Saturday, September 23, 2006

Review of Kate Alexa - Broken & Beautiful

Australian pop singer, Kate Alexa's debut album, Broken & Beautiful, was released today in Australia.

Hooked by her radio hits "All I Hear" and "Somebody Out There" (which sound like Avril Lavigne "Under My Skin" tracks but more feminine) and misleadingly good iTunes clips of the other tracks, I bought the 14 track CD from a (physical) music store.

The video for "Somebody Out There" can be found here or on YouTube. The "All I Hear" video is available at Yahoo Launch if you have IE and Windows.

I felt the album was like listening to a Britney album (minus the porn): A few strong tracks that are singles or later become singles but the rest, disappointing fillers. It's similar to Ashlee Simpson's and Delta Goodrem's second albums.

To her credit, apart from her radio hits, "Under the Influence of You" (what a name) is absolutely infectious. Her fame-making single "Always There" is also not bad.

Ironically, the track named after the album (or maybe it was the other way round) "Broken & Beautiful" was the most painful of all to listen to due to the unnecessary screaming of the melody-less chorus.

So in summary: Buy her singles, which are very good teeny bopper/pop/rock, but don't bother with the $A20 ($US15) album.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Fine resignation speeches

I just got elected unopposed [*] as both the Chair of the IEEE UNSW Student Chapter and 2007 Board Member of the UNSW Engineering Faculty. Unlike typical student representatives and executives, I pledge to actually do something rather than use it for resume points.

But anyway, for a bit of fun, I've been studying the 2003 resignation speeches of two prominent politicans. Guess my next degree will be Arts, majoring in Politics. Politics is a great sport if only it were productive. Now, on with the goods:

1. Robin Cook

The British Leader of the House resigns over the government's handling of the 2nd Iraqi War. Great speech overall with the piece-by-piece deconstruction of the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" argument but this bit is truly exceptional:

I intend to join those tomorrow night who will vote against military action now. It is for that reason, and for that reason alone, and with a heavy heart, that I resign from the government.

If you watch the above link's video, albeit lo-res, it's how he says the last bit so simply and unemotionally, that his betrayal is even more shocking. If I were reading the speech, I would have said it far more forcefully.

He got a standing ovation BTW. A politician willing to stand up for what s/he really believes in deserves one. As a rule of thumb (but doesn't apply in this case), such politicians with the brains and big ideas are generally the ones that don't survive in politics for long due to the party machine men. Think Mark Latham.

Too bad the Prime Minister wasn't in the chamber at the time. I'm surprised the government didn't try to gag this rather damaging speech (as such motions, at least in Australian Federal Parliament, are voted on immediately according to the Standing Orders).

2. Simon Crean

The Australian Leader of the Opposition takes a number of subtle and funny stabs at the people who destabilised his leadership:

Don't let your personal ambition cripple the Labor Party as it puts its case for a fairer and better Australia.


This ballot next Tuesday, is not only about leadership, it's about Labor standards, Labor values and how we conduct ourselves as a party.


I especially want to thank my senior front bench colleagues who have served the Parliamentary Party well and have remained loyal to me

In hindsight, the most ironic comment of all would have to be this:

Don't put a revolving door on the entrance of the Opposition Leader's office. That door only leads to permanent opposition.

The Opposition Leaders have been Kim Beazley, Simon Crean (the one in question), Mark Latham and guess what, Kim Beazley again. Full circle, huh?

Time will heal, in my view any personal hurt, thus hurt that comes from events like today.

No video this time but from memory, Crean gets real emotional here. I love his choice of words in true political style. He could have said the more straightforward:

You bastards for stealing my prime ministership!

but being a politician, he didn't. Pity.

[*] In case you missed it (and I wouldn't blame you if you did), the font is satirising the old biography pages for a particular political party. In reality, if you are elected unopposed, this simply reflects the sad state of democracy: it doesn't mean no one wanted to vote against you - it just means there were no other candidates.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer!

It follows, and is imaginatively named after, the 90s teen horror movies, I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" (1998).

Movie info and trailer at IMDB. The DVD hasn't been released yet in Australia but from the trailer, it looks like it spoofs the 1997 original. Completely different cast and production company. Even stars Rachel from Animorphs.

I'm absolutely stunned that this movie was made. Nevertheless, I expect that it should be more of the same. Next thing you know they'll come out with "Even in the Afterlife, I Know What You Did Last Summer" and they can make it a vampire/ghost movie.

Will probably watch all 3 once this one comes out (as I can barely remember now what happened in the first 2).

Speaking of sequels, I thought the Tomorrow, When The War Began (aka "When The War Began") series of novels was finished by the 7th one. But now, 2 more followups have been written. I guess I should have known: if you've ever gotten your hands on the 3rd novel, it mentions on the front cover that it's the last in the "trilogy".

I guess all great trilogies come in threes. Actually, scrub that. Scary Movie and Scream are probably respectively, the most tasteless and boring film series ever. Having watched them in the wrong order, Scream actually appears to be a parody of Scary Movie :) And yes, Scary Movie 1 sends up "I Know What You Did Last Summer" as well.