Friday, June 08, 2007

When will I learn that movies based on hit video games almost always invariably turn out to be a total waste of time? Among the most recent were the disappointing Silent Hill, the egregious Doom, and to add to the list of stinkers is Alone in the Dark. Yes, I saw this one on the DVD rack at Gramophone and jumped at it without hesitation. The fact that the movie never made the big screen here should have told me something.

AITD was a brilliantly atmospheric chiller of a game -- quite possibly the grandaddy of today's survival-horror genre. Although rendered mostly on wireframe, it blended sound and music effects with disturbing, claustrophobic environments, and limited the effectiveness of weapons and the availability of ammo, so every shot, every whack had to count.

Somebody forgot to tell the movie version that running around with a squad of marines, guns ablaze, doesn't actually qualify as being Alone in the Dark. So, squad of paranormal investigating marines go chasing after some evil creatures released from millenia of slumber by a bunch of greedy, careless deep sea salvagers. The creatures are from another dimension, and the scientist studying them inexplicably wants to open the portal to their dimension. It's not clear if he just wants to live with them, or let them all loose on earth. Do mad scientists need a reason?

On the other side are the do-gooder marines, a.k.a. Bureau 713. They shoot everything that moves, but one-by-one the squad gets decimated anyway. It sucks being on the losing side. What do we expect? After all, their enemy can become as insubstantial as smoke when they're being shot at, but can solidify at will to slice and dice their victims with enormous claws and teeth.

Despite lots of rockin' and rollin' with either fists or semi-automatic weapons there were places at which I fell asleep watching. So possibly some of the plot gaps I'm missing is a result of that. But, really, if this was supposed to be an action thriller, it didn't work for me.

Et tu, AITD? Bleh.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The last couple of days have been seriously unproductive, yet costly. Been spending most of the time at home waiting for various tradesmen to service my poor flat that's falling apart at the seams. After 7 years of hard living, the wear and tear really shows.

We've got leaks in our plumbing, our bed is loosening at the joints -- I'm nervous about sleeping in it in case it collapses under my weight -- and our air-conditioning got flushed out with a chemical wash and had a part or 2 replaced.

Meantime, Q-tip was looking scruffy again. Pix on the right is the 'after' shot from her haircut by Dom.

At left is a test shot using my just-delivered Samsung Ultra Series 13.8 in camera mode. In fact, both shots were test shots. Need more practice and a steadier hand -- these pix still show some motion blur.

I finally took advantage of my handset upgrade offer and got this model for (relatively) cheap. This one came with an additional 512Mb micro-SD card for free, so there's lots of room for all kinds of multimedia junk if I ever wanted it. Yay!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Went biking with HP and NBS along ECP. A nice, easy pedal along the beach front, breathing the fresh sea air and being grateful for it. We moved mostly at a slow, even pace though we picked it up closer to the end of our 2 hours in order to 1) beat the thundercloud menacing us overhead, and 2) to grab some lunch before the afternoon movie screening at Eng Wah Suntec.

Introduced NBS to Carl's Jr at Marina Square. Though the burgers are impressive in size, I was even more impressed with the 2 girls who demolished their burgers and left no remains. It's great to be in company that doesn't pick at their food.

HP and I joined Amy who was swamped with organizing the movie screening at Eng Wah. The college kids arrived in droves to watch Shrek 3 that Amy had arranged a corporate screening for. In between trying to get some marking done, we lent a hand in distributing the tix, collecting cash from stragglers, and whatever else it took to keep Amy sane through it all.

Apart from the movie, the EW staff took us to view the projection room and showed us how the analog and digital projectors worked, plus the inner workings of the industrial-strength popcorn machine they keep behind the snack counter. They use a lot of sugar. A. Lot.

And how was Shrek 3? Still clever, this time involving characters from legend, apart from the usual fairy tale crowd. As with the rest of this year's 3-quels, it's slightly dark, but at least it doesn't go overboard trying to outdo itself. The least disappointing 3-quel I've seen this year so far.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Still having respiratory trouble. Friday night was the worst yet. Had to sit up to make the breathing easier, and sleep was almost impossible. Reading about that 20-year-old kid who died after a bout of breathlessness in Friday's ST didn't help much. Still, I did make it through the night and the symptoms mostly go away in the morning.

Went shopping yesterday with June. She used her remaining $50 Taka voucher to pay for a bottle of frankincense essential oil and a box of organic tea candles for me. Frankincense apparently helps ease breathing difficulties, and it certainly did make for an easier night last night. Also took no chances and rubbed myself down with Vicks before sleeping. So either one or the other, or the combination of both worked just fine.

Went back to the clinic this morning anyway. Doc Doreen heard me wheezing away and prescribed a turn on the nebulizer. Also prescribed asthma medication, though she said I wasn't so far gone yet that I needed an inhaler. She's still holding out that I'm only going through a passing phase. I hope so too.