Birthdays

I was calculating the next birthday of my laptop. I bought it during my last year in university, to use it abroad, as I did my final year project in Belgium. Next summer my laptop will be six years old. Not bad (crossing the fingers and praying for one more year of lifespan). Also, next summer my camera will be eight years old, and that is really outstanding. It fell in a river (I fell in a river and I had the camera with me), I have taken photographs at -27ºC (Ottawa), at +40ºC (Istambul), etc. Yeah, I am very happy with the performance obtained.

Now,  some (free) advertising :P I want you to meet my camera.

With some changes to eliminate the name of the manufacturer...

Anyway, I´ve been lucky with these two devices, but the rest of my gadgets have had the “usual” lifespan. For example, I have to replace my mobile phone every two years. I bought an iPod one year ago and it is already starting to have fails, etc.

Why?.

I mean, why all our gadgets have small lifespans?.  I friend of mine told me about a documentary broadcasted in the Spanish national network called “comprar, tirar y comprar”, meaning: “buy, throw away and buy”. It is very interesting. It tries to answer that question and others, like ¿why in 1911 a bulb had a lifespan of 2.500 h and now the longevity of a similar bulb is only 1.250 h?. The documentary is in Spanish language and it lasts one hour.

http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/videos/television/comprar-tirar-comprar/983391/

Also  from that page (and also really interesting), is the longest-lasting bulb in the world: the Centennial Light. It has been working for 109 years, (Wikipedia). It has a web-cam so you can see it (Centennial Light). Incredible.

Some analysis… to find nothing

Well, I was watching the Oscar Ceremony last Sunday. I finished a little bit disappointed with the prizes to The King’s Speech. Ok, it is a good film, but in my opinion a little bit overrated. So I thought about the winners in the last years. I wanted to check whether they were also the “favorites” of the public or not. I used the Imdb website, where the fans rate the movies giving points, with a maximum of ten. I revised the Best Picture category and this is what I found:

2010

Winner: The King´s Speech 8.4

Nominees:

Inception 8.9

The Fighter 8.1

Black Swan 8.5

Winter’s Bone 7.4

Toy Story 3 – 8.7

True Grit 8.1

The Kids Are All Right 7.3

127 Hours 8.1

The Social Network 8.0

2009

Winner: The Hurt Locker 7.8

Nominees:

Avatar 8.2

The Blind Side 7.7

District 9 – 8.2

An Education 7.5

Inglorius Basterds 8.4

Precious 7.5

A Serious Man 7.2

Up in the Air 7.8

Up 8.4

2008

Winner: Slumdog Millionaire 8.3

Nominees:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 8.0

Frost/Nixon 7.9

Milk 7.8

The Reader 7.7

2007

Winner: No Country for Old Men 8.3

Nominees:

Juno 7.8

Atonement 7.8

Michael Clayton 7.5

There Will Be Blood 8.2

2006

Winner: The Departed 8.5

Nominees:

Babel 7.6

Letters from Iwo Jima 8

Little Miss Sunshine 8

The Queen 7.5

So… the answer is that the Academy sometimes shares the likes of the public and sometimes, not (yeah, it is not a great discovery, I know). In addition, the “worst” nominated film in the last five years is “A Serious Man”.

Finally, I believe that it would be interesting to analyze the effect that the Oscars have on the scoring of the movies. Maybe in a post in this blog, later.

For the record, the best moment of the gala was the spoof movie in the beginning:

Good films

This Tuesday, we’ll know the nominations for the Oscar awards in 2011.  Let’s post about the better films this season:

– The Social Network. David Fincher got a bunch of impossible things here:  cool nerds with hoodies. A really interesting story about a start-up and how this industry works… well, expecting that the raising of all the successful companies does not require the fighting part, the betrayal, etc, etc. [Spoiler Alert!!] Rooney Mara helped a lot appearing only 10 minutes.

– The King’s Speech. Probably, the cheapest of all films. Colin Firth is imperial in his role of a King of England with a horrible stammer. Also, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush are perfect as supporting actors. I also remember that the film was praised as one of the bests in the Toronto Film Festival. Maybe the big surprise at the gala in the best film category.

– Inception. Wow. Cristopher Nolan again. Actually, I cannot believe that someone put the money needed to shoot the film after reading the script. All the cast was really solid in their roles (probably, not everyone understood the script – Indeed, I do not understand everything after reading a lot about it). Best sequence of the season, the fight in the hotel corridor with the gravity changing.

If there was a category for the “best trailer original score” Inception would win. For sure. The music was composed by Zack Hemsey, and not Hans Zimmer, the usual contributor to the last Nolan’s films.

– Dark Swan. Well, I have a soft spot with Natalie Portman (who doesn’t?) and think it is time for her to get an Oscar. (Which will compensate the other three “bricks” that she did, and that I’ll probably watch). A really good film by Darren Aronofsky along the line of his previous film “The Wrestler”. Er, just one thing: please, do not abuse of the camera following the actors. It is a good narrative resource but it should be used with restraint, as everything. However, this is not really important, and the ballet scenes are incredible.

– Toy Story 3. As delicious as every Pixar film. It is a shame that animation films can not compete for the Oscar to the best film (but there are exceptions, like “The Beauty and the Beast”). In fact, this year we’ll see how a guy from this studio films the next “Mission Impossible” film.

And finally, which was the best film of the season?. Well, I liked a lot Inception, BUT, in my opinion, the best was Let Me In, an american  remake of a Swedish film, which for its part, is based on the book “Let the right one in”, by John Ajvide Lindqvist. (Interlude: I bought it, read it and I lost it when I moved out of Madrid, ggggg). Well, speaking of the american remake, it is perfectly filmed by Matt Reeves and specially well acted by the main characters (adolescents! how can they be so good?). This particular film was praised for the critics, but it didn’t get a lot of money, more or less the quantity needed to cover the budget (around 20 million dollars). Grrrr.

A golden globe

One of my hobbies is cinema. I normally like to be informed about movie world, directing, awards and all the stuff related to this art, so is a perfect topic to begin (again, I know):

Tonight will take place the Golden Globes gala. I’m not going to give you a detailed forecast, but I’ll tell that “The Social Network” (David Fincher) seems to be the favorite of everyone (including me), so I expect it to receive two or three key awards. “Black Swan” (Darren Aronofsky) will have the award to Natalie Portman and “The Fighter” (David O. Russell) will collect G.G. too but in less important categories.

My last season’s favorite film was “Inception” by Christopher Nolan. Sadly, I believe it’s  going to win only the technical prizes. Anyway I must point that in my opinion, one of the most important awards is the one conceded for the best Film Editing in a motion picture. This category, and I quote: ‘”involves the selection and combination of shorts into sequences and ultimately, the creation of the movie”‘. That means, the architecture of the movie. Here, this film has no rival. Yes, the plot is confusing but, in this internet-powered era, we can find FAQ’s for everything: Inception FAQ (I must confess that I had to visit this page to fully understand the film).

Well, tomorrow we’ll check the winners. Meanwhile, I leave you with a song from the soundtrack of one of these films.

From now on…

Hellooo.

Notice something different?. Yeah, apart from the new design… From now on (and trying to fulfill my new year’s resolutions) the blog will be posted in English. It also means that I’ll post again… about everything. I thought about fill-in the gaps and tell you about what I did these months (almost half a year!!), but finally, I gave up. Let’s say that (in the meantime) I traveled three or four times, I left Ottawa and now I’m waiting for my new destination.

Please, stay with me.

II) Durante estos tres meses (bueno, cuatro)

Continuamos con “la serie de cosas que Pablo hizo durante los últimos cuatro meses y que no le dio la gana de poner en el blog”…

Kingston

No, no me refiero a la capital de Jamaica. Me refiero a Kingston, provincia de Ontario, Canadá:

Vamos con unos cuantos “fast facts” sobre esta ciudad:

– Estaba entre las candidatas a ser capital en Canadá, pero desecharon su.. no sé, su candidatura por estar demasiado cerca de la frontera con los EE.UU.

– La llaman “The limestone city” debido a la gran cantidad de edificios construidos en piedra caliza. Ahora os enseño las fotos.

– La sede de la universidad de Queens está aquí, así que hay ambientillo y bastante gente joven.  Además, la ciudad se encuentra justo entre el río San Lorenzo y el lago Ontario. De aquí salen cruceros para ver la zona de las 1.000 islas. ¿Que qué es esto último?. Luego, luego…

Venga, lo prometido:

Kingston

Puerto de Kingston

Lo dicho: edificio de la universidad de Queens construido en piedra caliza

Aprovechando la situación de la ciudad hicimos un poco de canoa y un crucero por las 1.000 islas: una zona llena de islotes pequeñitos en el río San Lorenzo donde están las casas de toda la gente pudiente de Canadá (y de EE.UU. también: en esta zona, una de las orillas del río es canadiense, la otra es estadounidense).

Nuestra canoa...

2 islas de las 1.000

_____________________________________________________________________

Y bueno, para seguir hablando de los viajes que he realizado: aprovechando la visita de mis padres fuimos a ver las cataratas del Niagara. También visitamos Toronto (otra vez), Ottawa (vivo aquí), Montreal (otra vez) y Nueva York (sí, otra vez). Me impresionaron bastante:

Vuestro humilde servidor ;) con las cataratas al fondo

El barco que se acerca a las cataratas

Y bueno, claro que nos montamos en el barco: una experiencia muy chula. Acabas empapado de toda el agua que sueltan las cataratas, pero está bastante bien: algo que recomiendo sin ninguna duda.

De vuelta en Niagara, la verdad es que esta ciudad me sorprendió. Me esperaba algo así en plan hortera, como las Vegas, pero sin llegar a ser Las Vegas. Al final me pareció que hasta tenía cierto encanto (debe ser que está en Canadá, sí). La calle principal estaba llena de casas del terror y de tiendas como estas:

Niagara

Y esto es todo. Me parece que sólo me queda hablar del viaje grande, el de la costa oeste americana y el de Boston de la semana pasada. Todo eso, en unos cuantos días.

Para acabar con música, me parece que el otro día hablé de Silversun pickups… ¿puse alguna canción?… si no, aquí teneis un buén ejemplo:

I) Durante estos tres meses (bueno, cuatro)…

… he hecho unas cuantas cosas. A ver

Fui a ver a Muse a Toronto. Muse es una banda de Rock del Reino Unido. Cuando me enteré que estarían en Toronto, compré una entrada y convencí a varios becarios de esta ciudad para que fueran a ver el concierto conmigo:

Air Canada Centre

El concierto

Ahí arriba he colgado un par de fotos: una de antes de que todo empezara y otra durante el concierto. Aquí teneis un video de una de sus canciones, que creo que transmite bastante bien el ambiente que hay:

Por cierto!!, los teloneros fueron “The Silversun Pickups”, grupo que no conocía pero que me sorprendió bastante…

http://www.silversunpickups.com/

Por otra parte, durante todo este tiempo he vuelto unas cuantas veces más a Toronto y a Montreal. Nada que destacar excepto el viaje a Montreal que hicimos durante el GP de Fórmula1. Digo “durante” porque no fuimos al gran premio, sino simplemente a ver el ambiente y como estaba la ciudad… y como estaba!!!:

La ciudad estaba llena de cochecitos como estos...

... y estos!!

Este auto también estaba bien.

Pero el coche que más moló de todos es el siguiente, sin ninguna duda:

El mejor de todos

Oh, por favor, mirad la pegatina del escorpión rojo. Yo quiero una de esas para mi coche. De hecho, quiero que ese sea mi futuro coche :D

Y la carrera??, pues sinceramente, no me acuerdo!. La seguimos via online gracias a los smartphones que la gente del grupo llevaba consigo. Creo que Alonso fue tercero, pero tendría que mirarlo.