Wednesday, March 27, 2013

G.I Joe: Retalitation movie review

The first G.I Joe movie came out in 2009. That was four freaking years ago. Admittedly that movie was a complete letdown for an action movie so it was no surprise that it took them so long to come up with the sequel which wasn't really much for a sequel. Of course, then again, the release of this movie was delayed for over eight months from its original date in June 2012.

Courtsey of ChurpChurp
The only sense of plot continuity that you get going in for G.I Joe: Retaliation was that the President of US was replaced with a Cobra impostor Zartan who orders the elimination of Joes to start world domination. Other than that, I suggest treating it like a new movie altogether.

Why? Because other than Duke (Channing Tatum), Snake Eyes (Ray Park), Mr President (Jonathan Pryce), Storm Shadow (Lee Byung-hun) and Zartan (Arnold Vosloo), everyone else is a new face to the movie franchise including the director. Step Up director, Jon Chu embarked on this action pack movie with the same treatment he gave the Step Up franchise. Loads of dazzling action sequences to pave the way for a predictable storyline.

Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis helmed the cast this time, taking over the lead roles from Tatum's character but it was Adrianne Palicki who stole the screen with her character, Lady Jaye's determination to reset the standards of a male-dominated field of warfare without loosing too much of her femininity. After all, what is more sexy than a girl who knows her way around a gun. However Lady Jaye also seemed to have daddy issues which the director played off during her interactions and need for approval from the original and older Joe (Bruce Willis)....which is a bit creepy.

On a side note to Mr Willis, as much as it thrills me to see you still kicking ass in all your shining glory, having you as an another badass character that so closely resembles John McClane or even Mr Church from the Expandables just demonstrates that type-casting will follow you till your veteran years.

In true Dwayne Johnson style, his character Roadblock just singlehandedly beats the crap out of everyone that crosses his path although nothing was quite as epic as his fight with Vin Diesel in Fast Five. Speaking of which, Johnson will be having a good year this 2013 with several action movies lined up for him.

Moving on to the action scenes. What can I say. Jon Chu knows his action cinematography well. The fights are nicely chereographed especially the snowy mountain scenes between Snake Eyes and Jinx (Elodie Yung) versus red-cladded ninjas. You'll get explosions of cars and buildings (and people) and rapid combats that hardly leaves you with space to digest the plot and I think that was his objective.

The plot was as aforementioned predictable and does not explain how or why none of the original characters like the Baroness or Scarlet returned or where Jinx, Lady Jaye and Roadblock came from. It was for this reason that I asked you to treat it like a new movie rather than a sequel.

Would I watch it again?
Hell yes! I am in fact, watching it again today at the relaunch of TGV One Utama. But more on that later. G.I Joe: Retaliation makes up for where the original movie has fallen in terms of action sequences and eye-catching cast. You go in expecting mindless actions and that is exactly what you get.

G.I Joe: Retaliation hits the big screen this 28 March 2013.

Friday, March 22, 2013

DIY Pork Chops with Apple Sauce

One particularly disappointing experience of a restaurant had me craving for pork chop with apple sauce (yes, I know my craving can be very specific.) So I decided to try making my own pork chop and it was surprisingly easy. The recipe I used was a variant of one from My Recipes.

  • 2 tablespoon butter.
  • 2 red apples (peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • Pork Chop:
  • 4 (5-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork chops
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon butter.

  •  Preparation

    1. To prepare applesauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add apples to pan; cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1/2 cup water, sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt to pan; cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cook 15 minutes or until apples are tender. Mash gently with the back of a spoon.

    2. To prepare pork, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper; dredge pork in flour. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pork to pan; cook 5 minutes or until golen. Turn pork over; cook 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.
    Tip: Coat the pork with flour for a crispier exterior.

    3. Serve with applesauce and salad or mash potatoes. And ta-da! Hassle-free homecooked pork chop.

    I must say I was quite pleased with the way this attempt turned out. *pats self on back*

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    Become Mr Lens Affiliated

    Hey, guys.

    As some of you may or may not know, I am a contact-lense wearer. As a kid, I had a nasty habit of sitting very close to the television when watching Power Rangers, resulting in the deterioration of my eyesight. For years, I was taunted with the nickname 'Four-Eyed Nerd' due to my large thick glasses which led to my very low self-esteem.

    Thankfully, my mom introduced me to contact lenses and suddenly life became so much better in all sense. Little did I know then that contact lenses would become a raging beauty trend with more and more people looking to diversify their looks.

    Thanks to Mr Lens, picking your ideal contact lense has never been so easy. Catering from daily to monthly users, from recreational to convenience wearers, Mr Lens offers the largest inventory of contact lenses online in Malaysia at the lowest price. Some of the familiar names they carry are Freshlook, Acuvue, Freshkon and Air Optix amongst many others.

    Mr Lens Affliated Program
    Bloggers in Malaysia are in for a treat with Mr Lens Affliate program. In a few simple steps, you are your way to earning referral fees when your readers buy something from Mr Lens via your advertising banner!

    Step 1: Head over to this link.

    Step 2: To be newly affliate, click continue.

    Step 3: Fill in your information and details. To find your SWIFT code, click on the link and find your bank. Remember to tick the T&C box!

     Step 4: You'll get this window. Just check your email as according to the instructions. Click continue.

    Step 5: This is your Affliate Account page where you can check out your stats and traffic.

    Step 6: Just copy paste this to your blog html, arrange to suit your layout and voila! You're all good to go!
    Now all you need to do is entice your readers to shop at Mr Lens through your link, sit back and watch the moolah roll in!

    On top of that, if you blog about this program and submit your blog post to the Butterfly Project Facebook here, you will also get to redeem two boxes of Freshlook Colorblends Lens from Mr Lens at the end of this campaign!

    If you need more convincing to enter this program, one lucky Mr Lens Affliated blogger will walk away with a Nikon Coolpix 300 camera worth RM1200!

    Mine! Mine! Mine!
    So what are you waiting for? Start blogging! And non-blogger readers, start shopping!

    Sunday, March 17, 2013

    RWGenting's YNOT Graffiti Competition Finale

    Hey guys.

    Have you seen these colourful bus stands around and about Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur?

    They are the work of students from three colleges and of two artists for the Genting's YNOT Graffiti Competition. The competition is RWGenting's way of allowing the youth and the young at heart to express themselves by painting Genting's Outdoor Theme Park with their own creative input.  Check out this link to see the gallery of entries:

    Cast your votes between 15th – 28th March 2013 for your favourite design. The winning artist will get the chance to unleash their creativity on the walls of Genting.

    In conjunction with the Graffiti Art Competition, eight masterpierces by IACT, Alpha and Aswara colleges and artists Chekri and Nazmi have been placed on eight bus shelters around the Klang Valley.

    Here are the locations:
    Jalan Semantan by Alpha
    Lebuh Bandar Utama by Alpha
    Jalan Ampang by Aswara
    Jalan Pudu by Aswara

    Jalan Raja Chulan by Chekri
    Jalan Barat by IACT

    Jalan University by IACT
    Jalan Sultan Ismail by Nazmi
    Simply by tagging a picture of you with the bus stand artworks, you might stand a chance to attend the Finale Event on the 13th and 14th April 2013, up in Genting!

    What are you waiting for? Either cast your votes today for your favourite design or grab your camera and start snapping! Good luck!

    For more information, log on to RW Genting's website.  

    Thursday, March 14, 2013

    Just Heavenly, Oh So Heavenly

    Glorious cakes!
    Bloggers and the media have been raving about this particular cafe located in Bangsar Shopping Centre. The brainchild of Nigel Skelchy and Allan Yap, Just Heavenly cafe offers a comfortable dining experience with a clear simplistic theme of calming blue, white and brown. Prior to visiting Just Heavenly, I tormented myself by reading up blog reviews on it and knew more or less what I wanted.

    Simple inviting decor.
    Sourdough with Nutella, bananas,
    hazelnuts and orange reduction.
    To start, I ordered the cinnamon toasted sourdough, topped with Nutella, delicious bananas and hazelnuts with a drizzle of orange reduction. The sourdough was toasted to perfection with a crunchy base that goes well with the Nutella spread and the lightly toasted bananas on top. A definitely must-try.

    Moroccan Mint tea.
    To cleanse my palate for the next dish, I ordered the Moroccan Mint tea which came in a triangular teabag to allow the tea leaves to seep better in the hot water.

    The Classic Carbonara
    Just Heavenly's Penne Carbonara comes highly recommended and I could certainly see why. The sauce was deliciously creamy and not too thick or too rich. With ample bits of bacon and mushroom, I could easily finish off the whole plate myself. My dining buddies who tried it too agreed it was one of the best carbonara they have tasted.

    We also ordered Coconut Chicken Salad, Chicken & Avocado Open Sandwich with Cranberry Sauce. and the Tiger pie.

    Coconut chicken Salad.
    Coconut lovers would enjoy the Coconut Chicken Salad as the chicken slices has been cooked in coconut milk, giving it a nice juicy flavour. The chilli dressing offered a combination of sweet, sour and spicy to the salad made of cucumbers, pineapple, fried shallots, onions and lemongrass.

    Chicken & Avocado Open Sandwich.
    The Chicken and Avocado Open Sandwich was unusual for a lack of a better word. It looked like salad served on a fluffy pita bread but don't let its appearances fool you because it was delicious. While the chicken was juicy, the avocado was soft yet crunchy and the cranberry sauce complimented the entire dish with its sweetness.

    Tiger Pie
    The Tiger pie has no tiger in it but it does have beef.  Lots of it. The puff pastry was buttery and airy and soaked in the yummy beef sauce wonderfully. The beef chunks were succulent and juicy. On the side, a serving of mash, peas and gravy completed this wholesome comfort meal.

    Durian Chocolate cake.
    And of course, this being Just Heavenly, we must have their cakes to finish. It wouldn't be a complete affair without their famous cakes. The Durian Chocolate cake was just heavenly! (forgive the pun). The moment the fork sliced open the chocolate layer, the scent of durian hit us at full force, indicating its freshness. Real durian flesh was used for this delight, making it a definite must for durian lovers.

    Key Lime Pie.
    Another recommended slice of heaven (again, forgive the pun) to try was the Key Lime Pie. Unlike many places, Just Heavenly was really generous with the amount of cream which helped tone down the sourness of the lime custard. I dare say, this was one of the best Key Lime Pie I have tasted.

    Carrot and red velvet cake.
    We also had the Red Velvet and carrot cake but these two barely held a candle to the Durian Chocolate and Key Lime Pie in terms of flavour. Texture-wise, I would say they were moist with a good proportion of key ingredients like the cream cheese on the Red Velvet and crunchy nuts in the carrot cake.

    Overall, food was a constant bullseye. Service was a bit slow but this was probably due to a lack of manpower at lunch hour. The waiter servicing us was accommodating and helpful in recommending dishes to try. Ambience was easy and relax and you don't feel the need to rush through your meals to make way for the next customer. Just Heavenly is a great place to just sit for 2-3 hours, catching up with friends over coffee or tea and cakes.

    If this is what heaven is like, I would like to make a reservation please.

    Just Heavenly indeed!

    Just Heavenly Cafe
    Level 2, West Wing
    Bangsar Shopping Centre
    285 Jalan Maarof
    59000 Kuala Lumpur
    Tel: +603 2011 4866
    Opening hours: Daily 9:30am – 10:00pm

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    Tickling My Tastebuds: Top 3 Mille Crepes

    With so many restaurants and cafes offering mille crepe cakes on their menu, how will we know which deserves to grace our tastebuds? Here are my top 3 Mille Crepe Cake Countdown.

    Number 3: Nadeje Cake Shop, 3 Two Square

    Now we don't have to drive all the way to Malacca to get our Nadeje fix as they have opened up an outlet right in the heart of Petaling Jaya at Dataran 3 Two Square. I recommend their original mille crepe cake (RM9.50) that was simply oozing homemade custard vanilla cream that was light and not too sweet. The many layers that form the mille crepe are thin, allowing the Tahitian Vanilla Beans flavour to linger as it melt in your mouth.

    Number 2: Food Foundry, Happy Mansion

    Every crepe cake lover has heard about Food Foundry's delicious crepe cakes but the one particular crepe cake I would like to highlight from this place would be their Almond Salted Caramel cake (RM11). Topped with crunchy almond bits, this cake has the perfect balance of sweet and salty as the salted caramel sauce complimented the light texture of the cake wonderfully.

    Number 1: Red Beanbag, Publika

    And finally, the number spot for, perhaps, the best rum and raisin mille crepe cake I have ever taste, the Red Beanbag at Publika. I have blogged about it before but a second visit merely confirmed it. The rum and raisin mille crepe cake (RM14.90) explodes with ample rum flavour soaked into the layers and cream. There is also plenty of raisins in the cake which is also soaked in rum, living up to its name sake of rum and raisin. It is more expensive than most places but trust me, it's worth it. 

    Sunday, March 3, 2013

    First Skytrex Experience!

    To say I am an adrenaline junkie is an understatement. I would say I am a person whose motto(s) in life is try everything, leave no room for regret or do first, think later or never try, never know or do it now or miss the chance. So basically, my philosophy in life is YOLO! (please don't kill me!)

    It just so happens that everything I have done (sky-jumping off the Auckland tower, off-roading, racing, paintballing, jet-skiing, trapezing) or want to do in life (scuba-diving, backpacking, bungy-jumping, Tough Mudder) involves being in the great outdoors and involves adrenaline....Okay, so I am an adrenaline junkie. Which was why when my friend invited me for SkyTrex-ing in Bukit Cerakah forest reserve, Shah Alam, I was all 'YOLO!' (I can hear guns clicking...okay, I'll stop the YOLO-ing!)

    At the entrance.
    It was sunny Saturday morning when we got to Bukit Cerakah forest reserve, paid the RM3 per person entrance fee and boarded a bus heading to the SkyTrex Adventure. After some internal debate, I opted to carry my DSLR camera with me in order to get better pictures. It seemed I was not alone that day as there were many other who were weighed down with their big DSLRs. It turned out that Tourism Selangor had organised an day out for its fans and followers there too, explaining the large groups of people present. I also bumped into a blogger friend, Cindy after finishing the challenge. She did the Big Thrill so be sure to check out her blog for her take on Skytrex!

    Preparation stage.
    My group of eight quickly filled up the required 'I-will-not-sue-if-I-get-injured' forms, got lockers for our belongings and got our harnesses on. Gloves are a necessity because you'll be griping onto the ropes for dear life and can be brought RM3 per pair.

    Briefing instructor - funny guy.
    Before attempting the Extreme Challenge, we were given a safety briefing on what to do with our two carabiners and one pulley when up in the trees. All you need to remember is to make sure you're clipped to red-marked rope with at least one carabiner at all times!

    Extreme Challenge
    Once we have run through the trial course, we started off the Extreme Challenge with a tall ladder climb leading to the first of many flying-fox. I quickly discovered my wonderful ability to land facing backwards during the flying fox challenge. Dammit.

    Camera ready!
    As the group before us were so damn slow only three people were allowed to a platform, we had to wait in between obstacles during which I took the opportunity to snap pictures of my friends. And to camwhore.

    Flying Fox
    My least favourite obstacle was the pipe challenge where we only had the supporting ropes to grip on to. Not only were pipes oval, they would swing with each step, making balancing on them a challenge. I think I took up the most time on that.

    Making it look effortless.
    Prior to that, there was a monkey bar challenge much like in the playground except a few metres off the ground. Not to worry though as your carabiners and pulley will keep you from plummeting to your death if you let go. To my annoyance, my hands gave out midway through this challenge and I had to let go. I will definitely be back for the monkey bars!

    Monkey bars.
    But by this part, being so high up in the trees don't be an issue for most and your main concern will be crossing the next obstacle. As for the view, there was only trees and trees and....more trees.

    Sis posing for camera.
    Overall, it was great fun and after the initial sensation of vertigo, it was merely just powering through the obstacles. We took a number of pictures although not as many as I would like because the DSLR requires two hands to adjust. Most importantly, there was never a moment when I felt unsafe high up in the trees because I was high on adrenaline the course was so well-maintained.

    Ayam exit
    My group took approximately 2 hours in total to complete the whole Extreme Challenge and that included delays because the group before us were so damn slow I was trying to take pictures of everyone. The ending was sort of anti-climatic as we had to climb down a netting to descend to the ground. We heard the Big Thrill ends with a long flying-fox which sounds like more fun. But knowing my luck, I'll end it facing the wrong way.

    Extreme Challenge finishers.
    The next time I come, I will try the Big Thrill and hopefully this time, execute a perfect flying-fox and finish the monkey bars!

    1. Bringing a big camera is not impossible although you might smash it into a tree during the flying fox so just be careful.
    2. Gloves and a good pair of sport shoes goes a long way.
    3. Listen to the instructors and do chat with them. Being up there alone must be so boring at times.
    4. Look out for the instructions on how to place your carabiners and pulley before tackling the challenges. There are two ways to put them on so check!
    5. A bottle of water is recommended as it can get hot and exhausting up there. Bottle holders can be rented at RM5.
    6. If you can't complete the challenge, opt for the Chicken Exit. Seriously, don't hold up the people behind you if you can't get your nerves together.
    7. Check your carabiners and pulley before setting off to ensure they are usable.
    8. Online bookings are recommended at all times. No minimum number of pax required.

    Prices for Skytrex challenges are:
    Little Adventure (LA) - RM 35.00
    Big Thrill (BT) - RM 45.00

    Extreme Challenge (XT) - RM 55.00

    Saturdays, Sundays and some Public Holidays.
    From 8.30am onwards.

    For more information or to make bookings, head over to their website, Skytrex Adventure.

    For a sense of my experience there, check out my album here.

    And speaking of being adventurous and trying everything out for the first time, I am taking part in the Big Blog Exchange, a worldwide competition where 16 bloggers will be selected to exchange blogs whilst living out that blogger's life in their country for ten whole days!

    So if you think I have what it takes to weave a story of a new life experience from the other side of the globe, vote for me at the link below:

    PS: I do not represent BN or DAP so votes here will not influence the outcome of the coming 13th General Elections.
    Read, vote, share and have a cookie!