Archive for June, 2014

Went to ARCHIDEX 2014 on its last day today.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2014 by vincentloy

The 15th International Architecture, Interior Design and Building Exhibition (ARCHIDEX) 2014 took place at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (usual spot every year) this year from 25th to 28th June. Organized together with the exhibition are the DATUM Design Conference, Eco-Building Exhibition, some forums and also a newly held congress themed ‘Rejuvenation’. This is the annual event I have been continuously attending, and this is my fourth time visiting the exhibition.

AR+ECOB 2014 Logo

So, I’m quite familiar with what I shall do in the exhibition; going around all the booths in the exhibition halls and getting all brochures and catalogues, and if possible, together with goodie bags and some free gifts like pens or note books. It has also been made easier for me to enter as I do not need to complete any registration as I already received express tag earlier. This year, I think there are more companies involved in the event, and hence the greater number of booths and also bigger areas of halls covered for the exhibition. Here’s the official website of the exhibition: http://www.archidex.com.my/.

As usual, there are booths promoting doors, windows, glass, hardwares, softwares, outdoor and indoor elements, tiles, finishing, wood, roofing, paints, sanitary fittings, books, and all the other related products or technologies related to architecture, interior design, building construction and engineering fields. Me and my colleague were getting tired as time passes as we took more and more bags and brochures. Now, I’m taking some time to read through those catalogues we have taken and to check on which ones are interesting. However, the most delighted thing would still be the free gifts we can find from those bags.

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We spent about two hours for the exhibition. Hmm…many booth’s staff approached to us trying to brief us on their products but we just don’t have time for most of them. Sorry…Lastly, we also managed to glance through some of the presentation works (finalists of some kind of architecture competitions) displayed outside several exhibition halls before leaving. Then, only after that, we thought of going for movie ‘Transformers 4’ (just out yesterday) at Suria KLCC. You can check out my movie review of that particular film in my previous post. And for all that, the worst thing is that I have spent RM30 alone for the parking fee. That’s shockingly high and unreasonable. I’m not like parking my car there for whole day!

On the other hand, tomorrow marks the beginning of Ramadhan, the fasting month for the Muslims before celebrating Hari Raya. Here, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Muslims (particularly my Malay friends and colleagues) a wonderful Ramadhan! Raya is coming soon….

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Movie review – Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2014 by vincentloy

This latest installment of the highly popular ‘Transformers’ film franchise must be one of the anticipated movies this year to most people. Who doesn’t like seeing awesome-looking gigantic transformable robots battling and destroying our cities in a movie? Especially boys. We totally like it. The first one was great, the second one (Revenge of Fallen) was a bit of a let-down, the third one (Dark of the Moon) was going back on the right track, and now we come to this latest fourth installment (Age of Extinction). And my first reaction after watching it was; ‘Ahh…this is not good. I’m having a headache now!’.

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To say it in a much straightforward way, this is by far the worst ‘Transformers’ film compared to the earlier three. Michael Bay (the film director) should have stick to his early decision to have the 3rd installment as the last of the franchise, and not creating much more sequels that are getting lousier. Nevertheless, I’m sure this movie is going to make it big on the box office intake worldwide too (predicted to reach over 1 billion grossing), but in terms of quality, almost everything ends in disappointment.

The story is weak and not engaging. To be honest, I’m totally not interested on the issues between the main character (now changed to Cade Yeager portrayed by Mark Wahlberg) with her daughter and her daughter’s lover. But that’s one of the major storylines that dragged the whole thing and got us bored most of the time. Those are intended as to put in some moving human-centred elements instead of showing all robotic fights only, but in the end, it didn’t worked out well. No effort is put on the plot. I also realized that there are some hilarious scenes added in to crack things up (are okay) but still those don’t save the movie from becoming a disaster. The outcome is we have a movie that took over 2 hours and 30 minutes. That’s too long and it seriously wear us down.

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I can say only the last thirty minutes or so were interesting when things finally lead to massive battle at the city of Hong Kong. Only that part are crazily awesome, but by the time we reached that moment, our mood had gone downhill already. The actions are still great (as expected from Michael Bay) but sometimes, too much of that lead to mess and discomfort for the audiences to watch. Those action sequences should be done in much more organized way, only then it would be perfect. Now, it made me having a headache after watching it. Nevertheless, the visuals are great as usual, particularly some slow-motion effect scenes. But if you want me to compare the battle at Chicago in the ‘Dark of the Moon’ to this one at Hong Kong for the final climax, I prefer the former.

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The familiar robot figures returning to this film are Optimus Prime (of course), Bumblebee, and only few others more. Many new transformers are added; some are great while some are pointless to be introduced here. The Dinobots are cool too. And one of the bad transformers, the Galvatron (actually is Megatron himself) survived and escaped. Hence, that indicates there may be more sequels coming in. Didn’t know whether it is a good or bad idea as they have turned this into something quite terribly wrong. On the other hand, in terms of acting, everyone performed fairly. Extra credits to Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci as their performances stoo out than the rest.

Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ a total of only 6.9. That’s quite a low rating from me. Disappointed. It’s not that I came with high expectation. No. The film is excessively long, boring and incoherent. Not everything is bad. There are good points about this film too, but not that much. Still the worst in the franchise so far. Now, we have to wait to see whether the mess continued on its next sequel planned for release in 2016 or not. Hope it’s not.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Movie review: Non-Stop (2014)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2014 by vincentloy

‘Non-Stop’ is a mystery-action film which revolves on an air marshal whom springs into action during a transatlantic flight after receiving a series of text messages that put his fellow passengers at risk unless the airline transfers $150 million into an off-shore account. The film starred Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Lupito Nyongo, Scott McNairy, etc. So, this is a film about a plane that gets hijacked. Seems interesting and despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, this movie filled my Thursday’s night awesomely. This is beyond my expectation, and is a surprise to me that it is so good. Luckily, I didn’t miss this movie which is released early this year.

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Well, the most focus would be on Liam Neeson since he portrayed the air marshal, the main character of the film. He is the one receiving message from an unknown person in the plane threatening to kill a passenger in every 20 minutes if the money is not transferred to him. It’s some sort of a silent game between the two at first, but then everything slowly builds up to extreme tension and panic, while the terrorists are finally revealed in the end to my shock. This movie seriously gets you surprised by all the twists. It is those twists that would get you all engaged, curious, felt suspicious and keep guessing, but in the end you are wrong. That’s cool. This is a technique usually successfully on drawing people’s attention to a particular film, and ‘Non-Stop’ did it brilliantly from the start to the end.

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And I’m also happy that the story didn’t start up slow as everything suspenseful and thrilling commenced right when the plane took off after about 15 minutes of the film. That’s quick. Usually, films like this will have draggy beginning, but not for this one. It’s also interesting to see that the air marshal’s character is quite developed too, and I personally like it when the character itself is turned from being a hero into a suspect of the plane’s hijacker. I also like film that had a refined setting where the people are literally trapped and space is limited (in this case, the 150 people on board the plane), while this usually paves way for extraordinary and intense situations as observed in this film that executed this well. On the other hand, the actions are not much, but are good enough and are not over-the-top.

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Liam Neeson isn’t my favourite actor, but his presence in this film shouldn’t be ignored, not even a single second. He contributed a solid performance overall. This is a very heavy role as all the others are just like minor supporting or cameo roles as the passengers, flight crews (2) or the pilots (2). All the scenes concentrated on him. Fortunately, I can say he nailed it. If not, he will ‘crash’ the movie down. Hmm…the last few minutes of the movie is very intense and heart-stopping (when the bomb goes off and the plane made a nail-biting emergency landing). Awesome climax. I have been not feeling this thrilled or excited from a movie for quite some time. The only minor disappointment is that the ending is a bit too ordinary and dull. I prefer if it is made to be more emotional to conclude the film. There also some plot-holes which are left unexplained. But that wouldn’t bring down much of my positive reception of this film.

Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Non-Stop’ a total of 7.6. Now I knew why this film is called ‘non-stop’. It gives you continuous mystery, suspense and thrill all the way to the end. Hmm…unfortunately, this movie reminds me of the unknown fate of the missing plane MH370. It has been over 3 months since the plane disappeared. Where is it actually? This remains the biggest mystery. Hope this matter will be resolved soon.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

5 years since Michael Jackson’s demise.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2014 by vincentloy

Back on this day exactly five years ago, the whole world was in shock after learning from news of the death of Michael Jackson, the King of Pop. At first, many believed it was only another rumour or hoax, but then it turned out to be real. And that was a shocking and heartbreaking news to hear, particularly for the millions of fans of this legendary singer. Today eventually marks the fifth death anniversary of Michael Jackson, and I’m taking this opportunity to pay a little tribute to this megastar in this blog’s post.

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Who would not have heard of the name ‘Michael Jackson’? If you really don’t know, you must be joking or living in a jungle the entire life and fully disconnected to the world. He is so successful in the entertainment industry, to the point that he had became a global figure in popular culture for over four decades. Yes, four decades. His successful career in singing, dancing, song-writing and even in acting began in 1970s (when he was still a teenager) and reached the peak in 1980s and 1990s. I can say nobody (any singers) on these days could match his fame and success.

Some of his songs that I like are ‘You Are Not Alone’, ‘Thriller’, ‘Billie Jeans’, ‘Beat It’, ‘We Are The World’, ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’, ‘Heal The World’, etc. I love both his slow romantic to fast rock-and-roll songs. There are many other interesting and meaningful songs from him too, but I forgot the titles. Once the melody is up, then we would recall. And also his popularity soared to an unbelievable level due to his amazing dancing skill. Who wouldn’t remember his iconic ‘moonwalk’ dance, ‘anti-gravity lean’ stunt, his quick robotic moves, and much more.

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Just two weeks ago, I came across ‘Michael Jackson: This Is It’ film and I watched it. It is available for free viewing at YouTube. It is a documentary-concert film directed by Kenny Ortega that documents Michael Jackson’s rehearsals and preparation for his last comeback tour concert series which are scheduled to start on 13 July 2009, but cancelled due to his death 18 days prior on 25 June. A very wonderful (at least we got to see his great attitudes and perfectionism on his preparation for the concert tours) documentary about him. The sad thing is that we would be kept reminded that the scenes we saw in the film are the real footage of him only few days or weeks before his death. Nevertheless, I’m glad that this film was released, so that we can at least catch the last glimpse of this superstar, as his ‘This Is It’ concert series couldn’t be materialized.

Five years have gone since the demise of this global icon. Michael Jackson, you will be forever missed. Eventhough I’m not his fans or anything, but his immense contribution and influence to the world’s music is unquestionably legendary and will be forever appreciated, remembered and honored. Legend never dies.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

‘Get lucky’ and ‘happy’ at Genting today. And ohh, this is my 1400th post!

Posted in Miscellaneous on June 22, 2014 by vincentloy

Since me and my dad had nothing to do today on a boring Sunday, he thought maybe we can go up to Genting Highlands to try our luck. You know what it means…Chinese adults go there because of its casino, while the cool breeze up there is only the second reason. And so I agreed, and my sister’s family followed too. Her two sons must be very happy as they always wanted to play at the First World Hotel’s Indoor Theme Park. Wish fulfilled. Besides that, since the haze is worsening today at KL, hence going up to the hill where the air would be unaffected is a great idea.

My post’s title is self-explanatory, but have you wondered why I put in apostrophes to the words ‘get lucky’ and ‘happy’. That’s the feelings I am experiencing today at Genting Highlands, and coincidentally, both words are the titles of the recently popular songs by Pharell Williams. ‘Get Lucky’ was Pharell’s hit song last year which had won a lot in Grammy Awards, while ‘Happy’ is his latest masterpeice which comes from the original soundtrack of the movie ‘Despicable Me 2’ if you didn’t notice. Always hear the ‘Happy’ song, for like three times a day from radio station nowadays, until you couldn’t avoid yourself from loving it.

Anyway, in my previous trips to Genting’s casino, I always lost. But my amounts are nothing compared to the others (especially those aunties or uncles whom frequently putting in few hundreds or even thousands dollars onto the gambling table as if those are not money!). Luck is always not on my side. But that’s not the case today. Fortunately, I won few hundred bucks today. Great! Now, I can have my meals considered free for this one month. Hope the luck continues on my future visits. Stay focus and don’t be greedy. That’s the reminder.

Besides than having a disappointing lunch, a quick walk around First World Plaza (image below), enjoying a short magic performance there, a great time in the huge casino and finally a nice dinner, I also had the chance to observe the complete demolition of the previous Outdoor Theme Park’s region (image below), and there are already on-going site works. The previous lake totally vanished. Nothing new is erected yet, and we have to wait two years for the completion of the new 20th Century Fox Theme Park by 2016, the first of its kind in the world. Looking forward to that.

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Have just returned home and once I intend to post these things up here into my blog, I realized that this post is my 1400th post. Wonderful! It’s definitely not easy to come to this far. ‘1400 posts’ is a milestone, and I achieved it on this nice day, dated 22nd June 2014. Hmm…expecting my blog to cross over 1500th post before the end of the year. Ok..bye…that’s the end of my Sunday.

 

10 Most Impressive Engineering Projects of All Time.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2014 by vincentloy

Humans have been proven to be great builders. From early ancient or prehistoric structures to modern impressive marvels these days, art of construction in mankind had been existed for over thousands of years. We have been aspired to build longer tunnels, taller towers, stronger walls or crazier structures since early civilizations. Recently, the Master in Civil Engineering of Norwich University, USA had compiled a list of top ten engineering marvels of all time. I have checked on that list and I’m interested to share this information with you all here. Before revealing the list, what’s your guess on structures that would be most likely listed? Roll down below and check how many you have got it right!

Click on the image for larger version so that you can read those written interesting facts too:

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That’s an interesting visual presentation by Norwich University. Out of the 10 above, the ones that I’m most fascinated with are Great Pyramids of Giza, Great Wall of China, and English Channel Tunnel. The former two are also in the official list of Seven Wonders of the World while I personally had visited the latter two. Since advanced technology and innovative architecture have been very common in the present, many breakthrough engineering projects are made possible with lesser limitations these days. Hence, many in this top 10 list are still reserved for ancient or older structures (harder to build those crazy structures back in those days).

And stop saying that pyramids are built by aliens. Those conspiracy and all that…Why we couldn’t just appreciate and acknowledge the intelligence and the ultimate hardship by the builders constructing those structures back in the ancient times? Stop saying this or that was impossible back in those days. Everything has its solution and that is the reason why humans are now excelling further on building countless over-the-top structures!

(Original source: http://www.archdaily.com/517395/the-ten-most-impressive-engineering-projects-of-all-time/)

 

 

Movie review: Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2014 by vincentloy

There has been a lot of popular big-budget movies released recently that are expected to attract a lot of moviegoers (and these movies did so looking from their overwhelming box office performance worldwide) like Godzilla, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Maleficent and How To Train Your Dragon 2. Once done with these films, people will just wait a couple more days for the return of the much anticipated Transformers into the big screen on its fourth installment named Age of Extinction. Hence, many would just left out ‘Edge of Tomorrow’, a military science-fiction film starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, which is also out on cinemas worldwide recently too.

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Despite not receiving greater publicity (not heavily promoted) like the other movies, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ has been gaining largely positive reviews from most audiences as well as critics. Since the movie starred Tom Cruise (one of my favourite action stars, and I missed his appearance on big screen since his last film ‘Oblivion’, but I prefer more of him from Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) and that this movie turned out to be surprisingly unknown yet gaining very good feedbacks, I’m going to watch it. And the first thing on my mind after finishing the movie just now; ‘This is surprisingly good!’. Luckily, I didn’t miss this out.

The movie revolves on an officer, William Cage (Tom Cruise) whom finds himself caught in a time loop in a war with an alien race. His skills increase as he faces the same brutal combat scenarios, and his union with a female Special Forces warrior gets him closer and closer to defeating the enemy. Basically, you will get confused in the beginning for a short while (it needs time for us to adapt to the story too) and that you would be almost driven mad by the continuous repetition of scenes in first half of the movie since this is something about time loop. Cage gets to reset the time back to a day before once he is killed. If I am on his situation, I would be dead tired, exhausted and gave up. You would know what I mean once you watched this film.

A very fascinating story from a brilliant theme of having time loop in an alien invasion as a background plot. Despite the numerous repeating scenes that took over an hour of the film, the story do develops carefully while still getting the audiences engaged and concerned on where it will leads to. It’s fast-paced and had a lot of intense action packed scenes to keep me thrilled all the way till the end. Tom Cruise delivered a very energetic and awesome performance here. He carried on this heavy role very well and that made the movie nears perfection. Emily Blunt also did a great job in this film as the female lead.

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Great visuals and sound effects too. There has been no major bad remarks from this film. Just that it would be much better if they throw in some light or comedic moments into this film that gets too serious in the whole process. You know…to balance things out. I can see that they try to make things a bit funny here or there in some scenes but those didn’t work out for me. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ a total of 7.7. It is a cleverly crafted sci-fi thriller. A great film.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)