biking

April 21, 2009

English urban nuisance never looked so cool. There is something about bikes that is truly fascinating.

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Bambi meets Godzilla

July 16, 2007

The other day I heard someone describing the possibility of universal healthcare in the US using this film as the metaphor. Thanks to YouTube I can share the video and the metaphor: Bambi is, in this case you are wondering, the US universal health care. Enjoy both.


Flight of the Conchords

June 15, 2007

Here is the catch with the new comedy series Flight of the Conchords: the music is the only bit that is funny. Now, this is particularly interesting to me, since I don’t like musicals at all; but what these two New Zealanders, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, do with music is absolutely incredible and refreshingly hilarious.

Flight of the Conchords is a comedy duo that got a new series on HBO and the first episode was broadcasted on 17th June 2007. The plot of the episode is not important or very relevant. The show is actually quite boring, as the authors described in an interview for NPR Fresh Air, but I think the series is likely to get better with time. However, the high point of the episodes is the three musical acts. The musical acts are funny, very well acted, highly relevant to the story and completely idiotic. In this aspect I strongly disagree with Dave Morgan’s review.

Act 1 shows them at a party where Jemaine sees this girl called Sally. The singing totally silly but, yet through the lyrics, is actually totally appropriate; “Let’s get in a cab, I will buy you a kebab”.

Act 2 shows them recording a video and singing their stand-up act hit The Humans Are Dead, which includes gems such as “We used poisonous gases and we poisoned their asses”. You can see this particular bit here.

Act 3, the final musical act, it is the classical love song, completely turned around; ““These aren’t tears of sadness, because believe me I just have been cutting onions. I am making a lasagna”. Again you can see a teaser here.

I have a brain haemorrhage every time I see a musical. I change the channel, leave the room, I simply cannot cope with people dancing and singing whilst pretending to say something to each other. Even when Woody Allen tried with Everyone Says I Love You I wasn’t really happy with the final result. Maybe I am getting old, but Flight of the Conchords have made the musical a possibility for me.


Sealab 2021

June 13, 2007

Very few things are better than Sealab 2021. In a sea of people that think that TV is getting worse, I actually think quite the contrary and I think TV is getting better and Sealab 2021 is the proof of that. The problem is that rubbish TV is growing exponentially making it very hard to find the great gems out there.

Sealab 2021 is something unique in television. It has, quite simply everything a TV show needs to be a universal success: intelligent political/social commentary, plenty of good jokes, plenty of silly jokes, lots of pop culture references (to make some of us feel intelligent) and meaningful/sensible violence. However, the show isn’t a global success. The main reason for this is that it is showing on Adult Swim and its 12 minute long episodes make it awkward for normal TV channels.

Here are the reason why I think everyone should be watching Sealab 2021. The show’s main character is Captain Murphy (voiced by Harry Goz) is everything you want in a lead role. Some sort of a wiser older Homer Simpson. Throughout the series Murphy slowly comes through as a totally iconic figures. It helps that he gets the show’s best lines (e.g., “Remember, is not what The Party can do for you puddy, is what your puddy can do for The Party” or “I said a little! He is barely alive enough to kill.” or “We have bigger problems than a butter shortage”). Sadly, Harry Goz died in September 2003 and he took Captain Murphy with him. Personally, I think the series never quite recovered from this.

The music in the show is great and always meaningful to the story. No superfluous music stuff here. The theme song is a masterstroke by the band Calamine created especially for the show. It does exactly what every theme tune should do: making the series instantly recognisable. Listen to it on YouTube and you will be singing along to the theme tune almost instantly. The show has also a continuous collaboration with nerdcore rapper MC Chris.

The episodes are true genius. They only last 12 minutes (in the classic Adult Swim style) and the writers manage to pack unimaginable amounts of fun and action. It is very hard to describe the impact they have or the stories they are trying to communicate. They are all different and invariably end with all the crew dying in some freak accident – this is a perception actually as someone pointed out to me. The best way to do this is to use You Tube and suggest some of the classics: The more serious episodes like Happy Cake (”I don’t know, it is French. It’s crap”), sci-fi non-sense with Lost in Time (”Does vaporise mean nothing happened to it?”), theatre-like episodes like All That Jazz (”Hey, some sort of rescue toaster”), evil empire stuff with Der Dieb (”That’s the problem, we don’t know which throat to slit”), pure non-sense with tons of pop-culture references with Vacation (”uh-oh”) and the political ones with Article 4 (”ui, mis huevos!”) and Red Dawn (”There is a spectre haunting Sealab, and that spectre is my 5 year plan”).

After 52 episodes Sealab 2021 came to an end. Enjoy them.


Relaxing with madness

May 8, 2007

I don’t really know why I find this video so relaxing. It shouldn’t be relaxing, right? This is basically Claude Lelouch 1976 classic “C’était un rendez-vous” on bike, in NYC, without a story and without the engine noise replace with Bandwitch by Broken Social Scene. However, I tend to find that this mixture of crazy antics by those bikers, the seemingly smooth near misses and the ubercool soundtrack drives my brain to suave land.

It is strange, but I think it makes sense. Films like this should fire me into some sort of action, but they don’t. Modern life has nullified me. Our dull lives are so unbelievably stressful, in their mighty dullness, that I need to see this kind of stuff to release some adrenalin – in the comfort of my home. This is one of the great achievements of our society; dull stuff is so incredibly boring but terribly exhausting, and only complete madness can relax us. So next time someone comes up with the theory that it is violence on TV that makes people kill other people, tell them: “No, it is the dullness of our lives that forces people to go mad”. Enjoy and relax.


The banana

May 4, 2007

I found this gem in my first adventure through GodTube. Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t provide an easy way of having GodTube videos, so I looked for it on YouTube and there it was (as always).

This idea that the banana is the atheist nightmare is laughable, but what I really enjoyed was the strong sexual innuendos throughout the video, which is bizarre for such a religious program (I assume). Additionally, look at the guy next to the ‘banana’ guy; he seems to be laughing is head off. How come? Does he, like me, think this is silly?

Another point; as a friend pointed out, in the East people open the banana from the other side…



Zopa

April 2, 2007

Zopa is one of the best ideas going around the web today. It enables you to bypass the bank both as a borrower and as a lender. If you need cheap money, Zopa is a fantastic option, since you can get much better rates than the ones you get from the bank. If you have some spare cash you can lend it at Zopa and make money at a better interest than normal current bank accounts seem to offer.

I think Zopa is even better for those that want to consolidate debts, particularly those that run debts on expensive credit cards.

Now if you are a lender you may ask; what if the people I lend the money don’t pay? Well, Zopa does two things to cover this risk. First, if persona A borrows £1000 from Zopa, you personally only lend them £10 with 99 other people lending £10. This spreads the risk, so if person A doesn’t pay you only lose £10 rather than £1000. Second, they do credit score checking like a normal bank and spread their borrowers across different markets. Some are more risky than others and you as a lender can always choose.

I have been using it since May 2006 and I think it is great.