Avatar movie is so overrated

Before watching this move, I've read and heard rave reviews about it from everywhere, blogs, websites and also my friends who watched it. That's why I forked out 23 ringgit to see it with my wife and find out what's all the fuss about this movie is about.

After spending over 2 hours watching it, I must say Avatar fell a tad short of my expectations. I mean yeah all the CGI and animation were good but apart from that, there's nothing awe-inspiring or revolutionary about this movie. I've seen better movies with more profound effect to me over the years.
Avatar the movie tells of the story about a crippled ex-marine named Jake Sully who traveled to a mining colony at a planet called Pandora to work as a security personnel there. At Pandora, Jake got the chance to be involved in a scientific research where he get to control the mind of a cloned native (the Na'vis). Predictably Jake fell in love with the locals, especially the hot Neytiri girl and fought to defend the tribe against the evil mining corporation who tried to destroy them.

Overall I can only rate this movie with 3 out of 5 stars. If you'd like to see half naked, overgrown CGI smurfs, I mean Na'vis running around then this is the movie for you. Else, go watch Sherlock Holmes instead. And please don't bring your kids to watch this one. I mean although they're only CGI, they're still boobs nevertheless.

The Jungle in the Attic

Adam had been to the attic a hundred times. He’d been to the attic to find plates and glasses for his Mama and he’d been to the attic to retrieve his Papa’s golf clubs every spring, though Adam* couldn’t understand why it was that his Mama and Papa couldn’t get their own plates and golf clubs. Adam really hated the attic—it was dark, there were cobwebs, there were nails sticking out of the floor in places, and the whole thing smelled a little too much like his grandmother.
But one day, Adam got stuck in the attic for an entire day, and it turned out to be the best day of his life. It all started when his sister, Mia*, came into his room late one Sunday morning. Adam was drawing, which was one of his favorite things to do, and so he was annoyed at Mia for interrupting him. Mia was a bossy sister; she was always ordering him around, making him run errands and do favors, and generally being not as nice as Adam felt a sister should be.

Adam looked up from his notebook and asked her what she wanted.

“I need you to do me a favor,” she said.

“Big surprise,” said Adam, rolling his eyes.

“No seriously, I really need your help today. It’s a special assignment, and it would mean a lot to me if you’d help me.”

“Okay, fine,” he said. “If it’s important. What can I do to help you?”

“A bunch of my friends are coming over today and we’re going to play soccer in the yard. I need you to go upstairs and grab the bag of sports stuff from the attic.”

“That seems like something you could do, Mia,” said Adam. “I don’t really see why you need my help.”

“Because I’ve got to make the iced tea,” she replied. “Do you know how to make the iced tea?”

Adam had to admit that he did not know how to make the iced tea.

So they left Adam’s room and headed to the door to the attic.

“Thanks so much, Adam. You’re a great brother,” Mia said.

Adam thought he saw her smirk as she said this, but opened the door and headed upstairs anyway. As soon as he did, everything suddenly went dark, and he realized that Mia had slammed the door behind him. And then he heard a click. He was locked in.

Why on earth had he trusted Mia? Adam fumbled against the wall to find the light switch and proceeded up the stairs. His parents were probably all the way downstairs and would never hear him if he yelled. Mia wouldn’t be coming back anytime soon. So he was on his own until someone noticed he was gone, which hopefully wouldn’t be too long. He sat down on an old dusty box labeled ‘Adventure Supplies’ and tried his best hardest not to cry. He was pretty lonely.

Just then Adam heard a noise to his right. He looked deep into the corner of the attic, in the direction of where his Papa kept his golf clubs in winter. He didn’t see anything at first, but as his eyes adjusted to the darkness, Adam could swear that he saw something move.
“Probably just a stupid mouse,” Adam thought to himself.

But it wasn’t just a stupid mouse. Adam heard another sound and looked even closer. And as he did, he saw something that terrified him. A little man emerged from the corner, dressed in what appeared to be a safari costume. He stood at attention, cleared his throat, and began to speak.

“On behalf of the residents of the At Tick Jungle, I demand you declare yourself and your intentions,” he said.

Adam was very, very confused.

“This isn’t a jungle,” he said. “This is my attic.”

“Precisely,” said the little man. “This is the At Tick Jungle, and as its chosen representative I demand you identify yourself.”

“I’m Adam,” said Adam.

The little man took a step back, removed his hat, and spoke quietly to himself for a Moment.

“Surely you’re not THE Adam. The Adam who made a drawing of a duck several years ago?”

Adam was still very confused, but it was true that he had, several years before, completed a drawing of a duck.

“I guess I am,” he said, nervously.

“Well, good sir,” said the little man, “we know all about you. We have been wondering when we would meet you.”

“We?” said Adam.

“Yes, all of the inhabitants of the At Tick Jungle are familiar with you—boxes and boxes of your clothes and sports equipment and report cards and photographs are constantly being left for us to look at. I cannot even begin to tell you what an honour it is to meet you finally.”

“Well thank you,” said Adam. “It’s nice to meet you, too.”
“You must come with me immediately! The others have to meet you!” said the little man, as he disappeared behind a box, into the eaves.

Adam crawled behind the box and followed him. They squeezed under a low hanging eave, and suddenly emerged into a room that Adam never knew existed.

He couldn’t believe his eyes. His attic was somehow transformed into a beautiful jungle. There was a long, dark river cutting through mossy ground, enormous trees, rainforest mist everywhere, birds chirping, wild horses scampering around, elephants playing in the water and miniature giraffes munching on the low leaves of the trees. Adam’s new friend took him around to each animal to introduce him. To Adam’s great surprise, they could all talk, and they did indeed all know a great deal about him. He spent the afternoon in the secret jungle, talking with his safari friend and the elephants and the giraffes and the horses, learning about the At Tick Jungle, swimming in the little river, and answering questions about himself. (Despite all they knew about him, they had lots of questions; the elephants were especially curious.)

Before Adam knew it, it was almost time for dinner. He bid his jungle pals goodbye and told them he’d visit soon.

“Don’t delay,” said the safari man. “We can’t wait to hear more tales from the world of Adam.”

“I won’t,” said Adam, knowing that he would be back soon.
As Adam ducked back into the main room of the attic and emerged from behind the box, he saw his sister coming up the stairs.

“Hi, Adam,” she said, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have locked you up here all day. I didn’t want you interrupting me and my friends, but it was wrong—and I’m not just saying that because Mama made me.” Mia looked like she WAS kind of saying it because their Mama had made her.

“That’s okay,” Adam said with a grin. “I’ve had a good time.”

“Yeah, right. A real blast, I’m sure. What did you do all day?”

“Oh, you know,” said Adam. “Just kept to myself.”

As they walked downstairs, Adam turned around, just in time to see an elephant’s trunk peeking out from around the box, waving goodbye.


Okay I did not suddenly become a talented children story writer but I did made this story up with help from Story Something website. This website creates personalized stories (complete with graphic) for children where they place your kids (or any kids) as the central character or heroes in the story. The story then can be viewed on the web or emailed to anyone. Of course you can also print and bind them nicely as a little book.

Head on now to the Story Something website to create your very own story. There are 55 stories to choose from at the moment and you can choose from a short story or a slightly longer version.

*p.s. Adam and Mia are my 2 lovely children :)

Afif App Awards 2009

Afif App Awards is dedicated to software, apps and websites that have been very useful to me. I use them everyday at work and also at home and some of them have essentially became something that I just cannot do without. In this inaugural award, I present to your 12 apps/website that are the best in their respective categories.

Best Free Antivirus - Microsoft Security Essentials (Windows)

I'm actually surprised that the birth of Microsoft's very own antivirus software didn't spell the death of numerous paid and premium antivirus software out there. It works just as good as any popular antivirus program (if not better) at the cost of nothing. My guess is either many people still doesn't know it exists or the other antivirus' marketing program had done their job well.

Honorable mention - Panda Cloud Antivirus, the lightweight, web-based antivirus suitable for Windows system that is low on RAM and other resources.

Best Premium Antivirus - McAfee VirusScan (Windows,Mac,Linux)

Once every other antivirus software fails, I always turn to McAfee VirusScan as the final solution for all my virus/malware problems. It's effectiveness in detecting and removing viruses has been top-notch from my experience. If McAfee VirusScan cannot remove those nasty viruses, you might as reformat your hard drive and start fresh. While Microsoft's Security Essentials is good enough for normal Windows PCs, VirusScan will give comprehensive protection for all your desktop, server and also email systems.

Best Antimalware App - Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (Windows)

Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware is simply the best free or paid anti-malware software I have used ever. This little software is very capable of detecting and removing most known or new malware programs that is infecting your poor Windows PC.

Best Web Browser - Google Chrome (Windows,Mac,Linux)

Renown for it's blazing fast speed and light memory foot print, Google's Chrome is currently my most preferred web browser. I still use Firefox from time to time though. If only they weren't so bloated and slow sometimes.

Best Multimedia Player - VLC (Windows,Mac,Linux)

The cross-platform VLC media player can play just about any audio and video media format thrown at it.

Best Online Syncing App - Dropbox (Windows,Mac,Linux)

By using Dropbox, you can store and sync all your important documents on any computers installed with the program be it Windows, Mac or Linux. Apart from that you can also easily browse and edit your files online at their website.

Best Online Storage - Windows Live Skydrive

I can name a few other popular online storage services such as 4shared, Mediafire or Drop.io but Skydrive offers fuss-free, huge 25GB storage for anybody with a Hotmail account.

Best Notetaking App - Evernote (Windows,Mac)

Just dump all your text notes, word documents, emails, pictures and also web clips to Evernote and sync them across all your computers or smart phone.

Best Social Networking Site - Facebook

With a staggering 350 million members, what else can I say?

Best DVD-ripping App - Handbrake (Windows,Mac,Linux)

Handbrake will help you convert your DVD or many multimedia formats to your preferred format of choice.

Best Web Email - Gmail

7GB of storage with POP3, IMAP and user-friendly setup with many popular email client (Apple Mail, Microsoft Exchange, Mozilla Thunderbird), Gmail is the best email service ever.

Best Photo Sharing App - Picasa 3 (Windows,Mac,Linux)

Picasa from Google will help you organize, edit and share your photos on your computer and also online with it's Picasa Web Album website.

Le Tour de Terengganu

Believe it or not, the last time I ever stepped foot in Kuala Terengganu was 20 years ago when I was still a kid. It's not that I have anything against Terengganu, it's just I don't have any business or an urgent need to go there.
We went to Kuala Terengganu last weekend to attend my friend's wedding in Seberang Takir. He was kind enough to let us stay at his family's guest house for the duration of the visit.
After the wedding, we took the chance to visit Kuala Terengganu town. Actually, Adam had an asthma attack so we had to bring him to see a doctor there. The first thing I noticed about KT is that it is generally much cleaner than Kota Bharu. Maybe the folks here are more civic-minded or perhaps the local council here does a great job at keeping the town spanking clean.
Since we were there for a really short time only, we didn't get to visit any of the many places of interest around town. There's over a dozen popular tourist attraction there in Kuala Terengganu, you'd probably need to stay there a week or so to visit them all.
Kelinik Lee near the town's waterfront area is one of the panel clinic for CIMB in Kuala Terengganu. Most of the clinics and business establishments is closed on Fridays and Saturdays because both are weekends here.
And of course my wife wouldn't let me go home without first visiting the famous Kedai Payang shopping area.
We took the Kuala Terengganu-Kuantan route on the way back and apart from buying the regular kerepok lekor (fish crackers) we didn't forget to look for and sample the delicious satar (minced fish barbecue in banana leaf) along the way.
They are priced from 1.00 to 1.50 ringgit for 4 pieces and unless you remember which stall serves the best satar, finding one will be all down to luck. The first stall I visited sold this really delicious satar, hot and spicy but unfortunately there's only one stick left. The second stall sold much cheaper satars but then they didn't taste as good anymore.
This is a really hungry guy enjoying his satar by the roadside.
Later on we stopped near Paka and chose to eat a little place beside the beach for lunch.
The food here is so-so but they're real cheap for once. From left, laksa penang and noodle soup.
The important thing is we get to enjoy the beautiful seaside scenery while we're eating. It's a pity, we didn't get a chance to bath and swim at any of the beaches here in Terengganu during this visit.
After a short break for prayers and to freshen up at the jamek mosque nearby, we proceeded to Kuantan and plied the LPT highway back to KL. The highway is clear and smooth and the journey from Cherating to Karak costs around RM21.50.

And that concludes our visit to Terengganu. Hopefully we don't have to wait another 20 years to go visit the state again :)

Solehah Guest House

If you happen to be in Kuala Terengganu and is looking for an affordable place to stay, look no further then the Solehah Guest House located right next to the airport in Seberang Takir.
This guest house is less than 2 kilometers from the Kuala Terengganu airport and only 8 kilometers from Kuala Terengganu town and is also a short walk away from the Teluk Ketapang beach. Visitors get to sleep on a queen-sized bed in an air-conditioned room complete with bathroom.
For reservation and more information, feel free to call Solehah Guest House at these numbers: 019 9365226 / 09 6672526.

Safuan's Wedding

Today is my good friend Safuan's wedding with his chosen one, another friend and former colleague Siti Hajar.
They both came from Terengganu but still their homes are over a hundred kilometers apart. We departed from Kuala Terengganu at 8:40 AM and arrived in Besut a few hours later.
The bride arrived even much later so we had our fair share of waiting today.
First the kadi (religious officer) came followed by the bride. He then proceed to ask the bride's permission for the marriage.
Then it was the akad nikah (marriage contract) ceremony which Safuan executed smoothly the first time.
And after that they are officially husband and wife. The bride then returned home to change and make the final preparation for the bersanding (enthronement) ceremony. Of course we had to wait another 2 hours for that.
Finally late in the afternoon, we arrived at the bride's place and made a little procession bearing gifts for the bride.
These are some of the hantaran (gifts) exchange between the bride and the groom. The little handsome kid not included.
The newly wed then sat on the ceremonial dais for the bersanding ceremony. Since this is a real simple ceremony, there were no sprinkling of rice and scented water by close family members, kompang instrument being played during the procession or pencak silat being performed in front of the bride and groom.
Finally the wedded couple and their guests attended the celebratory feast called the makan beradab (formal meal). This involves the bride and groom feeding each other sweetened rice and the celebrations are concluded by posing for family photographs.

So congratulations to Ahmad Safuan and Siti Hajar. May you live happily ever after. The End.

Wishlist 2010

Since 2009 is drawing to a close, it's time to take a peek into my brain and explore my wishlist for next year. Sorted from cheapest to the most expensive, here they are:

1. Liverpool Track Top
The least expensive item in my wishlist for next year is this original Liverpool FC Cox Zip Thru track top. Made from cotton & polyester with vintage look wide stitch embroidery on chest, gold bird, metal zipper and branded woven tape. I choose this track top over a LFC kit because unlike the kit, this one won't get outdated next season (plus I'm waiting for Standard Chartered to take over first).

Price: RM262.53 (£45.00)
Estimated time of purchase: 2012?

2. Sony Micro Hifi
My 14 year old Aiwa Mini Compo just went bust last year so it's about time I get a new one. This baby plays from USB drive, CD and also tape. Small but just right for me.

Price: RM499.00 ($145.00)
Estimated time of of purchase: Next 2 years perhaps?

3. Apple iPod Nano
I used to own an iPod Shuffle last year before it was taken away (forcibly) from me. To be honest, the sound quality of the iPod is not as good as my current Sony Walkman but because it's from Apple, I just get a million street cred points just for having one. Plays 2000 songs or 8 hours of video. The latest version comes with video recording function too.

Price: RM599.00 ($174.00)
Estimated time of purchase: Within next 3 years

4. Sony PlayStation Portable
Call me old-fashioned, but I have only played with a PlayStation™ for like a dozen times in my life. Besides, the Football Manager 2010 game still run fine on my old Pentium 4 PC. This one is not for me though. I think I'll get one for Adam (once he gets first place in class). Of course who said you can't share, right?

Price: RM899.00 ($261.00)
Estimated time of purchase: Unknown

5. Dell Inspiron Mini 10v
There are literally dozens of netbook brands and with a variety of specs out there but one thing that makes the Dell Mini 10v netbook so special is it can run Mac OS X with all the hardware working out of the box. Not only that, you can also run Google's latest Chrome OS with most of the device drivers working, this netbook is special alright. This 10" screen netbook weighs only 1.17KG, powered by an Intel® Atom™ N280 1.66GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 250GB of HDD. And for just RM1,199.00, it's a no brainer!

Price: RM1,199.00 ($348.00)
Estimated time of purchase: Not anytime soon

6. MiFi
A MiFi is a tiny, battery powered modem that turns 3G signal into WiFi. So basically you just insert your 3G sim card into this device and presto!, you got mobile WiFi to connect your iPod Touch, notebook, mobile phone or anything with WiFi to the Internet. Is that cool or what? The bad news is, this MiFi thing is still not available anywhere outside U.S yet though I predict it would be produced and sold globally pretty soon.

Price: RM1,406.00 ($400.00)
Estimated time of purchase: Next 5 years?

7. Canon PowerShot S90
The Canon PowerShot S90 camera packs the power and features of a professional DSLR into the size and price of a regular point and shoot camera. Small enough to fit snugly into your pocket, you can shoot photos with depth of field, manual focus or take pictures in really low light with this baby. I have read rave reviews and good recommendation everywhere for this camera, so much that my next camera simply must be the Canon S90.

Price: RM1,748.00 ($508.00)
Estimated time of purchase: 4 years (hopefully)

8. Apple iPhone 3GS 16GB
The fastest and most powerful iPhone yet (or any phone for that matter). You either love this phone or love this phone very much, there's no two way about it. 3 mega-pixel camera with auto focus and video recording, voice control, MMS, tethering and compass are among the features that comes with the iPhone 3GS. A wise man once said, "once you own an iPhone, you won't look or buy any other phones again". Truly wise words indeed.

Price: RM2,990.00* ($868.00) *Without contract
Estimated time of purchase: After the next 6 years or more

9. Apple iMac 27"
Once you used Mac OS and appreciate the beauty and elegance of an Apple computer, you will realize how ugly Windows OS is. In fact nowadays, my eyes hurts whenever I boot my Windows based PC at home and work. And since I got my hands on an eMac recently, it's only natural that I'm longing to get my hand on the real deal, the drool-worthy, sexy and powerful iMac 27" computer with 2.66GHz Intel Core i5 (that's 5 processors in a single machine), 4GB RAM and 1TB of HDD. It's the only computer you'll ever need.

Price: RM6,999.00 ($2,033.00)
Estimated time of purchase: Maybe some time in the next decade, probably a second hand unit (if I'm lucky).

10. Volvo S80 R-Design
As a red-blooded guy, you'd probably expected me to go for a sports car such as a Mitsubishi Evo, Subaru Impreza or a Nissan Fairlady Z, or even a luxury line such as a Lexus, Mercedes or Ferrari right? Well actually I just prefer the good old and trusty Volvo make of cars, specifically the S80. Although not as sporty or expensive as any of the cars above, the Volvo S80 had one of the highest crash test ratings in the world for five years running and being a family guy right now, I had only that in mind when choosing a car. This car is probably much cheaper everywhere else in the world but only in 'wonderful' Malaysia that you get to pay crazy import tax to own one. Sigh.

Price: RM250,927.00 ~ $72,860.00
Estimated time of purchase: Maybe after I join UMNO and get free APs first.

At this moment in time, I know I probably have a really slim or zero chance in getting any of the items in my wishlist above. But then who knows maybe some fictional bearded guy in red robes and reindeers somewhere up north is reading this (or even my Dad maybe!), you know what to get for me next year right?