GLOCCOVNAA is an abbreviation for 'Great Life of Conflict, Climax or Virtually Nothing At All'. That was the long and ridiculous name I came out for my blog when I was 18 years old. Do click on the colourful icons on the right to check out different types of posts in this blog.

21 December, 2013

H&N Flood #1

Oh wow! What a week of unforgettable memories. Hmm... I wonder where should I start?

It all started with rain on Sunday 1st December, then Monday and it didn't stop until Tuesday. As expected, water level rose slowly to around 1 foot at some places but I was barely affected besides preparing slippers to work. Then on Tuesday many roads were congested, it took a while before I reached home, even braving my car dangerously through big puddles of water.

After taking a nice bath, I got a message from my housemate telling me to look out the window. The large driveway across my house appeared to have a thin film of water over it. Within minutes, that film slowly rose up in front of my eyes and I told myself "it won't come to my house".

So 5 minutes later I heard some chattering at the living room and decided to take a look. It turns out the water has entered the porch. I continued to whisper to myself "it should stop there".

The moment water started entering the house was when I started to panic. My landlord has already started moving some of his electrical appliances to higher places and allowed his dog to climb on a chair. By that time, water had already covered half of my car's wheel and I thought to myself "it better stop there or my car is gone".

True enough, the water rose and covered the whole tyre . My car's electronics also went crazy when my headlights went on for some reason, so there goes my car battery... There was nothing I could do by that time, just go to sleep and hope it doesn't rise any higher. The fortunate thing was that water and electricity to the house was still ok at that point, so I quickly charged my phone to full before the supply eventually gets disconnected.
The next morning I was awoken by my working alarm. As usual, I walk to the window for some fresh air but this time it had the stench of river water mixed with rubbish. Guess what? Electricity went off immediately after I went to the toilet. Looks like it'll be a long long day....

lalanandaFRY
21/12/2013

09 November, 2013

Bond Trivia #5: The Toys

Exploding pens, submarine cars and laser watches... James Bond always get the most outrageous gadgets for his missions and somehow uses them at the perfect moment. Remember what his first ever toy was?

Peter Burton as the armourer giving Bond his new gun.
"Walther PPK. 7.65 mm, with a delivery like a brick through a plate glass window. Takes a Brausch silencer with very little reduction in muzzle velocity. The American CIA swear by them." quote Dr No.
In 1962's Dr No, there was no Q, or at least not the quintessential quartermaster we expect. Peter Burton played an unnamed armourer who replaces Bond's old Beretta with a Walther PPK, his first ever gadget on screen. He was then replaced by actor Desmond Llewelyn in From Russia with Love. The late Desmond Llewelyn played Q, or Major Geoffrey Boothroyd for 17 films across 36 years and made the role iconic despite only appearing for a few minutes in each film. This makes him the only character to appear with Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton and Brosnan. His character was always credited as Q without an actual name. It was only until The Spy Who Loved Me that the Major Armasova refers to him as Major Boothroyd when he introduces the awesome Lotus Esprit submarine car.
It's always nice seeing him with all those toys for 36 years.
There were so many awesome gadgets that were classic even until today. I remember seeing the Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger thinking it was old and sloppy, until the machine guns popped out of the sides of the number plate when it became like a little tank. Then there was the jet pack from Thunderball and Little Nellie from You Only Live Twice, both cool toys that were probably every kid's dream toys in the 60s. I mentioned earlier about the Lotus Espirit from The Spy Who Loved Me that had rockets shooting from its boot and can fend of helicopters even when submerged. But my personal favourite was the BMW from Tomorrow Never Dies which can be controlled remotely with an Ericsson phone.
I don't know whether actual spies have gadgets like these, but they are fantastic!
Do you have a Bond gadget you always wanted from the old Bond movies, not forgetting the awesome cars from the new ones?

lalanandaFRY
9/11/13

22 September, 2013

Bond Trivia #4: The Alphabet Boss

There are always 2 main alphabets used as names in the James Bond series, M and Q. Everyone knows Q stands for quartermaster, but

What is M short for?

When Ian Fleming wrote the character M, he had several people in mind. The most widely known inspiration was his superior officer during World War 2, Admiral John Godfrey, who was a serious, efficient, no-nonsense authority figure. But what most people do not know is that Ian Fleming used to call to his own mother as M when he was young. His mother was very strict and was certainly a person he was frightened of.
Admiral John Henry Godfrey, Fleming's own M.
Along with Q and Ms Moneypenny, M is the character who was portrayed in almost every film adaptation of James Bond, with exception of For Your Eyes Only. The character was played by 4 different actors in the Eon series although it was not mentioned whether all 4 were playing the same character or if M was just a position held by 4 different people.

1. Vice Admiral Sir Miles Messervy (Dr No - Moonraker)
M in Dr No (above) and Moonraker (below) 17 years apart.
In 11 films over the span of 17 years, the role of M was played by the late Bernard Lee. He was often described as a strong leader who thinks highly of Bond but maintains his authority at all times, very similar to Fleming's intended character in the novels. He even starred in the Italian parody of James Bond called O.K. Connery starring Sean Connery's brother, Neil Connery as the title character in 1967 and another French parody called Bons Baisers de Hong Kong (From Hong Kong With Love) in 1975.
Bernard Lee and Lois Maxwell portrayed their roles in these parodies
In 1981 when For Your Eyes Only had just started filming, Bernard Lee died from stomach cancer before he could film any scenes for his role. His character of M was not replaced by another actor immediately out of respect for the actor. Instead his role was divided by MI6 chief of staff Bill Tanner and Minister of Defense Sir Fredrick Gray while his character was on leave.
His portrait was in M's office in The World is Not Enough.
2. Rear Admiral Hargreaves (Octopussy - License to Kill)
Robert Brown in Octopussy.
Actor Robert Brown replaced Bernard Lee's role as M in Octopussy (1983) and played the character for a total of 4 Bond movies over 6 years. Before playing M, he played another small character in The Spy Who Loved Me, leading to fans speculating that that character was reassigned. His M was not actually named in the film series and Rear Admiral Hargreaves was actually the name of his previous role. Robert Brown's M was slightly different and many consider him to be more lenient with Bond than his previous counterpart, with exception of revoking Bond's license in License to Kill.
Admiral Hargreaves in The Spy Who Loved Me
3. Olivia Mansfield (Goldeneye - Skyfall)
M in Goldeneye (above) and Skyfall (below) 17 years apart.
Bond had a 6 year hiatus after License to Kill and it was time for a radical change. The world has changed after the end of the Cold war and Bond had to start fresh with Goldeneye. Experienced actress Dame Judi Dench played the role of the first female M, who was modeled after the real life head of MI5 Stella Rimington at that time.
*Spoiler Alert* M dies at the end of the film, passing the torch to the next actor.
She starred in 8 Bond films and was the only actor to cross over from the "Brosnan era" to the reboot in 2006's Casino Royale. Among all the actors portraying this role, she has probably the most screen time and the most character development. From the start she was cold and strong towards Bond, at some point even seems like she really dislikes Bond. But her relationship with Bond evolved especially in The World is not Enough where she was kidnapped and in Skyfall for which her character drove the movie more than Bond's motivation.
Gareth Mallory in the final scene of Skyfall as M
Skyfall is the first official Bond film with 2 Ms which provided extensive character development for the previous M and additional character development for the new M, Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Mallory portrayed by Ralph Fiennes in preparation for the next film. Who knows what will we get with this new M?

So what does M stand for? Is it a designation for the chief of MI6? Or is it an abbreviation for their last names (Messervy, Mansfield, Mallory)? Probably only Ian Fleming knows the answer.

lalanandaFRY
22/9/13

09 September, 2013

H&N: Unsettling

Can't believe I haven't written about myself for so long. This 5 months had its ups and downs. For one I can say that I can finally feel my job, if that makes any sense. Before I started working, I always wondered how other working adults survive the harsh working environment everyday doing more or less the same thing until retirement. Wouldn't it be really boring? I used to see my parents go to work everyday and coming back talking about the same things they do at work everyday and it wasn't very appealing.

Now that I am in their shoes, working is like a reason to live if it is enjoyable. I am not saying that my job is smooth sailing all the time. On the contrary, I somehow look forward for the next day to come when I will continue to strive in a tough environment, enduring countless obstacles everyday and work together with a bunch of people I grow to like.
When new PRPs continue to join the hospital, I feel lacking in many ways. First of all, I am not exactly the friendly type, so if I don't welcome you with open arms, it is not because I don't like you, I just don't know how to express it. I am not far from finishing my PRP life and my knowledge of the job is still lagging at times. There were times when I curl up in my room feeling insecure with my working knowledge reconsider my choice to be a pharmacist, but then my confidence built up when I recount my enthusiasm to the job, how much I enjoy going to work.
I recently completed one of the toughest stations in PRP life, can't believe it is over. It was made even tougher taking place right at the Hari Raya period, making case clerking difficult without many patients in ward at that time. As usual, there were presentations every week but there was a 2 week break during the festive season, meaning that there was a delay in my presentation schedule. It was definitely a traumatizing experience to present clinical case every week, more so on the day I presented 2 cases. Although my marks weren't up to my expectations, I was glad it is over *I literally felt like flying after my final presentation*.

Now the next hurdle is to take all my oral tests and complete my log books. Wish me luck!

lalanandaFRY
9/9/13

P.S.: To my future self, whenever you feel down and depressed, just come back to this post to remind yourself of how awesome your life was when you were a PRP.

08 September, 2013

Bond Trivia #3 Bond Girlfriend

Women can be said to be one of highlights of Bond films. Every time a Bond film is announced, they will be the first thing people would ask about. So what is so special about Bond 'girls'? Furthermore, have you ever heard of the

Bond Girlfriend?
The very first Bond girl to appear on screen together with Sir Sean Connery in Dr No was a lesser known actress Eunice Grayson who played the role of Sylvia Trench. Not many people remember her because she was overshadowed by the main Bond girl Ursula Andress playing the classic Honey Ryder. You might remember Sylvia Trench in the famous scene where she asked Bond for his name when he first uttered his signature "Bond, James Bond".
Her role in the movie was very small but somehow significant enough that the writers of the sequel From Russia With Love included her character in another small sequence at the beginning of the film. It was said that they planned for herto be Bond's long term girlfriend, obviously it did not happen. This also makes her the only Bond girl to appear in two consecutive movie as the same character. Her scene in From Russia With Love put both of them at a romantic date that was interrupted by a message from MI6/
Speaking of Bond girls, there were many of them who were just eye candy while others actually changed Bond's life. For example, Teresa Draco from On Her Majesty's Secret Service who falls in love with Bond and ends up marrying him but unfortunately was killed by Blofeld, thus shaping the motivation for the following movie Diamonds Are Forever when Bond gets his revenge. Her death was referenced many times throughout the series until Bond finally killed Blofeld in For Your Eyes Only. This was one of the significant plot points that was brought through 3 Bond actors, Lazenby, Connery and Moore, proving that all 3 actors were playing the same character and James Bond was not a mere code name.
lalanandaFRY
8/9/2013

29 June, 2013

Bond Trivia #2 Battle of The Bonds

Have you heard of the term

Battle of the Bonds?
If not, here is the story. Imagine a time when Roger Moore was set to retire as James Bond after filming For Your Eyes Only. It was 1981 and the Bond series producers were looking all over the world for a suitable replacement who could live up to the legacy. Then came a man named Kevin McClory, an Irish screenwriter who was no stranger to James Bond since his involvement with Thunderball, both the book and the movie.
McClory (right) and Albert Broccoli (left) at premiere of Thunderball.
There were disputes between him and Ian Fleming that were long and complicated, I won't discuss it here. In essence, McClory and Broccoli-Saltzman settled out of court, leaving McClory with the rights to Thunderball and getting credited as the producer of the 1965 film while Broccoli-Saltzman could continue making tonnes of Bond films. Another important clause was that he was not allowed to use the rights to the movie between 1963 and 1973. Is this boring? I'll get to the good part now...
In 1983, McClory planned to release a movie based on his Thunderball story, named Never Say Never Again, to go against Eon production's long running Bond series when Roger Moore was rumoured to retire the role. Sean Connery was cast as James Bond 12 years after he last played Bond in Diamonds Are Forever and it got many speculating who would be Eon's contender in the battle of Bonds. Many actors auditioned for the role of the new James Bond then including James Brolin and future Bond Timothy Dalton. However Eon decided to give the role back to Moore as a safe bet.
Sean Connery (52) and Roger Moore (55) in 1983.
At that point, both actors were in their 50s and it was quite a stretch to have suave secret agents at that age still able to pick up young beautiful women and hop around dodging bullets like they used to in early Bond movies. In Never Say Never Again, Connery's Bond included several hints of his age and some struggles when going against opponents much younger than he. In Octopussy, Moore's Bond gets affiliated with a middle aged Bond "woman" instead of the usual young Bond girls, exhibiting maturity and growth to the character. But as usual both films follow the standard Bond blueprint: the hero defeats the villain's evil plans and gets the beautiful girl/woman through elaborate actions scenes.
In the end, Octopussy performed slightly better than Never Say Never Again in the box office, though critics preferred the latter due to great casting of the villain Maximillian Largo played by Austrian actor Klaus Maria Brandauer. Speaking of casting, there was even a very familiar comedian who had a minor role in Never Say Never Again before he became an icon... I wonder if you would recognize him with the long wavy hair!
It was definitely facinating to see 2 films about the same character played by 2 established actors released months aparts, more so for an iconic film series like James Bond.

**Another trivia: Never Say Never Again was directed by Irvin Kershner, mentor of George Lucas and director of Empire Strikes Back.

lalanandaFRY
29/6/13

22 June, 2013

Bond Trivia #1 The First Bond

For the last few days, I have been busy with my research work at home. My enthusiasm with work is plunging as I review countless sheets of paper filled with numbers and gibberish. The only thing that got me going was my Bond soundtrack playlist playing from my computer. Now I am taking a short rest from my paper work to express my love for my favourite franchise of all time, 007 James Bond legacy.


Let's start with a trivia that will win you drinks in a bar, or at least that was what I heard.
Who was the first actor to play James Bond?
As most of you may know, there were a total of 25 James Bond movies, 23 produced by Eon Productions and 2 non-Eon. The most famous "first" James Bond is obviously Sir Sean Connery who starred in 7 Bond films between 1962-1983. But was he the first actor to play James Bond? Apparently not... In 1954, there was a CBS television series called Climax! that acquired the rights to Ian Fleming's first book Casino Royale. They made it into a one hour episode titled "Card Sense" and starred Barry Nelson as Jimmy Bond.
The episode followed the book very loosely and reversed the role of James Bond and Felix Leiter, Bond being the American "Combined Intelligence" agent and Felix "Clarence" Leiter being the British agent. So he is one of the two non-British actors to play James Bond, the other being George Lazenby.
The actor playing Jimmy Bond, Barry Nelson is no stranger to American television. However he was better known for his works on broadway. Another thing to note about this episode was that at the point of airing, Casino Royale was the only Bond novel in existence. Ian Fleming went on to write 13 more novels and expended the character and world of James Bond until his demise in 1964. Who could have predicted that a television adaptation of a mere British spy novel in 1954 would become an artifact of a legacy that is still going strong.
There will be another Bond trivia coming soon...

lalanandaFRY
22/6/13

01 June, 2013

O.M.G

I miss those days when I can just take a stroll around the city to enjoy the scenery whenever I want regardless of the time or weather.

I miss those days when I could just run to the nearby supermarket to grab groceries without starting the car engine.

I miss those days when I walk to the dinning hall at some random time and always be greeted by my buddies who share our happy and unhappy moments together.

I miss those days when my housemates and I march to and from our lecture theaters to face those dreadful hours together.

I miss Glasgow so much!

It hasn't been long since I last been to Glasgow, yet it feels like I haven't been there for a long long time. I think I miss the place not for its beauty but for the memories I have had for the year I was studying there. It is definitely a stretch to say that Glasgow is even close to beautiful.
The first impression of my room, Rubbish Dump!
I remember not liking anything about Glasgow during the first week there. It was at that time when my mentor told me about how much he loved the city and how I would appreciate my life there but obviously my mind was preoccupied by the thought of getting rid of the stench in my tiny room. Hey bro, I get it now! You were totally right! My first time of merely walking around the city was an entirely new experience to me because I have never walked around the city center without breaking a sweat... damn KL is hot!
We only have each other!
The experience of being foreigner for a long period was also a fond one. I remember one day I went out to get groceries with a group of housemates at the supermarket and we saw a lady wearing tudung with her child. Our first instinct as Malaysians was that she was Malay and we had the crazy idea to test whether she was Malaysian. So we stood in a row and started singing Negaraku when the lady walked past. That was just one of the many ridiculous things we do in Glasgow.
I put all all my effort in making my own chicken soup for dinner.
And obviously I won't forget how much I miss cooking. Getting ready in the kitchen was like an adventure everyday. I had a bunch of culinary experiments throughout the year, mostly recreating Malaysian dishes I felt like eating. During festive seasons like CNY, we had our own "reunion dinner". We filled the table with all the amazing dishes we could make with whatever resources we had and eat till our stomachs gave up.
Not forgetting the game that brought us together almost every night when we had nothing to do, Mahjong! Before going to Glasgow, I had no idea how to play with those labelled tiles whatsoever. But all the guys in our house learned how to play it by the time we left Glasgow. It was the muhibbah moment when Malay, Chinese and Indian play 3 player Mahjong on the same table. Awesome!
Before travelling to Glasgow, I have always wanted to experience snow since I have only scene them in movies. During my stay there, there was a period of heatwave during summer when I doubt that I would ever have the chance to see snow. After multiple predictions for snow by BBC, it finally happened in 5th December 2011 just before midnight. It was glorious to run out in shorts and slippers to throw snowballs at each other, to slide down slopes of snow with our makeshift sledge. I never knew snow was so fun at the start and yet dreaded for the next couple of days. Just the thought of walking on slippery "black ice" reminds me of how much I disliked walking during winter.
Of course the main reason for being in Glasgow was to get a degree. Those months were the toughest we have ever experienced in the whole university life. We had to settle into that new environment and jump across hurdles after hurdles that felt like they were never going to end. I believe the worst period was between February and May 2012. That was the time when assignments, assessments and the research project were like bombs waiting to explode one at a time. Then even after all that, there was the finals. I have no idea how I got through all that without catching a break.
After all that hard work and sleepless night, I have finally got what I went to pursue. Looking back at those times now overwhelms me with the sense of adventure in a way that I survived months of punishment and  managed to find refuge in the company of extraordinary friends. We made it!
Before I end this, I just want to emphasize the title
Oh
Magnificent
GLASGOW!
I am not going to forget those times I spent there. I really hope that I have a chance to return to this city once more... maybe in a distant future!

lalanandaFRY
1/6/2013

18 May, 2013

SS Botany Bay

I went to watch Star Trek Into Darkness on Wednesday and it got me thinking, where did the idea of peaceful exploration of space go? Star Trek movies through the past two decades were mostly a bunch of explosions and senseless action. I am not saying that action is not entertaining, I love the intense battles from First Contact, but the Star Trek I knew growing up was more about diplomacy and discovering new ways to solve difficult situations.
The title of this post is dedicated to the greatest Star Trek film and a big contender for my favourite film of all time,
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
I shall not spoil the movie for everyone who has not seen it, so all I can say is this movie brings balance to all that is great in Star Trek. The movie deals a lot with core human qualities including vengeance, sacrifice and fear while incorporating chilling battle sequences. It has many of Star Trek's most memorable moments including the infamous meme of Kirk screaming Khan's name out of anger.
Notice that little starship with the Enterprise? That is SS Botany Bay from the TOS episode Space Seed.
Star Trek II was released in 1982 with a significantly reduced budget compared to the first motion picture. Due to cost saving measures, the movie had to incorporate many effects from the first film while changing the tone and approach to be more like a space opera. It was written and directed by Nicholas Meyer as a sequel, not to the first movie, but to an episode from the TV series known as Space Seed. Although this movie holds itself very well as a stand alone film, it is always nice to watch the episode to see the events leading to the movie.
Space battles in the movie are fueled by tactics and counter tactics from the hero and the villain instead of just blasting a colourful light show and explosion sounds. Combining those battles with strong literature references from famous books like Moby Dick, King Lear and Paradise Lost is like a match made in heaven. So do not be deceived by the outdated visual effects and dull computer graphics from the trailer, the key to a movie is the story and it is where this movie excels. It was a successful film in a time when legendary films like Return of the Jedi, E.T. and Blade Runner were released. In a way, this movie saved the Star Trek franchise, which lived on for another 30 years and is still going strong till today.
Cumberbatch did an excellent job as the villain!
On a side note, I was super excited about the new Star Trek movie that I went to see it at the first screening at the local cinema, which somehow shows the movie on the 15th instead of the 16th. It was a fun movie to watch and had many scenes that referenced older Star Trek episodes and movies like the 2009 film (sometimes too much!). This is one movie that is difficult to review without spoilers, so I shall not spoil it anymore, enjoy the movie!

lalanandaFRY
18/5/2013

28 April, 2013

Closer To The Sky

Let me confess, I am not a hiker or climber. I have horrible stamina and I don't have any fancy equipment for hiking, not even a decent shoe. Despite being a noob, I have challenged myself again and again at 3-4 occasions to get a better view from a higher ground.

Disclaimer: To all hikers out there, don't be offended when I show my ridiculous footwear.

I remember my first climbing experience was when I went with a bunch of friends to Bukit Broga. It was a new experience for me to be holding a flash light with one hand and a tree branch with the other while the surrounding was pitch black. Every checkpoint we reached gave a sense of achievement I have yet to experience then.

We even had a crazy music video shoot at the third checkpoint where there were huge insects flying everywhere and some unusual rock formations. To get to the 4th and final checkpoint, we had to get up a path that was close to vertical with a conveniently placed rope. Then there was the thought, how do I get down from here?
video
I think the next time I climbed or hiked was at Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh. It hardly counts as a hike the path, with exception of the final stretch, were fairly gentle. It was new year's eve that time, it was freezing cold at 3-4°C and there was evidence of near gale winds for days all around Scotland. I started climbing the moment I arrived at Edinburgh from Glasgow, with minimal luggage. I did not feel any discomfort although I was wearing my worn out Fila shoes and one layer of windbreaker. The climb was very nice from the start till 3/4 of the journey, when strong wind was blowing against me and the temperature made me gasp for warm air like an asthmatic patient. I was lucky I chose the best time to climb because the sky was clear that day and the view was phenomenal.

Then after my finals, I went for a trip to Isle of Skye where there were tonnes of lovely places to hike. The guided tour brought me to a place called Bioda Buidhe, a hill around the north east portion of Skye. After watching so many documentaries about the natural wonders of Skye and seeing amazing sights like the Old Man of Storr, hiking up Bioda Buidhe was a dream come true. The air was fresher than anywhere I have been and the view was breathtaking. The hike was quite gentle also, though there some parts that were steeper. The biggest problem was avoiding sheep stool that may seem easy but they are everywhere.
Perhaps the most difficult climb I have ever experienced was at Bukit Tabur (Klang Gate). This limestone ridge along the corner of Kuala Lumpur also has one of the best panorama of the Klang Gate Dam as well as the city at certain points of the climb. My friend who lives around Taman Melawati guided us along the steep and slippery paths while telling us how dangerous the climb was. We did not actually reach the peak or some check point at the very top but I was personally satisfied with the view I captured with my camera. I think the hardest part of the climb was not going up but going back down. Climbing up had its own issues like getting hold of branches and balancing on narrow walkways. But the climb down goes with the flow of gravity and simple tasks like finding a safe and stable rock to lower our feet becomes much more important. It was much more tiring than other hikes but company of friends makes it much more rewarding.

Well climbing is always a lot of fun. I heard there is a nice jungle trekking area around Kuantan near Telok Cempedak. One day I'll give it a try...

lalanandaFRY
28/4/13