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Tagged: 5 things about me WOO EXCITING

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I was tagged by Egonga, who threatened to molest me (again) if I refused to do as he said.
Let's hope I get this thing right, or that's half a dozen years of additional therapy down the line. That or a career as a stand up comedian, because humour is a defense mechanism. And because rape is hilarious.

1. I have no sense of time. This means that I am almost always late for everything. Actually, I don't think I've been on time for anything in the past 3 years, except for flights.

2. I am a chronic procrastinator. That's pretty much a prerequisite to my writing this crap in the first place, so I'll tell you something less obvious.

2. I am an extremely lucky person. I seem to have a knack for wiggling out of tight spots. I also believe in karma, or at least in the concept that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So every time I get lucky, I see it as a bad omen. "God is just setting me up for a bigger fall", I tell myself, "This can't go on forever... life is biding its time and letting it all build up. One day, life is going to kick me in the balls."

3. I am extremely narcissistic, both physically and mentally, but I rationalize it by saying that everyone is just as self-absorbed... they're just not as honest about it.

4. I want to become a Buddhist and embrace the entirety of existence with all-ecompassing love. Failing that, I want to oppress people and take pleasure in their misfortune.

5. I have no moral compass.

Now that we're through with this dissection, I'm tagging Elraptor, (rest of list will appear soon)

EUROPE and Hot Girls Playing Videogames :P :P :P

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Hot Girls Playing Videogames!!!!

...Honestly, what????

I've seen these ads around the site and I am perplexed, mystified and bamboozled. I've used that last one in the wrong context but it doesn't matter because I like the way bamboozled sounds.

Is the concept of a hot girl + a videogame the nerd fantasy version of a dead body + chocolate cake for obese necrophiliacs? I don't understand.
And please disregard the ironic use of the word 'nerd'. I am, after all, writing a blog on a videogame site, which makes me a nerd on some level. It's a dirty secret and a guilty pleasure. I'd frankly rather have someone catch me masturbating to 2 girls 1 cup than know about this.

While we're on the topic of nerds and disgusting stuff, I just bought Bioshock for the 360. I'm only about three hours in, but Bioshock is blowing my mind in a very biologically shocking manner. HAHAHAHA OH GOD THE PUNS.

While we're on the topic of travelling, I'm back in Europe from N. America for a few weeks. I'm looking forward to enjoying smoking* in bars and clubs again, and have women be utterly unimpressed with the fact that I'm from Europe.

(*I don't smoke but I enjoy the possibility of smoking.)

The moral of the story is that there is no moral because morality is an entirely relative concept that varies from person to person.
Still, there is something you should take away from this story, dear Sir reader. I say 'Sir' because women are notorious for being unable to read, let alone successfully navigate the interweb without getting confused, asking for directions and talking about their feelings.

1. If in North America, pretend to be from Europe/Australia and put on an exaggerated cockney/Steve Irwin accent. If you don't hook up after trying this for three consecutive nights, you're probably going for women with high self esteem. Aim lower.

2. Stop reading as soon as this article ends.

3. I guarantee that you will do as I say.

4. I am a master of persuasion.

Brad Pitt

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You know, I think everyone is so fixated on Brad Pitt's looks that it's easy to forget what a great actor he is.

Sure, he's about as physically perfect as a man can be, and he could very well be the best-looking guy on the planet. I kind of hate him for it.

Still, the guy is a versatile actor who definitely has had his moments of brilliance. I don't know whether it's just me and my prejudice against a guy who's better looking than I can ever hope to be (and make no mistake, I'm good looking myself, I'm just not delusional enough to think that I could ever come close), but Brad Pitt's tabloid coverage and looks often overshadow an extremely magnetic talent who has acted in some of the best movies Hollywood has churned out.

What brought this blog post on?

I just watched Meet Joe Black. Admittedly it's not Pitt's best work, but he was good in it nonetheless.

Here's my review of Meet Joe Black:

When a friend lent me the DVD I thought I was in for a strange and quirky drama about life and death. I wasn't far off the mark.

It's reflective and philosophical. It drew me in immediately but continued to pull me in deeper as the movie went along.

It has many flaws and several of its characters (the guy with the mustache and even Hopkins' daughter) are two-dimensional. Motivations are not always made clear. This can make the movie cheesy at times. Given the subject matter, Meet Joe Black arguably could have (and perhaps should have, considering the talent involved) been a great (much better) movie.
However, Meet Joe Black has something about it -- an underlying sense of universality, melancholy and a touch of magic. It has plenty of charm, although calling it 'charm' may be understating its impact.

I found the length to be entirely appropriate given the theme.

Hopkins was, of course, great. Brad Pitt's performance was magnetic and I found that his way of playing Death was just shy of brilliant -- his awkward and stilted behaviour reflects the fact that Death, a vastly superior being, is out of place in a human body and not used to functioning on our comparatively low level of existence. However, his (often comical) awkwardness is offset by a sense of subtle but evident power and transcendence, which he communicates well.

Objectively, Meet Joe Black is an okay movie, but subjectively, I loved it.
Oh, and the movie's score is great too.

Meet Joe Black: 1/2

Oscars 2008, boo

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I was well entertained by this year's Oscar ceremonies, but one thing bothers me:

The legendary Roy Scheider, Academy Award-nominated actor and star of Jaws, The French Connection and All That Jazz, was omitted from the Oscar Tribute.

Two direct references to Jaws were made during the ceremony, one of which was a direct quotation from Roy Scheider himself and one of the most memorable lines in movie history! Despite this, he wasn't even mentioned.

"Smile, you son of a *****!"

The Academy Awards only give tribute to those who have died up until 'the deadline' of January 31st. Roy Scheider died on February 10th, 2008.

However, I find the 'deadline' excuse to be a poor one. It hardly hides the cla ssless manner in which Roy Scheider's death was omitted.
A simple nod or a mere mention would have been enough.
It's sad to think that Scheider's death apparently means more to a 19-year old from Europe than to an entire Academy filled with people who have been in the business since the so-called golden age of cinema.

...It'll be old news by then, but he'll get a tribute next year.

"You're gonna need a bigger boat"

Bermuda Triangle?

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The myths surrounding the waters of the so-called Bermuda Triangle have greatly exaggerated the phenomenon. 'Theories' ranging from alien abduction to time travel have undoubtedly cast a shadow of ridicule over the matter.
Nevertheless, several hundred cases concerning the mysterious disappearances both aircraft and ships remain utterly unexplained and baffling.

-Take, for instance, the disappearance of C-119 cargo plane 51-2680 on the 5th of June 1965.



The plane, carrying spare parts for another aircraft, vanished over the Bahamas bound for Grand Turk Island while flying a busy skyway dubbed the 'Yankee Route'. Weather was fair and no atmospheric hazards were present.
Contact was lost with the plane at around 8pm. This incident fits the 'typical' profile of many disappearances in the area -- however, a detail stands out: the last radio message is the most incredible. It was not picked up by Miami, which was expecting contact, but New York, at a distance of 1,300 miles away!
No wreckage was ever found, no debris or clue of debris, no flotsam, no jetsam, and no SOS was ever sent.

-In 1961, October 14th, two B-52 bombers, Pogo 13 and Pogo 22, were flying in formation during a top-secret bombing practice and refueling exercise. Weather conditions were good, no hazards.


Both planes could constantly see each other, save for the odd interceding cloud. At around 4:20pm, 300 miles off Bermuda, both planes were briefly visually separated by a cloud for several seconds. When Pogo 13 emerged, Pogo 22 was nowhere in sight.
Ground control and Pogo 13, as well as the other three planes in the formation, frantically tried to establish contact, but were met with empty sky, radio silence and blank radar screens. In the space of several moments, Pogo 13, the second biggest cargo aicraft of its time, vanished quietly, suddenly and without a trace.
The search was extensive to say the least. Coast guard cutters, destroyers, C-130 Hercules, cruisers and civilian vessels in the busy traffic searched for several days. After combing over 280,000 square miles of sea, roughly twice the size of California, the search was called off. No trace was ever found.

I'll write about some other cases as well (some of them are incredible).

This blog post isn't so much about the Triangle itself, but about mysterious disappearances at sea.
When reading about these things I always try to put myself in the situation -- a pilot alone in a cockpit, lost, disoriented and seeing nothing but ocean, or the captain of a boat alone at night, floating over fathomless depths -- and try to imagine what could have made me disappear off the face of the earth.

To me, these cases demonstrate the degree to which we remain fragile and insignificant before the vast mystery of the oceans, if you'll forgive me this cliché.

Latest film reviews

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These are the movies I've seen lately, submitted to my utterly subjective ratings system.

Reservoir Dogs: 8.3
The film that propelled Tarantino to stardom (apparently). I can see why. Great direction, good visceral fun.

American History X: 7.9
A former skinhead sets out to turn his younger brother's life around after getting out of jail for murder.
Very emotionally involving. The way AHX entices the viewer to sympathize with the neo-nazis at the start by showing us their perspective, intellectualizing their rhetoric and making them appear as the 'underdog' is brilliant as it enables us to accompany Norton (who shines in this movie) on his journey and transformation from Nazi to -- non-nazi, I guess. His transformation, however, is the film's weak point: it feels somewhat forced simply because it is so abruptly shown.

Blade Runner: 8.8
Harrison Ford plays a police bounty hunter of sorts tasked with hunting down and killing several androids who, it would seem, have achieved a level of self-awareness not desired by their human manufacturers. Philosophically relevant, well-acted by Ford and Rutger Hauer, and with a futuristic film noir atmosphere that gives it plenty of charm, Blade Runner has stood the test of time.

2001 A Space Odyssey:
It feels wrong to give this movie a numerical rating, since it is certainly not a film in the conventional sense of the word -- it transcends convention. Spanning over 4 million years, 2001 is a symphony in five movements. The first: a monolith appears overnight next to a tribe of primitive humans, after they (our ancestors) discover the use of tools. The second: we, in the future, discover a mysterious monolith on the moon, its electromagnetic waves emanating towards Jupiter. The third: a crew sets forth for Jupiter on a top-secret mission to discover the source of the monoliths. The ship is controlled by HAL, a revolutionary computer intelligence, which turns homocidal when it discovers the crew's plan to shut it off. The fourth: the crew reaches Jupiter and finally encounters the force behind the monoliths (and mankind's evolution?).
This film speaks through poetry, music, silence and metaphors. It is maddeningly vast, frustratingly inscrutable and frighteningly beautiful. I certainly won't ever forget it.

Babel: 8.1

Hooligans: 6.9
The England football hooligan setting masks a deceptively Hollywoodyan cookie-cutter plot of treason and revenge. Entertaining , however, and it sports some charismatic performances. Elijah Wood, on the other hand, should really widen his acting range of expressions, which currently only seem to include 'baffled', 'confused' and 'bamboozled'.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: 8
'Delightful' describes every aspect of this movie, from the delightful performances (Depp is awesome) to the perplexing yet hilarious dialogue to the trippy direction that made me feel high despite my being dead sober while watching it.

V for Vendetta: 8
Mesmerizing. Great performances, lovely atmosphere. Hugo Weaving is charismatic as hell, Natalie Portman is hot and acts to the best of her ability despite a thin character that's ultimately just a vehicle to explore 'V'.

Memento: 8.5
Harrowing in its masterful misdirection and dark humour. Strong performances and a distinctly unorthodox approach to chronology and narration make Memento a gem and a puzzle for the viewer to solve.

Stranger than Fiction: 6.4
I wanted to hit Will Ferrel over the head with a shovel just to get him to emote something -- anything. Other than that, a depressing story with a coyly annoying narration and an even more annoying narrator. Every aspect of this movie is utterly cold, calculated and unsympathetic. I actually wanted the main character to die. Actually, I wanted everyone to die.
Shows some originality, however (whatever that means these days), and I'll give it credit for having a very intriguing premise.

You Kill me: 6.3
A romantic comedy featuring a stilted alcoholic hitman who falls in love with a woman who shows him how to live (and kill) again. Includes a mob revenge plot and humorous (not really) rehab scenes. Don't necessarily avoid this one, but don't go looking for it either. There is a word that describes You Kill Me perfectly: 'meh'.

Steven Spielberg's AI

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I watched Artificial Intelligence by Steven Spielberg today. It happened almost by accident. I had never intended to watch it before, having heard that it received mixed reviews (getting a 73% on the Tomatometer on rottentomatoes.com)...

A.I., the most underrated and misunderstood film of the new millenium, blew me away. It is fiercely intelligent, deeply cynical and ranks as one of the (if not the) saddest movies I have ever seen. A flawed masterpiece, AI exhibits the genius of both Spielberg and Kubrick in what is perhaps the most ambitious, thought-provoking and disturbing movie I have seen -- not ever, but damn close.

In a not too distant future, the melting of the polar ice caps has flooded coastal cites and necessitated strict governmental population control. With resources in such short supply, the alarmingly sophisticated android industry bears the brunt of our menial labor needs. But brilliant professor Hobby (William Hurt) has grander plans, and thus creates David (Haley Joel Osment) -- the first child robot programmed to love.

I'm not super eloquent (the way I started this sentence just confirmed it), so I'll let someone else do the talking for a bit:

"Make no mistake: A.I. is plain-old bravura filmmaking. Even when it's not working, there's not a moment that isn't fascinating to watch.

So philosophically complex that it borders on antagonistic, A.I. piles on tough questions of representation and responsibility without offering a single easy answer. It's a movie to be debated and wrestled with. Spielberg has never walked such a dangerous tightrope, never made a movie so fearless. As absorbing as the results may be, I won't be surprised if this is where his spoon-fed fans finally turn on him."

The film's ending seems baffling at first -- some see it as unnecessary, sappy and 'typical Spielberg-esque crowd-pleasing emotionally satisfying fluff'. However, it takes little discernment to realize that, underneath the thin veneer of fairy-tale-isms, AI's ending is the most depressing, the bleakest and the most challenging direction the movie took. There's a reason why Kubrick (unarguably the antithesis to emotional fluff) wanted that ending, and a reason why Spielberg decided to go with it.

I'll conclude by saying that AI's final scene is the saddest movie scene I can ever remember seeing -- the image is haunting.
I'll also add that "Teddy", David's (the protagonist) toy bear companion, is adorable as hell and makes for some of the most moving scenes -- easily the best CGI creation of 2001.

Sex, the french and rock & roll

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Have you seen (the french president) Sarkozy's new girlfriend? Italian top model Carla Bruni (formerly one of the 5 most well-paid top models in the world) is hot, 'hot' being a euphemism for my jaw dropping on the floor.

Here she is.

Now, look at Sarkozy, who, in this picture, looks like he's about to start convincing me to join the dark side:

I'm baffled. Either Carla Bruning just likes evil frenchmen, or Sarkozy has a really beeeg - um - power, for such a leetle man. The other possibility, of course, is that Sarkozy just has a great personality... Ha ha ha ha ha.

Which brings me to my next point: the current french president is irreverently breaking tradition and giving musty conventions the finger as he speeds into the 21st century of politics! ...Or something.
Honestly though, how many presidents can you think of that publicly have a girlfriend (as opposed to having a wife), have undergone a public divorce in their first year of office, and what's more, have a first lady that's actually ATTRACTIVE, let alone a drop-dead gorgeous supermodel?

This shows that France, while far from politically ideal in any way, still has the edge in terms of the sheer liberalism allowed in the political realm... There is no way that something like this would ever transpire in the United States, for instance*.

(*that is a bad example -- the United States being the single most religiously conservative MEDC in the world today.)

People are idiots...

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...if the Off-Topic forum is anything to go by, which it isn't.

On the other hand, I'm probably the bigger idiot for actually spending time on OT.

...

I'm taking a shower.

Mental mast urbation

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We all do it. Hell, I'm doing it right now.

Why do we do it? Because we're self-centered egotistical maniacs.

I just watched Good Will Hunting. The fact that I loved it and that I identified with Matt Damon, the boy genius, made me realise that the movie is successful precisely because we all picture ourselves to be like the boy in that movie. We like to think of ourselves as 'beautiful minds'.

I mean, who wouldn't want to be a super-genius, blessed with good looks and complete social adjustment*?

(*as opposed to the social awkwardness most geniuses experience.)

We all want to be like that. More than that, however, we see parts of ourselves in characters such as the genius portrayed by Matt Damon: intelligent but misunderstood, full of boundless potential, beautiful and complex but hurt inside, etc.

Then, to reinforce this impression, we go online and post long rants to display our juicy frontal lobes in all their mushy glory. Oh, look at how smart I am, I can string two convoluted sentences together whilst pretending to say something insightful! Toss me a banana, MY NEURONS CAN DANCE!

Mental masturbation Like I said, I'm doing it now, and when I'm finished, my overfed ego will gobble down every last drop. But will it be satisfied? Never! It always wants more. "MORE", it begs, like a morbidly obese nymphomaniac with fudge caked on the corner of her mouth.

No matter where we look, all we see is ourselves. Narcissuses that we are, we may look at a person, but we wonder: what do they think of me? What can they do for me? Do I like them? We may look at a tree, but we only see it in relation to ourselves. Can I climb it? Can it provide me with shade? Can I cut it down and burn it? We may look at the planets and the stars but we will ultimately only project upon them our fears and aspirations or attach to them the familiarities of our personal worlds. We see a cluster of stars and that cluster becomes Hercules, the hero, or Sagittarius, the archer. We see a planet and we wonder: will I ever go there? Will I ever conquer it?

My consciousness, by its very nature, makes me an absolutely self-centered being. I cannot move beyond myself, neither in thought nor in action. I am my own world, my own universe and my own God.