Aku no Hana

It has been a while I got this excited for an anime. In fact, I can't remember the last anime that got me all worked out like this. Needless to say, I think Aku no Hana is a very awesome anime. I definitely recommended it to everyone.

A Year Older: Again

It’s that day when I got another level up in life. I’m turning a year older again today. So many things have changed in a course of a year. I read what I wrote on my birthday last year and I almost choked with laughter at how ridiculous everything sounds.

Goodbye 2012 and Hallo 2013

So overall, year 2012 has indeed been kinder to me. I have achieved what I set out to achieve but most importantly, I unexpectedly found love which is easily the highlight of the year for me.

Light Writings: Love II

I need an outlet to express how I feel nowadays. To be honest, things are going too good for me at the moment to the point that I am sort of living in fear for I do not want these extremely good feelings, and the love I have for him to end. If all these are gone tomorrow, there is a big probability that I might lose sanity.

Light Writings: Crush II

Welp, looks like we are having this conversation again after so many years. Well 2 years and 3 months to be exact. The last time I wrote about my crush, I was in a different state of mind where I know it can be nothing more than just that, a crush.

27 July 2007


This book review is long over due, just like many other books that I’ve yet to review.

I read this on my trip to negeri di bawah bayu back in May.

Those who know me would have known that I am a fan of the movie Sleepers. I remember watching that movie when I was still in secondary school and it leaves such an impact. The horrible things men do to satisfy themselves…

I learn the movie was based on a true story and that the horrible journey of those four young boys was documented. I’ve been looking for the book, being a bookworm freak that I am, ever since. After several years of searching, I managed to obtain the book on March 6, 2006 via amazon. The book however just sat there on my bookshelves. I’m too scared to open the first page as the dreadful scenes from the movie are still so fresh in my mind.

Before my journey to Sabah, fortunately I only left with two books that are yet to be read. One of it is Sleepers and the other one is the Dragon Rider.

So as I have promised in my journal, here is the review of the first book: Sleepers by Lorenzo Carcaterra. This is a true story of friendships that run deeper than blood.

Lorenzo and his three friends: John Reilly, Tommy ‘butter’ Marciano and Michael Sullivan, shared everything and has undying loyalty to one another. But on one fateful summer day, a hotdog cart prank went awry and the boys nearly got a man killed. Lorenzo and his friends were sent away to a reformatory school.

There begins the life of hell for these young boys. Any vestiges shred of innocence was stripped away as the guards; Nokes, Stylers, Ferguson and Addison, repeatedly beat, brutalized and raped them. When I read the words written, it became so graphics that it all seems so real. Even more so as I was alone in a hotel room in a place that is so alien to me. I get light-headed and was chilled to the bone reading what was done to the boys. It dawn on me then and I came to realize for the first time that evil can be wearing the mask of men. But we better known those attribute simply as inhuman.

There are two incidents of brutality that I still remembered clearly (it has been omitted from the movie). It happened to Lorenzo himself when he was called to the guard office to get the parcel that was sent by his mother. Among the food that his mother sent was a rosary beads. When asked by Nokes what it was for, he answered it was for prayer. Nokes and his crews then make him say the prayer while Styler slid the front end of a baton inside him. Yes, inside him! A baton!

The other was during Lorenzo’s last night at the Wilkinson. Nokes make him watch as his crews tore at his friends, raped them and attacked them as if they were animals freed from cage. He wrote later that a part of all of them was left in that cell that night. Who wouldn’t?

(Geez, I still got Goosebumps. My heart still pounds so hard and my hand is trembling like mad. I could not even imagine putting myself in their shoes.)

The boys emerge after a year of torture, changed beyond recall. John and Tommy took to a life of violent crime as mobster killers, Lorenzo became a journalist and Michael a prosecutor with the DA’s office. The only constant was their undying friendship.

Ten years later, Tommy and John came face to face with Nokes at the Shamrock Pub. They confronted him, revealed their identities and shot him dead in front of several witnesses. If you asked me, Nokes gets what he deserved and so much worst.

In the trial that followed, the four friends were brought together for one spectacular, audacious last stand. Michael was the DA for the trial and without the knowledge of Tommy and John (who couldn’t believe Michael took a case against them), and with help from Hell’s Kitchen community, they exacted punishment for what had been done to them as children.

(To know the exact details of the punishment and what happened to these four friends, pick up the book and read it yourself. That or you could ask me personally.)

Sleepers is an unforgettable story of childhood friendship. It is a stunning account of four men who risked their lives and their freedom in a desperate attempt to reclaim each other from the anguish consuming them. This book gives me nightmares for several days and although I love the movie, it does not do justice to the book. The movie omitted many of (I think) important things that happened to them before they were sent away and during their stay at Wilkinson. But thanks to the movie I was able to put faces to the characters which gave me genuine pleasure when I was engulfed by this non-fiction book.

Last but not least, my heart goes out to Lorenzo who selfishly and valiantly recounted his own personal nightmares. I could never have that kind of courage…

26 July 2007

Simpsons the Movie

A classic Simpsons this movie is. I started laughing from the minute the 20th Fox Entertainment gets on the screen till the very end. And I wasn't the only one. You'll see what I mean when you go and watch it (and you must!)

The story begins with Green Day performing on the river. As many other rock stars that visited Springfields, they faced the same fate. At their memorial service, Grampa was sent a doomsday message. Marge figured that the prophecy must have something to do with the pig that was adopted by Homer. The adoption led Bart to feel less loved by his father so he seek to Mr. Flander for substitute. Then Homer did what he was warned not to do by Marge. He pollutes the river when he dumped the pig's shit in there. EPA then came into play. To contained the pollution, the government put a dome on Springfield. Homer loses his job and when the citizen of Springfield mob his house and demanded that his family should all be hang, Maggie found the way out through the sink hole. So they went to Alaska to start a new life. All is well until they learn from the news that the government wants to blow up Springfield. Homer had to come back and save Springfield from destruction since his family was caught by the EPA.

Through it all, Lisa found herself an Irish boyfriend, Bart relationship with Homer went from up to down and up again, Homer loves for his family rekindled while Maggie and her pacifier was inseparables as always.

The movie is filled with laughs all the way through; some slapstick humor for kids and some more grown up humor with some adult themes. Kudos to the producers who had delivered us with an excellent movie after 18 years of the show being on air. Some may criticize the movie and say its too like an extended episode of the show but that can't be help can it? It is kind of obvious as it does have Homer, Marge, Lisa and Bart in it as well as the countless other characters from the show, not to mention few other guest artists. I also can see why they were proudly advertise that it is a 2-D movie. If it is a 3-D, I doubt if it will be as good. Somehow I think it will lost it's Simpsonness.

I am definitely recommend this movie. Two thumbs up from me and it is a must watch if you call yourself a Simpson's fan.

25 July 2007

Honey and Clover II

I was first introduced with this anime when it was shown on Astro channel 25 but unfortunately I was not able to follow the series.

I bought the DVD last week (both season 1 and 2) and once I started I could not stop. Nevermind if I have to be awake at 4am in the morning as long as I finish it. It was addicted and with every chapter I fall in love more and more with the characters. This is the first anime that I do not have any antipathy towards at least one of the character. Imagine that!

I can assure you that even viewers outside the target demographic attest to its greatness, pointing out its heartfelt storytelling and unique visual style. It was supposed to be just good enough for sophisticated female viewers—and it ended up being good enough for everyone. Funnier than most comedies and more touching than most dramas (even the live-action ones), Honey and Clover has emerged as one of the best anime I had ever watched, and I've watched plenty.

The story begins right in the middle of things—Takemoto in his second year of college, Mayama nearing graduation, and Morita stuck in seventh-year hell. Then Hagu-chan came into the picture. She simply joins the cast, and the drama-go-round begins. There is no epic quest to fulfill, no convoluted conspiracy to unlock, no childhood friend to win over—it's just a bunch of college kids figuring out what to do with their lives, and it is fascinating. Every character gets a moment in the spotlight, with story arcs transiting flawlessly between each other. Even Takemoto, who spends most of the series as a neutral observer, closes things out with an inspiring personal triumph. The mood of the show switches effortlessly from madcap comedy to utter heartbreak and everything in between, yet nothing feels out of place. Within a single episode, a game of Art School Twister takes humor to new heights, and yet minutes later, Takemoto muses upon the meaning of friendship.

Honey and Clover succeeds because of its characters' complex personalities. Morita emerges as a quick fan favorite with his bizarre antics and affinity for money, but to focus on him is to miss out on the intricate relationships between everyone else. I can see myself dating him in real life. My heart reach out for Takemoto as well in his struggle to wins Hagu-chan love. In particular, Ayumi's unrequited attachment to Mayama is sure to arouse plenty of indignation about the portrayal of women in Japanese entertainment. But maybe that anger is because Ayumi openly reveals everything we hate about themselves: weakness, insecurity, and the tendency to do really stupid things in the name of love. She is the most human character in a cast of incredibly human characters.

If Honey and Clover has any faults, it's that you want it to keep going after it's over. It ends just like it begins—right in the middle of things, with so much more yet to be experienced. Without realizing it, you've become part of that circle of friends: you've shared their heartbreaks and triumphs, walked alongside them as they poured out their feelings, and watched each one of them learn a little bit more about themselves. Whether in school or not, who hasn't asked themselves at some point: "What do I want to do? Who do I want to be?" Honey and Clover may not have the answers, but it's all about trying to find them.

The other thing I realize when I had finished this anime is this: people do drifted apart as we get older...

22 July 2007

European GP

Massa finished second in the surviving Ferrari, and Mark Webber gave the Red Bull Racing team its first podium of the year with third place. The rain played a major role in the outcome of the race, and for the first time in several years the grand prix was red-flagged!

As the 22 cars lined up on the grid threatening clouds loomed over the circuit. The track temperature fell below the 30°C mark and in the air it was only 19°C. Rain was imminent.

When the lights went out Massa surged from third place and passed Alonso as the cars funnelled into the first corner emerging in second spot behind Raikkonen. Heikki too had made a good getaway and was up to fourth. The first drops of rain began to fall.

As the cars were coming up to complete their first lap the heavens opened and the majority dived pitwards to put on rain tyres except Raikkonen (Ferrari), Wurz (Williams), Trulli (Toyota), Sato (Super Aguri), Fisichella (Renault), Winkelhock (Spyker) and Kubica (BMW-Sauber). It was pouring down and Marcus Winkelhock who had started on rain tyres went into the lead! Fisichella had an off-course excursion but continued.

Raikkonen stopped at the end of lap 2 while Button went off in his Honda in Turn 1. He was not alone. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Adrian Sutil (Spyker), Nico Rosberg (Williams), Scott Speed (Toro Rosso) and Anthony Davidson all slid of in the same place. Just as the tractors intervened to remove the cars Liuzzi in his Toro Rosso also spun off nearly hitting one of them! Track conditions were dreadful and at the end of this very eventful lap out came the safety car. Lewis Hamilton managed to rejoin after being given a helping hand by one of the tractors! The first 8 were: Winkelhock, Massa (+33.5s), Alonso (+35.2s), Webber (+44.2s), Coulthard (+47;6s), Kovalainen (+49.6s) and Raikkonen (+55.1s). The clerk of the course decided to red-flag the race as the marshals were in a very dangerous position.

The restart was given at 14:35 behind the safety car. It did 3 laps during which Heidfeld, Trulli and Hamilton refuelled. Only the latter took the risk of putting on dry weather tyres. When the safety car pulled off Massa and Alonso shot past Winkelhock and finished their first lap (no.8 in the race) ahead of 3 Renault-powered cars: Coulthard, Webber and Kovalainen. A lap later the Red Bulls swapped places.

Raikkonen and Wurz stoppd at the end of lap 11 and shod dry tyres while Hamilton set the fastest lap of the race so far. Next time round Massa, Alonso and Webber also came in followed by Kovalainen, Fisichella, Schumacher, Kubica, Sato and Trulli. On lap 13 Coulthard and Heiefeld also changed rubber.

While Heikki gradually pulled in Wurz (0.3s between the two) Raikkonen closed the gap to Alonso. On lap 18, the Renault passed the Williams putting Kovalainen into fifth. The second placed McLaren and its pursuing Ferrari were now separated by only 1.2s. Behind, Heidfeld tried to pass Schumacher who closed the door and spun off into retirement. Heikki was really pushing and by lap 22 he was all over Mark Webber’s Red Bull but could not find a way past. The team brought him in on lap 27 and Fisichella stopped 3 laps later.

On lap 33, came the first major twist when Raikkonen’s Ferrari suddenly slowed and he retired. This allowed Webber into third position. Two laps later Alonso refuelled for the last time as did Wurz (4th) and Heidfeld (7th). Massa came in thirty-eighth time round.

When the final refuelling stops were over Heikki gained several places but Wurz managed to stay ahead of the Renault by a mere 2 seconds. Webber now had the podium in sight.

With 10 laps to go to the finish came the final twist when it began to rain again and the ING Renault Team decided to take a risk and called Kovalainen in for rain tyres. He rejoined in eighth place just in front of Fisichella who overtook him on lap 52 as the track was still too dry for wet rubber.

A lap later the rain started to pelt down. Massa and Alonso stopped and went back out in that order but the Spaniard began to up the pressure on his Brazilian rival. There were 5 laps left and they went at it hammer and tongs. When Alonso finally forced his way past the Ferrari the cars banged wheels. Fernando pulled away and there was nothing Massa could do about it.

On the last lap Lewis Hamilton passed Fisichella into ninth while Heidfeld slipped past Kubica to take sixth place. Finally, Kovalainen took the remaining point for eighth, a poor reward for a hard-charging drive

Fernando’s victory brings him to within 2 points of his team-mate in the title battle with Massa in third 11 points behind Hamilton.

13 July 2007

Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix

As a Harry Potter fan I am definitely not going to pass up the opportunity to see Order of the Phoenix. To tell you the truth, I am not a fan of its book initially. When I first read it, I was really fed-up with Harry's bitter attitude. Then the Half Blood Prince was released. As it's released was nearly one year after, I read Order of the Phoenix again and for some reason or the other, this time I was hooked!

Harry Potter's fans would have known that the fifth installment of the series is the darkest of all. I am happy to report that the movie does not veered too far off from the book. The director successfully compacted everything in to a 2 and a half hour movie without loosing its initial focus.

There are several scenes that I think could be improved. For example, when Harry saw Snape's memory of his father, it just ends there. The other is the fighting scene between the Order of Phoenix and the Death Eater was too short and wasn't displayed in details. Also of Harry and Cho's snog scene: eeeuww! (I don't like Cho) :p

Further more I was a tad disappointed that this movie was all about Harry where in the book it wasn't so. I was actually looking forward to see Ron playing the Quiditch as a captain while Hermoine and Harry went to see the giant. Also more of the Weasley's twins mischievous acts, and Luna eccentric behavior. This movie also failed to mention the fling between Ron and Hermione.

But that is that I guess. Two more movies and a book to finish off the adventure of Harry, Ron and Hermione. Already looking forward for Half Blood Prince!

11 July 2007

Lesson to learn

Picture0008 This is me at 3:29am on Wednesday morning, July 11, 2007.

My head feels like it is going to explode. Keep thinking about the past the present the future.

I’ve learnt many things in the past. I’ve learned the joy of being in love. I’ve learned how weird it felt when I got my heart broken. I’ve learned that I was lost when I lose my best friends. I’ve learned to live through perseverance. But most important of all, I have been learning to forget, to stay strong.

Easier said than done…

I wanted so much to say to people that I am not okay, that I need help. I am so damn tired acting all tough. I want you to hold me, to lead me to a sanctuary, a place that is safe enough for me to let my guards down. I want you to say that it is okay for me to cry.

But those are the lesson I've yet to learn which makes the present oh so much harder to bear.

As for what the future holds, I’d once said that I had stopped caring.

I wasn’t lying.

p/s: Lintah, this girl here misses you. How does your stomach holding up?

08 July 2007

British GP

Kini kita beralih ke perlumbaan ke-9 dalam kalendar Formula One di Silverstone, Britain. 7 daripada 11 pasukan Formula One berasal dari Britain maka perlumbaan di Silverstone dianggap sebagai perlumbaan di ‘rumah’ sendiri oleh kebanyakan pasukan ini. Begitu juga untuk empat orang pemandu Formula One iaitu Lewis Hamilton, Anthony Davidson, Jenson Button and David Coulthard.

Namun semua harapan diletakkan di atas bahu Hamilton . Beliau berjaya mendapatkan petak pertama untuk pertama kalinya bagi pemandu Britain sejak 11 tahun yang lalu. Orang tempatan mengharapkan Lewis untuk memenangi perlumbaan hari ini dan jika beliau berjaya melepasi garisan penamat di tempat pertama, beliau akan mencipta sejarah sekali lagi sebagai rookie yang memenangi perlumbaan di ‘rumah’ sendiri pada tahun pertama dalam karier Formula One beliau.

Walaubagaimana pun beliau terpaksa berhadapan bukan sahaja teman sepasukannya Fernando Alonso yang jelas menunjukkan kepantasan beliau di sessi kelayakan semalam apabila mendahului pada sessi pertama dan kedua, malah kedua-dua pemandu Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen dan Felipe Massa. Ferrari terutamanya Kimi Raikkonen telah mendominasi sepanjang minggu ini pada sessi latihan yang berlangsung kecuali pada sessi latihan pertama di mana Hamilton mendahului.

Perlumbaan di Silverstone juga terkenal dengan ketidak tentuan cuacanya yang memungkinkan satu perlumbaan yang sukar diramal. Jika hujan turun ketika perlumbaan, ini bermakna strategi pasukan terpaksa diubah dan pastinya keadaan ini menjanjikan perlumbaan yang lebih menarik untuk penonton.

Namun perlumbaan di Silverstone bermula di bawah keadaan cuaca yang cerah dan baik. Selepas pusingan formasi yang pertama, kereta Massa menghadapi masalah mekanikal dan beliau terpaksa memulakan perlumbaan di tempat terakhir dari pitlane. Ini adalah berita baik bagi pasukan McLaren.

Selepas kelima-lima lampu merah dinyalakan, perlumbaan bermula tanpa sebarang insiden dan kedudukan keempat teratas tidak berubah dengan Hamilton mendahului diikuti oleh Raikkonen, Alonso dan Robert Kubica dibelakangnya. Heikki Kovalainen, Giancarlo Fisichella, Nick Heidfeld dan Ralf Schumacher pula melengkapkan kedudukan lapan tempat teratas.

Massa pula mengakhiri pusingan keenam di tempat ke-13. Hamilton dan Raikkonen merekod masa terpantas dalam perlumbaan bersilih ganti ketika ini menunjukkan betapa sengitnya perlumbaan antara dua pemandu ini.

Webber mangsa pertama perlumbaan apabila beliau kembali ke pit untuk bersara di pusingan kelapan.

Pasukan Ferrari masih bimbang dengan keadaan kereta Massa jika keadaan di grid permulaan akan berulang apabila Massa masuk ke pit untuk pitstop rutin beliau, Namun ketika ini Massa tiada sebarang masalah untuk memintas Nico Rosberg dan David Coulthard untuk tempat ke-11 di pusingan kelapan. Selepas pusingan kesebelas beliau telah memintas Trulli untuk tempat ke-9. Dalam 12 pusingan sejak perlumban dimulakan, Massa telah memintas 12 kereta. Beliau juga hanya lebih kurang 25 saat dibelakang Hamilton.

Dari pusingan ketiga belas, Raikkonen mula cuba untuk memintas Hamilton. Alonso masih kekal di tempat ke-3. Kelihatannya beliau mempunyai strategi tersendiri untuk perlumbaan ini dan masih merapatkan jurang antaranya dengan Raikkonen.

Hamilton masuk ke pit untuk pitstop rutin pertama beliau di pusingan keempat belas membenarkan Raikkonen mendahului perlumbaan. Ini bermakna kereta beliau adalah yang paling ringan di antara empat pemandu teratas. Hamilton melakukan kesilapan kecil ketika di pit menyebabkan beliau kehilangan sedikit masa. Hamilton keluar dari pit dibelakang Massa. Raikkonen pula tidak membuang masa untuk menambahkan jurang masa antaranya dengan pemandu McLaren. Alonso kini mendahului perlumbaan.

Raikkonen masuk ke pit pada pusingan kelapan belas dan beliau keluar dari pit di hadapan Hamilton.

Alonso masuk ke pit pada pusingan seterusnya dan ternyata jumlah minyak yang berlebihan yang dibawa oleh beliau pada sessi kelayakan semalam berbaloi apabila beliau berjaya kembali ke litar dan mengekalkan kedudukan beliau di tempat pertama.

Adrian Sutil terkeluar dari perlumbaan apabila enjin beliau mengalami masalah sementara Schumacher yang buat pertama kalinya mendahului Jarno Trulli dalam sesi kelayakan semalam terpaksa menamatkan perlumbaannya pada pusingan ke-22. Kelihatannya seperti kereta beliau mempunyai masalah suspensi. Beliau pasti merasa sangat kecewa kerana ini adalah perlumbaan terbaik beliau pada musim ini. Beberapa pusingan selepas itu, Trulli turut mengalami nasib yang sama dan kedua-dua kereta Toyota kini terkeluar dari perlumbaan.

Berbanding dengan pemandu Toyota, nasib Massa adalah lebih baik. Perlumbaan belum pun sampai separuh daripada 59 pusingan lengkap, beliau telah memintasi lebih 14 kereta untuk berada di tempat ke-7 selepas menyelesaikan pitstop rutin pertama beliau tanpa sebarang masalah.

Alonso tidak begitu gembira apabila melepasi Scott Speed untuk melengkapkan satu pusingannya. Selepas itu Speed dilanggar oleh Wurz sebaik saja Alonso memintasnya menyebabkan suspensi kereta STR2 beliau gagal berfungsi. Perlumbaan ini telah tamat untuk Speed. Sementara itu Davidson kembali ke pit untuk bersara pada pusingan yang ke-30.

Alonso kehilangan banyak masa untuk melepasi ‘backmarkers’ dan ini menyebabkan Raikkonen berjaya mencuri beberapa saat darinya untuk merapatkan jurang antara tempat pertama dan tempat kedua.

Kini giliran Alonso pula masuk ke pit lebih dahulu dari Hamilton pada pusingan ke-37. Beliau kembali ke litar di belakang Hamilton di tempat ketiga. Hamilton masuk ke pit pada pusingan seterusnya dan beliau keluar dari pit di tempat kelima.

Raikkonen kini mendahului perlumbaan dan beliau tidak melepaskan peluang untuk menambah jurang masa antaranya dengan Alonso bagi memastikan beliau akan menamatkan perlumbaan ini ditempat pertama.

Giliran Raikkonen masuk ke pit pada pusingan ke-42 dan strategi Ferrari meletakkan minyak yang lebih pada kereta Raikkonen pada pitstop rutin pertama beliau berjaya meletakkan Raikkonen di hadapan Alonso apabila beliau kembali ke litar.

Massa masuk ke pit tiga pusingan selepas teman sepasukannya untuk pitstop rutin terakhir beliau dan kembali ke litar di belakang Kubica di tempat kelima.

Pemandu di tempat kesepuluh teratas selepas pitstop rutin kedua didahului oleh Raikkonen ialah Alonso di tempat kedua diikuti oleh Hamilton, Kubica, Massa, Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Fisichella, Rubens Barrichello dan Jenson Button.

Kedua-dua pemandu kereta Ferrari menunjukkan prestasi yang begitu baik. Jika Massa tidak mempunyai masalah selepas pusingan formasi pertama kemungkinan beliau akan turut sama bersaing dengan Raikkonen dan Alonso untuk bergelar juara di litar Silverstone ini. Pemanduan beliau pada perlumbaan ini adalah antara yang terbaik sepanjang kareer beliau.

Dengan baki lapan pusingan, Raikkonen telah berjaya meletakkan jarak hampir 8 saat antaranya dengan Alonso. Ferrari kini hampir boleh mulai menghela nafas lega untuk Raikkonen kerana kelihatan beliau sudah menguasai perlumbaan ini sepenuhnya.

Liuzzi mangsa terakhir yang terpaksa bersara dari perlumbaan pada pusingan ke-55.

Raikkonen berjaya mengekalkan kedudukan beliau untuk memenangi perlumbaan ini. Ia merupakan kemenangan pertama bagi Raikkonen di Silverstone. Alonso kemudian melintasi garisan penamat di tempat kedua. Hamilton hanya berjaya mengakhiri perlumbaan di tempat ketiga, sekali lagi di atas podium untuk kali ke-9 musim ini. Ini adalah perlumbaan yang dimenangi oleh Ferrari dek kerana susunan stategi yang begitu baik berbanding aturan strategi untuk Alonso oleh pasukan McLaren.

Cuaca kekal cerah disepanjang perlumbaan .

Hamilton kelihatan sedikit kecewa kerana gagal memenangi perlumbaan ini seperti yang diharapkan manakala Raikkonen dan Alonso nampak lebih tenang selepas perlumbaan. Alonso merupakan pemandu terpantas untuk pasukan McLaren sepanjang minggu. Beliau turut merapatkan jurang kejuaraan kepada hanya 12 mata. Sementara itu Raikkonen mula mencabar untuk gelaran juara secara serius dan jika prestasi baik beliau berterusan tanpa sebarang masalah dengan kereta F2007 miliknya, Raikkonen pasti boleh melakukannya. Kecekapan Massa juga tidak boleh diperlekehkan. Ini bermakna dengan baki 8 perlumbaan, dunia bakal menyaksikan saingan sengit antara empat pemandu dari dua pasukan besar Formula One.

McLaren mendahului Kejuaraan Pengeluar dengan 128 mata. Ferrari kurang 25 mata di belakang mereka sementara BMW Sauber F1 Team masih kekal di tempat ketiga dengan 56 mata. Renault mempunyai 31 mata di tempat keempat dan AT&T WiliamsF1 Team di tempat kelima dengan beza 2 mata.

Bagi Kejuaraan Pemandu pula, Hamilton masih mendahului dengan 70 mata, Alonso di belakangnya dengan 58 mata, Raikkonen ditempat ketiga dengan 56 mata dan Massa di tempat keempat dengan beza 1 mata sahaja.

Perlumbaan seterusnya akan berlangsung di Nurburgring, Jerman dalam masa 2 minggu yang akan datang. Jumpa anda kelak!

05 July 2007

Die Hard 4.0

Live Free or Die Hard

Remember inspector John McClane?

If you are a die hard fans of Die Hard (pun intended), you wouldn’t need to google the name. Yep, the coolest NYPD detective is back!

Like the rest of die hard films which received rave reviews from critics, this one is no exception. It is an action pack movie from start to end with light humor here and there. The essence of the previous three diehard films that had captured the heart of everyday people who needed a hero in their life still exists in this film.

John (Bruce Willis) was assigned to pick up a kid named Matthew Farrell (Justin Long) from his apartment after the government system was hacked earlier on by the bad guy named Gabriel. The US government, stupid as they are, wants all the hackers to be rounded up and questioned. When John arrived at Matt’s apartment, Gabriel’s henchmen were already there to assassinate the kid (who without his knowledge he had helped the bad guy with some sort of algorithm that allowed the bad guy to launched the fire sale attack) to erase and cover up his bad plan. Hence the adventure begins. Halfway through the movie, John killed the Gabriel’s whore so in return he kidnapped Lucy, John’s daughter. John will of course save his daughter with the help of Matt who finally founds out how his algorithm was being used. As usual the hero will save the day and the police/FBI only arrived at the crime scene after the hero finishes their work for them.

But don’t let my boring review deceived you. It is a great movie (although not as awesome as the Transformers) and it is up to the 'diehard standards. The fighting scenes, the car chasing, the blow up scenes were all extravaganza, bigger and better.

There is one thing that I noticed though. Gabriel is a hacker boy who was once hired by the government to monitor the system of the entire country. On his first day working for them, he already told them that the system lack security and can be hacked easily. He was sacked for that but not before he had create a back up security system for the government in case things go haywire. Sounds familiar isn’t it? It sounds just like Bush’s stupid administration. Before 9/11, they were warned of the terrorist’s attack that might happen but what did Bush’s administration do? Nothing. Nada. They were so full of themselves they never thought it could happened. When it does happened, they took the easy way out: they just point their dirty finger on Muslim.

Fuck them.

But honestly the fire sale attack is quite appealing if you think about it. I’m sure if it happens in real life, America will be the first to go down. Sadly I think the government of the United States is not as stupid as the government that was being portrayed in Live Free or Die Hard.

Back to the movie, I have several favorite scenes:

1. When Matt and John were trying to hijacked a BMW car. John was going to hot-wire the beemer but thanks to Matt genius head, they don’t have to. But how did Matt do it? Hehe you just have to see the movie yourself. It just one of my many reasons why I am so in love with BMW cars.

2. When John and Matt went in to the tunnel to run away from Gabriel’s henchmen (the bad guys were on a helicopter), the traffic was directed inside the tunnel from both sides. Then Gabriel switched off all the lights in the tunnel. Also during the chasing scene between the F35 and John’s truck. The stunt work is in full glory. Grade-A Hollywood mayhem and destruction and very little apparent CGI.

3. Matt trying to hit on John’s daughter. Apparently he wasn’t the only one who feels the connection because Lucy was interested too. The dialog was kind of funny. And sweet. O well I just like the nerdy Justin Long…

Memorable quotes from the movie:

Matt Farrel: [large explosion] Did you see that?
John McClane: Yeah I saw it, I did it!

Matt Farrel: [to Lucy] I know that tone. I'm just not used to hearing it from someone with... hair.

Thomas Gabriel: [talking to McClane on walkie-talkie] Mr. McClane, I need you to behave. Can you get him to behave?
[hands walkie-talkie over to Lucy]
Lucy McClane: Daddy? There are only five left.

01 July 2007

France GP

Publish Post

Selamat datang ke perlumbaan ke-8 dalam kalendar Formula 1 di Magny-Cours, Perancis. Ini mungkin perlumbaan terakhir untuk litar ini kerana ada ura-ura yang mengatakan Bernie Ecclestone tidak akan memasukkan litar ini untuk perlumbaan-perlumbaan Formula 1 pada tahun-tahun akan datang bagi memberi laluan kepada litar-litar baru seperti litar Turkey dan Singapura.

Ferrari kembali menunjukkan taring mereka di sessi kelayakan semalam apabila Felipe Massa berjaya merampas menduduki petak pertama untuk perlumbaan hari ini sementara Kimi Raikkonen berada di tempat ketiga. Lewis Hamilton memisahka pemandu Ferrari di tempat kedua. Kereta MP4-22 milik Fernando Alonso mengalami masalah mekanikal. Beliau hanya akan memulakan perlumbaan hari ini dari tempat ke-10. Ini permulaan yang kurang baik untuk pemandu Sepanyol ini bertekad untuk merapatkan jurang mata antaranya dengan Hamilton. Robert Kubica kembali beraksi untuk pasukan BMW Sauber F1 Team selepas beliau berehat untuk perlumbaan di Indianapolis dua minggu lalu berikutan kemalangan yang dihadapinya ketika di Montreal. Nick Heidfeld pula hanya di tempat ke-7 selepas berhempas pulas dengan masalah sakit belakang yang dihadapinya sejak sessi ujian di Silverstone minggu lalu. Kedua-dua pemandu Renault, Jarno Trulli dan Nico Rosberg masing-masing melayakkan diri di tempat sepuluh ke atas.

Perlumbaan bermula dengan lancar tanpa sebarang insiden yang serius. Massa mendahului perlumbaan dari garisan permulaan. Hamilton kehilangan posisinya kepada Raikkonen. Alonso memintas dua kereta di hadapannya untuk tempat ke-7 pada akhir pusingan 1. Robert Kubica dan Giancarlo Fisichela mengekalkan kedudukan masing-masing sementara Nick Heidfeld dan Nico Rosberg naik satu posisi. Heikki Kovalainen berlanggar dengan Jarno Trulli memaksa kedua-dua pemandu ini kembali ke pit untuk memperbaiki kerosakan. MalangnyaTrulli tidak dapat meneruskan perlumbaannya. Begitu juga dengan Vitantonio Liuzzi dan Anthony Davidson yang turut berlangar di selekoh 1.

Alonso cuba memintas Nick Heidfeld untuk tempat ke-6 sejak pusingan ke-2 dan hampir-hampir berjaya pada pusingan ke-4 namun Heidfeld kembali memintasnya semula pada selekoh seterusnya. Kedua-dua kereta pemandu ini menggunakan tayar yang berlainan. Kereta BMW F1.07 milik Heidfeld menggunakan tayar ‘hard compound’ manakala kereta MP4-22 milik Alonso menggunakan tayar ‘soft compound’. Ini menyukarkan Alonso untuk meminta Heidfeld.

Hamilton pemandu pertama masuk ke pit utnuk pitstop rutin beliau diikuti oleh Alonso pada pusingan ke-16. McLaren arif mereka perlu memanggil masuk kedua-dua pemandu lebih awal untuk pitstop rutin mereka kerana kedua-duanya tidak dapat memintas pemandu dihadapannya. Hamilton kembali ke litar di belakang Rosberg di tempat ke-7 manakala Alonso di tempat ke-9.

Ferrari memberi tindak balas yang sepatutnya apabila Massa masuk ke pit untuk pitstop rutinnya di pusingan ke-18. Massa kembali ke litar di tempat ke-2. Kini Raikkonen mendahului perlumbaan. Beliau mencatat masa terpantas dalam perlumbaan di pusingan ke-19. Beliau tahu ini peluang terbaik untuk beliau memintas Massa untuk menjuarai perlumbaan kali ini dan beliau tidak membazirkan peluang yang ada namun jarak masa yang dilakukan olehnya masih tidak mencukupi untuk mengekalkan kedudukannya. Beliau kembali ke litar di belakang Massa selepas pitstop rutinnya di pusingan ke-22.

Fisichella kembali ke litar selepas pitstop rutinnya di hadapan Alonso. Ini membenarkan Heidfeld mengekalkan kedudukannya di tempat ke-6 selepas pitstop rutinnya. Nampaknya strategi McLaren memanggil Alonso masuk ke pit lebih awal dengan tujuan untuk memintas Heidfeld tidak menjadi. Heidfeld melakukan tugas yang baik menyukarkan kerja Alonso di litar.

Christijan Albers terpaksa menamatkan perlumbaan dek kerana kesilapan yang dilakukan oleh dirinya sendiri. Beliau tidak menunggu isyarat dari lollipop man untuk keluar dari pit. Hos minyak yang masih belum dikeluarkan tersangkut pada kereta beliau dan memaksa beliau menamatkan perlumbaan beliau.

Alonso akhirnya berjaya memintas Heidfeld pada pusingan ke-33 selepas hampir 11 pusingan tersekat dibelakang pemandu Jerman tersebut. Kini Alonso perlu merapatkan jurang kedudukannya antaranya dengan teman sepasukannya.

Hamilton dan kemudian Alonso kembali ke pit untuk pitstop rutin kedua masing-masing bagi mengelak trafik pada pusingan ke-37. Hamilton hampir sahaja kehilangan kedudukannya kepada Kubica apabila beliau kembali ke litar namun beliau tiada masalah memintas Kubica. Alonso pula kelihatan tidak selesa apabila kembali ke litar dengan melakukan beberapa kesilapan.

Massa masuk ke pit untuk pitstop rutin keduanya pada pusingan ke-43. Raikkonen kini sekali lagi mendahului perlumbaan. Jarak masa antaranya dengan Massa ketika ini adalah 22 saat dan ia jelas mencukupi untuk memintas Massa. Massa mungkin menghadapi trafik pada pusingan outlap nya. Kini ia adalah perlumbaan antara kedua-dua pemandu Ferrari ini iaitu samada Massa atau Raikkonen yang akan berjaya memenangi perlumbaan di Magny-Cours kali ini.

Sekali lagi Alonso terpaksa berhadapan dengan Heidfeld apabila Heidfeld kembali ke litar selepas pitstop rutin kedua beliau di hadapannya. Kemudian Fisichella pula memintas Alonso apabila pemandu Renault itu kembali ke litar dari pitstop rutinnya.

Hamilton menggunakan strategi 3 pitstop dan beliau masuk ke pit untuk pitstop rutin terakhir beliau pada pusingan ke-51. Beliau kembali ke litar di belakang Massa di tempat ketiga.

Ketika ini Raikkonen memandu kereta Ferrari F2007 beliau tanpa belas untuk menjarakkan jurang antaranya dengan Massa bagi memastikan beliau akan kekal mendahului perlumbaan ini sehingga ke garisan penamat. Ketika ini kedua-dua pemandu Ferrari mempunyai jarak lebih kurang 30 saat antara mereka dengan Hamilton. Mereka sudah boleh mulai relaks dan mengekalkan kedudukan mereka tanpa perlu risau cabaran dari Hamilton.

Raikkonen menjuarai perlumbaan buat kali kedua dalam kareer beliau bersama Ferrari. Kebelakangan ini persembahan beliau tidak begitu membanggakan jika dibandingkan dengan teman sepasukannya Massa. Kemenangan kali ini sangat bermakna bagi membina semula jati diri beliau. Ini adalah kemenangan satu-dua pertama bagi pasukan Ferrari musim ini dengan Massa ditempat kedua. Hamilton sekali lagi mengakhiri perlumbaan di atas podium di tempat ketiga.

Pasukan BMW Sauber turut melakukan tugas yang baik dengan Kubica dan Heidfeld masing-masing menamatkan perlumbaan di tempat ke-4 dan ke-5. Alonso gagal memintas Fisichella dan terpaksa berpuas hati dengan tempat ke-7 sementara Button mengutip mata akhir untuk perlumbaan kali ini.

Adakah ini kemenangan kali ini bakal berkekalan dan menunjukkan kekuatan Ferrari telah kembali untuk memecahkan dominasi McLaren sejak dua perlumbaan yang lalu? Bagaimana pula dengan Alonso? Mampukah beliau mengejar rakan sepasukannya untuk memenangi kejuaraan pemandu pada akhir musim ini setelah semakin jauh ditinggalkan. Massa dan Raikkonen juga mula mencabar untuk merebut juara tersebut dari tangan beliau.

Jumpa lagi di perlumbaan akan di Silverstone dalam masa satu minggu. Jangkakan satu lagi dominasi daripada Hamilton di litar negaranya sendiri.

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