Thursday, July 16, 2009

Deja Entendu

I always tune into C4 and watch the popular music videos of today. It's nice to enjoy what casual music listeners would, once in a while. The catchiness and simplicity of pop songs should not be undervalued. It serves its own purpose well - to enliven the lives of mainstream demographics (which consist of a LOT of people). Nothing is wrong with that. I was pissed to hear Will.I.Am repeating "Tonight's gonna be a good night" all over again but if some could relate to that phrase and belt it out on top of their lungs out of happiness - Why not?

Yet, today I watched Ashley Tisdale's latest offering and I was pissed. And I could not even see the brighter side of it. My ears tingled when I heard the chorus of the new song. It blatantly copies the one in Pink's "So What". It's disgustingly cheap and it retraces my memories to similar cases with other songs. The chorus of Pink's "U + UR Hand" clearly resembles a song by The Veronicas (though I'm not bothered to find out which song came out first). One could easily sing Ciara's "Oh" on top of Cherish's "Do It To It". On another note, that song by David Arguetta and Kelly Rowland explicitly copies the piano riff from "Clocks" by Coldplay (the band which, ironically, has been accused for plagiarism before).

I'm not a fan of any of those artists and I'm not defending any of them. In fact, I'm ridiculing myself to care so much about pop artists. But as a listener, I do feel insulted. I admit it is justifiable in various ways. The songs might be written by the same people or some kind of agreement might be arranged to 'allow' such ripping off. I don't know. And I'm not glorifying myself here for identifying the similarities since I'm certain a lot of people are aware of it too. But I'm insulted by the fact that I could visualize an evil music producer saying "Let's spoon-feed the public some tried-and-tested melody and make some easy millions here. Who cares if the airwaves are polluted by recycled music? Let's market it through some fresh-faced pop sensation. Who cares if she hasn't got a genuine artistic talent to compensate as long as we make her expose some skin? That'll sell". Let's imagine he finishes these lines with some evil grin and a classic villainy laugh. Include a cuddly exotic cat in the picture too.

Plagiarism in music is by no means a new thing. It has involved artists ranging from various genres and even those who have established respectable reputation in the field (Les Paul, George Harrison, Bee Gees, and Nirvana - to mention a few big shots who have been accused in their careers). So when some new millennium producers attempt to plant some so-called pop sensations' feet in the industry by exploiting an already successful and popular melody line from only a few years back and manage to get away with it, maybe I should ask myself - Who gives a crap?

I must be having too much time on my hand for caring. Hehe.

Theoretically Speaking

When someone neglects a blog that he/she has set up, it’s either because

A. S/He has been busy having fun or doing important stuffs that s/he couldn’t find time to do something petty like updating a blog.
B. S/He has been having months so uneventful and doing stuffs so trivial that they are not worthy of a post.

But sometimes, it’s simply because the person is lay-Zzzzzzzz…..

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

By All Means, Come Grab an Mp3 by Me!

Yesterday (15th of February) was a special day for me, as it is for any year to come. So I decided to put out a certain home made recording as a dedication to it. Please download, I'm begging ya!

And yeah, someone should be singing on this track, someone who is apparently anyone but me. :-) ...So, for the time being, we have to accept with warms wide open that it is only some kind of minus-one. And it is only in demo quality.

Get your hands on the mp3 here.

There's more to come in the future. Probably.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

This Is Spinal Tap

It suddenly dawned on me that my consumption of comedic movies throughout the holiday might be too excessive for my own well-being. So I decided to treat myself one final session of laughter before carrying on with new things (which still remain vague up to this point). Who knew I ended up watching the funniest movie I have ever seen and arguably one of all time? So, without further ado, I present to you… “This Is Spinal Tap”.

I had come across this 1984 title on several occasions previously, mostly in the abundance of Top Ten Lists on the internet. I never bothered to give it a shot though since my attention typically tends to be captured by contemporary mainstream offerings, those produced in the late 90’s upwards to recent years. I had watched a considerable amount of Jim Carrey, Will Ferrell, Jack Black and suchlike but although these Hollywood funny bones do have their share of hysterical gems, I was certain that there must have been funnier people on the big screen history. So I settled on selecting a comedy from the earlier decades and I picked this one. This particular movie convinced me that I was right. There ARE funnier, way funnier people and scripts and this one here might as well be the perfect embodiment of comedy at its best.

“This Is Spinal Tap” is a mockumentary that documents a certain period of the career of Spinal Tap, a fictional British rock band. It features interviews, live performances and “real-life” dramas akin to the nature of reality shows that almost anyone can star in nowadays. Almost every element of the film has something to tickle the audience, except, perhaps, the pleasantly light play on emotions when it approaches the ending. The charm that it maintains through the runtime of 1 hour and 20 minutes mainly occurs in the fact that everything is depicted in moderation. Nothing over the top, and surely no slapsticks or unhygienic jokes being shoved in our faces to force the viewers to laugh. The characters are placed in realistic situations with subtle humorous twists and they also appear genuinely serious when those funny bits leap out of their mouths. The jokes are always there but only if you anticipate it. Get a bit distracted and you might miss an unforgettably amusing moment which millions of others have enjoyed and felt great about. That's a serious loss. I’m glad I managed to catch most of the punchlines and immediately feel that the world is suddenly a better place. But still, I’m sure there must be others that I overlooked. Which prompts me to watch it again and again. Yeah, three times already in just three days. And still counting.

So, let me end this with an interview scene at the very end of the film credits…

Q: What would you do if you don’t play rock and roll?
A: Well, I suppose I could work in a shop of some kind or do a freelance selling of some sort of products.
Q: A salesman?
A: Yeah, like “What size do you wear sir?”. And you answer me.
Q: Hmm, seven and a quarter.
A: “I think we have that”. Something like that.
Q: So, do you think you’d be happy…
A: (Interrupt) “Oh, we’re all out. Do you wear black?”. See, that’s a sort of thing I probably could master up.
Q: So, do you think you’d be happy doing that?
A: (After a reflective expression). I don’t know... What are the hours?

In conclusion, go watch this movie or else! Additionally, we can observe that I’m a terrible movie reviewer.

Warm regards,

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Friday The 20th

(Setting : The week after next)

This is the final installment of my Friday trilogy. On this particular Friday, February 20th 2009, I'll be returning to New Zealand. And I predict that on that day, there will be a mixture of emotions. I will be feeling...


for finally being back in Auckland but having to leave home and family. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. I carry the love along. (Cue a melancholic orchestral piece in minor key)


for finally being back in Auckland, but dang, missing the Iron Maiden gig! Bugger. This is such a big thing because, trivia time : What was the first rock band Hisyam ever listened to in his entire life? Reward yourself a slice of bread if your answer is Iron Maiden. Congratulations. Back to blogging time : Strolling down the memory lane, I still remember spending my dad's money on a rock compilation cassette when I was, probably, in standard 4. I immediately got hooked on the song 2 Minutes To Midnight. And that was the prologue to my lifelong hunger for hard music. And somehow I didn't know the band will be playing in Auckland till days ago. Ramly Bugger!


for finally being back in Auckland. Yay. I'm looking forward to move into the new house in Railway Campus, go to the places I have listed down beforehand, chat with my dear friends about the summer break, eat more kebabs, jog a bit more in Domain, cycle my bike around in more repetitions, snap an abundance of pictures of the campus and city, go to a circus, attend more deafening concerts, wear more denim bermudas (no, not at once), get a new job (preferably modelling*), study slightly harder, reunite with friends and enjoy life alongside Dzeti Alfina again. So Aotearoa here I come!

*Calm down, I'm being humorous. So please ease your excitement.

Friday The 6th

(Setting : Today)

I'm arranging these words while doing a few of my favourite things. Getting cozy in a sofa filled with cuddly cushions of various sizes, munching on some crackers and listening to some of the greatest songs mankind ever came up with. That's some multitasking in action there. And I'm also amazed by my ability to surf the net and watch the TV at once, with only my eyes juggling these two tasks ; not a single muscle moved or a bone turned.

I also feel the urge to share about my night. It hasn't been so dull, really. I watched some of the better parts of Malaysian comedy : The last 45 minutes of Raja Lawak, and before that, the first 15 minutes of Buletin Utama.

Sincerely, I'm not someone who's always got his finger on the pulse of the recent goings in national politics. But on the news tonight, everything seems clear, even for someone like me. Apart from laughing at the news anchors for their overdone attempts at sounding cynical and sharp, I also chuckled watching the stars of the show being overconfident about getting away with pretense. But this is merely an opinion. I'm not bothered to take sides. I admit, what does someone like me know. Or can do. Or say. When even the Perak citizens haven't got the opportunity to say anything. I mean, so far, at least. Who knows what happens tomorrow, so I reserve judgement.

Oh, about the comedian reality show, it did have its golden moments. Some of the participants were unquestionably good while others who didn't shine much still managed to linger around. But there were still times in the show when my interest in Malaysian comedy were restored. I'm quite proud, I would say!

Friday The 30th

(Setting : Last Friday)

Exactly a week ago, I journeyed to Mid Valley to meet up old friends. It was interesting to speak to them in person again, just like in school. Syahid seemed to have grown into an oversize Bollywood co-star. Fa'aiza and Ain were pretty much like the last time I saw them, which was quite long ago. EG and We' didn't appear to change much apart from their glasses. It was a joyous day indeed. There were many things to catch up on, paired with a healthy dose of bowling and eating session. And yeah, to elaborate more on bowling, I did manage to score three (3) strikes in a game. Anyway, I do hope to meet the others someday. Especially my friends from 5 Amanah. It should be fun too. A get-together like this reminds me where all these different paths that we lead today originated from.

So, those are the screenshots of that day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How To Insult The Whole World

By causing extensive so-called 'collateral damage' and saying unacceptable things like "We're doing what other countries will do to protect its citizens". With an arrogant straight face.

You shouldn't say that. You insulted us all. We are extremely offended.

We are not like you.

So please. Don't confuse us with ruthless inhumane murderers like you. It's simply disgusting.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Days In Circles

Waking up in the afternoon usually leaves my throat dry. So these little oranges never fail to ease my thirst. Never run out of it.

The routine I have established after that never lasts longer than an hour (bath, prayer, lunch, newspaper). By then, I'd be clueless what to do. So I'd sit around and play this thing.

After my fingertips turn sore, I'd give my ears a break from my own horrible singing by clicking this button and let the playlist flow, for hours.

Meanwhile, I would pass my time, by watching time passes...

...and enjoying fresh air, which comes out of this.

By night, tired of having an idle day, I'd resort to more productive things like turning on the TV by pushing this button

Okay, I think I'm embarrassing myself here. But you get the idea what I go through daily. So the fifty buck question is - Do I deserve to hope that by the time summer break ends, I will not turn into this ball-like creature?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Safety Tip For Today (..Only?)

A situation forces you to withdraw money from an ATM at a silent dark place. No one else is around, except some suspicious looking unfriendly faces.

Do not be paranoid. Stop worrying. Be calm and let's see what we can do

1. Stash the money into your wallet swiftly
2. Put on a sad face. Optional : Recall the ending of your favourite Malay drama and let the tears flow.
3. Sigh loudly.
4. Walk like a zombie
5. Loudly, say to your friend (pretend you have one around if you don't) things like "Not in yet", "Hmm tak masuk lagi la" or "Yilek..."

Chances are, no one will bother you. And if it's your lucky night, someone will even approach you, comfort you and insist on handing you some free cash.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hoi Bagi Signal La!

Our road safety campaigns will soon withdraw polite and family-friendly slogans like "Pandu Cermat Jiwa Selamat" and "Ingatlah Orang Tersayang". More in-your-face approaches will be adopted and the first reminder in line is going to be "Use Your Da*n Signal Or Die!!!". Yes, with three exclamation marks.

At least that's what I hope will happen. Apart from somebody up there deciding to take these neglectful drivers who never give signals before turning or switching lanes to court and imprison them or ban them from driving for life. We already keep children away from knives and now we need to keep these people away from cars.

What do I have against this type of human beings anyway? The answers are these:

1. It's not hard. At all. Even the most intellectually handicapped among us can figure out how to operate the car signal device. It only requires the tiniest amount of effort and the slightest movement of muscles to flick the switch. How lazy can one be? Looking at the other drivers on the road nowadays suggest one simple answer - Most exceptionally lazy beyond measure.

2. How many times do they think they can get away with this? Till when will their lucky stars keep on shining? And let me propose one practical question that everyone should ask constantly when our hands are gripped on the steering wheel : What are the odds between things happening and not happening? 50% to 50%, at LEAST. And you're correct, I'm referring to accidents. I'm not personally acquainted to anyone named Murphy but his law states that "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong" (which, by the way, makes riding roller coasters a bad idea. But I do enjoy them). And taking things out of the brackets, it is completely fine with roller coasters. My decision to ride Superman Escape at Movie World can only mess up my own life, not other people's.

3. No, my family and I are not blessed with some miraculous powers that enable us to read minds or see the future. That means, no, we really are unaware if they suddenly intend to take a turn or especially switch lanes. And guess what, lack of this ability endangers our lives indeed. We cannot hear their thoughts about overtaking that slow but cautious driver in front of us, so we cannot plan our action in the upcoming 3 seconds or so. What could possibly happen? So, yes, please bear with us and please help us know by using that dang signal. And by the way, I'm sure none of my friends and relatives is gifted with that kind of power. So, please help them too.

4. And if anyone thinks it defines what's cool, they're wrong. You can argue that smoking turns a loser into a chick magnet but you don't stand a chance applying the same notion to not giving signals. Apart from possessing Ferraris or whatnot, there is no other way to look impressive in traffic. And no, your ordinary cars modified with oversize exhaust and loud noises just do not cut it too.

In short, I believe if everybody starts caring just a little bit and makes use of their car signals, number of deaths can be cut down. Yup, it does look ugly in the statistics now so please wake up. Apart from that, we can conclude that Hisyam can surely rant about stuffs.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Importance of Being Able To Laugh At Yourself

Case Study 1

1. Hisyam gloriously returned to his motherland and decided to sign up for "M broadband*" right away. It read '3.6 mbps' on the leaflet and that screamed "heartwarming downloading experience!" right into his ears.

2. The nauseating connection rate rang him a wake-up call. Waking from a flawless broadband dream, that peak speed suddenly appeared too good to be true. It turns out that instead of 'megaBYTE per second', that 'mbp' actually stands for 'megaBIT per second'. Which is not much, at all.

3. Despite feeling like a complete sucker, Hisyam laughs rolling in the aisles. Let him be and do not bother giving him any patronizing pat on the back.

Case Study 2

1. The guy in the "M broadband*" booth also told our poor guy Hisyam here that there would be no minimum contract period for the registration. Hisyam, with a satisfied looking grin, thought there'd be nothing at stake if he tried out this sophisticated piece of technology. If it turns out horrible, he'd just simply terminate his subscription. Hmm, a perfect plan, he reckoned.

2. Two weeks later, he read out the brochure, and in innocently tiny letters, it said "There is no minimum contract period. A handling fee of RM200 is payable if you discontinue the service before 12 months".

3. Although that term is undeniably a bunch of misleading bollocks and it makes Hisyam feel like a giant Chupa Chup since his signature proves that he faithfully agrees with it, he can't help but laugh at his own moron-isme. He thought he was so smart that no tricks could manuever him into believing something false. He never stops guffawing and it would be so kind of you if you can chuckle along.


Don't take Terms and Conditions for granted. And don't lose yourself in the shiny smiles on the ads. Things aren't always what they seem. Or rather, things always aren't what they seem.

*No prizes for guessing the exact brand correctly. Or would you still like a cookie?

Friday, January 9, 2009

I Bring To You... A New Year

Hullo my dear hopefully-soon-to-be-existant readers!

Nine days into the new year, has it been off to a flying start? Or have your newly embraced resolutions already begun submerging? Yes, 365 or so days are a lot of time. A whole lot of time for a) fun stuffs to be sacrificed or b) serious stuffs to be compromised. So if this year, I can make the balanced scale tilt downwards on the serious side, I'd feel like a million bucks.

Just that I do feel that I haven't done much in my first year in Auckland. All that I could recollect are an endless stream of lectures and assignments, plenty of hours of doing nothing in my room, some recurring occasions of kebab eating, a lot of Mc Donald's burger patties and a pair of denim shorts. Certainly I have done a lot of memorable things like rafting, Luging, exploring South Island in winter, skiing, making snowman, learning to love and hate snow on the same day and getting close to sheeps (wrongo! Correction : sheep. Uncountable noun. Sorry, though my English tuition has ended - phew - I still pretty much haven't got out of character). Not to mention I had my good friends and beloved one with me through these historical events. But I do feel that I should have done more.

Maybe getting involved in recreational but beneficial stuffs like Dyau with his weekly butchery (a.k.a fencing), Nigel with his bag-pipe band and some other instances. Perhaps study more seriously and do every assignment as if my soul is at stake. Probably somehow reach a greater height in terms of my intellectual state so that I can have effortless conversations with John Hope or those kind of people. Heck, I can't even handle a 20-second small talk with a stranger in the lift. Also maybe (no, this is surely) snap pictures of me and the name of the places I visit, as my mother pointed out. Yep, I do feel like going to Christchurch, Kaikoura, Tauranga, Piha Beach and all those other locations again just because I didn't take any picture that contain their names. I might as well show the photos I have now to my relatives and say "This one is in North Pole. We took a short detour on our way to Dunedin" and chances are they'd believe me.

So, those are the things I wish I would do this time around. By the end of this year, I would revisit this post and God knows if I will feel like a million bucks or I will simply feel like poop.

Till next time.