Saturday, April 24, 2010

House, the new Sherlock Holmes?

I was watching Sherlock Holmes with Sarah the other day and we were discussing how eccentric Sherlock Holmes seemed. One thing lead to another and we came to remark on the similarities between Holmes and House (the doctor that diagnoses special complex cases). I hypothesized that House was based on Holmes. For one thing, they both are very good at solving mysteries through careful observations, and logic. They both have substance abuse problems. They are both musically gifted. They both have a sidekick, companion who tries to keep them out of too much trouble (Watson for Holmes, Wilson for House, W for H basically). They both an obsession with solving the problems that they ignore other people and are quite curt. The list goes on.
This made me think, are all good stories written. Is our generation content with rehashing old stories with a different packaging. I noticed this with good asian dramas and movies (Pocahontas vs Avatar, remakes of all movies: Clash of the Titans, A team, etc) too. Maybe the pool of "good" stories is very limited, and writers need to constantly re-think on ways to retell a good story, or embellish it. Maybe we just got lazy storytellers. Or maybe we as an audience cannot truly accept other stories and can only find comfort in common plot lines.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Avatar - some random thoughts

I just finished watching Avatar by James Cameron and I really enjoyed it. Definitely worth seeing it in 3D. :) It was a non stop action movie, but for some reason I left the movie theaters feeling empty and sad. Don't get me wrong, the effects were fantastic. The back story, setting and character design were breathtaking. There is a lot of fan service being done. I personally really like the power suit and alien lifeforms designs. I definitely recommend going to see this one.

I don't want to spoil the movie for anyone who hasn't seen it yet. So stop reading now if you haven't seen it yet and plan to go see it.

Still here?

I am serious, if you want to see the movie stop reading now and come back later. :D

Not kidding.

Ok... so if you are still reading, I am assuming you already watched the movie or you don't care if I spoil the movie for you.

The reason why I think I left the movie feeling empty is that the whole movie can be summarized as Pocahontas in space. For the same reason you know there isn't really going to be Titanic 2. There won't be a Avatar 2. There is a lot of parallels (not sure if it was intentional, but seemed like it) with the war between native american and the early European settlers. The European settlers were interested in the land/gold/other resources they saw in the new land. In the movie, the earth corporation would stop at nothing to acquire the riches they find in Pandora(the planet where the aliens live), they will try to barter, threaten, and finally take by force. The natives want to protect the land from these foreigners, but lack the technological skills to do so. The reason why they protect the land is because they believe they are all part of the same life force (sound familiar?) Of course, there are some members of the invading force who would sympathize with the natives and try to help them out. At the same time the spies who were sent in to infiltrate the natives will eventually turn native and question their morals. These cliches play well in the movie. Given that this is Hollywood, the natives win the war and chase away the evil corporation. Yay~
But now it begs the question what happens if there were an Avatar2? The defeated colonist will come back with a bigger and stronger army. Better yet, they will stage orbital bombardment to wipe out the natives and any resistance. Once all is destroyed, they can harvest there precious rock as much as they want. Unfortunately that would not be a good movie and would not sell a lot of tickets, but who knows. War movies make millions and they are full of sadness and suffering as well.
I got into this whole debate with Janet and Guang about this too. They argued about if it would be economical feasible to wage war at such large scale for profit. Janet stated that war does not bring profit. I tend to disagree, war does benefit some people, like weapon manufacturer, medical and military research facilities and other related fields. But lets not get into that because that will open a whole new can of worms.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Riding the hills in Tahoe

I went to Tahoe with a couple of co-workers this past weekend, and we hit the Heavenly and Homewood resorts. Both mountains face the lake and have beautiful views.

Heavenly is a huge mountain. It has two peaks (one in California and another in Nevada). It is almost impossible to find people once you get separated. Cell coverage is spotty at best. Although, I did get 3G coverage at the top of the mountains, so I could facebook while riding the lifts. I need to remember to bring a talkie next time to keep in touch with other riders. Most of the blue runs were closed in the California side. So I went to the Nevada side. The traverse to get to the other side was really painful. Painfully flat, but once I was on the other side it was all good.
Favorite run(s):
* Orion (on the Nevada Side)
* California Trail

Homewood is a smaller mountain which is great for beginners. It has a really long green run (Rainbow Ridge) which is pretty mellow and was good for a second day run. My favorite trail was The Glades. Unfortunately to get there, there is a long flat traverse and no lifts. The lifts at homewood were incredibly slow when compared to heavenly.
Favorite run(s):
* The Glades
* Bonanza (serviced by the express lift)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Daily commute is killer...

So I used a neat android app, My Track to record the commute. Turns out it takes 1 hour 30 mins exactly. :(
I still need to compute how long it takes to go back. I am guessing it takes even longer due to traffic.

Friday, July 17, 2009

About base layers

Ben is going on a hiking trip to Mount Kilimanjaro at the end of July. We were discussing about the gear he needed for the trip and we got to the subject of base layers.
Matt: So you bought your base layers yet?
Ben: Yeah, I spent over $100 on them, they are super comfortable and warm. Some sort of high tech wool.
Matt: Meh... Base layer are just expensive underwear. They just call them base layer so they can charge you that much for them.
me: So... Victoria Secret sells base layers then? Their under wear are really overpriced.
Matt and Ben: ...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Thoughts about photography

So Ben bought a digital SLR today, and this made me think about getting one myself. I have long been thinking of getting a nice SLR to play with. Unfortunately, lack of money, time and patience to do the research and plenty of other stupid excuses stop me from getting one.

Kuo takes amazing pictures with his old school film SLR. Check it out here.
This brought to mind one of the biggest debate I had, to get a digital SLR or an analog one. Of course people argue about quality of digital SLR, I think that we are getting closer and closer to film SLR quality. I give it a few more years, until we can get the same resolution. :) But that is not my main concern.

The one good thing about digital photography is you don't have to worry about wasting film, so you can take a million bad pictures for one good picture. The bad thing about digital photography is you don't have to worry about wasting film. When shooting with film SLR, I think I would be a lot more careful before going trigger happy and would spend more time worrying about lighting, composition, and what have you. Film is expensive after all. :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cute quotes from Honest Tea~

You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.
- Michael Pritchard

It's possible to own too much. A man with one watch knows what time it is, while a man with two watches is never quite sure.
- Lee Segall

Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery