Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I wrote a while ago that I ordered an A2 print on jessopsphotoexpress.com. Well, after 2 weeks of no-action and staring at the same "Your order is being processed", I decided to write them an email to their hopefully-attended customer support email box. Well, they responded promptly saying that they cannot find my order in their system and they're talking with the software company. Geez, not another screw-up!
This is because I still haven't got my money back for the ticket I cancelled in october. Can you imagine? I sent an threatening email to lastminute.com telling them my last minute of patience is running out and I will claim back my money via the credit card company, complain to ABTA, complain to Trading Standards and sue them in the small claims tribunal. No response so far! Can you believe it?
There's something very wrong with the economy and companies. Of course, everyone knows they only care about providing value to investors and gaining more and more profits. It's always been that, but in recent times it's all got worse. Banks report record profits of all times while they give their customers the middle finger. Gas and electricity goes up like it never did before. Council tax is the spiralling stairway to heaven or to heart attack!
It seems to me that the UK economy is desperate to attract investors from abroad, from all over the world, to support the economy, all in the detriment of the UK consumer that has to foot a larger bill than anyone else.

Anyway, there's a film going this week to see Clooney's "Good night and good luck" on wednesday, a repeat of the successful get together that I organised last wednesday to see "Walk the Line".
On thursday it's bowling, so far only moi, Alireza and Edyta, but hey, it's not quantity we're after here.

Monday, February 27, 2006

more films...

Even more films that I saw...

Date Movie - a total fiasco, it's supposed to be funny, but it's grotesque and I didn't laugh much. Not worth spending money or time on it. Total crap! IMDB rating: 2.9/10

The fog - a horror about ghosts coming back for revenge. It's not that scary but it's ok. Nothing special though. IMDB rating: 3/10

Lucky number Slevin - a tale of revenge and gangs. The story it's a bit unrealistic and ridiculous at points, especially when describing the gangs involved. But the idea and story is not bad and the film has enough twists to keep you enjoying it. It's worth a go. IMDB rating: 6.2/10

Capote - an egotistic writer catches himself out when trying to write about a murder. He writes a tremendously successful book, but it all comes with a cost in the end as he's left psychologically changed by the experience. The transformation is a bit unexpected and the whole point of the film. Recommended! IMDB rating: 8.1/10

The Lady Vengeance - a tragicomedy made in Korea. Tackling a tough subjects which hasn't been explored that much in western films: women in prison, children abduction & murder. It has some comic moments to, as to soften the message or to remind the public how ridiculous everything is. For me, it was also an exploration of the death penalty. It's good, but different. IMDB rating: 7.7/10

On DVD, some older films:

Existenz (1999) - sci-fi. Hmm, it was ok. It's difficult to make a very good sci-fi, because sci-fi need to work much harder to transpose the watcher into the different world of the film. It's a slower build up and the line can be easily crossed into the ridiculous. This film tackled the theme of computer games and how they can change societies and people, although they might seem harmless now. IMDB rating: 6.7/10

Memento (2000) - This is a very good film, the old subject of revenge from the perspective of a person that doesn't have long term memory. The technique is also very interesting, and at least for me, innovative. The film presents goes backwards, you know how it ends and then you slowly find out how it all get there by seeing a little more in the past. In the end, not everything makes sense and there is place for thinking about it more. All in all, a very good film which is reflected in the IMDB rating: 8.6/10

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Today my colleagues had shafted me, volunteering me for a 3 hours conference call with the bosses from the States on a new business they just bought over there. They voted that I should be on the call. And I wasn't even present.
I hope I scared them by telling them I don't know these people, I could say on the phone:
"Who's this Bob geezer, he keeps talking bollocks for half an hour".
Bob being the big boss.
I hope they got the message, I don't want to be stuck in a 3 hours conference call.
But at least we had a laugh.

Maybe I should write about the job. That would be funny. Usually we have fun here. The frenchie and the brit are going on an English language course. Not me! :-)
The brit is of indian descent but was born here, he's on the course to improve his English vocabulary and writing skills. He's from East London and speaks with the well known eastern London "innit". E.g.: Shitty weather, innit?!
Yeap, weather is the perennial topic in England. Or football.

Tonight it's film night, Walk the Line. So far it's moi, Chris, Alireza, Ivika, Roberto, Kaisa, Leo, Edyta that said they would be there. We'll see. It's a good start.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

So bird flu is almost upon us. I was wondering ... what happens if in a chicken farm, a chicken or a turkey accidentally sneezes? The others must freeze, shivers down their yummy breasts, before starting to jump up and down in panic. What happens if the same turkey sneezes more afterwards? It's easy to imagine ...

Well, at least in Romania we're somehow safe (just that I don't live in Romania). While we do eat chicken, the national meat must be no doubt pork. Allegedly there's a historical explanation for that.
Romania was raided by the turks back in history. So what?! Well, turks are muslim and they're forbidden from eating pork. So everytime they raided us, they use to take everything except the pigs. It's not as tragic as natural selection because people soon realised that and started to rear pigs instead of chickens. You can almost imagine the frustration that must have caused in the invading turks.

There's also the habit of killing the pigs for Christmas. Well, what did you think? They're not reared for their linguistic skills!
This annual slaughter is so clearly expressed in the following joke:

The pig talks to the donkey.
- Donkey, you're so dirty. And weak. Look at you, you're abused every day. Look how many stuff they make you carry! You must have such a shitty life...
The donkey, visibly irritated, turns to the pig:
- Is it my impression or you're not the last year's pig?!

Ok ... enough of that. Back to serious stuff. Bird flu. So far it seems to have affected swans. Swans (or some swans) are said to be mute and only sing before they die (thus the expression "a swan's song"). But with the flu, do you think they sing?
I would imagine they have stuffy nose and cough while swearing at the bloody winter flu. But everyone usually imagine they will make it when they have a flu.
They have to know for sure that they're gonna die in order to sing. What if they sing and then they recover from the flu?! What would everyone say? There would be outrage for sure.
So, using this logic ... they must postpone singing until the last minute when they're very sure they die.
It begs the question ... what happens if you slaughter them? They have to realise ... shit, it's a knife. Oh my god, it's coming for my neck! ... I'm fucked ... La-La-La...

I'll stop it here, it's silly already!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Friday we've seen a show called Jump, a bunch of hilarious koreans combining martial arts with jumps, dance and humour. It's hilarious, you don't want to miss it, I couldn't stop laughing at points. A great show, highly recommended! M&Ms have seen it twice, they liked it that much :-)

Films ...

Hidden - a french film, cute and shocking at points, makes you think after it's finished. It's not bad, surely better than many other films that I've seen recently. Recommended!

Final Destination 3 - quite ridiculous sequel. It's just taking the piss, yawn yawn!

Aeon Flux - sci-fi idea wrapped around Charlize Theron as a sexy futuristic assasin. Badly done though, idea not new, holywoodian bla bla of grandeur and liberation. Disappointing!

March of the Penguins - very good documentary, nice photography, cute scenes, very nice. Recommended if you like documentaries or Morgan Freeman's voice!

Casanova - this is a good film, I was a bit skeptical before seeing it. It's not easy tackling subjects that everyone thinks they know about because the public wants twists, wants to be surprised at every corner. This film does it and I was impressed by it. I didn't think it would be that good. Recommended!

Fun with Dick and Jane - a comedy in the unmistakable Jim Carrie style. It manages to squeeze laughs and it's nice to watch especially if you like the silly Jim Carrie humour.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I've ordered a big print (A2) of a picture that I took in Thailand ... actually I posted it here a while ago; it's a picture of a shy girl standing by a door. I've ordered the print at Jessops, 14.95 pounds for A2. They also do A1 and A0, but A2 is huge and enough for now, I'm so curious to see how it looks like printed in such a big format. I'm even thinking of applying for this year's Schweppes Photographic Awards. Nothing to lose, eh?

Tonight we're going to see Hidden, a french film, a thriller that apparently went very well with the critics. The title in french is Cache. I hope after seeing it, I won't speak like zis! Also in the pipeline ... Aeon Flux and Casanova in the weekend!

At the moment I'm still recovering from yet another shitty cold, I had fever yesterday and a splitting head ache. At some point I was thinking ... shit, what if it's malaria which I might have caught in Thailand. But checking now, I just realised that the incubation period for malaria is between 7 and 30 days normally. So in theory I'm off the hook. Now let's worry about something else, bird flu?

Someone told me the other day about a Brokeback Mountain sequel, out of curiousity I did a search on google to see what's this all about. Well, I couldn't find much, except a lot of jokes ... you won't believe how silly some people are. From the search titles..
-George Bush To Star in Sequel to ‘Brokeback Mountain’
-Bush and Cheney to Star in Brokeback Mountain Sequel
-Gore to Star in Brokeback Mountain Sequel…Alone
Now ... not that it’s not funny, but why does it have to be always about US politics?! How about:
-Tony Blair To Star in Sequel to "Brokeback Mountain"
-Tony Blair and Bush ...
-Tony Blair and Chirac
-Chirac and ... hmm, anyone else really

How about this joke as a startup point for a sequel to Brokeback mountain...

A hippy dude gets on the bus and takes a seat next to a young nun. At some point the hippy guy asks her to have sex with him.
-I can't, I'm married to God, the nun replies.
When the nun gets off the bus, the bus driver who happened to overhear the conversation, tells the hippy guy:
-Hey, I know how you can have sex with her. Every tuesday night she goes to the local cemetery and prays alone. You go there one night with a white sheet on your head and tell her you're God and she should have sex with you.
All set.
The hippy dude does just that. The nun is scared but she says that her virginity is her most precious valuable; she can only have anal sex. The hippy agrees and off they go to have some fun. After everything's finished, the hippy dude takes off the white sheet and cries out jubilantly:
-Haha, I'm the hippy dude!!
The nun takes off her veil:
-Haha, I'm the bus driver!

So watch out kids, cemeteries are no playgrounds!

PS: Lucky me I said God and not the Prophet or Muhammad, otherwise there would be protests and flag burning team building exercises all over the Middle East.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Nothing much on the horizon in the last days, maybe because in the winter the male ciprian doesn't leave its natural habitat to go travel. So the horizon is unchanged, overcast.

But the good news is that I've won the lottery again. Can you believe it? After just 2 weeks? This time it was 10 pounds. I tried to work out the rule ... first 8.90, after two weeks 10, if it's an arithmetical progression, it will take me 34965.0349 years to become a millionaire. But that would be just one million, probably seriously devalued by then. So let's redo the calculations with 15 millions...

I've managed to see some films too. I've seen Woody Allen's Match Point. I don't know if it's just me but whenever I think of Woody Allen, the first thing that pops into my mind is The Chatty Hunter. As in that Orange advertisement that's showed before every film, with Patrick Scwayze (God have mercy on my spelling) trying to make a film called the Silent Hunter. Anyway...
It's an ok film, but maybe just because Woody Allen is in the credits. Or maybe if you want to smile happily whenever you recognise some places in London where it was filmed ... like the Big Ben and so on. I personally think the main character is not very well defined and it's really difficult to understand why is he doing some of the things. The truth is ... psychological dilemmas are really really difficult to transpose in a film. In a book it's easy ... you just talk about it for 400 hundreds of pages until the readers feel like, themselves, they're ready to kill, just to get it over with.

I've also seen Proof with Anthony Hopkins and Gwyned Paltrow (?! how's my spelling - it's too late to check!). It's a deja vu that brings back flashes from "A beautiful mind", it seems like mathematics is a sure way to start flying over a cuckoo's nest (and to think that I've studied that in university and i have a degree in computer science and mathematics - scary!!). So the mad mathematician is there, but unlike the guy with the beautiful mind, this guy managed to have sex at some point in his life as he had a daughter - which you all know what it implies (well, maybe not some of you young mamas! sic!). The subject starts very promisingly, the trailer looked nice, but then it all dies out like a mathematician's ... compass.

I've also seen Ray, an older film and it was good, a good film ... not fantastic, but quite good, i liked it. But you know about that one, right?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

good-bye Lilian

We said good bye to Lilian, she's going back to Brazil tomorrow but planning to come back as soon as possible. Good luck Lilian and see you soon! Sao Paolo is as cloudy and gloomy as London, so don't you be tempted to stay there, ok?! :-)

Here's the website of a romanian guy I met about 2 years ago here in London, a photographer, we don't keep in touch that much lately: http://www.just-looking.net/. His portofolio is very nice. I should go out with my camera more often.

A bowling game is coming up soon, Alireza suggested it, so it might happen either this week or the next. I still can't explain the poor performance in Thailand ... maybe it was just playing Away while I'm used to play at Home.

Boring tuesday ... bleah! But don't let me put you down, think about it and you'll see that you can put yourself down easily!


Monday, February 06, 2006

what's up doc?!

On thursday I went to see Katie Melua. No, it wasn't a private audience or a promiscuous encounter as I’m sure most of you think, but a gig at Royal Albert Hall where I was just a pair of two eyes lined up in the crowd and sitting in between Adam and Navid - nothing sexual though I can assure you! The show was brilliant and her voice was very good. Not to mention her physical appearance, but let's not descend into vulgarity here. We're talking about art! It's a show recommended if you like blues or jazz. I have both her albums, you can borrow them if you ask nicely. Of course, the other condition is that I know you.

Sunday was reserved to a movie marathon, my brain a bit roast at the end. Two films in a row are ok, but three is pushing it a bit. We've started with "The Chronicles of Narnia, the Lion, the witch and the wardrobe and when will this title end?". It's not as bad as I thought when watching the trailer, as it's all building up slowly and although you do start laughing hysterically when a beaver starts talking or a horse just turns its head to the rider and says "I'm tired mate!" ... it's still a good film. It's for children, unlike the Harry Potter and the never-ending episodes which is so dark and scary that I'm surprised it was approved for children to see it.

We continued with Chicken Little and what a laugh that is ... it's about a little chicken (duh!) who wants to conquer the world (so it's really easy to identify with the character :-), but the film is guaranteed to crack you up, unless you're absolutely hopeless. Who're we talking about?!

The ending was with a heavyweight ... Steven Spielberg's Munich, a very disturbing film that is not recommended to be batched up with comedies or children films. It's a controversial film, but only because when saying anything about Jews, Judaism or Israel you're threading on thin ice. If it was about IRA, ETA or some "Blow me up Scottie" group, I don't think it would raise so many eyebrows (a maximum of two, anyway!).

Have a blasting Monday!! Huh?!

Friday, February 03, 2006

anti-islamic cartoons

Two of the pictures that have sparked outrage across the muslim world after being published initially in a Danish newspaper and then republished by many newspapers across Europe. They outraged muslims, some of them threatening reprisals, kidnappings, boycott of european products and even Jihad.
Coming from an ex-communist country I have to tell you ... the freedom of speech is one sacred human right. Too many people take it for granted.

For the full list of photos go to http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/698

long time no read

Hey, it's been a while and a very stressful and busy while that was.

This is an update to tell you that I won the lottery!! Finally, after so many dreams and longing. And guess what ... I kept my old job still. Most people quit their job when they win the lottery. Not me, ah-ah! Loyalty! A word that doesn't ring many bells nowadays! It was the Euro Lottery and I won 8.90 pounds.

Enough said!

I've got an Unlimited Movies card from www.ugccinemas.co.uk which allows me to see an unlimited number of films, any time i want, for a flat fee of 13.99 a month. Not bad at all. The only problem is that they tie you in the contract for one year. Ah well, let's call it a social-psychological experiment. Maybe after one year of intensive film watching I'll live in my own little world with witches, lions coming out of wardrobes and vampires fighting werewolves for supremacy over my cortex.

I'm also looking into getting a mortgage and filling my citizenship application. After I get my passport I really want to go to New York ... what's the best time to visit New York? :-) I always wanted to see New York. After all ... if I can make it there, I can make anywhere, right?