Monthly Archives: June 2006

Sleepless over World Cup

Several heart attacks, sore throats, panda-eye looks, not having enough sleep, clocking in late for work on a regular basis – just some symptoms of an epidemic that only comes around to infect the entire world once every four years…World Cup fever!

As I think of whether the above torture is worth it, I simply recall some of the more memorable moments over the past 56 matches. In no particular order, and sorted by numbers, these are my personal moments so far in the on-going World Cup in Germany:

0 – Goals conceded in regulation time by the Swiss in this year’s World Cup; Also the total goals scored by the Swiss in a penalty shoot-out with Ukraine. Result: Swiss creates history by becoming first team in WC history to be knocked out without conceding a single goal. Strange, but true…

3 – Yellow cards shown to the same Croat by ref Graham Poll is just the tip of the iceberg of dodgy refereeing throughout this World Cup. This incident, however, caught my eye for sheer embarrassment (for Poll) and humor (for the fans)…

4 – Red cards and 12 yellow cards outshone Portugal’s hard-fought 1-0 win over rivals Holland in a 2ndround clash. The aftermath: a depleted Portugal midfield moves on to face toothless England; Hollandgoes home (yet again!); Mr Ivanov gets a shelling from all sides – FIFA prez even quoting the ref should be shown a yellow card himself!

Also, 4 different England formations in four matches seen….totally disorganized, boring, dull, unimaginative, scrappy…and yet they are in the quarters with a lucky draw with depleted Portugal next.

6 – Goals that kick-started the World Cup ending with hosts Germany beating Costa Rica 4-2. Goal-rush in a WC opening match?!! Who would have thunk?! Also, total goals scored by Argentina in their demolition of Serbia-Montenegro in a group match. Best dominating team performance of the World Cup so far.

12 – minutes introducing Lionel Messi to the stage of World Cup. Coming in the 78th minute againstSerbia, this talented Argentine announced his arrival in Germany with an assist and grabbed a goal himself. What a joy to watch this boy wonder in action!

15 – Goals scored in World Cup finals; This most goals scored record was achieved by Ronaldo in this morning’s Last 16 match vs Ghana. Incredible achievement considering many critics panned his overweightness throughout the tourney.

24 – Surgical precision passes strung together by the Argentines capped by a cool finish by midfielder Cambiasso in their 2nd goal vs the Serbs in their second Group C match. Brilliant. Breathtaking. Definitely a contender for goal of the tournament.

95 – minute heartbreaker for Australia when 10-man Italy was awarded a penalty against them in a 2ndround action match-up. Totti came off the bench to slot it home to break the 0-0 deadlock and sent all Aussies crying home.

98 – th minute left-footed dipping thunderbolt volley past the Mexican keeper by Maxi Rodriguez sealsArgentina’s place in the quarter-finals. Watching this goal LIVE alone is worth all my sleeping hours lost. Commentators are hailing it as possibly the second greatest goal in World Cup history (behind Maradona’s ’86 slalom). Fans are still talking about this strike all over the world. I still gasp in amazement, even after watching the replay in every angle for the umpteenth time.

8 more matches to go….bring out the coffee! Some things are actually worth losing sleep over!

(Originally posted on

Reel Review: Cars

Category: Movies
Genre: Animation


The wonder-makers at Pixar have outdone themselves again! To me, Cars will surely continue their amazing streak of animation box-office hit streaks since the days of Toy Story…unless of course everyone decides to take a month’s leave from the cinema to watch the World Cup..;-P

A simple story about a hotshot race car (Lightning McQueen) on the verge of championship history, circumstances taking him offroad on a detour where he learns more about life’s journey like friendship, humility, love…awwwwww.

With so many wonderful ingredients to choose from, these are my five main reasons why Cars is a must-see film:

1. Great script. If there’s one area Pixar always seems to outduel its competitors, it’s in the writing. When you think about it, their movies are always not over-the-top, slapstick silly. If I wanted those, I’d just go for reruns of the Three Stooges… Their writings are always crisp, not overtly nor ridiculously silly and it has a knack to evoke the emotions of the human heart. There were two key moments in the movie where I really felt my heart-strings being tugged. Pixar seems to have matured in terms of coming up with things that make people laugh in the cinemas. In a nutshell, Cars really has an adult-feel to it even though it’s basic target audience (for animations) would still be the kids.

2. Roaring soundtrack. Excellent choices of background music to accompany to corresponding scenes. This is one soundtrack album to look out for once it’s released. 😉

3. Breathtaking background animation stills. Think of some of the most popular animated movies in recent memory. If one were to remove all the characters from any particular scene, what would remain would be the background painting/animation still. Personally, the ones that still remain vividly clear in my head are those form Pixar – the soothing aquaria-like sea from Nemo, the realistic lush greenery from the Incredibles, and of course now they gave me a heart-stopping view of the canyons.

4. Originality. Always the first one with the fresh ideas. Expect an onslaught of animations about cars in the not too near future from its other competitors.

5. Perfect voice-casting. Extremely important to find the voice to an animated character. Pixar always seems to get it right! Ka-Chow!

Other great things to look out for include a short animated clip (One Man Band) and funny movie-ending spoofs of Pixar’s earlier ‘classics’.

Don’t miss Cars this year. It’s simply brilliant.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

(Originally posted on