05: Infernal Affairs



This post was supposed to be written 7 days ago, it was a draft of The Killers review, few days later it morphed into the Ong Bak draft, the Oscars came and went, and seeing how The Departed got so much attention, i thought it fit to bring your attention to Hong Kong's absolute master-piece, the excellent Infernal Affairs.

This is the moment where no one, absolutely no one on earth could have done anything to make HK cinema less than any of its world counterparts.
----------------------------------------------------


Infernal Affairs (I want to be You : Chinese title) is a 2002 Hong Kong gangster thriller, an alternate Chinese title references "the lowest circle of hell" in Buddhism (more on that later)
the movie runs about 1:40 minutes.


tells the (now familiar) story of two men, each a mole in the other's organization:
The first part of the movie shows us Undercover Detective Chan Wing Yan's, and his counterpart, Brother Lau Kin Ming's slow progression through the ranks, rising from lowly gangster / cop (respectively) to full-fledged brother in HK triads / Internal Affairs investigator (respectively).
the first half of the movie spans about 10 years of both lives.
(for about an hour and a half -worth of film, you'd boggle at how the director can fit all this in. the remake ran longer covering a much less amount of time)

the story is basically a cat and mouse game between those two guys as they try to root out the other, while at the same time finding themselves growing increasingly more distant from their pasts.
this movie shines in which it does NOT present the triad mole as a bad guy, you genuinely feel for all characters throughout the movie.

Andy Lau is brilliant as a triad mole inside the Internal Affairs section, and Tony Leung is possibly in his best role so far, this time as a cop losing grip on "his" world.
you will NOT be goaded into the usual "Bad cop /Good criminal" crap that's floating around these days (think: any given Steven Segal movie)
These guys do what they have to do, stone cold. no regrets, no remorse. its their duty AND core belief.

The Cinematography is.. i can't rave enough about it: temples, steel-and-glass wonders, claustrophobic slums, warehouses, freeways, if you think HK is beautiful, you will love this movie, if you don't, you will after this movie.
This is obviously of the "Less is More" school of film-making, there is not one second that i felt was unnecessary or out of place. one look speaks volumes.

this movie was successful and it spawned 2 sequels (prequels?!) telling more about the origins and missing history of the protagonists. sadly i'm yet to see them. (and i dont think i will. i dont want to ruin the original's experience)

i can't stress this enough: if you thought The Departed was good, and think you know your movies, you ABSOLUTELY DEFINITELY HAVE to watch this: i warn you though: the remake is reportedly based on a mish-mash of all THREE Infernal Affairs movies, so don't whine about how there are scenes missing etc.

i can't really be bothered to snapshot the DivX i have of this, so instead i'll leave you with two linked pics. bleurgh.

the Chinese title is referenced again in the end, and believe me, like it or not, you will find yourself nodding to its punch line.

A Dumb-ass at the Academy Awards erringly stated to everyone this was a Japanese film. I respected Martin Scorsese for correcting this in his acceptance speech.



final score
----------

10/10. and then some.

everything about this movie is perfect. nothing is overdone or underdone. much more convincing than the remake. and i'm not being biased. i really really like The Departed.

The show must go on:

Ellen is amazing.
last night was one in the same category as Billy Crystal's and Steve Martin's.

everything was so perfectly run:
security was tight, i personally held my breath all while Gore was onscreen, i don't dare think what can happen to US if he was shot dead or was blown up on live television.

the whole thing was as diverse as can be, i never knew there were two iraqi/about iraq movies in there. hmm.
now i want to know what was their message.

i strained to understand what Catherine Deneuve and Ken Watanabe were saying, but afterwards they put up clips of Rashomon and Cinema Paradiso (and many other beautiful films) so i can't really complain there. (it was a collage of best foreign films of the past few decades)

Martin Scorsese was decent enough to thank the original source material he copied his oscar-winning film from, and i really respect him for that. (i still can't understand why Bringing Out the Dead didn't garner as much attention as it should have. beautiful movie)

the former Mrs. Tingle shined, and was actually as hot as Jack Black said she was. Meowwwww ^_^

Forest Whitaker: finally more recognition for this truly talented, diverse actor. (and finally redeemed himself from Battlefield Earth)

Departed winning best adapted screenplay? well.. i really dislike remakes, they almost always end up worse than the original. this one being no particular exception.
but it tries, it really tries its best.
its good, sure, but not the END-ALL AND BE-ALL good as many make it out to be, sorta like F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
go watch Infernal Affairs.
at the end of day, remake and everything, this is an entertaining film.

Highlights of the evening include:

the brilliant song and the follow-up by Will Ferrell, Jack Black, and John Reilly :D

Melissa Etheridge
kissing her wife thanking her. Both looked brilliant.

Penelope Cruz
, well, just being Penelope Cruz

Ken Watanabe
and his Kimono-wearing wife. truly classy.
and of course:

more Global Warming awareness.

and Al Gore actually made a funny! Whadda ya know!

Ellen, Ellen, Ellen!

they should bring her again sometime in future shows. this girl had me smiling, laughing, clapping, thinking, and just glued to the tv set following her every move:
she kinda petered out at the end, but this is normal with most oscar presenters.

i immensely liked the crew that did the movie interpretations, esp Little Miss Sunshine and the Departed

The show itself did feel at times it was leaning the Democrats' way, but it was polite, very polite in doing so. (No John Stewart's this time around :)) now THAT was a Blue Oscars night!)

Great Show, Great Films, Great Presenter.
catch it on re-run. or steal it from the net.

only drawback? No visual gags ala Billy Crystal.. that was the best Oscars EVER!

04: Grave of the Fireflies



Ok, i said i won't WATCH this for some time yet, didn't say i wouldn't review it.
thought i'd get it over with. who knows what tomorrow brings.
--------------------------------------------
I WILL NOT PUT ANY SPOILERS HERE. (is a picture worth a 1000 spoilers?)
--------------------------------------------


Grave of the Fireflies is a 1988 Studio Ghibli animated feature.

Set in japan during the final days of WWII, it tells the story of two children, left alone to fend for themselves after their mother's horrible death after the fire-bombing of Kobe.
(their father was shipped off to the Imperial Navy and nothing was heard of him since)

The movie starts with the voice of the narrator, showing a uniformed boy looking at a dying child beggar in a broken-down train station.
people are passing the beggar not noticing his existence, he dies alone.
cleaning-crews are checking sleeping beggars to see if they are still alive, they find this one, and in his pocket an empty, rusted tin of candy drops.

The movie then goes back in time a few months prior, and the story really begins.

Seita, the pre-teens brother, and Setsuko, the little sister.
They travel to find a distant relative, which at first is kind and good to them, but as the war is ending, people change.
slowly they find themselves shown the door, and end up really on their own.
Seita then tries to find work, and failing that, stealing from people's homes when the owners rush to shelters during raids.
afterwards they manage to find a home of sorts, a small bomb-shelter in a high river bank.
Seita now starts to convert this into their new "house", he buys all sorts of equipment for their new home, and a tin of candy drops for his sister.
all the while they are not aware of the reality and finality of their situation.

review ends here. this was the "Happy" part of the movie.
all i can say, is please remember the opening scene carefully. for at the end everything comes full circle and forces you to grab for the Kleenex. LOTS OF KLEENEX.

this is no mere cartoon. the background is historically accurate and as i've read, the movie itself is based on a semi-autobiographic novel of the same name. i am in the process of finding it.
solid story-telling, beautiful backgrounds & animation, and that dangerous little streak of sincerity which grabs you by the..ahem. lapel.. and forces you to see it till the end no matter how painful it gets.

this movie was bundled in theaters with Studio Ghibli's happiest film to date, the brilliant "My Neighbor Totoro" just to ease the dose of sadness one gets here.

this movie brings up some serious questions:
how much pride do you have?
are you willing to LIVE without it? or is it the other way around?

this is in essence, an anti-war movie, and one of the best.
at times it feels more like a documentary than a story, because at the end you get the same itching urge to get up, thank God for what you have, and do something to help others a bit more.

i saw this movie early last year, in two sittings, and for days after i still had troubling emotions inside. sentences from this movie kept popping up randomly in my head for months after.

i bought me a copy once i moved to jordan, but as of yet i don't feel like watching it again.
Warning: do NOT, i repeat, do NOT watch it if you have depression, lost someone recently, or generally just going through a bad time. but before you leave this world, you have to see this at least once.

final score
-------------

9/10 - no full marks because animated movies should NOT be this powerful.




trivia (copied as usual)
------------
  • In commercial terms, the theatrical release was a failure. While the two movies (this one and Totoro) were marketed toward children and their parents, the extremely depressing nature of Grave of the Fireflies turned away most audiences.
  • Appropriately aged children were cast in the roles of Seita and Setsuko, however at first, producers felt the 5 year old girl portraying Setsuko was too young. Because of her age, instead of completing the animation first and recording her voice to run parallel with the animation as with other characters in the film, they recorded her dialogue first and completed the animation afterward. The animators were not used to this way of working, which is why her lips are hardly seen.
  • The release of the film in South Korea was delayed indefinitely because authorities feared it would be thought of as justification for Japan's role in World War II.









03: Street Fighter - The Animated Movie


This is a feature length movie based on Capcom's highly-acclaimed video game series of the same name, it was released in many versions with varying lengths depending on censorship of the release country. Here i am reviewing the "Uncut, Uncensored, Unleashed" released on DVD last year.

Ok, for a martial arts practitioner (the gritty, no-flying kind of martial arts), i really find it hard watching animation/live-action movies which are based on martial arts. most of them have the fight scenes choreographed by people who don't know any better and should stick to flying. (Shaolin, TKD, Wing Chun, and mainstream Karate)
What complicates my current situation further is that i am a HUGE Street Fighter II freak (note how i never use the character '2' instead replacing with 'II'? Yeah, Hardcore baby!)

WARNING: this is an anime based on a story-less video game. don't expect it to explain any meanings of life, the universe and everything.

The movie revolves around Ryu -the protagonist of the videogame- as he roams the world seeking to improve his skills.
a secret organization led by a dictator super-human "Vega" is rounding up all the top fighters in the world and are conducting experiments on them in order to create the "perfect physical specimen" and they have their eyes set on Ryu.
They have already managed to recruit/brainwash several fighters, including former Boxing Heavyweight Champ "M. Bison", a Fighter known as the "God of Muay Thai", and a psychopathic matador (Don't ask.)
but, the ultimate prize remains Ryu.
However, since they can't find him (on account of him being always on the move) they choose to recruit the next best thing, a fighter named Kenneth Masters, Ryu's old friend and probably the only one in the world who is equal to him in skill.
(to SFII fans: Gouki is more powerful than both combined, therefore no mention)

Anyway, Interpol caught whiff of this whole deal, and have sent supreme kung-fu master (and resident hot chick) Chun-Li as a liaison officer with the USAF to track down Ryu and keep Bison from putting his dirty mitts on him.

locations presented in the movie range from Seattle, London, Las Vegas, Calcutta, Japan, and finally the Dr.Evil-esque "Secret Headquarters" complete with sculpted-face mountain which opens up to reveal a runway, and a volcano to boot.

the silliest script i've ever read in my life.

what's more: The reason for so many rated/unrated versions is probably the biggest sacrilege Capcom will ever commit:
showing us Chun Li's cleavage. (and part of her behind as well) in a very famous shower scene.
is there nothing sacred left?

i swear this was a PR stunt to maximize interest in the Street Fighter franchise, get more kiddies playing and buying.

i was playing SF WAYYY BEFORE all the peons came asking: "which one is the shower chick?"
its enough to make me puke. n00bs i say.
anyway, not to say it wasn't properly animated ;) so it went fine with most people.

ok, senseless stupid script, exploitation of subject matter, 1995 graphics, and horrible english dubs.
so why am i even bothering with this now?

one reason, actually two:

Kazuyoshi Ishii
,
and
Andreas Hug.

to be fair, back in 1997 when i first saw this i didn't know who Andy Hug was (and i bet like 90% of you now haven't heard of him still)

(*) -see below-

There was something special about the choreography, something with made it different from ALL other "Fighting" animations. (except Shura no Toki)

Fights came thick and fast, blood flew, bones broke, and for the most part, it was REAL.
(apart from game trademarks, fireballs and flying spinning kicks)

The fight between the Chun-Li (just out of the shower, and wearing nothing but shirt and undies) and the psycho matador Vega is considered to be one of the BEST fights ever in the history of Anime, and not just because of the undies.

my personal favorite is the fight between the protagonist and a character modeled after Bruce Lee in physique and fighting style:
rib-shots, grappling, joint-locks, combos, knee/elbow blocks, and more.
(@_@) !

a classic example of a "guy" movie: this comes highly recommended for any fight-club fans.


the script, albeit STOOOPID, is self contained, which enables ANYONE to pick up this movie and have a GOOD time.


final score: 6/10 (+ 2 for Kazuyoshi Ishii and Andy Hug)
------------------
8/10. period.



here's that Ryu - FeiLong tussle i was talking about:



--------------------------------------------------
(*) in short: forget Bruce Lee, screw TKD, these guys are the REALLY REAL.
(no offense to WC/JKD/TKD ppl)
i'm not gonna put any other references to them, on account of not wanting to be accused of being biased (which i am, because they PWN)
so, want more info, look em up yourself.

02: Hard Boiled


I'll only be fair about this one:
GO OWN IT.


Alternate Title
"Hot-Handed God of Cops"

This is a 1992 Cop Drama, and along with The Killer, possibly the best movie ever to come out of Hong Kong.
Director John Woo once again recruits his favorite actor Chow Yun Fat, to create an epic action movie which makes the original Die Hard look like Secrets of the Ya-Ya sisterhood.

Inspector "Tequila" Yuen starts cracking down on triads after his partner gets killed in the first relentless minutes of the movie. Events unfold and he finds himself face to face with an undercover cop Alan (played to perfection by Tony Leung) and a vicious killer by the name of Mad Dog.

After months with the triads, a strong bond forms between Alan and the Boss, and thus finds himself torn between his duty, and his "loyalty" to his friend/mentor.

this movie consists of three main acts, the Tea House (cloned shamelessly -tribute?- in the training stage in the videogame Path of Neo), the triad warehouse/chop-shop fight (in which Mad Dog loses an eye) and the final half-hour epic shootout in the children's ward of a local hospital.
(don't watch if your partner/you are pregnant, you'll have paranoia about hospitals and babies after this one.)

more bullets are spent in this movie than any three given Hollywood action flicks, and lo and behold, these guys ACTUALLY RUN OUT OF BULLETS/RELOAD.

if you want to know what the Hong Kong fuss is all about, you have but THREE CHOICES.
this one,
The Killer
and the excellent Infernal Affairs (which was re-made -UGH- into The Departed)

Chow Yun Fat's -and John Woo's- finest hour, this movie should NEVER be missed.

saw this 6 years ago in baghdad on VideoCd, the cover read "Hard Bullet", which is still how i sometimes reference it as.
Saw it about 20 times since then.
i'm downloading it again now. beautiful.

score: 8 out of 10.
it's not as realistic as i wanted it to be, also: some of the scenes in the Children's ward are a bit unconvincing. cotton stuffed into babies' ears doth not silence the roar of guns.



-note: i'll be reviewing the best first, maybe that way i can make you forget about the bad ones i already wrote down there-






01: Ergo Proxy



All personal emotions turned off, the review begins:

Ergo Proxy is a thriller science-fiction television show. Consisting of 23 episodes, it aired from 25 February 2006 – 12 August 2006 on Japanese networks, and i believe it just got picked up for the American market.
The show, decidedly Cyber-Punk, discusses many "big" themes we face everyday: the human soul, personality, love, fear of the unknown/strange, nonconformity and the relationships in humanity, and between man and machine.

The show starts off slowly, like all good thrillers:
In a post-apocalyptic world when all the survivors are "herded" forever inside advanced dome cities, a mysterious virus is running loose, causing the infected to commit acts of mayhem and murder. the catch is, this is not a human virus, this is a computer virus.

the Cogito virus (a play on Cognition) is infecting personal entourage androids with that most feared of computer illnesses, Sentience.

Further complicating the situation is government-sanctioned experiments to create "Proxies of God on Earth", advanced human clones which are thought to be the key to salvage humanity.

A proxy manages to escape, along with an infected android "child" named Pino, and traverse the earth to find answers for their existence.

the series' pace is at times heart-stopping, while at others it just barely moves on: A lot of issues are discussed on and off screen (meaning, in YOUR mind) and the series slows down accordingly to allow you to ponder these while still able to focus on the show.

In the words of the series creator:
"...(It) is meant to represent our own debate over whether we become who we are because of our environment, or because of things that are inherent in us. "


Trivia: (stolen because i don't want to write it twice, for the rest watch the series and be VERY attentive, or just google it.)
  • The following characters are all named after French Post-structuralist philosophers: Husserl, Kristeva, Derrida, Lacan, Berkeley, Deleuze and Guattari.
  • The character Pino and her name is thought to be a play-on of Pinocchio, there are also some similarities to her and the story of Pinocchio specifically the becoming a real person idea.
  • Episode 1 begins with a quotation from Michelangelo's reply to Giovan Battista Strozzi's epigram for the Night Stature in the Medici Chapel. The opening sequence from Episode 3 onwards features fragments of this quotation in Italian as part of the background graphics montage.

Caro m' è 'l sonno, e più l'esser di sasso,
Mentre che 'l danno e la vergogna dura:
Non veder, non sentir, m' è gran ventura;
Però non mi destar, deh! parla basso

Welcome is sleep, more welcome the sleep of stone.
Whilst crime and shame continue in the land;
My happy fortune, not to see or hear;
Waken me not - in mercy, whisper low.

—Michelangelo Buonarotti


The theme-song of the show is Kiri by Monoral, a band that sings in Japanese, English, French and Arabic.
the end-song is RadioHead's Paranoid Android.

End note:
10. of 10. if there was ever a show that deserved a full-rating, its this one.
any reviewer that gives less is clearly an idiot. or hasn't seen it.


homepage

Anime & Movie Reviews

In this series of posts (not back to back, hopefully) I will review some shows I have seen before, and in which I found something worthy of sharing. This is based on MY own experience and taste. It doesn't mean all other shows are crap, it just means that THESE are good, and should not to be missed.

i will follow this sequence (i believe), movies are denoted by (DVD) while others are shows that you can risk penal sentences for downloading off the internet. They are worth it, i tell you.

Ergo Proxy
Street Fighter : the Animated Movie Uncensored Uncut Unrated etc etc. DVD
Elfen Lied
Shura no Toki
The Crow DVD
Cowboy Bebop + DVD
Samurai Champloo
Talladega Nights DVD
Advent Children DVD
Macross Plus OVA + DVD
Shogun
Ninja Scroll
Trigun
Ong Bak + Tom Yum Goong DVDs
Hard Boiled
The Killer
Grave of the Fireflies
Ghost in the Shell
Hellsing
Fist of Legend DVD (2Vcds actually)
Leon : The Professional (with new footage)


more to come as soon as i get more dvds back from baghdad.

A red Light in the afternoon @ At World's End

/*-----------
I'm porting an entire post here from new blogger The Red @ At World's End.
I also put this on IBC. will post something of my own later.
sorry but i really thought this was worth reading:
-----------*/


I know I should be writing my thesis instead of blogging but I just don't feel like it. Don't know if I would finish my project or not, all I know that I should not quit because I'm no quitter.

Any way, I think that there is to much to say about the Iraqis situation outside their country, especially in Jordan.

Today I was in a cab going to place called Swaifiah, we stopped for a red light and a newspaper seller came out of no where begging us to buy one. I knew that he was an Iraqi immigrant from his accent, seeing the condition he was in and the way he begged for anybody to buy something from him made me shiver. I had to give him some money, after all we Iraqis should help each other till the black clouds surrounding our country pass. I gave him some money and told him that it was a gift and I don't need a news paper. The guy looked at me and threw back my money which was more than enough to buy a dozen of his newspapers, he told me that he's no begger and that I should keep my money if I don't want to buy something.

In Iraq this kind of thing almost never happens, it never happened to me, and to see the guys shape as if he hadn't eaten anything for days and the condition of his clothes and still having this kind of pride after all the things we've been through and knowing that things might get even worse and still keeping our pride and dignity made me proud that I'm an Iraqi citizen, I wanted to go out in the street and shout it out loud. I got hold of my self and kept quite knowing that doing such things would get me into more troubles that I already have.

Some might wonder why a guy would leave his own country and wander in a foreign city selling papers, gum and cigarettes. My answer to you is "Watch the friggin news!!!".

After all that being said I should go back to my work and I want you guys to pray for all of us that maybe one day we'll get back home.

--------------------
please, post any comments on Red's blog. thank you :)

??

Just heard on a CBS news program, Muqtada al-Sadr has left for Iran?
a couple of weeks ago?

what's up with that?

something tells me, that he decided to move after the arrest of his aide(s) / supporters, and the apparent push to remove him and his influence from the iraqi scene.

something also tells me he won't be returning anytime soon.

something also smells.

why didn't anyone say this? Muqtada leaves Iraq for WEEKS and nobody knows?
hmm.

anyway, i havent formed a clear opinion on this issue yet.
will do so tomorrow when i've checked this in other sources.

It's a man's man's man's world

...and Christina Aguilera's got him firmly by the family jewels.




'nuff said.

if there's anything worse than a Christina Maria Aguilera fan-boy, its me.

------------------digital hook attached------------------
will post more later. i have a funeral to attend in less than 20 minutes.


------------------digital hook released------------------
hmm.
so, its the next day already, and i have a splitting headache. (slept late, not enough, and with bad dreams to boot.)
actually the dreams weren't bad, they were just a quick medly of my highschool/college days, which reminds me, i have to ask for M's email.
(M. M. was one of my best highschool friends, lost track of him after we moved to different colleges and the war broke, he was the guy who introduced me to Aguilera)
actually not just her, i remember 3 albums he brought:

Faith Hill - ?can't remember name?
Shania Twain - Come on over
& Christina - Debut album.

well, i remember saying "what is this crap??! dude i listen to Metallica!"
and he was like, yes i know, but everyonce in a while you need something lite.. so i just made sure you had the best lite there is.

hmm.
little did the poor guy know, but not only i got hooked on those albums, i also became a devoted Xtina freak.

for me, her best album to date is Stripped, if for anything, (excluding The Diva herself) its for 2 reasons:

Dave Navarro,
and
"Infatuation"

so anyway, headache is killing me, and i dont want to take any meds just yet.
instead of completing this properly, let me give you list of stuff to listen to:


----------------------------------------------------------------------
01. Alanis Morisette - Right Through You -- alternative. 90's stuff.
02. Alanis Morisette - Not the Doctor -- same here.
03. K.W.S. - While We Cry -- the best blues solo this side of 'Texas Flood'.
04. Jamiroquai - Alright -- Funk/Acid Jazz. addictive.
05. Gabriela Robin - Cats on Mars (DMX Krew Remix) -- pure weirdness.
06. Seatbelts - Tank! -- Jazz baby, yeah!
07. Christina Aguilera - Slow Down Baby -- you already know.
08. B. B. King - Blues in 'G' -- name sez it all!
09. K.W.S - Ledbetter Heights -- just give it a listen.
10. K.W.S - Somehow, Somewhere, Someway -- same here.
11. Big Business - I'll give you something to cry about - Sludge Metal, V.GOOD.
12. John Lee Hooker - Hobo Blues -- MmmmhHmmmm Oh Lord! :D
13. S.R.V - Little Wing -- Nothing better to close this list with.

Death in the family.

Sunday, 11th Feb. 2007, i lost my original Cosmic Girl.

The second death in my family in less than 2 days.

its hard to lose a close someone.
its hard not to be there for someone in his/her final hours.
its hard to finally be there and have that someone die in your arms.
its hard to bury someone with your own hands.
life is hard. death is even harder.
but it is much more peaceful.

i'm not in a mood for anything.
will be back later.


ta.

Update:
when you lose someone, dont ever, EVER, listen to blues and/or gospel as a way to take your mind off things.

i suggest something along the lines of Britney Spears. that would be enough to dull the pain as well as your brain.

anyway, since i now listen to blues almost exclusively, i thought it was a good idea to run a few tracks, and just my luck would have it, the first one i chose was B.B.King's "Precious Lord" -both blues AND gospel-

that was a mistake.

after letting the song repeat for about 10 times, the pains finally got less tangible and i switched over to KWS. a lighter kind of blues.

funny thing: give me a solid ten minutes alone and i can get my grieving over and done with after that, normality returns.

i know its kind of insensitive to say such things, but the most recent death that happened around me (2 hours ago, and no i'm not saying who) was a -painful- relief.
it solved a lot of issues both with the deceased (someone i've solidly loved and cared for for the last ten years), myself, and the rest of my family.

one more link connecting me to my days in Iraq is now dead and buried.


Death is inevitable, and i am not afraid, i've seen it a couple of times already so i know what it feels like.
the best piece of advice someone had told me in the last 5 years was when this subject was raised in college, i said i wasnt afraid to die, my best friend told me: "stop acting silly, you are not afraid yes, but are you PREPARED for death? did you do enough good things in life?"
that was a life-changing point.

so anyway, again i'm not telling who or what or where, sorry.
and i'm not going to enable comments on this post.
i'm not writing this for well-wishes (and i am grateful for yours i promise)
i'm doing this for myself, and for the dead.

just read them a little prayer if you want.

Fox Force Five:

:) Rejoice! for now i am about to reveal the five most extraordinary things about me:
(or you can feel sorry for me, whichever way you swing, altho i do recommend the latter)
Anyway, David (thank you very much) tagged me with this eons ago and thus i have to comply, this is the longER version of the reply.

1. once -in college- me and four other guys drove in one of us' VW beetle in a football/soccer field, while a game was being held there..

: It was the summer of either 2002/2003, me and a select few had the pleasure of doing summer courses in college due to us being too lazy to study properly in the real courses and henceforth failed to pass, and had to do them again! and again! and .. you get the picture..

i think it was the day we had our electronics lecture, and i firmly now believe it was 2002 cuz i failed THAT year's electronics course thankyouverymuch..

it was a Hot, Damp day, we've just come out of the labs having had our asses handed to us, suddenly someone (the car guy, let's call him Q) suggested we go for some ice-cream. GREAT IDEA! i think 2 or 3 (not sure, i'm leaning towards 2 right now) more guys joined us.
let me describe the situation:
Four tired, cranky guys, sizes varying between Large to Extra-Extra-Large (Q), trying to squeeze in a 70's VW Beetle.
not the most comfortable, for sure.
anyway, we went there ( Jadriyah, i believe it was al-Faqma Ice-Cream, or a place on the other side, across from Shmesani Pizza place..dunno the name..Nah it was Faqma)
we ordered, sat near a shop-under-construction, promptly littered it with our plastic ice-cream cups, and managed to re-configure our bodies for the ride back..i think i rode shotgun.

Q maneuvered the car thru some side-streets cuz we just couldn't reverse for some reason, and drove on for some time looking for an exit..
surely, we got lost, and the only choice? drive on!
we drove left, right, and straight ahead till we reached a narrow sidestreet which had what looked like an exit at the other end..
"Shall i go?" Q said
"Of Course!" we all replied
and so, he went thru. When we reached there suddenly we found ourselves driving on dirt.. "hmmm.. ?" anyway, it turned out we had driven right through a dirt soccer field in the middle of a match, we had startled angry players running on both sides of the VW swearing at us inventively, all the while we all screamed like girls at the top of our lungs..
sadly Q refused to go through the goal posts (which had no net attached)
The good thing was that we DID find the main road just off the field, immediately we took it followed by this huge storm of dirt and swear-words. turns out we've been driving almost in parallel to it all along.

so: no, i wasnt driving, but yes, i shouted loudest, and i believe i was The most vocal supporter of the "go through" decision.

WOW factor: for me? 5/5 for you? probably 1. if i'm lucky.


2. first word i ever said was not "mama" or "dada", it was "dhau" which means Light, in arabic.

yeah, dont know why. my parents had it taped back in baghdad. this is yet another proof for the "i told you he was nuts" brigade.
anyway, seems my family think this is exciting and a sure-sign i will soon rule the world (Bwa Ha Ha. if only they knew how ;) )
that was me, your typical iNTj child. still am. with a suffix change tho.

WOW factor: for me? 1/5 for you? you really have to ask?

3. i had almost-longer-than-shoulder-length hair. :)
believe me, in iraq, before the war, it was rare! i had to cut it after the war when the faculty had a meeting and decided to make an example for discipline out of me..either cut it or get kicked out. i cut it.


yeah, sometime during late summer 2002, i completely stopped cutting my hair.
why?
dunno.
maybe i thought it was cool, maybe cuz i had an argument with my parents over how SHORT i used to always cut my hair, maybe cuz i was just going thru my delayed teens? honestly i dont remember and more honestly i dont care right now!

it wasnt long enough to impress non-iraqi's, it was however exactly long enough to attract unwanted attention.

jeers, snide remarks, strange looks, and the rest of the act but thankfully no actual physical interaction. (i lived in a3dhamiyah up until 2004, when i moved to an adjoining neighborhood)
this is where it gets REALLY boring, let me give you the background to the story:

my hair kept growing through 2002 and 2003 till i think it was summer course again.. suddenly we were in was post-war iraq, and suddenly people everywhere, students in my uni. included, started acting "strange"..
(we were Saddam University. THE most prestigious, controlled-environment, some dare say elite university in all of Iraq excluding maybe Kurdistan uni's)
so, while we were still too geeky to actually assassinate any professor, some morons did some things that were considered to be "not fit for university standards".
and so, the faculty met and planned and schemed over how to solve this, and wham! there i was, walking around with greasy, shoulder-length hair acting all geeky and stuff.
fresh meat.
so, one wednesday, these two professors (Dr.N and Dr. A whom i respect immensely, although they couldnt teach a lesson to save their lives.) came to me to tell me that my appearance is no longer acceptable, and that the faculty will hold a meeting to discuss all rogue elements, myself included. these two were generous enough to give me a heads up: "cut it or be cut. by next week".
as would be expected of me, i complied. in fact, i actually came to my senses.
long hair is not for me. its so easy to get ripped off/grabbed by, and it falls. and my hair wasn't too thick to boot.
do i miss it? not at all.
maybe when i'm like, 50, and balding (i won't be fat. i promised myself this one thing.), and have kids and stuff, oh and a job, maybe then i'll grow it back and wear it into this most annoying-looking ponytail. but not before i've completely lost any chance i have to compete in full contact martial arts.
yes i am serious.
:)

WOW factor: are you still awake even?

4. i can do 400 situps. continuous. yet still my excess skin /flab is killing me. a few more months, maybe?

yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is 100% true, and not only that, i can (could to be 100% honest) do it on a daily (nightly) basis.
one thing tho, i HAVE to have a soft cushion/mat behind my back, because doing this on carpet would leave me without any shred of skin on my rear end.
i usually lie back on a bed, my legs bent at the knee over the foot-board (the opposite of head-board?) for grip, and start.
usually takes (took) me about 20-25 minutes to complete.
this is low-stress, high-repetition, and slow (3 seconds for each iteration approx.).
i do 200 regular with my hands across my chest, then 100 twisting, the last hundred i do quickly with my hands behind my head.

although i still have stomach flab and its killing me, its slowly shrinking, and i hope if i begin my full exercise set again i can be 100% fit within a month.

i did this every night till i caught a cold two weeks ago, from that day till now i have done exactly zip.
my pushups numbers have fallen, my squats numbers have fallen, crap.
tell you what, i'll start again tomorrow.

WOW factor: --

5. i cant account for the period from the 13th of June, 1994, till the 1st of October, 1995.
let's just say i celebrated my 13th year behind the sun. sorry, i really cant detail this one more.


technically, i CAN account for it, just not in public. no one will believe me :)
even when i confided in my best friend (whom i met first in 2001/2002), he told me "No , Nuh-uh, what we ALL know/have heard is otherwise, and ########CENSORED########"
again, sorry, i cant say anything more right now.
its NOT as exciting as it looks, trust me on this, ok?

WOW factor: probably a 2.

sorry, i know its not what you set up to read, but come on, if you wanted heavy-weight material you wouldnt be here in the first place :)

please, any college friends who come by here, please feel free to correct me if i am wrong in those items regarding college. my memory is my worst enemy sometimes.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

so, post over and done with, let me reply on the last post's comments here:

Marshmallow26:
oooohhhh believe me i am not a genius, i would know if i was.
Proof: if i was i would have found a way to use it to make me some money. ($_$)
QED sadly, i am not a genius. a geek, maybe, a freak, sure, a genius? i dont think i'm qualified for that.
i've been here and there, and i hope this satisfies the requirements of a real post? :)

CharlesWT:
Sir, thank you so much! (to be 100% honest i already visited that site looking for a new c++compiler but decided against it due to 200meg+ size, however, when you sent me the link i felt it was rude to ignore, so i downloaded it! again thank you!)

David:
Always a pleasure to have you visit, and good luck with the ants! well, about the shiny new programming tools, what best way to fill my time?

SoB:
Hi there :) guess what? i finally managed to complete Resident Evil4! yeah.. i know its lame, and i'm lame, but hey, i wouldnt have even started it if i havent noticed that i'm missing my copy of StreetFighter3 (left in baghdad, i noticed this after our SF/MK discussion) and went to buy one, and on the way saw ResiEvil which i also didnt have at the time and decide to get them..
i need new controllers now. hmph.
anyway, you know what you just did with your comment? you got me hooked on ASM again!
yep, downloaded both NASM and MASM and an assembly book and lost a little bit more of my life. why oh why can't i help myself?
and about the programming, you rock, i mean, screw high-level stuff, mid-level stuff is the way to go, and of course, assembly..
besides, "real programmers write in hex" (@_@) !!
(note: i can "see" what's happening in your program segment, but i still cant figure the operands..)

Lynnette:
hello again!
"...but I want to know how the wedding plans are coming?"
actually i'd like to know that too myself... hmph.

well, you see, currently my fiancee and i are seperated by two continents.
And since my chances of getting a visa to go to her right now are about 2%, we decided it is much much easier if she would come here herself, and to come here, she needs a visa herself, and a visa to jordan in her case is a mysteriously long process of beurocratic routine.
therefore, sorry, i cant give an answer at the moment..

and to fill my time i used to train and study, then it was generally just having a cold, then for a while it was just me sitting on my butt, at the moment its study again and i expect to resume training in a day or two hopefully.

D - or the story of how i rediscovered my geek side.

------------WARNING: LONG TECHNICAL POST W/ DETAILS AHEAD------------
you have been warned, therefore, if at any point in the post you find your head spinning or your attention-span shorted out due to the aforementioned details, which many would consider boring, it will be YOUR FAULT, got it? YOURS.
------------WARNING: LONG TECHNICAL POST W/ DETAILS AHEAD------------


I can't take it anymore, I HAVE to share with you my predicament.
the word must be spread, etc etc.

Anyway, some day in early january, while staring at a download bar at 3am "willing it" to go faster, i suddenly had a panic attack:

"Oh Shit. i'm outdated. not only i can't remember the the basics of VHDL (I'm serious. i cant. and in the midst things i was sidetracked and forgot to look it up), but i actually managed to forget the details of my OWN "graduation" program. (written in C++) Crap. with a K."

after a few minutes running thru lines of code, i realized while i have a metric ton of ebooks here, i dont actually have any C++ books.. so, ebooksclub.org, here i come!

ok, got the book (the handy "Practical C++ Programming" By Steve Oualline), now to write some code:

oops. something else i lack. While having an excellent visual IDE for C++ Borland C++Builder, i actually didnt have the beautiful (if geriatric) Borland TurboC++ . and no way i would use CppBuilder to write menial progs. ugh.
ok, a quick visit to phazeddl.com to get what i need, and its "Hello World" all the way!

before that, i went to wikipedia to check what's the latest version, found a link to a hot new flashy 2006 version, but decided to remain with the much smaller-sized 3.0 .. sigh.

One link led to another and somehow i found myself reading an article comparing features of programming languages..
something on the list caught my eye, something i've wished for and wanted and dreamed about for soooooo long, but never had the mind to look for.

a little thing called "D Programming Language" OMG!

went to the page, read its features, then felt my face contorting autonomously into an ear-to-ear grin! (seriously)
i mean come on, anything that lets me do the following:

import std.stdio; //for writefln()
void main() {
printf("hello world IMPORTED WITHOUT HEADERS!\n");
writefln("hello world IN LOCAL LANGUAGE!\n");
}

has to have a shrine devoted to it, with monthly human sacrifices.
i've already signed up as an acolyte.

for more details, check the wiki post, it has all the examples/example links you need to be dazzled and hooked.

if you still dont believe me, check this out:

"D is being designed with lessons learned from practical C++ usage rather than from a theoretical perspective. It uses many C++ concepts but discards some, such as strict backwards compatibility with C source code.
It adds to the functionality of C++ by also implementing design by contract, unit testing, true modules, automatic memory management (garbage collection), first class arrays, associative arrays, dynamic arrays, array slicing, nested functions, inner classes, closures (anonymous functions), lazy evaluation and has a reengineered template syntax.
D retains C++'s ability to do low-level coding, and adds to it with support for an integrated inline assembler.
C++ multiple inheritance is replaced by Java style single inheritance with interfaces and mixins. D's declaration, statement and expression syntax closely matches that of C++.
The inline assembler typifies the differences between D and application languages like Java and C#.

An inline assembler lets programmers enter machine-specific assembly code in with standard D code—a technique often used by system programmers to access the low-level features of the processor needed to run programs that interface directly with the underlying hardware, such as operating systems and device drivers."

if you are a geek/nerd, you are already salivating.

*SHOCK* this beauty's been around for almost 7 years now. SEVEN FULL YEARS I HAVE LIVED AND BREATHED WITHOUT KNOWING ABOUT THIS.
but when i calmed down, i saw that the first stable version of D came out just TWO DAYS prior!
now, you tell me its not fate?

DOWNLOAD!

then the bummer:

this thing is so new there is NO professional IDEs/tools for it. but then again, that never stopped anyone, right?
D is so nice it already has an efficient, stable, command-line compiler.

after running a few sample programs (under DOS) and sniggering with delight, the lazy bug bit me on the ass, and so, i started looking for a solution to ease my illness.

after a few clicks i managed to re-find something very helpful i've heard about often but never tried, called Programmer's Notepad, which is a text-editor program which can recognize keywords of programming languages AND it lets you build simple custom functions to manipulate the code you've just written, i.e. Compile.
BINGO!
(for more details, check the site, download the free prog, you WILL love it)

after a little tinkering to include some D language features, and some more tinkering to build my own Compile and Run clickety-click visual kiddie buttons, i'm set to go!

then reality set in:

after all the included examples and sample code have been run, i dont know half of what i should know to be able to do what i want in D.

shit.

and whoops: again, since its so new, there ain't many resources i can learn *steal* code from.

double-shit.

and so, dear readers -if any of you are still alive at this point- i have decided to embark on a journey of epic proportions, to learn C++, Java, and C#, and then re-write what can be re-written of my "graduation" program in D.

almost a month after its release, and my subsequent download of it, and i'm still ecstatic.
i'm running through C++ AND D, comparing notes, and next will go thru J and C# concurrently.
i just need to find me a good C# compiler. the simpler the better.

does anyone have a link?

and yes, i do have a girlfriend (fiancee to be more accurate) aaaand an active social life ;)

side note: i upgraded my "graduation" program to implement classes instead of structures. more stable, a bit less memory consumption, in short, it doesnt freeze and cause the pc to crash at random when i stop it manually :))

oh you had no idea when you first visited here, did you? you poor souls! ;)
i hope i can make it up to most (if not all) of you with a "real" post soon.