So Much Going On!

No matter how much I say to myself “I won’t let life come in between my blogging…“, but unfortunately it always does. Life does come in between, and you’re left feeling guilty and shitty that you’ve abandoned the one thing in your life that gave you absolute JOY. I miss doing this. Hitting my two index fingers on the keyboard (yeah I type like a child) and pouring my heart out. Anyway, this is a “lame-excuse post“, a post describing the things that have happened to me and my family (don’t worry it’s all good news) over the last couple of days, and how I am always NOT-HERE anymore. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. MY BROTHER GOT ENGAGED!!

YAASS! The one thing my family was anxiously waiting for finally happened! We found my Bro’s Miss Right 😀 And God, she is…. AHMAZING. I couldn’t have asked for a better sister-in-law. She is not only a talented writer (anyone who can write well is a winner in my books) but she’s also THE most compassionate person ON EARTH. She has great taste in movies, music and novels (thank God for that). And she is gorgeous. My little future nephews and nieces are gonna be soooo cute 😛 Hahaha I’m really excited for the wedding. It’s gonna happen in next year’s February most probably.

She has already become my sister/best friend in this one month, and I absolutely LOVE her. I don’t wanna get into the specifics, coz she is like a really private person when it comes to her own life, so that’s why I’m not gonna reveal too much 😀 But just know this, me and my family are the luckiest people on Earth to have her in our family. We all love ya so much Amna, you dash insaan. :3

Love Ya

2. I GOT A GREAT NEW JOB!

Alhamdulillah I got a really cool kickass new job. Well actually two. The thing is, I got a really great offer from this company called RepairDesk; it was sort of a startup that sells point of sale systems for repair shops, and they were huge overseas, especially in the UK and USA. I loved the work there, and the team was such a delight to work with.

But then I got another job offer for a Social Media position from this bigger multinational company, called Cresset Technology. CressetTech is one of the oldest and biggest digital agencies in my country. And they deal with a heck load of huge clients, mostly the biggest fashion brands of the country. So they offered me better pay and more exposure, therefore I decided to pursue that instead. So now I’m currently working there. The work is so amazing, I’m getting to learn new stuff everyday. I really do see myself building a career here. Before this I didn’t know the F of Fashion 😀 but now I’m getting the hang of it and love the work they do. I sometimes feel like Anne Hathaway from The Devil Wears Prada 😛 Yes, I’m that clueless, but it’s so much fun 😀

Clueless Me

3. I GOT A NEW PHONE!

Well, technically speaking this isn’t a part of the lame excuse 😀 I just feel like showing off :’) Actually my previous phone Motorola Moto G was acting out and had become a pain in the arse, so my Dad decided to gift me a new phone. Yes, HE IS the best Dad in the world.

I selected the LG G3. And aahhh man, it’s the best decision of my life. I actually wanted a phone that took kickass pictures and this was the best in the market within the price range. Take a look at this picture I took. It’s like top notch DSLR quality, right? *beaming with happiness*

LG G3 Camera
*heavy breathing*

4. GETTING NEW DECORATIONS FOR MY ROOM!

Well, now because I have some spare money lying around I decided to spice up my room. I won’t show it to you until it’s finished so stay tuned :3

5. Well that’s pretty much it.

Told you, it’s a lame excuse post. These aren’t reasons enough to abandon writing. I used to think that when I start with my job I’ll get the free time to write at night, but right now my body isn’t accepting this new routine. I get home by 7pm and sleep by 11. In between I try to take out time to do some reading and spend time with my family. I’ll try my best to keep up with you guys on the weekends at least. Almost everyday I experience something that I wanna write about. I note down those ideas in my post-its, but then again, I never have the time anymore to dedicate half an hour to you. That’s so pathetic on so many levels. I’ll try guys, I’ll try my best. I miss you all so much.

Papa bless. ❤

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The Five-Books-At-Once Challenge

There’s one thing I hate to admit: I’m a slow reader. In fact, so slow that in the past 22 years of my life I’ve read close to a meager 150 books (minus the Goosebumps and other similar fantasy novellas I read in childhood). It’s a shame, I know. Pitiful. Despicable. Cringe-worthy. I should be ashamed to call myself a “book-worm”. But it’s all because I have a few behavioral problems. I need particular “settings” around me that should be in place before I start reading. Everything from the lighting of the room, the snack I’m going to have while reading (be it a cup of tea or a bag of chips), to the position at which I’m going to read in; everything is calculated beforehand. Yes, when I’m out of home, I bend the rules a bit, and just go with the flow. But inside my home, everything has to be just perfect.

Relaxing Read

And then there’s the matter of speed. I read S.L.O.W.L.Y. I savor the words and then I like to play them out in my head and direct that entire scene to my taste. What accent, tone of voice and pitch the character is speaking in, what gestures they must be making, at what “camera angle” that scene is being shot in, how the cuts are being made from one scene to the next. I’m the director, I’m the cinematographer, I’m the film editor, I’m the actor, I’m everything except the writer. That’s why until I complete that shot (till perfection) in my mind, then and only then do I progress to the next page. Yeah I know I’m not a Special Snowflake. A lot of you can relate to this methodology. You too must admit that it gets frustrating sometimes, but it carries its own reward which the reader himself/herself can appreciate.

Thinking while Reading

But I’ve realized I’m not reading half as much as I should be, so I think it’s time I challenge myself. Expand my horizons! Therefore, for my love of putting myself through discomfort, I’ve decided to do the Five-Books-At-Once Challenge. This will not only allow me to have a go at tackling multiple books at once, but will also widen my literary experience in a taxing yet fun way.

Speed Reading

The books I’ve selected for this task span across a variety of genres, each entertaining in its own way. Those Five Books are:

  1. The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler (contemporary, adult, romance)
  2. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (mystery, thriller, crime)
  3. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (autobiography, memoir, historical)
  4. Infinite Jest by David F. Wallace (contemporary, literature, humor, philosophy)
  5. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (nonfiction, humor, romance, sociology)

Now many of you who have read Infinite Jest or Anne Frank’s Diary must be thinking, “This is a disgrace! This is no way these classics should be read!!” I know that, and I also know I won’t waste my experience with speed-reading. I’ll try my best to never compromise on my understanding of these masterpieces and do them justice. But I need to push my limits. Some of my friends have also said to me, “Reading multiple books at once never works, you idiot. You always end up finishing none of them.” This is exactly the reason I’m naming this a CHALLENGE. And when I commit to a challenge I don’t back off until I give it my all. I’m planning on finishing all of these and my stubbornness will help me along the way.

The method I’m going to apply is that I’ll set different time slots of one day to two different books and I’ll dedicate one whole day to Infinite Jest, because I can’t mix up that book with any other in the same day. IJ takes up too much mental capacity, and to be honest, I’m always emotionally drained (and confused) after finishing every single chapter.

So now that I have a job (oh yeah just recently got my first real job.. I’ll tell the details in a future post), all the energy of my free time will be dedicated to just reading. The timeline I’ve decided for this challenge is 2 months, but I know due to the 9 to 6 job it’s gonna be a pain in the bottom, but still, I’ll do my best to complete these as soon as possible. It’s time I do something to justify myself as an “avid reader”.

If anyone else is up for this challenge please do let me know. I’ll have a reading buddy whose willing to go through the same torturous/pleasing journey I’m about to embark in 😀

Trust me, a lot of people do this without losing their minds.

Anywho, wish me luck *_*

Best of Luck

Batman V Superman Review: “Not As Bad As The Critics Are Saying”

For Dawn of Justice, the viewers and reviewers are divided in two factions right now: either you love the movie, or you utterly despise it. But for a person who doesn’t jump onto the hype-train or the hate-wagon so soon without judging the movie from a neutral standpoint, I’m lying somewhat in the middle, or you might say I’m leaning more towards the positive. Sure, it has a ton of flaws but let’s discuss why BvS wasn’t such a bad movie after all.

[Note: This review may contain MILD spoilers]

Batman V Superman Poster
Credit: Batman-News

The Story:

Excerpt taken from IMDb:

Following his titanic struggle against General Zod, Metropolis has been razed to the ground and Superman is the most controversial figure in the world. While for many he is still an emblem of hope, a growing number of people consider him a threat to humanity, seeking justice for the chaos he has brought to Earth. As far as Bruce Wayne is concerned, Superman is clearly a danger to society. He fears for the future of the world with such a reckless power left ungoverned, and so he dons his mask and cape to right Superman’s wrongs. The rivalry between them is furious, fueled by bitterness and vengeance, and nothing can dissuade them from waging this war. However, a dark new threat arises in the form of a third man: one who has a power greater than either of them to endanger the world and cause total destruction.

My Take on the Movie:

First of all let’s take a look at the problems.

“It has no plot!”, “Too many loopholes”, “A snore-fest”, “Terrible character development”, “Too rushed”, “Didn’t make sense.”

These are among the FEW complaints that the critics and viewers have with the movie, and they’re not completely wrong. It does suffer from a lot of loopholes, it is rushed, and a lot of things don’t really make sense if you haven’t been following the comics. But please don’t say that it has no plot. It has plenty of it. In fact it has TOO MUCH plot, that’s why it felt all crammed and complicated in the first place.

You know what’s the biggest problem with BvS? It’s that DC is trying to play catch-up with Marvel. That’s the main issue, and it is a BIG one.

What DC doesn’t realize is that Marvel has been in the game for far too long now. They started building up for the expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe back in 2008 when Nick Fury made an appearance in the after credits scene in Iron Man 1. That was the first seed Marvel planted, which has now grown into the gigantic Redwoods now.

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StayFocusd: An Effective App for Fighting Procrastination

Procrastination is known as the phenomenon where you forgo your responsibilities and delay your work in order to pursue pointless activities, such as:

  • Opening shitty entertainment websites where you read mind-numbing articles on celebrities who have nothing to do with your existence.
  • Taking online quizzes that tell you what kind of a person you are (like you don’t know already) and/or which Hemsworth brother you’ll get married to in your next life.
  • Scrolling through the Facebook News Feed and seeing your friends post unnecessary details of their private life, watching them bask in the glory of their “marital bliss” and then cringing at the baby pictures of their not-so-cute children (but still saying the obligatory “AAWWW” because you don’t wanna seem like an a-hole); all of which eventually makes you feel like punching someone in the schwantz.
  • Going on YouTube and seeing someone else play games for a living while you sit in front of a screen, eating ice-cream and falling deeper and deeper into the abyss of the interwebs until one day you feel dead inside.
Procrastination
Credit: Someecards

If YOU are a victim of procrastination then look no further, because I come bearing the cure. *aaaaaaa* (the sound of a shiny bright light coming down from the Heavens)

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5 Lines (or Less) Movie Reviews: Oscars 2016 Winners Edition

Racism, sexual abuse and climate change; these were among the multitude of issues that were addressed in 2016’s Academy Awards ceremony. Despite the fact that this years Oscars were surrounded by the racial discrimination controversy (which was tackled throughout the event by the delightful host, Chris Rock.) it was the best Oscars ceremony I’ve seen in a long, long time.

Oscars 2016
Credit: http://www.facebook.com/TheAcademy

Why? Because my favorite movies won 😀

From Inside Out winning Best Animated Movie to Mad Max: Fury Road being the front-runner with 6 huge wins, and Brie Larson winning Best Actress for my personal favorite movie of the year: Room; the most awaited moment was when the Best Actor category arrived. Oh yeah. History was made, and the internet lost its mind 😉

I can NOT forget how hard I was clenching my fists when the Best Actor category came on, and my screaming, jumping, clapping and cheering on top of my lungs when Julianne Moore said these 7 magical words “And the Oscar goes to…. Leonardo DiCaprio.

Leonardo Oscar Win
Just look at him smile when he won. Just… look at him. :’)

This win wasn’t special to me because Leo is my favorite actor of all time. It was because this was an inspiring moment for me. I was rooting for him because that guy has taught us that what is the fruit of resilience. That when you love what you do and keep doing it with undying passion even though you don’t get the due-recognition you deserve (and have deserved for so many years), then it eventually pays off in the end. Leonardo DiCaprio’s career is an inspiration for us all. I know an Oscar (or any award or recognition) is not the determinant of greatness, but my tears of joy for that man were because all of us has a Leo inside us, and today he won; someday we will win too 🙂

Now let’s get to the reviews. So I won’t be talking about the movies I haven’t seen by now (DUH!) and have already reviewed, like my Mad Max: Fury Road Review  and Inside Out Review. For the rest of the 5 big winners, here is 5 Lines or Less. Get ready to see a lot of Potahtos being handed out!

Room:

Room
Credit: http://www.filmvilag.blog.hu

Room takes a gravely heartbreaking topic and turns it into a beautifully moving story of the relentless love between a mother and a son that transcends the worst of obstacles. Seeing the world from the innocent perspective of a brave child is not only sublime but also life-affirming. Brie Larson’s performance moves you to tears, and guys, keep an eye on Jacob Tremblay; one day he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Oscars Won:

  1. Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role – Brie Larson

Potahto Rating:

10 out of 10 Potahtos

The Revenant:

The Revenant
Credit: http://www.rollingstone.com

A grueling tale of survival and revenge, the Revenant reveals the power of human spirit and resilience in the most jarring and ruthless of conditions. It’s realism is shocking and jaw-dropping. A standing ovation to Alejandro G. Iñárritu for keeping the Art of Cinema alive with his unbelievably phenomenal direction and Leonardo DiCaprio for giving the performance of a lifetime that will be remembered for generations to come.

Oscars Won:

  1. Best Achievement in Cinematography – Emmanuel Lubezki
  2. Best Achievement in Directing – Alejandro González Iñárritu
  3. Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role – Leonardo DiCaprio

Potahto Rating:

9 out of 10 Potahtos

Bridge of Spies:

ST. JAMES PLACE
Credit: http://www.independent.co.uk

Isn’t it weird that a movie based in the era of the Cold War leaves you with such a warm feeling inside? Bridge of Spies has a LOT of heart! Every time Tom Hanks is on-screen, his positivism, his ethics and his bond with the (lovable) Soviet spy constantly makes you smile despite the fact that the story is set in a time where the tiniest of mistakes could result in nuclear warfare. Well, it’s a Spielberg movie, perfection was imminent.

Oscars Won:

  1. Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role – Mark Rylance

Potahto Rating:

9 out of 10 Potahtos

Spotlight:

Spotlight
Credit: http://www.youtube.com (review by Kevin Falk)

Spotlight makes you feel uncomfortable as it shows such a side of one of the most respected institutions in the world that is unthinkable to the masses. It depicts the real story of how the media can be used for raising your voice for the good and bringing justice to the affected victims. Stellar performances, an audacious script and exceptional direction make Spotlight a worthy winner for Best Picture.

Oscars Won:

  1. Best Motion Picture of the Year – Michael SugarSteve GolinNicole RocklinBlye Pagon Faust
  2. Best Writing, Original Screenplay – Josh SingerTom McCarthy

Potahto Rating:

9 out of 10 Potahtos

The Big Short:

THE BIG SHORT
Credit: http://www.collider.com

Financial analysts, housing bubble collapse, corporate corruption and a LOT of banking terminology sure sounded like something that’ll bore me to death, but surprisingly enough The Big Short was a delight to watch. Powerhouse performances from some of my favorite actors along with astounding direction and amazingly well-written script that even a lay-man can applaud, The Big Short is definitely among the best of 2015.

Oscars Won:

  1. Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay – Charles RandolphAdam McKay

Potahto Rating:

8 out of 10 Potahtos

“Firewatch”: A Beautiful Exploration of Love, Commitment and Isolation

When we were kids, playing games on our lovely Sega and Nintendo consoles, did we ever imagine there will come a time when gaming will become a medium as deeply impactful and moving as most great books and movies are?

Well ladies and gentlemen, we are living in that time now. And Firewatch is the perfect (living) proof of it. I don’t remember being so profoundly touched by a game in my entire life. And that’s saying something because I’ve been gaming since I was 5 years old.

Firewatch Poster
Image Courtesy: http://www.blurppy.com

The Plot:

Excerpt taken from IGN.com

Firewatch is a mystery set in the woods of Wyoming, where your only emotional lifeline is the person on the other end of a handheld radio. You play as a man named Henry who has retreated from his messy life to work as a fire lookout in the wilderness. Perched high atop a mountain, it’s your job to look for smoke and keep the wilderness safe. An especially hot and dry summer has everyone on edge. Your supervisor, a woman named Delilah, is available to you at all times over a small, handheld radio – and is your only contact with the world you’ve left behind. But when something strange draws you out of your lookout tower and into the world, you’ll explore a wild and unknown environment, facing questions and making interpersonal choices that can build or destroy the only meaningful relationship you have.

My Take on the Game:

The only thing I knew about Firewatch before starting it was that it’s based on exploring wilderness. I didn’t read about the story, or the characters. I went in completely blank. I thought it was a National Park Ranger Simulator. And well, that was reason enough for me to be excited about it because 1. I love nature, and 2. I love nature VERY MUCH.

So when it started off, I rubbed my hands together all giddy like a child, thinking “This is gonna be so exciting walking around the woods.” And then suddenly in the very first 5 seconds, a written narration starts. Telling me about a clumsy but charming guy (Henry), and a sweet and confident girl (Julia), and their meet-cute in a bar. And at this point I say to myself with sudden realization “Oohhh, I think I’m gonna fall in love with this game.

Now the question arises; if this guy has such a perfect life with Julia, why would he move to a dead-end job as a lookout out in the woods?

Wanna know the reason? Please purchase the game. This game deserves to be purchased IMMEDIATELY.

[The screenshots I’ll be sharing in this post are of the actual gameplay. Yes, the beauty of it leaves you speechless.]

Firewatch Sunset
Image Courtesy: http://www.superbwallpapers.com

Firewatch is perfection in every single aspect. The way this game deals with adult issues through world-class storytelling with the support of a hilarious and heart-wrenching script along with some of the most amazing voice-acting I’ve ever heard in my life makes Firewatch easily my most memorable interactive gaming experience. And how can one forget the perfection of the art direction and gorgeous visuals. It literally blows away your mind.

As I’ve already discussed, the game is completely narrative driven. You, as Henry, work under your supervisor Delilah, and 95% of Firewatch is based on the dialogues of these two individuals over the handheld radio. And that’s where the beauty of this game lies. Just like when reading from a book, you get to enter the minds of these two people who have both run away from something from their life back at home. Along the way, you do run into some trouble. Firewatch goes from something moving to something harrowing in just a couple of chapters, and there are times when you are scared to go out in the dark because of the lurking danger and the terrifying conspiracies surrounding you.

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Year of the Versus: Daredevil vs. Punisher Takes the Lead

This is the Year of the Versus. First we have Batman v Superman. Then there’s Captain America v Ironman (in Civil War). But what I’m most excited about this year is Daredevil v The Punisher. I’ve obsessed over The Punisher since I was 12 years old. He was my first Fictional Crush from the Marvel Universe. Yeah judge me all you want, but Antiheroes appeal to my inner vigilante. 😀

The Year of the Versus

Before the airing of Season 1, I was very skeptical about this new Marvel show, because Agents of Shield was a plain old disappointment for me. And from the DC Comics side, Arrow lost all its charm. It became dull, monotonous, and I’ve stopped watching it. As for The Flash, it’s a decent show and it might appeal to a vast audience but it’s just not my cup of tea.

I was waiting for something dark and gritty, the side of these superheroes we never get to see on the big and/or small screen; and the Daredevil filled that gap brilliantly well. Daredevil is a highly potential candidate to be among the Best TV Shows of all time. But that is only if it maintains that level of quality (or surpasses it) in the upcoming seasons. And the following trailer shows that my hope for Season 2 isn’t misplaced. If this promo doesn’t convince you to binge watch Daredevil, then I don’t know what will.

Doesn’t the “… you’re one bad day away from being me.” line give you the chills?

Jon Bernthal became one of my most beloved actors after his complex role in The Walking Dead. He brought such intensity to that role I just knew that the future held great things for him, and when I heard that he will be playing the Punisher in Season 2 (and is now getting his own series in a spin-off), I thought to myself “The producers couldn’t have made a better choice.” He has handled a complicated and grey-shaded character really well in the past, and I believe he’s going to prove his worth all over again in Daredevil Season 2.

But hey I’m also rooting for Matt Murdock. He’s my sweetheart too. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed and be excited for one helluva season!

Come on 18th March! You can’t come soon enough!