Archive for April, 2007

The Black Mages – Rocking Final Fantasy!

April 30, 07

TheBlackMagesLogo 

No two ways about it… The Black Mages are by far my favourite rock group, and right now my overall favourite music to listen to! Plus, their bass is my personal inspiration to aspire to. (And no, they aren’t evil death metal – the Black Mage is a character class in the Final Fantasy series that casts attack spell.)

If you’re a Final Fantasy fanatic and wonder what’s so great about some old rock band, then get the following: The genius savant master himself, Nobuo Uematsu is their organist. They play totally rocking, real-instrument remixes of Final Fantasy music tracks, including the hardest rocking battles. Need I hype more?

They have amazing technical skill, timing and complementing of each other. They have excellent melodies courtesy of Nobuo Uematsu’s genius composing.

And you can see just how much FUN they’re having playing their best! Look at them laughing, smiling, swaying, bouncing up and down to the beat without a care… Now THAT’S what great music is all about! Not skill, not speed, not hardcoreness… But the genuine feeling!

BlackMagesBand

                 Image sourced from http://www.doupe.cz

With a music style heavily reminiscent of 80′s and video-game rock nostalgia, plus being the always-cool JRock, they’ve released two wicked albums. And now you can get to see and hear them playing at their live concerts, courtesy of YouTube! With several cameras and generous zoom-ins, the technical fans among you can catch their blazing fast moves.

Although not as smooth or perfectly polished as their studio recordings, but it’s refreshingly different… And it’s still more than enough for you to: Enjoy!

To start you off, my personal fave tracks in order are: Matoya’s Cave (FFI), Zeromus (FFIV), The Decisive Battle (FFVI), The Rocking Grounds (FFIII),  Force Your Way (FFVIII), and Clash on the Big Bridge (FFV). Now on to the music…

“THE BLACK MAGES” Live

1. J-E-N-O-V-A (FFVII) – Very techno, not a favourite of mine, and can’t find the live band version anyway.

2. Force Your Way (FFVIII) - Keyboard and guitars show off their skill!

3. Battle Theme (FFVI) 

4. Battle Scene (FFI) 

5. Battle, Scene II (FFII)

6. Matoya’s Cave (FFI) - A little too soft, so turn up those speakers. See Track 13 in LIVE “Above The Sky” for more.  

7. Those Who Fight Further (FFVII) – Followed by instrumental solos as band members are introduced… And Chocobo!

8. The Decisive Battle (FFVI)  

9.  Clash on the Big Bridge (FFV) – Gilgamesh! Couldn’t find the first concert’s version, so see LIVE “Above The Sky” track 10 for it.

10. Part A and Part B of Dancing Mad (FFVI)

11. Fight With Seymour (FFX) 

LIVE “Above The Sky”

1. The Rocking Grounds (FFIII) - Perfect titular description.

2. Zeromus (FFIV) – Better in the studio recording, but great stuff nonetheless.

3. Hunter’s Chance (FFIX)

4. Battle Theme (FFVI) - Different from “THE BLACK MAGES” Live version.

5. Battle with the Four Fiends (FFIV)

6. Vamo’ Alla Flamenco (FFIX) - Spanish feel, with beautiful Spanish guitar.

7. Maybe I’m A Lion (FFVIII) – Hard and heavy rock, with middle part done in the technically-skilled style of Dream Theatre’s instrumental Erotomania, or Finnish group Stratovarius’ instrumental Stratosphere.

8.  Those Who Fight Further (FFVII) - Different from “THE BLACK MAGES” Live version.

9. The Man With The Machine Gun (FFVIII) 

10. Clash on the Big Bridge (FFV) - Different from “THE BLACK MAGES” Live version.

11. Otherworld (FFX) – Featuring KAZCO’s impressive vocals for the lyrics. The bridge is totally Megadeth!

12. The Skies Above (FFX) – Vocals by Mr. Goo.

13. Matoya’s Cave (FFI) – The closest song to being sentimental rock, with an old rock ‘n’ roll style in the middle and an ’8-bit nostalgia’ piece towards the end. You can clearly catch each of the different instruments’ contribution to the song, love the bass. Jazzman Jon Chen says it’s all very Deep Purple. 

14. Blue Blast – Winning the Rainbow (Original piece)

More Friends

1. The Rocking Grounds (FFIII)

2. Maybe I’m a Lion (FFVIII)

3. One Winged Angel (Advent Children) - The whole shebang with the Black Mages rock band, conductor, full orchestra and Latin vocals choir… Complete with video screens, strobing lights and lengthy rock opera bridge! Totally cool experience! Originally from FFVII, this version is the one used in Advent Children CG animation movie, different lyrics from the FFVII game.

And from their third tour, a promo where they play Neo Exdeath:

And in case any are removed…

You can just search for black mages. Cheers!

PS. Related to my previous post on the classical versions of Final Fantasy music - Tour de Japon – Music From Final Fantasy.

BlackMagesBand2

You Reach Your Right Hand In, And Pull The Baby’s Brains Out

April 30, 07

…You reach your right knife in and you slash it all about.

You do the cuttey pokey and you scrape the baby out.

That’s what it’s all about.

From The Ryskind Sketchbook

BarakObamaOnViolence

This cartoon basically goes through each step of partial birth abortion

Related strongly to my post, Hey, Do You Think We Should We Kill Babies? 

I personally, strongly feel that abortion is murder inside the mother’s womb. Apart from that, there is no difference between abortion and killing pre-schoolers with a hammer.

Ah, but then to liberals, babies are not really people.

Also, take a look at Back to the Future Stem Cells and Are Your Babies Inside Your Parents? similar situations: How would YOU like to be aborted out of convenience? I’m sure your suddenly discovered pro-life arguments would be really futile against the liberal right to choose right then.

Tour de Japon – Music From Final Fantasy

April 26, 07

Nobuo Uematsu is by far my favourite composer – I and many others consider him the best in the world. If you don’t know who he is, in brief he is the main composer for all the earlier Final Fantasy games, and also the amazing organist for my favourite rock band, The Black Mages.

My brother Jamie recently forwarded me two links to the Tour de Japon performances on YouTube. It’s a live orchestra rendition of some of the Final Fantasy music pieces. Beautiful, beautiful music!

Taizo Takemoto

                          The conductor, Taizo Takemoto

MariaDracoSingers

                           The singers for Maria and Draco

TourdeJaponViolins

                                   The orchestra’s violins

NobuoTourdeJapon

             Nobuo Uematsu takes the baton in the last piece

A little research and browsing, and I found and collected the links to each of the pieces. Click and enjoy!

I personally recommend pieces 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 (Opera “Maria and Draco” – the famous FFVI Opera scene).

1. Opening, Bombing Mission (FFVII)

2. At Zanarkand (FFX)

3. Ronfaure (FFXI)

4. Aerith’s Theme (FFVII)

5. The Oath (FFVIII)

6. You’re Not Alone (FFIX)

7. Main Theme of FFV (FFV)

8. Main Theme of FFVII (FFVII)

9. Theme of Love (FFIV)

10. Final Fantasy I-III Medley 2004 (FFI, FFII, FFIII)

11. Opera “Maria and Draco” Part A and Part B (FFVI)

12. From FFVII Advent Children (Advent Children)

13. Final Fantasy Main Theme

If any of the links fail, you can always use the fail-safe YouTube Search for Tour de Japon. Cheers!

TourdeJapon

John Stossel on the Global Warming Myth?

April 26, 07

A rather well written piece that’s not so heavy on the statistics and facts, but still manages to give some good examples, make a lot of sense, and be convincing.

I first found it from the Is It Getting Warmer? blog. Or see the original article directly thru the link later. And I’d like to get this book which delves into various misguided media panic-scares over the recent decades, including global warming paranoia.

—————

Excerpt from The Global Warming Myth? article by John Stossel of ABC News:

MYTH No. 4: Signing the Kyoto Treaty would stop the warming.
TRUTH: Hardly.

And even advocates of Kyoto admit that if all the nations signed the Kyoto agreement and obeyed it, global temperatures would still increase. The difference by 2050 would be less than a tenth of a degree. The fuss over Kyoto is absurd. Even if Kyoto would have an impact, do you think all the signers are going to honor what they signed? China is predicted to out-emit us in five to 10 years. India will soon follow. What incentive do they have to stop burning fossil fuels? Get the shovel.

To think that solar energy could stop the predicted temperature increase is nonsensical. EPCOT, a theme park with a solar energy ride, consumes about 395,000 kilowatt-hours per day. The Department of Energy says you’d need around a thousand acres of solar panels to generate that much electricity. EPCOT itself only sits on 300 acres, so you’d have to triple the size of the park just to operate it. (Windmills are no panacea either. They are giant bird-killing Cuisinarts, and we’d have to build lots of them to produce significant energy.)

In 2000, a group called Cape Wind proposed to erect 130 windmills in Nantucket Sound, off the coast of Massachusetts. I think the drawings make them look interesting, but — horrors! — they would be visible from the Kennedy family vacation compound in Hyannis Port. Robert Kennedy Jr., grand poo-bah of the environmental zealotry movement, is leading a campaign to ban the windmills from Nantucket Sound. The group he leads, the Waterkeeper Alliance, said it supports wind farms — but Kennedy fights the one near his home. What a hypocrite.

—————-

John Stossel is particularly harsh on Kyoto and so-called ‘green’ energy, and with good reason. See my posts Star Opinion: Guard Against Kyoto Protocol Hype, Stop Focusing on Global Warming, Start Focusing on Humanity and Ann Coulter Junks Global Warming Too for more on why.

More information also available on Cape Wind, Robert F. Kennedy’s involvement, and hypocrites in general.

The Soup Kitchen Opening in KL

April 25, 07

I found this post really inspiring. It brings a smile to my face! RM 2000 a month is not a large sum to feed so many needy, every month!

If anyone can get more information or links on the Soup Kitchen, its founder Pastor Clarine Chun, or the Superflow Foundation, please do comment!

—————

From The Star 25 Apr 2007:

Soup kitchen opening up in KL

ALOR STAR: The Soup Kitchen, a coffeeshop-style eatery that provides free lunches for the poor and downtrodden here, will be extending its operations to Kuala Lumpur. 

Its founder, Pastor Clarine Chun, said the Superflow Foundation that runs the kitchen was now identifying a suitable site in the capital city. 

A good deed: Some of the poor folk from various ages and races enjoying their lunch at the Soup Kitchen in Jalan Putra, Alor Star.

“We are going beyond the feed-the-poor programme by setting up a permanent place where poor people know where to go when they feel hungry,” she said. 

Pastor Chun said the Soup Kitchen at Jalan Putra here, which opens from 11.30am to 2.30pm from Sunday to Thursday, attracted about 160 people daily including drug addicts, jobless youths, and senior citizens.  

“We open our doors to anyone who feels hungry. We also allow them to take food home for family members,” she said, adding that no pork or beef is served. 

“Some of the drug addicts who frequented Soup Kitchen listened to our advice and underwent drug rehabilitation,” she added. 

“One construction worker who could not feed his young family comes here to pack home food for his family whenever his finances run low.” 

Foundation trustee Penny Khor said it costs about RM2,000 a month to run the Soup Kitchen. 

“Most of the ingredients are sponsored. A company sponsors rice. Fishmongers call us whenever they have extra fish to spare. Some people come and drop off vegetables. Most of the vegetables may not be that fresh, but they are edible,” she said. 

The foundation employs a cook and an assistant. A token sum is given to seven mentally challenged individuals who help out at the Soup Kitchen, Khor said. 

For more information on the Soup Kitchen, call 04-731 9189.

Johor Cops Put Brakes on Car Thefts

April 25, 07

More good news regarding the Johor crime scene. Carjackings seem pretty common around here, sometimes with the victim still in the car! So now this is the kind of ‘traffic policing’ that should be carried out more!

—————

From The Star 25 Apr 2007:

Johor cops to put brakes on car thefts

JOHOR BARU: Police are in the midst of a war on vehicle thieves and the score so far is two major gangs busted, 12 suspects nabbed and 15 vehicles recovered. 

Johor Baru (North) OCPD Asst Comm Ruslan Hassan said police would not allow vehicle thieves to run rampant in the city. 

“They are not welcome here. Their time is up and we are coming to catch them,” he said, adding that police were determined to make the state capital a safer city for the public. 

In an operation on March 3, police raided an oil palm estate in Gelang Patah and arrested four suspects, aged between 17 and 31, including an Indonesian woman from Kalimantan. 

“We seized nine lorries and a car at an oil palm estate. The vehicles were reported stolen in Ulu Tiram, Kangkar Pulai, Senai, Plentong and Tampoi,” said ACP Ruslan. 

Among the vehicles recovered were four trailers, a Daihatsu Delta lorry, two Hicom lorries and a Honda Civic car. 

Police believe they have solved seven vehicle theft cases with the arrest of the suspects.  

Press Start to Play!: Old Flames

April 24, 07

               PSTPOldFlames

Heh heh… I had a bit of difficulty deciding which panel was most interesting to use as the preview. An interesting, different take on the whole Mario-Princess-King Koopa relationship, and the shackles of emotional denial.

Johor Police Seize Two Guns and Ammo

April 24, 07

Nice one, cops! Stop the crimes BEFORE they happen, now that’s sucessful case resolution!

Knowing Johor criminals, the suspects wouldn’t have hesitated to blow holes in their robbery victims, even blind, quadriplegic and completely cooperative octogenarians.

—————

From The Star 24 Apr 2007:

Police arrest two and seize two guns and ammunition

JOHOR BARU: Police nabbed two suspects and an array of items, including two guns and some 60 rounds of ammunition, after a raid at a hotel in the city. 

Acting on a tip off, eight policemen from the Johor Baru (South) police headquarters led by district CID Chief Deputy Supt Noor Hashim Mohamed raided two hotel rooms on April 19 at about 5.30pm. 

Johor deputy police chief Senior Asst Comm 1 Datuk Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said that police seized 26 bullets in the first room and some items that led police to another room at about 10.30pm. 

Speaking at a press conference held at the Central police station on Tuesday, he said police detained a man and woman aged 43 and 35 respectively and seized two pistols. 

“We seized a revolver loaded with five bullets and an empty Colt Automatic. We also seized a bag containing RM1,039 in cash,” he said. 

He added police also seized some 30 bullets of different types. 

SAC 1 Mokhtar said that the suspects have since been remanded until April 27 and the case was being investigated under Section 8 of the Firearms Act. 

He also thanked the public for giving the tip off to the police and he also urged them to cooperate more in the future. 

—————

UPDATE The Star 25 Apr 2007:

Police nab couple and seize guns in hotel raid

JOHOR BARU: Police nabbed a man and a woman and seized an array of items including two guns and some 60 rounds of ammunition after a raid at a hotel in the city. 

Acting on a tip-off, eight policemen from the Johor Baru (South) police headquarters led by district CID chief Deputy Supt Noor Hashim Mohamed raided two hotel rooms last Thursday at about 5.30pm. 

Seized arms: SAC 1 Mokhtar (left) and Johor Baru (South) OCPD Asst Comm Shafie Ismail (right) showing pressmen the guns and other seized items in Johor Baru yesterday.

Johor deputy police chief Senior Asst Comm 1 Datuk Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said that police seized a revolver loaded with five bullets and an empty Colt Automatic.  

“We also seized a bag containing RM1,039 in cash,” he said, adding that police also seized some 30 bullets of different types. 

Speaking at a press conference held at the Central police station, he said police detained a man and woman aged 43 and 35 respectively. 

SAC 1 Mokhtar said that the suspects have been remanded until Friday. 

He urged anyone with information to contact the police hotline at 07-221 2999 or the nearest police station.  

Global Buuuuurrrrning Hits

April 24, 07

Since my post collecting various Global Warming Editorial Cartoons was aired beginning on 20 April, my hits went up substantially.

It’s been kind of a slump lately, both in my posting frequency and the number of visitors to my blog. But the hits on the GW Cartoons helped pick up the slack.

Conclusion? Politics are about as crowd-pulling as fun and mindless entertainment. Sometimes, there’s no difference, if you’ve heard about some of our Menteri name-calling spats!

———-

Recent Top Three Posts:

Yesterday
Global Warming Editorial Cartoons 31 
Tom & Jerry: Solid Serenade (Is You  19 
WRYYYYYY!!! Dio Brando The World 19

2007-04-22
Global Warming Editorial Cartoons 28 
WRYYYYYY!!! Dio Brando The World 9 
How to Stop Chili or Chilli Burning 6

2007-04-21 
Global Warming Editorial Cartoons 25 
WRYYYYYY!!! Dio Brando The World 12 
Russell Crowe Fightin’ Around the World 8

2007-04-20
Global Warming Editorial Cartoons 30 
WRYYYYYY!!! Dio Brando The World 10 
Tom & Jerry: Solid Serenade (Is You  8

———- 

As you can see above, my post on GW Cartoons managed to beat the likes of Russell Crowe and Tom & Jerry, both consistent mass-media favourites. And amazingly, it even surpassed my all-time most viewed post, WRYYYYYY!!! Dio Brando The World! (312 views in the last 30 days)

Also some props due to the Is It Getting Warmer? blog, which featured my GW Cartoons post. I got several references from his site. Return the favour for me by visiting his site and learn more about the whole global warming yes/no debate, will you? Thanks!

———-

References from Is It Getting Warmer:

Yesterday
globalwarming-factorfiction.com/2007/… 5
globalwarming-factorfiction.com 5
globalwarming-factorfiction.com. 1

2007-04-22
globalwarming-factorfiction.com 10
globalwarming-factorfiction.com. 5

2007-04-21
globalwarming-factorfiction.com 5
globalwarming-factorfiction.com/2007/… 1

Burglar Cuts Thru Roof, Robs and Stabs Woman

April 23, 07

Oh no. It’s been a long while since I last came across news of horrific, violent crime in JB. But once again, when it happens, the daring and brutality of the act are nothing short of SHOCKING!

I mean, I had my own experience where the burglars ripped the metal grill off its hinges and battered down the not-plywood wooden door to get in.

But now it seems that the entire house has to be made of a single, die-cast piece of high-strength steel if we want to sleep soundly in JB! At least then the burglars will wake all the neighbours up when they use welding torches and TNT to break into the house… Because they probably will.

Johor criminals are a notch above the rest of Malaysia in terms of brazenness and skill… And many notches below the rest in terms of humaneness and mercy.

————–

From The Star 23 Apr 2007:

Woman robbed and stabbed

JOHOR BARU: A 21-year-old clerk was robbed and brutally stabbed to death as her father slept in another room. 

Lim Hoon Hwa’s assailant came through the roof of her double-storey house in Taman Skudai Baru early yesterday morning, ransacked the living room and found a few handphones before making his way into her room through the bathroom. 

Johor Baru (North) OCPD Asst Comm Ruslan Hassan said Lim fought her assailant before being stabbed in the head, chest and abdomen. 

Her father found her body at 8.30am. 

The maid was away. 

“The victim’s father was sleeping in another room and he did not hear anything,” he said. 

Police found a zinc cutter on top of the roof.  

ACP Ruslan said the body had been sent to Sultanah Aminah Hospital for post-mortem. 

He urged anyone with information to contact the police hotline at 07-2212 999 or the nearest police station.  


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 115 other followers

%d bloggers like this: