Friday, June 19, 2009

SNL with Timberlake

I've been catching Saturday Night Live whenever I can. Its great one-hour entertainment for my lunch breaks, but as anyone following it will know, they have their ups and downs. Sometimes comedy for comedy's sake ends up being a really tired skit that you just want it to end. The last good one that went particularly well was when Anne Hathaway was hosting it recently.

However the Justin Timberlake one is by far the funniest of them recently. Its so good its been making headlines all over. Best skit I think was 'Plasticville' where he gets dressed up in a weird fat suit that not many can pull it off, and the best part of it was the Lady Gaga improv. That's just something you really have to watch,

Can't wait for a 'Best of' to come even though he's only hosted it three times. Brilliant.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nothing less than 50, please

I'm in the market for a new TV, well not right now, but sometime this year would be realistic. And how television has changed. My 32" LCD TV, the epitome of flatscreen LCDs of its time while it was battling a winning war over the large chunky CRT TVs that weighed a quarter of a ton, has now entered into a price range that costs less than an iPhone. In fact, I think you could even get 2 of those for the price of an iPhone today.

The new LED TVs are pretty interesting, insanely thin at less than 10mm, thats about as thick as a Zippo, they can be mounted flush to any wall and look like part of your deco. The 55" one will set you back about 15k, but it comes with a free mount and Blu-ray player among other things.

Talking about Blu-rays, these are the definitive things to collect if you're really into details. I mean the first Blu-ray I tested was Mamma mia, which I am proud to say I have never watched it except for that few moments where it was so vivid you could see the freckles on Pierce Brosnan's face. One of the best places to get Blu-ray discs are on, hands down. Check out their deals and their ever fluctuating prices and you might just walk away with a couple for a song. (Does anyone really talk like that anymore?)

Here's what I would be putting in my library, not a complete list, but if you were thinking about building one at the same time, this would help with not buying anything completely useless like Mam...ok in all fairness my niece was really into it so I won't say more.

- Taken: Completely fantastic edge of your seat entertainment. Liam Neeson scores big and it makes you want to tell these overexcited lying scheming teenagers 'I told you so.'
- Slumdog Millionaire: Well deserved award winning movie. Its a shame the actors are still living in the slums, some even got kicked out and their houses demolished. More should be done for them, these invading Brit opportunist directors...
- Transformers: Robots and Megan Fox, you really can't go wrong there.
- Batman Begins: Best Batman movie ever, and I think even better than the sequel, which is why it isn't on this list.
- Serenity & Firefly: I never watched Firefly until there was nothing left to watch and once I did I was hooked. A sci-fi western? Doesn't sound right, but one of the better series that doesn't deserve to be nixed midway. Huge fan following until today.
- Iron man: The idea of a guy who spends all his time at home working on his hobby and eliminating bad guys? That's everyone's favorite ambition.
- The Godfather: Come on, its a classic.
- Wall-E: Something for the kids, this was a particularly well done animation, I enjoyed it. Almost bought plush toys, imagine that. Keyword: Almost.
- Generation Kill: Gritty, intense, realistic combat action of the Marines in Iraq. Very well done and easy to follow even for non-military nutheads.
- V for Vendetta: I bought this on VCD, I bought it on DVD, I bought the comic book that started it all too. Loved the movie, loved the theme, and Natalie Portman was great in it too.
- Underworld Trilogy: Kate Beckinsale in tights. Guns and vampires.
- Sin City: This is also another classic and others that tried to mimic it failed. Its a long movie so make sure you have enough time to really get into it.
- The Bourne Trilogy: Matt Damon says 'I don't know who I am, but if you cross me, you die'. Love it.
- Bolt: Fairly adult animation about a little girl and her dog. Extremely engaging but I'm not sure the kids will fully get the dialogue.
- Black Hawk Down: Yes yes, I am after all a guy. Great action flick overall.

Of course there are more, but these are the few must have ones, at least for me.

Over and out.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Too accessible

Ever notice how this communication gap is closing and as we get more and more tools to communicate we get further and further away from our contacts? We got Friendster, Facebook, Twitter and what not and they are incorporating chats, location trackers (for Google accounts), so that we always know where each of our friends are. But the more these tools become available for our utilization the more we want to deactivate it.

Look at the 'Away' mode for instance. That currently signifies that 'I don't want to talk to just anyone, but if you're in the loop, I'll reply your message'. Or that 'Do not disturb' mode that says 'I'm not really busy but I just don't want to receive any messages.' We have become so socially adept that we've become unsociable!

We end up trying to find features to shut off our online presence instead. What's up with that? I reckon that if you don't want to be found, don't log in or even sign up for chat. If you don't want your pictures shared or edited or used in a malicious manner, don't post your pictures up. If you don't want people to know what you're doing every other second of the day, don't post Twitters every other second of the day. It really is that simple! The more information you share, the more information that can be used against you.

I think at some point people would think, 'How nice would it be if I just lived in a cave and people can't find me?'.

Then maybe a few hours after you've found the cave you'd think, ' Why doesn't this cave have WiFi?'

Never say never

You'd think that if there were more robberies and other theft related incidents happening people would generally be more aware, but they aren't. You know that we have a problem when someone you know, or someone that knows someone you know has been robbed, its not even six degrees of separation anymore, that could be down 50%, and yet, people tend to repeat this six words in their head 'It will not happen to me'.

Call it ignorance, optimism, or whatever you want to, but these are not the carefree 70s, or for my time, the 90s (I reckon they were particularly carefree, for me at least), but today, and possibly for some time to come, optimism can only take you so far, and where the line ends what would you do? What can you do?

Most of us aren't prepared for the worst since we strive for the best and most of that time is spent in our comfort zone. Let's call that zone: White. White zone is when you let your guard down, you're probably at home, doors locked, alarms activated (if any), and you are thus 'free'. The mistake most people make is that when they get out of the house, they are still in the White zone. For me, the moment you step out of your house, you're already in Yellow.

Yellow is a heightened state of awareness. You observe things more carefully, you are aware of your surroundings, you are aware of the people around you and what they are doing. Yellow does not cripple you, nor does it make you less competent, it just means that you'd have to take a little more effort to look a step ahead. If an area is too dark that you shouldn't tread, or if people are rapidly approaching you as you are entering your car. Being in the Yellow zone means that you would do what it takes so that you can get back to the White zone safely. That means lcoking your doors the moment you get into your car, not lingering around the ATM after your transactions, that sort of thing. A lot of accidents and robberies can be prevented by just simply switching your mode to Yellow whenever you are outside your comfort zone.

We'll continue next time on the other two zones, Orange and Red, but right now, this should help at least a bit.