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Archive for June, 2008

Whether you’re a wannabe cowboy, a kung fu fan, or simply an animated-movie lover, you gonna love these two movies. So, read out! By the way, this is the first part of my notes on this year’s Sydney Film Festival, which was officially ended last weekend.

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>>Lucky Luke

Here’s a huge picture on a building’s wall in Belgium that is dedicated to Lucky Luke (taken from this website).

It’s been a very long time for me since the last time I enjoyed this cowboy’s story. And yes, it’s one of those movies from comic books, so I’ve only known Lucky Luke previously from some of the printed animated-stories.

This movie is officially titled Go West: A Lucky Luke Adventure, or Tous à l’Ouest: Une aventure de Lucky Luke (as the movie is in French). It is said that this is just one of a few official animation widescreen movies from the Lucky Luke comic series, while the last one was released many years ago.

Of course (at least for me), the movie is really interesting and very enjoyable. There are almost all the main characters of the story in this movie, including Lucky Luke, the charming cool cowboy who’s (who shoots) “quicker than his own shadow”, the smart horse Jolly Jumper, the dumb dog Rantanplan, and the eternal “enemies” of Lucky Luke, the Dalton brothers (Joe, Jack, William, and Averell).

This time, the story is about Lucky Luke’s journey to the West side of the USA, with a group of promised-new-land owners. And because it’s involving some other people, there are a lot of other characters of course in the story. For example, there’s this bad guy, the land seller Mr Crook with his assistant, the group’s old-guy who believes in “think positive”, a young female school teacher with her students, a big guy with bad language, a funeral company man, a couple of Chinese cook-men, entertainer girls, and so on.

Rather than just a peaceful journey, it’s a “colourful” one since the Daltons are there too, “stuck” in the group, while Mr Crook is also following and constantly trying to “sabotage” the trip. There are a few more scenes outside of the trip, which is when Lucky Luke and the Daltons still having their “usual business” in the modern New York, the starting point of the trip on the East part of America, and a bit further scenes when they arrived on the dream land in the “old and empty” California on the West.

>>Kung Fu Panda

An alternate poster of Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda.

As one of the most anticipated animation movies this year, Kung Fu Panda is truly interesting and funny. But of course it’s funny, considering Jack Black who plays Po, the panda character. And for me, this is also just another East-meet-West movie.

The Chinese martial arts, kung fu, and the panda character – along with the other characters – are obviously in an Eastern world setting, while the maker of this movie (Dreamworks) is definitely one of the Western icons. Or, it isn’t? Well, I’d consider another thing then: the name of Master Shifu, which if referring to the term of a martial arts’ master is supposed to be written as “shefu”, but can be pronounced easier in English as “shi-fu” (?).

Anyway, hey, cut it out – and don’t get too serious! What I should just say is that this is the first movie I saw in Sydney’s cinemas that was in full capacity – and with a lot of laughs. Firstly screened during the first week of Sydney’s Film Festival, the wannabe-kung fu-hero noodle-maker-panda movie had already listed “fully-booked” several days before. So yes, I didn’t get the chance to watch it at the first time. Not even when they added another screening session for it during the festival. But then I was still lucky, as a member of Greater Union’s Cinebuzz club, when within days later there was another special screening.

Nothing much to say more about the movie itself, as there are already heaps of review everywhere, but I especially like the panda character and of course some others who appear with him. And at least, there are two famous Asian actors play as major characters: Lucy Liu (as Viper the snake warrior) and Jackie Chan (as Monkey). There are also this Po’s father character, Mr Ping, played by James Hong, and of course Grand Master Oogway (by Randall Duk Kim), a wise old tortoise (turtle) who has quotes such as “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present”; and believes in expressions like “nothing is impossible” and “there’s nothing such as accident”.

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Now, in general, the festival itself of course didn’t only have these two movies in the animation category, but there were more. There were few strands that had it, including Kids’ Films, Short Cuts and others. An interesting black-and-white animation movie, Persepolis, was even became the main menu of the closing night gala. Then there’s this Yoram Gross Animation Award in the Australian short films’ Dendy Awards section, and also a three-part Machinima Festival Showcase program.

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The quarter final round of UEFA Euro 2008 is surely bringing more excitement to soccer enthusiasts or football-mania, with three legs so far already wrapped in some drama. And this is really what football is all about.

Firstly, opening the knock-out round, Germany convincingly defeated Portugal, one of the tournament favourites, with the final score was 3-2. As people might have been aware of, Portugal have showed impressive plays in the group stage although their “second level” team were surrendered to Switzerland on their last match there. On the other hand, Germany weren’t look too good, especially after the 1-2 defeat by Croatia on their second game, but finally managed to get through by a “light victory” (1-0) over Austria.

The second drama was when one of the previous perfect-point holders, Croatia, were beaten by a more and more impressive Turkey. Had a late goal in extra time that seemed to be their ticket to the semi-final, Croatia had to be disappointed when Turkey’s Semih Senturk scored a later equaliser goal, forcing both teams to end up the game with penalty shoot-out. And that was when the real drama happened. Turkey won by 3-1, thanks partly to the winning save by Rustu Recber the goalkeeper.

And just last night (or this morning in Sydney time), another drama happened. The Netherlands, as of another Euro 2008 favourite, which previously held the other perfect point record (3-0 over Italy, 4-1 over France and 2-0 over Romania), had to go home unexpectedly earlier after the Russian took care of them with 3-1. Previously, Russia themselves were not so impressive, particularly when they started their journey with 1-4 loss from Spain.

Now, there’s still one more game in this round, which is Spain versus Italy tonight (or early tomorrow morning in Sydney). Will Spain also become a proof of previously-impressive-teams inconsistency? Well, we’ll see about that. One thing for sure is that there’ll still be more dramas. Don’t you think so..? 😉

By the way, I’d like to share here as well, a blog around Euro 2008 made by Chris Paraskevas, a UTS Journalism student. It’s quite an interesting one with all the previews, coverage and analysis. And it is updated daily. Please, have a look (click the author’s name or just find it in “Other Links” on the right-side of the page). 🙂

The Turkey’s players celebrated their quarter final victory (picture courtesy of Euro2008.Com).

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This picture is an old view of Bon Jovi’s original line-up. From left: David Bryan, Alec John Such, Richie Sambora, Jon Bon Jovi, and Tico Torres (taken from a personal MySpace page).

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It was about a few weeks ago, while I was a bit bored and depressed with the whole study assignments, when I browsed and found these groups of Bon Jovi fans on Facebook. There are probably more of them, but these four – each with more than a thousand members – were what I finally joined in (just with an interest to get in touch): Bon Jovi, Admit it… Deep down inside you love Bon Jovi, Bon Jovi – Enough said!, Sexiest man alive – Jon Bon Jovi (you can’t view them unless you’re log in to FB).

Anyway, enough said indeed! There’s probably nothing left to say about the band, which during their 24-year existence had already produced 10 studio albums (and some extras) with more than 120 million have been sold all over the world. And yes, of course 100,000,000 Bon Jovi fans can’t be wrong! 😉

Currently, as you may see on their official website, they’re still on tour in Europe, including in Norway and Denmark (18-19 June), before continuing to the UK (21-28 June), and fly back to the US on July (with a stop in Ontario). On the site, you may also check a lot of things, including purchasing all of their songs in MP3 formats. Or you may join the official fans site if you like.


This is part of the actions when the band performed in Sydney, 22 Jan 2008, which I managed to come (but this picture belongs to Hariklia Stournaras from the FB fans group).

Well, what I’d like to share a bit more here is about the first moment when I heard the songs of Jon, Dave, Richie, Tico, and Alec (the bass player who left the band in 1994). And it was in 1988 during my first year in Junior High School, through a cassette of compilation songs (pop and ballads), when I firstly heard this song: I’ll Be There for You. It’s a love song alright, was newly released, and it wasn’t actually one of the popular songs of Bon Jovi, since previously they’ve had three albums with a couple of smash-hits like Runaway, You Give Love a Bad Name, Livin’ On A Prayer, or Wanted Dead or Alive.

And again, enough said… here’s a lyric of another good song that I like:

– Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night –

Hey, man.. I’m alive. I’m takin’ each day and night at a time. I’m feelin’ like a Monday but someday I’ll be Saturday night

Hey, my name is Jim, where did I go wrong. My life’s a bargain basement, all the good shits gone. I just can’t hold a job, where do I belong. I’m sleeping in my car, my dreams move on…

My name is Billy Jean, my love was bought and sold. I’m only sixteen, I feel a hundred years old. My foster daddy went, took my innocence away. The street life ain’t much better, but at least I get paid…

And Tuesday just might go my way; it can’t get worse than yesterday. Thursdays, Fridays ain’t been kind; but somehow I’ll survive…

Hey, man.. I’m alive. I’m takin’ each day and night at a time. Yeah I’m down, but I know I’ll get by.

Hey, hey, hey, hey, man.. I gotta live my life. Like I ain’t got nothin’ but this roll of the dice. I’m feelin’ like a Monday, but someday I’ll be Saturday night…

Now I can’t say my name, and tell you where I am. I want to roll myself away, don’t know if I can. I wish that I could be in some other time and place. With someone else’s soul, someone else’s face…

Oh, Tuesday just might go my way; it can’t get worse than yesterday. Thursdays, Fridays ain’t been kind; but somehow I’ll survive…

Hey, man.. I’m alive. I’m takin’ each day and night at a time. Yeah I’m down, but I know I’ll get by…

Hey, hey, hey, hey, man.. I gotta live my life. I’m gonna pick up all the pieces and what’s left of my pride. I’m feelin’ like a Monday, but someday I’ll be Saturday night…

Saturday night… here we go..

Someday I’ll be Saturday night. I’ll be back on my feet, I’ll be doin’ alright… It may not be tomorrow baby, that’s OK. I ain’t goin’ down, gonna find a way.. hey, hey..

Hey, man.. I’m alive. I’m takin’ each day and night at a time. Yeah I’m down, but I know I’ll get by..

Hey, hey, hey, hey, man.. I gotta live my life. Like I ain’t got nothin’ but this roll of the dice. I’m feelin’ like a Monday, but someday I’ll be Saturday night… I’m feelin’ like a Monday, but someday I’ll be Saturday night..

Saturday night… all right.. all right.. Saturday night.


Picture courtesy of Bonjovi.Com.

Have memories with Bon Jovi or their songs too? Or have any other comment? Like? Dislike? Why don’t just share it here then..? 🙂

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A few days ago, or Monday night to be precise, just about when I was preparing to attend one of the Sydney Film Festival’s screening, a message appeared on my cell phone’s screen. It was from my father back there in Indonesia. He asked a short question: “Hey, did you watch Euro’s match last night?”

And suddenly, I was paused for a moment, and thinking: “Oh, God! How can I forget? It’s Euro 2008 final tournament already!”

Yeah, you’re absolutely right! This is about the famous European football (soccer) tournament, or what is formally named UEFA Euro 2008. It’s now being held in Austria and Switzerland, in eight cities, involving 16 final round teams. Even though it’s basically an ‘European thing’, don’t forget, it’s the second biggest sports tournament on planet earth, after the FIFA World Cup. Similar to the World Cup, it’s organised every four years, while both tournaments only separated by two years.

And you know what? In Indonesia, regardless our national team are participating or not, or even whether we’re having a bad or a promising year on our national football scheme, people are always crazy about both tournaments. Yeah, we’re probably one of the biggest football-fans nations in the world. I don’t know now, but usually in the past, sometimes when these tournaments came, some minor ‘negative effects’ might come along as well, such as productivity decrease, domestic/relationship problems, occasional gambling, etc.

But again, you know what? I may say we don’t really care about those. 😀 Besides that they’re just minor cases, there were also things that can be regarded as positive impacts too. One of them is this ‘unique passion’, which is arguably considered as some kind of good distraction for our people, especially those who’s having hard times in the low-level economy life.

Anyway, back to the real topic, the reply I sent to my father that day basically was: “Well, I actually forgot it. But it’s mainly because people or the media here are not the same as us on this, since soccer is not very popular here. Also, I’m not sure if there’s even live match on TV. So, no, I didn’t watch last night’s game, Dad. Too bad. But I’m gonna check it out tonight.”

So then, I checked it out and pulled back my big interest towards this tournament. And I was so glad that Tuesday night, because SBS was actually broadcasting the match of Group D’s Spain v Russia. And of course, I really enjoyed the thrill of watching the action of the Matador’s young guns – especially David Villa with his hat-trick – which finally defeated the Russians with 4-1.

I don’t know if this question would be relevant, but is that means Espana is my favourite in this tournament? Well, indeed, they’re one of the strong teams, along with Portugal, the Netherlands and so on, but the clue to my favourite was my father’s initial question. 😉

Umm… let me just make it simple to avoid confusion here: it’s the Germany (from Group B). To be exact, they’ve been my favourite team since over a decade ago in every Euro tournament (but it’s a different case in the World Cup though). Too bad, after the first great win, on the second game last night they were defeated by Croatia who consequently became the 2nd team that has officially secured its second phase place following Portugal (of Group A). But they surely still have big chance. So, I’d still say: “Go! Go, panzer!” 😀

Anyway, for those who’s interested, the tournament’s info can be easily found almost everywhere on the net right now. But most useful and interesting information – including match schedules, standings, reports and every other thing – can be found on the official website. And the following are just part of the interesting info on one of their fact sheets, which can be viewed completely on this link:

  • Some 8 billion viewers in all followed UEFA Euro 2004 on TV, a figure that is sure to be exceeded during UEFA Euro 2008.
  • The operational budget for UEFA Euro 2008 amounts to EUR 234m (CHF 386m).
  • 21,400 rooms in 408 hotels (220 in Austria, 188 in Switzerland) have been booked for the different target groups, making a total of 139,300 overnights.
  • 5,000 volunteers are supporting the Euro 2008 SA staff during the tournament. Each of the two main host cities, Vienna and Basle, requires 1,000 volunteers, while 500 are needed in each of the other six cities.
  • 4,500 extra trains will be in use during UEFA Euro 2008; 2,000 in Austria and 2,500 in Switzerland.
  • By June 2008, Euro 2008 SA had a staff of 450.
  • 100km of cabling has been installed for host broadcast operations.
  • For the host broadcasting operations, 21 correspondents and 16 ENG crews will be stationed with the 16 teams and produce live reports and video interviews direct from the stadiums and training grounds.
  • 30 cameras are covering the matches, including one helicopter.

(Note: Pictures courtesy of the UEFA EURO 2008 website)

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Just another story of my days – or you may just call it an “announcement”. 🙂

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And so, in case people don’t’ know, besides the ‘obligation’ of being a journalist and a student of UTS Journalism, I really like to write. I like it even though I’m not very good at it (especially in English). One of the consequences then is, whenever I have the chance to take part on writing job or a competition for example, I would be interested to try.

And that last one was what happened a few weeks ago, when I was still right in the middle of several assignments. I entered two interesting competitions, which required just some samples of short writings, with of course a hope to win. However, no luck for me, I didn’t get selected.

Well, of course “luck” was not the main thing here. Actually, what I wrote were not good enough (yeah, that’s the problem). It’s a bit shameful though, because for the World Nomads Travel Scholarship for example, one of my friends already knew that I participated. 😀 Yet, the winner (Susannah Palk) and the three runner-ups (Lynette Willoughby, Mark Bailey and Emily Sim) are truly really good. Have a look, check their story entries here.

The second one, with just about one-paragraph of writing entry, was the SMH call for their “unofficial reviewers” of the Sydney Film Festival. And finally, here are the five chosen reviewers: Lee Winters, Veronica Holmes, Sneha Balakrishnan, Emma Rugg and Sevana Ohandjanian (the last two are UTS Journalism students). So far, they’ve been working great. You may check their interesting pieces of work here.

Another “no luck” thing I discovered just a few days ago is on my story for one of the UTS Journalism publications, the Precinct. Published in a new format, the current issue of this magazine has a range of interesting news and articles, mainly from around Sydney. However, the story I did – about an exhibition called “Dockside” at the NSW State Library – was probably not interesting or important enough to be included in this edition of Precinct, or maybe it was just lack in quality.

Well, hey, I still gotta cheer up, you know! 😀 Because luckily, there is one small thing I managed to get recently, in term of “competition”: winning the Rolling Stone’s trivia quiz. And the prize is a Cloverfield DVD (though I’m still wondering, why doesn’t it come yet?).

Finally, still like to talk about my writing, for those who might also have an interest on some easy journalism topics, I’d love to share here a couple of my blog entries, which I completed as a requirement for one of the class this semester. This task is quite interesting for me, as we may talk broadly about anything in relation to newspapers editing, designing and publishing. Here’s the link for the PDF file of those blog notes I made.

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Well, it’s been a while. It’s hard to get time to write here, huh? Or is it just me who’s being lazy? 😀

Anyway, what I’d really like to say is that it’s been over two week after the Sydney Writers’ Festival (SWF) 2008 was officially closed. And I’ve been eager to write just a little something [at least a few lines] about it during the previous weeks. So, here’s what I have in mind [maybe a bit more than a few lines :D].

Note: Showing Judith Lucy in action (standing), this picture is one of some interesting sessions at the SWF, taken from the festival website with the photographer Prudence Upton.

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This is probably not such of festival that cheerful or fun-loving people would prioritise to attend. Yet, there were a lot of visitors there in this year’s SWF. At least, the atmosphere at the festival’s main venue, the Walsh Bay precinct, showed it. And as the festival-goers have already aware of, there were a lot more sessions were held at some other venues, whether it was still around Sydney metro or went across to the other regions of NSW.

It is said that one of the improvements for this year’s SWF was the addition of a few more locations for the sessions. By adding the Pier 2/3 of Walsh Bay to the list of venues, one organiser staff said that it has made the event more flexible, and relaxing or more convenient to be enjoyed by people. Well, what I also saw was a good management of the venues has become one of the reasons for its success.

At the beautiful Walsh Bay precinct alone, at least there were one or two sessions a day that was over-capacity. Maybe it’s easy to understand it if they were all just free events, but the fact is some of the ticketed events were even already fully-booked several days before they commenced. Imagine that for a non-music or non-food-related festival.

And not as what non-book-lovers or people who just don’t know about the festival would possibly think, the attendees were not all old person. Lots of them were young people, even teenage. And yeah, they were kids too. Well, at least for the festival’s precinct, it’s such a nice place for the whole family indeed. Beautiful views, with one of the Sydney’s landmarks just on a near distance of your sight.

The queues are another way to say how interesting this festival was for a lot of people. At least on the time when I was there, at the Sydney Dance Company venues, queues were almost all over the place. A few queues were even longer than half the building’s side. And guess what? In a queue like that, you couldn’t be sure enough you’ll get in, even when you almost reached the room’s door.

Seriously, this note is not just some sort of praise for the festival. After all, what would I get from such praise, anyway? No, that’s not it. And of course, like many other events, this festival surely has problems and negative notes too. For instance, I heard about some issues brought up during the festival, whether it was management issues or even a big literacy issue. For a complete report on all about it, the UTS Journalism’s Festival News can be a reference.

So then, what I was up to there? Well, basically I was up to any kind of event, but probably more into some discussion sessions. Unfortunately, I was only able to be there in the afternoon within two non-consecutive days, Thursday and Saturday. And it’s become more unfortunate for me, since I only attended two sessions. Here’s some story for that…

The first for me was a session called “Writing for Young Adults”. It was a panel discussion involving three interesting novel authors, Doug MacLeod, Michael Gerard Bauer and Matt Costello, facilitated by John Meredith, an actor.

And then, following the above session, I intended to attend another interesting free discussion with an author, titled “Princesses and Pornstars”. It’s a famous female author, Emily Maguire, who in that afternoon talked to Anne Summers about what has happened to women’s rights recently. But I was unlucky, and had to face my first disappointment as an “over-capacity-venue victim”.

Emily surely has a lot of fans, which I then decided to attend her other session when I came by again two days later. A session with a similar name to her previous one, Pornstars, Princesses and Lost Boys, only that this time it was involving a male author, Sam de Brito.

But I had to join the long queue this time, even when at first I was convinced I’ll get in because I stood at a position under the count of a hundred. Yet, there was still no luck there, which finally made me and the rest of the “queueing gang” have to be please enough to listen to the discussion broadcast through a speaker outside of the building. There was another session presenting Emily on Sunday, the next day, but I wasn’t able to be nearby the festival venues at all.

So then, what was the other session that I managed to go to? It’s a launch of a short stories compilation book called the “Growing up Asian in Australia”. And it was also an interesting event, especially for me, knowing that there are so many young Asian writers around.

Below is one of the pictures I took there, showing when Alice Pung the editor –and a Melbourne-based lawyer– had a signature-request session at the end of the launching, accompanied by the lady from Black Inc. the publisher.

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(Next: the Sydney Film festival – and I already saw two of the movies at the moment)

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