Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Cup Runneth Over

I've been festering in a cesspool of blue funk this past fortnight, and it would've taken nothing short of a miracle to lift me out of it.

So the fact that 3 miracles occurred within days of each other is, in my opinion, nothing short of divine intervention. :)

First and foremost, my scoring 2 passes to one of Kevin Spacey's appearances at the Audi A8 event.
Initially, it was a near impossible task, especially since I had no inkling about the campaign itself, until a pal sent me an SMS and gave me the shock of my life.

Next, wrangling for tickets with the general public just didn't cut it for me, so I sent someone an email and basically grovelled, but was politely told, "Sorry, I can't help you." Which I totally understand.

The big break came when I recalled receiving an envelope with the Audi logo in the letterbox earlier this week. It was addressed to my dad, but since we receive a lot of junk mail on a daily basis, we end up tossing most of these in the recycling pile.

I called my mum from work - yes, I was desperate - and she rummaged through the heap before ringing me back with the best news ever: it was indeed the invitation I was hoping for!

Quick email back to the Audi guy, who happily put me on the guest list, and sent me the confirmation the very next day.

No word on whether there'll be any Q&A, meet-and-greet or autograph-signing. Programme shows a 30-minute slot for the talk itself, followed by a dinner buffet.

But you can bet I'll try my DARNDEST to get close to Mr. Spacey. No, I'm not stalking the man. But surely you can imagine how eager I am to shake his hand and take a photo, if possible. I absolutely love his work, and think he's sexy as hell. :)

More to follow after the event itself!

As a tribute to Mr. S, videos of his priceless impersonations. ( If I get to ask him a question in person, I'll either request an impression, or a short song. :))

At the AFI.

My personal fave, from Inside The Actors Studio.

As for the other 2 miracles: tickets to Russell Watson and Michael Buble's concerts! :D

By the way, I finished Dexter Is Delicious a few days ago.
As usual, not the strongest in terms of detective work, but explored Dexter's conflicting emotions in-depth, with a most unexpected plot development in the last chapter.

I mean, I thought I'd gotten used to Jeff Lindsay's wacky ideas after 4 novels, but even I didn't see this coming! Bravo for that!

And the TV series? Season 5 episode 8 deserves an Emmy. Just for that one episode. It's that good.

I'm not kidding when I say that I love Dexter Morgan. Not in a romantic sense, of course, but in a sisterly way. When you follow a show this closely and start investing your personal feelings in its characters, you begin to care for them very deeply.

And Dexter, in all his bloodthirsty dysfunction, is one of my personal heroes.

Why am I highlighting S5 Ep 8? Because it combines impeccable writing with flawless acting, and seals the bond between Dex and survivor-turned-accomplice Lumen.
Dexter, as many fans would know, is a solitary creature when it comes to murder. His attempt at partnership in season 3 ( with a trigger-happy Assistant DA, no less ) ended in tragedy, so having him try this out a second time is definitely dicey.

However, the writers are so adept at developing his relationship with Lumen ( plus the utterly convincing acting from Michael C. Hall and Julia Stiles ) that I never once doubt that they'll end up together.

*spoiler beware*

There's a scene where Lumen is attacked by a killer who recognizes her, and Dexter comes charging into the hotel room, strangling the scumbag until he loses consciousness and releases the poor woman.

It may seem routine to most viewers, but I found it extremely poignant. Dexter, with his propensity for cold, calculated violence, is also one of TV's kindest, most caring personalities.

There's also a conversation that discusses Dexter's motivation for killing.
D: Some people deserve to die.
Lumen: Is that what you believe?
D: Well, some people don't deserve to live.

If Michael C. Hall doesn't get an Emmy next year, someone's head needs to be chopped off!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kevin Spacey Returns To Singapore!

So soon? He was just here earlier this year before The Bridge Project's The Tempest hit the Esplanade.

I'm not complaining! :)

Strangely enough, I didn't know about the Audi A8 launch campaign until a good friend brought it to my attention.

Just called the hotline to register, but they're going to draw lots for the public, so let's hope I get lucky.

He'll be there all 3 days. How cool is that!

p.s. Doesn't he look gorgeous in this photo? Should've made this year's People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive issue. :D

First Michael Buble and Russell Watson's concerts, now this. My heart can't take any more adrenaline!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


A couple of quick ones.

First, the updated version of Hawaii Five-O, which I absolutely LOVE. :)

Cable aired 2 episodes these past few days. The pilot was mind-bogglingly good, for many reasons.

There's the excellent cast, led by Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan, carrying on the bro-mance trend that's become so popular in recent years.

Whoever picked these guys deserves an Emmy award, 'cos I haven't seen such a great male pairing since Law & Order. Most detective shows these days prefer man-woman combos, probably so they can up the will-they-or-won't-they romance factor.
So it's very refreshing to see 2 hunky dudes bickering their heads off, and the scriptwriters really whip it up with the witty one-liners.

Of course, most of the credit goes to O'Loughlin and Caan, who share the most delicious chemistry on-screen, and trade insults with gusto. The former is all icy stares and business-like calm, the latter a ball of nerves and temper flares. I find it especially funny when the shorter Caan scolds the towering O'Loughlin. Just brings to mind an image of David nagging Goliath, heh!

Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park provide the obligatory Asian ingredient, but don't make that big an impression, in my opinion. However, I'm glad to see minimal makeup on Park, a welcome change from the goop that's usually piled on actresses' faces - good examples: all the CSI series, all the teenager shows ( 90210, Gossip Girl, Vampire Diaries ). But I don't exactly buy into the hard-sell that Park's character is a kick-ass tough-as-nails cop worthy of joining the task force. Better to just let her use her feminine wiles and leave the whacking to the macho men, no?

One more thing worth mentioning: the super-slick action scenes, which caused my jaw to hit the floor. A memorable chase sequence in Ep 1 had O'Loughlin slide onto the back of a stalled car just as another one came crashing head-on into it. Doesn't sound that fantastic when I write about it, but trust me, it was wild!

He's been through a number of short-lived TV series, like Moonlight and Three Rivers, so let's hope Hawaii Five-O will be his breakout role, just as McDreamy helped Patrick Dempsey jumpstart his career.

As for Hung season 2, the censors are turning the show into an incomprehensible mess, so I may have to resort to my online sources for help.
It's definitely losing steam because the novelty is wearing off, so I may not stick around for season 3.

In other news, Russell Watson is finally performing in Singapore!
I've been a fan since his debut album almost 10 years ago, so you bet I'll be at the concert, with mom in tow.
Am also hoping for some "special access" privileges, so fingers crossed. :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Holiday Musings - Part 5

Due to a glitch in the Blogger software, some of the posting features aren't working very well, so let's see how this turns out.

It's been 3 weeks since my last entry about France, so I think it's about time for another one!

Choice of subject: the majestic Notre Dame cathedral.

I took A LOT of pictures, but picked these because they're among my favourites, and offer some of the best views.

From what I could see, most tourists cram themselves outside the main entrance ( right ), which features 3 separate doors and the famous Gallery Of Kings statues ( below ).

As a first-time visitor, I was initially disoriented by a long queue of people, whom I thought was lining up to enter the church. Turns out they were waiting to go up the stairs to the roof, which can take up to an hour!

Once inside, there's more to see, from statues of famous saints ( including Joan of Arc ), to numerous small prayer chapels, beautiful paintings, an altar, and of course, the famous rose windows.

I'm told by certain photography enthusiasts that my photos of the windows turned out great. Guess I got lucky, since I don't use a fancy or particularly expensive camera. Nikon Coolpix is good enough for me. But I did upgrade to a higher ISO, better zoom and 15 megapixels. :)

After spending about an hour strolling around the interior - was referring to my trusty Eyewitness travel guide on all the interesting sights - my mum and I went outside to walk a full round and view the exterior structure from a 360-degree perspective.

We met very few tourists along the way, which is a huge pity. The cathedral is breath-taking from every angle, and we stopped many times to gawk at the pure awesomeness of the architecture. Flying buttresses, hello!

There's also a lovely rose garden at the other end, where you can sit by a small fountain for a short breather, or bask in the sun.

Following our little walkabout, we ended the trip by listening to the church bells chime the 12 o'clock hour, after which they launched into a protracted bit of melodious clanging.
I was transfixed, and captured the interlude with my camera's video recording function.
I could practically picture Quasimodo in the bell tower! Such a beautiful summer day. My mom LOVED it. :)

Other Updates

Have been reading up a storm, zipping through Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's The Fall, before moving on to Jeff Lindsay's Dexter Is Delicious.

The Fall - Book 2 of The Strain trilogy - was disappointing because it pales in comparison to Book 1, which blew me away.
The writing has lost the oomph factor, the chapters don't flow smoothly, the action scenes feel forced, and the plot fails to develop in a manner that sustains my interest.
I do a lot of bedtime reading - need to wind down after my frequent evening shifts. How easily I doze off is a good gauge of how terrific / abysmally bad a novel is. And I had a lot of trouble staying awake with this one. Unlike The Strain, which kept me up till 2am at one point.

Another gripe: the totally irrelevant blog and diary entries from Fet the pest exterminator, and Ephraim Goodweather the infectious disease expert. Not well-written at all, and worth skipping entirely.

Will I read Book 3? Of course. I wouldn't be able to live with myself otherwise. Just hope it will match The Strain in terms of excitement and plot / character development.

I also hope a film trilogy - or better still, a TV series! - is in the works. Am already imagining Robert Downey Jr in the Goodweather role, with Gerard Butler as Fet. If my choices become reality, I'm going to buy lottery tickets! :)

Dexter Is Delicious, on the other hand, is currently giving me insomnia. Book 4 - Dexter By Design - was unremarkable, but Book 5 has author Jeff Lindsay back in top form, exhibiting a degree of laugh-out-loud dark humour I haven't seen since Dexter In The Dark.

Can you possibly fathom how a novel about a serial killer can make me chortle heartily, even after a crappy shift at the hospital? Since I've been watching the TV series online, it's even more interesting that I'm experiencing what's essentially 2 separate realities in Dexter Morgan Land. On television, he has a baby son named Harrison, lost his wife to the Trinity Killer, rescues a young woman from a pack of perverted murderers and subsequently helps her hunt them down.
On paper, his new daughter is called Lily Anne, wife Rita is alive and well, the Miami police squad searches for a possible vampire / cannibalistic cult, and Dexter's bloodthirsty brother, Brian ( who was killed off in season 1 ), returns with what sounds to me like a sinister ulterior motive.

Balancing the 2 story arcs is making me dizzy, but I'm also loving every second. :)

Something else I highly recommend: The Walking Dead.
This new TV series airs on local cable just 5 days after its U.S. telecast, woohoo!
Based on a graphic novel and executive produced by Frank Darabont ( who directed the excellent Shawshank Redemption ), the pilot episode got me hooked fast, and Ep 2 convinced me that yes, this show is worth my time.
Why? Well, don't expect hard-core action, sex / nudity or any big stars. The pace is rather slow - lots of talking, strategizing, trying to escape from one place or other. Zombies don't make the most fascinating villains either.
Maybe it's my personal preference, but I enjoy the verbal sparring between the plucky survivors, with their power plays and heroic/ desperate attempts at staying alive.

The main draw, however, is Andrew Lincoln, an actor I never knew of until now. As deputy sheriff, Rick Grimes, he is believably gritty and handles the action scenes extremely well. The supporting cast benefits from solid direction, especially in Ep 2, when they look positively horrified while chopping up a dead zombie then smearing its foul-smelling innards on their clothes, in an attempt to disguise themselves during an escape.

Also helps that Lincoln reminds me of another favourite actor, Viggo Mortensen. Slight physical resemblance, especially that strong jawline and scruffy chin. And they both handle their firearms most magnificently. :)

I'm also currently into The Vampire Diaries. Granted, it's directed at teenagers - specifically the Twilight fans - but I have my guilty pleasures too ( Gossip Girl heh! ) and this show is much less annoying than the Twilight movies.

Are you on Team Stefan or Team Damon? I like the former, because honestly, Ian Somerhalder's range of facial expressions is so damn limited. He tries to look evil, but how badass can an arched eyebrow be?
Paul Wesley, on the other hand, excels at being tormented.

But I have to say, distorting the vampire legend is so WRONG. I prefer my bloodsuckers nocturnal. And why is it always a male vamp who goes after a human girl?

Other new TV shows on cable, which I will try to review soon: Hawaii Five-O, and Hung season 2.

Last but not least, any guesses for People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive 2010?

I have this horrible feeling that Robert Pattinson's going to be on the cover. But then again, People mag rarely bestows this title on someone in his 20s, so let's hope that trend continues.

If I had my way - quirky taste and all - I'd choose ( in order of preference ) Robert Downey Jr, Viggo Mortensen, Clive Owen, Keanu Reeves and Edward Norton.

I adore George Clooney, but he's been featured twice already.
Kevin Spacey is sexy in my book, but not an ideal candidate looks-wise.
James McAvoy's hot, but too young for such a title.

D-day: November 17!

Till next time...