“The insidious thing about depression is that it takes determination and energy to beat it, but like an emotional infection it targets all the energy and determination you have. In a twist of dark irony, depression seems to specifically weaken the tools you need to stand up to it – your relationships, your ambition, your sense of humor.”—Depression, Burn Out and Writing Code | muddylemon
“Paul realized that what we needed to be solved was not, in fact, human powered flight. That was a red-herring. The problem was the process itself, and along with it the blind pursuit of a goal without a deeper understanding how to tackle deeply difficult challenges. He came up with a new problem that he set out to solve: how can you build a plane that could be rebuilt in hours not months. And he did.”—You Are Solving The Wrong Problem « Aza on Design
Paul Graham is without a doubt one of my favourite investors of all time. Watch how honestly and critically he can assess ideas without projecting an ounce of negativity or meanness. Also — super-human like ability to get to the heart of something within seconds.
Podcasts are a large source of fuel for my curiosities. Unlike most mediums, they’re also free and make little or no money, so I thought I’d do the least I could for them and highlight some of my favourites:
“The thing is, though, that the kind-of-O.K. aspects of “Thor” have the effect of making it more depressing, rather than less. The movie cannot be an interesting, appalling train wreck because it lacks the spoiled grandeur of ambition gone off the rails. You can’t sit and marvel (as it were) over what went wrong because nothing, at the level of execution, really has gone wrong. Mr. Branagh has not failed to make an interesting, lively, emotionally satisfying superhero movie, because there is no evidence that he (or the gaggle of credited screenwriters, or Paramount, the sponsoring studio) ever intended to make any such thing. On the contrary, the absolute and unbroken mediocrity of “Thor” is evidence of its success. This movie is not distinctively bad, it is axiomatically bad.”—
“In copy-editor-free zones—the Web and emails, student papers, business memos—with increasing frequency, commas and periods find themselves on the outside of quotation marks, looking in. A punctuation paradigm is shifting.”—
Most people think of unconditional love to mean “I couldn’t love you any less, no matter what.” But what I think unconditional love means is “I couldn’t love you any more, no matter what.” Either way, it sounds neat.
Riveting account of Saddam Hussein’s last days post-capture and his interrogator. Funny how depictions of even ounces of his humanity — like maintaining a flower garden in his cell — can make you forget he was a monster.
My first ever complete movie review, intended for our University magazine. Edited (and apologetic) for language. Posted a month later because of New Zealand’s lousy delayed release dates.
In Duncan Jones’ Source Code, a sci-fi thriller about a guy trying to save a train from blowing up, reality doesn’t matter. But it’s clearly worth changing.
This 93-minute flick puts us in the shoes of Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal), an ex-helicopter pilot for the U.S. army, whom we learn is actually himself in the shoes of someone else: Sean Fentress, a school teacher who died in the very train Stevens is trying to save. With eight minutes to find the bomb-planter, he repeatedly gets put in the train by a technology called the “Source Code”, while also being tasked to avoid falling in love with the femme fatale he’s seated opposite (good luck with that!). Jones’ promise to us seems to be an intricate, fast-paced who-doin’-it with explosions and mind-boggling revelations. And he delivers.
The smartest thing about Source Code is that it takes nearly every sci-fi concept in the book and blends them together in one nerdtastic, scigasmic orgy. Multi-reality-time-travel: check. Guy-in-simulated-body: check. World-altering-government-technology-built-by-mad-scientist: check. Reality-confusion: check. When first thinking about how I would describe Source Code in terms of other movies, “it’s like Inception meets Avatar,” I thought. That later changed to “Back to the Future meets 12 Monkeys,” until I finally settled on “Groundhog Day meets Deja Vu.” (Yes, I do love my sci-fi thrillers.) The truth is, it’s one giant cocktail of all those movies, while it itself is, thankfully, none of those.
As serious and bleak as that might sound, though, Jones clearly has sight of our funny bone. For one, you have Indian-Canadian comedian Russell Peters, worshipped by Asian circles world-over for his race jokes and accent-humour, playing a comedian passenger in the train. He’s comic relief who we know is going to die every 8 minutes, but it’s Russell-****ing-Peters. If you’re aware of his humour, you quietly chuckle to yourself each time he appears on screen, while another part of your brain mulls over the complex reality in which a bomb is about to go off in a few seconds. And then you have a mad scientist (played by Jeffrey Wright) over-punctuating nerdtalk like a long-lost high school buddy of Dr. Brown from Back to the Future. Seemingly intentional touches by the director, both can get distracting at times, but that is outweighed by the sheer amount of drollery they add to this otherwise highbrow flick.
Source Code is a solid sci-fi entertainer for most film-goers, while also being the kind which could keep many awake at night. I’m just finally glad to see a sci-fi blockbuster without confusing pseudo-intellectualisation and tall blue non-humans.