What… did I do something wrong…?

August 17, 2010 at 8:23 pm (Personal) (, , , , )

Todays post we break routine a little bit in that I recount an occurrence of the day. Rregular programming will resume shortly.

If you follow my blog regularly you would know that I work for a BMW dealership. Today was one of those days where you can’t help but feel we still suffer from a bit of  “tall poppy” syndrome.

Sit down children while I tell you a story. Once upon a time, there was a Space Grey 320 MSport that lived in a small village where there was a small flock of BMWs. Now Bip, as they called him was looking a little thirsty, so after his shepherd boy had his lunch, he decided to take him to the local petrol station for a drink.

Bip had been given a bath that morning so he was sparkly and shiny.

When they arrived at the petrol station for his feeding, there was a big scary Kingswood Ute there taking a drink too, so Bip carefully tiptoed around this monster as not to startle him because there was a free feed dish for him just in front.

The rest of the story is just not for children…

Now, this is a small petrol station, so maneuvring around the place sometimes is 50% limbo, 50% tango. Once I was around the Ute, I had to reverse to get to the pump. As I looked in my rear view mirror, I could see the driver of the Kingswood standing there sarcastically applauding.

How do I know he was being sarcastic? The rest of the story, well… tells the story…

So I fill up the car, finish up, wind on the cap, *click*. The Kingswood guy at this time is walking out from the shop paid, and we walk past each other. At this point I was expecting a confrontation (for exactly what I don’t know, but judging by the attitude…).

Anyway, I get to paying, and while I do I look out at my car. He drives out around my car of course and he looks like he death stares the car I drove… I pay no mind, he can’t possibly assault the car now.

While I’m driving back I notice a smear on the side window. Here I think “Dammit… a bird must have crapped on it while some of the girls at work took it out to lunch.”

Annoyed. But I know I can’t really help it as that’s the nature of the business.

I take a second look at the smear and notice it’s a little translucent. *click*

F@$#ing wanker spat on the car as he drove around.

So I drive straight into our wash bay… hose it all off… and smolder a little…

Help me dear readers, did I do something wrong? I drove around his car, to the free pump. Heaven forbid, gave him a slight obstacle to drive past. (I move as far over as I possibly can because I know that this Shell is a tight squeeze).

Spat on my car… seriously…
He didn’t even have the nerve to make eye contact with me on the way out of the petrol station.

I could cast dispersions on his $20 servo sunnies and beat up old Kingswood Ute… but that would just be sinking to his level…

Please set me straight if I’ve got it all wrong… because how it feels right now, it will take some getting over…

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Tekken – Another one…

August 9, 2010 at 10:32 pm (Entertaining) (, , , , , )

I’ll say from the outset, Tekken is part of a multitude of elements that formed  my past life. A past that was consumed by video games and pop culture. I have since outgrown those days but nostalgia got the better of me just recently.

Like Adam and Eve, the Apple of Wisdom (an opportunity to watch the new Tekken Movie) was dangled in front of me. And like them, I couldn’t help but take a bite. Enlightened I was.

Now, video game to movie adaptations 101% of the time receive a negative response both from critics and fans of the inspirational material alike, and most of the time, it’s down to their respective directors’ lack of faithfulness to the source material.
But the new Tekken movie however, is business as unusual.

Obviously, as a deep seated Tekken fan I have a gene in my DNA predisposing me to disliking this movie.  But tempted I was, and looking to my oracle that is IMDB for movie ratings, I thought sating my temptation would not cause myself too much pain.

I didn’t regret it too much.

I’m what you and other people would call a simple person, but I’m not what you and other people would call a stupid one. So the sentiment of ever taking the Tekken movie seriously was laughed out the door (this helps if you are expecting the movie before you to be crap… whether it’s being crammed down your throat, or you’re clinging to that glimmer of hope that it might be good… or at least not crap).

I’ll say from the outset that I like the MMA Fight Night slant that video game movies are taking on (see also: Mortal Kombat Rebirth). The quality fight scene choreography seems to be one good way to make up for rice paper thin plot lines.

The issue I had with this movie is a strange picking and choosing of which elements they would take from the franchise, which they would not, and which they would meld to their own purposes.

To say their choices were perplexing would be letting them off lightly.

Characterisation seemed to have been given alot of careful thought, their choice of Jon Foo to play Jin was appropriate enough (on face value at least, with exception of the face). But Foo seems to have taken a few too many knocks to the head, as his diction was quite poor for an englishman. Treading the line between cockney, fobulous, and intensive care level slack jawed; all at once. He made dialogue that was no doubt unintelligible in script form, even more so in presentation.
Another thing that bothered me about Foo was the pubescent rebellious teen slant that he imbued Jin with. So much so that in the opening moments of the movie I had this confused for the Dragonball type kids movie. (This idea was put straight at the sex scene of course.)

On the other hand, his hair was awesome. Like seriously… too cool. It mimicked the in-video-game Jin hairdo, being as cool as it was unridiculous. This brings me to the strong point of the movie. Costume and characterisation was very faithful to the source material. From Dragunov’s sambo moves to Christy Monteiro’s (Kelly Overton) nose bleed sensory cleavage assault (pincer attack of boob AND butt cleavage), it was all there in loving detail.

Looking over the casting before watching the movie, I was initially dubious of their choice of Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa for Heihachi Mishima (Americanised Japanese Actor #4). But the moment he graced the screen coiffed with the Heihachi hair, I was won over. The attention to detail paid to the outlandish Tekken Hairstyles was awesome in the most laughable way.

The casting choices for all the actors playing the prominent Tekken characters may have been worrying, but they were all characterised very well enough in practice.

With one exception. And this one strikes a nerve for me, repeatedly. No it wasn’t that Jon Foo used the wrong moveset to play Jin Kazama (some were reminiscent at least), but Cung Le as Marshall Law. With the accuracy used in portraying all the other characters, Law’s video game backstory for some reason was completely ignored. Marshall Law is Bruceploitation incarnate. Sure they got the dragon pants with red sash right, but it’s like they handed Cung Le the costume and told him to just go on doing what he does. “Oh, and don’t worry about any of that Jeet Kune Do nonsense”; the only reason Marshall Law exists in the Tekken universe.
Forget the fact that he was defeated in the first real bout of the movie (he is a bumbler in the video games after all).

With such strong adherence to the superficial aspects of the Tekken Universe, these omissions prove that it is a thin veil masking a world that could easily be mistaken for one with no Tekken Lore at all. Why they pay so much attention to some details and ignore the much more glaringly obvious is simply confounding.

Another thing I feel the need to put straight. Tekken (translated roughly to iron fist)  is just the name for the Tournament itself. Why would the writers feel the need to rename the “Mishima Zaibatsu” (Zaibatsu – jpn. noun meaning gang,triad, mafia syndicate) to the “Tekken Corporation” is beyond me. It’s not a big leap to establish that the Tekken Tournament is an event run by the organisation controlled by Heihachi and Kazuya Mishima, ie the Mishima Corporation. References to “Tekken” (the corporation) within the movie could easily be mistaken for Tekken (the tournament) and could have equally easily been replaced by the name of the controlling organisation. Do they believe audiences have become that stupid?

One final sore mark on the score card is the inclusion of the girlfriend character for Jin, Kara. Her existence seemed to be for one puzzlingly random sexual encounter with Jin, and then go on to the dizzying heights of wincing and mugging and other reactionary facial expressions while watching Jin in the Tekken Tournament.
No sooner as Jin is within the walls of “Tekken” (???) is she forgotten and replaced by his pubescent lust for Christy Monteiro. This redefines meaningless. And just makes me smoulder as a Tekken Fan.

Insert angry Heihachi to show just how angry I am

Calling this movie “Post Apocalyptic Death Tournament” would have made more sense than calling this Tekken, as the whole farce was just sickeningly pandering.
It probably would have done better as a movie too.

So if you were looking for a vaguely enjoyable movie, you will find it here, even if it is debasingly pandering.

But if you’ve stumbled across this on TV one day in the hopes of finding plain and simple entertainment…

“Change duh Channel!!?”

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Repent, petroleum, for the end is near!

July 21, 2010 at 11:04 pm (Informative) (, , )

I realise that last post of mine was very doom and gloom. So here I offer you the other side of the coin.

As technology has shown, a definitive alternative is still a far way off. The world has invested so heavily in Petroleum that it is difficult to be weaned off it. This, as with everything that is difficult, cannot be forced and will take concentration, imagination and time.

So if you asked me right now what I thought were the most realistic alternatives are, indulge me a little.

1) The Diesel – this one isn’t new at all. In fact, this is something Australia is very far behind because of some distinct anachronisms. The main being the conception that diesels are exclusively the domain of trucks. But think about this, Trucks are primarily designed to haul cargo from one destination to another, day after day. Why is it that the connection to person cargo is so difficult to make? The days of the clattery, smelly, oily diesels are well and truly gone. Diesels can add sporting ability and emissions cleanliness, to the continuing advancement of their cause. Drive a BMW 123D or 330D and you’ll know what I mean. And then flick to the fuel consumption figures for icing on the cupcake.

2) Auto-stop start technology – No, this is not the “stare at the traffic lights while your engine is off, hoping not to hold up the queue while you start your car again”. This is the specific technology of automatic stop start. Where once the ECU senses that the car has come to a halt, switches off the engine and awaits the next throttle on command. This works because as outlined in previous posts, the most fuel efficient a car can run while it’s sitting in stop start traffic, is when it isn’t. This does not translate to turning your car off at the lights because, for a car that was not designed with this feature in mind, leads to much greater stress, wear, and tear; and this in turn culminates in the car being even less efficient in the long term due to its declining condition. There is no greater sign of the times than the venerable BMW M3 having this feature on the options list. The only thing that comes as more of a shock is when you’re behind the wheel when you first figure this out.

3) Buy a car appropriate for your needs – This is something that everyone needs to figure out themself. Practical experience is the best tell of what is “appropriate”.
For me, this was highlighted in a recent stint that I had in a base model, petrol Mini Cooper. Every so often while driving I would flick to the average fuel consumption read out. If the roads were clearer I flick to the instantaneous consumption read out. It’s at first difficult to figure out what use the instantaneous read out serves, but you quickly learn to read, and by doing so this assists you in adjusting your driving style accordingly.
The greatest realisation was, that for my spirited driving style, and living in the geography that I do, the Mini is unsuitable for me. Firstly, it’s quite hilly around where I live, and climbing hills was not the little Mini’s forte. And this was just with me on board. You can only imagine how much it would struggle with a passenger  (it can’t fit more than 2 adults) and some luggage.
Just how inappropriate the Mini was for me was elucidated when I went back to work the next day. I compared the average readout of my base model Cooper, with that of a Cooper S. Now I know for a fact that the driver of the Cooper S drives cars like they stole it, so it was interesting to compare. Aside from driver difference, there is also the fact that the Cooper S has more power, so naturally, consumes more petrol in doing so. As you can guess by my tone, it turned out that the Cooper S had a lower average readout (only slightly). But rationally you would expect the car that innately consumes more fuel, being driven at least as hard, to consume more. Not so simple.
So aside from this anecdotal advice, here are a few guidelines.
The closer you live to the inner city, the smaller the engine your car should have.
The more highway driving you do, the bigger an engine your car can have – it will be able to run efficiently.
Although society is ever-plowing towards excess, the earth cannot take anymore of it.

4) Drive… Less. The definitive way to consuming less petrol. Cars are not a necessity, they are a convenience. And until we learn to work around this fact, cars can do nothing but keep on polluting the world.

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A star is remembered best when it dies brightly; and Asian Parents (again)

July 21, 2009 at 9:59 pm (Informative, Personal) (, , , , , )

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated, and if you’re a regular follower, I apologise. If you know me well enough you can probably guess why I’ve had less to rant about.

Either way let’s get stuck into this post. There are two topics that I have a fondness for, that is asian movie stars, and parents, and recently, an interesting link between the two has surfaced.

When you are famous, you need to die young, or at least move out of the spotlight quietly to save your dignity. Bruce Lee is a great example of this. Aside from the tragic circumstances surrounding his death, passing away at the height of his fame means he doesn’t succumb to the human condition of feeling that longing for the spotlight. Humility is a sometimes is a good word to use when describing such situations. On the opposite side we have Elvis, stories of him being obese in later years dying on the seat of a toilet, and more recently Michael Jackson, the less said about his tortured later life the better. Do I need to mention Tom Cruise? Cassius Clay is also a frail shadow of his former self. I guess we shouldn’t judge them for it. As humans we are all victim to showing bouts of pride. But in his case especially, “keep your words soft and sweet, for one day you may have to eat them.” I’m not blaming the stars for their fame, but they’re there to illustrate a point. Remember them for the reason they were famous, as no one can hold on to that forever. Growing old I guess sometimes cannot be graceful.

Most of you would know that I am a huge Jackie Chan fan, or at least you did, because I was. I’m not so sure anymore. Recently I read a blog post from http://www.LoveHKFilm.com and as it is in tune with popular asian movie star culture, snippets of Jackie Chans slippery slope into some embarassing twilight years surface from time to time. There was one such incident including his comments on China and Communism, and now what inspired me to write this post. While rehearsing for a new movie he has a part in, he has been coaching Jaden Smith, son of some… famous actor… I think his name is Will? In writing his own blog post about the experience, well, let the words speak for themselves.

“If I couldn’t get my own son to train in martial arts, how could anybody else succeed?”
Oh Great one… how can we ever be worthy of thee…

“He put my son to shame! I provided my son with the best martial artists in the world, and he could not be persuaded to try it.”
Giving someone things doesn’t guarantee they’ll use it, nor does it guarantee they need it…

Seriously after reading that stuff I’m dumbfounded. Here is the seminal, hero, good guy icon of the 80’s and 90’s… Teaching Lecture 1 on How to Hurt your Children…
Actually on second thought it’s textbook Asian parenting. Your child is always wrong, what they want for themselves is always wrong, and what you want for them is always right, for the best. You may remember from my previous posts that as a typical asian child we all live under the weight of expectation. But this is something I cannot bear having grown up innately Aussie. As a result my relationship with them is quite strained. For that I am sad, but there is not much I can do, when people like Jackie Chan, so great that he is cannot be encouraging. How can one expect the average asian parent to be anymore empathetic?

Here’s a confusing one… he turns it around by saying this…
“When a person is not interested in a subject, no matter how hard you push them, they will not pick it up. Even if they do, it will be with disinterest and lack of passion.”
Really?
Do you actually believe that Jackie?
You wouldn’t be ashamed of your son if you did…

Now excuse me while I go re-watch a Drunken Master…

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Lifes Affirmation/Forgive and Forget

June 25, 2009 at 5:58 pm (Personal) (, , )

I stumbled across one of those things that you just can’t be told enough…

banquet2009 064

So what do you think? Did the driver make it out alive?
He lives to tell the story
read about it here, http://www.edgeofsomewhere.com/Journal/trauma-t1571,
disbelieve it here http://gallery.me.com/textbound#100114,

Being this close to death always teaches the person who goes through the experience a new found appreciation for life. The most wonderful thing is that the man who went through this all carries no malice towards the driver of the truck whatsoever. It’s just heart warming how people can live through these moments and carry no enmity whatsoever, any lesser man/woman would be livid as soon as they woke up from their hospital visit, suing for compensation, sticking pins in voodoo dolls etc.

Mum accidentally cut off someone in traffic one day through sheer lapse in concentration and the man she cut off then decides to go road rage. He caught her up at the next set of lights, verbally abused her, and he even dared to lay his hands on the car mum was driving at the time. It sickens me that the world takes small inconveniences so seriously as to lash out like this. Don’t be angry at the inconvenience. Be thankful that you live to be able to abuse the person that wronged you… I can only hope you were having a very bad day Mr. Road Rage or else I’d expect you to lead a very exemplary life.

There are so many more important things in this world. Can you not let someone go for a small mistake? A small mistake that you yourself may have fallen victim to at one time or another. Or can you honestly claim that you have never made a mistake in your life? It is very depressing to be brought up on every mistake that you make in your life, and this helps no cause than to cement your own ego, this treading on other people. Put the pride away.

This is by no means an excuse to go keeping on making mistakes as you see fit, not to have standards. One mistake is one thing, but the repetition of such things is less forgivable. Be the best you can be in this world of despair and selfishness because clearly no one else is going to bother. Set a path so that others may follow. You cannot change the world, you can change only yourself.

Alas, all these things are human, our self preservation is what’s most important yes, but you must realise it’s human to make mistakes, and it should be so to forgive them. Find it in your heart to forgive, because this is letting it go. Not holding on to it and not letting it fester inside of you. It will only rot you from the inside out. Having a forgiving nature is difficult, but let that be something to aspire to.

It is said many many times over you don’t appreciate anything until it’s taken away. Why does this have to be so? Must it be human nature to take the things we have for granted? You shouldn’t have to have your life snatched away before you appreciate it because I assure you, some of us we will never see it coming, and that will be the real tragedy.

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A View on Perspective…

June 16, 2009 at 10:54 pm (Informative) (, , , )

Through my 20 years on this earth, I have figured out that there are two things this world has a very weak grasp on; Opinion and Expectation. More specifically, confusing opinion with fact, and the assumption that expectation leads to ability. A person who is victim to these two frames of mind will certainly lead a long life of infuriation and disappointment. Remember that all the things I say in this blog, are usually opinion. Especially when it is prefaced by “I think”. You’d think this is obvious wouldn’t you? But you’d be surprised how many times I have to explain myself to other people that think I’m “wrong”. “Wrong”? What… my opinion? You’re kidding right… see… the one thing I am definitely entitled to as a human, is my opinion (same as everyone else). And that is shaped by my character, the things I identify with. To say that they are not right is… complete ignorance.

If perhaps you say that I don’t agree with the norm however, I can almost agree. But think about this… do you identify with things just because they are the norm? If you do, don’t you want a little more depth on your life? No? People can tell you what you want? You won’t ever figure it out for yourself? That’s fine, just don’t force your complacency on me.

Opinion and Expectation are more alike than you think. Growing up in Asian culture means you are very aware of the expectations placed upon you. “I hope one day you will become a dentist, or a lawyer (at best both)” Translation? If you don’t grow up to be one of these two things I will be deeply disappointed in you. Surely you can place expectations upon people and what they do, but whether or not they end up acting upon your expectations is entirely up to them. Not up to you. What about what I want? The funny thing about life experience is that it is not common to all of us. Yes we may live through the same situations, but what we take from them can differ greatly. Through our own personal traits, you take from those individual experiences things that speak to you personally, those sentiments may be shared by some people but I can guarantee you not everyone will see it the same way.

I give you a simple illustration, in recent surveys the Hyundai i30 has been judged as Australias Best Car. Looking at the criteria, sure I would agree with the verdict, but I don’t have to like it. I personally believe that any car weighing under 1100kilos is for the smart, rear wheel drive is only for the good looking, a manual transmission is only for the brave, and who the hell needs a roof anyway? What are you scared of sunlight? Oh no… it’s 25 degrees outside and sunny… better wind up the windows and turn the air-con on…
See, the beauty of what I have just said is that you don’t have to agree with it. And nor do I claim these things to be fact.

I clearly:
a) have written these things to offend
b) am being facetious
c) am a Car Enthusiast, and because of this I look for different things in a car, simplicity. And a little hardship does not bother me. Some people see their cars as white goods and I am well aware of this.That is up to you, but don’t come back to me and tell me your car is better than mine because I can come up with as many reasons as to why it isn’t.

At the same time I may not appreciate tennis as much certain friends, will not spend as much on my bicycle, may not spend as much on my computer, but do spend every waking moment dreaming about what next I can do to my car (not my wardrobe). Do not be so quick to claim your opinion as fact because sure enough as you think it is valid, the sentiment may not be shared. Are you so vain as to think that you are the authority? How can you claim to have the right to judge? You are entitled to your opinion that’s for sure, but it is by no means the final word on the situation.

Because I’ll definitely have something to say on the matter…

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