Wednesday, June 30

New Music

Johal Boliyan - Kulwinder Singh Johal feat. Raman Aujla

Seeing as it's been riding the top of the charts for weeks now it's kinda embarrassing that it's taken so long for Johal Boliyan to hit my playlist, but better late than never eh? Pure bhangra, slightly derivative but fun all the same.

Tuesday, June 29

Video of the Day Click for more info

I suspect only a small subset of people will fully appreciate the following; that is those who both know how much Twilight blows and how awesome the 8-bit era actually was:

It's actually an interactive game, so make sure you click through to YouTube to get the full experience.

Friday, June 25

New Music

Ranjha Ranjha - Raavan

Maybe it's just me but there's something dark about this track. Maybe it's just the backing music, but the to and froing of the lyricists kinda discerns me too.

Bheegi Si Bhaagi Si - Raajneeti

Contrary to the above, this is much more poppy and... flowery. I quite like the two phase stuff Bollywood is coming out with lately.

Wednesday, June 16

Game: Super Street Fighter IV (360) Click for more info

You know, it's not often that buying into a game makes me feel dirty. Being an almost professional cynic, I tend to ignore spin offs and cash ins, choosing instead to spend my time and money on other games and things.

But I do have one weakness, and that's Street Fighter. It's the game I've spent the most number of hours with, the game that I was the best at, and as such I need to be involved with any version that will ever get released, ever.

Which is why, almost a year after I received the awesome SFIV, I am here with the Super variant - and as much as Capcom would love to deny it, this is nothing more than a bonus disc. Still, at least it was cheap, and at least I sold my SFIV.

But what of the game? Well it's the same thing with bells. The new characters do indeed add masses of value to the game, Juri especially being fun to both play as and against, while the doubling of Ultras and rebalancing per character add a freshness to the existing characters. There are extra modes stashed away in the online play mode, but as someone who thinks these kind of games should be played with people in the same room, I find these to be quite irrelevant (and frustrating - surely it would have been easy enough to implement these party features offline?).

But overall it is just Street Fighter IV again, although I have no regrets buying this if only to have what is clearly a more well rounded and complete game. A definite buy for those who don't have SFIV, but slightly less so for those who do. Just wait until it hits fifteen quid or something.

Sunday, June 13

New Music

Africa - Toto

A classic, of which I was reminded of while watching this clip.

Monday, June 7

New Music

Pehli Nazar Mein - Race

Most of the last few picks have been me filling certain gaps in my play list, so apologies for yet another Bollywood track from two years ago. Naturally, the weekend's wedding reminded me of this one.

Sunday, June 6

Film: Death at a Funeral Click for more info

Although it's terribly random, Death at a Funeral is a funny film too. Plot-wise it's very tight - on paper not much happens in the house of seven or eight main characters, and yet the situation is leveraged well enough to last the hour and a half running time. The acting is adequate and nothing more than you would expect from stand up comedians, while technically the film has been solidly put together.

Plenty of jokes makes Death at a Funeral a worthy enough watch for a Sunday afternoon, so if you're looking for a giggle then you can't really go wrong here.

Saturday, June 5

Cyanide & Happiness

Around one out of twenty people I know tell me I'd be more successful with the ladies if I shaved.

One day I may crack. The funny thing is that I've always said there would only ever be two women in my life who could ask me to shave for whom I would gladly do so.

Nicked off Steve's Buzz. The strip itself is pretty good too.

Food: Guanabana Click for more info

Halal Caribbean and Latin food? Of course! The fact that we happened to be in the area at the time made picking this for dinner a no-brainier; and it turned out to be quite a good pick too.

Curried goat, fajitas, messy burgers and jerk chicken were all on the menu and between the six of us we managed to try quite a few dishes. The starters were slightly disappointing both in terms of size and taste, but the mains made up for that.

Service was a bit slow and sub-par - we had to get our glasses changed twice due to lipstick and various other stains. On the other hand a prayer mat was duly provided once I asked for space in which to pray. All restaurants get points for doing that.

At 14 quid a head (and we stuck to water) I would say Guanabana lacks the value for money I've seen elsewhere, but for the novelty or for those who want something different this place certainly hits the spot.

Thursday, June 3

Film: Click for more info

After the excellent Kidulthood and not so excellent Adulthood comes another film about life as a kid on the streets of London. Thievery, guns, sex, violence and even lesbianism all make an appearance as we are told the story of three days in the life of four girlfriends.

Each arc is shown linearly, with the tape "rewinding" at the end of each, and this parallelism lends itself to some wonderful storytelling as mysteries are both uncovered and solved. Add to that some excellent acting by faces known from the past two films and you end with a pretty gritty, yet fun, crime thriller.

Well made, this is really the film Adulthood should have been. Totally recommended, so make sure you catch it while you can.

Joke of the Day

Two old ladies were sitting on a park bench when a man in a trench coat came up and flashed them. One old lady immediately had a stroke. The other couldn't quite reach.

Via Steve's Facebook.

Wednesday, June 2

Saying Goodbye in Dubai

And just like that, our time in the UAE was over. Quite cleverly on the part of the airline we were able to check in at their office in Dubai; they even took our luggage off our hands. Kudos to Etihad, particularly as the transfer itself was free. Our plan was to get into Abu Dhabi early in order to check out the Shaikh Zayed Mosque; on asking the bus driver for advice on how to get there from the airport, he told us he'd drop us off himself. Result.

The Shaikh Zayed Mosque itself was pretty nice. Grand and clean, it definitely looked the part. Personally I felt it lacked the sheer awesomeness of Hassan II, but I was still glad I was able to check it out.

And just like that, our time in the UAE was over. The two and a bit days had, unsurprisingly, flown by, yet as I got on the plane I felt happy that I had come, feelings that contrasted with the frustration I had on arrival. We got a lot done in more ways than one (business, sightseeing and socialising) and there wasn't really much I could have complained about.

But now that I'm back I really do promise not to go anywhere ever again. Well not for the next six months anyway.

Book: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson Click for more info

It's clear from the start of this book, even after reading the title in fact, that it's more about the characters and experiences they go through rather than any thrilling crime promised by the genre it falls into. That's not to say that the story isn't thrilling; it is, and I genuinely wanted to know who was behind everything and how they would be brought to justice and all that jazz.

But as adequate as the story can be, it won't in itself bring characters to life. And although TGWTDT does a fair job of breathing life into its main protagonists, it falls quite a way short of making them as believable as those you personally know in real life. It could be the context, but I suspect that it was more to do with the deliberate, and so cheap, ways in which the author attempts to trick his readers into falling for his characters. Flaws aren't indicative if they're handed to you on a platter, and impossible knowledge and cheating don't help a protagonist appear any more real than them being able to fly would.

Technically the book is well enough written, with various arcs being explored and tied up in a fair manner. I will say that there's a lot of time pass and guff that could have been discarded, but that's a minor fault really.

Overall I feel that the book fails in what it sets out to achieve, but despite that manages to entertain well enough. I will be reading the next two books anyway, so from me I guess that more or less counts as some kind of recommendation.

Tuesday, June 1

Dossing in Dubai

The things bout impromptu holidays and trips like these is that they provide an opportunity to see friends and family for what feels like free. With that in mind my parents and I joined the family of a friend of mine for lunch. It was nice to be able to relax in someone's home, as a guest and not a tourist, and memories of South Africa came flooding back.

After some lunch and hanging out talking about random stuff (including a dancing pathan), we all headed out for some falooda. The stuff we actually got was unlike any falooda I've ever had - we ate it out of a bowl instead of drinking it from a cup. It was nice anyway and just hanging out in a dirty Pakistani dessert place was fun enough.

Since my parents had other, more grown up, people to see I hung back with my friends. After a quick look at the beach (in short it wasn't as nice as those in Durban) we headed out to what now seemed like the centre of my UAE Universe, the Dubai Mall. Our reason this time was to ice skate, something I never thought I'd be doing in an Arab country; the average temperature over the past three days or so was 40C. Nevertheless I was impressed by the talent of the natives.

But time was once again up and I had to go join my parents for dinner at a family friend's house. Once again today had proven that although for me Dubai kinda sucks as a tourist attraction, any time that I spend here has always eventually been made worth it by the hospitality and company of the locals - and more than that how I increasingly prefer to go away to see people rather than places.