I’ve been tagged, I’ve been tagged!

So, when I started blogging during exams last semester I noticed that a lot of the blogs I follow had these questions and tags and stuff that confused to no end back then. It always seemed to me that the cool kids on the blogging block got to do this kind of stuff. But now I’ve been tagged myself to answer some questions, meaning I’m becoming cool (at least by association). So thanks to Blogs-Of-A-Bookaholic for the vote of confidence 🙂

1. You must post the rules.
2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post.
3. Create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
4. Tag eleven people with a link to your post.
5. Let them know they’ve been tagged

So without further adieu:

1.) Which book do you think should be adapted into a film that hasn’t been already?

Mortal Engines. If there’s an amazing, underrated book series it’s the Mortal Engines quartet. It’s a series about a post-apocalyptic future where cities and towns have become enormous machines that travel the ravished world eating each other for fuel. The scale would be incredible. Check it out here. Or the Miles Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold.

2.) Which classic are you too scared to read/keep putting off? (E.g. War and Peace.)

You hit the nail on the head. War and Peace

3.) Sam or Dean Winchester? (Show Supernatural)

I haven’t watched the show (yet), but my tagger has recommended it to me.

4.) Do you think the paperback will become extinct and be fully replaced with the Kindle?

No. Paperback never runs of battery. And it smells nice when new.

5.) Have you ever had an experience with the paranormal? E.g Ghosts, aliens etc.

No. I don’t believe in aliens, and while I’m religious and must acknowledge the existence of the unexplained, I hope I never experience it.

6.) Your least favourite genre to read?

Jane Austen (I know she’s technically not a genre, but that’s how un-excited I am to read any of her works).

7.) Whose biography would you consider reading?

I’m currently reading Bear Grylls’ autobiography. What a man. He’s badass, can out-survive Sir Ranulph Fiennes (almost, anyway), and has lived an honourable life.

8.) The best birthday present you’ve ever had?

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, my parents have always been generous with what they have, but nothing stands at this current point in time (although I’m sure my mum has an entire list :P).

9.) Your opinion on Shades of Grey? (Whether you have read it or not.)

I have not read this book, and I hope never to. I have no interest in purely romance novels, and this doesn’t seem to have much of that anyway, as the internet tells me it’s literary porn.

10.) Your favourite place to read?

In my lounge in winter at midday. I’ll often lie behind the couch, jammed in between in it and the windowsill in the sun for hours reading.

11.) Which books from present day do you think has the potential to become a classic 50/100 years down the line?

Harry Potter (except for Order of the Phoenix. I hated that book of an otherwise amazing series).

Now, as for rules 3, 4, and 5 I don’t think I’ll get around to it (I don’t feel comfortable enough with 11 bloggers yet to do it) so I’ll break them, but thanks to Becky anyway for including me 🙂

Jeremy

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Brief update

So I thought it was about time to change the appearance of my blog (the previous theme was actually rather nice for a n00b WordPress user), give it more functionality, make it look prettier, and finally manage to figure out the whole widget thing (I can code actually quite well, but that’s on Command Line Interfaces (CLI), so please forgive my trepidation at using visual-y things).

Sorry for the not-so-great last post, I wrote it in a hurry; I hadn’t written a post in a while,  and I was tired as a rushed it out. I promise the next post will be better written, and I’ll pay more attention to the science 🙂

Jeremy

Double feature of science-y goodness (or lack of it)!

Abe Lincoln, badass

Abraham Lincoln: husband, father, president…vampire hunter

So I unfortunately have my bi-semester test week starting on Monday, and like a good university student I put off studying and went for pizza and movie on a Friday night. I had seen the trailer for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which had stirred up great excitement in me. Finally a vampire movie where the vampires are the evil, blood sucking creatures that they should be! I really quite enjoyed the film; I went expecting an entertaining B-grade film (not that in a bad way…you know what I mean), and it delivered solidly. Lots of blood, decapitation and badass axe play were plentiful, so if you don’t like any of that, don’t watch it. Anyhoo, on to the scientific critique:

  • During his training Abraham Lincoln is told to chop down a tree with a single blow. But the tree is a good 30cm across, making this an inhuman feat, and since Abe was not imbued with any super-supernatural strength, I’m calling this scene. Although it must be said that when he swings through the tree it breaks more than slices, which is what you’d realistically expect from something the size of that axe head moving with enough speed to do that amount of damage to a tree (which are quite tough) so well down to the people there.
  • Apart from the above scene, the movie does surprisingly well (if I missed anything please let me know), taking into account some exaggerated physics, but the laws are bent not broken, so I’m not going to bother mentioning every little thing. However, at the end of the movie there’s a scene where Abe and his homies drive a train over a wooden bridge that is set on fire. A very nice construction the bridge was too. But as I’m studying the construction of railways as I type this, I noticed some stuff. First off, trains are pretty heavy things, so I doubt that the fire-weakened bridge would have supported the weight of the train and the carriages, but maybe I should be giving those ye olde engineers the benefit of the doubt. But when the train is nearing the end of it’s fateful journey, it and the track it was on drop about 3m down the bridge. Now, the momentum of the train would have sent it going straight through the wooden supports of that bridge all the way to bottom (as I said before, trains are heavy). And thirdly, there is almost no way a train can climb the kind of gradient that one did as it pulled itself up out of the fire-y pit of doom. In the movie a steam locomotive traveled up what seemed to be a 30% incline…pull the other one mate.

Now, the friends I went to see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter with and I saw the trailer for The Expendables 2, realised it was opening night, and decided to go watch a second movie that night (I had plenty of time to study later I told myself). Now, I must preface this by saying The Expendables 2  is the most testosterone filled 1h40 you can ever experience in your life…ever. It has Arnie, Bruce Willis, and Chuck freaking Norris. And an entire cast of badass men and woman, with Jason Statham being so hardcore my face exploded. It is filled with gratuitous violence, explosions, bullets, one-liners and inaccurate bad guys, making it the most amazing B-movie ever made (probably). It doesn’t take itself too seriously, meaning the movie is fun while being ridiculously badass at the same time. Heck, Chuck Norris tells a Chuck Norris joke, and Arnie and Bruce drive a Smart car through an airport while firing fully automatic weapons…possibly the greatest scene of my entire life.

Expendables poster

Yes. Yes, they all appear

All enjoyment aside, the movie was not scientifically accurate, but it doesn’t try to be, so I still recommend any action enthusiast should watch it.

  • Inaccuracy of the bad guys: the expendables hardly take cover, yet the countless hordes of bad guys cannot hit them…
  • Explosions: everything explodes. EVERYTHING.

I’ll have to watch it again objectively, because the sheer extremity of the movie threw my concentration off with regards to realism.

Sorry that this post took so long, but I’ve been busy at university, and haven’t watched many movies lately.

Jeremy

The Olympics (!)

20120 London olympics

So much better than the other silly logo

I recently had the awesome (if extremely short) experience of watching the men’s 100m final of the 2012 Olympics. Living in a residence means that my access to television is limited, so it’s for special occasions that I venture forth from my cave to watch TV, especially sports. So it was with great anticipation I sat down to watch Usain Bolt and 7 other chaps compete for one of the two pinnacles of sporting prowess. Before I go any further let me explain that last bit: any Olympian has the right to be extremely proud of themselves,  they are among the best of the best at what they do. Medalists even more so; they are the best of the best. But when it comes to pure human athleticism, nothing is quite like long distance/endurance sports like 10 000m+ running, and nothing is quite like intense speed races, such as the 100m. The sprinters are the fastest people in recorded competitions , while the distance chaps (and chappesses) are the fittest. These are the two peaks of pure human physical prowess. These people are survival of the fittest at its peak (well, not in modern society perhaps but back when we all roamed plains and woods and such these guys and girls would have had multiple mates).

Leonardo's perfect human

It’s not about proportion in the Olympics, it’s about heart and determination, but you get the drift

So as I eagerly awaited the beginning of the 100m men’s final (sorry ladies but the world we live in today is still sexist; sorry long distance fans but a race is longer than my attention span) I watched the runners’ routines as they were announced. Most of them come off pretty arrogant; which they are. And to be fair, it’s entertaining, and they have a right to be (within reason). But I have seen Bolt interviewed on Top Gear, and while he was cocky, he wasn’t a supreme kn*b. So I decided I’d back him. When the gun went off everyone around me lept up and started cheering, pulling me along with them in their excitement. Boy, Usain Bolt is quick. I promise he was at the back of the field before 40m in it seemed like he suddenly put in effort. He sprinted past the other guys coming in for an easy first. I would post a link for you to watch it if you missed it but as of now I can not find a good-quality video.

So apart from my favourite event, the Olympics really are amazing. Not even in the soccer world cup is such a unity seen amongst nations (far too much bad blood between players and soccer clubs and stuff). In the Olympics people congratulate each other every single time. Heck, I even saw a South Korean and a North Korean shake hands amicably, knowing they had both laid down their metaphorical rifles to come in peace and participate at the table of human civilisation.

N. Korea congratulates S. korea

South Korea’s Ryu Seung-min, right, shakes hands with North Korea’s Kim Hyok Bong following their table tennis match on Saturday.

So in conclusion, I recommend you watch a couple of matches (finals are generally the best), even if it’s just sport you enjoy. Heck, I’ve only watched the archery, some swimming, and the guys’ 100m. But I enjoyed them all 🙂

Jeremy

Mini-review: The Dark Knight Rises, and a side note on the Olympics

Dark Knight Rises characters

Yes. This is my current wallpaper

EDIT: I have no idea how I so callously forgot about the Colorado shootings when I wrote this blog, and so I apologise profusely and sincerely and  I send out condolences, sympathies and prayers from myself along with all other South Africans who heard of it.

I know I said previously that I wouldn’t review movies as such because I don’t think I have that particular talent, but I’d like to watch a second time while I’m calmer, but I’d just like to say a short piece about The Dark Knight Rises.  😀 😀 😀

Now moving on to the Olympics. Just kidding. But that’s all you really need to know. If you liked the previous two you will find this the most fitting ending to best Batman story line yet. All the regulars appear again in the final movie of the trilogy (note: it’s NOT triology), with the exception of The Joker, which I can understand. But there was talk of using some unused footage from The Dark Knight and a bit of CGI. I think it would have been nice to see the Joker, even just for a “cameo” as a nod to Heath Ledger. But I’m sure Christopher Nolan had his reasons 🙂

At just over 2h30m the movie does feel a bit long, since the beginning feels a tad long, but by the end you will be so engaged you forget all about it. I couldn’t take Anne Hathaway too seriously as Catwoman, but I still do not have any complaints. The rest of the cast was stellar as per usu (no idea how to make it come across as what I want to sound like), with Christian Bale giving his very good Batman performance, moving me with his plight. But a special mention must be made about Tom Hardy as Bane. Even though you never really see his face, or hear what he is saying half the time, his body language alone is amazing. You really feel his power and hatred. And if he did the voice himself well done to him (I blame poor post production for the lack of clarity). He is definitely a worthy, B.A.D.A.S.S. adversary for Batman. While the Joker was frightening in a psychopathic way, Bane is completely sane and entirely devoid of empathy, and more than a physical match for Batman.

Batman’s gadgets are obviously present, with a cool new addition from the Bat. Watch it and you’ll know what I mean 😉 The fight scenes are quite well done, the CGI is just amazing, and the scale of some of the scenes just incedible like the one in the football stadium…And this is why I don’t write reviews, I run out of steam halfway…I’ll finish off saying if you like action movies, superhero movies, Batman, or movies that comment on what people do under the direst of circumstances and how they are sometimes prepared to fight back, kick ass and take names then this is for you.

This post is already sitting at 463 words, so I’ll stop this post and make a separate one for the Olympics, they are important enough to deserve their own post. It’ll hopefully be up soon 🙂

Jeremy