Sam Marks Books – If Cats Disappeared From The World Review

Sam Marks Books (but not with an actual pen)

Then I realized what I needed to do in the time left to me. I needed to write you a letter. I needed to write about all the things I’d never told you these past years.

Another quaint little book, another book with a picture of a cat on the cover.

Perhaps this is a trend of mine, although I fear I may run out of relevant material all too soon, short of reading children’s books and lolcats albums.

That makes me think of another trend – the growing pet trend, at least in many parts of Asia. Especially exotic pets.

Is an increase in pet ownership a sign that a community is maturing or growing in wealth? Or quite the opposite? Pets present a lot less complications than human offspring, and maybe cost a little less (even if just from a shelf life comparison). Also pets appear to be less problematic, less anxiety and stress inducing, a modern solution to a modern problem – companionship and loneliness in the 21st century.

As Homer put simply: “The sooner kids talk, the sooner they talk back.”

Therein lies part of the beauty of pets, I suppose. As much as we draw comics and write books and make movies about talking animals, I’m fairly certain if they could it would ruin it for a lot of us. Unless all they did was baby talk all day long. That would definitely ruin it for some of us.

If Cats Disappeared From The World is an intriguing book, to say the least. It is actually not all about cats disappearing from existence, not a methodical what-if breakdown of the break down of ecosystems and world orders should the feline family one day fly off the face of the earth.

This quaint little novel is about relationships – not just relations between humans and animals, but also between humans and everyday objects and the meaning we derive from abstract concepts and our own mortality.

The book follows a young male protagonist who works as a postman, with no great aspirations and no major achievements and no latent superpowers stashed away in his bloodline that only activates when the moon is full. He lives alone and owns a cat. Keeps to himself for the most part. As common a person as can be. Highly relatable, I’m sure.

And the protagonist finds out he only has an extremely short time left to live.

Don’t worry, that isn’t a spoiler – it’s in the introduction.

If you were in the protagonist’s shoes, what would you do?

Write up a bucket list? Make amends with all those you felt you’ve wronged? Party like there is literally no tomorrow?

Well, what if there was a way you could extend your life?

But of course, there is a cost.

What would you sacrifice in order to extend your own life?

In a humourous and mostly light-hearted journey of discovery and enlightenment, the protagonist (it’s not that I don’t remember your name, bruh, but you were narrating in the first person the whole time) rekindles old passions and explores old places and memories from his rather limited sphere of influence and truncated lifespan.

And I mean limited. Let’s go through the cast, shall we?

  1. His imaginary friend, Aloha
  2. His cat, Cabbage
    Oh boy, we’re off to a superb start!
  3. His ex-girlfriend
  4. His somewhat less imaginary friend, Tsutaya
  5. His parents

This is also in order of interaction levels. And his parents only appear in flashbacks, so technically zero interaction there.

Yes, that’s right – the protagonist is a postman with a powerful pseudo-pal and a pet and not much else. He’s pretty much Nobita with a more useless version of Doraemon, in other words an actual cat with no pockets. It would be easy to pity him.

Nobita and Hiron : Welcome to the Cat Kingdom by ...
Yes…let’s not talk, shall we?

He is Walter Mitty but without any rad skateboarding skills or a remotely interesting vocation (you have to admit Mr. Mitty actually had a really unique job). Mind you, I’m not saying being a postman is dull or useless, but this character shows no passion for anything he does. It’s more than mildly frustrating.

And yet somehow the thoughts and memories that his brief journey manages to evoke hit close to home. As unrelatable of a character as he is, his awakening and his experiences upon learning he has little time to live draw out a rich tapestry of emotions and primal yearning that you can’t help but feel that tug, that little tug inside.

He unearths old hobbies and old flames (well, I use plural but they’re all singular) – he visits an old friend and his ex. Yes, he voluntarily goes to meet her in person. That’s always a roller coaster ride. Brave move though.

Brave as it may be, his interactions with fellow human beings end up being rather awkward and ungainly. He talks more naturally with his vanishing friend Aloha and of course his trusty pet cat, Cabbage. An amazing pet name, I might add. Their previous cat was named Lettuce.

And despite that, by the end of it all, you end up feeling a sense of camaraderie and admiration for the protagonist for the courageous decisions and choices he has made in the face of his frailty and impending demise.

If a book can provoke deep, meaningful thoughts, then I’d say it’s a profound book. If a book can make you feel real feelings, then I’d say it’s a well written book. If it can do both, then I’d say it’s a pretty darn decent book.

If Cats Disappeared From The World does both those things, and a little more. Although it may be somewhat soppy or a little preachy at times, there doesn’t appear to be too much lost in translation. My hat goes off to whoever translated this little chronicle – the wry humour still shines through.

It’s not a romance novel, but it’s a love story.

A story of love between a boy and the diminutive one-dimensional world that he lives in. A story of time squandered, communication breakdowns, and of love lost. Love for things both big and small, but mostly small. Still, love strong enough to sacrifice for.

So I guess in the end, it doesn’t matter how far or wide or deeply you loved. It doesn’t matter if you loved and lost, or got lost in love, or if your life is full of regrets. As long as you know that you loved and were loved in return, you have something special – a connection with another living being.

Knowing that you have experienced love and are capable of loving – that makes it worth all the while. And if you still have time left, while you still have breath, keep on loving.

As you go on with your life, always remember the things that are good in you. They’re your gifts. As long as you have these things, you’ll find happiness, and you’ll make the people around you happy…I hope you always keep hold of these things that are so beautiful about you.

Sam Marks Books is a book review and merely expresses the opinions of the author. It does not lay claim to any intellectual property of If Cats Disappeared From The World. All rights of the novel belong to the author.

Ok thanks bye.

If Cats Disappeared From The World

Then I realized what I needed to do in the time left to me. I needed to write you a letter. I needed to write about all the things I’d never told you these past years.

Another quaint little book, another book with a picture of a cat on the cover.

If Cats Disappeared From The World – Review – Bright Star ...

Perhaps this is a trend of mine, although I fear I may run out of relevant material all too soon, short of reading children’s books and lolcats albums.

That makes me think of another trend – the growing pet trend, at least in many parts of Asia. Especially exotic pets.

Is an increase in pet ownership a sign that a community is maturing or growing in wealth? Or quite the opposite? Pets present a lot less complications than human offspring, and maybe cost a little less (even if just from a shelf life comparison). Also pets appear to be less problematic, less anxiety and stress inducing, a modern solution to a modern problem – companionship and loneliness in the 21st century.

As Homer put simply: “The sooner kids talk, the sooner they talk back.”

Therein lies part of the beauty of pets, I suppose. As much as we draw comics and write books and make movies about talking animals, I’m fairly certain if they could it would ruin it for a lot of us. Unless all they did was baby talk all day long. That would definitely ruin it for some of us.

If Cats Disappeared From The World is an intriguing book, to say the least. It is actually not all about cats disappearing from existence, not a methodical what-if breakdown of the break down of ecosystems and world orders should the feline family one day fly off the face of the earth.

This quaint little novel is about relationships – not just relations between humans and animals, but also between humans and everyday objects and the meaning we derive from abstract concepts and our own mortality.

The book follows a young male protagonist who works as a postman, with no great aspirations and no major achievements and no latent superpowers stashed away in his bloodline that only activates when the moon is full. He lives alone and owns a cat. Keeps to himself for the most part. As common a person as can be. Highly relatable, I’m sure.

And the protagonist finds out he only has an extremely short time left to live.

Don’t worry, that isn’t a spoiler – it’s in the introduction.

If you were in the protagonist’s shoes, what would you do?

Write up a bucket list? Make amends with all those you felt you’ve wronged? Party like there is literally no tomorrow?

Well, what if there was a way you could extend your life?

But of course, there is a cost.

What would you sacrifice in order to extend your own life?

In a humourous and mostly light-hearted journey of discovery and enlightenment, the protagonist (it’s not that I don’t remember your name, bruh, but you were narrating in the first person the whole time) rekindles old passions and explores old places and memories from his rather limited sphere of influence and truncated lifespan.

And I mean limited. Let’s go through the cast, shall we?

  1. His imaginary friend, Aloha
  2. His cat, Cabbage
    Oh boy, we’re off to a superb start!
  3. His ex-girlfriend
  4. His somewhat less imaginary friend, Tsutaya
  5. His parents

This is also in order of interaction levels. And his parents only appear in flashbacks, so technically zero interaction there.

Yes, that’s right – the protagonist is a postman with a powerful pseudo-pal and a pet and not much else. He’s pretty much Nobita with a more useless version of Doraemon, in other words an actual cat with no pockets. It would be easy to pity him.

Nobita and Hiron : Welcome to the Cat Kingdom by ...
Yes…let’s not talk, shall we?

He is Walter Mitty but without any rad skateboarding skills or a remotely interesting vocation (you have to admit Mr. Mitty actually had a really unique job). Mind you, I’m not saying being a postman is dull or useless, but this character shows no passion for anything he does. It’s more than mildly frustrating.

And yet somehow the thoughts and memories that his brief journey manages to evoke hit close to home. As unrelatable of a character as he is, his awakening and his experiences upon learning he has little time to live draw out a rich tapestry of emotions and primal yearning that you can’t help but feel that tug, that little tug inside.

He unearths old hobbies and old flames (well, I use plural but they’re all singular) – he visits an old friend and his ex. Yes, he voluntarily goes to meet her in person. That’s always a roller coaster ride. Brave move though.

Brave as it may be, his interactions with fellow human beings end up being rather awkward and ungainly. He talks more naturally with his vanishing friend Aloha and of course his trusty pet cat, Cabbage. An amazing pet name, I might add. Their previous cat was named Lettuce.

And despite that, by the end of it all, you end up feeling a sense of camaraderie and admiration for the protagonist for the courageous decisions and choices he has made in the face of his frailty and impending demise.

If a book can provoke deep, meaningful thoughts, then I’d say it’s a profound book. If a book can make you feel real feelings, then I’d say it’s a well written book. If it can do both, then I’d say it’s a pretty darn decent book.

If Cats Disappeared From The World does both those things, and a little more. Although it may be somewhat soppy or a little preachy at times, there doesn’t appear to be too much lost in translation. My hat goes off to whoever translated this little chronicle – the wry humour still shines through.

It’s not a romance novel, but it’s a love story.

A story of love between a boy and the diminutive one-dimensional world that he lives in. A story of time squandered, communication breakdowns, and of love lost. Love for things both big and small, but mostly small. Still, love strong enough to sacrifice for.

So I guess in the end, it doesn’t matter how far or wide or deeply you loved. It doesn’t matter if you loved and lost, or got lost in love, or if your life is full of regrets. As long as you know that you loved and were loved in return, you have something special – a connection with another living being.

Knowing that you have experienced love and are capable of loving – that makes it worth all the while. And if you still have time left, while you still have breath, keep on loving.

As you go on with your life, always remember the things that are good in you. They’re your gifts. As long as you have these things, you’ll find happiness, and you’ll make the people around you happy…I hope you always keep hold of these things that are so beautiful about you.

All This Because of a Cat: A Book Review

The Travelling Cat Chronicles | Shopee Malaysia

It’s been a while since I read a book from cover to cover, and I have to admit this one kept me hooked to the pages, always wanting more, even at the very end.

Considering that it is but a simple tale of an equanimous and plucky puss with his master, you would scoff at how riveted I was to this story. I must confess everything about this book resonated deeply with me, being a cat lover myself. Yes, I said it – I’m an ailurophile.

It’s not that I dislike dogs and other popular pet animals; it’s just that cats and me, we just tend to be on the same wavelength. Oh, and cats are simply super adorable, so that helps.

But back to the book at hand.

When I use the word simple, I mean it in the purest and most literal sense – the translated writing is an unassuming, uncomplicated prose that draws the reader in and takes us on a road trip through a magical land.

Except there is no magic involved, at least not the high fantasy, otherworldly and vividly colourful type magic. But the story definitely binds you with a spell.

In gentle words and soft treads belonging to a cat lover, Ms. Arikawa navigates the idyllic cities and countrysides of Japan through the eyes of the protagonist – a stray cat named Nana.

Yes, you read that correctly. The cat is a male. Named Nana. Yes, like what you would call your granny. Maybe you should go call her now, it’s been a while.

The Travelling Cat Chronicles starts off like any other romance novel – cat meets boy, boy likes cat, love ensues, and they lived happily ever after, dancing away into the sunset. Don’t worry, no spoiler alert necessary, I’m being a little facetious here in case you didn’t notice. But I’m not pulling your leg when I say this is a love story. A simple love story between a cat and a man, and their travels around the world.

The calm pace of the story, the tranquil descriptions of the world they occupy, the interaction of humans and pets and nature – and there is hint of something more. Surely there must be something underneath it all?

I must say though, Nana’s owner, Mr. Satoru, is clearly one of those guys that only exist in fiction, those too-good-to-be-true, heart-of-pure-gold type characters. Calm and conscientious, providing pure, unadulterated love and care for his one and only cat. Sure, he does show hint of a tiny flaw here and there, but really the truly relatable character is the cat.

And I must say, the author really pinned a cat’s thoughts and behaviour down to a hair! Everything Nana says (or at least thinks or expresses in cat language) and does is precisely something an actual cat would do, with motives not altogether far-fetched from an actual feisty feline.

Nana is the entertainer, the comic relief, the one who says what he thinks and does what he wants. The snake, the charmer, the genie – all in one. His wish is his command.

Now although I use words like ‘simple’ and ‘tranquil’ and ‘discombobulate’, this story is by no means without heart and emotion. All the characters are grounded and face real-world problems with believable backstories. All have suffered in some way, such that it would be impossible for readers not to relate to the characters on some level. And when you think everything is hunky-dory, the peaceful plot bats you off the ledge with a left hook you thought you saw coming but it’s too late you’re sobbing through your black eye and now you realise you want a cat so bad.

I’m kidding – it’s certainly not a heavy book, no War and Peace, no Grapes of Wrath, and definitely no crying involved. At least not by the reader.

All this because of a cat.

To say I was deeply touched by this book would be like saying Disney made some nice cartoons. I went into it thinking it would be a mildly droll tale, and then bam! Curiosity killed the cat. Not literally, of course. No animals, fictional or otherwise, were harmed in the making of this review. And the original story. I think. Oh wait, there was that accident.

This book didn’t just make me reminisce my cat or dream about travelling to Japan, it made me marvel at how our sweetest little companions can bring people together, can make worlds collide or come crashing down, and how sad it would be for someone to have never known the pure, unconditional love that an animal can give.

I daresay this love story could rival any of those top romance dramas out there, as the love a human has for their pet can rival and outshine the love one feels for another human being.

Perhaps I’m being melodramatic, or perhaps you simply haven’t known the true extent and depth with which a human can love and bond and care for his or her soul animal, loyal companion and unwavering friend, and how said animal can return that love.

But animals cannot possibly fathom the depth or intricacies of love that we humans experience, you might say.

I know not what deep or profound love it is you speak of, except that of two souls travelling together through life in harmony, caring for each other despite their differences. A simple bond, a simple love. What more do you want? What more do you need?

Cats recite the poetry of nature, dogs sing the songs of the earth and sky, and do I sound like furry now or what?

You know, I’ve never been certain what this whole furry movement is about, but I damn sure ain’t talking about that kind of animal love, mmkay?

All this because of a cat.

Anyway, kudos if you got this far. My review has almost turned into a bit of tale itself. If you like pets and animals, go read the book. If you don’t, then…go read the book and you might find you’re missing out on something.

Those eyes.

BM Charity Ride IV Event Review

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

In the stalwart stadium of MPSP in Bukit Mertajam, hundreds of riders gathered to take on the BM Charity Ride version 4.0 at the crack of dawn. BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

The stadium is always a popular spot for events in Bukit Mertajam. It’s a popular venue with the regular runners in the area, and there’s an Olympic sized swimming pool around the back. There’s also plenty of parking in the vicinity!

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

Uh…no, this isn’t the swimming pool.

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

The actual parking lot of the stadium is always converted into an exhibition and staging zone, with canopies, chairs and food trucks lining the boulevards.

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei CyclingBM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

The BM Charity Ride is one of the only cycling events in Malaysia that I know that gives long sleeved bike jerseys with a zippered pocket on the back.

But I digress. The ride itself was well coordinated – the major junctions were well guarded, although the overall police force was still a little thin.

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

The police worked very closely with the traffic marshalls to keep riders in line. There was a lot of whistling. At least I assumed it was from the marshalls.

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

There was sufficient signage, pointing out directions for riders as well as a few warning signs of impending doom.

There were a few fun climbs of significant elevation, but fortunately the climbs were short-lived and were mostly rolling hills, providing quick relief to fatigued riders.

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

The midway water station was very well manned and stocked, with plenty of bananas and bottled water to go round twice!

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

Riders were well taken care of, not just by the volunteers handing out goodies, but by the overwhelming number of media personnel – there were photographers and videographers and drones coming out our ears!

Pretty sure there were at least three DJI drones hovering at the starting point.

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

The route was quite pleasant, with a good view of the hills and palm plantations around BM.

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei CyclingBM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

It also took us through the old town of BM, ending up with a nice loop of 48 kilometres.

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling
Very colour coordinated marshall

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

After the ride, there was lots of activities to keep participants occupied. Of course, the ever important food and drink!

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

It got hot fast today, so a lot of riders left without much ado. However, the ones that stayed got to try out e-bikes and sample tea and ice cream.

Also, there were lots of goodies for all the school children from the many (over 13) schools in the local region that the BM Charity Ride made contributions to. Always heart warming to see such support for our local schools. Or maybe it was just the heat from the scorching tropical morning sun.

BM Charity Ride Penang Howei Cycling

Overall, a nicely organised ride with emphasis on safety and being family friendly. The speeches were short, the riders were rambunctious, the weather was wonderful. The downside is the pockets on the jerseys weren’t fully attached to the jerseys, resulting in many droopy pouches popping out people’s backs.

Tour de SPS 2018 Event Review

Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang

The Tour de SPS ride by the Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) concluded this 28th of October 2018, so here’s the event review!

Flag off was at 7:30am, and it was pretty punctual. Riders were funneled around the main police department building (IPD SPS), and the road around the block was a two-lane street, but it felt like a single.

Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang

Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang

Weather was top notch, with hardly any sun and a strong cloud cover. Nice and cool almost the entire ride, with a light breeze to waft our spirits.

Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang

The route was largely flat, with brief elevations over bridges. There were a couple of steep climbs towards the end of the ride, but apart from that they stuck very much to their 56km intended route.

Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang

There were two major checkpoints and water stations, with bananas and apples to supplement the water and 100Plus. Bananas depleted quickly at the first water station, but there was still plenty of stuff to go around.

Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang

Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang

Traffic control and marshall support was superb, with two officers at every major junction. To be fair, this event was run by the police, so you would expect them to hold nothing back.

Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang

Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang

The ride was open to all ages, and it was encouraging to see a large influx of junior and female riders.

Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang

Insert random artsy bike shot:

Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang

Alright, that’s enough bike photos. Back to the Tour de SPS!

Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang

The route took us through many nice forested areas and green paddy fields, over quiet mountains and around the Nibong Tebal rural district. A pleasant route with decent road conditions.

Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang

And for the post-event, there was a medal and solid food:

Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang

It was a little spicy, but rice and chicken! Usually would just expect some pickled veggies, or bread.

Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang

There were over a hundred lucky draw prizes, from hampers to bike helmets to a motorbike!

Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang

Perhaps one thing to do might be to put up some bike parking, as the entire courtyard became a bike dozing zone.

Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang

There was a Milo truck handing out drinks, as well as ample water and 100Plus. There was a truckload of bananas and bread to boot.

Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang Tour de SPS Cycling Police Ride Penang

The lucky draw went by very quickly (largely due to the overcast skies and threat of rain) and was most efficient! The emcee did a great job keeping everyone entertained, and the general feeling was that was satisfaction.

Overall, a great ride event that kept participants around until the end of the event, which is relatively rare for cycling events these days. Safety and support were of a high standard, and everything worked out smoothly.

Keep up the good work, PDRM! Look forward to the Penang Bridge Night Ride (even though it starts in the middle of the night).

Blade Runner 2049 Wildest Review Ever

blade runner 2049 harrison ford

Blade Runner 2049 Review Time

I hope you enjoyed the movie, because everybody dies!

Oh wait…was I supposed to say spoilers alert first?

I’m just messing with you – they’re Replicants; they never die. They just…retire.

Now it just occurred to me that a large part of the premise of Rockman X (Megaman X, for those reading at home) is very much based on the concepts from the Blade Runner universe.

Let’s run through some similarities (glaring as they may be), shall we?

blade runner maverick hunter
They’re like, totally identical, man!

It’s make-a-list time!

So Blade Runner and Megaman X are similar in that they:

  • Both have lots of guns. Pew pew! (Egads! The violence!)
  • Are set in dystopian futures (and not too distant, mind you)
  • Both involve artificial humanoids or very closely human-like robots – Blade Runner calls their artificial humanoids Replicants, Megaman calls them Reploids. Both are capable of human thought and emotion; both are stronger in most physical regards compared to weak, fragile humans
  • Both have stories centred around those who seek out and destroy rogue Replicants and/or Reploids
  • Both involve lots of flying and jumping around in futuristic craft
    Megaman X Ride Chaser Speeder
  • Both have mad geniuses that engineer countless artificial beings and then sic them on each other
  • Both have amazing futuristic visuals and graphics
    Megaman X City Waste
  • Both have protagonists that have yet to be subjected to a Turing or Voight-Kampff test
  • Both have nerdy fanboy followings (and surprising mainstream ones too)

Well, that list kind of fizzled, but you see my point.

Wait, what point?

The point that I played nerdy computer games! Ya happy?

On To The Review

Now that I got that out of the way, Blade Runner 2049 is a strikingly vivid cinematographic orgasm of moist grim dark.

It’s literally raining all the time, and although I didn’t see any flaming smokestacks this time, it has that same dirty, polluted, overcrowded vibe with gaudy neon banners getting all in your face.

Ryan Gosling plays a sullen, straight-shooting, soft-spoken Blade Runner that suits his style of acting. I mean, for crying out loud – I’m sure the guy has range, so why do you keep giving him these roles!? And why do you keep taking them, Ryan? Why?

It’s like I’m watching Drive all over again.

Long pans of cityscape; cruising in sleek rides all over town; sudden outbursts of action and gratuitous violence (but also quite gratifying).

Hey, let’s make a list to comp-ok fine, let’s not.

Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy watching an expressionless robot speed around with acid rain streaking horizontally across the glass, and get mind raped a few times over. But replicants are supposed to have some proper emotion, man!

The dude didn’t even cry when that really, really sad thing happened!

He just sat there and stared.

It’s like I’m watching Drive all over again.

Whining aside, I honestly did enjoy this installment of the Blade Runner franchise and I agree it did justice to the original.

Some people may have found it rather draggy and slow, but I felt the pacing was in a way homage to the classic style of movies. It also gives good breathing room to the audience in between all that story and action.

And all the settings have such character!

blade-runner-wallace-corp-indoor-setting

Very artfully done locations and picturesque places, albeit intentionally stale and depressing.

blade-runner-wallace-corp-indoor-setting

And the music! Oh, Hans Zimmer I knew thy touch upon each dissonant shred of thine unique brand of high. The music is simply mesmerising and combines so well with many of the quieter moments in the film.

All in all, Blade Runner 2049 is one of those movies where you should not go in expecting to see a whole lot of whiz bang action and nonstop firefights. It’s one of those films where the people that made it want you as the viewer to appreciate this magical, futuristic universe that they’ve concocted; to bask and linger in the strange yet uncannily familiar sights and sounds.

All you need to do and stay awhile and listen.

Does it hold up to the original? Only time will tell.

But it’s definitely worth the watch (but be warned it’s almost 3 hours long).

 

The Best Board Game Shop in Penang

Best Board Game Shop RNG Games Penang SamShee
Welcome to the biggest and best board game shop in Penang – RNG Games! Best Board Game Shop Penang SamShee Best Board Game Shop Penang SamShee

Nestled among classy eateries and health clinics at Vantage, that commercial area out of the front of Straits Quay, RNG Games is a roomy and casual hobby store that caters to a wide variety of gamers and enthusiasts.

There is no admission fee, and you can come in and play for FREE! How cool is that?

RNG Games has an expansive collection of the latest board games, card games and collectibles. There are lots of board games that are open and available for anyone to pick up and play.

Magic: The Gathering is also supported here, and it’s a common sight to see MTG players duking it out on the long tables.

Best Board Game Shop RNG Games Penang SamShee
There’s food and drink in case you get peckish

Best Board Game Shop RNG Games Penang SamShee

Best Board Game Shop RNG Games Penang SamShee
Did I mention they have board games?

Best Board Game Shop RNG Games Penang SamShee
Of course the little ones can join in the fun!

Best Board Game Shop Penang SamShee

Best Board Game Shop RNG Games Penang SamShee
Let your figurines come to life!

And down the back you have a quieter, more well-equipped area for figurine enthusiasts to work on their models and miniatures.

So in short (bit late for that, perhaps), this is one of the most well-equipped and designed board game shops in Penang, with a roomy and relaxing environment and fun for the whole family!

Of course it also helps to be one of the only board game shops left in Penang. Actually, I can’t think of another one off the top of my head, so I guess it really is best!

Random Movie Review – Logan

Hey everybody! Time for something random – a movie review!

Longan Logan Bikelah
Wait a minute…

So after some deliberation I decided to hit the cinemas to witness the final (although it seems nothing is ever final in Hollywood or the Marvel universe) installment of a legend.

The previous few installments heavily featuring Hugh Jackman’s claim to fame left a rather insipid taste in my mouth. Not to say I didn’t enjoy them, it was just getting a little…trite. The scowling, the growling, the singlets.

It was going the way of Christian Bale as Batman, where I found myself not really entertained by Bruce Wayne or his raspy leather-clad alter ego. Not because Mr. Bale isn’t a great actor, but because his character was becoming so unrelatable and one-dimensional. I’d say every other character had more opportunity to shine in those films – Caine almost had me tearing up in Dark Knight Rises during his confession.

Wolverine was becoming another Hollywood ragdoll that could take more than your standard beating because he was invincible so yay let’s throw more harmful shit at him! Explosive shit! Bullet train shit! Laser beam shooting shit!

Let’s be honest: Wolverine in Japan was just an excuse to have Hugh Jackman fight ninjas.

wolverine-ninja

You know you remember this.

[SPOILER ALERT!]

So seeing Logan in a more…relatable light was somewhat refreshing. Gone was the perky, horny hairdo; no cigar chewing; and certainly much less topless time.

Here we see a wisened, fatigued, grumpier but still equally angry Wolverine. Like most who go through a tough life, it certainly seems to have beat even the great Wolverine into submission.

I thoroughly enjoyed the starting pace and mood of the film. It was what I had hoped Hancock could have been. A dark, gritty, dusty dystopian world with a sarcastic comedian of a main character.

Everyone loves the dynamic combination of the old bitter guardian and the brave but reluctant VIP target. I really enjoyed the Naughty Dog game The Last of Us, with its immersive blend of picturesque post-apocalyptic scenery and lighthearted glimmers of hope in between mad scrambling for resources and amazing storytelling.

And that’s exactly what Logan turned out to be – a bitter old remnant of a dying breed clinging to what few strands of the past he has, who becomes burdened with protecting a young thing that he neither cares for nor can communicate with. And together they embark on a heartwarming journey into the sunset.

However, to put it bluntly – the film started out as an adaptation of The Last of Us, but ended up like a Marvel version of Spy Kids.

They spent most of the movie building up the main villain, only to have him upstaged…by Hugh Jackman himself! And some random doctor that popped out of the woodworks. Yeah yeah you’re related to General Stryker, it all makes so much more sense now! Seriously?

I’m not sure if they were trying to be faithful or pay homage to some nerdy fan crowd, but this movie was nothing at all like the comic books. Or maybe they just wanted to give it all closure, so they axed off every character they could think of.

The ending became a lot less believable and less well-thought-out compared to the more cohesive first half. Logan chugging some temporary miracle cure for the final battle? Hardened military men fumbling to grab a bunch of kids when they could just shoot or taser them? Kids raised in a lab surviving in the wild on their own for weeks on end? Preposterous!

Surely they didn’t need Logan to be in a sleep coma for his brief stay in Lord of the Flies. What could he have done? Talked the kids out of making a run for Paradise? At least they could have had more meaningful conversations if he wasn’t drooling in every scene. I bet it was just so they could shave him.

Anyway, that’s enough spoilers for one night.

Let me know what you thought of the movie!