Back in HK for Xmas ’09 & Updates!

A few eventful things have happened since the last update…well…

1a. Managed to grind my online bankroll up from $50 to $800+ within a week. PTR doesn’t show this because I won a ton of money from Double or Nothing SNGs which basically meant I was flipping my roll across multiple tables.

1b. Suicided my bankroll from $800+ to $5 within 2 days. Oh well at least I managed to sell off $360 to Jason so instead of being down $550 overall online I’m only down $190. (I deposited $550 to start)

2a. Coursework #1 is done with! It constitutes 50% of my grade and finally I’m done and dusted with it!

2b. I’m not quite that free despite it being Xmas. Coursework #2 is due in Jan…it constitutes 50% of my grade and I have yet start on it…

3a. I’m back in HK! Anne and I have been planning to “film some sh*t” over the xmas break for quite some time.

3b. I forgot to pack my camcorder >.<  No wonder my suitcase seemed so empty when I was unpacking…

So far nothing has really transpired. Oh well it’s the experiences that count!

4. I’ve been watching a ton of movies, many not worth mentioning (like Time Traveller’s Wife. (If you haven’t read the book,) BETTER NOT SEE IT). Overheard was a really solid movie, but it was quite corny and a bit too ordinary for me. From a filmmaker’s point of view several scenes were really well done, but the movie was nowhere near as good as Infernal Affairs (IMO anne…). The movie just didn’t seem special at all. I did watch some great movies though. The Bow (Korean movie by Kim Ki-Duk) was a really interesting movie. I watched it with Vic and he agrees it’s one very disturbing, FUKTUP movie (we were under the influence though). Amadeus (1984) was a remarkable movie, for me at least since I love classical music (especially Mozart’s Requiem). There are several scenes I don’t think I’ll ever forget, and the acting was one of the best I’ve ever seen. I’m also starting to really enjoy Shunji Iwai’s movies, especially Love Letter. It has one of the most superb endings I’ve seen in any film. You should also check out 500 days of summer if you haven’t already. I reckon it’s one of the best movies to come out of Hollywood this year, definitely an Oscar contender IMO.

one messed up movie!

5a. Hit Ministry of Sound with Kenta and Ron on Wednesday to celebrate coursework completion. That was a pretty sh*t experience. There were too many people who just kept walking around the dance floor trying to find their friends. It was impossible to dance. Music was horrible too, stupid MC kept going “HOO HOOO” to the beat of songs (ruined many songs IMO), DJ was doing a crap job mixing, cutting out good songs (i.e. Fake Blood) in the middle for some Cheryl Cole junk. It was a sausage fest as well. I guess nobody goes clubbing on a weekday… and student nights are generally sh*tty. I’ve also never gotten body-searched for drugs before…and gotten caught reeding up by security…I suppose this made it all the worse.

Fabric is an amazing club, and I live right next to it!

5b. Hit Fabric with Vic and Kenta on Friday (2 nights ago). Now that was a good night! They came over first at 2am to wake me up (I was sleeping lol) and chat/drink/smoke a lil and then we left for Fabric at 3. Tickets are cheaper after 3 so we got in for half price. Although drum n bass & dubstep really aren’t my thing, for some reason it didn’t bother me at all! We were so high it didn’t matter! This is what clubbing is really about: the music! Not taking 150 photos to tag on facebook & trying to get drunk for a really sh*tty hangover! We left Fabric at around half 6, headed back to mine and chatted/smoked more, listening to really chill music (Deftones, Portishead). Then we went to a tiny cafe nearby at around 8 for some REALLY GOOD ENGLISH BREAKFAST. The kind old man who owned the restaurant gave us really big portions & loads of toast. The hot chocolate was sublime too. It was a great end to 2009 in London.

6. Sat next to Bauhinia (uni friend) on the flight back! It was good seeing her for the first time since summer. Didn’t get any sleep on the flight back though, it was still fun! This made me realize I’ve gotten so used to reed in order to sleep that I have trouble sleeping without it. (It’s also 6:30am right now and I’m not asleep)

7. The windows in my bedroom have been boarded up. It’s pretty damn depressing.

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So what are my personal goals this xmas?

1. I aim to go to the gym regularly again. I stopped after summer because there wasn’t a gym when I went back to uni in September, and ever since I moved in to my flat in Barbican I have not been eating right (and couldn’t be arsed to really lol)

2. Play tennis regularly as usual…

3. Get my essay done! Also need to catch up on work especially French & Finance (I didn’t attend the last 8 hours of lectures)

4. Bankroll boost to + HKD15k before Jan 10 2009. Well, AT LEAST 9K+.

5. Wardrobe boost is also in order lol. Haven’t really shopped since summer.

I think that’s about all I have time for this xmas. HKD15k is definitely a bit of a stretch, but not impossible. I’m not PLANNING to film anything because I stupidly forgot to pack my camcorder, but who knows something might transpire. Well, I’ll keep updating so keep checking!

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Back to London~

I got the aisle seat on the flight back but didn’t get much sleep. I watched 2 movies: The Hangover (funny shit but no lesson learned [6/10]) and Johnnie To’s Mad Detective or 神探, which was as expected a top-notch film directed and acted to the highest caliber (8/10). Today is going by so slowly…so this is how it feels to be lonely and tired. I landed at 6:30 this morning and did not get much sleep on the plane. Nonetheless I’m semi-torturing myself to stay up all day. The internet in my room is well slow (max 30kb/s) so I can’t watch any videos or play any online games. If I can get through this tortuous day I can get through anything!

2046

Directed and written by Wong Kar Wai

I just finished watching this movie for the third time, and it surprises me that each time I watch this movie I fall in love with it even more. I may be a WKW fanboy, but how is it possible for one not to empathize with the characters and not be enthralled by Doyle’s exquisite cinematography? If you are looking for a movie to watch, I recommend you watch Days of Being Wild and In The Mood for Love to ready yourself for this epic masterpiece, 2046.

3 days in LA

En route our way to Peru, we stopped over in LA for a few days. It was nice to stopover and revisit California for I missed the weather, the food, and cheap outlet shopping, and I was able to meet a few old friends which is always a bonus. On the way to LA, I sat in the new Cathay Pacific business class for the first time thanks to having enough mileage…

Aboard Cathay Pacific's new business class
Aboard Cathay Pacific's new business class

It was really cool how the seat was able to transform into a flat bed, and each person had their own private suite…

businessclass2

I watched two movies on the plane: He’s just not that into you and The Class.

He’s just not that into you was really entertaining and at some parts funny. I always enjoy movies and books that attempt to explain the psychology of human beings, even if, as was the case in this film, they’re not always true. The Class was a film on an entirely different level. It’s a Palm D’or film about a French teacher with the best intentions who cares too much and gets into trouble with the problems of a bad 15 year old student. It’s an amazing film because it has a documentary-like feel, a very strong ensemble of actors (even the young cast of students were really convincing) and an incredible build-up of plot that made me feel as though I was part of the class. I really felt the teacher’s frustrations as he dealt with kids and their fickle immaturity. When I arrived in LA we went to watch The Transformers 2. I fell asleep halfway through the movie (it was a really LOUD ACTION movie). I had never fell asleep during a movie before so to me it was quite a revelation. It sucked.

Flowers and letters reading "sorry for your loss" placed around the star of The Jacksons
Flowers and letters reading "sorry for your loss" placed around the star of The Jacksons

If there was something I would never forget from my LA visit it would be Michael Jackson’s sudden death. My sister picked me up from the airport at around 2pm (she went to USC for a year), and as she was driving me back to her apartment, I turned on the radio. I hadn’t had a chance to tune in to a good radio station for a long time as Hong Kong has never had any stations featuring good music. As we were driving past UCLA, the radio commentator suddenly announced the confirmation of Michael Jackson’s death, just as if everyone had expected it. I thought it was a joke. Michael Jackson was to perform in London next month, and the radio commentator had said it too casually for so big a story. I checked out the story after I arrived and it turns out Michael Jackson was dead. What’s more, he died in his LA home and his death was confirmed by doctors in UCLA less than an hour ago! It felt so bizarre that Michael Jackson, one of my most revered childhood idols, dies the moment I touch down in the same city!

I don’t know why, but the next day I felt that I had an obligation to pay his star a visit. It still feels so surreal that he’s gone! Unfortunately, his star at the Chinese theater was blocked off by officials, so we went to the star of The Jacksons. It really felt good to know that people still sympathize with his death even through all the scandalous events that took place during his life.

View from Hollywood Highland mall. Lots of TV cameras near MJ's star
View from Hollywood Highland mall. Lots of TV cameras near MJ's star

The next day we visited family who just arrived in San Gabriel. It’s a part of LA so infested with Chinese that it felt more like a “Chinacity” than a Chinatown; in fact, it felt more like we were in Shenzhen than in California. Everywhere there were English words, there were Chinese words. Apparently, this was where the FOBs get off their boats lol…the Vietnamese food was really good though!

We had a feast!!
We had a feast!!
In N Out kitchen at work
Speaking of food, cheap and tasty In N Out burgers!

That’s all for now, will update in a couple of days in Peru!!!

Final days in London

Apart from packing, watching movies and walking around the city looking for a place to stay next year made up my final days in London. I visited another two student halls, Albany House and University Hall, before realizing that it was cheaper and more flexible if I found a studio or 1-bedroom flat next year with the help of Globrix, an amazing website. Yesterday, Ron, Kenta and I went to Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush to watch Terminator: Salvation.

The outside of Shepherd's Bush station looks a lot like an Asian city
The outside of Shepherd's Bush station looks a lot like an Asian city

And in case you didn’t know, Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush is the biggest shopping mall in all of Europe:

The posh bit
The posh bit
spacious...
spacious...

We didn’t buy anything though, we just went to watch a movie lol.

To be honest, Terminator: Salvation was quite mediocre. I’d give it a 6.5 out of 10 because of its amazing action, computer effects and expensive camera shots. Otherwise, I’d probably give it a 5 at best. Nonetheless, the Christian Bale incident certainly affected my judgment of the movie having seen it on youtube prior to watching the movie, lol.