Friday, January 23, 2009

Bird Sightings This Week

This week I have attempted to record more birds on video, so that I can compile them into web shorts and put them up here. In between the video shots, I took a few stills too. I've been mainly using my still camera (DSC-H2) for this, but I've also got a video camera on loan for a bird film I am making. We'll see how that project goes. In the meantime, enjoy these shots.

Olive-backed sunbirds are small and jumpy. They are hard to photograph unless they're perched high up on some antennae or treetop and chirping their lungs out.

"Astro" is the name of the satellite TV subscription service in Malaysia. It's so common that "everyone" has it, that is everyone who wants to fork out about 80 bucks a month for old, repetitive shows. Clearly this white-throated kingfisher doesn't think much of the service either, as it looks like he's pooped on the Astro dish.

Look, a team of vigilant superhero birds! On the top of the branch is the famous and heroic dollarbird (dum da da dum!) and the smaller guy at the bottom is his sidekick, coppersmith barbet!

Brahminy kites are a common sight on campus. This one is carrying a twig, probably to build a nest with.

This is a common sparrow, and he looks angry. Maybe he hates being photographed.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Roland Emmerich To Direct Asimov's Foundation

Roland Emmerich, the creative genius who brought us critically-panned travesties such as "Godzilla" and "The Day After Tomorrow", is set to direct a film treatment of Isaac Asimov's Foundation.

Was it because Steven Spielberg was unavailable? Why does Hollywood do this to us? Why?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hollywood Is About To Remake The Karate Kid


First off, I am not categorically opposed to the idea of remakes. Some old premises and ideas that weren't done very well in the past can be reinterpreted and modernised. The new Battlestar Galactica TV series is an example. What was originally a cheesy rip-off of Star Wars has now be re-imagined into a slick new show. However, some things should just be left alone. Among those things is The Karate Kid.

I don't just say this because it's a childhood favourite of mine. It's because there really is nothing more you can add to that movie that wasn't said in the original. There is no need to reinterpret or modernise any of the themes; the movie was about fathers and sons, friendship and honour.

Now, not only is the film being remade, but it seems the producers want to mangle it in the most horrific ways imaginable. According to Slashfilm, Jaden Smith will be the lead actor, Jackie Chan will play Mr. Miyagi, and it'll be set in the "exotic locale" of Beijing. These production choices are highly questionable; Jaden Smith is too young, and I can't picture Jackie Chan as Mr. Miyagi. Actually, I can't imagine anyone else besides Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi. It seems disrespectful to the late Mr. Morita to recast him at all, let alone recast him horribly.

What are the characters doing in Beijing, anyway? It's as if they cast a random Asian man who does martial arts, and a random location in Asia so that it looks "exotic". The director for this train wreck of an idea is Harald Zwart, the guy who helmed The Pink Panther 2 (which is a sequel to another bad remake).

I know it's not right to judge a movie before it's even made, but I have this sinking feeling in my gut that it's going to be the worst remake ever conceived. If Hollywood's history of remakes is any indicator of future production quality, then this film is doomed to be awful.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lunar Photography Attempt III


Tonight, there is a full moon and the skies are clear; a perfect opportunity to attempt lunar photography. The above picture was taken at around 11pm. Using aperture priority, F value was set to f/3.7, shutter speed was set to 1/1000, spot metering was used and the sensitivity was at ISO 200. As usual, I used my tele lens attachment with a focal length of 432*1.7 mm.

My previous attempts at lunar photography can be found here and here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Chasing Kites

It was a windy day today. I went chasing kites; the kind that has wings, feathers and fly on their own. A couple of brahminy kites were gliding on the winds, circling above VC Rock and making close passes over the treetops.


The brahminy kite is quite a beautiful bird, silhouetting the sky with its chestnut wings spread out and its sharp eyes looking down. They are a common sight in this part of the world, and they are both hunters and scavengers.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Reading List


There's a long list of books I want to read (or re-read), and it's one of my resolutions this year to read more. The stack of books in the above picture is what I'd like to go through eventually. At topmost priority are my tech books, and the Terry Pratchett books that Megan was nice enough to send to me (thanks again!).

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Doctor Announced

Matt Smith is the new Doctor in Doctor Who. We don't get a lot of UK television here, so I haven't seen him before. However he is the first doctor that's actually younger than me. This is so wrong. It is warping my brain. I tell myself that even though he resembles a guy born in 1982, he is over 900 years old. That makes me feel less old.


Here is where I got myself one of those tumblelogs, which are less organised blogs you throw random junk on. The idea was pioneered by Anarchaia, and every other tumblelog is a rip-off of that site. So now I have one too. You'll also find an RSS feed to it among the little blog boxes on the right. Sometimes fun links get posted to irc (ag has consistently done this over the years, well done) and I wouldn't want my readers to miss out on that. All twelve of you. Okay my tracker says 11616 but I'm sure that's a rounding error. Also because the internet needs more random junk.