Wednesday 30 June 2010

TV: 2010 MTV Movie Awards (Foul Language Warning!!) (Updated 2010-07-02)

Do you know who he is? 

Image from Flickr

His name is Les Grossman

Never heard of him? He is a character from one of my favourite movies, Tropic Thunder. A movie that I once recommended to advanced students, who don't mind hearing foul language.

Tropic Thunder has more spinoff websites or movies than any other movies ever!!

Websites for the characters in this movie!!!

And some spin-off websites:

Spin-off movie:
Image from CHUD
Tropic Thunder: Rain of Madness

Now, even Les Grossman will have his own movie!!!

Okay... then what is so special about him? Well, ever since this movie came out, the world has been totally rocked by Grossman, even till now!

How can he rock the world? Take a look!

So I suppose you know who he really is by now. If you still don't, you did not pay attention to the title of the movie clip.

Now enjoy a dance by Les Grossman (from 0:20 of the clip below)

So now you know who he is? He's Tom Cruise! I re-watched Tropic Thunder again last night to recap his stunning performance. You see, to make a great movie, you need great performance from mega movie stars like Tom Cruise, Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. That is because they  rehearse they roles seriously.

 Character Les Grossman is now so famous and so loved that he was invited to reappear in several TV promos for the MTV Movie Awards 2010! That includes Tom Cruise himself as Les Grossman and as Joel Goodson of Risky Business, a movie Tom Cruise did in 1983.

Isn't it funny how Tom Cruise appeared as 2 characters? Now, that's not all, because there were two other young movie stars that were invited to appear in the MTV Movie Awards 2010 as well!

Check it out! After watching, can you tell me which movies these two young actors did?

Yeah, you are right, they did this.

The Twilight Saga -- Eclipse, image from Media.AL

The funny thing about the MTV Movie Awards show is that there are many celebrities there, old and young, competing for the grand prizes, they are super creative and they make hilarious promos-cum-openings. The host is usually a guy who can do talk shows by himself, but how about this year's?

What can you learn from watching the MTV Movie Award 2010? Well, everything you can name! See how much you can understand.

You may need to know the followings:
The Karate Kid 2010's little kid, is Will Smith's son Jaden Smith.The movie isn't out in Hong Kong yet, but  sure it will be, because of Jackie Chan, but the rating is .... don't mention it.
Get Him to the Greek
Grown Ups
The A-Team

Check it out from the Entire Show On Demand link below:

Some parts might not be able to play in Hong Kong, but just wait for the next part to load or manually press the next part by yourself.

Here's a clip of Les Grossman and Jennifer Lopez


Monday 28 June 2010

Website: DigitalRev Camera Reviews & Videos

At a time when I am preparing for my trip to Tokyo, my sister said she has had enough of the Panasonic Lumix FX 3, which I have had enough long ago before I gave it to her, so it is time I offer her my current Canon IXUS 860 IS to her, while I buy a new one for myself ...

Image from Google

Image from

So with limited budget and the fact that I love buying things at a very low price, I am going for a compact camera that falls below $4000, or $3000.

And while I was doing my research, I found some great stuff for your English learning!!!

Check this out! DigitalREV TV

Kai has a strong British accent, probably due to his product reviewer profession. I might have to sound like that if I am doing a recording too! Not sure if you would like that, but oh well, I like this whole channel. I also like the website, because I can easily find the camera models I like to see and get a reference price. Well, I don't think I will buy there, but I get a rough idea of how much a camera would cost.

Kai gives detailed advices, tests camera performances and compares them with other hot picks, he uses both British slang (noticeably, "bloody") as well as American one ("All show and no go"). He might sound / act a little pretentious, but without the pretentiousness, it wouldn't be fun! And I just can't stop watching his video reviews, despite the fact that the models aren't that pretty...

My choice of camera after watching the video? I'm going for the Canon Powershot S90. I want the grey product though.

Image from DigitalRev

bloody -- (adj/adv) (before noun)(Mainly UK very informal) used to express anger or to emphasize what you are saying in a slightly rude way
All show and no go -- see my article here for meaning.
pretentious -- (adj)(Disapproving) trying to appear or sound more important or clever than you are, especially in matters of art and literature
grey product -- (n) see Vocabulary: Parallel Import / Grey Product


Friday 25 June 2010

Movie: Documentary -- The Cove

Do you love dolphins? I do.

Image from caffeine-headache

The Crocodile Hunter -- Steve Irwin did, his family does.
Watch from (1:17) & from (9:00)

But what do some bad humans do to these lovely creatures?

Having won the Academy Award Oscar Best Documentary, Features 2010, 24 other movie awards and 5 nominations, The Cove is not at all a pleasant movie, but we should watch. For education, for our next generation, we should watch...... You saw the way Steve Irwin taught his daughter Bindi Irwin?

Image from Celebrity Wonder

Remember "The Cheerleader" from HEROES? Do you know that Hayden Panettiere has always been an animal activist? She is truly a hero!!!

We should know what is happening to our dearest and friendliest animals in another part of the world......

I'm not sure when this movie will be out in Hong Kong, or whether DVD will be sold in Hong Kong, but just keep a firm eye on this movie, if you care enough for this intelligent animal.

It doesn't just happen in Japan, but also happened in Denmark... *Warning* Only click this if you think you can stand the cruelty

Interesting Facts about Dolphins

They are not only very clever, very friendly, very calm and very gentle, they are also unbelievably helpful:

They are Speech-Therapists

They are Physiotherapists

If you also want to help save the dolphins, there are many ways to do so. One is to educate more people and spread the message of dolphins conservation to your dear friends and family members, another is to support the WWF, and another one is to assist the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society in their work.

If you want to know how else we can save the dolphins, please visit


Wednesday 23 June 2010

News Article: Oil Issues -- Is 10-Year-Old Smarter Than BP?

Came across this video while I was reading the news on Yahoo today.

Interesting, huh? Can a kid be really smarter than the experts at the oil company? Maybe he really can be smarter, because when one is part of something, he can feel quite like a rat in a maze.

While oil is still leaking non-stop in the Atlantic side of the world, back in Asia-Pacific side, price of the oil seems to be dropping, as the fuel surcharge for flights is to be cut in July.

From the Standard,

Hong Kong route fuels lift for airline

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Image from

Singapore Airlines is optimistic about passenger demand rising in the second half, after its load factor recovered to pre-crisis levels, Hong Kong general manager David Lim said.

Capacity on the Hong Kong-Singapore route rose by 15 percent as of June but overall capacity is expected to rise 2 percent amid market uncertainties, Lim added yesterday.

Its East Asia load factor jumped to 77.2 percent last month from 62.1 percent a year ago, surpassing the 71 percent posted in May 2008 before the global financial turmoil.

SIA and Cathay Pacific Airways (0293) will cut their passenger fuel surcharge in July, the Civil Aviation Department said.

The surcharge for short-haul flights will drop 4.55 percent to HK$105 per person while that for longer flights will be 2.1 percent less at HK$513.

Meanwhile, the number of people arriving in Singapore from Hong Kong surged 20 percent year-on- year to 138,000 in the first five months, the Singapore Tourism Board said.

Tourists from the SAR to the Lion City in the first week of June soared 58 percent from a year earlier because of new attractions such as Resort World Sentosa and Universal Studios Singapore, said Vincent Huang, the board's Hong Kong and Macau area director. MANDY LO

Do you remember that I wrote 2 articles on Singapore, one on photo-taking and one on food and drinks? I wrote them because I knew trips to Singapore will get popular, but never expected the popularity rise to be so great.

Well, I'm not going there this summer to compete with the crowd. I'm planning to visit Tokyo for my very first time instead. Do you guys have any suggestions for me in terms of the look-and-see and the shop-and-play?

I hope for nice seafood, but I will feel sick if I see whale / dolphin meat. Why do I say this? Wait for my Friday entry......

Like a rat in a maze -- (metaphor) to be in a confused situation or to be confused.


Monday 21 June 2010

Business Vocabulary: The Cogs -- The Sales Group

So, hope everyone has learnt the business vocabulary well so far, and this entry will mark the last chapter of "The Cogs".

The Sales Group will focus on the sales and marketing side.

Cold Caller - Someone who makes unexpected calls to an unknown household, often for making that person a customer.
Image from mytrsoft

Telemarketer - Someone who markets various goods to people over a phone.  Basically the same thing as a Cold Caller.
Image from cartoonstock

Name Dropper - Someone who tries to gain popularity by pretending that famous people are his/her friends.
The girl in black is a name dropper herself.
Image from cartoonstock

Glad Hander - Someone who is overly friendly with a stranger in order to gain an advantage.

Mover & Shaker -  Someone who has power and influence in some field or activity.
Image from cartoonstock

Two-Face - Someone hypocritical or deceiving; A person who will say one thing to your face, and a different thing behind your back.
Image from Cartoonstock

The Mingler - A person who tends to join or take part in a conversation with others at random, especially during parties. A very social person who is always hanging out with other people.

Image from cartoonstock
Image from cartoonstock

Mr. Hollywood - A term for someone who is very flashy.
Image from ToontownWikia

V.P. - Vice President. An executive officer ranking immediately below a president; may serve in the president's place under certain circumstances. (This is not referring to the President of the United States, however. True name is, though, Senior V.P.)

Enjoy your learning!


Friday 18 June 2010

Movie: She's The Man

Just as you think Facebook's status "It's Complicated" is complicated enough, wait till you watch this movie! She's The Man is a teens-oriented movie released back in 2006 but it is filled with fun and humour. 

It talks about a teenage girl named Viola (Amanda Bynes) who enjoys playing football a lot sees her girls' football team at Cornwall getting axed. She wants to join the boys' team but she is turned down. Her boyfriend, Justin, chooses not to support her and so they break up.
On the other hand, Viola's brother, Sebastian, who is supposed to enter Illyria as a new student, plans to fly to London to play in a music festival, so he asks Viola to cover for him by telling the school that he is sick. 
Viola, realising that she resembles her brother physically, decides to disguise as Sebastian in order to join the boys' football team at Illyria instead. She hopes to beat the Cornwall boys' soccer team and humiliate her goalie ex-boyfriend.
And this is when all the fun begins!!
This movie has many charming young guys, which suits the ladies' taste...
pretty school girls to suit the guys'...Talks about all the troubles that Viola faces disguising as her brother...
The lines and twists in the movie are just so hilariously intelligent ...and Amanda Bynes really rocks! She IS A STAR!!! She's immensely intelligent, she's cool, she's got style, she's bubbly, she's no pushover! There is no better actress to play Viola than Amanda Bynes and she is just so talented!
The movie is young, and even watching it makes you find energy! Although it is not a new movie, it has to be one of the best and my favourite teen movies ever!!! So go get the DVD! There is slang to learn (including those you use to curse someone) and the DVD should be cheap!

I also like the theme song by the Veronicas -- 4ever

Here's something extra, an interview with Channing Tatum and Amanda Bynes

resembles -- (vb)[T] to look like or be like someone or something
immensely -- (adv) extremely
bubbly -- (adj) informal (especially of a woman or girl) attractively full of energy and enthusiasm
pushover -- (n) [C usually singular] informal something that is easy to do or to win, or someone who is easily persuaded or influenced or defeated


Thursday 17 June 2010

News: Ban On Vuvuzela After Players and Fans Complain? Not!

Image from

Just how do you feel about this unique South African musical instruments?

Let's first take a look at how an ESPN commentator feels about it:

How about the footballers? What do they think?

From BBC News,

England defender Jamie Carragher said the noise did not bother him when he came on as a half-time substitute during the 1-1 draw with the United States and he said he had already bought two to take home to his children in Liverpool.

"When I came on I didn't notice it too much. I think you notice it more when you are watching on TV," he said.

"But my kids have been on the phone and asked for two so I'll have to take two home for them. I've got two in my bag already.

"Anyone who watches me play at Anfield will know that I am louder than the vuvuzelas!"


A recent survey found that the sound emitted by a vuvuzela was the equivalent to 127 decibels - louder than a drum's 122 decibels or a referee's whistle at 121.8 decibels.

Portugal star Ronaldo is the latest World Cup star to voice unease about the instrument.

"It is difficult for anyone on the pitch to concentrate," said the Real Madrid forward. "A lot of players don't like them but they are going to have to get used to them."

France captain Patrice Evra blamed the noise generated by the vuvuzelas for his side's poor showing in their opening group game against Uruguay, which finished goalless.

He added: "We can't sleep at night because of the vuvuzelas. People start playing them from 6am.

"We can't hear one another out on the pitch because of them."

I personally think it resembles a mosquito flying in and out of my ear trying to land successfully and bite me because I have covered my entire body, except the head part, with quilt. Ooo... This is a memory I am never fond of, but memory stays, the noise stays as long as I have ears and there are mosquitoes, and the sounds of the vuvuzela also stays, as long as the World Cup is still on going.

Well, you have vuvuzela, I have electronic filter!

The BBC says it may start to filter out the sound of vuvuzelas from its World Cup broadcasts, following complaints about the incessant drone.

The BBC said Tuesday it had received 545 complaints from viewers, forcing officials to look into options to reduce the noise from the plastic trumpets.

One option would be to offer an electronic filter that reduces most of the ambient noise while maintaining the game commentary. 

Football coaches, players and reporters have all complained about the constant din generated by thousands of vuvuzelas at the stadiums.  However, FIFA officials say the horns are a South African tradition and will not be banned.

Let's see who wins?


Wednesday 16 June 2010

Monday 14 June 2010

Environment: The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Solutions

While most people are celebrating goals and blowing vuvuzelas, the Gulf of Mexico is still bleeding oil into the originally-blue-now-brown ocean.

Blowing vuvuzelas.
Image from

Here's a pretty straight-forward news article from Reuters:

Obama wants independent panel to administer BP payments

By Caren Bohan and Tom Bergin

WASHINGTON/LONDON, June 14 (Reuters) - Barack Obama's leadership of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill faces key tests this week as the U.S. president gives his first national address on the disaster and meets top BP (BP.L) (BP.N) executives for the first time.

With America's largest-ever environmental disaster nearing the two-month mark, Obama will press BP executives to set up an escrow account to pay damage claims by individuals and businesses hurt by the oil spill disaster.

The crisis enters its 56th day on Monday as Obama makes his fourth trip to the Gulf -- visiting Alabama, Mississippi and Florida for the first time since the well blew out.

He will stay overnight in the region on Monday and return to Washington on Tuesday and make a nationally televised address at 8 p.m. (0000 GMT).

After being briefed on Monday morning by U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, his point person on relief efforts, Obama will host a round-table discussion and meet local residents in Gulfport, Mississippi.

Obama then plans to travel to Theodore, Alabama, where he will see how the clean-up operations are going and make remarks before traveling by ferry in Alabama from Dauphin Island to Fort Morgan. He will spend the night in Pensacola, Florida, home to some of America's most famous beaches.

Millions of gallons of oil have poured into the Gulf since an April 20 offshore rig blast killed 11 workers and blew out the well.

Obama also will call for an independent panel to administer the payments and to ensure cash is disbursed in a timely fashion when he meets Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg and other BP officials at the White House on Wednesday.

U.S. Senate Democrats have written to BP urging them to make a $20 billion initial deposit to such a fund as a good faith showing that they will not shirk their responsibility. 

Wait, wait, wait, let's take a look at how it all started:

And how far has the spill spreaded?

Now that the methods aren't working, what's there can the people do to help the environment?

What's more, after the hair has been collected, they will need great help from our bio-friends, the oil-eating mushrooms:

San Francisco Bay Oil Spill - Oil-Eating Mushrooms (Nov 2007)

So, that's cool, huh? But of course, we all try not to damage the environment.

disburse -- (vb)[T] formal to pay out money, usually from an amount that has been collected for a particular purpose
shirk -- (vb)[I or T] disapproving to avoid work, duties or responsibilities, especially if they are difficult or unpleasant. ~ responsibilities / duties


Friday 11 June 2010

Science: More Active Sun Means Nasty Solar Storms Ahead

Came across a news articles on Yahoo yesterday, and it is about solar storm.

What is it? I think it is too detailed for me to list out in our English Playground, but I guess the news article itself has a simple description to it.

More Active Sun Means Nasty Solar Storms Ahead

The sun is about to get a lot more active, which could have ill effects on Earth. So to prepare, top sun scientists met Tuesday to discuss the best ways to protect Earth's satellites and other vital systems from the coming solar storms.
Solar storms occur when sunspots on our star erupt and spew out flumes of charged particles that can damage power systems. The sun's activity typically follows an 11-year cycle, and it looks to be coming out of a slump and gearing up for an active period.
"The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity," said Richard Fisher, head of NASA's Heliophysics Division. "At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity tosolar storms. The intersection of these two issues is what we're getting together to discuss."
Fisher and other experts met at the Space Weather Enterprise Forum, which took place in Washington, D.C., at the National Press Club.
Bad news for gizmos
People of the 21st century rely on high-tech systems for the basics of daily life. But smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity.
A major solar storm could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina, warned the National Academy of Sciences in a 2008 report, "Severe Space Weather Events—Societal and Economic Impacts." [Photos: Sun storms.]
Luckily, much of the damage can be mitigated if managers know a storm is coming. That's why better understanding of solar weather, and the ability to give advance warning, is especially important.
Putting satellites in 'safe mode' and disconnecting transformers can protect electronics from damaging electrical surges.
"Space weather forecasting is still in its infancy, but we're making rapid progress," said Thomas Bogdan, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo.
Eyes on the sun
NASA and NOAA work together to manage a fleet of satellites that monitor the sun and help to predict its changes.
A pair of spacecraft called STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) is stationed on opposite sides of the sun, offering a combined view of 90 percent of the solar surface. In addition, SDO (the Solar Dynamics Observatory), which just launched in February 2010, is able to photograph solar active regions with unprecedented spectral, temporal and spatial resolution. Also, an old satellite called the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), which launched in 1997, is still chugging along monitoring winds coming off the sun. And there are dozens more dedicated to solar science.
"I believe we're on the threshold of a new era in which space weather can be as influential in our daily lives as ordinary terrestrial weather." Fisher said. "We take this very seriously indeed."

I also found a very simple yet cool page on the Discovery Channel that can help you understand. When you get to that page, just click on the buttons and information box will pop up from the left side. From that website, I learn that the next Solar Maximum is next year.

I have also found a short video from the Discovery Channel website.

And the full version is here Part 1 to Part 4:

Perfect Disaster -- Solar Storm Part 1

Happy learning and happy weekend!!