Just beautiful... This is my favorite Bukowski poem.
Jun 30, 2008
Not Always Right is a laugh-out-loud website about people's stupidity. As you may have guessed already from the title, the people in question are customers - in particular the thick or annoying ones, and the unfortunate employees who had to deal with them give their accounts of these hilarious and often baffling events. I'm not 100% sure all the stories are true, but who cares! They will keep you entertained for hours!
Jun 29, 2008
Jun 25, 2008
If you're addicted to fashion and beauty, and you've got some time on your hands, I have a couple of excellent, highly contagious timekillers to recommend.
Number 1 is Polyvore, where you can make your own fashion sets and dream about all the designer clothes you'd wear if you had that kind of money. And number 2 is my recent discovery - Taaz, a website where you can upload your own pictures and then give yourself makeovers and try different hairstyles. I've been playing with it tonight, so I might upload some of the pictures a bit later.
Another interesting idea is Liftmagic where you can check out what you'd look like after some of the most common plastic surgery procedures! (I thought I looked ridiculous... oh well, that must mean I'm perfect, hehehe)
Jun 23, 2008
Entertainment Weekly has made a bunch of lists celebrating the new classics (entertainment gems from the last 25 years). I have just finished reading the The 100 best films from 1983 to 2008 list, and while I fervently disagree with the number 1 spot, I did quite enjoy the read and was pleasantly surprised by more than one entry (don't mean to spoil the fun for anyone, but Moulin Rouge at number 10 was a great moment!). I must admit though, that I was a bit bummed out that none of my two favorite films was mentioned (The English Patient closely followed by Chasing Amy)... However, a list as diverse as this (think: Austin Powers and Wings Of Desire) deserves to be read, so head over to their site to check it out.
Jun 21, 2008
I'll let you in on a little secret. A sorta embarrassing secret. I'll be 27 in about a week, and I'm still a sucker for coming of age movies. There. I've said it. I'm a 27-year-old who still feels like a teenager.
So, is it any wonder that last night I saw (and liked)a film called Try Seventeen - where the number refers to the age of the main protagonist? The 17-year-old Jones is played by Elijah Wood (of the LOTR fame), and this is the storyline: Jones moves to a town where he is supposed to go to college, but drops out on the first day, rents an apartment and spends his time trying to befriend the other tenants and writing letters to his unknown dad. Mandy Moore and Franka Potente (a German native who you might know from the Bourne movies, or the German Run, Lola, Run) play the two female leads: a manipulative aspiring actress, and a strange, recluse photographer.
So, what did I think of it? I thought that Elijah was at times too dorky to be likable, but was, on the whole, passable. The story was sweet, though cliched; but pay no notice, I say that for every movie I see. After all, all the stories have already been told. It reminded me a bit of Igby Goes Down, although this is much, much lighter and less kooky.
I'd give it a 6.5 out of 10, which, in my eyes is a recommendation.
Jun 19, 2008
I don't watch TV that much, but every once in a while a TV show comes along that I get completely addicted to, and I end up watching all of the episodes in two days. Well, I saw all episodes of Californication in a single afternoon. Yeah, it's that good. "I'm just going to see the first episode to see whether it's any good, and then I'm gonna clean the house." As if.
So, what is it about? David Duchovny plays Hank Moody, an accomplished writer whose life sucks: his partner has left him (and taken their daughter with her), he is facing a writer's block, and his best novel has been made into a corny romcom. His way out? Having as much sex as possible, usually in a drunken stupor. Apparently, the character of Hank is based on Bukowski (Hank Kinaski, anyone?), which might be a tad pretentious. Yes, I like the show, but it is, as hard as it tries, still too sugary and nowhere near the rawness and honesty of good old Buk. But never mind that, it's still better than the other stuff on TV. The script is good, quite cynical and bittersweet at times, and David Duchovny is perfect for the role - wry, older than you remember him, but still as charming.
I highly recommend this, but beware: it is at times obscene, so if you are easily offended, it might not be the show for you. If you're looking for something clean and absolutely pc - you might wanna give it a miss. If you're just looking for fun, make sure you see it! And then join me to speculate about what debauchery awaits Hank in season 2.
Jun 18, 2008
A Softer World is a strange site I occasionally come across when stumbling, and when that happens, I always go back and read ALL the entries. Then I forget about it for a while, until the next chance meeting, and so on. So, what is A Softer World, really? To be honest, I'm not sure how to describe it... It's like a mix of photography and poetry, which reminds one of peculiar, three-picture comics. Some of them are poetic, others humorous in a sophisticated manner.
Anyway, it's beautiful. Go check it out, I'm sure you'll like it.
Jun 17, 2008
Actually, I saw this not half an hour ago, so it's still maybe even too fresh in my mind to make a coherent comment. It was directed and written by a guy named Duncan Tucker, whom, I must admit, I've never heard of before.
Felicity Huffman plays a male to female transsexual (Bree) who is only days away from her sex change operation when she gets an unexpected phone call from the juvenile delinquent center in NYC. She finds out that she has a 17-year-old son from a long forgotten straight relationship, and that he is currently under custody for hustling and substance abuse. Bree is reluctant to deal with the situation and wishes to just forget about the whole thing, but her therapist refuses to let her go through with the operation unless she goes to bail the boy out of jail. And then all the cliches of a classic road movie ensue.
Having said that, I must say I rather enjoy the cliches of road movies.
Felicity Huffman was excellent. I speak without the bias a Desperate Housewives fan would have, cause I'm not one. Having never seen her in a single episode, nor, for that matter, in anything else, I really didn't know what to expect from her, but I must say I was more than pleasantly surprised. First of all, and I don't mean to be rude, but, you know... She's not a very attractive woman, and her features are a bit masculine, so physically she fit the part very well. But what I really loved about her performance was how she managed to overemphasize the femininity slightly, like a man would, and, most of all, the constant sense of restraint seen in her every move and word, and even the very posture of her body.
All in all, the film, although more than a little bit predictable, is still worth seeing. It doesn't cop out with too sugary of an ending... I couldn't yet give a mark out of ten, but I would recommend it for a light cocktail of comedy and drama, a few laughs, and some sincere emotion.
Jun 16, 2008
Jun 15, 2008
Jun 14, 2008
A few weeks ago I discovered Songza, a very useful little website. What is it? Well, basically, it's a large music database that allows you to look for and listen to artists or songs. Music is not available for download, and you're not required to register or pay anything. What is it good for? Well, while I don't think it would be practical to use it to actually listen to music, it is quite useful if you' re not familiar with a particular artist or song and want to check it out; also, if you're in a dilemma about buying an album, listening to a few songs off it might help you decide. All in all, it might come in handy every once in a while.
Popping bubble wrap is one of those things that everybody loves, but no one quite knows why. I must admit that I sometimes feel like an idiot when I realize that my favorite part of buying new electronic equipment is that it's usually wrapped in a bubble wrap sheet. In our house, my husband is the one who actually tries out the device, and I just lunge at the bubble wrap like a mad woman. I've been "popless" for a while now though, and during these dry spells I sometimes visit this page, which is basically a flash which allows you to pop as many fresh sheets as you like, and in two modes: bubble by bubble, or manic. Try it out!
The Forbes list of most powerful celebrities for this year is out, and, as per usual, Oprah tops it, based on her earnings and the approaching launch of her own network. The rest of the top 10 is as follows:
2. Tiger Woods
3. Angelina Jolie
4. Beyonce Knowles
5. David Beckham
6. Johnny Depp
8. The Police
9. J.K. Rowling
10. Brad Pitt
I must say I'm surprised with the presence of The Police on the list. Okay, they reunited and had a successful tour, but would you really consider them "powerful"?
Jun 12, 2008
As I mentioned earlier, JK Rowling was one of the authors who contributed their work for Waterstone's Charity auction. Rowling wrote an 800 word prequel to Harry Potter, set in the days of the original Order of the Phoenix, with James and Sirius as the protagonists. Is it any good? Well, it depends... It's in typical JK style and quite fun. The bad sides? It's so short, and it makes you long for the whole back story. Now I'm hungry for a new book on the Marauders, and the Order and the First Wizarding War, and, unfortunately, I think that's never going to come...
By the way, the card with this story was sold for $50 000 to a Japanese businessman, which, I guess, is peanuts compared to the $1.95 million that Amazon.com paid for The Tales of Beedle the Bard in December 2007.
There is a free audio download of The Study In Emerald, a short story by one of my favorite authors - Neil Gaiman. The story is from his Fragile Things collection, and, apparently, it combines the world of Sherlock Holmes and an HP Lovecraft universe. The PDF story is also available for download from the author's site. (Roam around the Cool Stuff section of his website to find other interesting free downloads.)
Gaiman was also one of the 13 world famous writers (including J.K. Rowling and Doris Lessing) who contributed a story for Waterstone's charity auction held yesterday in London. More about these from me later, and if you want to read them yourselves, you can do so here.
Jun 11, 2008
Apparently, my favourite comedian Russell Brand has been included in the latest edition of the Collins Concise English Dictionary. Way to go Russ! More delicious fame!
If you don't know who Russell is, watch Forgetting Sarah Marshall, or, even better, download the podcast of his radio show on BBC2.
You know how there are some movies that you can always watch... Like, you're bored. Or depressed. Or you accidentally catch it on TV. Or you happen to be reorganizing your DVD collection, and then think to yourself: “Aaaaw, look at this! I might pop it in the player! Just a little bit... Just the first few seconds...” (and the next thing you know, it's been two hours and you haven't actually done any work.)
Here's my list of chick flicks which make me laugh and fall in love alongside the characters, and ALWAYS leave me with a sheepish grin on my face.
In no particular order:
Bridget Jones's Diary (part I) – I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I watch this every Christmas. I mean every. single. one. It's the ultimate feel-good movie with some of the funniest scenes in chick flick history, and an occasional nugget of wisdom. Which woman doesn't identify with Bridget? AND Colin Firth is in it, looking his best (plus, I love the Mark Darcy/Mr Darcy joke. Check out Pride And Prejudice BBC mini series and the Bridget Jones books if you don't know what the joke is.)
Muriel's Wedding – the film that launched Toni Colette's career. It's an Australian gem which features quirky, lovable characters, great dialogue, and a bunch of ABBA songs. Friendless, loveless, unemployed ugly duckling Muriel befriends wild, promiscuous Rhonda and they decide to move to Sydney together. You'll laugh and cry with Muriel as she deals with family problems, illness and death of loved ones, as well as her addiction for trying on wedding dresses. Oh, she will get married, but it won't be quite what you'd expect.
A Lot Like Love – If you haven't seen many Ashton Kutcher movies, I'm sure you tend to think of him as : a) the stupid guy from That 70s Show; or b) the annoying guy from Punk'd. Or at least that's what I knew him for before I saw A Lot Like Love. And after seeing it? Well, I developed a bit of a crush on him... The “regular guy” Ashton meets “bad girl” Amanda Peet (who is absolutely stunning!) on a plane, and then they keep crossing each other's path for the next seven years. The New Year's Eve kiss? (*swoons*)
Reality Bites – this flick just oozes the spirit of the 90s, which I love. The essence of Generation X, only not depressing. You know: a bunch of twenty-somethings don't really know what to do with their lives after graduating. Winona Ryder is torn between smart-ass, rude layabout Ethan Hawke and obnoxious yuppie Ben Stiller (who actually directed this! Why he went on to star in a bunch of crap films will never be clear to mankind...).
Breakfast At Tiffany's/Roman Holiday - I couldn't decide on only one of these Audrey Hepburn classics. Anything I could say about them feels superfluous, except: see them! Both are charming, although I would say that Breakfast has a slightly darker, more serious feel to it. On the other hand, Roman Holiday doesn't have a happy ending... I don't even know why I'm explaining this... As if there's anyone who hasn't seen these.
A Life Less Ordinary – back in the day, when Cameron Diaz wasn't annoying, and Ewan McGregor was young and cute. Any part of the plot I could tell you is a cliché, but when you stick it all together, it becomes a unique, hilarious and slightly weird RomCom. Two angels are desperate to complete the mission of bringing together Celine (Cameron Diaz) - a spoilt rich girl, and Robert (Ewan McGregor) - a cleaner who used to work in Celine's father's company, but was replaced by a robot. Celine and Robert try to fake her abduction in order to get money from her dad, but things don't go quite as planned. The ransom demand scene will have you rolling on the floor, and Holly Hunter and Delroy Lindo are comedy gold as the two angels.
My Best Friend's Wedding – You know the story: Julia Roberts has just realized that she's in love with her best friend Dermot Mulroney and she has only a few days to prevent him from marrying Cameron Diaz. For once Julia Roberts is likable (although playing herself, as usual), and Rupert Everett is brilliant as her gay friend/voice of reason. The karaoke scene will reduce you to tears - due to both laughter and embarrassment. Oh, and this one comes from the same guy who directed Muriel's Wedding.
Love Actually – another British Christmas favorite, a perfect choice for Boxing Day, when you're stuffing your face with sweets and leftovers. Follows the love lives of a group of interconnected people. Very warm and comforting. The cast is absolutely superb. British crème de la crème. If I had to pick a favorite storyline, I don't think I could... It's absolutely incredible how the filmmakers managed to develop all the characters so well that you actually care about ALL of them.
Show Me Love – a cute Swedish film, about two very different teenage girls and their search for love and their sexuality. One of my favorite kiss scenes. The storyline is very simple: one of the girls is an outcast because of rumours about her alleged homosexuality (which are true), and the other is popular but bored with everything: her friends, boys, and the small town she lives in.
Chasing Amy - Now, I love almost all of Kevin Smith's movies, but this is definitely my favorite, and also probably my second-favorite movie of all time. It's laugh-out-loud funny, it's sharp, it's intelligent, it has an excellent script, the specific feel of the Kevin Smith universe, references to characters/events from other KS films... Why is it better than the rest of his films? It's deep, emotional, personal. To quote the film: "I guess I finally had something personal to say..."
Why isn't it in the original list?
I don't necessarily think of it as a chick flick.
Pride and Prejudice (BBC mini series) - I know that having a crush on a fictional character is super-lame, but show me a woman who claims not to have a crush on Mr Darcy, and I'll show you a liar!
This is by far the best adaptation of the Jane Austen classic, with Colin Firth as the ultimate Darcy and feisty Jennifer Ehle as Lizzy. Gather your girlfriends, buy A LOT of snacks and set off on a 300 minute marathon of best romance that ever existed. And be prepared to faint at least once due to Mr Darcy's sexy scowl...
Why isn't it in the original list?
Well, technically, it's a mini series, not a film.
Jun 9, 2008
Yesterday, while I was stumbling, I came across this page:
Although not for the squeamish and easily offended, it is hilarious. Yes, it's a bit sick, I'll give you that, but still... Don't you just love the bunny's cute little expressionless face? And, as a Harry Potter fan, I loved the one with The Order Of The Phoenix.
Ever since I learned how to read at the age of 4, books have been a constant companion. I'm one of those people who, after a long day at work, instead of turning on the TV, find comfort in reading. I read while eating, I read in the toilet, before going to sleep, at work during my breaks... If there are no books to be found, I'll settle for a magazine or a newspaper. If I can't find those either, well... I'm reluctant to admit – I'll read product labels (I remember the sheer nerdy pleasure of identifying with a similar description of the Philip Swallow character in David Lodge's brilliant novel Changing Places).
So it's no surprise that I've been yearning for an E-book reader from the moment I heard such a gadget existed. At first I was put off by the price, but, I waited patiently for about a year since my discovery, and now, finally I can declare myself to be a proud owner of Sony's lovely Reader Digital Book PRS 505!
Let's start with the design. In a word: it's great! It comes in two colors – black and silver. Being a girlie girl, I chose silver. I was pleasantly surprised to find out it comes in its own leatherette cover, so you needn't worry about accidentally scratching the screen when not using it. The buttons are functional, strategically placed and easy to use. The only thing it lacks is a keyboard, so there's obviously no search function, but that hasn't bothered me yet.
There's nothing I can say to prepare you for what you'll see when you turn this beauty on! There is no backlight, and it uses the so-called electronic paper screen. Electronic paper screen...? Well, it pretty much looks like a real book. The closest description would be that it looks like the words are printed on the actual plastic of the screen! It truly is incredible... I know I might sound like a complete dork, but what with the realistic look of the E ink, and the case, a few times I forgot it wasn't a real book so much that I tried to turn the page!
The software is quite intuitive: you can sort the books by author, title, or date of upload; you can create bookmarks, change the page orientation and choose between three font sizes. I've read a few complaints about the speed of the software, but I found it to be very satisfactory. The types of files it supports are PDF, RTF, TXT, BBeB (Sony's proprietary format) and RSS feeds. It can also play MP3 and AAC audio files (the quality of the sound is – much to my amazement – superb!), and display JPG, GIF, PNG and BMP picture files (the pictures are displayed as black and white and look like framed photos!).
Files are transferred to the device via USB, and that is also how you recharge. The great thing is that it doesn't use any energy once you've turned it on, except when you turn the page.
So, all in all, this is a brilliant device, and it's difficult for me to find fault with it. The only negative experience I had was with the Sony E-book Store, as it took me two whole days to claim the 100 free classics that you get when purchasing the reader, what with a million errors and complications that occurred during what was supposed to have been a very simple process. Admittedly, their tech support is very agile, but still, one prefers not to encounter any problems in the first place.... Luckily, with all the free books all over the internet (think anything published before 1923!), you really don't have to deal with them if you don't want to...
So, if you have some 200 euros (around $300) to spare, I cannot recommend the Sony PRS-505 reader warmly enough... Having a humble library with me at all times... My nerdiest dream has finally come true!