Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Paul Scholes - the Gingerhead Genius

Perhaps one of the greatest things that Paul Scholes ever did as a footballer in this time and age, was to remain anonymous in the social limelight, but yet be the genius that he is on the field.
And such a magnanimous presence he brings on to the field. http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
He made many bad and mistimed tackles, but don't let that take away the fact that he had an eye for the killer pass and the killer volley goals.
He is the best volley goal scorer I have ever seen.
And it is really sad to know that he has effectively retired today.

After an illustrious career with the Red Devils, he finally calls it a day. We, the fans knew it was coming. But we didn't know that it would be this soon. Perhaps one more season we thought. He had other plans however. And now, he will be part of the coaching staff. Sad news, but its a transition and perhaps a necessary one for him.

Perhaps the final member of the Class of 92 (Beckham, Gary Neville, Philip Neville, Nicky Butt and Scholes) sans Ryan Giggs, to leave the United pitch and take his place as one of the United greats of all time. We already seen Gary Neville played his testimonial match. And now it's Scholes' turn.

So, what can be described about ol gingerhead?
Here is what some of the greats of football has to say about him:-

Zinedane Zidane -" My toughest opponent? Scholes. He is undoubtedly the greatest player of his generation"

Thierry Henry - "Without any doubt the best player in the Premiership has to be Scholes... He knows how to do everything."

Sir Bobby Charlton - "Paul is always so in control and pin-point accurate with his passing—a beautiful player to watch."

Xavi - "A role model. For me, and I really mean this, he's the best central midfielder I've seen in the last 15, 20 years. He's spectacular, he has it all, the last pass, goals, he's strong, he doesn't lose the ball, vision. If he'd been Spanish he might have been rated more highly. Players love him."

My view? Definitely one of the best midfielders United has to offer (according to the exposure of football that I have at least).
A creative attacking midfielder and the engine for the United attack complemented by other peers who were great as well.
An asthmatic (just like me) who beat all odds to become the professional footballer that he is and one that didn't let anything bogged him down.
A lousy tackler, ahaha, he is the Premierships third worst tackler mind you, 90 yellow cards and 4 reds.
A role model, footballer, family man and a player, any fan will always be proud of.

In the quiet words of Paul Scholes in a rare interview before Euro 2004 on what his usual day was, came the unassuming answer - "Train in the morning, pick up my children from school, play with them, have tea, put them to bed and then watch a bit of TV"

Here's a video of the gingerhead genius in his element. I enjoyed watching it, and was near to tears watching it. Enjoy :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Barca Magic

It happened. As I have feared. A repeat of Rome 2009.
Only this time, the Barcelona team was at their peak.
Guardiola has won it for the 2nd time in 3 years. A terrific feat for a manager as young as he is.
But in all honesty, he had the pleasure of inheriting a great side, one that has risen through the ranks of the Barcelona youth system. Which reminds me of the class of 92 of United's side, arguable one of the best in Europe during it's peak.

But today, it was all about Barca.
Fluid passing between midfield and attack. Victor Valdez acting as the sweeper and last man and triumphing over United's attack bids.
Messi was uncontainable and it took at least 2-3 men to try to do it. Which leaves room for the other dangermen, Xavi and the swift Villa and Pedro to break through the defence.

United, like in Rome 2009, started the better of the teams. Playing their usual passing game and giving us fans some decency of a challenge for the first 15 minutes or so. Then after that, it was all but over but more on the defence against Barca's onslaught.
Barca drew first blood first with a sweet Xavi through pass and Pedro's strike at Van Der Sar's near post after 27 minutes. Not bad, United lasted longer this time.
And before half time, few passes between Fabio, Rooney, Carrick, Giggs and back to Rooney conjured and equalizer which we thought would never happened. United seemeed like they were back on their feet. It was a wonderful goal and a beautiful one at that. It was game on before half time.

And in the 2nd half, Barca once again proved that their prowess was unmatchable. Messi, always the dangerman, created space for himself out of nothing and scored the 2nd. And at the 69th minute, Villa sealed the victory. As how it was reported, Nani committed suicide by giving the ball away at the box to Messi, who didnt do much with it. But Busquets laid it for Villa to strike it at the top left Corner and Van Der Sar, after making so many heroic saves, couldn't touch it no matter how much he stretched.

So, United was deservingly beaten, because of many things i.e., Park giving the ball away too cheaply although his defensive play was spot on, the usual long ball tactics, Giggs couldn't focus or execute his creative plays, Valencia pretty much made many fouls but got away most of the time, Vidic and Ferdinand were not marking tight enough and Evra wasn't having such a good day, Carrick disappeared once again.
As a friend exclaimed, United didn't have a defensive player who was daunting and intimidating like how Roy Keane or Patrick Viera operated. Barca had Mascherano and he had a decent game.
But hey, it's all too easy to say all this. But the truth is the truth. United were no match for Barcelona and it's just that.
And as the final whistle blew, Alex Ferguson congratulated Guardiola with a rare smile to other managers, perhaps noting that his side was truly and undoubtedly beaten.

I would applaud the Barca win as well, as they won it deservingly. http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

And also as I end this post with some sadness and awe at the same time, but also encouraged that United can only get better from this, I would like to say a heartfelt thanks to Van Der Sar. His career has been an illustrious one and he will no doubt rank as one of the United Keeping greats together with the Great Dane.
Indeed the flying dutch will be missed by all United fans in unison.

Thank you Van Der Sar!
And thank you Barcelona for an emphatic win!

Now, it's time to get my long awaited shut eye and back to reality..

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Catalans vs the Devils Redux : 2011

2009 : Champions League Final
Manchester United v Barcelona

Man Utd were outclassed in every department of the game by the Catalans.
Barca's win was an emphatic and deserving one. No one disputed that. Even United themselves.

May 28 2011 : Champions League Final
Barcelona v Manchester United

Barca still looks to be the better team. United however were unbeaten in the Champions League this season.
Man United will probably start the line up with the one that beat Schalke in the first leg. In any event, this is probably the line up for tonight.

Van Der Sar - on goalkeeping duties
Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Fabio - holding the fort
Park, Carrick, Giggs, Valencia - holding the ball, passing, winging, you name it
Rooney and Hernandez - to tap the ball into the net

Barca's line up would include :-

Valdez - keeping duties, no one else but him
Pique, Puyol, Abidal, Alves - with the likes of veteran Puyol and the young brashness of Pique, it would be a difficult task breaching the walls
Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets - the engine, easily the best midfield line up in the world at the moment
Rodriguez, Messi and Villa - the attack force most feared

So what are the odds tonight?Seems to be leaning heavily on Barca.
But if Iker, the octopus's predictions are correct, then United should be lifting it tonight. Hahaha. Yeah. Trust an octopus. Paul died already, so don't bother.

Well, the task is a heavy and daunting one. But it is not impossible.

Tonight, I hope to see Van Der Sar lift one more trophy before he ends his illustrious career. And I hope to see Giggs emerge from the ashes of his recent scandal, at least for tonight's performances, to give his best.
United need to contain so many good players, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Villa, and I hope United succeeds in doing so.
Well, will Valencia (or Nani) tire the Barca defence? Will Hernandez score from anywhere from his body tonight? Will Giggs work the midfield engine to create magic? Will Scholes volley and score ala Zidane? Will Owen make a surprise substitute appearance and win it for United?

We shall soon find out...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Desolate Sounds

For full effect of these songs, it's best to listen to them in dimly lit or dark even room, empty vastness and desolation, or in the dungeons of doom...

Sarah Mclachlan - Black

Portishead - Cowboys

Portishead - All Mine

Sarah Mclachlan - Gloomy Sunday

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Christian Music in the 90's - Part 2

We continue with the series of Christian Music in the 90's

We start of with:-

Genre - Alternative Rock
Skillet were back then:-
John Cooper - bass, vocals
Trey McClurkin - drums
Ken Steorts - guitar, guitar synth

I didn't really bought the first album, but I remembering borrowing it from someone, Colin I think. Bought the second album titled Hey Man I Love Your Soul. Their music was more industrial then. There were band line up changes and music changes in the 2000 onwards. But this was from the 90's. Alternative.

Skillet - Gasoline from their album Skillet

PFR - Pray For Rain

Genre- Alternative rock
PFR stood for PRAY FOR RAIN.
PFR were:-
Joel Hanson - guitars, vocals
Patrick Andrew - bass
Mark Nash - drums

I think their music was akin REM. Or any other similar sounding bands. Very much alternative rock. If the drummer's surname is familiar, that's cause he was Leigh Bingham's (of Sixpence None the Richer) former husband. Wasn't really into their genre, but hey, it brings back memories.

PFR - Pour Me Out from their album Them

Sixpence None the Richer
Genre - pop rock, dream pop

Sixpence None the Richer were in essence these two:-
Leigh Bingham - vocals
Matt Slocum - guitar
The rest are not mainstays..I think..ahaha

Anyway, I really enjoyed their brand of alternative music. Really nice and in the 90's very much in the vein of dream pop acts like the Sundays. Uncanny similarities in music, but what set them apart were the vocals. Leigh's vocals were distinctive and so where Harriet Wheeler's (of the Sunday's fame, in which I will do a post of them in the near future). Even when they went mainstream, I still enjoyed their music and they hit it big with their monster single "Kiss Me". But for now, these was a sample of their earlier stuff.

Sixpence None the Richer - Thought Menagerie and Maybe Tomorrow from their Album This Beautiful Mess

EDL stands for Every Day Life
Genre - Rapcore
Very Cypress Hill sounding.
Didn't bother naming the EDL personnel. Too many
First song I heard from them was 90's warfare. Blew me away. Couldn't find it on Youtube. Damn.
Anyway, this song is from American Standard. Hard to get good music like this nowadays

EDL - Transcend from their album American Standard

Precious Death
Genre - heavy metal
Can't get enough information on the band. But from my friend Gideon's list and upon listening to them on Youtube, yes, definitely something memorable.

Precious Death- Something About the Weather

Genre - Metal

Kevin Young - bass, vocals
Tim Barett - drums
Brad Noah - guitars

Awesome metal. Bought their later stuff. Not as good as in the 90's. Very much rapcore then. Solid and steady riffs.

Disciple - Big Bad Wolf from their album This Might Sting a Little

Alright. It's sleepy time. Time to get back to reality and work beckons me in the morning. Trials coming up. Need all the energy for concentration as much as I can get. :)
Part 3, coming soon...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

It's a great day in Manchester...

1994 - "Au revoir Cantona and Man Utd. Come back when you've won 18" - A banner made by the Scousers, stamping their authority on the Premier League.

May 2012 - after the a tight league title chase, where points were dropped by the contenders. And up till the time when Man Utd took the lead, points were still dropped and the race was wide open on several counts.
However, today, 15 April 2011 - Manchester United have finally surpassed Liverpool's 18 first division / premier league trophies.

Manchester United gets their 19th and now is truly the best English team ever.

And for all this, it is this man, who has left a legacy in the red half of Manchester. Sir Alex Ferguson.

You can take away anything from this man, but you can never take away the legacy he has build over almost 3 decades.
And over these decades, he has reversed the fortunes of a once great club and transformed them into a greater club. The great gaffer that he is, the sly old fox, his brand of discipline is perhaps what is most revered to by the players. Just ask Jaap Stam, Roy Keane and even David Beckham and they will tell you all about it :)
Well, there is so much to write about this man, but today, we shall just note that he is now, one of the greatest managers in the portals of football history.
And what a lasting mark that will be for Manchester United and football as a whole.

And today, with the youthful likes of Javier Hernandez, Fabio, Raphael, Darren Gibson, Antonio Valencia, Nani to name a few, we can perhaps rest and be assured that with the soon to be expected departure of the old guard (Giggs and Scholes), the team will labour on to win more and more titles and play better football (and we do hope that they play more exciting football in the coming seasons and not just dour football to scrape for points, although that should be the main thing innit? haha.

As for me, I will still revel, in my opinion, the best team ever for Manchester United (1998/1999)and also remember the magical genius of Cantona. And one day perhaps, when this world ends, can I truly say which Manchester United team, from the day I first watched them play, is truly the greatest, as more and more exciting youngsters move up the ranks.

Well, for every Beckham that departs, there will be a Christiano Ronaldo. And for every departing Christiano Ronaldo, there will always be a Chicarito. And the list goes on and on and on...

But today, lets just revel in joy the 19 titles that marks United's dominance now in the English League.

"You can't win anything with kids" - Alan Hansen, 1995. How far from truth those statements ring, in this age of football. Somewhere, Alan Hansen must have had a hearty meal, eating back his words.

Oh, yes. It's a great day in Manchester also because Manchester City have finally ended their trophyless days after 35 years. Well done to them. Though I know I should have more animosity towards them, haha. But alas, they laboured and they won it, with their multi million dollar squad. Well, I would be happier if Stoke won though. That would have said so much more....:)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Christian Music in the 90's - Part 1

My post is going to be a very biased one.
But like the comments or things that I say in this Blog, it is my view and perhaps mine alone. Actually I couldn't care less what you all think! AHAHA! Suckers!

Anyway, I truly thought the 90's was a good time for Christian music. Of course, the genre that I impose my thoughts on would be hard music, and not the contemporary kind. After all, contemporary music is timeless, i.e. praise and worship songs, and stuff by Avalon or Michael W. Smith or even Point of Grace. I still listen to their stuff. Nope, not talking about Delirious or Hillsongs even.

It's all about hardrocking, metal-induced goodness and lip smacking alternative junk that was in Heaven's Metal or some other Christian metal magazine.

We begin with P.O.D.- Payable On Death.
Genre - Rap metal
Every Knee was the first ever song I have heard from them through a Christian Metal compilation CD. They were hardcore and aggressive and that's perhaps the point that I liked them in the first place. P.O.D was Sonny on vocals, Marcus on guitar, Traa on bass and Wuv on drums. The line-up may have changed along the years but so has their direction in music, being more mainstream and less hardcore. But this was early P.O.D. stuff

P.O.D. - Every Knee
- From their album Snuff the Punk. No MTV, just pure music and adrenaline.

Tourniquet - genre - trash metal/ Hard rock
Line-up (at that time):-
Ted Kilpatrick - Drums
Luke Easter - Vocals
Gary Lenaire - Guitar
Victor Macias - Bass
They have gone through line up changes over the years. Playing traah metal and then switching to heavy metal and then subsequently back to their trash metal roots.
Vanishing Lessons - from their album Vanshing Lessons

The Guns and Roses of the christian music circle.
Genre - hard rock/heavy metal
Line up (at that moment) :-
Dale Thompson - vocals
Troy Thompson - guitars
Jerry Mcbroom - drums
Rik Foley - bass
Awesome riffs, and even more awesome vocals.

Bride - Scarecrow Messiah - from the album Scarecrow Messiah

Just listened to their new stuff - Tsar Bomba, and boy, they never changed. I liked them then, I still like them now! :)

genre - punk rock
Roughly same era as Green Day. However, their music was more punk rooted and less pop. Edgier I would say. They consider themselves a band of Christians and not a Christian band....oh well...:)
Line up:-
Mike Hererra - lead vocals, bass
Yuri Ruley - drums
Andy Husted - Guitar

MXPX - Punk Rawk Show - from their album Teenage Politics

The Crucified
Genre - trash metal
Line up:-
Mark Salomon - vocals
Greg Minier - guitars
Jeff Bellew - Bass
Jim Chaffin - drums
The first time I have ever heard double pedal (in this regard double bass I reckon) on any song. I was instantly hooked to the lightning riffs and lightning speed drumming. It was insane. And the original cover depicting humanity's decay, was absolutely wicked. Hard hitting lyrics, no holds barred! Not for the faint hearted.

The Crucified
- Mindbender from their album Pillars of Humanity

The Prayer Chain
Genre - Alternative metal
Line up:-
Tim Taber - vocals
Andrew Prickett - guitars
Eric Campuzano - bass
Wayne Everett - drums

The Prayer Chain - Crawl- from their album Shawl
Best intro ever. :) And very special song.

Easily one of my favourites. Sound of Seattle. When grunge music was at it's peak. Although compared to Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Nirvana, it was still one of the best grunge bands ever from Seattle. Heavy, grungy, just how I like it. Creed who?!!!
Grammatrain - Believe from their album Lonely House

Joe Christmas
Genre - Indie, Emo-pop
Not much information about them but here is a link

Joe Christmas - Coupleskate

Right now. That's all for tonight. Whole day at work and witness statements to draft.
Now you may wonder, what about DC talk, Audio Adrenaline and Jars of Clay? Well then, wait for Part 2...coming soon

Sunday, May 8, 2011

19...and counting....:)

"And so...in the magical realm of Footielandia, good triumph over evil when the valiant knights from Mancunia defeated the evil blue Chelsean Stamfordia Bridgia trolls and have perhaps successfully reclaimed the BPL treasure from the evil clutches of the Blue trolls. Over in the land of Manchester Mancunia, rainbows filled the normally grey sky. Twas a good day indeed.....a good day...:)"

Venue: Kayu Nasi Kandar SS2, Chow Yang. (thats a freaking mouthful)

Guilty parties: Joe Han, Kah Weng, Wil Liam, Eddy, Lian Sim, Daren, Kin Fai, Khee Fatt, Colin, Desmond and I.

It was billed to be the game of the Season. The title decider. And yes, it was the title decider. If United lose, Chelsea leads on goal difference. If United win, then the title is virtually theirs, and theirs only to lose thereafter. If both teams draw, it will go down the wire until the final game. But it didn't as United, played perhaps one of their best first half games ever.
To be honest, there weren't many chances. But the strikes wherever and whenever available, were crucial. Great passes from Giggs and a killer pass from Ji Sung, set up the first goal which was clinically finished by Hernandez, the Chicarito...:) Within 38 seconds of kick off, Hernandez already sent the crowd in Kayu Nasi Kandar at ChowYang shouting and celebrating as if it was Independence Day all over again!

Much later, Chicarito misses a wonderful cross and tries to coax the referee for a corner that it was off a Chelsea player. That didn't work.
Rooney takes another shot later but misses it wide.
And as Giggs, at the 32 minute puts in a cross, an unmarked Vidic, floats into the box, and still unamrked, until Ashley Cole realizes that Vidic has crept into the box as the ball flies across, and Vidic heads it to give the Mancunians 2 goals up!

Chelsea replied in the second half through a Frank Lampard scored one back for the Blues. the final minutes were intense as Chelsea, dominating the second half fired in shot after shot. If not for the heroics of Van Der Sar, Chelsea would have probably equalised...and more. But if it wasnt for Hernandez's missed chances, United too would have be up by quite a few goals themselves. And Alex made a wonderful save off Rooneys goal bound shot.

In the end, the Reds held on to triumph over the evil blues. I guess it was a blue day for Chelsea, as Malouda and Kalou were duds in offence. Only Blue player worthy of any mention in the offensive bit was Drogba. And Alex too in defence. Can't say the same for Torres who has still continued to play dud football in Chelsea. Well, I still wouldn't mind his services at United if he one day decides to come :) nayahahah
And yes, Carrick did made a cameo appearance after 88 minutes of football absentia...and I thought he was doing a shadow dance in the pitch all along!

Perhaps, the surprise of the night was Arsenal losing 3-1 to Stoke. Probably the players feared Shawcross more than as expected. Oh well.......

So, all is well in Footielandia as the Red Mancunians triumphed over the Blues of Chelseania. As Chow Yuen Fatt's Mark Kor once said in A Better Tomorrow, I will reclaim mine which was lost!!
Something like that......

Anyway, now....United are the only enemies left....so dont slip up...anymore..:)

photos from Gettyphotos at soccernet.com

Sunday, May 1, 2011

TF3- Please let it be bearable!

After watching the trailer, I know I should be excited.
Afterall I am a big fan of Transformers. Well, at least the original cartoon anyway.
But seriously after watching this trailer, somehow...I fear that it's going to be another Independence Day or, I don't know...Battle for Los Angeles? I didnt watch the last one actually. But what the heck, I just put it in for good measure.

Anyway, after suffering nightmares from watching the last Transformers 2 movie, my expectations were pretty much low for Transformers 3. I loved the first Transformers. Not so much the story but because the CGI was terrific! Blew my mind.

Tranformers 2...not so. The storyline was messy. It didn't make sense. Why is the Fallen the main bad guy when he's more a pansy? And how come some of the Robots are like ninja's that get kill in those 80's ninja movies, kill fodder!? Transformers with testicles?! WTH? And the dynamics between Megatron and Starscream were missing. The humourous banter and insults between them. And the need for human actors in a film about robots!? I mean what the hell is that about?
Seriously, I had more fun reading the Topless Robot review on TF2 and got more laughs and entertainment from it!
Oh and they did a GI Joe review too and shred it into pieces! hahaha.

Well, after being all hyped up with the Sucker Punch trailer and being very much disappointed by it, and believe me, of all my friends who criticized the movie, I was kind enough to say its watchable. Oh hell.. ahhaa

Anyway, after watching TF2, I had to rummage my DVD collection to re-watch the Transformers the Movie (animated) once again to try to remind myself that I'm still a fan and Transformers are still great! It's just that some people's rendition of it may be different. And did I mention awful?! Damn you Michael Bay!! hahaha

OK. Nuff said. I don't have much expectations for TF3, so it will be easier on me I suppose. Well, if you do find youself hating, you can always remind yourself of the great animated series. :) After all, there was more drama there and when Optimus Prime died in the animated movie, it was more realistic and I was quite traumatised!
Not so in TF2. He didn't die heroically enough to resurrect much later in the said movie.
Anyway, the link is here if your need to erase any nightmares. I knew I did for TF2. Hope TF3 treats me kinder! Ahahaha