Friday, January 26

A Poem To Me

Well isn't this something:

In lines of code, Shakil once wove,
A tale of software, passion drove.
Retired now, a seasoned sage,
Board games beckon, a new stage.

Binary realms left behind,
Dice and tokens now entwined.
From algorithms to game strategy,
Shakil finds joy in a playful sea.

Cards shuffled, boards unfurled,
In retirement, a gaming world.
Pixelated screens replaced by laughter,
A new adventure, happily after.

Tokens moved with thoughtful glee,
A master strategist, Shakil be.
Retirement's haven, where games unfold,
In the language of dice, his stories are told.

I'd be flattered except this was generated by ChatGPT and so yeah. But a big thank you to my friend who generated it and the world whose creativity was ripped off in producing it.

Tuesday, January 23

Film: The Beekeeper Click for more info

In what can only be described as a BTEC John Wick, we once again see that most versatile of actors in Jason Statham do his thing and punch some bad guys while making the world that much of a better place.

There are no surprises here, and neither should there be - any messing about with the formula would have been doomed to fail. We like our fisticuffs clean please.

So yeah, I liked The Beekeeper and appreciated it for giving me what I wanted to see. Others may not like it as much, but that's their mistake (and so fault) for trying to bend reality to their will. Recommended for those who know they'll like it.

Thursday, January 18

Dubai 2024

I've always had a love-hate relationship with Dubai. This essentially boils down to not liking the country and what it stands for and represents, but loving the friends and family that I know and continue to meet there. This has been the case since my first trip, visiting primarily to attend a wedding of someone I hadn't even met in person yet. Pretty wild for 2005 I know.

Such was my indifference-cum-denial, that I wasn't even going to take this trip, especially mere weeks after returning from the Middle East. A severe bout of FOMO finally convinced me to book my flight around a week before arriving, and even the consolation of only staying for six days was quickly snatched from me as I realised it was still one of my longest stays here.

Things have changed over the five years since my last visit. Deira has become seedy as hell, people now live miles away from the city centre (although the cheap metro is still great) and I even found the place rather cheap (which is probably because London is so expensive now).

But the biggest change might actually be in me. Between my visits to Oman and the UAE, I've started to understand why (more recent) folk have been migrating to the region and have become even more determined to remain. It's no longer about nil income taxes and halal McDonalds, but the quality of living, the weather and the relative peace. Under more scrutiny however, just like costs, it seems that this is saying more about the changing face of the UK than that of the Middle East, and what used to be beneficial in living in the west just doesn't seem much so any more.

This trip was mainly social, although I did also visit the Quranic Park and its Glass House for a wonderful lecture on foods mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah. As always the doss was top class, with plenty of hours spent shooting breeze and eating good food. And so as always I returned from Dubai on a high and what felt like way too early.

Book: Nemesis Games, James S. A. Corey Click for more info

Book five and I'm now over half way through the mainline series as a whole. Keeping with the varying theme this series does so well, we now revert back to star system politicking rather than any of the science fiction of this particular world (universe?).

The Expanse is firmly what I describe as "modern" sci-fi and it says a lot that I don't totally hate it for that. Nemesis Games was still a bit weak, a bit trashy, but it's the world that's keeping me here and not the plot or characters or melodrama.

And so on we go.

Tuesday, January 2

Film: Aquaman and the Lost Kingdon Click for more info

Maybe it was my mood on the day but I try not to overreact to the sheer badness of a film but it's a rare movie that actually makes me consider leaving part-way. Yes, Aquaman 2 was that bad. Bad in the way that made you think it was actually some kind of tax or funding scam and something had to be made to avoid harsher penalties.

The thing is that all the pieces were there - the acting was fine, the plot had potential and the effects, although janky at times, did the job. This Aquaman film just proved that without the magic nothing else matters in a movie.

Please avoid.