Receding technophilia

I admit it: I'm a technology-whore. I love gizmos and gadgets. I love all kinds of cool new stuff. And knowing all that, it's even more astonishing that I have been this patient with the current gizmos I have.

First of all, my computer is a Mac Mini. When I bought this computer over two years ago, it was the cheapest and slowest Mac available (not including used hardware). And it has served me well, even though new and cooler computers have been released (by Apple, naturally) since I bought this one. It has just felt that this computer is... good enough, and there's no need for something better. Well, that will change this summer when I will move to a laptop. Besides, I need more power since I have started shooting huge RAW-files with my camera. The Mini simply does not cut it anymore.

What about the display that is connected to my computer? Well, if I remember correctly, it's three years old. LCD, true, but nowhere near the state of the art. Again, it has been "good enough".

How about my iPod Mini? I bought it two years ago and it has served me well, even though new and better models have taken it's place. But it too will get replaced this summer. I want the ability to watch videos and pictures, and I'm running out of space on my device.

But, as things are, it seems that my technophilia has been giving way to more rational thought. I haven't bought new stuff just for the sake of them being new. I have actually kept on using my older stuff (although some might dispute the notion that two-year old computer is "old") since it has worked just fine. And now that I am replacing them, I'm doing it because I have clearly defined needs which are not met with my current devices. Could it be that rationality and level-headedness is creeping in to my geek-paradise?

Of course, as I replace my devices, my old hardware is recycled to good use. Mrs. will propably get the iPod Mini, while my Mac Mini will either me turned in to a household-server, donated to relatives or sold away.

Children of Men

I finally watched "Children of Men" last weekend. I actually missed in when it was playing in the theaters (or they never showed it here at all), so I took a calculated risk and bought the DVD when I saw it for sale. And I wasn't disappointed.

It's a good sign when you read the comments in IMDB, and you have bunch of people telling how the movie is "racist", while you also have a bunch of people telling how the movie is "left-wing propaganda that glorifies immigrants". The movie obviously evokes strong emotions in viewers, and that's a good sign. And looking at the ratings it has received (currently 8.2/10 in IMDB), most people like it. No, the movie is not racist. It just depicts a society that suffers from xenophobia, but that does not mean that the movie itself suffers from it.

The movie is set in to near future when women have stopped having children. Last child was born 18 years ago, and mankind is slowly moving towards extinction. Most of the world has descended in to anarchy, while the remains of civilized society try to hang on. And the "civilized society" isn't really that civilized anymore.

While the world is coming to an end, it isn't going away with a bang, it's fading away. People still go to work, they still buy their coffee from coffee-shops, they still watch their news. And still, there's the constant feeling that mankind is doomed. None of the individuals are doomed as such: there is no nuclear war that is going to wipe them out, there is no disease that is going to kill them, nor are they waiting for radioactive cloud to kill them all. There's just a bunch of people living out their lives, with full knowledge that after they are dead, there will not be others to take their place. It's a society of silent (occasionally not so silent) resignation.

Actors do a good job thorough the movie. There's no poor performance to be seen, and Clive Owen does a solid job at the lead. So the story is interesting, and the actors are good. That gives a good foundation to build a great movie. And this movie delivers.

There's one thing in the movie that is truly superb: cinematography. The scenes are long and jaw-droppingly outstanding. And I'm not talking of scenes with just dialogue, I'm talking about action-packed scenes as well. They seem to go on and on. No, they do not drag on, which would be bad, they flow naturally. I'm not sure how they did it. Maybe they somehow digitally stitched several scenes together, and if they did, they did a superb job at it. If they really just shot long cuts, it is a real testament to the skill of the actors and director. Either way, the end result is simply stunning.

The filmmakers also did a great job at creating the remnants of human civilization. I don't think I ever saw any bright colors anywhere. Everything is muted and gloomy.

"Children of Men" does not suffer from the curse of Hollywood, where everything is explained to the viewer. We are given bit and pieces of the backstory, but things are not explained in detail. The ending is open, and it's up to the viewer to determine what happens next. In short: it forces the viewer to think. And that's always a Good Thing (tm).

A damned fine movie if you ask me!

Be a sheep: wear trendy clothes!

I hate fashion. The more I think about it, the more I realize it goes against everything I believe in. What do I believe in? Well, among other things, I believe in personal liberties and freedoms. What does that have to do with fashion? Quite a bit as it turns out.

What annoys me is the way this whole fashion-thingy works out. Basically, there are bunch of people who decide what is fashionable and what is not. They decide that "next year, red is in". then we get bunch of magazines telling us what is in and what is out, and then mindless drones wander to the stores to buy new clothes so they could be "trendy". How about buying clothes that you actually like? Clothers that feel comfortable? Clothes that are practical? Forget that crap, we need to be "trendy"!

What happened to people buying clothes that they like? Sure, lots of people do that. But the very idea that we actually have a bunch of people deciding what is fashionable and what is not, is what really pushes my buttons. Instead of companies selling certain types of clothes, and people buying whatever suits them, we have the fashion-elite telling us what we should be buying.

And what is the other thing that really pushes my buttons? The fact that there's a metric assload of people who actually care what the fashion-industry is telling us. They rush to the stores in a desperate attempt to be "trendy". They proclaim their individuality and independence while wearing clothes that someone else told him to buy.

No, I'm not saying that we should dress purposefully in an unfashionable way. What I AM saying is that we shouldn't decide our appearance based on what some other people decided in a committee. If the clothes you happen to like become fashionable, go ahead and keep on wearing them. But don't change your look just because something else becomes fashionable. Don't switch from jeans to spandex just because spandex becomes fashionable.

What does this have to do with personal liberties? I mean, no-one is forced to buy anything. But it's still very annoying to think that there are some people who feel that they have the power to decide what we should be wearing. And I get very annoyed whenever someone tells me what I should and should not be doing or thinking.

And it gets even more annoying when you realize that for quite a few people, they do have that power. "Yeah, I'm wearing pink bikinis and bell-bottoms because I heard they are trendy".