What makes me tick

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If its important enough, you will find a way otherwise, you will find an excuse.

Play hard, work a bit harder.

To do is to be.

Never feel sorry for yourself. Remember, if you are traning hard, he may be training twice as hard. You just gotta keep coming back stronger.

 

Guilty Pleasures TV – Roundup May 2011

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I’ve probably been watching a little too much television lately but I tell myself its just a coincidence that all 4 of my television guilty pleasures turn up at once at this time of the year!

The annual extravaganza that is Eurovision came to an end last week  and while I may have discussed Lithuania in my previous post, I considered Italy as my top favourite and I was blown away by how it achieved 2nd place in the finals. I hope this opens the way for Eurovision to be taken more seriously as it was a real song, with real artistic merit. I also think it adds to the growing case for live instruments to be permitted on stage given how the piano and trumpets were so important to the song and performance.

Survivor also came to an end on Sunday with Rob Mariano taking the 1 million dollar prize after 4 tries at the reality show. A more controversial series than others, it involved a major gameplay twist with ‘Redemption Island’, one tribe (Rob’s) dominating the whole game and an argument over rice which turned into a racial issue. The season started off well and has plenty of interesting players from the off however as the momentum began to swing more and more in one tribe and one man’s favour, the show became predictable. The next series is planned to include the same concept – Redemption island and two returning players. I think this is actually the right decision. Redemption Island still has potential, particularly earlier on in the game and the two returning players idea is fine as long they’re challenged by their tribes as anyone else would be and as Russell was in this series. The concept needs some ‘redemption’ and I don’t think its beyond that. Just needs the right conditions and a few tweaks to work so I remain optimistic!

The Apprentice (UK) started last week and its already shaping up to be a good one. More on this in another post!

Desperate Housewives came to an end last week too. It was a great season and its the best one since they took the show forward by five years in my opinion. The humour was darker like in the older series, the plot had a lot more momentum and character development of all the characters came on in leaps and bounds this time. I almost didn’t watch this season because I believed the show had run out of steam after the eco terrorist plot of the last season but this was certainly a return to form.

So that’s my yearly ‘guilty pleasures’ roundup. Thanks for reading if you got this far and didn’t lose interest! :)

ESC Semi 1 – Results

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So my prediction that Lithuania wouldn’t be overlooked after all came true at the expense of other entries such as Norway’s ‘Haba Haba’ (a bookies favourite at times during the run up to the contest). I think that last night’s results put paid to the idea that all a Eurovision song needs is to be ‘memorable’. True, its still important but repetitive lyrics, uptempo song and dance and pyrotechnics/wind machines and other gimmicks are not the only way to do well in the contest. There was a real mix of countries and genres going forward from last night and the final is already shaping up to be a good one.

My favourites among the finalists from Semi 1 are Lithuania, Georgia, Switzerland and Finland (in that order…ok and maybe Hungary :P).

Here’s a recap of last night’s performances:

I plan to post an update after the second semi-final and then my thoughts (in some detail) on the final itself.

After that, my posts will be a little more sporadic for a few weeks as I focus on my upcoming exams but the blog will remain active. :)

Eurovision 2011 Starts Tonight!

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My biggest guilty pleasure. I’ve watched this every year for several years now and it never gets old.

This year notables include Blue making a comeback and representing UK, Jedward doing their thing for Ireland, last year’s winner, Lena returning for Germany.

This year, its tougher than usual to call who might win but there has been a buzz about France, Ireland and the UK as well as Hungary, Norway and Bosnia Herzegovina at different times during the long run up to the contest.

Lithuania’s entry however hasn’t been on the radar at all (and actually had more dislikes than likes on the preview video posted by the BBC on Youtube) but I think it may actually do quite well if only because among all the uptempo songs this year, this ballad by a talented vocalist could stand out and gather some support.

Eurovision isn’t all just cheesy pop, there’s lots of variety in the show these days and with the new voting system and Germany’s victory last year, its been proven that the contest is no longer dominated so much by neighbourly voting. There will always be naysayers because this is Eurovision but its all in good fun whether the music itself is coming from X Factor stars, Jedward or Opera singer Amaury and everything in between.

Osama Bin Laden’s Death – Conclusive?

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BBC : Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden dead – Barack Obama

After 10 years (more really but since 9/11), billions of dollars, thousands of lives both civilian and military America’s most wanted is dead. This is certainly an interesting take on the term ‘brought to justice’.
Could this event act as a watershed to help people across America and the World move on from the events of a decade ago. Sadly, with Iraq and Afganistan still volatile, I doubt it.

^A comment I found on the BBC site (linked above) which basically repeats what I think about this. Concerns remain; there still remains the infrastructure, influential individuals and attitudes to ensure that the ideologies behind Islamic fundamentalism and continuing American provocation of the people of the Middle East, still have ongoing currency.

Aside from the possibility that there will be a galvanisation of attitudes as a result of this development, the long term will have to see a real effort, not on bringing one man ‘to justice’ but as another poster from the BBC comments put it:

…Until you fully address the problems that recruits folks to their philosphy - poverty, deprivation, lack of education, and demonisation of other faiths – you’re not tackling the root of the problem. A start on this has been made, but far more could (and needs to) be done, I think.

While Osama Bin Laden’s death has been declared as something conclusive, in reality, it is anything but conclusive.

Take a moment…

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Sometimes all it takes is to just stop and look at the sky or your natural surroundings to recentre yourself, gather your thoughts and feel happier.

This is one of the best things about the Summertime, it brings out all the best in the natural world, so its no surprise when we get opportunities to experience the simple pleasures of a warm day with a blue sky that while sitting outside on the grass, we all instinctively feel happier during this time.

With that romantic spirit, I’ll leave off on today’s post with a song from Eddie Vedder.

Discovery of the Week I – Dave Kaye

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Using sites like Spotify, 8tracks and last.fm, I like to find out about musicians and music I haven’t yet heard of. Doing this keeps my library of music fresh and varied. My taste in music is pretty eclectic but I guess you could roughly sum it up as a mixture of alternative and folk-acoustic-downtempo or rock-electronic-uptempo depending on my mood.

With that said, I want to share my discovery this week:

Dave Kaye

He’s a multi instrument playing folk musician who lives in Italy and I found his music on Spotify while looking for the more well known version of ‘Half the World Away’ (This guy also has a track by the same name).

http://www.myspace.com/davekaye

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