Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Disappearing Act – Part 2

It actually felt good to be blogging again. It’s a good way to relax and unload all the thoughts I have inside, lightening the load of stuffs in my head. This part 2 continues where I left of in the last post, on the top 10 stuffs of 2010.

7. Best Movie

Every year, I have a top movie listing and I discuss and talk and preach endlessly about movies. But 2010 is a sad year for my movie world. It is the Dark Ages. I have not watched as many movies as I wished, where my previous record peaked at 27 movies in a week. Talking about 27 movies in a week, I do not wish to do that again nor set a higher record because I found that it diminished my enjoyment of each of the movies. I used to have a habit of watching a movie once and then a second time to take notes. Watching 27 movies in a week is work. Not really enjoyment, especially so, not doing any justice to the movies.

As anyone who has been reading my blog for the past few years knows, I do not have much good things to say about Hollywood movies although I do acknowledge that some of them are very creative and technologically superior and can be immensely entertaining. Take INCEPTION for example. It is a superbly creative, well made, well executed, well told story. But it didn’t hit my heart. But make no mistake. I admire the movie. I will remember INCEPTION as an exceptional movie, which I will recommend people to go and watch. But I will recommend DEPARTURES ten times out of ten if I were to choose between INCEPTION and DEPARTURES. (DEPARTURES is not a 2010 movie, however. I am just giving an example). For me, a movie has to shake my being. It has to go right through me. As another example, many critics and film lovers will cite CITIZEN KANE as the best movie ever. I appreciate that and I appreciate why they think that way. But CITIZEN KANE did not pierce right through me. It is like INCEPTION. Well made, well executed, immensely creative, etc. However cheap you will accuse me of, I will recommend IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE over CITIZEN KANE ten times out of ten.

By now, you will realize that I am beating round the bush. I am supposed to tell the world the best movie I watched in 2010. And by now you will also realize that I do not have a best movie for 2010. I really don’t. I have not watched enough movies and those that I watched did not pierce me in the heart. So, 2010 – bummer year for movies!

8. Best New Skill Attempt

I have attempted to learn Japanese in 2010 and have gotten on to some speed. Little by little I am learning some more and more Japanese words. I have purchased the Rocket Japanese Course, an online course which is a superb resource. That lasted for about 3 months. Then the house renovation thing came into the picture again and I stopped. Luckily, the Rocket Japanese Course is a lifetime course and I can access the lessons any time I like, for the rest of my life (provided, of course, if the company still exist). As a guy said in a WKW movie, everything has an expiry date. So no such thing as forever. In 2011, I will re-start the Japanese course and hopefully can converse with our Japanese friends in the Japan Club 100% in the Japanese Language. Gambate kudasai!

9. Best Web Initiative

In 2010, I have started an online website for people to learn Go. It is an extension of the beginner material that I have written for the Malaysia Weiqi Association. It is a syllabus for beginners and the website is to supplement the course. Since it started, I have received many feedback regarding the site. But alas! again, the house renovation came into the picture again and I had to stop after a few lessons. I will resume that work in 2011 for the benefit of all the people that wants to learn Go and also for myself, to strengthen my own knowledge and fundamentals of Go.

10. Best New Best Friend

Dolby my dog. haha.


Well, seems like 2010 is the year of the house. Now that the dust is settling, I am looking forward to another exciting 2011. Let’s hope everything goes well.

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The Disappearing Act

All of a sudden, many of my friends stopped blogging. I have also stopped for quite a while, due to many reasons – the renovation of the house which took the major part of all my free time, then internet access at the new house, etc. etc. And yeah, did I mention Facebook?

However, recently I got inspired again reading my geeky friend’s blog which she kept up to date. Perhaps it’s a good thing to stay away from Facebook but then again, we would have interacted much more frequently if she posts on Facebook :p

Anyways, to cut the long story short, I will perhaps start blogging after getting inspired by her post where she described her “10 Highlights of 2010” post. I started to think of my 10 highlights of 2010 and had trouble doing so. 2010 has been quite a troubling year for me, both good and bad, and also the not so good. If there is a chart, I would have very much fallen in the culture scale, especially. But there are peaks in other charts as well. Perhaps I should do an account now, since I think I owe myself a new post in this new year or 2011.

So, here is my 10 highlights of 2010:

1. BOARDGAMES

Since starting this hobby in earnest at the beginning of 2010, I have pursued this hobby intensely which is very satisfying despite its negative effect on my health (due to all the late nights playing) and pocket (the games that I bought). I have made some great new friends and cemented old friendships which I treasure immensely. I play boardgames almost every weekend and have now in my collection more than 70 boardgames. Besides friendships, the other most enjoyable part of this hobby is the exploration of each new game. To be honest, it is this feeling of exploration and learning that kept me going back and getting new games. It’s like enjoying a book or music, the exploration, the joy, the experience. I love this feeling.

However, my Go suffered quite a bit, not entirely due to boardgames but also due to the house renovation. I have not played as many games as I would like and I think I didn’t improve at all this year. Perhaps I have even gotten worse in Go. As they say, you cannot have everything, can you?

2. New Home & Car

One of my major attachment in 2010 is the renovation of the new house that I bought. I have spent countless hours and effort in the renovation which took almost half a year to complete, and then after completion, there is still so many other things to add-on to it. The house is still not 100% ready as I typed this but it is more of a work-in-progress. And my dog Dolby is not giving me an easy time either. Taking care of him required a lot more time and effort that I initially imagined.

Also, as one other development, I have also been lobbying my company for a new car and eventually got it.

3. Best Book

I have not read as many books as I wished I had and I thought the best book I read in the year was Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s CHRONICLE OF A DEATH FORETOLD. I was proven wrong when I read WHY THE WEST RULES…. FOR NOW by Ian Morris. This book completely blew my mind and gave me a superb perspective of the history of our human race. A superbly written book which reads like a historical novel. Very engaging and enlightening.

4. Best Concert

Hands down – Mahler’s 3rd Symphony. Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra with the Birmingham City Chorus. Mahler sits in a very high place in my heart and mind and I think I have listened to enough of Mahler’s 3rd symphony to be able to spot a bad session. Contrary to my initial fear of MPO’s ability to pull of another Mahler (although they did a wonderful Mahler 9th – but that was under the special spell of Maestro Benjamin Zander), it did really well. I went with Philip and Alex and I was happy that they both like it. Mahler’s symphonies are not the friendliest music on Earth and it normally takes some “pre-education”, for lack of a better word, to prepare the listener for what is to come. But now I find this completely unnecessary as Mahler’s music spoke out directly. Of course, there are many, many layers to his music and thee a book-length studies of his works but ultimately, it is the experience in the symphony hall that counts. I remembered how my tears flowed during each of the three Mahler 9th session I attended. It just got you emotionally and all that studying and analysis went out the window. Mahler is great.

5. Best Thing That Happened

My parents came down to live with me.

6. Best Newly-Found Restaurant

I have finally found a place near my house that has excellent quality food and has a great price point. It is located in Mahkota Cheras and the name of the place is called, you guessed it, “Temptations”. The chef, Mr. Mohan, is one person who has the passion to sit down with his customers and explaining and sharing cooking tips with his customers. The decor is simple but relaxing. There is no pretension in the place at all. There is no need to because the food itself speaks volumes and the price truly affordable. I enjoy the sirloin steak in his specially made red wine sauce a lot. You can see a lot of creativity at work there. I will usually also have a mushroom soup made up of an assortment of wild mushrooms, well creamed and served with a freshly made garlic bread. I also love his chicken chop and his spaghetti are to die for. A creative chef, superb food in a friendly and relaxing atmosphere with a damn good price, and near my house. What a find!

That’s all for now… to be continued maybe….

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