Barack Obama Singing Sexy and I Know It

Definitely put a smile on my face

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Some of the blogs I read

These blogs are in no particular order, and the descriptions are not comprehensive. But here are some of the blogs I like to read when I find the time to get on WordPress, so please check them out.

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Not Your Average Geek: Definitely far from average is my friend Rooney who I’ve known for years and who thankfully hasn’t changed a bit. He’s the king of all geeks and can probably quote every sentence from anything sci-fi or tech related. His comments on everyday life and the frustration of things like moving house, bin men and car repairs can’t help but make your day.

Geminibe: One of my favourite people, this girl is unstoppable, when she’s not blogging she’s running around, working and charming the socks off everyone she meets.

The Great Unrest: A friend of mine contributes to this blog, which you should read if you want to keep up to date with the world.

Marcello: Long-term blog buddy, and probably the most versatile blogger I know, writing about anything from music, movies, random thoughts, to quirky facts, and events both past and present.

Other blogs I enjoy, all of which use a personal perspective to explore life, the universe and everything:

AIS JournalBraonthreeRaywoman, Ninaheika.

Germguy: Fascinating even if you aren’t a scientist or microbiologist, an educational and informative blog about things even the eye can’t see.

Best blogs I’ve recently come upon:

But I’m beautiful: Every post is of interest however vast the topics, offering the perfect mix of quirky comments and thoughtful observations on life, the universe and everything. This blog has a nice personal feel that makes it addictive.

Science 3000, Exploration of Concepts: An interesting combination of science, ethics and philosophy, writing of things from angles you may not even have thought of.

The New World: Collaborative and excellent writing by Rooney and Steve.

Tyranny of Tradition: Always amusing, from music and movies to history and news. One particularly enlightening post is titled ‘Researchers Say Hitting Yourself In The Face With A Hammer Could Potentially Be Dangerous

Tsactuo: Honest and insightful observations on life and human nature, proving that although life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns it can have whatever meaning we apply to it.

Flick Freak Diaries: Excellent movie reviews, and definitely the blog to go to if you’re wondering what film you should watch or avoid.

Jon Water: This blog talks about life from the perspective of organic living, health and the power of mind over matter. An interesting take on being active in life, and certainly an active read.

JFD Photography: My dear friend Jessica, who went to college with me a few years back. She takes excellent photographs of anything she aims a camera at, and looks lovely in every picture taken of her. Her special interest is in nature and wildlife, so prepare for lush landscapes and curious creatures.

Bohemia Speaks: Beautiful writing, cannot recommend this enough.

Mark: Intelligent opinion and fact based posts about ethical issues such as vegetarianism, the world and everything.

I got accepted

Kawaii Sushi Cross Stitch

Image by plushoff via Flickr

I got accepted to study Medicine (Access) somewhere, can’t say where yet as need to hear back from all the places I applied to (I’ve applied via the Graduate route too).

I also wanted to post some of the things I’ve been writing lately about Face Transplants, Japanese Kawaii culture, etc, but can’t because they’ve been submitted to Goldsmiths and I’m not sure what the rules are on publishing your work when it hasn’t been marked yet. Plus, if they do one of their random plagiarism checks, and find my work here, they may think I’ve plagiarised from Cityshy, without realising I AM Cityshy.

I’m still writing about the psychological impacts of technology, the implications of it being an extension of our selves, and tearing apart post-human theorems. I still work as a Care Giver to the elderly, a hospital volunteer on a surgical ward, and will be graduating in May, so I feel productive despite being busy all the time.

This post is mainly just to fill the void.

My Birthday Today

Birthday Cake for Depression

Image by cathleenritt via Flickr

Yes, it’s my birthday, so I’ve been trying to be jovial, but I just feel blue and tired, and am too busy with a lot of things to write or read, or pay as much heed to WordPress as I usually would, and would love to. But even more than that I would love to turn off my brain. I’m done working for the day, so this one innocent beer will be my lonely end to the day.

I will try to post a happy post soon, or one of my Medical musings, film reviews, or general ones.

Medical Education Online

 

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One more old snippet from my LiveJournal:

  • Apr. 5th, 2010 at 8:06 PM

Interesting medical essays HTML:

Effects of Internet Use on Health and Depression: A Longitudinal Study:

http://www.jmir.org/2010/1/e6/HTML

Learning in a Virtual World: Experience With Using Second Life for Medical Education:

http://www.jmir.org/2010/1/e1/HTML

She got a blog at last!

Hands in the air - in concert

Image by marfis75 via Flickr

http://geminibe.wordpress.com

My old school friend Rebecca (more commonly referred to as Bexy) finally got herself a blog. I say this not just as her friend; her writing is really easy to absorb, uplifting, and above all genuine. She’s really one of the most decent people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. So it’s cool to know that even though we live far away, and hardly see each other anymore, I can stay connected to her on here. I’m really excited to see her next post, her first is so rich and full of free thought.

So, to my very few readers, and even fewer commenters, go and check her out! You won’t regret it.

What’s the most expensive object you’ve ever touched?

Moche Ear Ornaments. 1-800 AD. Larco Museum Co...

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It has to be an object, not housing or actual money.

I just held a £12,000 ring in my hands, and I’m not sure if it’s the most expensive thing I’ve held. I’ve probably touched more expensive art work or museum pieces, maybe even other jewellery I have forgotten, because none of it is my own.

So, what is the most valuable object you have ever touched or held?

Multiple personalities and Shelter

Shelter (2009 film)

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[contains mild spoilers]

It’s nearly 4am and I can honestly say I haven’t been this spooked by a film in a long time. I just watched Shelter (2010), directed by Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein. And written by Michael Cooney.

Julianne Moore, whom I adore, plays a forensic psychiatrist whose patient (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) has multiple personality disorder…or so she thinks.

The fact that each of his multiple ‘personalities’ are that of actual murder victims, causes her to question herself. An inward battle between science and religion reigns as she tears through experimentation and research, finding nothing that makes sense to her.

What starts out as a psychological thriller becomes supernatural horror, which was quite interesting as it works as both. Some people complained about the ‘switch’, but in actuality there was no transition needed; it was always evident that this was more than just a man with multiple identities. Maybe some people are just a little slow in the brain tank. The filmmakers even showed the supernatural darkness very early on in the plot, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind other than Julianne Moore herself.

I was impressed with Jonathan Rhys Meyers’s handling of the multiple roles, especially when he had to behave as a little girl crying after her wounded mother. He had the hardest task of balancing the many characters that made his part.

The film had a subtle style which never intruded on the plot; every voice over or scene transition was smooth, and the music haunting in all the places it needed to be. I did wonder why only the spine was fully changed when each of Meyers’s identities switched, whereas everything else was left the same, but I guess that doesn’t need to be explained. The convenient thing about supernatural genres is that they minimise the need to explain what is synonymously unexplainable, or without reason.

8/10 is a very fair rating I think. But I wonder if maybe I was only so jumpy during because I am sleep deprived, and alone in a cold dark house.

Rate my review on imdb.com: click here

Seven Deadly Sins, I must be purified

Last night I knocked back a few gins and stumbled across Seven Deadly Sins, the Canadian mini TV series that first aired on Lifetime Movie Network. Set in two parts, it’s meant to be based on the popular Seven Deadly Sins novels Lust, Greed, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth and Pride by Robin Wasserman.

I have to admit I was expecting to hate it, and part of me does. But overall I just can’t resist the comedic indulgence into their teenage “highschool” dramas; love triangles/pentagons/octagons, especially where the twists got dark. If I had been the director I would have loved to have made it darker, like when *censored* character dies, I would have them haunt deliciously like in a Japanese horror movie.

Rachel Melvin was great as Kaia, and Dreama Walker worked well as Harper Grace. Overall Seven Deadly Sins was well cast, nicely made and paced, and it isn’t trying to be anything that it is not.

If I had to sum up the mini series with one description  I would say it’s a very loose hybrid of Mean Girls meets Murder by Numbers. Remember I said very loosely! This is really not my usual style, but it’s worth a watch when there’s time to kill and you’ve had a few drinks.

Rate my review on IMDB: Click here

Cannibals and Snowboarders

Today I watched Scarce (2008), directed by Jesse T. Cook and John Geddes, a film about a group of snowboarders on vacation. During a snow storm they are forced to seek refuge, but little did they know they are safer out in the storm. The people who grant them refuge are cannibals, surviving on what they ‘hunt’ throughout the winter.

Overall a pointless film with a very slow start, but the effects were cool, especially because it was on a low budget. I mean, of course I only watched it for the blood; I wouldn’t sit down and watch a film with that premise if I were looking for an intellectually challenging experience.

Rate my review on IMDB: Click here

Doctors and dentists with HIV/AIDs

Abacavir - a nucleoside analog reverse transcr...

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It’s something I’ve looked into before, but I found an interesting article tonight:

Click here to see

I have deep sympathy for anyone that contracts the disease, but particularly those who simply could not prevent it; rape victims, babies born with it, etc. What makes matters more complex is when someone within Healthcare has this disease. As stated in the article I linked, there are regulations on declaring positive test results, and prohibitions when it comes to surgeries, sutures, and any situation that may pose a risk of transmission.

In short, it is not legal to fire a doctor or dentist for having HIV or AIDs, but their career is effectively over nonetheless. What a terrible thing for them, to have gone through so much schooling and hardship only to be brought down by a disease. In any other walk of life they may continue relatively as normal; because improved medication generally means a higher quality of life, and the delay of full-blown AIDs stemming from testing HIV positive.

But it is necessary, for others safety, that transmission risks are minimised. I must admit I would prefer to be treated by a doctor or dentist whom was not HIV positive, and it would be nothing against the person. A disease shouldn’t dehumanise anyone. I just know that if I were HIV positive I would never want to risk infecting others, and would certainly never want anyone to infect me either.

The best thing anyone can do is protect others, ourselves, and encourage the progression of medical research.

End of my boring rant.

Black Dynamite, you jive turkey!

Cover of "Black Dynamite"

Cover of Black Dynamite

Black Dynamite (2009), directed by Scott Sanders, stars Michael Jai White as 1970’s action star Black Dynamite. When his brother is killed by drug dealers, he instigates a campaign of action and violence, opening a can of kick-ass on all of the local dealers to uncover whom was responsible.

Oozing with 70’s style, this homage to blaxploitation movies will have all of you jive turkeys booming with laugher, and wishing, just wishing, that you had your own soundtrack like he does. “Dynamite! Dynamite!” every time he enters a shot to do something awesome.

With the boom mic deliberately left in shots for comedic effect, and the hugely exaggerated facial expressions of the cast, you can’t help but laugh with them, and imagine how much fun the film must have been to make. For anyone still making Chuck Norris jokes, forget it, Black Dynamite knocks them out of the water.

Salli Richardson-Whitfield is wonderful as Gloria, Black Dynamite’s love interest. She has always been very good in anything I’ve seen her in. One of my favourite lines was where she disdainfully highlights how men think they can win a woman over with a wink and a smile, so Black Dynamite winks. She sardonically inquires where the accompanying smile is, and he says “I am smiling”, whilst his face is as serious as a funeral attendee.

Definitely worth watching, and made even better if it’s with a couple of beverages and friends on a Friday night.

Rate my review on IMDB: Click here

The Idiots

The Idiots

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Shorter review here: Click

‘The Idiots’ is a film directed by Lars Von Trier in 1998, it was made in compliance with the Dogme ’95 Manifesto; an avant-garde filmmaking movement started in 1995, and was his first film. ‘The Idiot’s’ focuses upon the tale of a group of people who feign mental disabilities in pursuit of their ‘inner idiot’, their ‘spassing out’ is an attempt to release their inhibitions.

The film was deemed shocking, despite many disability groups approving of the film and agreeing that it exposed underlying social prejudices against disability. Micro-elements contributed to the shocking effect which this film induced upon some audiences. Realism was used to suspend the audiences sense of disbelief, such was achieved through sound, which was mainly diegetic. The dialogue seems real, unrehearsed and alike to everyday conversation but for the content of the conversations between characters. In making the dialogue believable, and in casting the characters to be believable, the film seems more real, thereby engaging the audience attention, forcing them to relate to it, and therefore the shock value is inevitably heightened.
Editing is a significant element with regards to the shocking impact of the film. For example: jump cuts; a character was being interviewed, their family were present then they disappear in the next shot. The lack of chronological ordering in the film does not however cause it to be nonsensical, the tale of ‘The Idiots’ is told like it happened in the past, and the present in the film is shown with the interviews of each of the groups former members, the cross-cuts between the past and present (the interviews) grants tantalising insights into the characters and the events of the tale, before the tale is fully told, which holds audience attention and assists the flow of the narrative.
My personal interpretation of the film is that it aims to educate the audience about society’s general view and attitude towards disabled people. The female main character begins oblivious to the groups intentions and ways (like the audience) and as she is led into their world so is the audience. The film seems to be about seeking deeper meanings, and sharing different perspectives, whether it be sharing the perspectives of someone completely healthy, someone disabled, someone inside the group or outside of it. I think that initially the main character acts as a representation of the ignorance of a lot of people to disability, and is a tool within the film to educate the audience. The film does not seem to hold bias as to a certain perspective, but rather it is explorative of different perspectives, whether they be shown through conflict between the characters, or contrast between general society and the group.
The characters struggles, emotions and lessons are ways of evoking similar feelings from the audience; for example the scene where one of the group pretending to be disables cries after they meet people with genuine disabilities, she cries from guilt and gain of a deeper understanding. The characters force themselves to understand societies prejudices and perspectives of disability by directly experiencing it, for example in the scene where one of the males in the group are assisted to urinate by a male stranger, the humility and potentially condescending aspects.
With regards to mise-en-scene, the shots which are held for a long time at various points create an uncomfortable atmosphere, and the fact that the camera is handheld, and also that the shots are inclusive of great detail (including that of nudity and penetrative sexual activity), add to the shock. This is because they do not romanticise, glamorise or sensationalise any events of aspects including disability. The camera movements and angles grant a raw and honest feel to the film, which leads me to believe that this film bows mainly to the category of visual and graphic shock, as well as the ideological shock of questioning morals, and challenging society’s perspective.
The only romanticism that the film seems to possess lies within the character’s initially naive portrayals of how they view disabled people to be, particularly when they use it to their advantage in the first scene; they deliberately ‘spass out’ to get chucked out of a restaurant and not have to pay.
There seemed a subtle hint of role reversal in the pub scene, where one of the males in the group was ‘spassing’ and stared unabashedly at a physically healthy man because he had a lot of tattoos on each arm, this hinted at the fact that a lot of people stare at disabled people, as they are a ‘social minority’, and I felt that the director made this decision to symbolise equality, to question whether our perspectives of minorities give us the right to hold prejudices.
Generally I would say that adult audiences ranging from young adult to above middle-aged would watch this, not merely because of censorship, but because it tackles a broad subject, and indeed a broad society, therefore potentially snatching the curiosity of many ages of people. However most people are shocked by this film, and many of them are offended by its content, or its violation of implicit textual construct between viewer and film.
I was not shocked or offended by the film, because I am open-minded and accustomed to films that are conventionally deemed shocking, but also because I thought that the film was intelligent, and I looked past what would moralistically be seen as shocking and wrong in order to gauge deeper meaning from it.

Note: I wrote this a long time ago back when I was a film student.

The Bothersome Man

"Den brysomme mannen" DVD cover.

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I watched ‘The Bothersome Man’ (‘Den brysomme mannen’), directed by Jens Lien, quite a while ago, but it stuck with me. These are just my thoughts on it, not a conventional review. (Contains spoilers)

I was impressed by the way the film’s surrealism juxtaposed the very deliberately superficial depiction of reality. The satirical element of the film appears almost to exaggerate the day-to-day monotony of both professional and domestic routine, transforming emotional coldness into emotionlessness, the characters’ wants into complete materialism, and rendering human functions such as eating, drinking and fornication into meaninglessness tasks without pleasure, but with an acknowledgement of the idea of what ‘pleasure’ may be. This would seem to counteract the ideals of hedonism, but actually it appears to depict that the character’s are in fact extremely hedonistic; seeking beauty and luxuries, but that they have merely lost the ideas of what values lie beneath things…the characters seem so preoccupied with the idea of pleasure that they have forgotten what it is to feel it.

This reflects a lot of my own thoughts about reality; that everything is just an idea, and we apply our own meanings, which exist in a rather arbitrary function.
The main character, upon arriving in the city by bus with no memory of how he got there, has his new life laid out before him. Initially the perspectives and reactions of those around him have an impact on him; their normalising of the situation in which he finds himself. He is befuddled into compliance. They introduce him to his new job, apartment, and whole life, plaguing him with inquiries as to his level of comfort, offering him further materialistic elements to assist in his settling in; coffee, more breaks at work, a better desk chair perhaps?
Every piece of dialogue from the characters representing the majority consists of small-talk; what sofa would look nice in our living room? Isn’t that nice? The main character mentions a dream he had to his newfound wife, his attempts at emotional connection obvious, and she silences him as if offended. He realises that he is very different from those around him, all but the man he heard early on talking about how everything tasted of nothing when it once had, and so he seeks this man, finally understanding the implications of his words.
The main character even deliberately instigates an affair, cheating on his wife with a colleague as much in desperate want of emotional connection and passion as to induce negative variants of such in his wife. He realises that both the subject of his affair and his spouse have no real emotion whatsoever, merely complacency and ambivalence.
The parts I found most comical included the lack of sufficient emotional response from his wife; for example, when he informs her he is leaving her and she replies with ‘But we have a dinner party on Saturday, are you leaving before then?’ and when he tells her he is in love with somebody else she merely says ‘Why?’ her face blank as she sips tasteless wine. But the most hilarious of all was after he attempted suicide on the train tracks, but impossibly fails, and is driven home by the mysterious caretakers of the city. He enters, one eye completely crushed, his entire flesh coated with blood and injury, and she gazes at him as if blind to it all and inquires whether he would like to go Go-Carting on Saturday, ‘That would be wonderful’ he breathes helplessly.
I think the reason he was able to find pleasure by the end of the film, which was depicted by him stealing a slice of real cake with real taste from beyond the city, is because he retained a memory of what pleasure really was, the meaning behind it and the feeling, as oppose to merely the idea of it. His escape from the ‘reality’ of the city was through a lot of hardship, for which he required stamina, something the male who spoke of tastelessness in the beginning did not have. One of the ‘morals’ of the tale was that having everything you ‘need’ materially, is not the same as having emotional experiences and ideals, and that real happiness cannot come merely from owning an expensive apartment with attractive interior design, and being able to afford luxuries. So in essence, the film informs the viewer that the hardships and struggles in life are necessary to obtain happiness, rather than clinging to false ideas of perfection.

At one part of the film a man is shown impaled on an iron fence, having committed suicide by jumping from a window. The main character stares with fascination as pedestrians walk by unaffected, and the caretakers of the city approach to remove the body. As they remove him from the fence his intestines slide from his body onto the path, this added gore is not for the sake of ‘horror’, but instead truth, and the obliviousness of the pedestrians is almost deliberate, as if they see only what they want to see, which in many ways reflect the world you and I live in. If there is a suicide on a tube the announcement heard is never ‘We are sorry, there is a delay because sometimes decided they want out of this shit hole so they threw their body in front of the train, allowing it to be crushed to death’, instead it’s usually ‘We are sorry, there is a delay due to a fatality at Holborn’ and then the staff scrub up the blood and carry away the body parts, so as not to offend all of our innocent eyes. This is not a perfect world and it never will be…perfection can never exist because it exists in so many forms in so many minds, and there is no way to please everybody. Perfection is just an idea.

The world just agrees to a set of codes used for communication, a set of rules used for social acceptability and ideals that can be commonly shared…anyone deviating from these will be punished, ridiculed or declared insane (or at least ‘weird’).
If only we could all just be aware of how truly absurd everything is, we could all live much more harmoniously with one another. I am aware completely of the pointlessness of life, yet I still do things knowing that, because no matter what I do or do not do it will not change the facts. Everyone works to live and lives to work, we surrender to human bodily function every time we eat, drink or go to the toilet. Cleaning the dishes means they will be dirtied again and washed again in a cycle that can only be broken if you either do not use dishes or you employ a cleaner to do it for you. Everything is a cycle; not just the cycles of the moon or women’s menstruation, but life itself: Be born, live, reproduce, die. We are no different to those dirty dishes really. I am grateful to all those who choose not to reproduce, or who break the cycle or at least to become aware that it is a cycle. That is not to say that everyone who does otherwise is not aware, maybe they are.
The body sleeps so as to absorb the hours that came before, to process them in the mind so that one may accept and deal with them accordingly, waking more readily to a new day than they would have if they never slept at all. Sleep is like blackmail, we can choose to be insomniacs, but the brain will shut itself down in whatever ways it automatically needs to in order to function. Why do you think genuine insomniacs have so much trouble? Or why do you think troubled people sometimes can’t sleep? Dolphins on the other hand are technically schizophrenic to some extent, being that they never sleep because the left side of the brain sleeps whilst the right is active, and vice versa. It could be argued that they have a better way of functioning.
We are practically staying awake so we can sleep, and sleeping so we can wake. We are born so we can live, and we live so we can die. I say ‘so’ we can, not to insinuate that there is a purpose to each, but that there is a function, we are built to function and that is all. Becoming catatonic wont help, you will still be functioning. In a coma or on life support you are still functional, and there is really nothing at all you can do about it except to eradicate your own existence…but is that not just as pointless as existing? That is, of course, assuming you believe there is nothing beyond life. I do not think there is anything beyond it, and I hope not.
One could touch upon a great deal of philosophical or ideological arguments here; bring in religion, as so many tend to do, perhaps. But my writing this is based on the supposition that there is no God, and no magic or wizardry, no life beyond this, and no past lives either.