strange bedfellows

March 20, 2017

they recently showed the Theory of Everything on free-to-air tv.  While Stephen Hawking is an inspirational figure, he’s not necessarily aspirational for me.  I’m nowhere near as smart.  We need people we can relate to.  I accomplish things because I’m not dumb and work really hard.

I know Dr. Stephen Strange is fictional but I could weirdly relate more to the film Doctor Strange.  I’m not a surgeon but I guess it had to do with embracing the unexplainable despite bring logical.

Strangely enough in the movie Logan, I could relate to both Professor X and Wolverine –   this was the first time I saw myself in two characters.  Maybe it was their “fall from grace” so atypical of a superhero flick or maybe it’s because I’m such a comic book nerd.

Regardless, we’re all different, relate to certain things, and process things at our own pace.  Despite people’s insistence, a single, magic, silver bullet  “solution” doesn’t always exist.  Some issues are divergent or require multiple things acting in harmony.  Narrowing it to one thing would be great but that isn’t always possible.

they might be “giants”

February 23, 2017

Newton coined the expression standing on the shoulder of giants. With the advent of the Internet I think this could be extended by adding goblins and gnomes to giants.

Aside from what to do, I think you can also learn from what NOT to do. Hence the term goblins.  I’ve always felt you can gain from people what to emulate and what to avoid.  Granted some of this may be repetitious but sometimes lessons need to be repeated to ensure they are drilled in thoroughly.

I subscribe to the wisdom of the crowd and individual empowerment.  You can also build upon ideas of people who might not be considered as giants in their field – that’s why I use the term gnome to highlight the contrast.  An idea may be good despite its origin.  Admittedly, we are more likely to learn from “experts” (being a teacher in a former life, it would be hypocritical to think otherwise).  That said, we also need to be open and allow cross-pollination from other disciplines or differing opinions.  All ideas must be given a fair chance.

The original quote will always be valid but IMHO it can do with an adaption to our times.

rogue’s gallery

December 23, 2016

I finally saw Rogue One earlier today.   This is a spoiler for some so I suggest those that haven’t seen it yet stop reading now.

I understand why they had to call it “A Star Wars Story” and they did not have the usual scrolling introduction as it happened between Episodes III and IV.  It was a much needed explanation and closed the loop as how the Rebel Alliance acquired the schematics (and more importantly the in-built and purposely engineered flaw) of the Death Star.

Chirrut is more than a token character with a disability (which is an indicator of how far society has come – there’s still a way to go but the “representation” may have not been that welcome a few years ago).  It isn’t surprising that he was blind (echoing the parallel when Luke was training to use a light saber onboard the Millennium Falcon).  It reminds me of Erannon of the Blade, a character I concocted back in college for an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons campaign after reading the Rogue’s Handbook. I even wrote a monologue for him – sheesh!

Rogue One as a title seemed arbitrary to me – it’s just anything penciled in by the writer in the script could have been used.  I was just hoping it was more meaningful (and not as serendipitous as it seemed).

Star Wars is ostensibly a space opera (as previously described).  It may not be everyone’s cup of tea (oh, the sacrilege!).  It personally means something to me (as I suspect it’s held deeply by others) but I know enough that it holds no significance for others (no matter how hard you try to convince them).  IMHO, it’s a binary fight between good and evil – just like The Lord of the Rings series – so I understand why it doesn’t appeal to some.  Ever notice Sci-Fi does have penchant for dystopian futures (a lesson that we have the power to choose to avoid this bleakness)? Star Trek seems more hopeful to me – I don’t mind it but I prefer Star Wars (does it surprise anyone that Episode V:  The Empire Strikes Back is my favourite one?). And I always felt there was an “artificial” dichotomy but I digress…

The “main” characters had to perish because they aren’t part of the storyline.  It was finally good to see some diversity on screen but I’m not a real PC stickler – with the changing demographic in America it’s no real surprise although women seem to be visibly underrepresented.  In any case, does it advance or is necessary in the grand scheme of things?  In my mind, it may have not been the greatest Star Wars film (it was certainly better than all of the prequels) but it’s a story which definitely needed to be told.  This isn’t really a review but just a few of my thoughts.

they showed the Christmas classic, Die Hard last night.  I rewatched it because I like the movie.  Too bad most people know the late Alan Rickman only as Severus Snape and aren’t familiar with the iconic villain,  Hans Gruber.  I really like the film (as evidenced by the number of times I’ve seen it –  I’ve watched all sequels which, IMHO, fall  way short) but I prefer the book on which it was based:  “Nothing Lasts Forever” by Richard Thorp.  I’m such a nerd.

reality bites

November 26, 2016

i’m not exactly a die-hard fan of Nigella (it must be because I’m watching episodes of her shows lately on DVR) – guess I’ve never really held an individual or a team over the rest (maybe it’s just my nature or how I was brought up).  But like an artist who releases a seminal record; her “Bites” series I truly applaud.  I’ve seen her other series (“Nigellisima”, “Forever Summer” and parts of “Feasts” and “Express”).  I’m not really obsessed with her but can understand why some are (and why individuals with OCD or with time to spare might not).

I think it’s her love of books, cooking “philosophies” and her dry sense of humour I find alluring.  It’s not only her volumes of cook books but her hand-scribbled notes and her ability and willingness to make a recipe her own that differentiates her. Our mutual fondness for chilies and thyme does not hurt.

Maybe it’s the Asian in me (political correctness aside) that agrees with her that French cooking tends to be about the chef and Italian cooking tends to be about the food.  I tend not to discriminate based on the cuisine: tasty is tasty I, generally, will try it first before I form an opinion.  Bizarre foods (I’m Filipino after all) are not necessarily a deal-breaker but previous pets or experiences (like most) delay or inhibit my gastronomical adventurousness.

My palette is a result of my overdeveloped sense of smell and the ability of my tongue to differentiate (it did not hurt that my father exposed me to a lot of “unusual” things), it’s simply a fact and not really a result of other things like snobbishness. I can be very particular about how something tastes; it’s not be difficult or uppity but simply being a “slave” to that reality.

I can see why my “niece” says that American cooking shows (by and large) seem artificial and contrived to her. There is something authentic about Bites.  Like the shows of Anthony Bourdain (in my mind, it’s a travel show with food in it to better understand the culture – I would probably still watch it even without the food due to the writing ), maybe it’s the “naturalness” that lends itself to being genuine.  The kitchen should not be like a display home (unless one is a neat freak):  in my mind, there’s nothing wrong with it being orderly but it should feel used and not antiseptic.

I consider Heston (and Alton Brown – perhaps it’s the geek in me but as a student I wasn’t fond of Chemistry) a star but pretence is a result of creativity (and not vice-versa) but not only is Nigella a “domestic goddess”, I find her very practical (as evidenced by the “shorter” time most of her recipes take).  In a world of food snobs and food porn propagated by Instagram, I still believe that the proof of the pudding (the pun was unintentional), is in the eating. Sure, presentation is vital (as we also eat with our eyes) but taste is still paramount.

back to the future

October 21, 2015

Marty McFly is supposed to come back today. While this is just a movie, there are few things we can take from this.

Sure, most futurists would think it foolish to specify a date but a target is often necessary to achieve most things. Not everything will come to fruition as evidenced by the movie but it is important that we strive for our goals. Making things explicit comes back to accountability. It announces our intent and helps track our progress – it tells everyone and, more importantly, ourselves if we are meeting the schedule. A timetable is one of the conventional requisite yardsticks for measuring “success.”

Most people do not provide a reasonable timeframe. Deadlines need to be realistic and achievable. Estimates need to be based on experience – our own or from a trusted source.

Sure, certain things matter and are important but we should learn not to take our endeavours too seriously.

dance fever

August 9, 2013

i’m not a big dancer – never was.  I don’t know if that proclivity stems from the fact I’m no good at it or I just don’t want the attention.  I might watch SYTYCD if it’s on and nothing else strikes my fancy but I won’t actively seek it out.

The visual effects originally intended for dancers can be “retrofitted” to augment traditional therapies (I think). The use of cameras and integrated images can be used for revisitable feedback that can help map causality. Reconstitution or alternative views can assist with a “faltering” self-image.  It also presents opportunities for expression and collaboration – alternative forms of “art”.

Like all “new” technologies it’s relatively expensive and not quite ready for primetime but hopefully Moore’s law and accelerated adoption will kick in.