Star Trek Into Darkness

   24 June 2013, terribly early in the morning

I watched Star Trek Into Darkness this past Friday. The crew of the Enterprise have to fight Sherlock Holmes. The movie opens with a crazy action sequence and moves quickly from there. It’s as fast paced and action packed as the first film. If you think too hard about it no doubt you’ll find some plot holes. There are definitely lots of lens flares as well. Still, the movie is lots of fun. I quite liked it.

The Star Trek Into Darkness website.



   17 June 2013, lunch time

I was in London a few weeks ago. I watched Argo on the flight there. The film tells the tale of the Canadian Government and the CIA helping six Americans holed up in the Canadian ambassador’s house escape Iran. They do so in part by saying they are the film crew of a fake movie: Argo. The film is well written, and features a pretty stellar cast sporting some great haircuts. Argo’s credits include photographs from the revolution paired with matching shots from the film. They start with the various actors and their real life counterparts, and move on to more iconic imagery. To his credit Afleck and his team did an amazing job bringing the period to life. Everything feels so pitch perfect. There are some scenes in the film of sweat shop children reassembling shredded documents. Now I was all, “bullshit,” but sure enough there is a photograph of an example of one of these reassembled documents at the end of the movie. Argo was really well done. You should watch it. Ben Afleck knows how to make good movies. Who knew?

The official Argo website.



   17 June 2013, lunch time

I watched Kick-Ass over the weekend. I had missed it in the cinemas. It’s one of those, “what if superheroes were real” movies, based on a comic book of the same name. What sets it apart from most comic book films is probably its excessive violence. Also, it stars Nicolas Cage, who is fantastic in his role as the Batman-like Big Daddy. There are some pretty great action sequences. The fact they are super bloody is a nice bonus. If you haven’t seen Kick-Ass you should check it out.

The official Kick-Ass website.

Comment [2]  

The Raid Redemption

   14 May 2013, late afternoon

I watched The Raid Redemption on the weekend. I think it’s safe to say there is no greater action movie. I mean that quite literally. The film was incredible. An elite police team need to break into an apartment building controlled by a criminal mastermind and arrest everyone. Things quickly go awry, and their plans quickly turn to escape. The film is super violent and bloody and so amped up. I could feel my heart racing while watching the movie. There is so much bad-ass action I don’t even know where to start. You need to watch this film. It’s so god damn amazing.

The official The Raid Redemption website.

Comment [1]  

Like Somone in Love

    1 May 2013, early morning

I was at the Lightbox again last week to watch Like Someone in Love. Iranian super-star director Abbas Kiarostami’s latest film is set in Tokyo and is wonderful. Akiko is a call girl, presumably to pay for her schooling and board in her new home Tokyo. The film begins with her being sent off to meet a retired professor, forcing her to skip out on meeting her grandmother. Like Someone in Love is a film all about deception and human relationships. Most everyone in the film is lying about who they are, who they are with, etc. It’s slow and methodical. A good chunk of the films dialog takes place with characters who appear off screen. (I think every character in the film is actually first introduced via off screen dialog.) A lot of conversation happens about stuff that the viewer doesn’t see till much later. The movie feels very alive. The actors are all fantastic. I really enjoyed this film. Also, great ending.

Learn more about Like Someone in Love at the Lightbox website.

Comment [1]  

Upstream Color

   30 April 2013, early morning

It’s been a week of movies for me. I’m rocking it like it’s 2005. I watched Upstream Color at the TIFF Lightbox a week ago. This is the second film by Shane Carruth, the man behind Primer. Like Primer, it has an unusual narrative structure. There is almost no dialog. A lot of the details about the plot are left unsaid, you just need to infer what’s going on based on what you see and how the characters react to the situations they are in. It’s a film about relationships, another similarity to Primer, but without the whole ‘the plot is a puzzle’ element of Primer. It’s a beautiful film, one that’s hard to describe in a sentence or two. Lucky for you, the trailer is fantastic. It’s probably not a film for everyone, but I think it’s well worth watch.

The official Upstream Color website.


"My mother was Korean and my father was Black American."

    1 April 2013, early morning

I watched Miami Connection over the weekend at the Bell Lightbox. The experience was transcendental. I haven’t had that much fun at the movies in a long time. The film was made in 1987, by amateur film maker and all around boss Y.K. Kim. It’s clearly the product of one man’s vision. I will quote the description from TIFF because if that doesn’t make you want to watch the film nothing I say will.

The year is 1987. As motorcycle-riding ninjas tighten their grip on Florida’s narcotics trade, annihilating anyone who gets in their way, multi-national martial arts rock band Dragon Sound decide that they’ve had enough. In between chasing beach bunnies and performing their hit song “Against the Ninja,” the Dragon Sound boys embark on a crusade of roundhouse-kicking, karate-chopping, crime-crushing justice on the streets of Orlando, determined to never stop until they’ve destroyed the every last one of the dealers, thugs, bikers, ninjas — and the entire Miami Connection!

The film is available online for $6 bucks, or $10 if you want the deluxe edition. The soundtrack is amazing. I got both my brother and co-worker to watch the films, and they were not disappointed. Don’t watch the trailer. You need to experience this movie fresh. You definitely need to watch this movie.

The official Miami Connection website.


They shot the six cabinet ministers at half-past six in the morning against the wall of a hospital. There were pools of water in the courtyard. There were wet dead leaves on the paving of the courtyard. It rained hard. All the shutters of the hospital were nailed shut. One of the ministers was sick with typhoid. Two soldiers carried him downstairs and out into the rain. They tried to hold him up against the wall but he sat down in a puddle of water. The other five stood very quietly against the wall. Finally the officer told the soldiers it was no good trying to make him stand up. When they fired the first volley he was sitting down in the water with his head on his knees.
— Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time

Solarized Dark Theme for Alfred

   19 March 2013, early evening

My solarized theme

Update Mar 19th 2013: Added a new theme for v2 of Alfred. I’m still using it after all thees years, and it’s still really great.

I’ve been using Alfred for a couple months now. Alfred lets you theme the look and feel of its search window. One of the first things I did after discovering the lovely Solarized colour scheme was make an Alfred theme with the same colour palette. I’m still not sure of my choice of accent colours, but I think it looks sharp. I’ll probably make a light version later. Back to work!

Download: Solarized-Dark.alfredtheme for Alfred v1 or Solarized-Dark.alfredappearance for Alfred v2

Comment [3]  

the name warsan means good news in the somali language. i hated it. i despised my name. i wanted to be called something soft, something that ended with an “ah” sound. my name is difficult to whisper into the side of my face. my name is easy to use with a hard voice. i appreciate that now. the hesitation on the other side of the phone. the way they would replace my name with ‘baby’. give your daughters difficult names. give your daughters names that command the full use of tongue. my name makes you want to tell me the truth. my name doesn’t allow me to trust anyone that cannot pronounce it right. my mother calls me ‘warsanay’. if a man ever tried to call me that, it means he understands that i am someone’s daughter. it means i’ll let him call me down from a long building. praise my grandmother, warsan baraka. my father’s mother. the woman i was named after.
the birth name by Warsan Shire

Every 4 Years

   26 February 2013, early afternoon

2005 using a Canon S30:
2005/02/27 - My New Hat

2009 using a Ricoh GR Digital II:

2013 using a Ricoh GR Digital IV:
Wallace and Symington

By coincidence i’ve ended up taking a photo of myself in a bus shelter every 4 years. I should go back to the Gladstone and take another one there.


The company’s shares are down a bit today, but the company’s stock is taking a much less catastrophic plunge in already-meager profits than Apple, whose stock plunged simply because its Q4 profits increased at an unexpectedly slow rate. That’s because Amazon, as best I can tell, is a charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers. The shareholders put up the equity, and instead of owning a claim on a steady stream of fat profits, they get a claim on a mighty engine of consumer surplus. Amazon sells things to people at prices that seem impossible because it actually is impossible to make money that way.
— Matthew Yglesias, Amazon Profits Fall 45 Percent, Still the Most Amazing Company in the World

Mythilli is Two!

   30 January 2013, early morning

Mythilli is Two

Two days and two posts about my actual life? Let’s rock it like it’s 2005.

January is a busy month for me, filled with birthdays and anniversaries. One birthday of particular note is my baby’s. Well, she’s not a baby anymore: she’s two. She is like me, but small(er) and a girl. She enjoys Pingu, trucks, sucking her thumb, and all sorts of other things. Every month I’m impressed by how much she’s changed and developed, but then the next month she seems to have changed and developed even more. She has become an interesting little person.


10 Years

   28 January 2013, evening time

When I first met Shima I thought her birthday was on the 23rd. That was the day the members of the Japanese Cultural Club (KonJa!) all went out to celebrate her birthday, as part of our weekly Thursday meeting. We all met at McGinnis, a sports bar the Japanese exchange students loved. In fact, it was where we usually met for KonJa meetings.

Shima and I had met one week prior, at Fed Hall, a night club run by the University of Waterloo. That may sound lame, but that place was amazing. We bumped into each other again the following night at the Revolution, another night club in Waterloo. Friday was their hip-hop night. She was there with some of her’s friends from Toronto. I was there with my friends Yang and Gary—and probably a million other people: Waterloo is a small town. That winter term in Waterloo, like most of my terms at Waterloo, was filled with a lot of clubbing.

Between these two nights and her birthday party was a string of conversation on ICQ.

McGinnis was a fun place to drink, but that night people felt like dancing. We decided to walk over to Loose Change Louie’s. Shima and I had barely spoke while at McGinnis, but some how we end up walking to Louie’s together. It’s was short walk between the two bars, but we both fell in the snow all the same.

The following Monday we met in the South-East stairwell of the Math and Computer building, between the 5th and 6th floor, and decided we should date.

And that was 10 years ago.

Shima and I Celebrate Our 10th Anniversary

Comment [10]  

The Master

   23 January 2013, early evening

P.T. Anderson knows how to make movies. I watched The Master at the Lightbox and it was fantastic. The movie is about the relationship between a shell shocked WWII vet and a charismatic cult leader. Joaquin Phoenix gives a stellar performance. He is unbelievably good in this film. Philip Seymour Hoffman is excellent as usual. This film also featured some of the best cinematography I’ve seen in a long while. I got to see the 70mm print and it looked amazing. The film is really quite affecting. Go watch this film.

Also, I feel like P.T. Anderson loves shots of people running frantically.

The official The Master website.


Life of Pi

   21 January 2013, terribly early in the morning

I watched Life of Pi over the holidays, in 3D no less. The bulk of the film, like the book it is based on, follows a boy as he travels shipwrecked across the ocean in a small boat with a Bengal tiger. I should start by saying I feel like an idiot because I had thought they had an actual tiger for many of the shots in the film, but the tiger in the film is completely computer animated. It’s insane how good it looks. It’s a nice uplifting film. Both the book and the film have one of my favourite lines of text ever, which I won’t ruin for you now. I had never seen anything in 3D before and I thought Life of Pi actually looked quite amazing in 3D: nothing felt cheesy about it. So yeah, go watch this film. I thought it does the book justice.

Comment [2]  

Sea of Poppies

   11 January 2013, early morning

I finished reading Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh. Shima has declared it one of her favourite books, if not her absolute favourite book. That’s a pretty strong endorsement. It’s been well reviewed as well. As I started reading I wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about.

The book begins in a rural village in North India and ends on the high seas of the Indian Ocean. The road between those two points is a little bit slow. We meet character after seemingly unrelated character. Slowly you start to see where they will all end up. By the time you get to the third section of the book the story has really picked up. I am remiss to say much more than that. Suffice it to say its some solid historical fiction with a great cast of characters. Sea of Poppies reminds me of what a well edited Neal Stephenson story might look like. The language and sailor slang much of the book’s dialog is written in can be a bit impenetrable at times, though one can usually figure out the sentiment trying to be conveyed.

Sea of Poppies is the first book of the Ibis trilogy. The book is an exciting well written story. The second book River of Smoke is already available. I plan to start it shortly.

Comment [1]  

Photography is a thing I used to do

   20 December 2012, early evening

I thought after having Mythilli the number of photographs I would take would increase, but that hasn’t been the case at all. I used to be an avid photographer. At some point I stopped being one. I had some sort of crisis of faith, I suppose.

One of the last lines in Six Feet Under is, “You can’t take a picture of this. It’s already gone.” Photography is an artistic pursuit, but it’s also a documentary one. Photography is all about capturing a moment in time. Well, sort of.

I used to take lots of photos at concerts I went to and then I more or less just stopped. When I watch people photographing a concert now I find they look ridiculous. You are a few feet from a band, watching them play through some shitty LCD screen or viewfinder. Sometimes you should just stop and enjoy the experience.

I think about this a lot when taking pictures of my baby.

All of that said, I should take photographs again. I quite like it. And every so often I take a photograph that is pretty fantastic, if I do say so myself.

Comment [4] |  

Instagram's Terms of Service

   17 December 2012, lunch time

Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), or under any other applicable age of majority, you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision (and the use of your name, likeness, username, and/or photos (along with any associated metadata)) on your behalf. — The new Instagram terms of service, emphasis mine.

In the back of my mind I knew this day would come, but now that it’s here it isn’t any less disappointing. Instagram’s new rules are pretty draconian. A lot of times websites will have unfortunately worded terms of service, but they often written the way they are to facilitate displaying your content on their servers, etc. This language seems quite clear when it comes to Instagram / Facebook

Flickr’s new iOS application is quite nice, but I don’t know how I feel about spamming my Flickr feed with photos of Mythilli. Part of the original appeal of Instagram was that it was a nice light-weight way to share little snapshots. Flickr is a big mix of people posting one-off photos, big sets of photos from their vacations, and all sorts of other random stuff. Still, Flickr probably has the nicest terms of service when it comes to this sort of thing.

I really love Instagram, so this change is really bumming me out.

Comment [10]  


   13 December 2012, mid-morning

How did I forget to write about Skyfall, the new James Bond movie. Like the two films that came before it, the film is pretty spectacular. It opens with a crazy action sequence and then moves on to spies and intrigue. Unlike the previous two films Skyfall feels like more of a throwback to the older James Bond movies. There are all sorts of nods to the earlier movies, presumably because it’s the 50th anniversary of the franchise. Bérénice Marlohe plays the bond girl in the film, and she is smoking hot. Daniel Craig has got to be the best James Bond. This is one of my favourite James Bond films ever, though I don’t know if it’s better than Casino Royale.

The official Skyfall website.


Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

   27 October 2012, late morning

I watched the latest Mission Impossible film last weekend. Like all the sequels that have followed the first film, it’s more action movie than spy flick. This film seems much more willing to take itself less seriously. The action sequences are crazy and the plot just over the top enough. Briefly, a mad man is trying to launch a Russian nuclear strike in order to start some sort of armageddon that will ultimately result in world peace and only Tom Cruise can stop him. The first Mission Impossible film is by far the best, but this film was quite enjoyable.

The official Mission Impossible website.

Comment [1]  

The Yonge Line

   16 October 2012, mid-afternoon

Every time I take the Yonge line I am reminded of just how bad public transit is in the city. The Bloor line certainly gets busy during rush hour, but its a whole other scale of busy. The Yonge line is a disaster. I’m curious to see when it actually implodes in on itself. I wonder if the TTC have numbers on when that will happen? They are extending the line North. Presumably they expect to get people who are taking buses to Finch station out of buses, but I can’t imagine there isn’t going to be a net gain of people on the line. At this point, is living along the Yonge line actually useful?

Comment [5]  


    2 October 2012, early evening

I watched Looper on Saturday night. I hadn’t been to Manulife to watch a film on a Saturday night in forever. It was a busy screening. Looper is amazing. It’s one of the best movies I’ve seen recently, a great dystopian time travel flick. The movie doesn’t waste too much time on hard sci-fi. They explain the key things you need to know at the start of the film: in the future time travel has been invented and was promptly outlawed; the only people to use time travel are criminals who send people back in time to be executed; the people who perform this task are called Loopers; the last execution a looper performs is killing their future self. The movie is violent in a thoroughly graphic and unglorified way. Early on in the movie you see what happens to a Looper who doesn’t kill his future self, and it’s more than a little disturbing. The film feels thoroughly well crafted. The acting is superb. Joseph Gordon Levit does a great Bruce Willis impression. They made him up to look like Bruce Willis, and it’s actually really well done. The movie features some amazing dialog. It’s really well written, much like Brick. The film is being billed as an action flick, but its much more than that. This is a must watch movie.

The official Looper tumblr.

Comment [2]  

How Not to Ask for Money

   25 September 2012, early morning

I’ve been trying to get in touch with you but haven’t heard back.

When I looked at our donor data, I noticed that the last donation you made was during the last election.

Ramanan, what are you waiting for?

Man, fuck you NDP lady. I’ve given the NDP money in a few times now. They seem to think that gives them license to call me all the damn time, never mind the emails. I’ve actually blogged about this before. I don’t know how you can be so tone death and obnoxious with your fund raising efforts. I’ve been waiting years for the success they’ve been having. Is this is what i’ve been waiting for?

Comment [5]  

Him, Here, After

   18 September 2012, early morning

I woke up last Monday morning and decided to check out another film at TIFF. I looked to see what films were screening in the afternoon at the Lightbox, and noticed one called Him, Here, After. Taking a closer look I learned it was a Sri Lankan movie about a Tamil Tiger heading home to Jaffna after the war. What were the chances? I bought a ticket and got back to work, which ended up being all kinds of crazy. I had to run to the theatre to make the film. Literally. I passed Tiff on my way there. We spoke briefly while I caught my breath. I am in poor shape.

The film is quite good, and I thought much better than the other Sri Lankan art films I’ve seen at TIFF (The Foresaken Land, Between Two Worlds). It’s quiet and thoughtful. The unnamed protagonist returns to Jaffna with no fanfare. The film is about him trying to start a new life. No one is happy to see him back. He struggles to find work and reintegrate in to civilian life. No doubt you’ve seen that story play out before. The Hughes brothers film Dead Presidents is the first that comes to my mind. The film isn’t quite so bleak, but it definitely doesn’t wrap things up nicely. A very strong performance by Niranjani Shanmugaraja is what makes the film. Our screening concluded with a Q&A with Michael Ignatief, which I didn’t think was particularly good. He didn’t really have anything too insightful to discuss. He spent a long time complaining about fund raising for the Tigers in Toronto, which is admitidly bad, but felt a bit off topic. One thing I did learn in the Q&A was that the title of the film is a play on words. Ini Avan translate to “him hereafter”, while the single word Iniavan translates to “sweet man”. The director said he was trying to present an LTTE solider as a more nuanced complicated figure than one sees in the Sri Lankan press. I think he succeeded here.

Him, Here, After at the TIFF website.


← ← ← → → →