Good Luck Lebanon!

Update: For those asking how to watch the game online, you can use the LBC live stream link. Or this link in case LBC’s bandwidth dies.

Lebanon is playing the UAE today in a very crucial game on its way to qualify to the 2014 World Cup, to be held in Brazil.

After a surprising and very exciting win against South Korea last November, Lebanese football has gained great momentum with people and officials. You only need to look at any Lebanese’s Facebook timeline to see how enthusiastic everyone is about this game.

Lebanon needs to draw or win against UAE to advance to the next and final round where we’ll have to play eight extra games over the course of 2012 and 2013 in order to qualify. For a full analysis regarding the situation, check out this link.

As it stands, the ranking of all four teams in group B is as follows:

Wikipedia has everything

Even if we lose and Kuwait doesn’t win, we’d still advance. I’m not sure if we have an upper hand in any of our games. Don’t call me unpatriotic but I don’t want to be foolishly optimistic.

Either way, the Lebanese national football team has proven itself to be the little team that could. Hopefully its recent streak of victories will get sponsors to notice it more and start to splurge in giving it the proper equipment and training it needs to shine more than it is currently doing.

Good luck Lebanon. Let’s kick some Emirati as*!


Samsung Street Challenge: Galaxy Note vs iPhone – Big Failure!

It looks like Samsung isn’t bored of taking on Apple’s users with its ads. The latest is a street challenge where they got an iPhone user with a Galaxy Note user and asked them to perform three different tasks with the phone.

Needless to say, the Galaxy Note performed all three. The iPhone? None.

Let’s get a few things straight.

1) There’s a simple app to crop someone’s face on the iPhone.

2) The maps app actually allows you to draw trajectories. It’ even automated. You don’t have to hold a stylus to draw a road.

3) Keynote, anyone?

The only thing this “ad” does is expose the iPhone user as pretty much clueless. Not only does she have absolutely no freaking idea what to do with her phone, I don’t think she should be owning a smartphone in the first place.

Either way, if your idea of an awesome phone is a brick against your ear, then fine by me. But these ads that insult a viewer’s intelligence need to stop. Oh and did Samsung forgot to get the memo that styluses are not “in” anymore with modern day technology?

Russel Peters Coming to Lebanon in March

Famous Indo-Canadian comedian Russel Peters is coming to Lebanon again on March 24th for a standup comedy event at Platea Hall.

Ticket prices range from $100 to $40 (pretty acceptable if you ask me) and can be bought from Virgin Ticketing Box Office online or at their stores.

This wouldn’t be the first time Peters visited Lebanon. In fact, Lebanese people and our partying has been a fixture in his shows. I’m actually excited about attending this. Are you?

Let’s hope he doesn’t end up having some 13th degree ties with Israel and that we actually get to enjoy his show without unnecessary drama.

The Hunger Games (Book Review) – Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games is the first book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. It is already a top seller and will soon be released as a motion picture, being one of 2012’s most anticipated releases.

The Hunger Games takes place in the nation of Panem, in a post-apocalyptic United States. The state is divided into twelve districts, each of which is specialized in a trade, all centered around the Capitol. Each year, the Capitol holds The Hunger Games, an event to remind all twelve districts of their submission to the power of the Capitol. Why? A few years prior, there were thirteen districts with District 13 starting an uprising against the Capitol. The revolution failed and District 13 was eradicated and so arose The Hunger Games, whose is quite simple: a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18 are selected as tributes through a lottery to represent their respective district in The Hunger Games. The  total of 24 candidates will then battle each other to the death, as all 12 districts are forced to watch their sons and daughters getting killed and killing. The winner gets a life of ease, which in the harsh world of Panem is almost tempting enough to enter the games. Some districts actually train their youngsters for the games.

Katniss Everdeen and Gale Hawthorn are best friends from District 12. They also have their names in the lottery more than once as a way to get food to their hungry families. Their chances for getting selected are rather high. But both their names are not drawn. Instead, Katniss’ sister, Primrose, is selected – with her name being in the lottery once. In a burst of courage, Katniss volunteers to take her sister’s place. Gale is also not selected and instead Peeta Mellark is chosen as the male representative of District 12. Together, Katniss and Peeta are taken to the Capitol where they will try their best to build an image that will help them while inside the games, not knowing that there’s way more going on behind the scenes than they know and that the slightest “wrong” move on their part will cost them dearly.

The Hunger Games is probably one of the most riveting books you might read. The action goes on at breakneck pace, not leaving any dull moment for you to take in what has passed or think about what might happen. You cannot let the book down before finishing it. I had to learn this the hard way with a major exam coming up and finding myself reading this book instead of my anatomy textbook.

Don’t let the fast pace undermine the book’s value, however. The book is perfectly paced. It doesn’t linger on sequences more than it should and, seeing as it’s a book about life and death, it doesn’t dwell on details that are irrelevant to the ultimate goal of its characters: survival. The text may become violent at points, but it remains hypnotizing and chilling.

Simply put,  it is one of those books, which are immensely suspenseful, that will get glued to the palm of your hand and refuse to let go until you turn the last page, only finding out that the story has not been fully resolved and you’ll have to read the second book, Catching Fire, to know what happens next. And before you know it, you have that book in your hands and you’re at it again. The Hunger Games takes you aboard its cycle and doesn’t let you go. Even the love triangle, which the author tries to set up, becomes irrelevant to you as a reader with everything else going on in the book.

At the end of the day, The Hunger Games, despite being totally rooted in fiction, has strands of real-life intertwined in it. There’s humor, there’s treason, there’s death, there’s love, there’s life, there’s loss, there’s pain. All in a couple hundred pages. A must-read, definitely.

9/10

The Battle of Homs: A Video from inside the Syrian Revolution

A French photojournalist named Mani was brave enough to take footage from inside the battles currently taking place in the Syrian city of Homs, called by many as the capitol of the revolution.

The video features scenes from gunfights, funerals, wounded & dead people…. It is possibly the first time such a report has been made of what’s going on inside Syria with almost every other footage from inside the city was being transmitted via mobile phones.

You might want to check out an earlier post as well: What Is Going On In Syria?

For now, I leave you with the video:

Thanks Beirutspring for the tip.

2012 Oscars Predictions: Who Will Win & Who Should Win

With the Oscars only a day away, and even though I won’t be tuning in, I figured I’d throw away some predictions just for the fun of it.

Best Picture:

Who will win: The Artist (my review)

Who should win: The Help (my review)

The Artist is more “artistic” perhaps, with it being a silent movie and all. But The Help is just so much more. The Help is a movie with a very deep and real story and it makes the book upon which it was based even better. The acting in both movies is phenomenal but The Help, as an ensemble, rises above The Artist. It ultimately goes down to this: if your preference is for out of the box movies, and by out of the box in this case we mean going retro, then you will go with The Artist. If your preference is for movies that will tug on your heartstrings and leave you, at their end, reflective on your life, then go with The Help. Which one has the momentum? The Artist. Which movie is the most prone to upset The Artist? The Help.

Best Actor:

Who will win: Jean Dujardin

Who should win: Jean Dujardin

I think with the momentum The Artist is garnering across award shows, and with his recent wins, Jean Dujardin should have enough momentum to snag his first Oscar. And quite frankly, the only thing working against him here is that Academy voters may be wary of voting for someone they’re not familiar with. But he was able to get audiences to connect with his character without uttering a single word. And that, by itself, is an achievment when compared with his fellow nominees.

Best Actress:

Who will win: Viola Davis

Who should win: Rooney Mara

Rooney Mara, in her chilling portrayal of Lisbeth Salander, has my vote for best actress. She wore her character like a glove and Lisbeth is definitely a much more difficult character to wear than say Aibeleen or even Margaret Thatcher. But Rooney Mara’s chances are next to zero. It’s all between Viola Davis and Meryl Streep. I think Academy voters take Meryl Streep for granted, that’s why Davis will have an oh-so-tiny edge over Streep and snag her first Oscar. Streep will be satisfied with breaking yet another of her records for most Oscar nominations.

Best Director:

Who will win: Michel Hazanavicius 

Who should win: Michel Hazanavicius 

To make a successful silent movie in 2012 is commendable. Michel Hazanavicius pulls it off. This puts him way above his fellow nominees who are only there before of their name, not because of the quality of their movies. Yes, I’m looking at you Terrence Malick and Alexandre Payne.

Best Supporting Actor:

Who will win: Christopher Plummer 

Who should win: Christopher Plummer

He has the momentum. His performance in the Beginners as a gay father who comes out late in life only to be diagnosed with terminal lung cancer after is quite chilling. And at 82, it’s high time he get his Oscar.

Best Supporting Actress:

Who will win: Octavia Spencer

Who should win: Octavia Spencer

As much as I want Jessica Chastain to take this, for The Help, I can’t but be delusional in wanting so. Octavia Spencer has almost had a flaw-free award season with her portrayal of Minnie and the Oscars will be her night. Regardless, I’d be more than happy with either of the women from The Help taking this. Berenice Bejo might be in for an upset though, depending on how big of a sweep The Artist is preparing. Either way, all three of them deserve it.

Best Animated Feature:

Who will win: Rango

Who should win: Puss in Boots

*cat in the background saying ouuu* – enough said, right? Puss in Boots is entertaining, funny and charming. Rango appeals to Oscar voters more with its more serious tone. You know where their votes are going.

Best Foreign Movie:

Who will win: A Separation (my review)

Who should win: A Separation

A Separation is an absolutely captivating tale of two Iranian families and how their lives intertwined due to some incidences all the backdrop of modern day Tehran. The screenplay is very well written, as is obvious by it being nominated for an Oscar as well. A Separation has also won every major award for foreign movies this year. Asghar Abbasi’s movie has this in the bag.

Other categories: 

Visual Effects: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (my review)

Original Score: The Artist

Makeup: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Cinematography: War Horse (my review)

Art Direction: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Costume Design: The Artist

Film Editing: The Artist

Sound Editing: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (my review)

Sound Mixing: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Adapted Screenplay: Moneyball (my review)

Original Screenplay: Midnight in Paris (my review)