Friday, August 31

Film: Knocked Up Click for more info

In one word, gratuitous. Gratuitous swearing, gratuitous imagery and gratuitously funny. That's Knocked Up.

Guy meets girl in bar, they have a one night stand and the latter falls pregnant. However the upcoming birth merely provides a scenario and universe for some very funny characters to live in for the two hours or so in which this film runs.

It's kinda like a montage of scenes which don't really add anything to the already loose plot. Heck, I'm not even sure if these people started with a script since it all seems so random and improvised.

There's just bags of fun on offer here; so much so that I didn't even care. I think I missed quite a bit of the film because I was laughing so much. A warning though: like all good comedy, Knocked Up pushes the boundaries of what's acceptable, and some might find it a bit strong or off-putting because of that. Give this a miss if you get offended easily.

But yes, I enjoyed this a lot. Recommended... But don't blame me if you get totally grossed out by this film.

XKCD Click for more info

Today's comic discusses How What Seems Undeniably Certain Can Indeed Change.

I suspect that men everywhere are nodding away. Silently, of course. Don't forget to check out the title!

Wednesday, August 29

Game: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations Click for more info

How many colons are you allowed to have in a single title anyway?

The third in the lawyer simulation game series, Trails and Tribulations doesn't seem to add much to Justice For All (and a review of the first Phoenix Wright game can be found here). The main difference is that, for the first case at least, you don't play Phoenix himself, but this change in protagonist doesn't affect the sublime gameplay.

Perhaps I'm too early in the game to have seen any new gameplay elements, but to be frank I don't care if it's more of the same. As with the other two games, the fun is in watching the story unfold; everything else is just a way of making that happen. Visuals, sounds and controls are all pretty much identical to what was seen before, so this really is more content rather than a new game.

With news that the fourth game (already released in Japan, exclusively for the DS) leaves behind Phoenix altogether, T&T does mark a natural end to this story arc at least. On the other hand, it's good to know that there's more OBJECTION! action left for us to consume, even after this, the latest episode, is over and done with.

Spoilt For Anonymous Choice

For some reason since my return from Down Under I've been slightly out of whack on my daily commute in, being delayed an average of five to ten minutes more than I usually would. What this meant is that I had begun to see a different "commuter crowd" on the way in. And what this meant is that I hadn't seen any of my usual stalkees for a good while.

However this morning showed that, sometimes, life likes to restore peace and balance to all of our lives. For, just as I was recovering from finally seeing Victoria for the first time in months, who should join her, but Chewie? Oh yes; I almost fainted. This was a sign that, yes, today was going to be a good day.

But after a while I realised that this actually presented a bit of a dilemma. Who in particular was I supposed to get excited about? Whose memory would keep me on that high for the next couple of hours? How was I supposed to hypothetically[1] approach either with the other right there too at the time? Come to think of it, is there any infidelity in stalking two girls at the same time?

All important questions I'm sure you'll agree. If you have any ideas, let me know.

And yes, as per usual neither of them batted an eyelid, so it seems that life likes to keep a few things constant too. Oh and the fact that I had just finished my oh-so-intellectual book and replaced it with a DS is just ironic.

[1] Since I wasn't actually going to approach either of them really.

Monday, August 27

Book: Islam in Transition - Muslim Perspectives, John J. Donohue, John L. Esposito Click for more info

This book presents a series of short essays discussing various "Islamic" issues, both modern and classical. Specifically it deals with topics of identity, a modern state, social change and contemporary issues.

The articles have been taken from all over the place, both spatially and temporally - we have the mission statement of HAMAS, fatwas from Osama Bin Laden and then their reformist counterparts in the form of Tariq Ramadan and the like. Articles have been taken from the 1800s untill post-9/11 and from the USA all the way to Indonesia. Sometimes it's difficult to switch between all the different styles used by their respective authors.

The main conclusions can mostly be reduced to one of two fundamental ideas: that of reform and traditionalism. Interestingly, the articles can also be cut along another line lying somewhere between tolerance and intolerance; however the correlation between these divisions may not be what you might expect. We see both radical and mainstream ideas coming from both camps.

It's this sense of even-handedness and balance which makes the book a good read over all. It was refreshing to see a range of various (and sometimes contradictory) Muslim perspectives, all equally claiming to be rooted in true Islam.

Still, Islam in Transition is a hard and long slog of a read. Like many other of the Islamic books I've read recently, this seems to be more of a companion reference than something to read cover to cover. In spite of that, it remains interesting throughout whether you agree with the views being offered or not. This is as unbiased as a book can get and manages to treat all the opinions held in its pages with respect, making it both a rare and, more importantly, authentic volume to read and take in.

Sunday, August 26

Film: Heyy Babyy Click for more info

A bit of an oddball here; after managing to condense most of Three Men and a Baby's slapstick elements in the first fifteen minutes, Akshay Kumar and the gang manage to present something that actually manages to entertain.

So what we have here is a comedy of sorts, with the serious business kicking in later when the inevitable issues of maternity crop up. It's a pretty straightforward premise though - possibly a bit too simple as the makers decide to make things a bit more surreal in order to flesh the framework out. At risk of spoiling the film I won't spell these out for you, except to say that the three main male protagonists get a bit too close during this film.

Surprisingly, Vidya Balan gives a bit of a weak performance, but manages to look good while doing so anyway. Location was poignant; it was set in Sydney and it was good seeing it again (even though some bits were in Brisbane. But that's okay since I had been there too). The music was nothing to scream about, but on the bright side there were only three or four songs anyway.

But Heyy Babyy is genuinely funny (and the audience were clearly amused tonight) and overall pretty good and solid, if lacking in any real substance.

Oh and yes, that opening video was worth the asking price alone.

Saturday, August 25

Food: Benihana Click for more info

Benihana offers novelty Japanese hotplate cuisine to eight or so people sat around a hot plate (if you're a fan of Friends then you know what I'm talking about).

I say novelty, because part of the fun is having a private cook prepare the food in front you. Unfortunately this brings with it a risk; although all the food is prepared to an equally high standard by all of the chefs, it seems that there's no guarantee of getting one who is entertaining.

Due to its size, our party was split into two, and as luck would have it, my half got the not-so-exciting chef - he actually advised me to start my food with Bismillah which, although appreciated, was a long way from the flames, culinary stunts and jokes the other party were being treated to).

The food was okay enough; typical Japanese fish and accompanying sauces. Drinks were nice too, with a good range of non-alcoholic "mocktails" available for us to buy. Service was adequate too, although I couldn't help but feel rushed to leave (although we were late so this may have been equally our own fault).

At £22.50 per head (including one drink), Benihana was good enough value - provided you get a good show while eating too. The fact that this is a bonus rather than certainty should be considered before trying out this place.

Thursday, August 23

Three Years On, Still Going On Strong (Kinda)

So once again I personify this collection of posts by granting them a birthday. Pretty silly if you ask me, especially seeing how I refuse to acknowledge my own. However instead of celebrating, I think I need to apologise a bit.

Writing-wise, it's been a pretty tough year. I'll go further, and say that the content of late has been pretty poo. Basically the issue is that of time. I guess it's a good thing that I've finally gotten myself one of "life" things people keep telling me about, and that I do more in my week than I have time to write about. It's certainly not a lack of inspiration if my draft folder is anything to go by.

Since they're more time-sensitive, my reviews and journal entries are getting written, but I don't think they were what really drew people to read Radio Shak. The lack of what I label as opinion posts seem to be affecting my hit count - the regular 1500+ hits a week I was getting a few months ago haven't really been seen since.

If I want to take my writing seriously, then I guess I have to make it a priority. Whether this actually happens or not, I don't know: I certainly plan on taking affirmative action if only to slog through those posts lying in my drafts.

But hey, Radio Shak is still here in some form, which I hope is still saying a lot. I just hope that next year I'll be back on form; it'll be a shame if not, because even if no one else misses what this place was, I certainly do.

Things That Pee Me Off #10: People Yawning On Trains

Of course I have nothing against yawning itself - as someone who receives much less sleep than he should I yawn as much as anyone else.

No, it's those who yawn without covering their mouths that annoy me. Don't they care that everyone else can see almost all the way down their throats? They almost resemble the monkeys and apes who yawn on television nature programmes.

There isn't a single type of person who does it either - old or young, man or woman, suit or casual. They all do it, and with respect to an attractive girl on the train there's nothing more off putting than her showing off her fillings.

I realise that this is a small thing really, but it's an even smaller task to raise your hand over your mouth. More than the view, it's the lack of consideration that irritates me. It seems that people are becoming less and less aware that there are others around them - it's why there are so many bad drivers out there, so much litter and so much general selfishness on the street.

But for now, just cover your mouths please!

Monday, August 20

The Karaoke Effect

On Saturday, Halaliano's played venue to a twice(ish) annual(ish) Karaoke session some people I know organise. The event itself was okay but it wasn't as good as it has been before: paradoxically there weren't enough people yet far too much personality and the set up was all wrong - the speakers were way too loud and positioned so that people had to scream rather than sing. Oh and yes, and I sucked that evening too which didn't help my mood. But as a night out it was as good and as well organised as any other, so I won't complain too much.

Details of the evening aside, Saturday was also a brilliant example of just how personality altering Karaoke can be. I don't think I'd be exaggerating too much if I said some appeared to have become quite drunk on this, their rare opportunity to serenade an audience.

So, we had the usuals: the people who swore that they couldn't (wouldn't?) sing, but ended up hogging the microphones anyway, and we had the otherwise quiet and serious (and, dare I say it, repressed) ones being amongst those who threw their inhibitions the furthest away.

Then we got the slightly delusional bunch; those who were oblivious to exactly how out of tune and time they were. And yes, I usually fall in that last category myself (although even I cringed at some of my missed notes and breaking, so at least I'm not in denial of my lack of ability).

On a more serious note, some people went on to display some not-so-fun qualities. We had quite a bit of control freakery and a lack of fair play, although I would probably put that down to the group not knowing each other as well as they may have done previously.

So yeh, I reckon that Karaoke remains one of the most effective ways to see a different side to a demographic who, largely, do not drink or party "hard". However as interesting as it is to watch, I'm starting to think that Karaoke is much more fun in smaller, more intimate and more familiar groups.

It was obvious to see which guests had done this before, and I'm not so sure I like meeting new people under these circumstances. Although it makes a good enough excuse for people to come together, there's something slightly uncomfortable and not-so-fun about seeing some of us unwittingly let loose our inhibitions.

Sunday, August 19

Film: Chakde! India Click for more info

Apart from the lack of a leading lady and respective love story, this is standard Yash Raj tugging-on-heartstrings fare.

Chakde! (or Chak De! in other places) is also a typical underdog tale. Here, the main protagonists are the Indian Women's Hockey Team, a bunch of misfits from all over the country supported by no one but themselves and their controversial coach, Kabir Khan (Shahrukh Khan).

I won't bother going on, because the rest is pretty much predictable. The plot is seriously undeveloped here, enough to spoil the story being told too. The characters don't help much either, none managing to portray complexity or presence; I'd be surprised if any of the actors broke a sweat doing their job in this film.

Still, what Chakde! lacks in depth it makes up in downright emotion. I'm ashamed to say that my heart was in my throat for most of it, being lulled in by even the most obvious feel-good tricks. For this alone, the film gets top marks.

Production-wise, the film was built well. Editing was above par, and the direction showed just how close to Hollywood Bollywood is now. The lack of a soundtrack took nothing away from the experience either.

One of the better Bolly flicks I've seen in the past few months, I'd think I'd have to reluctantly recommend it. If you like obvious feel-good films, you'll love this.

Saturday, August 18

Film: The Bourne Ultimatum Click for more info

Bourne is back, and doing exactly what he's supposed to do. If points were awarded to films for being original then Ultimatum gets zero since it's more or less exactly the same as the last two.

But originality is an overrated concept really, particularly with films this good. So you have the same high pace, the same bone-crunching fight scenes and the same deep yet accessible plot - and if I have one criticism of this episode of the series it's that it doesn't really further the world of Bourne that much. But that's irrelevant to a set-up that impresses to this level; you can see where the latest attitude of Bond stems from.

For those of you who didn't like Supremacy's shaky-cam it's still present here, but even a long time opponent to the style in other films I didn't notice it much during the course of this flick. Speaking of Supremacy, the story here is highly coupled with that of the second instalment - in fact I'd suggest all to watch the last two as a refresher before you do Ultimatum.

Consistently brilliant, engaging and ultimately (hur hur) great fun to watch, Supremacy can't be anything else but recommended to be seen. It's just a darned shame that this is the third of the trilogy, 'cos quite frankly it's left me wanting even more.

Friday, August 17

Bollywood Grooves at Canary Wharf Click for more info

This evening Bollywood Grooves, a London dance company, put on a free event in Canary Wharf as part of the district's Indian Summer season of events.

The main show consisted of the main troupe dancing to a medley of recent Bollywood hits; Dus, Dhoom, Bunty Aur Babli and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom being amongst the few I can remember. And they were pretty good too: the Company's main instructor Vandana Alimchandani proved that she was well qualified to run a company such as this, while the rest of the gang managed to put on a good show (although I did think that some dancers were really good students rather than not so good professionals).

They had also promised to hold some workshops for those of us wanting to learn a few moves too, and it didn't take me much convincing by a friend to step up and take part with them.

Now, like most people, I reckon I can dance relatively well. Well, I can in my head at least. Still, whether I can or not in reality is largely irrelevant; ever since Bollywood Star I've lost any inhibition I may have stopping me from joining in a bit of a public group boogie, even if it's only on special occasions (like weddings, classes or, yes, reality-show-film-auditions).

The tune we danced to was the title track from Salaam-e-Ishq, which was fortunate for me since I knew the song relatively well. The routine itself wasn't trivial and I messed up on more than one part of it, but on the whole I think I did okay. I do think that I should have stretched a bit beforehand though. Like a friend (whose opinion didn't count for poo since he chose to stick to the sidelines) commented, my back was all I was going to manage to pull this evening with those particular dance moves.

But it was all fun anyway and I had a good time both watching and taking part and watching some more. It probably goes without saying that there was more than one attractive dancer on show, and I can count two distinct occasions when I happened to fall in love with a couple of them. I even got to catch a dance with one of my infatuations during the freestyle Bhangra session at the end; she even treated me further by agreeing to pose for a piccie with me (which you won't find on my Picasa along with the rest of the piccies from the event, here).

Oh man. I've just realised that I've become one of those guys. You know, the ones who get their picture taken with a hot girl at a show whom they're probably never going to see ever again and was probably humouring them anyway.

Sad, I know. But she was hot, so it's all good.

Thursday, August 16

New Music

I Think We're Alone Now - Tiffany

A blast from the past, this is a song that needs no introduction. Unless you were born after its release, that is. Cripes. I wonder if she's still hot?

When You're Gone - Avril Lavigne

Ah, this is more like it. My second Avril track after I'm With You and much in the same vein, so I deserve points for consistency if not originality.

Tuesday, August 14

The Chronicles of Australia

I've finally managed to write up my trip to Australia, a good six weeks after my return. Yes, that's right, I have written over fifty retrospective posts detailing what I did, how I did it and who I met on the way (and any argument I have about not being addicted to writing up my life has now crumbled to dust).

I know that it's taken way too long (enough to make it kinda irrelevant now), but some of you wanted to know when it was done so here's your heads up.

I've labelled all the relevant posts to make them easier to find, just in case you were interested. If not and you only wanted the short version, well, I had a wicked time and it ranked as one of my all time favourite holidays ever. If you want more than that, well, now you know where to go.


Ethnically, I'm a Gujarati. My family moved to Pakistan on its inception, and although I visit Karachi every 2-3 years, I've never been to India let alone the villiage my grandparents were born in. It also means I always hesitate when people ask where I'm from - nationally I'm British and Pakistani, but ethnically I consider myself Gujarati, and so, Indian.

I do sometimes become jealous of those who say that they're going back to visit their pind. Although I love Karachi and consider it "back home" there are no roots there. I do hope I eventually get the chance to see where some of my forefathers lived just two generations ago, but I;ve not even set foot in India at all yet.

Otherwise I think I'm pretty lucky, having links to both sides of the border. I'm close with a fair number of British Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, in a way deeper than just a shared skin colour. I'm not unique in this respect, but I may be naive in thinking this is normal a normal state of being for Asians in Britain - I didn't even realise that there was any animosity between the respective countries in the sub-continent till I was 17 or so and I do often consider what life and the world would have been like if partition didn't occur, something others may consider as absolute madness.

Who knows? Perhaps by the next sixty year anniversary there'll be some kind of South Asian Union, similar to the current European one? At the very least I'm confident that any historical issues will be exactly that: history. I just hope I'm around when it happens.

Oh and yes, I do support Pakistan in the Cricket.

Monday, August 13

Mehndi Next Door

The best thing about being invited to a mehndi next door is of course how close you are to home.

I must have popped back and forth at least four times tonight: once because I got there way too early ("3pm start" my bum), once to perform my whudhu for Maghrib, once to pray Esha get changed into something a bit more comfortable and finally once to, ahem, brush my teeth. Awesome.

The mehndi itself was pretty good too. Nice crowd, good food and live music (both professional and amateur, even though the latter was much better to listen to. I so need to brush up on my Guitar). I got to stay late since I was already ready for bed anyway.

It's just a shame it was on a Sunday. Don't these guys realise we all have day jobs to go to tomorrow?

Saturday, August 11

Film: Cash Click for more info

Clearly inspired by the likes of Dus and Dhoom, Cash once again brings the wham bam thank you maam style of Bollywood action that's been hitting our screens a bit too often lately.

Except this time it goes a bit too far. Ludicrously so. As each incredibly insane stunt and set piece is delivered to the audience, you start to realise that this is exactly what Cash is about. Don't look for anything more than action porn here folks, 'cos there's certainly no plot to be seen - more than that since some scenes seemed to have been inserted just for the hell of it.

In fact some bits just plain don't make sense - obviously put in for the sake of it. It's like they ran out of money half way through and so decided to edit it in a way to make it completely different to how it was meant to be.

Still there were some positives, namely Shamita Shetty, Dia Mirza, Ayesha Takia and Esha Deol (and in that precise order). But as much as I enjoyed this particular aspect of this film it wasn't enough to redeem it as a whole; in fact it just went to prove further that this was just masses of eye candy and nothing more.

Thursday, August 9

XKCD Click for more info

I'm currently going through XKCD's archive, so expect a flurry of these in the upcoming weeks:

Once again it feels like XKCD is describing me. The funny thing is that I still don't see anything wrong with Jeffy's actions...

Wednesday, August 8

Sanjeev and Saira

As part of their India and Pakistan '07 season, the BBC broadcasted a couple of documentaries about the two countries. The twist here was to send two British Asian personalities with links to India and Pakistan on a journey of self-discovery, blah, blah and blah.

I just finished watching both two-parters and I wasn't impressed. Although the first part of each were actually passable, it was the conclusion of both that showed up the flaws in the whole lot.

My main grievance was with the choice of presenters, each so wrong in their own ways. Briefly, Sanjeev Bhaskar seemed a bit lost and redundant, seemingly not realising the important role he was to play for these two hours; he just became downright offensive in the second hour, apparently regressing back to how he was during the great GGM days; faux Indian accents galore and all that.

Perhaps it's because I was more interested in the Pakistan series, but I was even more upset with Saira Khan. I was going to criticise her for using the show to propagate her own neo-Islamist feminist agenda, but on reflection that would have been giving her way too much credit.

My main issue was her sheer level of ignorance. It almost reached an obnoxious level: like when she kept "looking for women", expressed surprise in the beauty and pluralism of Islam or pretty patronisingly showed appreciation of paintings (apparently purely because they were of dancing girls).

There were some good points though. I liked Saira's coverage of Karachi for instance, as well as Sanjeev's crossing of the Indo-Pak border at Wagah. There were also many poignant moments in both that made me want to go back to Pakistan immidiately (and visit India even more).

But overall the programming was poor and from what I've heard from others I'm not alone in thinking this, while Asians In Media have also picked up the story. I understand that these were personal reflections on the two countries, but I don't feel that they justified how they turned out; and as an indication of this one just had to watch Anita Rani as she did Calcutta, also this week: she seemed less "shocked" by Real India(tm), obviously less bothered by the British born baggage we all have. She was hotter than the other two presenters too (although I don't think this mattered much).

Oh well. This isn't the end of the Beeb's coverage of the anniversary of partition, so perhaps there'll be some redemption before it's all over. If not, well, there's always 2017, eh?

XKCD Click for more info

An XKCD double bill today:

This is only interesting because it indicates just how easy it is to get away with presenting false-impressions nowadays.

I mean, there are those who have been doing this kinda thing for years, both online and off. Uh... Not me, of course.

Don't forget the mouse-over!

XKCD Click for more info

I've previously been accused of seeing the world through "blog-eyes". Of course, I deny this: I only consider the inevitable writing of a post after the event and not during it. But, quite sadly, I do relate to the above anyway.

Monday, August 6

Link of the Day Click for more info

I'm sure a few of you already know about the sticky situation (to totally underrate the case) Babar Ahmad is in, but if not you can read more about his story here.

This isn't a case about sticking up for a Muslim brother just because he's the current Muslim lobbyist's poster boy - because he's not. There are genuine concerns with what his extradition means and its implications for all of us in the future.

Anyway, if you don't want to get out there and protest or be active in support, signing up to this petition is really the least you can possibly do. The Petition Pages on the Prime Minister's website seems to be a pretty effective way of showing a formal opinion. It's easy, quick and not fruitless so have a look and sign up.

Sunday, August 5

The London Eye

Over seven years after it opened for the Millennium, I finally got a chance to ride The London Eye. Of course, it was a typical case of it not-going-anywhere that stopped me checking it out before, but I had a friend over from Canada who finally provided the ideal excuse to buy a ticket. And perhaps its because of this anticipation that I found it all so... disappointing.

We had a beautiful day and visibility was pretty high; I didn't quite get to see Windsor (although it is possible apparently), but I found the new Wembley Stadium and beyond. I made out the famous parks and landmarks too and it was surreal to see how everything related to each other from that perspective. I've put some piccies up on my Picasa.

But I dunno. I've been flying a lot recently and have managed to get better views while landing at Heathrow so perhaps it's just that I've managed to have seen it all before? It seemed to drag a bit too; you only need five minutes or so in each compass direction before getting bored, and I realised afterwards that both my friend and I didn't actually look out of the capsule much at all on the way back down. A shame really.

So yes, it is one less thing I need to do now, but also something I don't think I'll ever need to do again. At least it's relatively cheap though.

BBQ in South London

A few friends of mine (siblings) hold a BBQ at their parents place in South London each year. I've been lucky enough to have been invited since I've known them (and you can read about last year's here), and had been looking forward to today for a while now.

This time, the hosts had decided to place it Saturday night. Given that this was last year's biggest grievance for me (having to leave early) it turned out to be an ace decision as we partied till late. The gorgeous weather held out, the food was plentiful (although, once again, the chicken decided to bottle up the flow - when will people learn that kebabs and burgers are the way to go?) and the crowd was varied and interesting.

As usual, it seemed that some from the East (including myself) were having a bit too much fun exclusively in the little corner marquee they had managed to appropriate and hole up in. I refuse to recognise this as a clique though: we were welcoming to all and sundry, but I guess we enjoy the company of each other enough not to need to look for any one else. Still, I managed to flit around a bit at least and met a few new people.

Despite the fun and games, we were able to stop for a big garden Maghrib jamaat (something we didn't quite manage last year due to the rain) which was a nice touch. I commented afterwards about how something like this, with the contrasting themes, didn't happen ten or even five years ago and still doesn't in places that describe themselves as progressive or globally aware. I even went as far as saying it could be a uniquely London thing.

A triple birthday topped off what was an ace evening out that felt like it was over way too soon. As I said last year, I can't wait for 2008's.

Wednesday, August 1


Shak says (23:26):
    i have a confession
Shak says (23:26):
    i sung summer lovin with someone else on the weekend
xxxx says (23:26):
Shak says (23:26):
    it didnt mean anything, and they were no way as good as you
xxxx says (23:26):
xxxx says (23:26):
    How could you
xxxx says (23:26):
    I trusted you
Shak says (23:26):
    it was late. the mic was there. i was weak
Shak says (23:27):
    i regretted it as soon as i hit "had me a blast"
xxxx says (23:28):
xxxx says (23:28):
    Well what now, where does that leave us now
Shak says (23:28):
    nothing has to change
Shak says (23:28):
    we can carry on
xxxx says (23:28):
    It'll never be the same
Shak says (23:29):
    i mean hey, first thing on the 18th, it'll be like nothing has happeend
Shak says (23:29):
xxxx says (23:29):
    You shared our special moment, even if it didnt mean anything you still went with another
Shak says (23:29):
    we need a new song anyway. how about you're the one that i want?
Shak says (23:29):
    it was only yyyy man
Shak says (23:29):
    how can there even be a contest?
xxxx says (23:29):
    A married woman!
Shak says (23:30):
xxxx says (23:30):
    Its worse
Shak says (23:30):
    zzzz was right there watching!
Shak says (23:30):
    we'll get past this
xxxx says (23:30):
    Oh god, your messed up man
xxxx says (23:30):
xxxx says (23:30):
    I need you to leave
xxxx says (23:31):
    I cant have you around anymore
Shak says (23:31):
    cool. you were cramping my style anyway with your flat tones
xxxx says (23:31):
    Turn around now coz your not welcome anymore
Shak says (23:31):
    off to bed
xxxx says (23:31):
    You tried to hurt me with goodbyes, you think i'd crumble, you think i'd lay down and doe
Shak says (23:31):
    talk later
xxxx says (23:31):

New Music

The Touch - Stan Bush

Obviously stricken by the recent viewing of the live action movie, I just had to dig up the three big hits from the OST of the motion picture from the eighties. And you know what? Each time I hear this, I can imagine Optimus Prime rolling into battle.

Dare - Stan Bush

Here, I see Daniel and Hot Rod.

The Transformers (Theme) - Lion

And here, I see the intro. Isn't poignancy fun?

Lights Surrounding You - Evermore

The result of further exposure to 97.3 Brisbane, here's even more ballad-rock-blah to add to my play list.

4 In The Morning - Gwen Stefani

You know, I actually don't think I even like this song. And yet I need to have it on tap. I'm sure I'll tire of it sooner rather than later.

Roll It Gal - Alison Hinds feat. Juggy D

Dug out from The Rishi Rich Project, this is currently doing the rounds on the radio. Not quite a classic but a tune all the same.

Book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Click for more info

And so it ends. Ten years after it all began, the Harry Potter saga is over.

I always thought that it was going to be difficult to finish off, and unfortunately in my eyes at least, I've been proven correct. That's not to say that this, the seventh book in the series, is badly written or anything. No, it just falls beside Order of the Phoenix at the bottom of the pile.

So what went wrong? Well for a start, TDH is way too long. Unnecessarily so. There is a level of fluff within that beats even OOTP that seems to have been put in just to swell the page count. But since it's all excellently written it's not a hassle to read. On the contrary it's still a pleasure of sorts just hanging out with Harry, Hermione and Ron.

The book also fails on the plot. I've always admired JK Rowling for being able to create such a watertight narrative, with no contradictions or over-reaching within it. It all breaks down toward the end though, with certain events occurring that are pretty downright unbelievable even in the world of Hogwarts. I was puzzled not by the nonsensical nature of these themselves, but the fact that they had made the final cut in the first place. If I had any hunch that JK Rowling had written the books in reverse, it's now gone.

Other thoughts are more positive. Characterisation is adequate enough, and the book is certainly the most adult and emotive of the series; people swear, hatred and love is felt by all including the reader and yes, characters even die (although some seem to be pretty token in nature).

So no, I didn't think that TDH was that fantastic. But like I said, I thought that that was inevitable anyway so I'm not disappointed in the book per se. It's definitely not enough to break the series (which is now firmly placed amongst my most favourite) and it is still classic Harry Potter at its core. As a consequence I'm compelled to recommend it, and the other six, to those who have yet to experience them at all.