trivial pursuit

September 18, 2017

for some reason, I’ve always been interested in trivia.  I’ve always enjoyed reading and browsing the Internet. Among other things, I like watching shows like  Jeopardy!, Adam Ruins Everything, and Food:  Fact or Fiction.  One of my most-liked chefs is Heston Blumenthal as I’m intrigued in how chemistry (although I found it boring in high school – it was my least favourite science subject) can be applied to cooking – another of my hobbies.

But I digress.  I’ve recently been made aware of a Google hack: if you type the words “fun facts” in the search bar, a piece of trivia will be returned.

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fully sic(k)

August 14, 2017

i enjoyed the film “The Big Sick” but wasn’t really surprised that the cinema was practically empty.  I’m no marketing guru but I think the title (although understandable) could have used some tweaking. Despite receiving a rating of 98% in Rotten Tomatoes and grossing a lot in the US, the film didn’t seem to do well in OZ.  Some might find “sick” in the title; or the plot revolving around a coma; or it being primarily set in a hospital to be off-putting to some movie patrons.  My dark humour aside, my wife & I have firsthand experience with illness so we never really felt confronted.

In a way, this kind of reminded me of the movie The Shawshank Redemption (based on the novella Rita Hayworth and  The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King in the book Different Seasons. Three of the four stories – corresponding to a particular season.  Of note is the tale of The Body or what most know as Stand By Me but that’s another story).  A lot of people have watched the film but it didn’t fare well in the cinema.  That’s because most movies rely on word of mouth but the title was too hard to recall for most viewers (sad to say that this may have been an instance where a focus group may have been helpful).

The movie may not have been advertised enough; or most Aussies may not be familiar with the work of Kumail Nanjani because the television show Silicon Valley isn’t really big here.   Regardless, go out and watch The Big Sick.

the plot thickens

August 11, 2017

according to Shakespeare there are only seven universal plot lines:
1. Overcoming the monster
2.  Rags to riches
3.  The quest
4.  Voyage and return
5.  Comedy
6.  Tragedy
7.  Rebirth

It shouldn’t  surprise anyone that my favourite play of his is Othello. I have an affinity for the Moorish general having grown-up on  a military base and originally hailing from the Philippines (I know the play was set in Venice but we were a former Spanish colony for several centuries but the Moors conquered Spain).  Moreover. Iago reminds me of Wormtongue in the Lord Of The Rings series.

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.