Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The best movie of all time

When I think back about what I might personally call the best movie of all time, there are a lot of diverse candidates. The Matrix, for example. American Beauty, yes. Titanic, why not.

But when I add a little context, the answer changes. How about this question: "If I was alone on a space station a million years from now, and I had one last movie to watch to remind me what all of humanity was about before dying, what would it be?"

My answer would have to be the one I just watched now: About Time.

Where was this movie in 2013 in South Africa, when it was launched? Where was I? I completely can't recall it, and it might have passed out of my life forever if my wife hadn't just suggested we watch it because we were bored and I felt like watching a comedy.

I can't over-stress how completely amazing this movie is. I wouldn't change a single little iota of it, which isn't something I can say about many movies.

It is just so completely human ... filled with wry humour, surprising discoveries, endless failure, hope for something better, and real god's honest empathy.

So yes, Spock, let's devote the last of our space station's energy to powering this screen and this DVD player and dust off this relic from 2013.

It explains how pitifully vulnerable we all are, in the most beautiful, touching way I could never think of because I'm not a scriptwriter. But I AM a human, and it speaks a forgotten language in cinema: truth.

Thanks to Richard Curtis, Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams and the rest of the pitch-perfect cast (mad props to Lydia Wilson) for this absolute gem.

Watch it now. If you're uninspired, lonely, bored, or even happy, confident and tremendously busy ... just watch it. If you want your two hours back after watching it, I'll go back in time and get that for you.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

A bit of late-night philosophy

Lack confidence and you'll be fearful. Be over-confident and you'll be arrogant. Be perfectly balanced between the two poles, and you'll be boring.

The thing about most blogs is that they're where people share their knowledge or discoveries. They're from people positioning themselves as experts in a certain subject matter, and then sharing (a fraction of) their expertise.

But in reality, nobody knows anything, and we all know that. Nobody knows where we go when we die; exactly what happened at the beginning of the world; or how to open a wormhole to travel to far away galaxies.

In fact, what we DO know (or is that 'can' know?) pales in comparison, and is extremely prone to date rapidly. Sure, you can memorise all the biographies of your favourite sports team, but in a few years that whole team will be different.

We recognise we shouldn't be fearful, and we recognise that we shouldn't be arrogant, and that's what makes striving to be confident so admirable: it's admitting that you've got no reason to be (given the vast number of unknowns in the Universe), but quietly stating that you have faith in yourself and then applying that faith through action.

Action for what purpose?

Filling a blank slate.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Romania's going to the cats

I've written before about some Romanian companies' scant regard for the English language, but a recent news story makes me think that I might have been barking up the wrong tree altogether (no pun intended).

For the love of all beautiful things, read this story now:

TLDR version: A Romanian company has hired a cat for its Communications Manager, apparently after an exhaustive recruitment process. Details of its salary are hilarious (and not dissimilar to previous salaries I've received).

So I take it all back ... some Romanian companies don't just butcher English on their websites. I suspect the rot may run far deeper than that. The cats have seen to it.

It does make me wonder how the other 'over 700' applicants feel about this. Should one feel sad about losing out to a cat, or relieved at not working for a company that picks a cat for its Communications Manager?

What other harebrained (or is that hair-balled?) ideas might this company come up with?

[Did I warn you at the start that there will be a lot of puns? No? There will be a lot of puns.]

Where does this end? Does the cat also have to undergo regular performance review audits? Does it get extra kibble as a Christmas bonus? Is there a separate little kitty bathroom somewhere in this office, or does the cat suffer the indignity of using a litter tray in full view of the co-workers?

The part of that story that REALLY blows my mind is this quote:  "The first cat-manager ... will have to stamp all the gift boxes the company sells."

Are you getting the same image in your heads when you read that line that I do? An assembly line of bored-looking cats, trying to grip rubber stamps between their paws, as they feverishly stamp all the outgoing boxes?

On the plus side, this DOES explain the condition of some of the mail-order parcels I've received from smaller ... err ... 'independent' suppliers.

And there you thought that Romania (Bucharest anyway) had an issue with stray dogs. No longer. The cats are now in management.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Cooking at low peep

Don't you just love that moment when you say 'X' in casual conversation, only to rudely discover amid the other person's laughter that you'd completely misheard X years ago, and subsequently your brain has just dubbed over it with your (incorrect) version?

That happens to me with song lyrics quite a lot. For other people, it's incorrectly using directly-translated words the wrong way in a sentence (often to hilarious effect).

For one very special person, it was confusing "cooking at low heat" with "cooking at low peep". She will never be named.

When she tried googling it to confirm that she was correct after all, even Google didn't turn up a single result for "cooking at low peep". I figured that's a travesty, and there should at least be ONE hit dedicated to this mistake she's repeated countless times to complete (no doubt very confused) strangers.

Here's to our brain's wonderful way of convincing us that it actually knows what's going on in this crazy, noisy, flashy world we live in.

Here's to cooking at low peep.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Listen to this now

Was just watching The Last Time You Had Fun when this song came on ... it is amazing.

Paul Baribeau - Ten Things

name ten things you wanna do before you die and then go do them. 
name ten places you really wanna be before you die and then go to them
name ten books you wanna read before you die and then go read them
name ten songs you wanna hear again before you die, get all of your friends together and scream them

because right now all you have is time time time yeah, 
but someday that time will run out. 
that's the only thing you can be absolutely certain about. 

think of all the things that are wrong with your life and then fix them
think of all the things that you love about your life, be thankful you are blessed with them
think of all the things that hold you back and realize that you don't need them
think of all the mistakes you have made in your life, make sure that you never repeat them

because right now all you have is time time time yeah, 
but someday that time will run out. 
that's the only thing you can be absolutely certain about. 

name ten thousand reasons why you never wanna die, go and tell someone who might've forgotten
try to list the endless reasons why it's good to be alive, and then just smile for awhile about them

soon the sun will rise and another day will come 
soon enough the sun will set, another day will be gone

and right now all you have is time time time yeah, 
but someday that time will run out. 
that's the only thing you can be absolutely certain about.
Thank you Paul, and you're welcome Internet.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Introduction to Binaural Recording

Stereo, 5.1, 7.1 ... never mind those speaker effects - binaural recording is definitely going to be the new wave. How can it still be relatively niche?

Watch this, it'll be well worth it even if you know about binaural recording, thanks to the guys at the Verge (NB: you will need headphones for this):

Funnily enough I'd already heard 'The Virtual Barbershop' example quoted above many years ago, but what a great blast from the past! Here's the whole thing (just put headphones on and close your eyes):

PS: If you're like me and you start looking for other binaural recording examples on YouTube, you're going to be pretty disappointed by the slim pickings. There is some really weird ASMR stuff (an entire field I'd never even heard of before - no pun intended), and the odd binaural beats referred to in the original video above, but hopefully more media producers will start integrating this going forward!

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Just when you thought you'd seen everything...

... the Internet delivers #cookinwifrabbits, a truly zany collection of recipes where "Rabbits R the CHEF; NOT the Meal!!"

Seriously, click on that link and be amazed!

Best of all, some of the recipes look really nifty ... I think I'm going to try some!