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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Movie of the week – Lore

I thought i had seen everything a WWII and holocaust movie has to offer, but this one is different. Superb!

The setting of this dark and disturbing fairytale is the end of the Second World War. After their Nazi parents are rounded up by the Allies, teenaged Lore, must lead her four younger brothers and sisters, through the forest to their grandmother’s house, some 900 kms away in Hamburg.

lore-2012

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The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi

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Although i do read them, I’m not much of a sci-fi books fan. More of a consumer than a sci-fi book lover. So, even though i bought it on 22 August 2011 it took me almost two years to make the decision and move this little book from the Goodreads to-read shelf to the one just above it, the Read shelf. What i want to emphasize with this pointless intro is how not of a big sci-fi fan i am and whether this affected my enjoyment of The Windup Girl.

It did and it didn’t.

“The cynical part of him supposes that it hardly matters. The intricate stamps that glitter in the sun are more talismanic than functional, something to make people feel secure in a dangerous world.”

Whenever sci-fi writers start describing worlds, machines or species they usually lose me. For one thing i don’t have the imagination (and knowledge if you like) to follow what they are saying and i don’t command the english language well enough to understand what they are trying to say. That’s how The Windup Girl was in the beginning for me.

Fortunately, it picked up from there. Letting go of the futuristic machines and species and introducing the characters in the story one by one and how they come to interact with one another. I can’t say i found all of these characters particularly fascinating apart from two (no, i am not going to spoil it further for you with my bias).

However, i did appreciate the writer’s emphasis on scenes with lengthy, mostly engrossing conversations. This is usually with what i associate a great tv series. A good conversation. Also, the setting of a future Thailand and the geography around it was quite unique for me. Now whenever Thailand comes up The Windup Girl inevitably will too and vice versa.

“All New Japanese are fast. You have mistaken the question to ask. How they use their innate abilities is a question of training, not of their physical capabilities. Hiroko has been trained from birth to pace herself appropriately, with decorum.”

There’s a good story here. Simple, yet gripping and it grapples with ideas and questions which are relevant today. There is hype around this book and i approached it with relatively high expectations. It’s not the best sci-fi book i’ve read. Far from it. This contributed to my initial disappointment. However, as i continued reading it i realised it was not hype. It was affection and that’s how i will remember The Windup Girl.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Books

 

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Movie added to watchlist – The Iceman

The true story of Richard Kuklinski, the notorious contract killer and family man.

The Iceman

 

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Football related articles

The first 3 links are related. They are about corruption in football.

‘Fake’ Togo football team at Bahrain match being investigated. This is incredible. The incident took place three years ago. I am quoting from the BBC news story dated 14 September 2010.

Togo’s football authorities are investigating allegations that a fake national team played a match against Bahrain earlier this month.

Bahrain won the friendly match 3-0, but said they were surprised by the poor quality of the Togolese team.

Togo later said it had never sent its national team to play in the game, staged at the national stadium in Riffa on 7 September.

Togo’s sports minister said he would ask Fifa to investigate.

But Fifa says it has not yet received any official complaint and so has not launched its own investigation.

The following two are from The Economist magazine and these are actually what led me to finding out about the above incident. The first is Welcome to the beautiful game while the second is Ref!

The fourth and final link is written by my favourite football analyst/tactician Michael Cox and its heading is Of pace and peaks: Some attackers’ careers on fast forward and it’s about at what age players actually reach their peak and the emphasis that managers put on the pace of young strikers.

Around 15 years ago, there was a strong consensus about when footballers reached their peak. Conventional wisdom suggested it was a fairly standard process, regardless of position — top-class internationals generally produced their best form close to, or shortly before, their 30th birthday

 

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Movie of the week – Moneyball

I enjoyed Michael Lewis’ book and the film does it justice. Very well made.

The story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players.

Moneyball

 

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Home exercises

For the past month or so i’ve started using youtube videos to get my exercise fix. I’ve been streaming them (via mob) on my tv which is pretty handy and relatively trouble free. The exercises i’ve been doing are more focused on toning, abs/obliques and low impact cardio.

Most of these exercises involve no extra equipment apart from an exercise mat. I bought a physio ball more than a year ago but i never used it and recently acquired a medicine ball as well. I love the latter but i’ve been disappointed with the former. The physio ball also takes up a lot of space in the apartment so i’m thinking of getting rid of it.

In order to keep my interest and motivation high for these exercises i’m switching the schedule a bit every other week and introducing new exercises. There is an abundance on excellent videos on Youtube. Fitness Bender for example have some great videos and are all available for free.

My aim is to keep the different exercise schedules around 30-40mins with limited break time.

These are two of my current favourite videos.

Train like an Athlete Interval Training – At Home Cardio and Toning Boot Camp

In the first video i’ve substituted a few leg/calf/foot exercises with easier ones with less impact to minimise the pain. The final exercise in this video is simply fantastic. It’s called the “Push up planks” at 14:50.

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Flat Belly Workout – Abs and Obliques Workout to Tone Stomach

The second video it’s all about the abs/obliques and this is a tough one. I have yet to managed to do both rounds and all the 8 exercises (50 seconds each). In this video my favourite is “Plank Knee Tucks” at 3:36.

 
 

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Movie added to watchlist – The Purge

Given the country’s overcrowded prisons, the U.S. government begins to allow 12-hour periods of time in which all illegal activity is legal. During one of these free-for-alls, a family must protect themselves from a home invasion.

The Purge

 

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