30 January 2005

My Top 30 / week of 30 January

1. Saybia – I Surrender
2. Sarah Connor – Living To Love You
3. Avril Lavigne – Nobody’s Home
4. Blue – Get Down On it
5. Mousse T – Right About Now
6. The Game feat. 50 Cent – How We Do
7. Destiny’s Child – Soldier
8. Jennifer Lopez feat. Fabolous – Get Right (remix)
9. Riot Act – California Soul
10. Papi Sanchez - Enamorame

11. Anastacia – Welcome To My Truth
12. Kylie Minogue – I Believe In You
13. Gwen Stefani feat. Eve – Rich Girl
14. Ciara feat. Petey Pablo – Goodies
15. Speedy feat. Lumidee – Sientelo
16. Snoop Dog feat. Pharrell – Drop It Like It’s Hot
17. Mr. Vegas – Pull Up
18. Jay-Z & Linkin Park – Numb / Encore
19. Ice Cube – You Can Do It
20. Macy Gray – Love Is Gonna Get You
21. Uniting Nations – Out Of Touch

22. Gwen Stefani – What You Waiting For
23. Usher feat. Alicia Keys – My Boo
24. Brandy – Afrodisiac
25. The 411 – Teardrops
26. Nina Sky feat. Nore, Tego – Oye Mi Canto
27. Geri Halliwell – Ride It
28. Blue – Curtain Falls
29. Alcazar – Physical
30. Burhan G – Take U Home
31. Girls Aloud – I’ll Stand By You

28 January 2005

Mi Minidisc player

Me gusta mi minidisc. Hace aproximadamente cinco años comencé grabando música en Minidiscos, y lo sigo haciendo. Pensé que pronto los descontinuarían, pero se siguen vendiendo. Lo mejor es poder escuchar toda esa música que he bajado en el trabajo. Sí! cuando tengo que escribir reportes o cosas similares, simplemente me pongo unos audífonos discretamente y escucho de una a dos horas de música continua. Hoy estuve escuchando música del 2003: Beenie Man, Blue, J.Lo, Janet Jackson, Sophie A. Bextor, Moloko, etc., etc. Y el trabajo? Lo disfruto más con música :)

27 January 2005

Sports Comments

Statements that sporting commentators would rather forget:

"And here's Moses Kiptanui - the 19 year old Kenyan, who turned 20 a few weeks ago" (David Coleman)

"Its a great advantage to be able to hurdle with both legs" (David Coleman)

"We now have exactly the same situation as we had at the start of the race, only exactly the opposite" (Murray Walker)

After playing Cameroon in the 1990 world cup finals: "We didn'tunderestimate them. They were just a lot better than we thought" (Bobby Robson)

"And with an alphabetical irony, Nigeria follows New Zealand" (David Coleman)

On the difficulties of adjusting to playing football and living in Italy: "It was like being in a foreign country" (Ian Rush)

"Ah! Isn't that nice, the wife of the Cambridge President is kissing the cox of the Oxford crew" (Harry Carpenter)

"I was in a no-win situation, so I'm glad that I won rather than lost" (Frank Bruno)

"There is Brendan Foster, by himself, with 20,000 people" (David Coleman)

"The lead car is absolutely unique, except for the one behind it which is identical" (Murray Walker)

"I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father" (Greg Norman)

"Sure there have been injuries and deaths in boxing - but none of them serious" (Alan Minter)

"Watch the time -it gives you an indication of how fast they are running" (Ron Pickering)

"Just under 10 seconds for Nigel Mansel. Call it 9.5 seconds in round numbers" (Murray Walker)

"A brain Scan revealed that Andrew Caddick is not suffering from stress fracture of the shin" (Jo Sheldon)

"The French are not normally a Nordic Skiing Nation" (Ron Pickering)

"That's inches away from being millimetre perfect" (Ted Lowe)

"I'll fight Lloyd Honeyghan for nothing if the price is right" (Marlon Starling)

"If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again" (Terry Venables)

"I can't tell who's leading - It's either Oxford or Cambridge" (John Snagge - Boat Race)

"The Queen's Park Oval, exactly as its name suggests - absolutely round." (Tony Cozier)

26 January 2005

Future Music Hits

Alsou - Always on my mind

Russia's biggest sensation Alsou is set to storm the British charts with this slick RnB groove track from her new album 'Inspired'. She's already sold 10 million copies of this track in Europe and Russia and aims to follow suit in the UK. Infectious strings and a heart-felt slow jam this is sure to get you in the mood for romance.
Source: Capital FM, London

Sarah Connor - Living To Love You

The one song I once banned from my top 30 is back to place itself among the top 5 songs in the list: it was simply too good to let it go. With this sentimental and romantic ballad, Sarah Connor sings this time from the heart. It has already been number one in Switzerland, Iceland, England, and other European countries.

24 January 2005

The Door in the Floor, USA, 2004

This is an adaptation of John Irving’s bestseller, ‘A Widow for One Year’. This is the story of a family torn apart by the tragic death of their children. The father is a writer of books for children (The Door in the Floor is supposedly his most famous story). His wife cannot get over the fact that her two sons die. A third child is born and suffers from the marriage’s decline. It sounds quite sad, but the movie is also funny at times. This is one thing that author John Irving does best: telling a sad story full of small comical incidents. The time span in the movie is shortened, to make it more interesting on screen, but I definitely recommend you first read the novel. The film is just a small complementary addition to a great book.

23 January 2005

Göran !!!

My friends from Sweden, Amanda and Sofia, with me visiting Monterrey (Nov 2004)

21 January 2005

Danish rock band "Saybia"

Saybia has been around for almost 5 years now. Their first hits include "Fools Corner" and "The Day After Tomorrow". Both of these singles were released on the EP 'Saybia' in autumn 2001 and were constantly played on danish radio making way for a larger fan following and earning them awards, including winner of the 'danish music award'. The meaning of 'Saybia' is, according to a website, a fear of saying things, which comes from 'say' (from saying) and 'bia' (from phobia). But whatever problem Saybia have saying things they sure know how to sing it well and their newest hit, "I Surrender" is quickly becoming a hit up north with our Scandinavian friends, and is now part of My TOP 30 chart.
British Columbia hands film industry a break

The B.C. government will give film companies an extra $30 million a year in tax breaks to keep them from pulling up stakes and moving to Ontario or Quebec, Finance Minister Colin Hansen announced Thursday. The tax breaks match those introduced by the Ontario government in December and give the film industry more "breathing room" over the next 15 months, Hansen said. In the meantime, B.C. government officials will study the long-term impact of using tax credits to help the industry. But Hansen said Thursday that he couldn't afford to wait months for that analysis to be completed before offering the companies at least temporary tax relief.

Source: Kines, Lindsay & Jeff Rud, Times Colonist, (extract)

20 January 2005

About the up coming Cannes Festival...

A very good news was announced today: director Emir Kusturica will be the President of the Jury for the next Cannes Festival, which will take place 11 - 22 May 2005. Kusturica has won the Palme d'Or twice. For me he is one of the best directors there are today, and as you can see in my profile, his 1995 film "Underground" is one of my all-time favorites. So that's good news for me.

19 January 2005

Mi cumpleaños

Falta poco para que cumpla 26 años, mis 26 primaveras, o mis 26 veranos, como dicen en Rusia. La fecha es el próximo 27 de enero. Nunca hago fiesta o algo especial, pero me gusta cuando la gente se acuerda al menos. A propósito, ¿ya pensaron en lo que me van a regalar? ¡¡ No se crean !!

18 January 2005

Naked Lunch, Canada / UK, 2001

Based on the novel by William Burroughs, Naked Lunch was an attempt by Canadian director David Cronenberg to bring some logic to the plot of this book. He came up with this: basically, this guy Bill, a writer wannabe, works as a bug exterminator. He uses bug powder to kill them. This powder causes addiction and his wife has a severe case of bug powder addiction. It turns out Bill is in reality a secret agent for someone we never get to see. He gets the order to travel to Interzone, a place (it looks like downtown Cairo) somewhere in Northern Africa where junkies are gathered and live together. Throughout the film he is always typing reports, and in various scenes the typewritter becomes a huge bug which gives Bill the preliminaries on his next assignment. Once he gets to Interzone, he is persuaded by his "typewriter" to become homosexual.

As strange as this may sound, the movie is actually much easier to understand than the novel. The novel has no structured plot whatsoever. Every chapter deals with different situations. However, the problem with drug addiction and hallucinations is a subject that comes up throughout the book. The movie can also be seen as a kind of autobiography, since William Burroughs travelled to Northern Africa. During his many voyages he would write some chapters of his books. Naked Lunch is actually a compilation made by Burrough's editor of several chapters written during a long period of time.

17 January 2005

One missed call, Japan 2004

The premise is good: you have one missed call on your mobile phone. It has your own mobile phone number, that means you got a call from yourself! and it is dated three days in the future. Once the three days go by, you die of a mysterious accident. The killings are gruesome, and some scenes are very graphic. Director Takashi Miike knows how to scare audiences. His unusual style goes along the lines of new Japanese thrillers, but Miike is considered one of the best, if not the best of the bunch. The ending is hard to understand, as Miike always likes to confuse the audience at the very end, just when you think everything is pretty clear. I still recommend Yu-On, a far more scary film from Miike than this please-don't-let-my-mobile-ring-or-else-I-die movie. But this one is also worth watching.

13 January 2005

The spinning classes

This week was marked by a special event: the first time in my life I go to a gym. I must admit I still don’t like to go, but the classes with the bicycle thing, the so-called “spinning” are not that bad. I had a real hard time keeping up the pace during the first class, but today it was almost a piece of cake! The unbelievable thing is that I actually was able to wake up at 5:45am today to take the spinning class from 6 to 7am, wow! That is quite an effort by itself.

12 January 2005

Faust (Lekce faust), Czech Republic, 1994

This is a very good example of surrealism in stop motion animation. Director Jan Svankmajer combines real life actors with puppets to create a mystical world that is between real life and imagination. The movie begins with real actors. A man finds an abandonded theater with the help of a written map given to him by some strangers in the street. Once inside this abandonded place, puppets in the form of devils and angels appear out of nowhere. The story of "Faust" begins to play on its own, and this man becomes the character of Faust. He plays along, and Svankmajer's world starts to emerge. The dialog is almost poetical, like the original novel written by Goethe, and the scenes are disturbing (like the baby with a skeleton head, see photo) and funny at the same time. His best achievement is the combination of real actors and puppets.

Svankmajer's actors like to explore, they open doors and secret passages that take us to different places throughout the film. One of my hypothesis of surrealism (the use of keys) was proved when the main character finds an old doorkey hidden in his meal!

11 January 2005

Ontario tax credit lures British Columbia's Brightlight

Brightlight Pictures, Vancouver's busiest film production company, will likely leave British Columbia for Toronto this month to take advantage of better tax incentives offered in Ontario. Brightlight -- which produced the Michael Keaton horror film White Noise, released last week -- has a full 2005 slate, which would move with the company to Ontario. Among the films -- and the 600 jobs associated with them -- the company is threatening to move is Wickerman, starring Nicholas Cage and Dungeon Siege, based on a popular video game.

Source: Marke Andrews, Amy Carmichael, The Ottawa Citizen, (extract)
British Columbia film industry 'set to collapse'

The B.C. film industry is on the brink of collapse, say studio and union officials. Workers are simply abandoning the industry and taking non-film jobs while film-equipment rental companies are laying off staff, B.C. Council of Film Unions spokesman Tom Milne said yesterday. "At this point were are in a situation where we have to decide whether to simply pick up our bats and move to another ballpark. It's that bad," Milne said.

Source: David Carrigg, The Province, (extract)

10 January 2005

The new approach, part 2

Remember the new approach at work? Well, here are some examples of what it actually means:

1. Getting out of work exactly at 5:30pm. I like this new approach!
2. Making sure clients are really clients and not some buggering crook that wants to waste our time on him or her. I like this new approach!
3. But in order to do number 2, you have to go into the internet to check the client's profile. The snag is, with our super-slow speed internet it will take you forever. I hate this approach!
4. Not doing any hotel reservations for clients. Yeah, we are not a damn travel agency, I love the new approach!
5. Clients bitching at us because they couldn't get the special rate at the hotel. I hate the new approach!!!

No, but seriously speaking, I do like the new approach very well.

09 January 2005

MY TOP 30 (week of 9 Jan 2005)

1. Anastacia – Welcome To My Truth
2. Kylie Minogue – I Believe In You
3. Gwen Stefani feat. Eve – Rich Girl
4. Ciara feat. Petey Pablo – Goodies
5. Speedy feat. Lumidee – Sientelo
6. Snoop Dog feat. Pharrell – Drop It Like It’s Hot
7. Mr. Vegas – Pull Up
8. Jay-Z & Linkin Park – Numb / Encore
9. Ice Cube – You Can Do It
10. Macy Gray – Love Is Gonna Get You
11. Uniting Nations – Out Of Touch

12. Gwen Stefani – What You Waiting For
13. Usher feat. Alicia Keys – My Boo
14. Brandy – Afrodisiac
15. The 411 – Teardrops
16. Nina Sky feat. Nore, Tego – Oye Mi Canto
17. Geri Halliwell – Ride It
18. Blue – Curtain Falls
19. Alcazar – Physical
20. Burhan G – Take U Home
21. Girls Aloud – I’ll Stand By You

22. Brian McFadden – Real To Me
23. The Pirates – You Should Really Know
24. Estelle – Free
25. Shaznay Lewis – Never Felt Like This
26. Juvenile – Slow Motion
27. Ja Rule feat. R. Kelly & Asham– Wonderful
28. Blue Lagoon – Break My Stride
29. Joss Stone – You Had Me
30. Intenso Project – Get It On
31. Natasha Bedingfield - Unwritten

07 January 2005

The "new approach"

Lately I have been hearing at the office how the "new approach at work" should be implemented. And what exactly is that? It basically means focussing on results, and most importantly, determining what steps you should take to achieve those results. It sounds very simple, but in practice it can be a little annoying because people are not used to work following this guideline.

Anyways, I have decided to take this a little further and implement the "new approach at life", focussing on results. That means there will be a lot of planning to do, but I believe we must use our time wisely and always think about what we expect to achieve by doing what we usually do everyday. You might be thinking: what the hell does this have to do with anything? Don't worry, I asked myself the same question several times. In the meantime, just follow the new approach and stay tuned for more news on this issue.

06 January 2005

Esta canción ya me gustó

Hay canciones que después de escucharlas tantas veces, te empiezan a gustar. Precisamente eso me acaba de suceder con la nueva canción de Sarah Connor, Living To Love You. No está nada mal la canción, pero al principio no se me hacía lo suficientemente buena. Está muy tranquila, es la típica balada romántica. Lo que más me gusta es el coro casi al final. Se las recomiendo, aunque no la pondría en mi lista top 30.

05 January 2005

Alice (Neco z Alenky), Czech Republic, 1987

Non-stop animation is something very difficult to master, and the Czech Republic has given the cinematic world some of the best stop-motion movie creators. One of them, Jan Svankmajer, adapted the original Alice in Wonderland novel. In his dark and surreal version, Alice encounters strange dissected animals, with whom she has to deal with. Doors are opened and closed, magic keys appear from nowhere, Alice shrinks and becomes a doll several times, and dissected animals throw kitchenware to Alice in an attempt to elude her. Fery few dialogue scenes and a lot of action. You get the feeling you are inside a dream, or a nightmare for that matter. Jan Svankmajer presents the most original stop-motion animation films that Europe has to offer.

04 January 2005

Shame (Sweden, 1968)

Another film by Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. This time, the little Swedish island where the two main characters live (actors Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow) is in war. Can you imagine a war in Sweden? Well, this film portrays the devastating effects of war on the civil population. It starts off with Liv and Max waking up in their little farmhouse. They take the ferry to the mainland to sell the fruit they grow in their small property. Tanks and soldiers start to gather in the city. Soon afterwards, the bombing begins, and the main characters are taken as hostages, then liberated, accused of treason, and finally they flee the island in a boat with other war survivors.

Bergman wanted to portray the horrors of war and the different effects, both physical and psychological on the innocent people who are caught up in this situation. It is obvious that Liv Ullmann gets most of the camera attention (we must not forget she and Bergman were together at that time). Max von Sydow, who at first acts cowardly and looks quite shy, at the end takes up a pistol and show great bravery. Both characters change during the course of the story. This is a different perspective of the typical war movie we are used to see.

03 January 2005

Persona (Sweden, 1966)

One of my favorite films from Ingmar Bergman. Theatre actress Elisabet Vogler (Liv Ullmann) suddenly realizes she cannot speak anymore, her ability to communicate verbally has disappeared. After three months in hospital, nurse Alma (Bibi Andersson) takes care of her by going together to a summer house on the beach. During this time, we learn a lot from nurse Alma, about her past life and sins, while Elisabet just sits and listens. Soon enough, Elisabet's silence gets into Alma's nerves. She gets furious and cannot control herself. She starts losing the grip of things when Elisabet's husband comes to the summer house and thinks Alma is his wife. A confussion and overlapping of the roles of the two women are the central theme in this classic surreal movie.

The idea for this movie came while Bergman was at the hospital for 14 days. When the nurse applied an injection to sedate him, he was truck by the feeling of non existence; being there and not feeling anything at all, not caring about others, simply being away from everyday life (Elisabet's sudden inability to speak). Bergman's cinema is characterized by a lot of human face close-ups and well-lit black & white scenes. Adding to all this are the disturbing scenes at the beginning of the film. This all adds up to a very original tale of modernist despair.

01 January 2005

Where are my Christmas gifts??