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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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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Deadpool: Marvel’s Finest Creation Yet

A movie that starts of by saying that it is produced by “Asshats” and directed by “An Overpaid Tool” is a total winner in my books. 😀

I really shouldn’t admit this, but I enjoyed Deadpool way more than Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Mad Max: Fury Road. Please don’t hurt me. *hiding under the bed*

This is hands down the MOST entertaining movie experience I’ve ever had in my life. No hyperbole intended.

[Note: The following review is SPOILER FREE]

Deadpool Poster

Movie Synopsis:

Excerpt Taken from Rotten Tomatoes:

“Deadpool tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.”

Deadpool

My Take on the Movie:

Before starting my review I’d like to applaud the Marketing Team of this movie. That whole department alone deserves a special category in the Oscars. I’ve read a few Marvel and DC Comics over the years but I never planned on reading Deadpool. I don’t know, I just wasn’t into the “Merc with a Mouth”. But the adverts and marketing of Deadpool swept me away! Seriously tho, that is the only reason I was excited to see it. Not only its trailers, TV spots, outdoor and print ads; its Social Media game was on point. I mean, just look at this!

Deadpool this Valentine's Day

If you wanna learn how to sell a hardcore, violent, raunchy, action-packed, comic-based movie at a time of the year when girls are squealing to their boyfriends to take them to a sappy rom-com, then please contact the person who made this cover 😛 Simply genius 😀

Coming back to the review.

I have nothing against Marvel movies – I’m a huge die hard fan – but we all know that they are popular for their big budgets, the big names, big-time superheroes, loud mind-blasting action, over-usage of CGI and their snarky but cute humor here and there. Ant Man was a very fine exception from that rule, and I love that one to bits; but what I loved the MOST about Deadpool (another movie with a tight budget) were it’s unique style of storytelling and script.

My goodness, this is how you turn a painfully overdone superhero formula into a BENCHMARK for all other comic-book films.

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Thank You 2015

[Note: Yeah, I couldn’t come up with a more clever way to title this post. Sigh. Please bear with me.]

We all know 2015 was a year filled with tragedies for so many people; lives were lost, people were banished from their homeland, families were torn apart. But this year also taught us the power of endurance of the human spirit. It taught us that people are still kind and generous regardless of what race, creed or religion the helpless belong to. It taught us that our enemies sure can hurt us but they can’t break us. So before going any further, look back to the year and focus on the positive. Focus on the GOOD in humanity. There’s plenty of it in this world 🙂

Now let’s get to why I wanna thank 2015, speaking from personal experience.

THANK YOU!

When 2014 was nearing the end, I was at the lowest possible point in my life, and I had no clue whatsoever that the coming year will prove to be by far the absolute best year of my entire existence. I was told since I was a kid that when it feels like life SUCKS – that it’s not giving you lemons, it’s throwing huge ass watermelons right at your nose – THAT’S the point where you should be relaxed that things are now gonna turn for the better. I didn’t quite believe it back then but now I’ve learnt that the best thing about a bad patch in your life is that it doesn’t last forever.

Mine didn’t as well, and I am eternally thankful for this year which has been the pinnacle of my personal growth.

Nah, I didn’t land a big job, or get thousands of followers on this blog, or did anything that quantifies material success. What I achieved was far more fulfilling than that. What I feel today, this satisfaction, this hope, this calmness, this can never be achieved by money or fame. Yeah sure, everyone has their own definition of happiness; if money and fame makes someone happy then good for them. Heck, for the past 4 years even I myself used to think of money and success as the ultimate answer. But this year changed me as a person. I am NOTHING like I was a year before, and believe me, that’s a really good thing.

My personal achievements in 2015 might seem laughable to some people, but let’s just say they’re a pretty huge deal for me. 🙂

Alright without further ado, here’s my year in review 😉

(oh snap that rhymed)

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How I Celebrated Christmas

Christmas time isn’t just a time of celebration for Christians, it’s also a special day to us Muslims as well! Well, a lot of people might not agree with me; some would say, “Well it ain’t your holiday, you don’t hold the same beliefs, stick to your Eid.”, others would say, “You sure do love Jesus, but you shouldn’t celebrate Christmas.”, while rest of the world might think, “We don’t give a damn about what you do and don’t believe in, we just love Christmas ‘coz of the lights and the food.”

But deep inside, I’ve loved Christmas since I was a child, and me and my family have always celebrated this day like it’s another “Eid” for us.

Simpsons Dance

Sure, we don’t get to have an XMas Tree, or do any lighting decorations, or even exchange any gifts (boooo), but me and my fam have always made special plans for this day and this time was no different. So, come on and see a little glimpse of how a cute little Muslim family celebrated Christmas.

Sharing the Love With our Christian Bros:

Where I live we don’t get to meet many Christians families around us. So when I come across some I always make sure they feel we’re part of the same brotherhood (which we actually ARE; don’t forget we also love Jesus as much as you do, duh). So lucky for me, where I’ve moved (to my new home) we have a Christian fam living right near us. When the day started we took some delicious sweets and gifted it to them in a nice little box (wrapped up real cute with a ribbon and all).

My family loves it when we make people smile, it’s a part of our Life Mantra, “Your day isn’t complete until you’ve made someone smile.” Therefore it warmed my heart when their Mom and Sis hugged me real tight. ❤ It got me off to a perfect start of a great day.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens:

WHAT BETTER WAY TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS THAN WATCHING STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS ON PREMIERE DAY!!! *FANGIRLINGGGG*!!!

Star Wars The Force Awakens
Image Courtesy: http://www.vulture.com

Yesssss, Star Wars The Force Awakens premiered yesterday in Pakistan, and I had the honor of watching it on the First Day, First Show! Thanks to me for booking my seats early. :3

Please don’t judge me when I say I had never seen the Star Wars franchise. I always wanted to catch up but I never found the time! So I had to watch all 6 parts just recently (10 days ago) because I wanted to be up-to-date when I see TFA. And oh boy, was I missing out. Now whenever I hear the Star Wars theme music I get a mini “Fangasm”.

I’ll do a detailed review of the original trilogy, the prequels and The Force Awakens some other day, but right now let’s just talk about the overall experience!

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“25” by Adele: The Wait Was Worth It

The most anticipated album of 2015 was released three days ago, and then suddenly, life was the right amount of perfect. Adele’s “25” is currently shattering all records, and for good reason: it’s the best thing that has happened to the music industry in the past 4 years.

Adele 25 Cover
Image Courtesy: http://www.digitalspy.com

The thing that I loved the most about 25 was that it was so… optimistic. I was expecting a LOT of tear-jerkers (“Hello” and “When We Were Young” being the only ones that made me ugly-cry) but most of the songs in it are about celebrating love, not brooding over it. I was continuously smiling while listening to this entire album.

Next came the challenge: to shortlist my Top 5 Favorite songs from it. Ergh, that was one of the toughest things I’ve had to do this year, only because no track – and I mean NOT A SINGLE TRACK – was mediocre. Nope. That’s a rarity.

So without further ado, let me share which 5 songs I think are the ones that I’ll keep listening to all my entire life.

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