Movie – Unborn 2009


Starring: Odette Yustman, Gary Oldman, Meagan Good, Idris Elba, Cam Gigandet, James Remar, Jane Alexander
Director: David Goyer

Synopsis: Sometimes the soul of a dead person has been so tainted with evil that it is denied entrance to heaven. It must endlessly wander the borderlands between worlds, desperately searching for a new body.

I wasn’t prepared to enjoy this movie, and the lot of negative reviews for this movie certainly didn’t help.  But surprisingly I did! It’s been so long since we’ve had something visually shocking like the Exorcist.  However the storyline is anything but original and frankly the script needed more work.  But I was intrigued to see a  Jewish Christian combined exorcism.  It also helped that the lead actress Odette Yustman is drop dead gorgeous! I actually mistook her for Megan Fox initially.

Some call this movie a cheap thrill by constantly giving the audience little shocks, but hey the timing has to be perfect for this effect to work right?  Yes it was predictable on the whole but still there were some very good, new and visually stunning scenes.

I would not write off this movie, in fact I would give it a five leaning on six that is on a scale of ten!

julianwebsig

Odette Yustman

Odette Yustman

Maori Bone Carvings

I must say I’m intrigued and will definitely get me one! Cos I love the designs……

*update as at 1300hrs* Yay my order just arrived in the letterbox! Look towards  the end of this post…Oh and try not to laugh too loud eh!


The Maori & Their Bone Artwork

Bone carving is a traditional and often sacred craft practiced by some of the more warlike native tribes around the world. Bone carvings by the New Zealand Maori are some of the most beautiful wearable art works available today and come in a wide variety of styles from very traditional pieces to the more contemporary or modern styles.

The New Zealand Maori Tribes settled New Zealand nearly a thousand years before the white man (Pakeha) arrived in their tall ships. They had themselves also come by sea, paddling and sailing their long canoes from the far away Pacific islands. Those that survived the journey were a very fierce and warring group of tribes who quickly settled into their new home, living in large fortified villages called “Pa’s”. These, like medieval castles had lookout towers, high spiked wooden walls and lethal traps around the perimeter which could hold off even very formidable forces. The British troops later found out just how effective these fortifications were and also how fierce the Maori warriors were in battle.

New Zealand is known as “Aotearoa” to the Maori which means “Land of the long white cloud” and refers to the clouds hanging over the mountain peaks which the ancient Pacific island settlers in their canoes first noticed as they approached the land.

The pre-European Maori had no written language so tribal history was kept using many forms of fine arts and crafts ranging from basket and cloth weaving to complex wood, bone and jade carving. These artifact were then handed down through generations of tribal elders and became sacred objects, telling the history of a tribe and taking on the spirits of past great leaders and warriors who had worn them.

Pendants, jewellery and various tools such as needles, spear tips and fish hooks made from bone developed into a fine art form with great importance being placed on every piece, many of which took years to make using stone tools. Some have inlays of precious stones or colourful shell and all have a story or meaning behind their design.

Hei-Matau Bone Carvings:


These very stylised fish hook bone carvings or pendants represent prosperity,abundance, fertility and strength. They are also seen as good luck charms, particularly for those traveling over water. Hei-Matau are symbols of power and authority which are held in great reverence by the Maori people. Some also incorporate inlays of beautiful rainbow coloured Paua shell.

Manaia Bone Carvings:


The Manaia is an ancient mythical being with a birds head and a human form. It is said to be the messenger between the earthly world of mortals and the domain of the spirits. The Manaia is a holder of great spiritual energy and is a guardian against evil. It can be seen blended into many Maori designs with subtle differences between tribes. This section also includes many other beings from Maori mythology.

Koru Bone Carvings:


The Koru, represents the fern frond as it opens bringing new life and purity to the world. It also represents peace, tranquility and spirituality, along with a strong sense of regrowth or new beginnings.
The Koru is also often associated with nurturing so when interlocked with others is frequently used to represent the strength and purity of a loving relationship or family.

The Koru is often intertwined with other forms such as twists and matau to tell a very special and powerful story.

Twist Bone Carvings:


The twist with its crisscross form represents the many paths of life and love and as such is regarded as the original eternity symbol. The single twist in particular shows the joining together of two people for eternity. Even though they sometimes move away from each other on their own journeys, they will always come together again sharing their lives and blending to become one. It tells how the strength of bond of friendship, loyalty and love will last forever.

My Manaia!

My Manaia!

julesmaowannabe2

Close Up....

*Drum Rolls* Presenting………………….

Maori Jules! (Tribal name Maowannabe)

Maori Jules! (Tribal name Maowannabe)

Unsung TV Series..

Well at least unsung here in Singapore, but I’m watching these two currently and really enjoying them! Pity the latter was cancelled, so all we have is one season to enjoy!

The Winter’s Tale – Directed By Sam Mendes (The Bridge Project )

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SYNOPSIS

The Bridge Project is a major new transatlantic venture for director Sam Mendes (Academy award winner for American Beauty), Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and The Old Vic in London, which is run by Kevin Spacey (Academy Award winner for The Usual Suspects and American Beauty).

Sam Mendes directs The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare in 2009 starring Simon Russell Beale, Sinead Cusack, and Rebecca Hall (Vicky Christina Barcelona) from the UK; and Richard Easton, Josh Hamilton, and Ethan Hawke (Before Sunset and Oscar nominee for Training Day) from the US. Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) is proud to be one of the five co-commissioners to have created this prestigious production.

Singapore will be the first – and only Asian stop – on the world-tour in 2009, which will be presented in collaboration with Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.

DURATION
Approx 2 hr 40 min

INTERVAL
Approx 20 mins (Total 3 hours)

The four pictured above gave outstanding performances, they are Simon Russell Beale, Rebecca Hall, Ehtan Hawke and Sinead Cusack.  I loved the play immensely! However I was a little disappointed because I was seated at Circle 3 which is on the third story and though the view was good, the sound quality was in my opinion attrocious!  I mean this is a shakespearean play for crying out loud and the sadly I only got to hear abour 80% of the beauty of the language!!  Couldn’t the casts use mini microphones like the ones used in Notre Dame De Paris? I wonder if the $300 seats were any better? (Mine costs $120 each)

Anyhow my two favourites were Rebecca Hall (What a beauty!) and Ethan Hawke because apart from their fantastic performance both of them had the best diction and carried their voices way up to where I was seated.  And boy does Ethan have pipes on him! I mean he can sing and very well I might add! And we all know what a talented actor or rather artist he is.  His comedic performance in my opinion stole the show! That is saying a lot considering he was along side the heavy weight of plays…..Simon Russell Beale! ( no pun intended)  The rest of the casts too, did extremely well to complement the main leads making ‘The Winter’s Tale’ a MUST SEE!

A big thank you to all who made it possible and brought this show to our shores!

tbp3

Been Busy With….

For the last 2 days I was struggling to figure out how to solve the repeated update of ‘Security updates for Microsoft XML Core Services 4.0′ Even though I had already run and installed it, thereafter rebooting the system.  Windows update kept prompting me to update the same file even then!

Even after deleting the files out of the software distribution folder, data store folder and stopping the windows update service, then re-running it didn’t help.  Finally solved it by renaming the file msxml4.dll to msxml4.old and then redoing the update.  Gees!

Then another problem occured, nothing related to my laptop!  The power points in my kitchen all died at the same time! The circuit breaker was intact so I had no choice but to call an Electrician down.  Apparently one of the wires connected to one switch in the circuit breaker was burnt, so he rewired it with a spare and it worked out fine. Thank goodness he only charged me $40 for the trip and service.

Well at least I can look forward to the play directed by Sam Mendes tomorrow in which Ethan Hawke and Rebecca Hall will be performing. Oh it’s called The Bridge Project – The Winter’s Tale. yay!

Movie – Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009)

Starring: Kristin Kreuk, Neal McDonough, Chris Klein, Michael Clarke Duncan, Robin Shou, Moon Bloodgood, Edmund Chen, Josie Ho, Taboo, Pei Pei Cheng

Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak

This movie is definitely more for the kids, still I was rather thrilled to see Edmund Chen (fellow Singaporean) on the silver screen.  Pity the overall plot was rather weak and honestly there seems to be miscast of characters.  I love watching Kristin Kreuk in action but honestly my mandarin is way better than hers and that is saying alot!  So how then can you cast her as Chun-Li?? Also if you have ever played the video game you’ll know what a miscast she really is.  But hey I think she is pretty and is quite a good actress overall.  Another big mistake was casting Chris Klein as someone from Interpol! What were they thinking?

The fight sequences (choegraphy) were much better than Dragon ball in my opinion but still not enough to really earn the title of Street Fighter! Honestly I cannot decide which Street Fighter movie (the one with Van Dame or this one)  is better or for that matter which is far worst.

Just glad the kids enjoyed themselves….

julianwebsig

Chinese Popiah

Popiah (Serves 3-4)

There are many different ways of cooking popiah. This version requires a lot of work and should be done with friends / family on a weekend or public holiday. It takes an estimate 4 hours from start to finish. But the end result is worth the sweat and blood.

Ingredients :

Filling :

Turnip (3 medium-size peeled and shredded)
Carrot (2 peeled and shredded)
French Bean (150g diced)
Tau Kua (2 shredded)
Ground Pork (200g marinated with soya sauce and pepper)
Prawns (15 medium-sized diced)
Garlic (8 cloves minced)
Salt (1 tsp)
Water (1 to 1 1/2 cup)

Garnishes :

Lettuce (1 strips)
Chinese Parsley (4 minced)
Cucumber (2 peeled and shredded)
Beans Sprouts (200g)
Prawn (15 medium-sized)
Eggs (5)
Sugar (1tsp)
Chilli (5 de-seed and blend)
Garlic (10 cloves, blend)
1 bottle thick sweet sauce

Popiah Skin :

2 cup of wheat flour
1/2 cup of corn starch
3 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of oil
1/2 teaspoon of sugar

Method :

Filling -

1. Heat a big pot with oil fry the garlic until it is light golden brown.
2. Add in pork and prawns, fry until cooked.
3. Gradually add in the carrot, french beans, turnips and Tau kua. Continue frying until fragrant.
4. Add in salt and water then simmer until soft about 45min.

Garnishes -

1.Wash and dry the lettuce, cut it into strips. Rinse and dry the chinese parsley cut small. Peel and shredded the cucumber.
2. Boil a pot of water to cook the beans sprouts (don’t cook too long) dish out the bean sprouts and put in prawns shelled, after the prawns haven been cooked, remove the shell and cut in to half.
3. Beat the eggs and add sugar. Make an omelet then cut into strips.
4. Finely blend the red chillies into a paste
5. Peel and finely mince then blend the garlic into a paste.
6. Place each garnish on a separate serving plate.

Popiah Skin -

1. Add all the ingredients and mix well in a bowl
2. Take a COLD flat pan and add just enough mixture to cover the pan surface
3. Use high heat and gently fry the mixture until it cooks, forming a skin over the pan
4. Carefully turn the skin over and dry the other side
5. Do not overcook the skin else you will end up with a flat biscuit
6. Allow the pan to cool down before frying the next skin

Tips :

1. If you like Chinese sausages, you can fry some and add it in as a garnish.
2. If you like fragrant peanuts, you can fry some and pound the peanut.

My Bitdefender! Anti Virus Software

bitdefender I’ve switched and loving it! Guess that makes me a fan eh? Why you may ask? Well here’s a little background as to why I switched…

After I got my new laptop a good friend of mine, Luke’s first question was have you installed an anti-virus software package? Of course I did I told him, and even paid up my subscription uptill 2011!  Curious I asked him why? He then filled me in on how he was using Bitdefender and how great it is.  I was a little skeptical as I hadn’t even heard of Bitdefender prior to our conversation. ( Why would I?  Since I had been using the industry standard for years)  He laughed and said, “Don’t take my word for it, just type ‘Best anti-virus software’ in google and see the results for yourself!”  Just read the reviews…… Well I must say it seemed pretty impressive but hey, I had already paid up for my premium service and had every confidence in it so thanks but no thanks!

Then about three weeks ago, my wife told me that a colleague had infected her thumbdrive with some kind of virus and whether i could fix it for her.  I told her to get her friend to do it instead afterall she was the one who had infected it right?  She told me that her friend’s anti-virus software couldn’t remove it. (Gees! I didn’t even bother to ask what the friend was using) I then asked whether she had confirmed that it really was infected and she said that her Manager had tried it on her own laptop and the alarms went off! So why didn’t the Manager just clean it for her?  Well apparently the Manager panicked and pulled the thumbdrive out of the socket as fast as she could.  Ha ha!  Well I popped it into my USB socket and my anti-virus software picked it up instaneously and gave me the option to removed it easily.   So yeah..again thanks but no thanks to switching!

Recently after installing Bitdefender Internet Security 2009 for my wife’s netbook, I got to finally see and feel how good the interface really was. The setup was smooth and easy and the updates and initial scan did not hamper with the PC speed.  So I thought to myself….hmmm maybe when mine expires, I ought to give Bitdefender a try.  The next step after setting up her netbook was to tests if everything worked, USB connections inclusive.  So I popped the same thumbdrive into her netbook and Bitdefender detected a trojan with two files.  I cannot remember the two file names but the description of the trojan was something like trojan.genheur60xxx or rather.  Anyhow Bitdefender removed it and now it is totally cleaned.  First thing I asked my wife was did she use it anywhere else after I had cleaned it the first time round, but as far as she remembers No!  I then ran a deep scan on my own laptop to make sure everything was ok…and it was Phew!

So when I chanced upon a great offer to switch……I DID! 

I am now using Bitdefender Total Security 2009 which has the following features :

Keeps you protected and one step ahead of new e-threats

Helps protect you against identity theft

Keeps your PC running smoothly with PC Tune-up

Safeguards your files with integrated Backup

Provides Automatic Hourly Updates

Includes Free 24 X 7 Technical Support

  • Antivirus & Antispyware
  • Anti-phishing
  • IM Encryption
  • Family Network Protection
  • Gamer Mode
  • Laptop Mode
  • Antispam
  • Firewall
  • Parental Control
  • File Vault
  • Tune-up
  • Backup

They have excellent customer service I might add!

What I especially like about the features so far of which I didn’t have before is File Vault where you can create a virtual drive to store your important documents encrypted. And under the ‘privacy control’ tab I like the ‘Identity Protection’ feature.

Seems pretty complete to me even though it does not have webmail protection, which if my understanding is correct, this feature is supposed to scan files received through webmail but doesn’t it automatically do that when the files are received? I’m pretty sure it does….but even if it doesn’t then it would during a scan on when launched.

Well so far I am extremely happy with my Bitdefender as you can tell,  though I only just installed it yesterday and haven’t really been using all the features yet.  However there are a few things that I feel they can improve on… like :-

  1. Tune -Up – Improve the speed of the defragmenter, and it appears the registry cleaner and disk cleaner (temp files remover) seems to be running in extra safe mode or something because after I ran it, I ran another two existing software I had for the same purpose and it managed to clean out more.
  2. Perhaps they can include some sort of encrypted password management system because majority of users have multiple Ids and passwords to remember and use.

Still this is an excellent product and I recommend it!

and in case you’re wondering NO…I’m not making a cent promoting it though if they do chance upon this post, hopefully they might consider extending my subscription for free *yoo hoo..waves and grins* ( Wouldn’t bet on it but hey a guy can try can’t he?)

julianwebsig

Movie – Race To Witch Mountain

 Starring: Dwayne Johnson, AnnaSophia Robb, Carla Gugino, Ciaran Hinds, Alexander Ludwig, Tom Everett Scott, Christopher Marquette, Cheech Marin, Garry Marshall

Director: Andy Fickman

Growing up, I watched both Escape to Witch Mountain and Return From Witch Mountain and remembered what a feel good movie it was.  And although the effects back then was a little more like puppetry, still it captured my imagination!  This movie however did not give me that same nostalgic feeling.  Yeah it was funny in certain parts and had some entertainment value but frankly I don’t think adults will really enjoy it as much as the kids.

Speaking of kids…..the kids in this movie were more like geeky teenagers as compared to the younger adorable kids I watched growing up.  But it was nice to see the two original Witch Mountain kids making a guest appearance as the Sheriff and a waitress. ( Ike Eisenmann & Kim Richards)

In my opinion Dwayne Johnson aka ‘The Rock’ is this movie’s only saving grace.  Definitely not one you’d race to watch, but hey the kids just might!

julianwebsig

SPAM Mail SENT Using My Account!

This is the second time spam mail has been sent using my account! The first time it happened was last year (or least that was the last time I was aware) but even doing a thorough virus and spyware scam I could not find the cause.  Then this morning I checked my email via pop server and again it has happened.  Undelivered mail bounced back! And I even manage to see a copy of the mail which was recommending some electronic site!!  My contacts had been compromised!

However this time round I managed to investigate and find the likely cause.  How? Well for one I noticed that some of the address that was used in my contact list was outdated.  Then I also noticed that the email sent was using my initials instead of my name which I had changed quite sometime ago.  Checking my account setup for my pop server accounts showed that it did not orginate from my PC, also my current updated contact list no longer contained some of the addresses which was targetted.

Next I logged on to all my accounts one by one via webmail and suspected that it was actually from one of my gmail accounts!  How did it happen?  I still have no clue! Because the ‘sent mail’ or ‘all mail’ option did not show any history of the offending mails.  However the contact list was the one used, moreover I did not change the name on the web version and so it would reflect my intials instead of my name had I chose to send mail via the web based gmail option.  My account had been compromised! But how long ago I’d probably never know…..

Interestingly enough I found at the bottom of Gmail you can now check last account activity, something I had not noticed before.  I found one entry under ‘browser’ ( this means accessed via browser instead of pop server) which occured 5 hours earlier at 0136hrs obviously not by me since I was asleep!  Doing a Whois on the IP address 60.10.213.161 the description came up with ‘LANGFANG ip pool for adsl CNCGroup-HE,LangFang City,Hebei province’!

Thankfully, apart from offending emails I don’t see any other sercurity breach which could have happened had they read certain of my emails.  Or is that in progress??? *shudders*  Well anyhow I have since deleted all my contacts via the web version, reset my password access and run a full system scan on my notebook just to be safe.

Here are some important notes to remember!

  • Use a secure connection when signing in to Gmail. In your Gmail settings, select ‘Always use HTTPS.’ This setting protects your information from being stolen when you are signing in to Gmail on a public wireless network, like at a cafe or hotel.
  • Also, to make sure that no one gains unauthorized access to your account:
  • Never tell anyone your password or security question and answer, and don’t write them down.
  • Never send this information by email.
  • Never give out your gmail password after following a link sent to you in an email. Access gmail directly by typing mail.google.com in your browser’s address bar.
  • Don’t reuse your Gmail password on other websites.
  • Periodically change your password and security question.
  • Keep your secondary address up to date.

Talk about timing, I just got this link to an article which is IMPORTANT YOU READ!

VIRAL INVITERS WANT YOUR E_MAIL CONTACT LISTS (Click to view Article)

Movie – Dragonball: Evolution (2009)

Starring: Justin Chatwin, James Marsters, Chow Yun Fat, Emmy Rossum

Director: James Wong

If you’re wondering why these movie selections over the next few days? Well it’s because the kids are on one week term holiday here.

And if you want a feel of what this movie is all about then think Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles! And yes the kids again loved it! How do they even know about Dragonball before the movie came out? Well I for one have not seen it on the cartoons they watch but apparently they have it as a game on their PSPs.

Storyline is not very original but hey if the formula has worked before on other films why not come out with something the kids can relate to, besides here is a chance to combine traditional chinese/japanese teachings of inner strength and visually show it off in an upbeat modern way.  Oh and it can’t hurt to have one of HK’s top leading actors Chow Yun Fatt as a Master of sorts with a comic overtone though why he chose to accept this role is beyond my understanding.  Perhaps he wanted to do something for the kids?

Well if you have young kids, then you’d want to bring them to watch it.  Otherwise if they are old enough, buy them the tickets and go shopping instead!

OH and if you do to decide to watch it anyway…..DON’T leave when the credits start rolling cos once again they have decide to leave a minute long preview of what audiences can expect…no brainer really… ( I only stayed behind because I was packing up the jackets etc. )

julianwebsig

Compressed Air In A Can To Clean PCs?

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Well it seems that for some time now, it is the industry practice to use Compressed Air in a can to clean out dust laden PCs.  But do you know how much a Can of Compressed Air can cost? As much as $14-$18 dollars SGD and they cannot be re-used DUH!

Some say that using a vacuum with the blower function is fine while others says NOT, basically it boils down to moisture concerns, static electricity build up and the strength of the blower.

Frankly in our high humidity climate, I don’t see static electricity build up as a major concern but I also don’t quite like the idea of using a vaccum blower to do it either. 

Well I’ve found an alternate use for something I use to clean out the air conditioning unit as well as for my plants.  But of course I ensure that it is totally dried out before using it to clean off the dust on my PCs.  It saves me lots of money and it works well for me!  However it may not work as well for you depending on your climate, because static could build up as you pump as I’m sure you know…..

*Ta Da!*

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