Wednesday, November 27

A Softer World Click for more info

Today's ASW works on so many levels. First the obvious - about how we're becoming a global nation obsessed with freaking sharing anything we can take a freaking picture of. Since a pictures paint a thousand words that's a lot of bullpoop being spoken, and I honestly believe that digital photography is a curse of casual society now:

But the second point is about how we seem to want to save this bullpoop for posterity. I'm always amazed at exactly how much data can literally fit into a chip the size of my fingertip, but that really doesn't mean we should. People look at me funny when I delete 60-70% of the pictures I take on holiday - but for me the comic title (mouseover to see) says it all really.

Thursday, November 21

Book: The Great Hunt, Robert Jordan Click for more info

Book two of "The Wheel of Time" done and I find myself becoming more and more drawn into the world being spun by Robert Jordan. In terms of progression a lot happens in this book, some explicit but a lot implied, and after two volumes I'm beginning to find myself being able to understand the writing style and where book is trying to lead those reading it. Unlike ASOIAF, WOT is very much young adult reading and so the annoying and angsty style is by design.

But despite being young adult, it remains pretty readable and accessible and as a result quite enjoyable. Once again there's the feeling of a much longer game than just what we read in each book; and I can already imagine the writing developing along with the characters and plot.

Wednesday, November 20

Film: Gravity Click for more info

There are times when I love cinema. After Monday's pleasantly surprising viewing I was especially looking forward to catching Gravity today - a film I had heard nothing but good about - to complete a week of amazing movies. I was a bit disappointed that we were forced to watch it in 3D (as the push to make audiences embrace the format increases), but I figured that at 90 minutes it wouldn't hurt the film too much.

And it turned out that I was actually glad we had been made to watch it in 3D after all - not only was it not as irritating, but I genuinely felt that it made an already great film better. This was finally an example of 3D adding to the enjoyment of a film instead of annoying the heck out of me. In fact it would have actually been interesting to see if the film would have been as good in 2D. No, I can't believe I'm saying this either.

3D aside, it was refreshing to watch a film so focussed and well paced - the 90 minutes felt like much more - and it's not often I feel sympathetic for characters on the big screen. Yes, Clooney is a little annoying, but Bullock took me way back to her Speed days (which is a good thing).

I'm guessing most have already watched, but if not please add my voice to the many who recommend Gravity.

Monday, November 18

Film: Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela Click for more info

There comes a point where a person begins to doubt even their own integrity. I mean I'm pretty sure I was looking forward to this film because it looked great in the trailer and had some interesting music... and not because of who it happened to star. But hey, by definition we all gain initial interest in a subject for shallow reasons, and Deepika Padukone is as good a reason as any I suppose.

But it's all good, because Ram Leela was actually really good. It looked great, played great, managed to balance tragedy with comedy and, yes, had great music too. There wasn't much to fault with the film apart from some particularly disappointingly dodgy touching and feeling and some gaping holes in the plot but anyone who has been watching Bollywood for a while should be able to ignore those anyway.

The film was long, but didn't feel so, and although I enjoyed watching it on the big screen I don't think it would lose its effect too much in a home viewing. Very much recommended.

Wednesday, November 13

SMBC Click for more info

There's a reason why we grow up:

Although I have to say that I never did pull anyone's hair at five.

Tuesday, November 12

Fowl Language Click for more info

I know, I know: Facebook bashing is so 2013. But still, I liked this:

Luckily for me bloggers are much more secure.

Monday, November 11

Film: Captain Phillips Click for more info

To be honest I found it difficult becoming enthusiastic over a film about Somali pirates - a "true story" at that. I mean sure, I guess piracy has a certain exciting air around it but this was not exactly going to be a Jack Sparrow affair. But still, some rave reviews from the press and friends alike convinced me to give it a try.

And I'm half glad that I did. Captain Phillips wasn't a brilliant film, but it was a very solid effort - a good example of a movie that stuck to the basics, avoided any gimmicks and delivered.

Notable flaws include an excessive use of camera shake (surely I'm not the only one who gets a headache with this?) and an over-long and over-played finale (complete with good ol' Hanks' trademark overacting), but these weren't enough to wreck the film.

If you're looking for something that is neither your typical shallow movie fare or over exposed arthouse flick, than you could do worse.

Sunday, November 3

Rumi's Cave - MOCAfest After Party Click for more info

Although I'm generally quite proud of my cynicism, there are rare times when it tends to bite me in the bum. Take this week for instance, when I totally snubbed MOCAfest even though it was a stone's throw away from work. I'm told that it was rather good, but my avoidance of most events with "Muslim", "Islam" or "Global Peace and Unity" in the name (or variants thereof) took precedence and I dismissed it quite easily.

But that's all as an aside really, as the real reason I attended the event today was because it was hosted by Rumi's Cave. I won't dwell on what that actually means (you know, to maintain some level of elitist snobbery) only to say I just checked my blog and it appears that 2009 was the last Rebel Muzic event I attended. Man, that was a long time ago.

Of course it's bordering on a cliché if I was to tell everyone how awesome the event was, but I will anyway. I'm ashamed to say I don't fully remember the full lineup, but according to the flyer we had amongst the artists Jamal Raslan, Mark Gonzales, Tasleem Jamila, Native Sun and Asif Sinan - all enjoyed by a pretty intimate crowd of around 100 people.

Don't worry: I hadn't heard of any of them either (with the exception of Native Sun I guess), but each were amazing and wonderful to see and hear. The live music was ace (as it always is), but for me I would probably say that tonight was one of the most effective demonstrations of Spoken Word that I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. We're talking multi-layered, critical, non-judgemental yet beautifully accessible messages here, covering all sorts of topics from religion, prejudice, the environment and just life and how to live it as a nice person. And since I wasn't totally annoyed by the whole thing it can't have been too hippy either.

Honestly, I listened to stuff that had more value and sheer smarts than I hear during my day job attempting to play the professional. And as arrogant and awful as it sounds I immediately felt sorry for all those who thought that Eid in the Wharf (also this week) was a decent injection of culture into their lives.

So yes, a brilliant night out and one that makes me long for the days of Rebel Muzik.