Movie and book review

Since I’m suffering from an ailment that begins with the letter ‘D’, resulting in frequent trips to the loo, I’m back at home. Anyway, it’s about time I updated this blog!

Movie review: Brokeback Mountain

Last week, I watched Brokeback Mountain with some friends. Interestingly it was an almost all-girl outing. I often wonder why some straight guys shy away from any mention of the word ‘gay’. Jesus ate with tax collectors. We shouldn’t marginalise other human beings just because they’re different.

Anyway, the movie itself was what I had expected it to be. The acting was riveting, and silences spoke words. Personally I thought it would have been better if they had either lived together immediately (and risked getting lynched), or forgotten about the whole thing and brought up their own families. Trying to have their own cake, and eating it every four years or so, is kind of difficult, especially for simple-minded cowboys who think their wives don’t know what they’re doing.

Based on my little knowledge of psychology, another thing which interested me was the family background of the two men. Both felt unwanted, and had low self-esteem. I haven’t read the book but it sounded like a lot of thought went into crafting these characters.

Geek news

I succumbed to the Mixed Grill offer two weeks ago, but am still waiting for my Strongspace and Joyent accounts to be set up. On scouring the forum, it appears that most of us just have to wait a bit longer.

The reason why I decided to sign up with Dean Allen and team was that when things go wrong on my current server, my queries are ‘outsourced’ and sometimes the answers I receive are not so intelligent. To be fair, things have been pretty calm in the last couple of months, but the next time something major happens, at least I know I have a permanent space elsewhere that I can move all my stuff to.

Book review: A Whole New Mind

Which leads on to a long-overdue book review. I greatly enjoyed reading Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind because he has a lot of foresight and gives advice on how to adapt in this new Conceptual Age. Essentially, the Information Age is over. Some jobs can be done more cheaply overseas, at the fraction of your salary. How do we adapt ourselves, so that we can still remain relevant at work? He shows you how, in an open-minded way that doesn’t involve Machiavellian tactics.

My favourite chapter is on ‘Design’ – how we should strive to look at ordinary things in different ways, and improve on them. My own work experience has been a melting pot of different trades – designing, consulting, writing newspaper columns and software reviews, producing music, blogging. So I relate well to it. Another chapter I liked was ‘Story’. How people remember stories better than numbers, and how you can make them remember things better by using the former.

‘Empathy’ was another thing we could have more of. I’ve had my fair share of mindless cold calls from people who don’t really care about you – and many customers can sense if that’s the case. Kindness and understanding is increasingly rare in cut-throat industries, where only the bottomline seems to matter.

Pink’s writing style is also easy to digest. Busy people can appreciate that they don’t have to plough through this book. For its delightful insights, and for making me read it over and over again, A Whole New Mind is my favourite book for 2005.

(Yes, this review is slightly overdue, isn’t it!)