About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

13 November 2010

The 6 Month iPad review

It has been just over 6 months since I got my iPad. When I bought it, I did not really have too many ideas on what I would use it for. 6 months later it has become an essential tool, which although not irreplaceable, is certainly useful. And surprisingly, I use it most often at work. And over the last few months a number of colleagues phase joined me with their own iPads and there seems to be a corporate move to approve it for all.

The biggest use in a work setting, is taking notes in meetings, and the calendar and email functionality. The email application on the iPad is stunning, and integrates very well with Microsoft Exchange. The setup is quick, and in fact it can be argued that it is faster to set it up on the pad than it is on Windows! Likewise, the calendar function also integrates well and easy to use. One gripe, is that it does not seem to work well with proxies, or specifically proxies that have domain based authentication. It's not that much of an issue, but it does limit the functionality of certain applications and uses in the work environment.

Other than that, it is great for reading PDF documents, and the great battery life means that it is great on long flights. I have flown Boston to Berlin, via Frankfurt on a single charge, and spent most of the flight watching Ted videos or reading ebooks. I have a number of mini games, which are also entertaining, although some of them do seem to drain the battery life very quickly.

Surprisingly, I have found browsing on the iPad to be fairly annoying. This probably has to do with the way browse the web, and the iPad still lacking multitasking functionality. I per to open a number of windows and tabs and then switch between them,usually reading one tab while waiting for another to load. On the iPad, pages seem to reload every time I switch tabs, so it becomes quite annoying. The lack of flash is usually not an issue, except for sites like Ster-Kinekor and Computicket.

The iPad's keyboard is not awesome for very long periods, but it is usable and surprisingly accurate, even with moderately good typing speeds. This post was written on the iPad, but this is probably the longest single typing piece I have done.

10 November 2010

Movie: Half a Confession

The Japanese Film Festival is one of the older film festivals on the Sterkinekor circuit; and this year it was showing in Pretoria last weekend, Cape Town this weekend and Johannesburg the following weekend. The selection of movies is small (5 movies) across 2 days; and the Pretoria/Jo'burg screening opportunity allows the possibility of seeing a few without spending the whole weekend at the cinema.

Half a Confession, revolves around the story of a decorated and well respected detective, who hands himself in after killing his wife. However, this is really euthanasia (or mercy killing) as opposed to murder - so it apparently is a fairly easy case; except that the detective does not wish to reveal what he did for 2 days between killing his wife and handing himself over; and is seemingly trying to protect someone.

Ultimately, while the storyline play itself out; the reason why the detective refuses to reveal his secret (or rather admit to it) becomes confusing - unless there is a cultral reference that just does not translate. It is a great drama - but was the drama actually meaningful and even necessary is somewhat lost in translation.

The movies focus on euthanasia, organ donation, trauma etc. is also a powerful angle; and is certainly a stand out point. However, even this is due to (comparative) cultural acceptance of mercy killing and suicide - I doubt a movie made in the US would eve dare to take on the subject in a similar fashion.

The movie is well acted, and if you are in CT or Jo'burg - it is worth watching.

07 November 2010

The Girl in the Yellow Dress

It has been a long time since I went to a proper theatre production, although this fact is more due to laziness than a lack of opportunity. In fact, I think this is the first proper theatre production I have been to since I left Cape Town! So, I was looking for something different to do, and the Market Theatre's current production looked very interesting.

The play has a rich history of collaboration and past success (according to the blurbs posted on the Market Theatre's site at least) - debuted in the Grahamstown Festival, sold out shows in the Edinburgh Festival, it is certainly loud in its self promotion. This nicely ties into the overall theme of the story itself, which claims that the play was "originally inspired by Ovid's story Echo and Narcissus and psychoanalytic writings on narcissism".

It is a two person play, set in Paris, featuring Celia (and English, English teacher with some sort of a dark secret) and Pierre (a Congolese-French student, with an equally mysterious past). The humour is often driven by the complexities of the English language (I don't recall my English teachers dwelling on the complexities of past passive participles), while the drama is driven by the character's respective past histories and the complex stories they weave.

It is a very slick production, and highly enjoyable. The entire play takes place in Celia's living room, and the intimate confines of the Market Theatre's Laager Theatre, makes it a perfect venue for this production.

Market Theatre Blurb:

The Girl in the Yellow Dress premiered at the National Grahamstown Arts Festival followed by sold-out seasons at both the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town and the Traverse Theatre for the duration of the Edinburgh Festival. It then transferred to Live Theatre in Newcastle, the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow and the Stockholms Stadsteater before coming home to the Market Theatre. Craig Higginson's second original play, The Girl in the Yellow Dress, is an exciting collaboration between the Market Theatre and two of the UK's most prestigious theatres. ..more info
Originally inspired by Ovid's story Echo and Narcissus and psychoanalytic writings on narcissism, The Girl in the Yellow Dress is set in contemporary Paris and deals with the exchanges between Celia, a beautiful English teacher in her late twenties, and Pierre, her younger French-Congolese pupil.
Brimming with humour, rage and longing, this celebrated new South African play provides a minute exploration of an increasingly hazardous romantic entanglement and an insight into some of the tensions between the 'first' and 'third' worlds. Part psychological thriller and part a State of the Nation analysis, it tackles issues such as language, power, identity, sex, past trauma, class, exile and refugees - tensions that run through South African society and beyond.
Malcolm Purkey, Artistic Director of the Market Theatre and best known for his international hit Sophiatown, directs leading UK actress Marianne Oldham (nominated for the prestigious Stage Award for this production) in the role of Celia, and emerging South African talent Nat Ramabulana as Pierre.
Reviews from the Edinburgh Festival
"Higginson . is clearly gifted. He not only filters pressing concerns about race, prejudice and power through a highly charged two-hander, but he wraps it all up in a witty discourse about language itself." - Daily Telegraph
"..it is unusual and fascinating to see a play investigate the extent to which words can shape our thoughts and feelings as much as vice versa." - Financial Times
"exposes some painfully ugly truths about race and class, wealth and victimhood . written and directed with great skill." - Scotsman (Pick of the Festival)
"Higginson's slick, precise dialogue builds the tension . There is, quite plainly, a formidable intellect at play.This piece challenges our received assumptions about ideology, language and sexuality to strong effect and comes recommended to thoughtful audiences." - The List
"a spell-binding two-hander.You'd be hard pressed to find a sexier scene this festival than the shared naked foot stroking that turns nasty, then violent. Marianne Oldham is the new Maggie Smith." - What's On Stage
"..this gripping two-hander is a highlight of the Traverse programme." - Evening Standard