teen Titans. This is a teaser pilot episode for the new series of the same name.

Batman/Robin, Flash/Kid Flash, Green Arrow/Speedy, Aquaman/Aqualad (a completely new character created for the show, as he’s black – possibly related to Black Manta?...hmmmm) are all attacked by ice-based villains on the same day. The heroes dispatched them with no trouble of course, but all the side-kicks (or partners) keep noting that this was THE DAY. It’s the day when they gather at the Justice League HQ and were supposed to join their ranks as full-fledged members, only to find that they needed to prove themselves further. Speedy storms off in a fit.

Before anything else happens, there was fire at the local Cadmus Labs and at the same time, a distress call from Zatara (Zatanna’s dad) to the JLA for a world threatening crisis that they needed to attend to immediately. The JLA storms off to attend the crisis, with Batman instructing the sidekicks to stay put. But, as expected, wanting to take this opportunity to prove themselves, they don’t.
When they get to Cadmus Labs, they find there was more to the fire than what it appears. Cadmus Labs it seems have developed a super weapon (no pun intended) – the managed to clone Superboy deep in their underground chambers. The young heroes “free” him from the cloning apparatus but Superboy is being controlled by Cadmus Labs (thru some mysterious alien-like creatures) and he defeats all of them with ease.

Captured, Aqualad manages to convince Superboy that they were there to help and that he too could have a life outside of Cadmus Labs as a real person where he can see the sky and the sun. They then break free from Cadmus Labs, destroying most of the facility in the process.

The JLA acknowledges their capability and sets up a base for them with Black Canary training them & Batman as mission deployment commander. They then get a new member – Miss Martian, whose origin has yet to be revealed here but in the comics, she’s a White Martian, a different kind of Martian from J’onn J’onzz.

Overall
The art & character design are both fantastic. Unlike Marvel’s Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes animated series, where the artwork and character design are both quite yucky (look at Wasp, Thor and especially Hulk – he looks like a green retard).

Additionally, the story in Young Justice flows beautifully and the pacing is just right. Again, unlike Avengers: EMH, where the story can get a little disjointed and confusing for new viewers.

It’s a GREAT start for the series. I am really looking forward to the series proper when it commences in 2011. DC is really making all the right moves when it comes to animated shows! 

Food Review - Tony Roma's

Name
Tony Roma's
Food
Casual American Dining (Halal )
Location(s)
There are several TR outlets in Malaysia (and all of them are in the Klang Valley I believe)
- Pavillion KL
- Curve
- Sunway Pyramid
- Gardens @ Mid Valley

Getting there
As they are all located in the biggest shopping malls in the Klang Valley, just go to the respective malls and once you get there, ask for the outlet location from the info counter.

Parking
As all of the outlest at the moment are located within shopping malls, you can park at the respective malls.

Service
I must say that the service is pretty good! I was impressed with the level of courtesy, not just from 1 staff member, but from several different ones! Kudos to the Ops/Training Managers.

I was however a little taken aback by the greeter - who was a cross-dresser in a tight mini-skirt! Well, if any of the TR Management (or if you are a friend of theirs), please not that that is quite an unpleasant 1st  impression for diners like me (of course there may be some who might like this sort of thing) who like men to NOT wear skirts, make-up or sway their hips as they walk.
Ambience
The outlets are clean, as they are fairly new in Malaysia (only 3+ years here) and the decor is the typical casual American dining (TGIF, Bubba Gumps, etc come to mind) only that the feel is a little less homey/comfy than those. I would be a little hesitant to really let my hair down here than those places. However, it's still pretty comfortable, with 2 types of seating tables -the standard wooden tables & chairs and the also standard cushioned u-shaped seating for couples of friends who might want to share their meals or get cozy.

Taste
I must admit that when they first opened a couple of years back, I tried their purportedly famous ribs at the Pavillion outlet but to my disappointment, the ribs were almost burnt with the meat texture coming close to being like jerky or charcoal, as the moisture was gone. Plus the sauce they use is pretty standard BBQ-flavored despite it being their Tony Roma's house recipe. There's a sauce bucket (see pic) with 4 special flavours of sauce for the ribs:
- Original
- Carolina Honeys
- Blue Ridge Smokies
- TR Red Hot

This time however (Since I won't be going back to the Pavillion Outlet), the ribs I had were much much better. They were still moist and tender. But the sauce used to baste was still the same. While my steak was just ok despite having them done at medium. Which to me, again, was very  disappointing as this place is supposed to be an American Restaurant. However, the ribs my wife had were still pretty much too dry and semi-burnt (like my previous experience at Tony Roma's Pavillion).

So, I guess you can conclude that I won't be headed back to any TR's outlet anytime soon.

Variety
Of course they have quite a number of menu items to keep diners going back for more. They have starters, salads, beef (of course), fish, chicken, burgers, Sandwiches, deserts, drinks (both with and w/o alcohol). Each main a la carte item also comes with 2 sides from the following choices:
- Cole Slaw
- Rice
- TR Pesto Salad
- Fries
- Veges
- Ranch Style Beans (which I chose)
- Mashed Potatoes  (which we both chose)
- Corn
- Baked Potato

Value for Money
I have to say that this place scores pretty low on this segment as their items are mostly on the high side. The full slab of ribs goes for RM99++ and the Rib/Steak combo I ordered set me back RM55.90++ while the Roma Rack were RM 49.90++. Credit where credit is due, their portions are huge! I barely was able to finish my plate of food! So, if you intend to order desert, i suggest that you finish your food before ordering or share your food with your friend/partner.

Overall
Fantastic service, above average food (if you're lucky) at steep prices but in a nice comfy environment. Strictly for those who're trying to impress someone and that someone insists on Ribs served by TR (as there really is nothing outstanding or memorable here). If not, there are many more places to eat better & tastier Ribs, Fish, Chicken, Burgers, sandwiches or Steaks.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Movie Review - The Box


Movie Title
The Box
Year
2009
Genre
Drama, Thriller
Story
A young couple, Arthur (James Marsden, probably best known for his role as Cyclops in the X-Men movies) & Norma Lewis (Cameron Diaz) with their young son living in the 1976 suburb of Richmond, Virginia, receives a mysterious box one morning - a box with a button that, if pushed within the next 24 hours, would immediately kill someone they didn't know but bring bring them a million dollars, tax-free.

Arlington Steward (Frank Langella, who played Perry White in Superman Returns), the myterious & badly disfigured man who delivered the box, gave the instructions, terms and conditions for the offer to Norma, would return in 24 hours when the offer expires. They did push it, and predictably, the rest of the movie shows how they had to deal with the ramifications of their decision.
Acting
Somehow,I find it a challenge to take Cameron seriously in any serious role she takes on simply because she has a face for comedy. Her accent in this movie also sounded more Southern American than Virginian. But, viewers can see she tried.

James Marsden impressed me with this one as I had always considered him a pretty boy for pretty boy roles. Here, he did convey a sense of a loving and devoted husband who stood by his wife and family to the point where he needed to make a life/death decision.

Overall
The movie had a very Twilight Zone feel to it. Very believable retro. Kudos to the set, costumes, casting and make-up.

It basically is a classic premise/story that compels viewers to think about the decision(s) they would make if faced with such a situation/dilemma. It was pretty engaging for a 1st viewing but it's not something I'd be watching again anytime soon.

However, altho' I did say it was rather predictable in how things went after they pushed the button, the ending of the movie was something else entirely (well, I didn't see it coming) and it was discussed that it was the ending that made viewers give it such a low rating.

So if you have not watched it, you may want to give it a try, but be warned, it's not your typical Hollywood fare.

Rating: 5/10

Monday, December 6, 2010

Other Bits - My Korea Trip

OK, it's been a while since I started this blog and I had kept it from being too personal except for my views and comments within the blog posts.

From this post, I hope to share more of my more personal stuff with you than just my opinions. The following are snippets of my recent trip to Seoul, Korea in Nov 2010.

Despite the superb public transport system, you can't navigate within the city without a trusty English Map!
Somewhere in the Myeongdong district, we come across the Korean version of,...what else, Starbucks!
A stone's throw away was the genuine deal, purportedly the only Starbucks outlet in the world where the signage is not in English! Of course, I cannot verify this, so, my friends who globe-trot, kindly shed some light on this matter!

Sunset at the West Side of the Seoul Fortress Wall (north of Namdaemun).

These photos were from within the Changdeok Gung (Palace)







This was taken from a stall at the Kwang Jang Market (in the Jongno area)
These were from the Gwanghwamun/Sejong Plaza area where the monument of King Sejong sits prominently.
These were during the Changing of the Royal Guards Ceremony at Gwanghwamun.
These are photos of the famed Cheongye Stream, running across Seoul City from the West to the East of the fortified city.
This is the Iconic Jongno Tower in the CBD of Seoul.
The Namsan Tower is a place frequented by young couples who place "love locks" (honest!) to ensure the longevity of their affection for one another!
This is the location of the Korean time capsule where future Koreans will probably find the recipe to Kimchi and a collection of Korean dramas.
Away from the prying eyes of the security guards outside the Korean President's compound - the Blue House (Cheongwadae)
Within the Royal Jongmyo Shrine.