Archive for the ‘ TheWeeklyReview ’ Category

One Year Anniversary; A Discussion of Lessons, Opinions, Columns, and Blogs, With Help From TheByteDaily

Date: April 11th, 2012

TheByteDaily

One Year Anniversary; A Discussion of Lessons, Opinions, Columns, and a Blog With Help From TheByteDaily

It began when I listened to Taylor Swift’s You Belong With Me, and decided that I had had enough; enough of her terrible music, enough of a lack of voiced opinion, and a lack means to voice such an opinion. After consulting with a few friends over the next few days, I registered a blog name with WordPress, opened a Twitter account to promote the blog, and began writing for TheByteDaily. The first article I ever wrote was, by all conceivable means, a literary mess that ended all too abruptly because I had run out of things to say. Ironically, by having had my fill of Swift’s music, I had found my appetite for discussing why I didn’t like her music all too satisfied. For one of the few times in my lifetime I was unable to say anything more about a given topic; for one of the first times ever, I had run out of an opinion to provide, and I relished every single minute of it (irony, no doubt, at its finest).

The first two months of writing had me publishing an article almost every single day, for no other reason than me having so much to say, and a forum that would actually respond when I said anything. The first few articles continued the pattern of ranting, and it wasn’t until I got my first bit of feedback, from a writer friend (who I’ve referenced a few times before) that I realized I actually needed to work on what I wanted to say before I said it. In every sense of the term, I realized I needed to plan and prioritize my opinion, so it would be read like an opinion piece, and less like a rant. It was also around this time that I learned that my opinions were often nothing more than trivial annoyances and that, if I wanted to have anyone continue reading my articles, they would need to be better written and, most importantly, better edited.

I like to think that, after the original consultation, the articles got better and were focused. I like to think that, after the original consultation, the articles I wrote had an overlying theme, in addition to an underlying message. I like to think that, after the original consultation, I more or less found a relative groove when it came to writing and that my writing was more fluid and melodic than when I began. That being said, I was also more than aware that my stances and point-of-views on issues would need to change and, if not change, then adapt.

My opinions remained constant, but it was my voice that adapted the most. I learned that, not every thought in my head was a good one, and I also learned that not every sentence that came to mind could be written down to match the flow of an article; I learned that not every opinion I had needed to be expressed in a single article, and I also learned that a single change in emphasis could ruin the entire thesis of a piece of literature. Finally, I learned that there were multiple ways to insert my opinion on two or three different topics by writing a single article, and that few little couldn’t be correlated to make a point.

It reduced the consistency of my updates, certainly, and what was originally a daily blog began to adhere to a tri-weekly, bi-weekly, and, quite often, weekly schedule. I still haven’t really found the perfect schedule to follow, but I have come to the conclusion that the only schedule I really need to follow is my own. The blog, quite frankly, has helped me come to the conclusion that my opinion is my own, and though it is affected by certain outside factors, the way I choose to defend it and uphold it is a choice that is mine. Hilariously, this has helped me learn that not everyone agrees with my opinion, and even fewer people care; it simply doesn’t change the fact that I have one. Time may have passed since the publication of my first article, but that is a fact that has remained steadfast: not everyone agrees with an opinion and, more often than naught, fewer people care.

Interestingly, this revelation helped lead me to an even more obvious fact: I write, not for other people, but for my own enjoyment. Certainly, I write and blog so that other people may become aware of my thoughts, and discuss them with me, but my work isn’t so much for other people as it is for me. It’s difficult to come to terms with this, considering the whole point of the blog was to broadcast my opinion, but in a metaphorical sense, TheByteDaily is akin to a personal journal; I write every few days or so, produce my opinions, stop writing, and return to complete the cycle (and to read. The only difference between a journal and the blog is that, while a journal is intended to be private, the blog is intended to be very public.

I digress, however, as finding a central theme to certain articles led to the expansion of the blog, what was once a source of opinion on anything that sparked my interest, from a moral, psychological, social, and philosophical point-of-view, became a source for opinions on the arts, and the absurdities of daily life. Certainly, TheByteDaily always had TheBytePost, but soon enough, the individual column for analysis branched out into TheByteScene and TheByteWeek, and these extensions produced a more narrow thesis for each article, allowing for a better written piece of literature. Of course, this also meant shorter and more succinct articles that didn’t carry on for three pages, though, once again, fluidity and a central thesis are also to thank.

In every sense of the word, the two columns that I added to TheByteDaily were created specifically so I could identify and categorize my daily musings, and while it would be just as easy to segregate everything into a single group (despite the oxymoronic nature of such a statement), I find that having three columns has actually helped me write better. By separating events into distinct categories, I’m able to change my tone, and adapt to writing in a different style. TheByteWeek is far more laid back than TheBytePost could ever hope to be, and TheByteScene is an amalgamation of the two; part opinion, part everything, and anything, else that it needs to be.

Of course, at one point, there was TheWeeklyReview, a small weekly column that I released every Saturday to sum up the week’s articles, and to discuss anything I wanted to talk about that couldn’t be put into article form. I do regret not being able to continue TheWeeklyReview, though its end marked the beginning of TheByteWeek; whether I lost anything is a rather fluid concept, though I can say that I gained the peace of mind knowing that I wasn’t letting myself down by not writing a weekly review every Saturday.

The future of the blog is difficult to ascertain and, quite frankly, even I don’t when (if ever) this blog will cease to have a contributor and writer. As such, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that, until such a time as I am unable to contribute, or find a suitable replacement, and until such a time as I feel my opinions don’t matter (which, quite frankly, may never happen), I will continue writing, producing, vocalizing, challenging, defending, and upholding my own opinion.

As always, this has been your Admin, the Avid Blogger; comment, subscribe, and criticize, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

The Late Review of a French Barbeque (TheWeeklyReview Issue 8)

Alright everyone, it’s that time of the week again; time for me to discuss what happened personally this week, and to discuss any ideas I’ve had that weren’t long enough for any other article! Well, that and to talk about the articles I did publish this week, or to just rant again (except with TheWeeklyReview, I’m ranting for a special occasion). Either way, without further ado, let’s begin TheWeeklyReview!

Although, before I begin, I’d like to first talk about the island hopping tour I took a few days ago. Or rather, I’d like to not talk about it; I’m certainly not going to discuss what I did or saw on the trip because I’ve come to the realization that it is actually impossible to talk about the island hopping tour. I’m not trying to segue into a discussion of the trip through some sort of reverse psychological maneuver, I’m genuinely stating that I can’t formulate words into a coherent sentence to describe what happened. Not because there’s nothing to talk about, but because whenever I do try to sit down and talk about it, only the most boring and preposterously mind numbing sentences come out of my mouth that entirely fail to encapsulate how much fun the day was. Now, in case anyone hasn’t noticed, I’m the kind of person who can literally talk about the most boring topics at no end and, when it comes to the tour, I’m physically incapable of creating and writing an interesting summary. Which is why, from this day onwards, I’m going to make sure that whenever I discuss the island hopping tour in question, I’m going to call it The Island Hopping Tour. Notice, if you will, the capitalization of all the words in that title; it’s very important that you understand how legendary The Island Hopping Tour is becoming in my mind; I don’t believe there ever was or will be a similar experience (mainly because I’ll actually be able to talk about everything else).

Moving away from my inability to talk about The Island Hopping Tour, this TWR (on a quick note, TWR stands for TheWeeklyReview, TBS stands for TheByteScene, and TBP stands for TheBytePost. Additionally, TBD stands for TheByteDaily, and TBC stands for TheByteCorner; this will be the last time I explain the abbreviations, I promise) has been delayed for about two or three days now, and I must be allowed to explain why. You see, the original plan was to release one more TBP before this week’s TWR, which was all going according to plan until I hit a matter of technical difficulty (and by technical difficulty, I mean I fell asleep; or I was too tired; or something like that) and thus, that didn’t happen. Furthermore, yesterday I was supposed to go to the same French restaurant that I did a few weeks ago (Le Petit Bistro, for a barbeque) and I was supposed to go to a wine tasting (at Anamandara; on a side note, I don’t actually drink, but the experience is always worth more). Piecing everything together, here’s what happens: the Barbeque at the French restaurant still happened at the set time (of 12 PM) and I left the location at 2 PM to return to my current area of stay (the hotel people, I went back to the hotel).

Around this time, I figured that I’d write a TBP to pass the time and to post online(this was going to be the promised TBP; the one before this week’s TWR); luckily, I finished that specific article and it’s on the blog now (I’ll link it with all the other articles at the end, just like always). However, the wine tasting was postponed due to bad weather (until today incidentally) and therefore, of the two things I had planned, only one was really realized into fruition. Thanks to that, I reasoned that I’d just write and post this week’s TWR today, however, it’s been far too long and I don’t think I can accept anymore delays on my part. Therefore, as it’s been said here we are now. I suppose I could promise that starting today the next TWR’s will be on time, but that would be illogical; circumstances change and as such, we adapt to what we can.

Speaking of which, I still haven’t said a word about the barbeque; Le Petit Bistro once again provided an absolutely delicious meal in a beautiful location with excellent staff and outstanding design. Though, in all fairness I can say that about just about any place and it would ring true, so let’s start with the food. The barbeque itself was set up a buffet where the meats and vegetables are constantly restocked in front of the patrons (it’s not really that different from what you’d expect a barbeque to be like) and, suffice it to say, everything was delicious. For those who were there for the barbeque, chicken, sausages, spareribs, and various vegetables were available for consumption and each piece of meat had a very unique and distinct flavour that (due to a lack of experience) I really can’t describe. What I can say, however, is that it was all fantastic and given another chance, I would definitely go again. In terms of the ambiance and the design, the barbeque was held on the second floor of the restaurant which is actually quite interesting because the floor is divided in two, one half being outdoors and the other, obviously, being in. Apart from these details really, there isn’t anything more that I can say about the place.

So there we have it; that was my personal week and to top it all of, let’s not forget the articles written! First off, we have this one here (on choice),this one here (a TBS review for Get Him to the Greek) and this one here (on our life stories). Enjoy the articles folks and expect more this week!

As always, this has been your Admin; comment, subscribe, and criticize, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

The Texan Judgement of A Louisianian Book Cover (TheWeeklyReview Issue 7)

Alright everyone, it’s that time of the week again; time for me to discuss what happened personally this week, and to discuss any ideas I’ve had that weren’t long enough for any other article! Well, that and to talk about the articles I did publish this week, or to just rant again (except with TheWeeklyReview, I’m ranting for a special occasion). Either way, without further ado, let’s begin TheWeeklyReview!

For today’s TWR, I’d like to begin by mentioning that unlike the past three weeks (where I’ve somehow managed to end up in a new city everytime) I’m still in Nha Trang and, most importantly, I’ve spent more time being a tourist in Nha Trang. A few days ago I went to the Louisiane Brewhouse Bar and Restaurant and while I don’t drink alcohol (for various social, physical, and psychological reasons) I can safely say that the property itself is really well put together (so, to be clear, instead of talking about the alcohol, we’ll be discussing the architecture, once again), and the overall structure of the brewery is, for lack of a better word, absolutely and utterly outstanding. Once one enters the actual site, a massive vat where some of the beer is brewed becomes immediately evident and directly following that is the bar where all the alcohol is mixed and put together (as a bar ought to do), all owing to the overall open brew concept that the location has going for it. However, an even more interesting aspect of the brewery’s construction are the various other vats that are scattered throughout the roofed portion of the property. Here, various pipes and apparatuses lead the brewed beer into taps where the subsequent pressure forces it out. Though, this is all fair and reasonable considering that almost all brewhouses (that also double as bars) function thanks to a similar system; the architectural interest comes from the fact that while most brewhouses close of the areas where the pipes and apparatuses are, the Louisiane Brewhouse allows the guests and customers a full view of the inner workings of (a large part) of the brewing process that really does make it all look, again and for lack of a better word, brilliant.

Moving away from the architecture of the brewhouse, however, is the actual food and drink of the location. Now, while the drinks were fantastic (as various customers, guests, and friends would attest), the food was subpar (and frankly, that’s putting it nicely; if I wanted to be mean I’d say that the food was absolutely terrible, but I’m in a rather “Flowery” mood, so I won’t say that). Suffice it to say, not everything that was ordered tasted bad, the predominant problem being the meat (specifically the so-called “Australian beef” that any individual from any kitchen from anywhere in the world would be upset and insulted over) which was both undercooked and over marinated which (obviously enough) only really served to ruin the entire meal even more so. On a side note, however, while the meat was absolutely dreadful, everything else was fine and, despite my complaints, I definitely plan on going back so as to give the kitchen at the Louisiane Brewhouse another chance. Frankly, however, I plan on visiting the brewhouse once again, during the day, to really get a feel for the atmosphere that it projects. It is also worth noting that, like the Sailing Club (which was discussed a few weeks ago), the brewhouse has it’s own dive center where divers can gather and (presumably and obviously) engage in their sport. The diving center is important to mention because that dictates that an entirely different set of customers go to the brewhouse during the day, which would be in stark contrast with the formally dressed individuals that I came into contact with during my visit (at night).

However, until the next time that I do visit the Louisiane Brewhouse and give the kitchen another chance, I’d like to discuss the Texas BarBq Steaks Restaurant, something of a saviour from the absolute tastelessness afforded to me from the Louisiane Brewhouse (again, food only, everything else was great). The actual location isn’t all too spectacular and, frankly, entirely forgettable (which is made even more ironic once one considers that the restaurant’s decorations consist of a television tuned to the Discovery channel and hundreds upon hundreds of pictures of happy customers enjoying their meals; thereby making the restaurant, truly, a place to remember), but the food (specifically their steaks) was, and still is, absolutely fantastic to the point where I’m currently finding it very difficult to explain the taste and culinary euphoria experienced without using the time old phrase “You have to taste it to believe it,” which is, for all intents and purposes, the absolute and utter truth. Therefore, I will conclude this train of thought reiterating that the food was fantastic in the steakhouse and the drinks were delicious in the brewhouse and under no circumstance should anyone mix up either clause of that previous statement.

Though, this week’s culinary adventure, so to speak of course, did manage to trouble me in a very odd way. For the longest time (or rather, since I was able to view the media around me and understand it) I have been pelted with the age old “Never judge a book by its cover” convention. Here, one is informed that if given the choice between two books, one with a golden cover and one with a shaggy cover, that they shouldn’t necessarily venture out and grab the book with the golden cover because it’s contents could very much equate the contents of our expectations of the shaggy cover’s book. That being, we shouldn’t expect a golden experience out of a golden covered book, just as we shouldn’t necessarily expect a shaggy experience from a shaggy covered book.

Take the aforementioned brewhouse, for example; here, the place was quite literally golden, decorated with beautiful Asian works spanning not only Vietnam, but China and Japan as well. Not to mention the golden vats that were placed “Strategically” throughout the place, emphasized all the more by the golden pipes leading the golden coloured beer to the taps (I might have taken a liberty with the golden coloured liquid part though, dark beer is more of an amber colour too). Almost everything about the brewhouse would lead one to expect a golden experience, and this is almost entirely true (the one negative aspect being the meat and some of the non Asian food). The steakhouse, on the other hand, couldn’t have looked shabbier if it tried and yet the food there was a fantastic medley of taste and culinary appreciation. If the chefs from the steakhouse and the architects from the brewhouse were to meet, they would make the one of the best tasting and best looking steak and brewhouses in the world, and that’s a combination that many would love (vegetarians and people who don’t drink being the obvious group who wouldn’t care to venture to such an establishment).

However, I do digress as the original point was the entire no judging books concept, which, for all intents and purposes isn’t an entirely perfect statement unto itself. The brewhouse, for example was exactly what the appearance said it would be except for one single aspect. Likewise, the steakhouse was everything its appearance said except for one single point of interest. Therefore, while the concepts of “Important” and “Unimportant” differ from person to person, when it all really comes down to it, the only thing that caused me to change my opinion of the two locations was the food (and to a person who goes to eat with friends because they like the company, and not necessarily only for the food, such an aspect can be almost entirely forgettable, all depending on the atmosphere, of course). Therefore, while I understand exactly why one mustn’t judge based on outward appearances, the fact of the matter is that we do judge based on outward appearances almost constantly and we will judge based on outward appearances because more often than not, that’s the only data we have to make a decision. Due to this, I propose a minor alteration to the phrase, specifically to “Do judge a book by its cover to formulate an idea, and then proceed to read the book to see if your original hypothesis has been proven or disproved.” In summation: yes, this seems like terrible advice at first, but it’s what we (as a species) do anyway.

Finally, there were three articles written this week, in stark contrast to the regular two (not including TheWeeklyReview); this one here (a review for A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner), this one here (an article on growing up inspired by the aforementioned movie), and this one here (a review of BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad). Enjoy the articles!

As always, this has been your Admin; comment and criticize, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

Russell Brand’s Acting In A South Vietnam Resort Destination (TheWeeklyReview Issue 6)

Alright everyone, it’s that time of the week again; time for me to discuss what happened personally this week, and to discuss any ideas I had that weren’t long enough for any other article! Well, that and to talk about the articles I did publish this week, or to just rant again (except with TheWeeklyReview, I’m ranting for a special occasion). Either way, without further ado, let’s begin TheWeeklyReview!

I suppose the most important thing that’s happened this week is my visit to Mui Ne, a coastal town in southern Vietnam that’s essentially become one massive resort destination. That unto itself, however, is where the interest in Mui Ne ends. It is, for all intents and purposes, nothing more than a resort town whose main source of income are tourists coming on vacation. As further example of this, the main street in Mui Ne (leading to the resort where I stayed) is filled with three things: local boutiques, restaurants and more resorts. I can safely say that I’ve never seen such a high concentration of hotels and resorts in my life, excluding Las Vegas itself. In regards to Las Vegas, however, I’d like to take some time to talk about the hotel that I had the “Pleasure” to stay in. The Sea Links Beach Hotel isn’t a bad hotel, nor is it terrible, terrifying, horrendous, or dreadful, but the property has a certain characteristic that I can only describe as derivative (if that’s even the proper word to use in this scenario). Although, even the word “Derivative” is unfair because the hotel isn’t really derivative of something, so much as it wishes to be something else; specifically: a Las Vegas hotel (even more specifically: a low quality Las Vegas hotel).

Everything from the layout of the lobby, to the restaurant, to the golf course, to the bar, to the ball room, to the board rooms, are all attempts at recreating a Las Vegas like experience. The worst part is that one could completely disregard all of this, assuming that they don’t pay very much attention to the property itself, and get past all of this, but the entire hotel tries so hard to shove it in the face of its guests that it’s almost impossible to entirely avoid. The first thing that one notices once they step into the lobby is the carpet and, clean as it may be, it doesn’t belong anywhere other than a Vegas dealers floor, which is really saying something considering that the hotel is literally 10 minutes away from a very Vietnamese city, albeit with a few quirks to keep tourists entertained. Moving on from the carpet (that occupies almost every part of the hotel), the guests are introduced to this rather large lounge like area that doubles as the hotel’s main bar. Following this structure is the main restaurant, a corridor leading to the balcony, and another corridor leading to the hotel’s main ballroom. The balcony provides a rather nice view of the sea, the pool and villas that are currently for sale; it’s a simple view overall, and I actually have nothing more to say about it. The restaurant, too, requires little description. It has a few VIP rooms designed for higher profile guests, and it also has a neat and tidy wine cellar for any of the more educated guests willing to pick out their evening delight. In addition to the in-hotel features, the hotel has a golf course (which I believe is still under construction) that is, for all intents and purposes, a golf course and nothing more.

On a final note, the hotel complex doesn’t just include a hotel and golf course; the developers are attempting to build an entire city, and while the hotel, villas, and golf course are complete, there are entire apartments still to be constructed. Though my utter dislike for the hotel might make it seem that I also didn’t like the city of Mui Ne which, if inferred, I must apologize for. The hotel notwithstanding, I absolutely loved the city of Mui Ne, and despite the rain that swept the three day trip, I can safely say that given another chance, I would definitely go back to visit to the city to visit the sand dunes, spend more time by the beach, and explore the city even further. Additionally, I would love to visit the neighbouring city of Phan Thiet, though that really is just an added thought; I would like to mention that despite my constant searching for one, I was utterly and entirely unable to locate the city’s Opera House. That being said, I’m going to safely say that no. Not every city I visit has an opera house for me to marvel at.

Moving on from Mui Ne and it’s lack of opera houses, we move on to a more pressing matter, specifically, the acting ability of “Beloved” English actor and comedian Russell Brand. Now, considering the majority of his roles involve him playing a drug addicted womanizer, one might wonder why his acting is being called into question. In fact, some might even be so bold as to say that his acting is fantastic for what he plays. He acts with nothing more than pure conviction and determination to fill the shoes he has been told to wear, and more often then naught, he succeeds. Russell Brand’s style of acting has been providing him with a continuous stream of pay cheques and “Adoration” (as it were) by fans the world over, and I was one of those “Fans.” That is, until I saw the insane train wreck that was the 2011 remake of the 1981 hit film Arthur. Keeping in tone with the rest of this article, I’m not going to sidestep the issue further: I genuinely enjoyed watching Arthur, and getting to see Russell Brand play the role, I’ve come to several conclusions regarding his so-called “Acting ability.” To begin with, despite my continuous stream of jokes and sarcastic quips, I cannot deny that the man has talent as both a comedian and a relatively straight man type actor.

Now, before I explain why Russell Brand’s acting has struck me, I must be allowed to give some insight into the topic of Arthur (the 1981 movie), for those who aren’t aware of it’s presence. The movie details the life of Arthur (played by Dudley Moore, a role for he which he was given an Oscar Nomination), a spoiled, rich, alcoholic, womanizer who is forced to marry a woman he doesn’t love in order to keep his father’s massive fortune (because he’s a drunk womanizer, this is incredibly important, as getting money without working for it is a dream of many an individual). Over the course of the film, he falls in love with a working class diner worker (played by Liza Minnelli, a role for which an Academy Award nomination was not presented to her) and in the end, he decides to give up his fortune for her love, a rather sweet feat up until his grandmother decides that he’s going to keep his fortune because no one from his family has ever been working class. It must be mentioned that despite this supposed lack of moral, Arthur does grow up (because his father figure dies on him), despite the fact that he ends up having his chauffeur drive him and his love interest through Central Park (because driving a car through central park, in place of a bicycle or horse, is perfectly safe and reasonable). The 2011 remake has the exact same character and basic plot, though the ending is slightly different. Instead of Arthur being given the money and winning the girl immediately after he ends the wedding with the woman he is forced to marry, he ends the wedding, runs to the true love and is rejected outright. Following six months of sobriety, Arthur discovers that his true love has written a children’s book (which he buys, of course), finds her at a book signing and tells her that he loves her (and then he informs his true love, and the audience, that after doing charity work and sobering up, his source of income has opened up to him).

At this point in the film, Russell Brand plays a sober character. He doesn’t just stand there saying outlandish and pithy things (this is a line in the film that Russell Brand himself delivers, proving once and for all that he is entirely aware of his own existence and that he is aware of why and how he is funny). He plays the straight man, instead of the injured and defected party boy, and frankly, it is that change of character that has made me believe that Russell Brand is entirely capable of playing better and more serious roles, while maintaining his trademark “Stand and be pithy” behaviour. This bit of information is extremely important because it’s allowed me to come to terms with the fact that underneath his insane and slightly alcoholic visage, Russell Brand is entirely capable of truly good acting. Yes, it won’t win awards, and yes, it’s not fantastic, but it is good (and at this point, good is a lot better than what others have to offer).

Moving onto the final point of the week, brought about by Russell Brand’s acting, I’ve decided to launch a new page to TheByteDaily. I’ve noticed that while I might not update with articles as frequently as possible, to insure that each article gets at least a day’s worth of attention, I cannot write a review of a movie and an additional analysis (or another article) without one article or the other losing its attention. Therefore, I would like to formally introduce TheByteScene; a new page dedicated solely to reviews of movies, television shows, music, manga, comic books, and just about everything in between. I hope that with TheByteScene, I’ll be able to streamline the viewing of reviews and analyses, and I’ll also be able to make sure that each and every article gets the same amount of attention.

Finally, this week, we had two articles written; this one over here (one Promises and Perfection) and this one over here (on Criticism and Attack). Enjoy the week’s reading folks.

As always, this has been your Admin; comment and criticize, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK