Monthly Archives: September 2007

Metal Down South

Hot damn! Some of metal’s most influential guitarists are coming down to Fort Canning Park, Singapore to play.

Megadeth – United Abominations Tour Of Duty (26th October 2007)

Heaven And Hell – The Reunion Of Black Sabbath And Ronnie James Dio (27th October 2007)

I love Megadeth, and how they stick to being true to thrash metal. At the same time, they have more complex song structures, with varying parts and beats, and unique riffs. And yet, despite the changes, each riff is so catchy you can memorize an entire song and sing it aloud ala Jack Black.

I have to profess that despite all this, I don’t have any of their albums, and I would be very lost if they just played stuff from their latest United Abominations album.

Dave Mustaine particularly drew my attention, from his little skit in the second DVD of the Metallica – Some Kind Of Monster documentary. Plus, I like what he put into Metallica back with Kill ‘Em All (their first album) and some stuff he claimed to have written that was used in later albums.

Sadly, he was fired from Metallica, due to uncontrollable alcohol and drug abuse. Apparently, he also kicked James Hetfield’s dog.

Read his Wikipedia entry!

Check out his story, and his Feuds And Rivalries section.

While at it, here are some cool videos on YouTube:

Dave Mustaine On Jeopardy Part I (thanks Syefri for telling me)
Dave Mustaine On Jeopardy Part II
Dave Mustaine versus the lazer!

I wonder what would happen if I shouted “FREEBIRD!

Megadeth almost played in Malaysia. Dammit.

Black Sabbath is one of my favorite bands, since I am way too familiar with their first 4 albums and can hum out Tony Iommi solos from any of the songs. Ozzy Osbourne quit the band, and was replaced by Dio, but they continued being called Black Sabbath and recorded a few albums. Somewhere later, the original lineup returned and called themselves Black Sabbath, while the lineup with Dio and Vinny Appice on drums was renamed Heaven And Hell.

However, since I prefer Ozzy Osbourne to Ronnie James Dio, I have not really heard any of Dio’s stuff with Black Sabbath. Off the top of my head, what songs by Black Sabbath have Dio in it?

Uh… Heaven And Hell?

Yeah, I couldn’t name any more songs myself.

The Mob Rules and Neon Knights apparently were with Dio, too. A common trait would be the steady chugging rhythm first featured on the song Paranoid. It gets tiresome when they all sound like Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger, heh.

Still, Tony Iommi, the guitarist who invented the heavy metal guitar sound (he had to downtune his guitar due to a machining accident that left him with plastic fingertips) is in Heaven And Hell, and that warrants me going down to join balding or white-haired men in worship of the man with gothic cross inlays who made the Gibson SG sexy.

Moving Out

The 27th of July 2007 marked a sad day for me. I was leaving the office of mine for over 6 years; the Xfresh fishtank, in the All-Asia Broadcast Centre.

My desk, which overlooked a glass window which overlooked hot chicks coming in and out of the elevator walking to different departments. I will miss those hot chicks dearly.

I’d miss the Chinese fried rice (nasi goreng cina) and Goodday chocolate milk. Every excolleague I meet asks “does the AABC cafeteria still have nasi goreng cina? Oh man I miss that…“. I fondly say yes.

I’d routinely fish out prawns because I’m allergic to them.

One fine sunny Tuesday morning, I took the bus as usual to AABC. I then walked to the new office in Technology Park, Malaysia. (My original plan on Monday was foiled because of rain.)

An abandoned drink.

An underpass under the Lebuhraya Puchong – Sg. Besi.

Soon, I was reaching…

…passing the guardian of the car park…

…into the new building.

I found a mamak, where I have my fix of Teh Tarik Kurang Manis and Roti Kaya.

The new office.

Ah, sweet new cubicle. Sweet, fast broadband. Not so freezing cold air-conditioning.

I asked for a pool table, but I guess this would have to do.

Because I didn’t want to eat only at the mamak downstairs, I decided to check out other buildings and their cafeterias. This particular building had weird plants growing all over.

Sadly, the grass was indeed greener on the other side; this is the cafeteria at the Recreation Center.

Even construction works looked better than my building!

Patimas. This building was made to look and feel like a resort, complete with greenery, a pool, and a pool table (which supposedly is in a storeroom somewhere now.) The poolside cafeteria was a great idea; however the food wasn’t great.

Kept Era

A Saturday a long time ago, I helped Macdude with his shoot for the Bantus Capoeira group. He used the trusty Minolta 24mm F2.8 with his Sony A100 and iISO hotshoe to ISO hotshoe and Cactus V2 remote triggers to trigger two cheap flashes pointed at brollies.

Why’d I mention it, if nothing from that appears in this entry? Because I love 24mm lenses, and flash hotshoe adapters. 😀

And so, I used strobe mode on my Sony HVL-F56AM flash mounted on my Sony A100. Note that some of the shots are panned to avoid the strobed actions of the performers from overlaying each other and getting overexposed. Also, if the performer was facing the right, I’d align him to the left of the frame, and shoot just as he is about to perform an action… while panning quickly so he’d be at the right of the frame.

18mm F8 1/4s ISO400 with flash on strobe mode, 9 Hertz, 3 times, 1/8th power (if I remember correctly.)

18mm F8 1/4s ISO400 with flash on strobe mode, 9 Hertz, 3 times, 1/8th power (if I remember correctly.)

18mm F6.3 1/4s ISO400 with flash on strobe mode, 9 Hertz, 3 times, 1/8th power (if I remember correctly.)

8mm fisheye F4 1/20s ISO800 with direct flash.

18mm F3.5 1/30s ISO1600 with direct flash.

Oh by the way they’re always performing on Saturday nights in the Telawi area of Jalan Bangsar. Go catch them, but try not to flash them unless you had permission.

The big debate about Live View

…because reading about the newly announced Sony Alpha 700 has taken up my time.

SLR cameras traditionally need you to look through the optical viewfinder to compose. This is different from digital cameras, which let you see what you are shooting on the LCD screen. This feature is known as Live View.

However, as of late, major camera brands have introduced Live View on their digital SLRs.

What’s good about Live View?
– You could hold your dSLR way up high and shoot a crowd while aiming accurately …or go way below and shoot from the floor. (I do this when handed a digital camera and am asked to help take pictures at gigs.)
– You get 100% frame coverage. Some dSLR viewfinders show less, often 95%. After you shoot you’d find the picture has more stuff on the sides.
– You can zoom in on the image for more accurate manual focusing.
– You can shoot macro, much much easier.

What’s bad about Live View?
– Leaving the sensor on for extended periods of time will make the sensor hot (due to current running through it, and light coming in) and thus more noise will show.
– Opening the shutter to go into Live View, and then shooting, probably needs the shutter to return. Thus, every time you activate Live View, you take one shutter cycle away from your camera’s life. Some cameras are rated at 100

The New Sony Alpha 700!

The new Sony Alpha, called the A700, was just sneaked out through certain Sony sites, and promptly taken down. However, I managed to watch the intro flash, and grab a screenshot!

It feels like Sony is hitting on the trend done by Michael Bay with Transformers. Release little, bit by bit.

I absolutely love:
– AF/MF switch on the back! No other brand has this. They may have an AF On button, but not a toggle to go into MF when in AF, for all lenses, whether they support full-time manual focusing (called Direct Manual Focus on Minolta/Sony systems.)
– 12.24 megapixel ExMor CMOS sensor with ISO3200 and extra ISO6400, much cleaner than their noisy ol’ CCD.
Sony Ericsson-style AF-point selector joystick. You can also navigate menus and shooting settings with this (note the screenshot at ISO400? I reckon it will allow you to jump from panel to panel.)
vertical grip has everything, including the AF-point selector joystick!
– front and rear dials.
– changeable focusing screens. I might get a split-prism manual focus screen!
– separate AF illuminator.
– PC Sync terminal for studio light compatibility. This also means I can hook it to an adapter to bring it into a regular ISO hotshoe!
– kit lens is a 16-105mm F3.5-5.6 DT. After the APS-C crop, I love 24mm. I also felt that 70mm on APS-C wasn’t far enough, but 105mm was just nice. This would have all my favorite focal lengths!

This deserves special mention:

double cross-type sensors in the middle, and a stronger AF motor. Honestly, this means a greater deal than 9 or more cross-type sensors because you get so much more accuracy and speed in one AF point. My Minolta Dynax 7 had double cross-type sensors and it was claimed to be the fastest AF film body of its time. The Sony A100 tended to hunt; it would overshoot the subject, focus back to close focus and then focus on the subject. The Dynax 7 didn’t hesitate; it went straight onto the subject and stayed there.

Rear view, not a screenshot, but stolen from another site.

Stuff that is worth mentioning, though I’m not rancid about it:
– 921

Musical Progression And All That Jazz

So I bumped into Hunny the rapper from Admonition/guest-starred-in-Three-Flow/Doze-2 who is at the last night of the Sunrise Jazz Fest. She said I was familiar!

How I’d love to pick that as a pick-up line but she said she’d stumbled upon my blog.

So here’s a “Albert with celebrity who found my blog” shot.

I really need to figure out a better expression to have in pictures.

So there was Adil, Malaysia’s best saxophonist according to Saharadja, this kickass Indonesian jazz/fusion band. Yes he is kickass because he used to play Prince and James Brown covers back in California, and I have yet to see anybody do one of those super funky Prince numbers (just piano ballads like How Come You Don’t Call and Nothing Compares To You.)

Somehow most naturally, the topic went to music.

What if we had… progressive rap?

You know, progressive in the sense of progressive rock, not progressive dance. Where the song tempo and mood changes often, with complex time signatures, polyrhythms and elaborate instrumentation. Think Pink Floyd and Dream Theater… or even Queen – Bicycle Race for a simpler example of such musical schizophrenia. Locally, I could cite Tempered Mental as a well-known progressive band around here.

Rappers could be switching beats and vocal styles real quick. The only coherence might be that they’d have to rhyme.

The lazy crop of song producers these days don’t bother playing with beats that interweave with the vocals. They’ll put in just one part of the song and loop it all over. Think Rihanna.

Try to play Beastie Boys – Intergalactic in your head. Note that you can remember all those times the deejay starts scratching and making funny bleeps?

At this point somebody pointed out that Kanye West is progressive.

…well, not with what he did with Daft Punk – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. So not cool, man. The original song feels progressive due to the ever changing tempo, although it keeps to its motif. Like what Fatboy Slim does.

Despite how much the Black Eyed Peas annoy me, I think they did good with Pump It. Without vocals, the song is exactly the same as the Dick Dale – Miserlou instrumental.

Anyway, on to pictures from a gig long time ago, Moonshine 9th August 2007 to be exact. Shot with my newfound love for Kelvin White Balance set to 2500 K.

Mia Palencia!

From acoustic fingerstyle, she now has a full band, with the ever guitar-lick-ready Faz.

Reza Salleh, who I’d say has a few rock progressions up his sleeve. Spot a different drummer!

The crowd went too insane, plus I didn’t want to get caught in the Hujan crowd.


The real reason why banks change currency often is to prevent good, honest people from time travel into the past.

That’s right.

If you could go back in time to buy something and then bring it back to the future to sell it as something immensely valuable, you’d need their currency. Of course, the only problem with that would be that your current currency would’ve changed!

Unless, of course, you travel progressively back in time, to a time where both your new currency and the previous unit was usable. For example, I could change my RM50 notes into older RM5 notes (right around the time of Chinese New Year, where such behavior is acceptable), then travel back more to change it to RM100 notes, and travel again to the point before it changed look to change it to RM20 notes, and so on and so forth.

At some point you’d want to change your money into tin ore, since that probably is the only thing that depreciated over the years.

Of course, the smarter of you might travel forward in time and sell what would be worth a lot in the future. Though the question is, what would you bring back in time, then, that would be worth a lot more?