New Year Resolution

30 December 2005
What do you want to do with your life? I found this wonderful web site from an entry in Chris’s blog. 43 Things and its associated sites (43 places and 43 people) offer people to write down their goals in life, places they want to go, people they want to meet and share them to the world. This is quite interesting. It’s also fun to read and you might get inspired by other’s entry to make something happen. This is a good time to set a new year resolution. You could read mine at <http://www.43things.com/person/songphon>

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One Year in Memory of Tsunami

26 December 2005
It’s been a year since Mother Nature proved her superiority over human-being by sending the Tsunami, or the giant tidal wave, to the coast of Thailand and other countries around the Indian Ocean region. There are 5,395 people known to have been killed in Thailand by the disaster, and nearly 3,000 people were still missing. More than 2,000 casualties were the tourists. Now, it’s the matter of those who live through the tragedy. Christmas might not be a merry moment for those who lost love ones in the year to come but live goes on. I’d like to express my deepest sympathy to those whose lives have been effected with the Tsunami.

PS. Thailand Post issues the commemorative stamp in memory of the Tsunami disaster in Thailand. For more information, please check out my other blog at http://www.blogspot.com/songphon on "Thai Charity for Tsunami Victims Commemorative Stamps."

LOUIS VUITTON Chocolate

21 December 2005
Do you know what an item in the picture below is? It’s a chocolate but it’s not an ordinary chocolate. It’s a specialty chocolate in the shape of a name-card of LOUIS VUITTON (Thailand) S.A. I got it as a souvenir for attending the store’s "Thank You" party yesterday evening at The Emporium Shopping Complex. It was an invitation-only event. No, I didn’t get an invitation but my sister did and I accompanied her to the event where millionaires and high-society people were packed in the LOUIS VUITTON store savoring champagnes and glamorous cocktails with a small music band playing classic tunes live in the background. The store offered a luxurious show case of all LOUIS VUITTON products. I had a chance to try a limited edition watch crafted especially by the manufacturer of ROLEX for LOUIS VUITTON’s. It looked gorgeous on my wrist. Well, I guess it certainly looks gorgeous on everyone’s wrist anyway as the price tag is a mere 200,000 baht. Whoever could afford this watch is no doubt a millionaire. I, by no means, don’t dare buying and putting on this watch and wandering around the street in Bangkok alone. It’d better be kept in the locked safe where it belongs.

외출 a.k.a. April Snow

18 December 2005
If you realized that your spouse committed an adultery behind your back and one day you were caught in a reluctant situation where you met a spouse of the person with whom your own spouse was having an affair, because both were comatose because of a car accident, what would you feel? Angry? Sad? Lost? How would you end up with another victim of adultery as yourself? You could explore the situation in this Korean drama movie.

Starring one of the most popular Korean stars Bae Yong-joon and Son Ye-jin, "April Snow" is the highest grossing film of Korea in 2005. The director Hur Jin-ho did a very fine job in telling the story of victims of cheating and broken hearts who end up committing the same mistake. The pace of the story is slow. Even though it might seem too slow, this is a good way to let the audiences share an unexplainable emotion with the movie. The cinematography of the movie is top-notch especially the use of light and color in the movie which perfectly suits the tone of the movie and enhances an unrequited feeling in the film. An open-end ending is typical for Korean film and generally generated a good discussion for everyone after the movie.

PS. Thanks to popcornmag for free movie ticket, and Udomdog for informing me of the event.

4 Stars out of 5, recommend to all Korean movie fan.

King Kong

15 December 2005

Set in New York, 1933, when the economy was declining and life was tough, the movie tells a story of an actress named Ann Darrow who found herself jobless and ended up on a sea voyage with an ambitious and selfish movie director, Carl Denham, to an uncharted island where monstrous creatures actually existed. On the island, Ann was captured by native people and made her a sacrifice to the "King" of monsters which was no other than a 25 feet tall giant gorilla named "Kong." The beauty and the beast shared compassion and fate brought them back in New York. Ultimately, what would become of "King Kong"?

Everyone knows "King Kong." The original movie dated back in 1933 and the remake in 1976 told this wonderful adventure story to millions of audiences for generations. Peter Jackson was one of those kids who got inspired by the original movie and decided that one day he would become a movie director and direct a movie like "King Kong". Now, his dream has finally come true. With the tremendous success of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, Peter Jackson is one of the most anticipated director of a new millennium. He certainly did an excellent job in directing and producing the remake of "King Kong," along with his co-scriptwriters from "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. With a wonderful computer graphic generating technology, Andy Serkis delivered a fine performance as "King Kong" in the same way that he used to perfectly portray "Gollum" in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Naomi Watts is gorgeous as a beautiful Ann Darrow. The other wonderful cast included an award-winning actor Adrien Brody and a veteran actor Jack Black.

All in all, the movie could live up with high expectation. Even though the first part of the movie was somewhat too long and boring, when the action was started, there would be no turning back and you would definitely enjoy both action and dramatic part of the movie till the end. The visual effect is eye-popping and excellent. "King Kong" is truly the eighth wonder of the world.

5 Stars out of 5, highly recommend to all.


Siam Paragon

12 December 2005

paragon \PAIR-uh-gon; -gun\, noun:
A model of excellence or perfection; as, a paragon of beauty or eloquence.

It wouldn’t be up-to-date if I didn’t write about the recently open Siam Paragon, the most gorgeous and biggest department store in Thailand. Even though the grand opening ceremony was held last Friday, the 300,000 square meter area is not fully operated. There are still construction and decoration work going on. Anyway, only the department store itself with the food center and some unique flagship stores could boost the praise for at least a shop-a-holic Bangkokian. With more than 15,000 million Baht of investment, Siam Paragon expects more than 100,000 customers per day, including both Thais and tourists. As its name suggested, Siam Paragon certainly has to prove its quality as "a model of perfection" or as a metaphor of "an unflawed diamond weighing at least 100 carats" to live up with the investor’s expectation.

Mariah Carey and the 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards Nominations

9 December 2005
The nominations for the 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards were finally announced today at Gotham Hall in New York City and Mariah Carey led the nominees with 8 nominations, tied with John Legend and Kanye West. The GRAMMY Awards is one of the most prestigious awards in the US music industry. (Well, ironically, it’s so prestigious that an ordinary music company in Thailand adopted the name of the awards as its own name.) The 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held on Wednesday, February 8, 2006, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. For viewer in the states, the show will be broadcast live in high-definition TV and 5.1 surround sound on CBS from 8:00 – 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

Here are the complete list of Mariah Carey’s eight GRAMMY Awards nominations:

Record Of The Year
(Award to the Artist and to the Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s) and/or Mixer(s), if other than the artist.)
# We Belong Together – Mariah Carey
# Feel Good Inc. – Gorillaz Featuring De La Soul
# Boulevard Of Broken Dreams – Green Day
# Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani
# Gold Digger – Kanye West

Album Of The Year
(Award to the Artist(s) and to the Album Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s)/Mixer(s) & Mastering Engineer(s), if other than the artist.)
# The Emancipation Of Mimi – Mariah Carey
# Chaos And Creation In The Backyard – Paul McCartney
# Love. Angel. Music. Baby. – Gwen Stefani
# How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb – U2
# Late Registration – Kanye West

Song Of The Year
(A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parenthesis.) Singles or Tracks only.)
# We Belong Together – Mariah Carey
# Bless The Broken Road – Rascal Flatts
# Devils & Dust – Bruce Springsteen
# Ordinary People – John Legend
# Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own – U2

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
(For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.)
# It’s Like That – Mariah Carey
# Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson
# Good Is Good – Sheryl Crow
# Will Not Be Broken – Bonnie Raitt
# Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani

Best Female R&B Vocal Performance
(For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.)
# We Belong Together – Mariah Carey
# 1 Thing – Amerie
# Wishing On A Star – Beyoncé
# Free Yourself – Fantasia
# Unbreakable – Alicia Keys

Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance
(For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances, with vocals. Singles or Tracks only.)
# Mine Again – Mariah Carey
# Summertime – Fantasia
# A House Is Not A Home – Aretha Franklin
# If I Was Your Woman – Alicia Keys
# Stay With You – John Legend

Best R&B Song
(A Songwriter(s) Award. (Artist names appear in parenthesis.) Singles or Tracks only.)
# We Belong Together – Mariah Carey
# Cater 2 U – Destiny’s Child
# Free Yourself – Fantasia
# Ordinary People – John Legend
# Unbreakable – Alicia Keys

Best Contemporary R&B Album
(For albums containing 51% or more playing time of VOCAL tracks.)
# The Emancipation Of Mimi – Mariah Carey
# Touch – Amerie
# Destiny Fulfilled – Destiny’s Child
# Turning Point – Mario
# O – Omarion

Well, Throughout 15 years of her music carrier, Mariah Carey had won only 2 GRAMMY awards for her debut album despite of being nominated for multiple times (including a time when she was nominated for 6 awards but went home empty-hand.). It seems that Mariah and GRAMMY Awards are in a different league. Even so, I hope that this year’s 8 nominations would lead to an actual GRAMMY Award for Mariah to celebrate her comeback in style. We’ll see…