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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Life-long To-do list Item 32: Check!

Before I begin, I must point out that I don't really have a Life-long To-do list. Not in the formal sense, anyway. I rather have a kinda space in my brain that holds all the stuff that looks cool to do and I'll get to later...

Avid followers of my blog will remember me once writing a post about my lifelong quest to partake of all the exotic fruit wonders that our world has to offer. Well, I am now one step closer to that goal! I have finally sampled the amazing flappy-purple-orb that is DRAGONFRUIT!

This is all thanks to my mother, who somehow managed to track down one at our local supermarket (not usually the place for edible rareties of nature...).

Behold! The amazing dragonfruit!

As you can see, my sister takes these things very seriously. Her carpophobia really got away with her... 

The innards of a dragonfruit: 

Giving the fruit a try: 

Look at the amazing colour!! Visually, a stunning piece of food: 

It's a very odd fruit. It doesn't really have much flavour. It's very delicate. It has a consistancy that lies somewhere between a persimon and a kiwi fruit. Very odd. The seeds are like those of a kiwi too. But the colour is amazing! It's really beautiful! It also stains your hands like beetroot does, which was kinda cool. I would totally recommend it for anyone to try!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Movies that changed the way I watch movies...and other stuff...

The idea for this post came to me after a rather unproductive day, watching a film off YouTube in little bits. It was the movie 'Airborne', a 1993 teen comedy (sorta). There I was, nostalgically remeniscing about the hours as a child spent watching the movie and wishing that I too could surf and have an earing and hair to make a wooly mammoth jealous. I then went off to take a bathroom break, and it occurred to me while washing my hands (hygene first!); What other movies have had this kind of impact on my life?

Thus I present a list of some of the movies that changed how I view the world (or at least movies, anyway...):

I remember watching this as a kid and being completely ignorant (and blissfully so) of the fact that the shark itself was clearly made of rubber-latex. Even today, this film still gets me. It is dated, promotes a message with disasterous ecological consequences and discourages recreational swimming, but has you on the edge of your seat to the very end! Well worth the watch. I actually liked the film so much I bought the book (not bad, actually!) from a second-hand book store! The film offers everything a growing boy needs: hot beach-goers, a menacing animal that cannot be stopped, loads of blood and a little something (read: fear) that lingers with you once the film has ended.

Another oceanic story, but this time, of a much gentler kind. This film blew me away with its honest storytelling and characters that everyone could relate to. The tragedy of the story, the bleak beauty of the setting and the hauntingly memorable soundtrack left me yearning to make a movie like this one.

Steve did it again! Okay, on this one, I am completely biased, having been an avid dinosaur fan from age 3. However, even for those entirely clueless about dinosaurs, the suspense of this film is enthralling. To this day, I still feel my body ready itself for that innate flight response when Lex's leg is narrowly missed by a ravenous Velociraptor as she scrambles through the ceiling. A must see that, as with 'Jaws', provides everything a growing boy needs (although, minus the hotties...).

As an African, it is very difficult to not become ambivalent to the many civil disruptions that happen on our continent. Colonialism has left a bloody legacy which is so ubiquitous across our land that for most, it is really par for the course. However, this film told a story that made me sit up and think. This films heart-felt portrayal of the destructive process of revolution and genocide, and the bravery of one in light of certain death really hit home. It made me realise that regardless of ones genetic or cultural history, Africans, and indeed I suspect all peoples, are united by something unpalpable, but powerful.

On a substantially less deep note, this movie became a staple for me after watching the preview on MTV at age 14. The openning club scene of the movie is probably one of the most memorable scenes of all time, for me anyway. The amazing music and the mix of awe and horror as the fire system errupts with blood followed by a kick-ass fight scene made for a perfect hook. This film, released prior to 'The Matrix' featured a form of bullet-time (not of the same quality, but the idea was there!) which wowed me and the film was the epitome of what made the vampire genre awesome. And then...

This should have been titled 'How to ruin an entire genre, waste time and reduce your IQ in only 121 minutes', but I guess 'Twilight' was shorter and a little more catchy. This film taught me a very valuable lesson: Even when a movie appears to be a looming cultural phenomenon, be cautious (a lesson I should have learned from 'Brokeback Mountain'...)! Kirsten Stewart cannot act to save her life, females are apparently attracted to vampires that actually look like the walking dead (perhaps it's the sparkles? Every girl likes sparklies, right?) and that the tastes of 14-16 year old girls is not something to be trusted (No offense Tes!). So, in the likely event that Stephenie Meyer reads my blog post ('cause that'll totally happen!) I have one thing to say: The world would honestly be a better place had you followed your natural urges and given up on this story with that first twinge of writers block.

The first time I watched 'Lost In Translation', the only thing I liked about it was 'Alone in Kyoto', the Air song that was used at the end of the film. But somehow, absense made this heart grow fonder and I am now a fan! Bill Murray has to be one of my favourite actors, and the story told here was something that I could really connect to, having moved to a foreign country and tried to slot into a culture I didn't understand. And I really liked the song at the end...did I mention the song?

Another movie that had me hooked from the beginning, but this time, with music. The film itself deserved all the acclaim it recieved and more. The story was amazing, the acting superb and the music, unforgettable. I actually baught the soundtrack for only two of the tracks, both my Thomas Newman, a musical genius. His subsequent work on 'Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events' just reinforced this for me.

The film itself was nothing worth bothering with. The shock-factor of the on-screen killing of live animals achieves what the director set out to; leaving the audience disturbed and queasy. However, it also served to completely undermine the message of the story. The lesson intended 'film-making should be ethical and truthful' means little when the story was made using the killing of live animals and the mutilation of an actual human cadaver, bought from a morgue, on screen.

My last addition to my list, although there are many more but I need to get some actual work done today, is Disney's 'Fantasia'. Growing up as a kid, whenever I or my siblings were sick and had to stay home from school, we would be entrusted to the care of my grandmother. Part of this process was that we were allowed to watch movies at her house (we didn't have a video machine) and this became a staple. From the dancing hippos to the dinosaurs (again, I'm a little biased, I confess) this film always delivered. The music was amazing and complimented the visuals perfectly. A fantastic effort on the part of all involved!