Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Magic Box

I know I said I wasn't going to post anything else about Lost. Technically this isn't really about Lost although Lost is mentioned and the main theme of the post relates strongly to Lost. So what I wanted to share today is a presentation that JJ Abrams gave at TED in 2007 wherein he discusses the magic of mysteries, his favorite scene from Jaws, his love for Apple, and also makes a few jokes that really weren't that funny. I watched this a couple of years ago and really appreciated Abrams' perspective on the value of mystery in story telling. While I was discussing my views on Lost with one of my friends the other day we discussed how I enjoy the mystery more than the answer. There is so much more excitement and emotion in the unknown and when the answers are finally revealed they are more often than not quite anti-climactic. It is so much more satisfying for me when the "answers" are left to my imagination. I prefer not to see the man behind the curtain. So yeah, give this little presentation by the great JJ Abrams a view. It may give you a new perspective on the role of mystery in storytelling. Also, if you haven't already explored the archives of TED than do yourself a huge favor and watch some of the presentations. They are absolutely fascinating.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Probably My Last Post Ever Regarding Lost

****Spoiler Alert****

There is not too much that I really want to say regarding the finale of Lost. I am sure it was quite unsatisfying for the mythology fans who want definitive answers to all their questions and mysteries. Nothing I can say will appease them so I don't even want to go down that road. As for me, I am extremely pleased with how everything ended. It was very satisfying from an emotional perspective to see everybody enlightened and reunited in the sideways reality. I loved how footage from previous seasons was used to show the enlightenment process of the individual characters. I was especially happy that they chose to use my favourite moment of the series which is the shot of Locke on the beach from the pilot episode when he has the orange peel in his mouth and gives his simple, reassuring smile. It was reassuring from a personal perspective to see these characters that I have grown to know and love overcome their weaknesses, leave their baggage behind, and find redemption as well as deep and meaningful happiness. At the risk of sharing too much information on a public forum such as this blog, it gave me hope. I loved how the theme of live together or die alone was reinforced. I love how the castaways created the sideways reality/universe/timeline/train station/airport so that they could find each other again and move to the afterlife together. I really, really loved this series and this conclusion. 6 years of my life and I have zero regrets. It left me emotionally wrecked and I am still trying to recover today. I am more than a little surprised at this. In fact I don't think I have the energy to really say anything else regarding the episode. It is all still too fresh in my mind. Check that. There is one last thing I do want to mention. I loved the added meaning and depth this episode gave to Desmond's quote "See you in another life brutha." And now that is really the last thing I can say right now. I don't want to be a complete wreck for the rest of the day. Poke fun if you must but it is true. I am quite vulnerable right now.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Red Dead Redemption

I haven't played video games in a long, long time. If my fuzzy memory serves me correctly, Madden 05 was the last game I played. As such, you may want to discount what I am about to say regarding Red Dead Redemption aka The Greatest Video Game Ever Made.

So this weekend, after a bit of cajoling from flatmates and being totally smitten with the Red Dead ads I kept seeing while waiting for the underground, I dived right in to Red Dead. Kind of blew my mind. I quickly became fully immersed into the world they created. I love the production design and how it is heavily influenced by Sergio Leone, The Wild Bunch, John Wayne, etc. I am amazed at the level of detail in the landscapes, clothing, buildings, etc. The gameplay itself is very smooth and quite easy to pick up. I especially enjoyed lassoing a couple of wild horses and then breaking them. The voice acting coupled with the movements and the facial expressions of the characters is superb. But my favourite part of the game is the sky. It is absolutely mesmerizing. The clouds. The stars. Sunset. Sunrise. The shadows. Just ridiculously beautiful.

If you are looking for a new game to play and are willing to take the advice of somebody who has been out of the loop for quite some time than this game surely will not disappoint. I can't wait to get home and jump right back in to this amazing fantasy world where I can have the bad ass scar on my face that I have always wanted, draw down on annoying ruffians that bump into me as I walk the dusty streets, conduct shady business transactions, help damsels in distress, and mete out justice as I see fit - Vic Mackey style. So much fun.

PS If you can play with the console hooked up to an HD projector it will maximize your pleasure.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Twin Towers

So yesterday I was enjoying a beautiful, sunny, pleasant evening at the local pub with my associates from work as we prepared ourselves mentally and emotionally for the release of StreetDance 3D today (PS if you are in the UK go watch it. It is totally fun with a great soundtrack, inspired dance routines, and brilliant 3D.) when the early stages of true inspiration began to weave in and out of my consciousness. The genesis of this inspiration, which did not fully crystalize until a couple hours later after a lively discussion while enjoying a 6 inch sub of the day on wheat, was sparked by my fascination with a pint of Guiness.

I was kind of amazed at the oily color, texture, and weight of the Guiness that my co-worker so adeptly polished off. After making the obligatory "meal replacement" and "Are you going to drink that with a spoon?" jokes my thoughts quickly drifted to the St. Patrick's Day drink of choice - The Irish Car Bomb. While discussing the ins and outs of the Irish Car Bomb at the Subweezy, my friends and I came up with what is sure to be the next big thing in the world of specialty drinks - The Twin Towers.

So here is what I am thinking. The drink is served in two tall, yet slender, shot glasses. I am thinking it is going to be a gin based drink coupled with a vermouth of some sort. Kind of like the Chocolate Soldier or the Pall Mall. You know, something classy. Because that is how I roll. Another option might be something like the Manhattan. The drink in an of itself doesn't really matter too much because here is the true essence of genius: When the bartender serves you the two tall shots of something classy he proceeds to drop an air plane shaped tablet into each glass which immediately begin to foam and fizz, kind of like an Alka-Seltzer. You then slam back both fizzing, bubbling shots in the time honored tradition of the aforementioned Irish Car Bomb.

Pretty amazing idea, yeah? I don't see any reason why this won't be a smash hit and take the world by storm. Don't worry, I will still remember all the little people when I am sitting on top of the world.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Rumour has it that summer will shortly be upon us. I'll believe it when I see it. I am still waiting for spring to show up. Nevertheless, I still eagerly await the arrival of summer with its warm nights, basil infused lemonade, and summer mix tapes. If I were to actually try to compete with the mix tape genius of National Geographic this year I think one of the first tracks I would include would be the first single - Stay Close - off Delorean's new release Subiza. The poppy sounds mixed with the clubby dance music is the perfect soundtrack for summer adventures. Whether it be lounging at the BBQ with a group of friends, cruising the PCH with the top down, or going for a nice jog through Regents Park, this track will make you smile. So yeah, let the summer fun commence. I am ready.

PS I kind of like the dreamy, ethereal style of the video as well:

Monday, May 10, 2010


Just watched the latest trailer for Inception. I. Can't. Wait. The production design looks ridiculously good. I love the story concept. Christopher Nolan is Christopher Nolan. The score was done by the great Hans Zimmer. The cast is filled with amazing talent. Just look at this list:

Leonardo DiCaprio
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Michael Caine
Ellen Page
Marion Cotillard
Ken Watanabe
Cillian Murphy
Tom Hardy

Seriously, I can't wait to see this film.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


So (I think starting off each post with "so" is my new thing) I haven't really posted much about food lately. Kind of weird right? It's like you don't even know me now that I am semi loyal kind of but not really subject of the Queen. It would be easy for me to blame the lack of food related posts on the relatively bland cuisine of the UK but that would just be disingenuous. Really it is just because I am lazy. I have had plenty of great food since moving here. For transparency's sake, when I say plenty of great food I actually mean plenty of great food excluding all the various bland hamburgers I have sampled from around this great city. But I digress. The purpose of this post is to drop a little knowledge about a great little "fast food" chain I tried last night called Leon.

I have been meaning try Leon for the last couple of weeks after receiving a ringing endorsement from a couple of friends. So needless to say, when I met up with a few friends last night for dinner and found out that we would be eating at Leon, I was quite pleased.

So what type of food is available at Leon? Well, my friend offered the perfect explanation with this concise response: "tasty food." Wah Wah Wah. This response was quickly expanded to "tasty, healthy, lunch pail food." I would add one more descriptor to the list .... "with a Mediterranean flair."

If this description piques your interest then you should take a quick look at their menu. Last night we ordered the feasting menu for two which consisted of chili con carne, Moroccan meatballs, hummus and flatbread, chili chicken, grilled chorizo, brown rice, Leon mash, and garlic & chili broccoli. Since there were three of us, we also ordered the sweet potato falafel. Since I am a big fan of ranking all things from best friends to favorite Korean films I will give a quick ranking of everything I tried last night:

1. Sweet Potato Falafel
2. Grilled Chorizo
3. Garlic & Chili Broccoli
4. Leon Mash (a simple sweet potato puree)
5. Hummus and Flatbread
6. Chili Chicken
7. Chili con Carne
8. Moroccan Meatballs
9. Brown Rice (How exciting can brown rice be, right?)

In addition to the various items listed above, I also ordered the ginger and mint infused lemonade. This was actually a bit underwhelming. Not enough mint and too much ginger. The ginger just overpowered everything. I prefer a little more subtlety when infusing my lemonade.

Overall I really enjoyed the Leon experience. The food really was "tasty" Additionally, it is quite economical. Three people were able enjoy dinner for less than £30 pounds. Excellent value. I Mos Def can see myself eating at Leon on a regular basis. There are quite a few things I still want to try on the menu.

So yeah, Leon. Good food. Give a try some time. You will probably like it. I know I did.

PS As I was writing this I kept thinking to myself how much I enjoy the simplicity of good food coupled with good friends and good conversation. I can't think of too many other ways I would rather pass an evening.