Sunday, March 30, 2014

Movie Review : About Time & My Top 5 Movies about Time Travel

I am a huge fan of time-travel movies. I am very fascinated with the subject – so much so that one of my favorite books of all time is ‘the time machine’ by h.g. wells. to me it is the ultimate time-travelling tale and theories. thought of writing this post after I watched the oh-so-sweet ‘about time’ – which is, about – time travel.

I don’t say that I believe in time-travelling. Allah knows best. it’s not in our power to be able to change things in the past for personal gain, or see the future before it happens.

time-travelling just fascinates me because of the many endless possibilities it presented in the many stories. and movies and books give us just that. endless possibilities.


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owh I am just in LOVE with this movie. sweet, funny, heartwarming. watching the trailer make me want to cry again because this movie reminds people that time-travelling or not; it’s the moment you live through day by day are the ones that is important – so live them well and to the fullest!

boy was told that the men in his family has the ability to travel through time. boy meets girl. boy screws up meeting with girl. boy uses time travel to rewind and rewind many times so that the first-meeting would be perfect. and so begins his effort to make each moment in his life ‘perfect’ the way he wants it.

but can life possibly be perfect? we forgot that there are so many variables involved – the lives of other people close to us, one meeting could mean another’s farewell, a life saved might mean a loss of another life – everything is inter-connected, even in time.

domhnall gleeson, practically unknown to me succeeded in oozing charm with his coy and adorkable clumsiness. I love rachel mcadams here, who has risen above her famous bitchy character regina george to become a convincing romantic lead that we can all root for. they have adorable chemistry together, which helps make this movie so enjoyable.

absorb each moment as it happens – because it happens only once. this, this very moment will never come again, so appreciate each and every moment of your life! a must-see for all you hopeless romantics, and even you skeptics too!



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here’s the list of my favorite movies about time-travel, starting from 5th place – I absolutely LOVE these movies so I highly recommend them!

5) frequency



well, in ‘frequency’, the characters don’t physically travel through time – only their voice does – via a radio link. father and son, across the span of 30 years, somehow got reconnected thru the radio waves, during an unusual aurora borealis night.

it’s the future, and grown-up james caviezel whose father had died in a fire when he was little; gets connected with a friendly stranger over the airwaves using those home-radio-thingy, and soon discovers that it’s the younger version of his father in the past! it’s time to save his father’s life so that he won’t die in the past – but with shocking consequences.

now together, cop-son and fireman dad must work together through time to solve a series of unsolved murder!

dennis quaid and james caviezel make a great father-son team. their chemistry will bring tears to your eyes the moment they realize they’re speaking to each other, to the moment they thought they had lost each other all over again. I cried each time!

this is one time-travel-murder-mystery combo you should not miss. a good watch for father’s day too!



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4) 12 monkeys



one of my favorite movies ever. a complex storyline that might leave you clueless, or will blow your mind – once you realized everything is somehow connected. take a close watch, and listen! I was so fascinated by the clever plot, engaging script and the mind-blowing ending that sort off gel everything together.

bruce willis is cole, a convict who is sent back in time to save the future from a virus created in the past. he’s supposed to gather information about the so-called army of the 12 monkeys and the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

bruce willis is undeniably awesome as always : dazed, confused and determined to find the truth. brad pitt gave one of the best performances of his career as mental patient jeffrey goines, earning him the well-deserved oscar nomination and golden globe win.

if you haven’t already seen it, don’t read any more reviews. get the movie, sit back, watch and listen. if we continue living the way we do; pollution, deforestation, illegal poaching of endangered animals – mankind might deserve to be wiped out of this earth anyway…



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3) somewhere in time



tall, handsome christopher reeves. beauty and elegance of jane seymour. a period piece. the glorious era of american film-making. beautiful soaring soundtrack. what a timeless love story.

christopher reeve (best known as superman) is playwright richard, who falls in love with a picture of an actress in the 1912 – and determines to find a way to go back in time to meet her! talk about love that transcends time! he is so handsome, and jane seymour as elise the actress is so gorgeous. such a classic beautiful pair. I love watching them!

how did he travel through time? he got himself the right suit and apparels for that era. he removed anything modern from his room that will remind him of the present time. he lie down on the bed and sort-off hypnotized himself to the past!

the love story might not be as corny as ‘notebook’, or too deep as ‘eternal sunshine of the spotless mind’ or terribly tragic as ‘titanic’ but it’s heart-breakingly sweet and memorable.



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2) midnight in paris



quirky, amusing and clever. I fell in love with this movie instantly, despite not knowing what it’s about when I first watched it! also, in spite of not liking the lead owen wilson. (always thought of him as a mediocre comedic actor whose memorable performance is only alongside jackie chan.) but here, he is the everyday guy searching for that little bit of passion that he’s lost.

and oh, the paris depicted in that movie – just magical.

he’s on holiday in paris with rich fiance rachel mcadams (played brilliantly cocky haha) and while on a walk along the street of paris, the clock struck midnight and suddenly an antique car pulled over, and he found himself partying with the fitzgeralds, having a discourse with hemingway and other great writers of the past!

probably being a student of literature in english has something to do with it, but I was so engrossed with the idea of meeting all the literary geniuses of the past – to ask them about their work, and just get to know the person behind all those magnificent written words.

and between meeting great writers and finding his footing in writing, he also found love. for all fans of PARIS, woody allen and all things funny and quirky.



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1) back to the future




if you haven’t already know what this movie is about – where have you been?!

back to the future is THE ultimate time-travel movie. genius plot-line, a witty script filled with irony and hilarious one-liners, and perfect casting of michael j. fox as marty mcfly and christopher lloyd as doc emmet brown – both became most recognizable time-travelling duo in cinematic history. even the time-machine delorean is just so slick even in 1985 when the movie was released!

‘back to the future’ is about a teenager named marty mcFly, who's sent 30 years into the past by accident and then must make sure that his future parents fall in love so that he can be born. the storyline sounds simple but the story is just so awesome!

too bad the trailer that I found is so extremely corny that it makes ‘back to the future’ looks like some b-grade sci-fi flick! truth is, it’s still one of the most entertaining movies of all time; a genius story-telling if ever there was one.



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sadly the movie ‘the time machine’ starring guy pearce, based on the book ‘the time machine’ by h.g. wells, is quite disappointing, so I could not add it in my top 5 favorite movie about time travel. the book, however – remains one of my most favorite books ever.

while ‘the time machine’ actually has the character travel through time using an actual MACHINE built for that purpose, other time travel movies utilize other means for its character to travel through time.

  • in the wacky comedy ‘hot tub time machine’ travelled back to the past to relive their teenage years via a malfunctioning hot tub; while they’re bathing in it. haha.
  • in the creepy-mystery movie ‘the langoliers’ based on a short story by master horror writer stephen king, the characters on a plane found themselves travelling to the future – and found out that only passengers who were sleeping survived the time-travelling, while others just mysteriously vanished!
  • in ‘men in black 3’, will smith’s character agent J travelled through time – by jumping a high-rise building – because, duuh – ‘time. JUMP’? thanks, but no thanks.
  • in the unforgettable ‘planet of the apes’, the astronaut has no control over the situation when his spacecraft crashed, and he was suddenly transported far into the future when apes ruled the earth while humans are the slaves.
  • in ‘harry potter : prisoner of azkaban’, hermione uses a necklace with a magical pendant that can take her back in time.
  • in the comedy with moral values ‘click’, adam sandler’s character travelled to the future by controlling a magical remote control given to him by a mysterious old guy, to teach him a lesson or two.
  • in ‘back to the future’ it’s a car, in ‘somewhere in time’ it’s through self-hypnotism and mind-control, and in ‘midnight in paris’, the character just magically transformed to the past at the struck of midnight; and of course in ‘about time’ it’s using a dark, closed space while clenching your fist.


creative sangat! oh well. wait, IS time travel possible?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Muscat, Oman : Four Facts You Might Not Know

pictures are taken during our trip to muscat, oman on mr. khairul’s birthday in early march.

1) one of world’s largest yachts is in muscat?



before leaving for dubai, we took a stroll along the corniche at muscat port. alongside it – the while row of shophouses, old houses and even a mosque – is the old muttrah.



we were lucky that day, as we could clearly see this yacht. so? we LIVE in dubai marina. we see posh, rich people’s yacht all the time. so what’s so special about this particular yacht? well, it belongs to the ruler of oman – sultan qaboos. yeap. it’s HIS personal yacht, and it’s one of the largest in the world. I love this picture that I took, because you can see the size of the yacht alongside the typical arabic dhow. awesome.



ordered to be made in 2006, the impressive-looking yacht is named ‘al said’. at the time of launching, the yacht was the world's second longest, and the most powerful.



ok you’ve seen his yacht. wanna know where sultan qaboos lives?


2) what’s the ‘al-alam palace’?


my sis-in-law tina in front of ‘al-alam palace’, sultan qaboos’ official residence


that blue-gold-blue building is the official palace of sultan qaboos (he used it only during special functions. sultan qaboos has 5 other palaces!). it’s called ‘al-alam palace’. the palace has a history of over 200 years, built by imam sultan bin ahmed, who is actually the 7th direct grandfather of the current sultan! talk about keeping-it-in-the-family huh? it’s re-built looking like that in 1972.

I would say this area is the putrajaya of oman, as the palace is flanked by all the ministerial buildings.


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3) historical old forts : al-jalali, al-mirani & muttrah fort

other than frankincense, muscat is also known for its old forts, especially al-jilali fort and al-mirani fort. these two forts are often described as the ‘twin fort’ because of their location on either side of muscat harbour. a beautiful, historical representation of oman’s past.

and even cooler fact : the ‘twin forts’ flanked ‘al-alam palace’, a powerful symbol of protection of the sultan against any foreign attack? what’s clear is, no other building rises higher than these two forts.



that’s the al-jalali fort behind my boysobviously overlooking the sea of oman; protecting the country from foreign attack coming from sea.


al-jalali fort was built by the portuguese in the 1580s to protect the harbor. once in the 17th century it’s also used as a prison for members of the royal family. it’s currently a private museum storing old valuable oman cultural history, open only to foreign dignitaries who visit the country. tak aci!

notice the punctuated dots on the fort in between two towers? that’s the holes for the canons!



that’s me in front of its twin – the al-mirani fort. muscat was strongly defended against attack from the sea by these twin forts. built in the 16th century, it contributed to the fall of portuguese in muscat.



muttrah fort, still holding one of the old canons used in the days of yore. awesome! I LOVE these historical places with extravagantly old items; like touching the stones of the pyramids, or looking at mona lisa, or being inside the taj mahal. it’s just amazing that these are the items that have seen all the wonders of the olden days – the people, the speech, the costumes and customs. and it’s still here, for us to see and touch!


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4) oman, famous for frankincense

frankincense is an aromatic thingy from a plant, that emits smoke when burnt. macam kemenyan tapi wangi. orang arab suka sgt kan benda ni. aku tak minat sangat.

frankincense is a popular item of trade in oman since the 15th centure. in fact, it’s so popular that it has become an iconic symbol for oman. a huge frankincense burner was actually built on top of a hill along the roadside of muscat’s corniche; best viewed from the park beside it.



my boys along this beautiful muscat bay. behind them is the iconic frankincense burner – a symbol of what oman is most famous for.



what’s so engrossing from grandma to her three dubai grandsons?



my sis-in-law tina with her goofy nephews



look at that azure water. it’s so amazingly blue it’s almost magical. and this photograph is NOT filtered in any way. it IS. THAT blue. such gorgeous waters of oman sea!



ok fine. THIS was filtered. filtered baek punya haha. just an awesome reminder of that brief time spent with my sons, in view of the wondrous azure waters of oman sea. just breathtaking.


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we will return! (alah. 4-5 jam je drive weh dari dubai ke muscat! sblom buat highway, ipoh-kl pon 4 jam. ape la sangat. huhu)

Monday, March 24, 2014

By Law, Buildings in Muscat Cannot be More than 10 Floors? and Must always be White?

I couldn’t believe it when I first read it. it’s illegal to build tall buildings in muscat, oman! really? and no other colors are allowed other than white? but seeing the landscape of muscat itself prove that statement to be true.

white. short. and square.

this was my 2nd visit to muscat, oman – and newly discovered this interesting fact. we were here during mr. khairul’s birthday, where he took us all along with his mom, aunt and sis for a weekend getaway to oman.




oman’s capital; muscat is not as metropolitan as the shiny spanking dubai – the buildings are similar, almost uniformed – their WHITE and SHORT. hardly any skyscraper, nor other color than white. what muscat DO have are these black rocky mountainous range that dominate the landscape of oman beautifully.

it turns out that, it’s a fact that most muscat’s buildings never rise more than ten stories – max 12 floors. it’s actually a decree by sultan qaboos ruler of oman to ensure that the city’s magnificent mountain backdrop is never overshadowed my man-made structures.

wow respect! now THAT’s preserving the beauty of nature, and not drowning yourself in the race to build more and more taller skyscrapers hoping to reach the sky!



hardly any skyline filled with shiny skyscraper here in muscat. here, nature dominates.


“..we do not want bland urbanism which can be very alienating. we are also strict about colors, the dominant color in muscat is WHITE and the remaining colors have to be modest and earthy so that they respond well with nature’s colors here. we also have a limit for the height of the buildings and they should not go over 40m. we do not want skyscrapers to compete with our mountains.”  ~sultan bin hamdoon al-harthy, chairman of muscat municipality

click here to read full article.



amazing view of muscat from up top. thanks to our tour guide abg yuzly and kak anis for taking the time to drive us up here. siap bulan mengambang lagi!


hmm. quite, quite interesting!

while dubai encourages people to get as creative and wild as they can in designing new, architecturally breakthrough buildings – coin-shaped building lah, buildings shape like a gigantic red alien ship with the ferrari symbol and many more – until you can hardly remember you’re in a desert; and here in muscat they aim to retain their identity and unified character, while continue to preserve the magnanimity of the surrounding nature. what a stark contrast!

both cities are charming in their own unique way!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Muscat, Oman : Old Muttrah Souq & Camel Mandi Oman

for mr. khairul’s birthday on march 8th, he celebrated it by taking all of us – his wife and kiddos, his mom and aunt and sis to muscat in oman! this was my 3rd time in oman since living in the UAE (united arab emirates). to me, oman is a beautiful country with its own natural characteristic like the rocky mountainous range which you can see all over the country. 

click here to read about the time we spent 2012 hari raya haji in muscat. and this othe posting is when mr. khairul’s whole family (his mak and bapak, his bapak’s sis maklong, his siblings tina, asrar and sofia) went for a musandam dhow ride to see the dolphins, way back in 2010. read about it here.



here’s me and sis-in-law tina at the UAE-oman border. we were immediately greeted by this amazing sight – the beautiful black rocky mountains. this is oman!


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our designated tour guide was this cool couple abg yuzly and kak anis. they just moved to oman from kuwait. I must say they are one of the most friendliest strangers I’ve met in a long time. tak pernah jumpa, tak pernah kenal tapi terus ngam macam dah lama kenal. both husband and wife exude warmth and sincerety. we were in good hands while in muscat!



abang yuzly suggested this yummy thai place for lunch. it’s ‘sabai dee thai foods’. nothing feels better than enjoying good ‘ol asian food while away in a middle eastern country! haha.



we had the unforgettable tom yam seafood, soft juicy steamed fish, crispy ikan 3-flavoured & squid somtam (thai salad). semua sedap. everything tasted good, especially the tomyam and ikan 3-rasa. crispy on the outside, and juicy fishy flesh on the inside. satisfying!



highly recommended by mr. khairul after recommendation from bro yuzly. I think it’s green tea with milk. it’s served like this, and then you stir and end up with a pale green drink. I don’t really fancy plain green tea on its own, but this bitter-sweet drink was really satisfying! I totally love it. it’s new and refreshing. glad I gave it a try!


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the one place to go to shop for antiques is muttrah souq – the oldest market in oman, perhaps in the whole arab world – probably about 200 years! it has got lots of nook and corners that somehow leads you to more and more little shops. you’d think that it’s just a small souq, but its long and winding narrow lanes might get you confused!

me? I love it – it’s like travelling back in time!


mom-in-law, maklang & sis-in-law tina with kak anis our awesome tour guide plus driver plus hostess (hot tea and karipap panas! yum!). she had just moved to oman from kuwait and was such a good sport driving us in, out and all about muttrah souq. thanks so much!




top right picture : mom-in-law and aunt-in-law maklang choosing their favorite arabic perfume. they’re sold in small bottles like minyak attar in mekah but these ones in oman don’t smell that strong – just sweet, and some are fruity macam bau perfume ralph lauren! top left picture : my eldest boy khaleef wearing the distinct recognizable omani cap (kopiah) and here they’re called ‘kumma’. it’s so easy to spot an omani in dubai – just for this one characteristic.


oh, what myriads of sights, sounds and smells when you walk in muttrah souq!

  • sights : colors of pashmina, cloth, jubah of all designs and pattern, and bling blings on bags and jewelery
  • sounds : the crowd; people bargaining for a price, haggling, calling out a wandering child (kahfi!!! not too far!!! kazim, come back! khaleef hold your brother!) hihi
  • smell : the frankincense of course (kemenyan wangi) – for which oman is most famous for since forever, and distinct smell of arabic perfumes



love this shot! especially since I had to quickly take a snap! I’m not too comfortable taking pictures while the owner stared and expecting me to buy something from his shop. sorry dude! I just want a picture of your beautiful shop!



look at all the colors!



enjoying my stroll inside the muttrah souq while mom-in-law, aunt-in-law maklang and sis-in-law tina shop shop shop!


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before we leave muscat, oman, our designated tour guides bro yuzly and kak anis had one more yumminess to offer – a lunch date at a mandi restaurant in oman, specializing in – camel meat! yeap. ONLY camel meat.



no chicken, no lamb meat. JUST camels at this restaurant. the top one in this picture is grilled camel meat, and the bottom one is fried camel meat. each one with its own unique taste that I love. it’s well-marinated as I can taste the spices, and the texture is also very soft and tender – not liat at all. I can eat them all! sedap sangat!



the plate of rice that we shared among 12-13 of us! that’s A LOT of rice, I tell ya! the white one is like our nasi minyak, while the other one is like nasi tomato but not quite. lebih kurang. I prefer the ‘nasi minyak’ because it’s more milder than the orange one.



how big is the plate of oman mandi rice and camel meat? see lah. hihi.


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old muttraq soup, thai food in oman and oman camel mandi. we shop, we eat, we happy – owh, what a holiday!

it was a happy weekend for us, and the day that my mr. khairul turned 35. however, speaking of march 8th, I can’t help mentioning MH370, that went missing on that very date. at the time of writing, the plane is still missing and reportedly ended its flight path in the vast indian ocean. my thoughts and doa go the the perished souls on board, and the grieving family. may Allah continue to give them strength. Allah knows best.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hatta Desert : Sand, Wind & Camels

on our way to muscat, oman sometime early march, (together with my in-laws who were here for their dubai holiday) we passed by hatta desert – beautiful bronze sand everywhere. it was an amazing sight. now my kids are very used to the desert sand already, but what happened that day was an unforgettable moment for them, and me!



my boys – khaleef, kahfi & kazim – brothers forever in the sands of time.



writing on the sand. it won’t last a minute, but the memory will last a lifetime! (corny sangat mak! haha)



the unforgettable moment was when, out of the blue, a group of camels strolled our way, eating plants while their at it. what a wondrous sight! it was wonderful to watch.



wild camels out to get lunch. so adorable!



kazim playing in the sand; while the family of camels taking a stroll in the background. and since you’re looking, oh those sand dunes!



thank you, camels for sharing your family moments with us!



here is my sis-in-law tina with her dubai nephews



mr. khairul with his aunt maklang, while his mom looks on at the back.



dubai-hatta road lies in the background – a favorite fast lane for bikers of UAE, a common playground for mr. khairul and his biker buds. what a beautiful sight of bronze sandy desert as you chase the wind on two wheels!


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enjoy the clip below; my boys, the sand and our unexpected guests. the background music is lagu ol skool ‘midnight at the oasis’ by maria muldaur.


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