Sunday, 26 January 2014

Let's talk: Gravity

Spoiler Alert: If you have not seen Gravity then do not continue. Seriously, stop now; put on something nice, get out of your house and watch the film. Bring a friend. Oh and watch it in 3D.

Unless NASA reduces it's recruitment requirements drastically (who knows, maybe one day they'll want to put a fat blogger on the moon), then watching Gravity will be the closest I get into space. For the time being I have to be content with looking up at the stars with my telescope. When it's not being pointed at someone's window..(just kidding)..

I guess I could always put my spare $250,000 to good use and book a seat on a Virgin Galactic flight but it might be a touch disappointing compared to what Sandra Bullock goes through in Gravity. Technically we're all already in “space” since Earth is technically a “spaceship” travelling at roughly 900,000 Kilometres :O I know....mind blown.

Gravity is now part of my top 5 favourite space films. The list is as follows:

  1. Gravity
  2. Sunshine
  3. Apollo 13
  4. Armageddon
  5. RocketMan

Don't judge me on those last two! I like what I like. I know most people didn't like Armageddon but it was the 90's and the World was going to be destroyed in 2000 so I couldn't afford to be picky. Also, I may have gotten a touch emotional at the scene where Bruce Willis had to say goodbye to Liv Tyler. As for Rocketman? Well...I liked the special effects in that film.

But let's get back to Gravity; I get distracted easily and if I find myself not enjoying a film then I have to resist the urge to take my phone out or try to keep from falling asleep. Gravity was not one of those films, it held my attention the entire time. And with a running time of 91 minutes the film is the perfect length; not everything has to be over 2 hours long.

The film did take a while a while to “start” since there was a fair bit of dialogue in the beginning. I must admit I was a little worried for awhile. But the moment the shuttle crew gets the first warning that a satellite had disintegrated I was hooked. I will say that if you're someone who suffers from agoraphobia/claustrophobia you probably wouldn't enjoy the expanse of space or the point of view from inside the space suit.

And the best part of the film was the silence of space because we all know that in space no one can hear you scream. Even though there weren't loud explosions in Gravity it didn't reduce the tension one bit. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I like the use of imagery in the film; the moment when Sandra Bullock makes it to the ISS and she takes off her space suit. She goes into a foetal position and as she hangs there with the cables floating around her, she looks like a foetus in the womb.

I know there was some “controversy” when Neil DeGrasse Tyson made some observations about the film. He suddenly found himself trolled on Twitter; I guess everyone's a critic (including me apparently.) I'm neither an astronaut or a astrophysicist so the facts of Gravity don't really matter to me. Unless it's about Man of Steel.

For 91 minutes I was in a state of suspended disbelief; which speaks highly of the merit of Gravity. Which was a lot better compared to the experience of watching White house down where by brain basically went “Wtf, wtf, wtf,wtf” for most of the film.

One tiny criticism (which of the film that I may have is that astronauts don't really wear tights/spanx. In reality, most astronauts wear what is called a Maximum Absorbency Garment; or diapers to us civilians. I will say that Sandra Bullock looks just as nice in an American space suit as she does in a cosmonaut space suit.

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Sunday, 19 January 2014

That is it! Time out for you..

Something caught my attention this week, it was news story reported in The Star about a Malaysian couple who have been arrested in Sweden for allegedly hitting their son on the hand. In 1979 Sweden had banned corporal punishment; and by hitting (allegedly) their son on the hand the parents had broken the law.

After the school had reported the matter to the police the parents were arrested and all the children had been placed in foster care. So far, the parents have been detained for a month as in Sweden there is no bail system and arrested can be held in custody until their trial is complete. And it will be at least another two weeks until their case is heard.

There was some controversy over the placement of the children in foster care because they weren't allowed to meet their relatives who had flown in from Malaysia. One of the children, identified only as Ammar, said: “I miss Mummy and Daddy. We want to go back to Malaysia but they won’t let us. The Swedish social services with the help of representatives from the Malaysian Embassy are trying to find a Malaysian family to foster the children.

Khairy Jamaluddin who is the Minister of Youth and Sports described the extended detention of the Malaysian couple in Sweden as harsh. “Although we respect their law, I think extending the remand is harsh,” he said.

According to an unnamed source (which doesn't exist since I'm making this part up), the parents are currently being held in a not-so-hard labour camp where they have to assemble IKEA furniture for those who can't read unbelievably simple instructions. I get it..jokes about IKEA furniture are common, but I couldn't help myself. I still love IKEA furniture :)

While some countries (around 30) have banned corporal punishment against children, discipline and punishment by parents (such as spanking) have always been a somewhat grey area. Besides what's wrong with a little discipline? Maybe if the Swedes were a little more stricter they wouldn't have lost the Battle of Poltava in 1709. That's right people, I just put Sweden on blast :P I'm kidding of course. But if any Swedes are upset over the mention of that historic loss to the Russians I would say “Seriously bro, let it go.”

Corporal punishment prohibited in schools and home/Corporal punishment prohibited in schools only

In case you're wondering,I have probably been hit by my parents a handful of times. I can't really remember getting hit except for one incident. In fact in most of these cases I would probably say I deserved it (it has nothing to do with the fact that they're standing over my shoulder right now.) I was a bit of a wild child. While my parents were somewhat strict, I could get away with stuff pretty easily. Especially with my mother.

About 12 years ago my Dad had left for a trip, I got really upset because I missed him. And when I get upset I like to eat junk food (I still do); so I asked my Mum to buy me some McDonald's before she got home. She forgot and long story short, the next morning my Mum tried in vain to drag me to the bathroom (I was a fat kid) since I decided to go on “strike.” And so, like the protesters in New York I decided to occupy my bedroom. Unlike the protesters, I got my way and not only missed school that day but also had a lovely McDonald's meal.

Hopefully this whole thing will be resolved soon. I don't think you can criticize a country for wanting for wanting to protect children while there are other countries out there who are trying to take away the rights of other people (looking at you Putin. And no, you can't use the same argument of protecting children to discriminate against the LGBT community.) And if you ever find yourself losing your patience with your child, just use the naughty step. Or you just might find yourself having to take a "time out."

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Sunday, 12 January 2014

Needless nitpicking

noun: nitpicking; noun: nit-picking
1. fussy or pedantic fault-finding.
"nitpicking over tiny details"

Some things caught my attention this week. But first let's talk about Faiz. Besides sharing too much information with people I also need to work on my nitpicking as well as my sarcasm. I don't want to get rid of it entirely; this blog would probably cease to exist if that happens. But I want to cut back on my nitpicking and sarcastic remarks just a little bit. Life would be slightly easier.

For example, if someone were to ask me a question I COULD just give the person a straightforward answer but instead I use sarcasm. Because I think it's funny; except it's not. Most often than not I'm just met with silence. Ask my friend Sara..she'll tell you (mind you, she doesn't get sarcasm.) And the side effect of this is that my family, friends and random people I meet tend not to take me too seriously.

But I digress, let's get back on topic. Lately my mother has enjoyed watching cooking shows, which is definitely an upgrade from when she used to watch The Bold and The Beautiful (I'm not a big fan of soap operas.) I don't understand why she watches cooking shows in the first place. She makes notes of all the recipes but never cooks any of the food. I mean, what's the point?

I mean, it's like having a National Security Agency but not spying on your own citizens or the citizens of other countries. Which is why I applaud the United States of America for watching everyone because we can't be trusted. And clearly they can (I must admit, not my best analogy); I haven't read Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell but I'm pretty sure it's about a future in a totalitarian state where everyone is watched; everyone lives happily and is glad that the state acts like a Big Brother. Definitely need to read that book someday.

Gone off topic again, what I wanted to say was the thing that got my attention was the advertisements for a cooking show; “Good Eats” hosted by Alton Brown. The ads had these short quotes from people. And they got me thinking. Here's one:

Clearly Katherine W of Albuquerque New Mexico has never seen a cooking show before. This is such an understatement; it's like saying “Faiz uses words in his blog.” Or maybe this is the first one she's ever seen. Well Katherine, strange thing is there are probably..let's say about a few hundred cooking shows.

And they pretty much all explain cooking techniques. What has Katherine been doing all this time? Has she been hanging out in the kitchen watching my mother cooking? My mother never explains cooking techniques. In fact, if I ask too many questions I get hit on the head with a spatula. And the next quote is the best:

I'm a little concerned here about the welfare of Michele's son. I think the social services in Portland, Oregon need to drop by Michele's house. You can't be too good a parent if you can't get your child to eat.

And then I saw a different ad for Nissan's latest offering the Nissan Rogue. Apparently this ad has been annoying people in America because it's been aired too many times. I wouldn't know but it seems a little strange. It's like getting angry at a music station for playing too much music. That's what ad's are for. To get you to buy their stuff they need to keep playing it over and over again. Anyway, the ad starts off with a warning:

How paranoid is Nissan's legal department? What have they been smoking? Then again, McDonald's did get sued for it's coffee being too hot. Maybe a little paranoia is good; after all, I have my laptop camera covered with a piece of tape. Dear NSA, I have nothing to hide, I'm just really really shy. On a side note, the NSA can access any iPhone any time they want to. Oh well, one less reason to buy Apple. Anyway during the ad there are two more warnings by Nissan:

So what you're saying is that the Nissan Rogue CAN'T jump incredible height's and land on top of a moving train while being light enough not to crush the carriage? Well Sir (or Madam) I'm afraid you've just lost a customer! I'm currently looking for a car that I can jump on trains with. But if this is a fantasy does that mean the Fast and Furious movies were fake as well? I mean that can't be true; why would they make seven? Surely it can't only be about the money?

I will admit though that the driver in the ad is quite attractive and an incredible driver. She seems perfect for me. Maybe I can ask her out on a date? Maybe one day we'll end up married with a few kids. And then we'll spend our retirement playing with our grandchildren. Wait..“FANTASY. DO NOT ATTEMPT.” Damn you Nissan! You ruined everything!

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