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List three books that have changed your life:

in chronological order of reading:

1. Witchlight (L.J.Smith)
2. The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R.Tolkien)
3. The Alchemist (Paul Coelho)
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Be optimistic even when things are not going so well. Be contented, and acquire the wisdom to accept the things that one cannot change. 
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Parents tell stories to their children in the hope of helping them avoid painful lessons in life. Teachers educate to guide young minds to tread the correct paths. There are many stories and examples of mistakes and bad choices that people have made; we should all take heed. But try as you may, there are no easy ways to acquiring wisdom. Lessons in life have to be learnt first-hand. Pain is part of life. A friend had quoted C.S. Lewis once, and I fully agree -Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn. 

[posted in http://roadtorouen.wordpress.com/]

Current Mood:
pensive pensive
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I am much calmer after lunching with a good friend of mine. Came back to office; saw this poem in literarytattoos and I love it.

Begin doing what you want to do now.
We are not living in eternity.
We have only this moment,
sparkling like a star in our hand-and melting
like a snowflake
- Francis Bacon, Sr.

For those of you who do not know this, I love snowflakes. 


Current Mood:
calm calm
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What's your favorite city or town that you've visited? Why do you love it?

Currently, it's Antalya in Turkey. Cos' it's beside the sea, and has a very laidback vibe about it.
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Dir.: Shekhar Kapur

Cast: Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth I

          Geoffrey Rush as Sir Francis Walsingham

          Clive Owen as Walter Raleigh

          Abbie Cornish as Elizabeth Throckmorton (Beth)

Running time: 114 mins.

[info from imdb.com]

Film in a nutshell: An almost moving portrait of Elizabeth I.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age is director Shekhar Kapur follow-up to the acclaimed Elizabeth (1998), which narrates the compelling story of Elizabeth Tudor's ascendancy to the English throne in the mid 1500s. In this sequel, Elizabeth, though Queen, faces much uncertainties about her reign, as Catholics throughout Europe resent her Protestant beliefs and deem her an illegitimate heir to the throne. Prince Phillip of Spain, introduced early as a devout Catholic, plans to attack England to overthrow Elizabeth in God's name.

Review proper **Spoiler Alert**
If you are worried about a history lesson on film, fear not, for The Golden Age is less about historical facts than an effort in trying to depict the hopes and fears of a woman, albeit an extraordinary one.

I say trying, because though Elizabeth the First is indeed a majestic figure worthy of not one but two titular films, Kapur's work fell short this time around. I went into the cinema without expectations, and for the first hour I was contented with watching the charismatic Queen going about her courtly tasks and engaging in private correspondence with her ladies in waiting. But soon after, I wondered where exactly was the film going?

It possesses court politics, romantic liaisons, intriguing religious symbolism, even warfare and yet, there's the problem - it lacks focus. As such, it fails to deliver a powerful narrative about Elizabeth's golden era. Many scenes were exceptional, yet weakened by some non sequitar that does nothing to advance the plot.

There are noteworthy aspects of the movie; nobody can fail to see the great acting by the leads. Blachett shines as Elizabeth, though she could dazzle if the narrative had been better. Geoffrey Rush, though good, too was restricted by the plot. Clive Owen cuts a convincing role as Sir Walter Raleigh, but somehow his rugged good looks don't hold up to Blachett's intensity. The scenes of Elizabeth and Walter together were less than persuasive, sadly.

One character you should look out for is Elizabeth Throckmorton, or Beth, played by Abbie Cornish. Cornish plays the lovely Beth with such youthful luminosity that it is hard not to sit up and take a closer look. However, the other reason to take note of Cornish is her resemblance to Nicole Kidman. In fact, in her first screen shot, I thought for a second that Ms Kidman made a cameo!

The other Oscar worthy feature of the movie is its cinematography and props. The movie is filled with lush colours and epic shots, (spoiler alert) like the scene where Elizabeth was assassinated in the church. In this breathtaking scene, her eyes burning with unshed tears, Elizabeth stretched out her arms, palms up, and slowly walked towards her bringer of death. It brings to mind both the Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc: a matron shrouded in sorrow and a warrior destined to be sacrificed. Likewise, the costumes were spectacular, and yet it does not take the focus away from the characters. However, undeniably, the script doesn't do justice to the art of the film, and the full glory of the sweeping camera shots and Elizabeth's regal dresses felt uninspiring.

The Golden Age is a nice watch, a different offering from the special effects laden blockbusters of 2007, with more intrigue and competent acting. Yet it tries to accomplish too many things in the short space of 2 hours, and leaves me feeling half-full. Still, Cate Blanchett is reason enough to watch the movie.

3 *** out of 5

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Kyle XY is my new favourite TV show. Well, it isn't exactly prime time television, but in Singapore, we do things a little differently. Kyle XY is good.

You see, prime time TV (7-9pm, right?) are reserved for local Chinese drama shows that takes its ideas from Hong Kong (trust me) Cantonese serials. On Channel 5 (the english channel) we get -guess what- America's Funniest Home Videos! I admit that some videos are funny, but why is it on at 7pm?

Okay before you slam me for slamming Mediacorp, I need to tell you that AFHV is on Mondays only. Then it's followed by Mega Monday (HOLLYWOOD) Movie, like The Mummy which we've all watched a million times. Like today, Sunday's blockbuster - The Italian Job - great I know, but I distinctly remembered I've caught it on Channel 5 not too long ago. How could I forget? Man they were driving Minis!

I don't want to go into Tuesdays, Wednesdays Thursday... What I want to say is that, how come Channel 5 puts all the great (okay, American) shows like Everwood, Kyle XY, Veronica Mars, Joan of Arcadia, younameit on weekends afternoons?

Hey wait, am I missing something?

Are people supposed to be at home on the weekends, watching TV?

Hmmm. Now that I'm analysing this, I'm beginning to second-guess myself. Are the weekends afternoons actually the other primetime slots?

Hmm. But I thought Singaporeans, especially teenagers and young adults like me, head out to town on the weekends.

But hey look at me now - bumming at home most of the time - and yeah I guess that weekend afternoons are as good as weekdays 7pm for showing good television.

And Kyle XY is really good. I caught the first season recently on Channel 5, thinking it's gonna be a mediocre show that tried to be intriguing but actually kinda suck, but hey I was wrong. I'm hooked on it now, and so is my brother, his girlfriend and maybe his ten other friends? (okay maybe more like 2).

But Channel 5 is taking too slow to show Season 2, but oh so luckily, my brother's girlfriend got then second season on DVD. And no, I can't say how she got it.

I'll give you 3 good reasons why Kyle XY is worth watching, I mean, aside from my obvious good taste which really should have been sufficient.

1) Kyle is cute. Very cute. (Bear with this gender specific comment). I refuse to search for information on the show on Wiki cos that would ruin his persona for me. Kyle is Kyle. I can't have non-Kyle images of Kyle, cos that would totally ruin the suspension-of-disbelief-that-this-is-only-a-TV-show for me. Believe me, when you get hooked on it, you'll do the same thing as me.

2) Great plot and dialogue. I don't know why but there's not 1, not 2, but 3 shows about the supernatural on TV recently. Supernatural, Ghost Whisperer and Tru Calling. After a while, despite my immense interest in everything ghoulish, I kind of feel that I have seen enough of ghosts and vengeful spirits. No doubt about the cool special effects though. Besides, Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy are not back yet. Kyle XY is not so much as original (okay the bottomline is that Kyle is a super-human, with great genes and not gestated not for months like us ordinary homo sapiens but years in an artificial womb which is why he has a super brain. what a mouthful.) -think Dark Angel and viewers, note the similarity betwen Manticore and Madacorp- but how it combines an interesting topic -GM humans- with a good plot (full of surprises) and a lovable cast and witty dialogue (look out for Josh the brother), and wham! you get a great series.

3) The rest of the cast are cute too. Okay seriously, there's an element of "believibility" about the family. A perfect family, really there's not much dysfunctionalism at all, but despite the perfect-ness, the family seems to fit so well togther that the viewer is drawn into their lives so unquestioning. Remember how well the Buffy cast fit together? Or Gilmore Girls? Or even, F.R.I.E.N.D.S? That's the success to a great drama or a sitcom. A great cast. Kyle XY has a great cast. I hope it doesn't end up like Dark Angel.

That said, it could just be me, neo-adolescence and all, who enjoys watching the life of a young, cute, American teenage boy, albeit with uncanny super abilities.

But if you aren't too old or skeptical to fall in like, check out Kyle XY.

Isn't Kyle cute?
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I'm gonna:

1) Read "The Well of Tears" and "Fallowblade"

2) Read/re-read "The Lord of the Rings"

3) Clean up the house

4) Write

5) Spend an entire day at the library

6) Spend an entire day outside doing nothing in particular

7) Watch 3 movies in a row

8) Complete House of the Dead 3 in the arcade

9) Shop

10) Finish up my soon to expire beer and liquor bought in June, while watching a funny Korean drama show at home.


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If reincarnation were inevitable, what would you come back as in your next life?

A golden eagle.
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Selamat Hari Raya to all Muslims!
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