Monday, March 29, 2010
It is set in the future. A big corporation now has the technology to mass-produce artificial organs and sell them (at a very high price) to people needing transplants. A lot of lives saved - until you are unable to pay your bill and then repo men come in and cut out the past due organs from your body - leaving the patients to die afterwards.
The tables are turned for one such repo man, he suffers an accident with a defibrillator machine and ends up with an artificial heart from The Union. Once a client himself, he could not face doing repo work anymore - yet he was not a good sales agent either. Pretty soon his bill is past due, after ninety days he becomes the target for his repo buddies. I didn't want to put too many spoilers in this post just in case you wanted to watch the movie.
It is an action-packed tale for adults with a surprise ending. It reminded me of a lot of old Keanu Reeves movies with sci fi slants, not in the special effects department, but the setting where the the main characters fled from the repo men. Decayed cities, trashed old buildings, no man's lands were always a big part of movies like these. I must admit I liked the first ending - what can I say, I'm an optimist.
And it made me think about what science can do to prolong a human life. We have long since known what our organs do, scientists have studied them thoroughly. So mass-producing artificial organs is quite believable. At first glance it seems like a great solution, but then comes the business side of it all - this movie puts this nightmarish business right in the viewers' faces. Maybe it's not such a good idea after all.
I liked the science fiction part of it, but it could have been better. This is a nice date movie though - so enjoy!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Enoteca Toscana was one of the few places that did not get bad reviews on Yelp - and with good reason. They serve great food! I read that the empanadas were good and my husband loves empanadas - the flaky pastry was the perfect foil for the delicious chicken stuffing. The portions were just right too. I had the Napoli panini, the ahi tuna tasted so delectable - you must try it when you find yourself here.
It was a Saturday night, they had wine tastings until 10 PM. Their ambiance was a play on a cozy Tuscan villa - they even had Under the Tuscan Sun playing on DVD to remind you of their motiff. They had this great musician playing the piano and singing great renditions of a contemporary selection of music. My husband and I had a great time!
If you ever find yourself in Camarillo - try Enoteca Toscana, you will not regret going! Thank you for the recommendation, Yelp reviewers - I would have hated to miss this place.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Of course, going to a mall always defeats my resolution to not spend money this week. So I did the least expensive activity I could think of - I bought a drink at Starbucks and found a comfortable, well-lighted seat to finish the last 20% of the book I was reading. When I sat down and brought out my Kindle there was this old Japanese-looking man who kept stealing glances at me from across the room. It was a little creepy - then I realized that he must like gadgets and must have just been admiring my eReader - or at least that's what I told myself. My coworkers have ogled it at one time or another - it just feels weird when it's a stranger doing the ogling.
But soon I was lost in Sophie Kinsella's ghost story (...and that's code for it's so good I forgot about the creepy man across the room). I fell in love with Sadie and her great niece, Lara. I love how they got to know each other, helped each other out and defended each other when it mattered. It was a paranormal tale about family - the good times, the bad times, the good relatives and the not-so-good ones. It was funny, emotional and refreshing - a signature Sophie Kinsella. I love her light-hearted tone, her ability to bring out emotions and her everyday heroines who always manage to find their extraordinary qualities along the way. Her novels are always entertaining and fun to read - it doesn't bring you down, it is in no way dark (...imagine, a ghost story that's not dark!) and the plot is always easy to relate to.
If you're looking for a great beach read that will brighten your mood and uplift your spirits, make sure to check out Twenties Girl! I give it two thumbs up!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
But a lot of online games like Second Life seem to take inspiration from SIMS and are very popular today. And now the movie, Gamer, takes it to a whole new level. Instead of Avatars - gamers control real people in a controlled environment called Society. It is a very perverted environment because inhibitions are forgotten by the player hiding behind his computer screen.
Another game, which can be likened to the violent video games of today spun off from the success of Society - it is called Slayers. Death row inmates are controlled by gamers and go into battle with real weapons and can be killed in game. If they survive 30 sessions then they are given their freedom. Kable has survived 28 and the creator of Slayers and Society wants him dead.
I was entertained by the plot, but couldn't imagine the premise of the movie happening in real life - at least I hope not. I feel very uncomfortable with surrendering my free will to anybody - especially since anybody can be corrupted because of our humanity.
It's a very techie look into the future, considering the popularity of video games today - not just with the youth, but with all generations. If you've ever held a controller in your hands, you'll probably enjoy the concept of this movie.
Have a great movie night at home - this movie is out on DVD!
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Julie had tried for four years to write a novel and get it published, finally giving up on doing so and taking a nine-to-five job as a mid-level executive talking to people about the 9-11 monument in ground zero. She feels that she can never finish anything she starts (sounds really familiar, right?) so when she decides on her Julie/Julia project - she gives herself a one-year deadline to go through Julia Child's entire book.
Along the way her character, relationships and career improve immensely - and by the end of the project she's offered a book deal and her book is turned into a movie. She feels that once her book is published she will finally be a writer - her husband reassures her that she already is. Sweet, right?
Julie's and Julia's respective husbands kind of reminds me of my husband too (of course, mine is much more attractive and dynamic). They are the perfect complement to writer-wives - supportive, encouraging, patient, understanding and always positive that their wives have talent.
Not everyone would be able to relate - this movie lost my husband midway into it - but for the many bloggers, writers, creatives out there who need inspiration, this is a must-see. Don't give up on your passion just because you can't get published. Don't bury your true self in something you just endure - keep trying to reach your goals, to live your dreams. Who knows, you may just find that one project that takes you all the way to where you want to go!
Thursday, March 04, 2010
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
My 83-year-old mother-in-law left us a voicemail saying she was going to her doctor Friday morning and she was afraid that the doctor might have her hospitalized like he had last week (without calling to inform us). So we tried calling her at home Friday morning to see if we could meet her at her doctor's or bring her there. She did not answer.
My mother-in-law does not have a cell phone - she had one that she was unable to figure out so I had discontinued her subscription. All I knew was the last name of the doctor she was going to and that it had something to do with her stomach again.
So I Googled the doctor's name. As Chinese family names go, there were probably hundreds of Dr. Lai's, but thanks to Google's local search, my results were narrowed down to nearby areas - the nearest of which was Monterey Park. The doctors' listings had their specialization, I found one that was a gastroenterologist - and whose first name sounded familiar. I called them up and they confirmed that my mother-in-law was in the waiting room.
I was able to check up on her all throughout her doctor's visit and was pleased to have found out that everything was ok. Now if only her transportation arrived in time, but that is another story for another time.
Google is part of my life. I Google everything, but this is the first time I have used it to locate someone. It definitely is a daily tool I use that makes my life infinitely easier.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
I've had several webOS updates since I bought my Palm Pre last November. The upgrades were always quick and non-intrusive. My phone got the webOS 1.4 update yesterday, it took more than the promised 15 minutes to get it installed properly. I think it was the longest upgrade time I ever experienced.
The first change I noticed was that every time I pulled up an app, a teal/grey rectangle appeared with the icon of the app in the middle before it loaded the actual app. I don't know about faster loading of apps, it seems about the same to me - having the time when the rectangle has the icon in the middle seems to add load time.
Video capture, yes it was added to my camera's functionality. I don't know if it's just me though, but being used to an SLR I am not too happy with the pictures or the video produced by my Pre. I did not purchase it to take pictures so this is not really a let down for me.
Enhanced CSS support - our company website is a full CSS driven website and it looks perfect on my Pre - except for the videos not showing up. It read our complex CSS styles perfectly - so this is a winner.
It allowed me more open apps and the transitioning between the apps was faster. I think the improvement to the multitasking features alone was worth the more than 15 minutes it took to upgrade my webOS. I found it really frustrating whenever I got the too many cards open error - one of the main reasons I bought this phone was because I can open multiple cards at the same time! So good job on this one.
Among the promised changes was a longer battery life. I have yet to thoroughly measure this, but I'll tell you how it goes when I do. Overall, it's quite a good upgrade. Keep up the good work, team! Hope your future prospects look brighter in the coming months.