Rating people, reciprocity and more…

Black MIrror s3ep1

I also like Doc Searls have a problem with rating people.

I’ve hated rating people ever since I first encountered the practice. That was where everybody else does too: in school.

After all, rating people is what schools do, with tests and teachers’ evaluations. They do it because they need to sort students into castes. What’s school without a bell curve?

As John Taylor Gatto put it in the Seven Lesson Schoolteacher, the job of the educator in our industrialized education system is to teach these things, regardless of curricular aspirations or outcomes:

  1. confusion
  2. class position
  3. indifference
  4. emotional dependency
  5. intellectual dependency
  6. provisional self-esteem
  7. that you can’t hide

It’s no different in machine-run “social sharing” systems such as we get from Uber, Lyft and Airbnb. In all those systems we are asked to rate the people who share their cars and homes, and they are asked to rate us. The hidden agenda behind this practice is the same as the one Gatto describes above.

I use Uber now and then especilaly when outside of Manchester for work. I also have used Airbnb and of course host on Airbnb. I’m under no illusion how the rating system influences peoples opnions and behaviour too. Its meant to weed out bad behaviour but always seems to cause unintended consequences. I’m sure the people behind the scence have good intentions but fail to think about the law of unintended consequences.

To be clear I don’t have a problem with rating a piece of media or something non-human, for example I rate most of the media I watch. But rating a person feels a little hostile/weird. As the Black Mirror episode nosedive (s3ep1) clearly demostrates to great effect.

Recently I have been in a few Uber’s for other people (not sharing the fee) and its been interesting to see how people have rated each other. More interestingly is the social contract/mulipulation which spring into action. It starts with the driver stopping the journey and saying “I’m going to rate you 5 stars.” My friend then turns around and says they will do the same, and does. This is classic Law of Reciprocity as described in Influence.

As I tend to think about these things too much, I also find the loop holes in the system equally interesting.

On my holiday to Iceland, the host(s) moved me to another room and I went along with it because I was fed some line about helping them out. But actually there was something dodgy going on, as I met the Airbnb which was moving into my room I had booked.

I was peed off but not quite enough to want seek a refund, I wanted other people to be aware of this and my review explained exactly what happened.  Also brought this up with the hosts the day of this happening and private messaged them through Airbnb. My rating was fair I felt because it was unfair to lie to me about their motives, especially when I’d be very open with them. No rating system could really capture this.

The system is your review goes live once the other person also writes a review. Part of the review is rating out of 5 stars which is the bit which bugs me, because boiling down everything to 5 starts seems too simple.

Generally I only rub sholders with this stuff every once in a while. For example my Uber rating is 4.92 out 5 (partly because I don’t use Uber that much and treat the drivers like people not drivers, I talk to all the taxi drivers regardless). I’m also a superhost on Airbnb because I don’t take a lot of people and very careful who I host at my own place.

Due to these ratings I get a skewed view on each of these system. On uber I only get uber drivers which are rated 4.5 upwards (I hadn’t noticed till one of the drivers pointed it out to me a while ago). With Airbnb I have the luxury of being stricter with who I accept, partly because I don’t need to have guests all the time. However as a guest myself, things are different. Here are my 3 guest experiences

  1. (Japan) was so bad I stayed for 30mins and complained to Airbnb, getting my money back after a long back and forth with Airbnb & the host in question.
  2. (Portugal) was perfect
  3. (Iceland) was good till the end when the host lied and “double booked” the room (see the review here).

But this is about rating people…

Ratings are misleading and a horrible way to understand human complexity. They can be gamed and easily used to spread inequality. We play along unaware how we all contribute to this all.

A review of my 2016 resolutions

are you a good kisser - undressed

Its that time of year when I reflect on a frankly pretty crappy 2016 politically but a massively packed one for me personally. Seriously March, May, September, October, November were so full (I still need to write up my own personal Mozfest 2016 experience).

Although I did spend a lot of time in other countries, according to Google I’ve done 39 trips but that includes going to places in the UK. With the most visited first…

London, Nottingham, Bristol, Newcastle, Liverpool, Sheffield, Windermere (Phil’s wedding), Cambridge, Northampton.

And further a field, with the longest time first.
Berlin, Amsterdam, Lagos/Faro (1st time I’ve been to Portugal), Bucharest (another first Romania), Stockholm and Hannover.

  • I usually do steps but since I switched from Fitbit to the Xiomi band recently, and the steps are quite different from the fitbit, it makes little sense.
  • 259mins of sleep deficit over the year, which is down from the previous year.
  • Average sleep this year has been 6 hours 50mins.

Trakt.tv added the year in review, and there’s very detailed data points there.
446 hours of film watching, which is 37.1 per month and most watched film is x-men apocalypse.
379 hours of TV watching, which is 31.6 per month and most played TV series is Louie. My highest rated TV were Limitless and 11.22.63 both ended.

  1. Be taken out of my comfort zone by Kate and take her out of comfort zone
    Our challenge has yet to start really. I had plans to take Kate to either Bucharest (shes never been to eastern europe and I only went for the first time last year to Poland). Then I thought about Stockholm (although not really going to push the challenge, its a very cool place). Although Kate has already dropped hints of staying somewhere near Scotland. I did ask if it was a tent and she said it has walls, to which I ask if it has a roof? Of course I got big grin.
  2. Host film nights and more dinner parties at mine
    I put up the projector screen with help from my lovely neighbours and to be honest I’ve not really used the projector much. Mainly as it needs to be setup on the coffee table and I can’t leave it there all the time. Its also XGA meaning things get cut off when sending a widescreen 1080p signal. But I will sort this next year. I did do a showing of undressed too, which counts right?
    Dinner parties? Well I’ve had a few but they generally end up as cheese and wine evenings. Someone recently pushed me to do a dinner for her, so the challenge is on. Time to pull out the Japanese food spark I think I have.   
  3. Head further a field with the scooter
    This one is frustrating as I had grand plans to drive into Northern Ireland. However the scooter is getting old now and I have plans to replace it with another scooter. So maybe when I get the new one, that will be the chance to go for a long journey? My scooter is still ok but there is so much body damage and to be fair its done over 70000 miles and I’ve had since 2005!
  4. Improve my circus skills
    At last this has been greatly improved. The much mentioned vertax are still as difficult to do as always but I’m getting closer and tend to get too excited when close. I’m also picking up other tricks and getting far more confident about my suicides. More room for improvement!
  5. Stay better in touch with old friends
    I realise I’ve been a little poor with this one, I need to spend some time reading what my old friends are up to in their lives. I’ve been shocked to learn things about old friends which I can’t believe I didn’t know about. This shouldn’t be just about reading their facebook walls but generally keeping in touch.
  6. Redecorate the flat
    Last year I still had the old sofas and old stuff, now I have a proper corner sofa and changed a few things. I still have bigger plans but paining the walls isn’t really one of them.
  7. Ride a roller coaster in another country
    Didn’t happen, but will next year for sure. Heck I don’t think I even rode a rollercoaster all year! Sad times, although I almost did renew my Alton Towers pass now the smiler is now open again. Still really like to see a new coaster before I renew it properly.
  8. Work on the book/serialised blog
    I started datingyarns.com but I’ve been so busy. Modifying the entries to make it as unrelated as possible to the date/person(s), but isn’t as simple as it may seem. Anyhow, I will keep putting them up, although I do maintain it would be better as a group blog with some incredible yarns from some of the women I’ve had the pleasure of dating.
  9. See the Aurora (Northern lights)
    This should have happened, I missed going to Iceland then when I got the go ahead for Sweden. I was thinking about taking the overnight train up to Lapland to see it and stay over. However due to clashes with the Christmas partys etc, I couldn’t stay long enough to make the trip up there. But I guess my research has shown how easy it would be if I did want to go via Stockholm, although Iceland is still number one choice.
  10. Make some bold moves with my love life
    Bold moves with my love life. Well this certainly was the right year! Where do I even start?
    I already knew I was going to be taking part in the Horizon dating experiment but it was shown much later than I thought. In between I took to the stage for TedXManchester4 to tell it as it is about dating services/apps. This all before Jane sent me the email encouraging me to put my body/money where my thoughts were in a new dating show – Undressed. Ok ok I hear you ask, what’s actually changed in your love life? I would suggest although quite confident about myself, all 3 of these things have really made me even more confident in myself, surroundings and love life. Its quite difficult to explain but every experience really brings new insight.
  11. Kick start the emerging technology event
    I did kick start the #etechmcr event, first event with a new VR Manchester meetup and then second one with Erik Lehmann. There hasn’t been another one for a while, although there’s plenty of opportunities but I’ve not been around to do anything about it. My hope is next year will mean more time for this and other events.
  12. Think humanity
    I feel this is a solid tick…

The science..? of speed dating?

Timing gears

Mr 30 not so flirty shared his experiences of a event called datelab. Something I’ve never heard of but it sounds interesting

We are a dating agency for young professionals.
Through psychology + dating science we offer Londoners unique matchmaking services and dating events.It’s time your dating life became exciting and effortless

Like Mr 30, I have also been involved in a few science + dating events. I have done speed dating at MOSI (the science museum Manchester), also took part in BBC’s Horizon dating experiment, even took part in a few other things including that horrible year of making love and more to come soon (if you can’t guess I won’t tell). But unlike Mr 30, I have a real wonder if there really is science? Is the matching and chemisty actually unquantifable?

I find the intentional and unintentional effects fancinating as we try and grapple with the limits of our understanding of ourselves and each other. Throw that into the melting pot with sexuality, identity and diversity all as spectrums not absolutes and you got a unquantifable mess. I find it fun to watch people try and untangle it all.

Anyway I also found one of the things datelab did fancinating for reasons above and from a progressive point of view.

20130213D_8975

Another one I quite liked was the thinking behind getting both ladies and gents being asked to move…. apparently when you sit, you become pickier. I have experienced this with Netflix. For the ladies at most speed dating events, it becomes a real-life twist on Tinder, a conveyor belt of gents (and not so gents)… I’m quite looking forward to the dating company that does a parody real-life version on Tinder.

I can totally understand the effect Mr30 is talking about (that effect I’m sure is part of the paradox of choice; with people feeling much more picky about their choices). But I have always wondered why its the men who have to move in speed dating? This certainly isn’t the case in gay speed dating, I’ve been told. I asked a few times the host of a speed dating event I have gone to a few times. He said its a bit of legacy but also practicaily.

The legacy of course being women are waiting for the suiter to step forward, can’t possibily have women making the first move (don’t get me started!) But also practially, asking women to move around in the short amount of change around time will take longer? (i’m not sure but this feels sexist to me, but its his event and I do find women do put more effort into their clothes).

One of the things which I did find interesting in the MOSI dating experiement was that everybody moved table, but frankly it take a long time due to the massive shifting around. Maybe theres a system where women move one way and men the other? Matt suggested using some kind of gear rotation like system, which had me looking it up in Berlin Tegel Airport while waiting for the plane. Theres a BBC bitesize thing for this. Hows that for science eh?!

I’ll suggest this to the host and see what he thinks…

A review of my 2015 resolutions

Harajuku

Its that time of year when I reflect on the amazing amount of things which have happened this year, even Richard Brandson is in on this now. While I’m not going to try out quantified self Stephen wolfram; as I mentioned in last years review, but heres some bits and bobs.

 

  • 2,653,347 steps this year so far
  • 2791 floors this year so far
  • 1,98.78 km of walked distance so far
  • 449mins of sleep deficit (this is what I should have
  • Average sleep this year has been 6 hours 50mins.

Trakt.tv recently changed their interface and are still waiting on their yearly dashboard. On Last.FM I listened to 255 artists  with an average of 3 scobbles per day.

Now on with the 2015 resolutions review

 

  1. Go to a new part of the world
    This was a big win this year.
    Not only did I make it to Tokyo, Japan at long last but I also went to Warsaw , Poland and even to Fife in Scotland; which was the 1st of 2 times in Scotland this year.  All were great and I’m sure to visit again in the near future.
  2. Improve my circus skills
    I started to learn the basics of the vertex during the early autumn months and learned quickly where I was going wrong with a visit to Manchester Quirkus. I was doing the whip with the wrong hand causing the diabolo to tilt away from me. Now I can kind of get the diabolo into a vertex but haven’t mastered any moves beyond that… yet!
  3. Scooter into another country or new area
    I  drove up to Scotland on my scooter, which isn’t bad. Yes it was only gretna green (just over the border but it’s still Scotland). I’m certainly thinking about next year driving further, as I saw signs saying Edinburgh and Glasgow less than 100 miles. I reckon I could get up to both in about 4 hours. Maybe stopping in Kate’s Yut again. I’m also thinking Ireland would be good, maybe even Northern Ireland?
  4. Explore my sapiosexual and datasexual sides
    Well thanks to Tom for the total destruction of sapiosexual term. Which I explored in the blog entry about myself. Friends and collages have commented (when asked) at the bravery of being so open about things like this. Which I sniff at because theres so much more…
  5. Quantify more and make better use of my data exports
    Didn’t do so much of this, I did less quantified self aggregation but added even more sensors to the line up including weight scales and even better sleep tracking. I also found the interest in Manchester around the Quantified Self also dropped and I had to put the Manchester QS meetup on hold, along with attending the QSEU 2015 conference. My data is still in silos but I’m certainly thinking about doing more in 2016. Especially around the homelab and media exports.
  6. Do something for other dyslexics
    This year I’ve been helping others and attending a dyslexic meetup in Manchester every first Saturday of the month. Its been good to discuss openly with others.
    As part of Mozfest 2015, I was also included a session about dyslexia and it was well attended and spawned an adhoc session with further talks with the Tate to be continued in 2016.
  7. Improve my health and alertness
    Yes things are getting better and better. Alertness is great but of course there is always room to improve. The electronic scale is useful and of course the sleep tracking is identifying patterns which contribute. Nothing scientific but interesting.
  8. Hire somebody to ironing my clothes
    Done… Just need to use her services more often I guess (only given her 3 big bags of clothes so far).
  9. Try dating younger (and progressive) but central located women
    Yeah my dating has certainly gone down this year. I’ve decided to give up on Plenty of Fish after the insane amount of Catfishing going on. OkCupid is turning up the same people all the times, so I’m thinking about redoing my profile and looking at the questions again. I also installed Bumble to see if the female pick first option was any good or not.
    As for younger, progressive and central. Well its not worked out too well, I seem to be finding older, progressive and central. Must try harder I guess. Dave says I need to try new places but I refuse to pay for dating services knowing little time I have and the way it works behind the scenes.
  10. Decorate the flat
    This is on hold till next year but I have plans since I finally got gigabit broadband from hyperoptic and a projector for the living room when watching films with friends. I also finally found a corner sofa from the new range at Ikea which is cheaper than I budgeted for, meaning more for re-decoration. Thinking about sorting out the internal network properly by getting a professional in to do it.
  11. Read more
    Well I did read more but once again I spent more time reading non-fiction not fiction. I don’t think I’ll ever really get into reading for fun but I certainly got into audiobooks more in 2015. Keep thinking about getting a subscription to Audible. But I find the Instapaper and Greader text to speech players actually good enough for generic reading. I also added a plugin to read any text from Android outloud on my bluetooth headset. This is handy and means I can close my tablet and wonder around like a audiobook.
  12. Discover more music via Djs and Podcasts
    I tried listening to youtube and mixcloud at work and its ok but pausing the music is a pain when you have it in the background somewhere over the 2 screens.
    On the other hand, podcasts certainly picked up in the later part of 2015. I’m subscribed to about 12 podcasts now and with gigabit I don’t even download them, I’m using Kodi’s built in RSS support to play directly.

50 shades of an opportunity wasted?

Saines lectures dans le métro aussi ;-) #qml #ligne6 #50shades #50s #50nuances

Girl with a one track mind, reviews the 50 shades of grey film, so we all don’t have to watch it…

It is not acceptable for a man to stalk a woman, harass her, and to drive a wedge between her and her friends and family. Showering a woman with expensive gifts does not make it okay that a man can break in, then hide in her home waiting for her. Emotionally manipulating, then harassing, a woman to agree to a man’s relationship terms (or have no relationship at all) is not, in any sense, alright. All good relationships are built on respect, trust and consent and this one contains none of that. Grey’s abusive behaviour is excused, because he is “a dominant”, as if enjoying a sexual kink removes the need for a man to be a decent person too.

As I imagined, its a male power film with elements of BDSM thrown in to convince/sidetrack people in to thinking its ok to be a total dick, because the female is calling the shots in his playroom.

No its not ok… Its creepy, manipulative, bullying and just not on, now or ever…

Like Zoe I was hoping for something a little different from this film. I haven’t read the books but heard so much that I feel like I know the text. Not necessarily because its a female writer and director but because it 2015 and I hoped friends would say how good and surprising it is. Heck a clever twist, on the story would have been great. But the opportunity was utterly wasted…!

…as I want to applaud a movie written and directed by women, I can’t condone one which idealises male power and emotional abuse as something seductive and sexy. They’re not. With the kinky-sex as a saucy distraction, the central message of this film – that it’s okay for men to control and manipulate women – remains unquestioned, and that’s not just bad, it’s dangerous.

A review of my 2014 resolutions

Its been quite a year for me, the odd google plus video above is just a tiny slice of my hectic but great year.

This year I thought I would do  something a little different following metadating and another year of the quantified self. Following a bit of a twitter chat with Herb and Zoe, I thought I’d give Stephen Wolfram a run for his money (not!) Here’s some of what happened this year.

I  spent 6 days, 10 hours, 50 minutes watching 213 episodes over the past year.

I spent 1 week, 2 days, 19 hours, 35 minutes watching 111 movies over the past year.

Top 10 artists I listen to this year…

  1. Digital Italic
  2. Twit.tv
  3. Mauro Picotto
  4. Placebo
  5. Marco V
  6. Simon Patterson
  7. Gaia
  8. 2 Many DJ’s
  9. Sander Van Doorn
  10. Ferry Corsten

So how did I do on last years resolutions?

Baking a cake

  1. Go to a new part of the world
    Yeah this didn’t happen unless you count north Wales as a different part of the world. Unfortunately the holiday to Jamaica didn’t happen when my parents moved house. I’m already looking at Tokyo prices for 2015.
  2. Use my Task list more
    Success, I certainly used it a lot more but I could still do with better ways to do offline tasks. I am intrigued about the differences between using task to remember stuff and tasks to refer to stuff.
  3. Bake a bloody cake
    Ahhhh! The cake is not a lie… Well Sarah’s Banana bread/loaf suggestion may did happen while I was down in Bristol with my parents. Yes its easier but frankly it removes the temptation to bake Victoria sponge’s all the time. Following instructions or a recipe is something I always found painful. However I’m finally going to remove it from my list! Not to say I won’t ever make one again.
  4. Ride the bloody Smiler
    Not only have I rode the smiler this year, I think in total I have done 16+ times (sorry I lost count of how many times now, should be quantifying my rides) and boy oh boy have I loved it. The longest wait must be 1 hour 20mins in the single riders queue. Next year I’m considering get another yearly pass because its been great fun riding in Alton Towers and Thorpe Park when it was April and May.
  5. Improve my circus skills
    This year was ideal for circus skills but I rarely went out and did any. I did make it to the Cholton Circus house event once and its in my calendar now at least. Maybe next year?
  6. Move away from GoDaddy
    I’m fully away from Godaddy. Moved my blog, emails and domain to hover and WPengine. Another one marked off the list.
  7. Surround myself in higher thinking
    This is certainly happening, I generally don’t watch much live transmitted TV anyway but this year I’m watching far far less. Generally I’m watching either on-demand TV shows or something educational from Youtube. The chromecast has helped with this I have to say, Xbmc is cool but the chromecast has made the process super simple. My podcast listening has increased too with things like Freakonomics. I also messed with my twitter followers a little, so generally I’m getting higher thinking stuff. My ianforrester account follows all my friends instead.
  8. Scooter into another country
    So May/June was amazing. I did the simple option of driving through Wales, although the mountains were incredible. but I clocked up 403 miles during that trip alone. Myself and Oli Wood are talking about doing something next year, so expect to hear more soon.
  9. Use social media to stay in touch with friends
    I started off well but then kind of lost my way in the middle of the year. I guess removing Facebook from my phone was always going to cause a issues and not enough friends use other platforms daily. I did do a little social experiment to see what I should do next year, around a Christmas card on G+ and FB.
  10. Pick up the family genealogy
    With the help of Sarah, my insane family tree is on genealogy.co.uk. I can’t believe how much they charge but we have identified quite a few of the family who are already using it and could take it onwards.
  11. Live the life I choose
    Dave commented on my thoughts about the hyperconnected world we are heading into.

    As I believe in the hyper-connected world we’re moving into. My bets are against hierarchy and traditional. Maybe there is a word which sums this up?

    My assumption would be something like dynamic linking. However Dave suggests that word I’m looking for is Heterarchy.
    …enough i hear you cry, how did it go this year?

    So this year I stuck to my principles and I believe are seeing signs which are fruitful. I reached out for better advice to better manage and use my dyslexia to further my own career. Also next year will be the 5 year anniversary of mybrushwithdeath.

  12. Sort out my love life and finish the book
    Been put myself out there and attended many weird and wonderful events. I also started dating different women again, hey you never know (opposites attract?) The book is still being written (slowly) but its more difficult as the dates I been on in 2014 have not been anywhere as bad, I’m also trying to remember some of the older dates. I could make up drama but everything to date has been written on top of the truth.

Banana bread

Films you may have missed in early 2014

Locke
Locke

Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) has worked hard to craft a good life for himself. Tonight, that life will collapse around him. On the eve of the biggest challenge of his career, Ivan receives a phone call that sets in motion a series of events that will unravel his family, job, and soul.

I heard about this film but watching it on the independent cornerhouse screen was great. Its a very simple concept but digs deep into the emotion of multitasking human communication. If you get a chance this is a film which must be seen. Tom Hardy is fantastic in this film, yes his accent isn’t great but the plot makes up for this.

.
The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet

A 12-year-old cartographer secretly leaves his family’s ranch in Montana where he lives with his cowboy father and scientist mother and travels across the country on board a freight train to receive an award at the Smithsonian Institute.

Charming film with a quirky but playful plot. Its a beautifully shot film and won’t get much attention which is a shame. Lovely plot and interesting outcome.

Lucy
Lucy

A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

Under the Skin
Under the Skin

Jonathan Glazer’s atmospheric, visually arresting abstraction stars Scarlett Johansson as a seductive alien who prowls the streets of Glasgow in search of prey: unsuspecting men who fall under her spell, only to be consumed by a strange liquid pool.

Lucy feels like Limitless but something there is something special about it. Its got all the set pieces but throws in a bunch of reasonable stuff about evolution. I can’t help but feel Lucy wouldn’t have happened unless the director had seen her in Under the skin. I mean Scarlett Johansson is great (hey I’m fan) and I tend to love the roles shes in but Lucy and Under the Skin really showed shes got a lot more depth to the roles she takes.

Mindscape
Mindscape

A man with the ability to enter peoples’ memories takes on the case of a brilliant, troubled sixteen-year-old girl to determine whether she is a sociopath or a victim of trauma.

This is like a cross between inception and the cell. Although the movie does drag a little, the concept is a intriguing one and the twist does come as a bit of a shock.

Edge of tomorrow
Edge of tomorrow

Major Bill Cage (Cruise) is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously demoted and dropped into combat. Cage is killed within minutes, managing to take an alpha alien down with him. He awakens back at the beginning of the same day and is forced to fight and die again… and again – as physical contact with the alien has thrown him into a time loop.

Tom Cruise again is at it. Hate the guy but love his acting. Edge of tomorrow feels like sourcecode but crossed with oblivion. The results is a sometimes laugh out loud funny film (Doug Liman is good at that) which has its dark moments. Lots of lessons to be learned from it but without being too preachy. Tom once again plays next to a strong English female role. Last time Andrea Riseborough in Oblivion and now Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow, and boy oh boy is Emily great in this film. Just don’t be put off by Tom Cruise, go watch it

Bad wolves
Big Bad Wolves

A series of brutal murders puts the lives of three men on a collision course: The father of the latest victim now out for revenge, a vigilante police detective operating outside the boundaries of law, and the main suspect in the killings – a religious studies teacher arrested and released due to a police blunder.

I don’t know where to go with this film. Its brutal, disturbing and crafty put together. Its also funny in parts  like a tarantino film but its certainly not. I would put this in the same kind of category as Oldboy and  Ichi the Killer. Well worth seeking out if you like your comedy pitch black and action slightly twisted?

13 Sinds
13 Sins

A bright but meek salesman, drowning in debt as he’s about to get married, receives a mysterious phone call informing him that he’s on a hidden camera game show where he must execute 13 tasks to receive a multi-million dollar cash prize.

I’m not one for horror type films but I like a great thriller. Concept is simple, but as you can imagine the tasks quickly ramp up to insanity. Its interesting to see where the balance of shame, greed and sunk costs come together.

Filth
Filth

A bipolar bigoted junkie cop, manipulates and hallucinates his way through the festive season in a bid to secure promotion and win back his wife and daughter.

I didn’t know what to expect but thought I’d give it a try. It didn’t look great and I was giving it the thumbs down till the twist when it all clicked and I was seeing parallels with Trance.

fault in our stars
The Fault in Our Stars

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a patient named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Not my usual kind of film but I watched it anyway, interested in the neat innocent relationship which was developing between the two main characters. Like Filth, Trance, Mindscape, etc, the twist comes as bit of a shock. I’m sure people will see it from a mile off but to be honest I wasn’t expecting a twist, so when it came it really hit home. Good film to remind you about the important things in life.

Films you might have missed recently

I watch a lot of films (and that doesn’t even include the ones in the cinema)… So in my usual style, here’s a list of ones you may have missed (also made a Top10 list), which are certainly worth watching… I’m adopting part of the Simon Lumb approach to film reviews

  • Entitled
    More twists and turns than a spinning twitter… Will have you thinking and scratching your head for a while. Its smart and clever, if you like smart films with plenty of twists and believable characters this one you will like. If you like well written dramas like Cracker, Dexter, etc. You will enjoy this one.
  • The Ledge
    I saw this film and then later saw a trailer for a film called Man on the Ledge. I thought they were the same film renamed but after a little look on imdb, I discovered they were different in everything but concept and plot. Maybe its this years Liberty stands still/Phonebooth, Armageddon/Deep Impact, etc, etc. Either way, the ledge is a gripping film which surprises and delights. Say its a heist movie gives away too much. You will certainly like it if you like Liberty stands still or Phonebooth, you will also enjoy it if you like heist movies like Heat and Takers. Don’t watch it if you like cheese…
  • Trust
    The story about a girl who is groomed online by a older man, and the reaction from the parents. It starts simply enough and you think well Clive Owen is going to smash someones face in at some point. But then comes the real emotion that the girl doesn’t feel like she wasn’t raped and the other half (the interesting half) is how the family deal with this. Expect a lot of shouting and slamming doors… If you liked Hard Candy, this isn’t for you. Its gritty and takes its matter very seriously.
  • The Perfect Host
    This film is very surprising… You think you have its back then it transforms into something more align to a scene in American Psycho. Once again, you think its a simple plot and easy to follow but it gets very very dark. To the point where your wondering where things took a turn for the worst. If you enjoyed the Last Supper then you will enjoy this. Don’t watch it if your after action and love your Fraser heart throb.
  • Middle Men
    The tale of two men who stumble across a way to make serious money off the new media porn industry . Its very adult in nature and frankly a bit of fun till it all goes wrong as different people get involved and they end up ripping each other off. If you liked the Social Network, August or Startup dot com or work in the field of online, you will like this film a lot.
  • Soul Surfer
    This one is the tale of a lady surfer who over came amazing disability to carry on doing what she loves. Its a heart felt tale and knowing its a true story elevates it in to this list. I’m a bit of a sucker for these kinds of a story and who wouldn’t be? Inspirational and touching. Something for those who like real stories and don’t mind a little teenager emotion. Its a cheesy in part but its held together by the real life story
  • Wrecked
    Very much like Burried but more like 127hours where not everything is so focused on one single scene. Things do happen outside the one scene and are shown on the screen for all to understand what happened. I don’t know if I would recommend it over 127 hours but I certainly would recommend it over Burried. If you like either, you will like Wrecked.
  • The Veteran
    This is a broody guts and all type movie. It feels like gangster number one, but lacks the polish. Its gritty and a bit cheeky in parts but a good watch and worth seeking out if it comes across your scope.

 


If you liked these recommendations, theres even more dotted around my blog. [1][2][3][4]

My New Year Resolutions of 2009

So its about time to start looking into the future again and making those resolutions… Looking at the previous ones for 2009 things have not gone exactly to plan.

  1. Go skiing on real snow
    Didn’t happen, will have to carry this one over…
  2. Work and execute a Alternative Reality Game
    Also didn’t happen, but I may have to sub this one for writing a book
  3. Build up a better routine
    Its starting to happen but not quite yet, but give it a little more time and things will be better. I’m going start getting up earlier and go to bed earlier that currently.
  4. Work smarter, with less pace and less stress
    This is happening, but there is still smarter ways I could be working. I’ll try and document some of this too of course.
  5. Go out more and be live more heathly
    Yep, I think I’ve drunk more beer and wine this year that ever before. So I’m certainly going out a lot more but living more heathly, not quite. This year that will change.
  6. Be more daring with matters of the heart
    Yeah I’m not doing so bad there… Between OKCupid, Speed Dating, etc I’ve done a reasonable job enjoying myself and not holding back.
  7. Start organising Werewolf and Werewolf+ nights in the North
    Started well but dropped the ball a bit half way through the year when barcamp, tedx, etc kicked in. I should certainly get this going again, as I do enjoy a good game of Werewolf.
  8. Build a web application
    So I got a couple of kick ass ideas which I do want to build and with my new thoughts about using Xquery instead of Python, means I’m a lot more likely to build what I’m thinking in my spare time.
  9. Blog every film I watch
    So I started doing this via twitter using the hashtags film and movie but due to twitters archiving system, they got sucked away before I noticed. Someone pointed me towards 140 film review. So who knows maybe I might use that or come up with some simple Xquery to pull my reviews into a storage container using Twitter/Indenti.ca
  10. Read more
    This has happened a lot, since I bought my ebook reader I’ve read about 15 books in about 4x the speed I usually would. I can see this increasing in the future.
  11. More Trance music
    I’ve not done may trance mixes recently but once I get this competition mix out the way I’ll be uploading them regularly again. I’m also making a habit of listening to Armin Van Buuren and other dj shows at work and making a note of top tunes. I also noticed I spent about 150 pounds last year on tunes from AudioJelly and Juno.
  12. Lots more graphics
    Yep this is happening, I’m also getting faster at drawing in inkscape and explaining the after graphics. I’m hoping next year to be able to do complete presentations based on the graphs alone. I’m also going to start using some of the techniques Dan Roam uses in the back of the napkin