Friday, November 06, 2009


Haven't had a chance to blog for 3 weeks, a common side effect after returning from long leave.

Hence, note the time of this entry.

Much has happened since my last update, which I will elaborate on in a series of posts.

Haven't even had time to upload my photos yet, despite logging into the laptop almost daily this week to prep an upcoming tutorial.

A sad state of affairs indeed.

In a nutshell, however, I had an excellent time at Brisbane's Gold Coast - Surfers Paradise, to be exact. Spent 15 days in the area for the purpose of attending 2 ultrasound workshops, and did a bit of touring in between.

Had the pseudo-good fortune of being there during the V8 race, which is kinda like Australia's version of Formula 1, just with different types of cars and an entirely Aussie line-up of drivers.
Will tell you more in a later entry.

Also met up with 2 friends who reside in Brisbane. Had a great day at Sea World then ate the most heavenly dinner and dessert at the nearby Marina Mirage.
Details to follow. :)

The Sea World Whale Watch was truly memorable, for good and bad reasons. But the latter are wholly due to natural causes, and I have no regrets about the suffering I had to endure to get a glimpse of these majestic creatures in the wild.
More about that another time.

Last but not least, the highlight of my trip: the Sea World Dolphin Adventure, which costs a pretty penny but is worth every cent.
Sorry to say it again - "will post more information the next round" - but I really need to do this justice, and it requires a lengthy post.
But suffice to say, the experience was a heady mixture of surreal, awe-inspiring, heartwarming and hilarious.
Getting up close with a dolphin has been on my to-do list since childhood. You have no idea how lucky I feel to finally fulfill this life-long wish.

Festive Purchases

I recently got on the MP3-downloading wagon, but will definitely dish out the moolah for Jason Mraz's CD/DVD collection, due out November 10.
If you're a JM virgin, take it from me that this is one artiste you absolutely MUST sample, preferably 'live'.
I can't wait to hear the new tracks!

John Mayer's new album is in the November 17 slot. Get ready for more bluesy rock masterpieces. Love the CD cover, by the way. :)

Next, Adam Lambert's For Your Entertainment, November 23. I hope the trackes titled Strut and Soaked live up to their names! Am a big fan of Glamorize, which oozes sexual heat.

And not forgetting... Robbie Williams, a perennial favourite since his Take That days during my junior college era. Also out November 17. What's with the massive squeeze of release dates?
He's reportedly been going through a difficult period these past few years, but I hope this album will see him returning to fine form, like during his Sing/Swing When You're Winning heyday.
This is one talented guy, and I wish only the best for him.

Here's one already on the market so I won't have to wait - David Archuleta's Christmas CD, which came out in October.
Believe the 5-star reviews, 'cos I've seen the YouTube clips and know he excels at X'mas carols and hymns.
A previous performance of O Holy Night at a dinner event caused me to tear up. The sound quality wasn't great and he sang with only a piano to back him up, but it was so uplifting, it's exactly like what the reviewers say: you can feel him pouring his heart and soul into every word, and you the listener gets swept up in a tidal wave of emotion.
I wasn't impressed with his fluffy pop album - no doubt targeted at squealing, lovelorn teenage girls - but am certain that David's strengths will be beautifully showcased here.
Will go MP3-hunting this weekend. Legally, of course. :)

Almost forgot to mention Michael Buble's latest offering, which I didn't have time to get before going on leave. Reviews have been generally good so far, but as someone on Amazon remarks, the orchestral arrangements sometimes overwhelm the vocals, and that's definitely a pity.
I suspect this is the reason I didn't enjoy his previous album, Call Me Irresponsible. But that CD had some inherent problems with song choices and guest artistes ( Boyz II Men doing backup? Come on! ), so crossing my fingers that the situation has improved since that debacle.

I don't know if the Glee soundtrack is available in Singapore, but most of its songs have been floating all over the Internet for ages. I guess the MP3s are high-quality recordings culled directly from TV, uploaded by some tech-savvy, kind-hearted soul to share with the rest of the world.
There's a cover of Duffy's Mercy which strangely fails to appear on both Volumes 1&2. Be sure to listen to it - and a rousing version of Amy Winehouse's Rehab. Am sure you'll find it easily through Google.

At least I managed to catch 2 episodes of Glee in Brisbane. Could it be the pregnant cheerleader and gay teen who're keeping the show off local TV? Even digital cable? If the sex-and-blood-soaked True Blood made the cut, why didn't Glee? Yeesh.

Another programme I got hooked on: Australian Idol. I've seen about 4 episodes over the past 2 months, and predict that Nathan Brake will win, barring some voting fiasco like the Clay Aiken / Adam Lambert mess.
He did a chill-inducing cover of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Music Of The Night on one episode, and wowed everyone with Michael Jackson's Thriller another week.
Only 17 years old, but unusually confident on-stage, and an AMAZING singer.
MP3s online? :)

Film Updates

3 movies I desperately want to catch in cinemas: 2012 ( John Cusack doing a rare blockbuster! ), New Moon ( trailer looks good ), and Avatar ( trailer gave me goosebumps ).

Will watch on DVD ( and maybe buy it ): An Education, which stars the sexy and fascinating Peter Sarsgaard ( aka Jake Gyllenhaal's brother-in-law ). Earning rave reviews everywhere, maybe some Oscar buzz as well.
If you haven't seen Sarsgaard's stellar turn in Shattered Glass ( where he completely overshadowed Hayden Christensen ), I highly recommend it. Keep forgetting to buy the DVD, dammit. And I never see it on cable.

Short reviews of flicks I saw on the plane:

The Hangover - quite fun, but also crass. Has a few hilarious scenes but strictly for males.

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince - found it very disorganized. The book is just too thick to fit into 2-3 hours.

Up - love this film! Not Pixar's best ( faves include Finding Nemo, Toy Story and Ratatouille ), but the animal characters are priceless, and the scene where Carl first unveils his balloons and the house floats over the town is totally awesome!
That giant bird thingy is a hoot! Someone tell me if the creature has a proper name ( not "Kevin" ).

(500) Days Of Summer - another hyped-up movie, which I found a tad disappointing. Where rom-coms are concerned, I still think Someone Like You ( Ashley Judd and Hugh Jackman ) and Something's Gotta Give ( Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson ) take the cake.
But it's nice to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt looking clean-shaven and perky for once, considering his usual choice of dark / bizarre roles.
A certain Hall & Oates hit is used to convey happiness in a cute dance sequence. An inspired choice!

Reminder to self: go rent The Hurt Locker.

Watch For It

The Bridge Project 2010 recently announced a Shakespearean doublebill. Doesn't have any big names, but a great improvement from the lesser-known The Winter's Tale.
Kevin Spacey's rumoured to be touring in 2011. Do you think he'll try Shakespeare? The first character that pops into mind is Shylock. But if he wants to do comedy, then please take on Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing! :)

Enough for today.

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