Friday, April 25, 2014

Elysium


One of those movies that gets lost in the midst of a bunch of other movies. Poor planning? Bad luck? Doesn’t matter. I’m sure a lot of people watched it and their enjoyment wasn’t held down by Gravity or Carrie. As with all standard sci-fi dystopian dramas, Elysium’s scriptwriters followed the handbook like star pupils.

Location
Now, I would like to start off by thanking Elysium for pointing out how poor my listening Spanish was. Albeit better than my reading ?Korean but shameful all the same. So forgive me if I missed out on some salient points that were explained or spelled out in the subtitles. The movie is set on Earth and in Elysium; a gigantic orbiting space station which serves as a sort of second Earth for some very fortunate ?Frenchmen and women.  Most of what happens on Earth occurs in an obviously Latin American city called Los Angeles. The other 3 scenes are of random people from around the world (aka Africans) finally getting the healthcare they need… at the end.

Everyone knows a good dystopian story has to be set in L.A. at this point, the mayor needs to just give up on the PR and focus on what is the inevitable future, what with earthquakes, forest fires and Hollywood it’s only a matter of time. Movie LA is a dirty, grimy, desolate hodgepodge of abandoned  skyscrapers and makeshift structures. Imagine...sorry …copy, the building from Homeland and combine it with a typical favela from City of God, throw in some shanty towns from District 9 and voila! Everyone is Hispanic…or black, no one works in the ghetto/slum, everyone is a criminal, poverty is all around you and the urban decay is so dire, there’s borrowed rural for good measure (pig rearing? Really?)

Elysium on the other hand is Utopia. Everyone/Everything is white; save for the Indian president, 1 black person and 1 Asian, everyone is rich, no one suffers from disease or injury for more than a microwave-minute, I’m assuming no one dies and everything is just perfect, thanks to auto-pan-regeneration (aka fountain of youth). Elysium has a president and a sort of Minister of Defence (prize for best calves 2013-2014 goes to Jodie Foster) who seem not to see eye-to-eye on defence issues. They have a disagreement and this sets up the conflict that leads to the almost plot twist. There are robots at their beck and call and everything is shiny, new and wired. Like living in an I-store…I-land if you will J Basically a heaven and hell dichotomy.

Summary
Since I just watched this movie and it’s all too fresh in my mind, I’m going to force myself to give a summary lest I go off on a tangent.

Elysium is basically about a white kid who grew up in an orphanage in a Hispanic slum and ends up saving the world. He fell in love with a girl who went on to become a nurse and whose daughter develops Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL). He went on to become a car thief who got paroled and is now trying to do right, despite the constant taunting from his neighbours and friends. He works a menial job under an insensitive supervisor and this leads him to unnecessarily expose himself to radiation that will kill him in 5 days. 

 Our hero and his childhood sweetheart are now both in need of auto-pan-regeneration and need to illegally emigrate to Elysium. Meanwhile, the Minister of Defence and the President of Elysium have a tiff and she and the main supplier of robots/weapons plan a coup against him. They both die and the coup fails, however, the coup hinged on  a reprogramming of Elysium (jail breaking) and this code was lethally encrypted and stored on the weapons supplier’s brain-drive that our hero stole and even though jail-breaking Elysium allowed earthlings to download all the cool apps like free premium healthcare, he dies.

*There are also some 3 Afrikaner mercenaries who do the Minister’s dirty work and are eventually tasked with retrieving our hero and his stolen info. As if the accents weren’t enough, there’s a South African flag on their plane. I don’t even know what to make of that little bit of info they felt was so important to show, despite the fact that no other nationalities or countries were mentioned and despite being Elysium citizens, they seem to enjoy working and living on Earth and are generally worse than Earth scum.

*He also becomes a cyborg at some point, but it’s honestly quite irrelevant to the plot

Random Inconsistencies
  • ·         Everyone speaks Spanish in LA, particularly in the orphanage where our hero grew up, most people are Hispanic and yet, he grows up without the quintessential accent that every other Earthling has?

  • ·         Why don’t robots build robots. We’re in 2014 and robots have been assembling cars for decades. Is using humans in manufacturing on earth really the most cost effective method for our big bad corp? The earthlings are policed by robots and automation is at dizzying heights, but jobs that are currently mechanised are being done by humans? Really?

  • ·         Is space travel so easy? Like random slum dwellers just randomly have space ships and these spacecraft seamlessly navigate from earth to space to Elysium and vice versa? And Suspended Reality lead to suspended lack of gravity?

  • ·         Is it so easy to just randomly land on Elysium and not be seen or tracked? I know bouncers who could have done a better job. That has to be the most porous security system ever conceived.

  • ·         So, I can store data from my PC/Mac (I had to say it) on my USB enabled brain but I can’t email it? I can’t upload to a cloud? So if someone wants to steal it, they can do so willy nilly and I won’t even be able to put up a fight, but will be comforted by the fact that they will die?

  • ·         ONE PERSON CAN RE-SET ELYSIUM? ONE? SERIOUSLY?!!?!?!?!?

  • ·         How can you see everything and not see anything at the same time?

  • ·         Everyone knows what a reboot sequence looks like… and it’s still in MS-DOS. How is rebooting the system tantamount to every living person becoming a citizen? Why would the over-reaching evil Elysium coup planners design this?

  • ·         How did Elysium come about? Why is Earth poor? And if the first order of business of new Elysium was to send out auto-regenerator ambulances to new Elysites on Earth, what the hell were doing just lying about in storage? Every home has one. Elysites rarely go to earth, there’s no crime, no disasters, essentially, Elysium could have provided medical aid to Earthlings but chose not to. Within this inconsistency, is yet another one. Where were these ambulances when a high ranking Elysite was dying on earth?

  • ·         Not everyone is dirt poor on Earth and not everyone lives a slum, so where are the middle class people? (remember the supervisor and the un named person with 5 cars) don’t they want to move to Elysium too? Or they have visas…so they can go whenever


In the end, Elysium is chock full of racial and social stereotypes, it was a pain to watch and failed to end with a lesson as is expected of a dystopian effort. At best, it attempts to show why people should be allowed to immigrate freely, and that all poor people want is health care, so sporadic medical outreaches from have-states/nations/ to have-not states is to be encouraged as our humane responsibility. There is no fathomable reason behind poverty; it just exists and hence can’t be ameliorated. Poor people are lazy criminals (children not exempted). We are also yet to find “a cure” for compound fractures and ALL. Rather than challenge current views and practices, all it does is draw over simplified parallels between our present day “countries of the advanced world” and “countries of the poor, developing world) and propagate misconceptions.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Tresence- Cafe l Gelateria


Tresence enters the ring as a newbie with a lot going for them. First of all, location, location, location.  Situated on the 5th Floor of the newly opened Osu Mall, tresence is not just in the trendiest part of town, it’s in soon-to-be landmark building. Now, I won’t go into the pros and cons and predictions of the failure or success of having a mall on the busiest road in the city, but let’s just say, for now, it works. The building is at most, halfway done. The parking is nothing to write home about and truthfully, there’s really not much to see/do right now aside from Shoprite.

Back to the matter.

Tresence has carved out a niche for itself in the dessert world, simply because it offers customers the chance to serve themselves and pay by weight!  Who would have thought, self service would be a draw, but in this current world where we’re bombarded with pre packaged this and that, we’re coming right back to the beginnings of food culture where we interacted with our food component by component (if not ingredient by ingredient) and I dare say they’re the first to do so in Ghana.

Tresence will no doubt,  be famous for their Froyo (aka frozen yoghurt) with a variety of fruity flavours such as litchi raspberry and mango alongside chocolate and the regular tart variety, an array of fruit and sweet toppings and a few syrups.  In addition to this they serve almost every sweet/ savoury snack item you can think of From frappicinos to cappucino, plain old gelato to macchiato, cake, juice, milkshakes, slushies, smoothies, iced tea and espressos, you’ll spend 30 mins trying to decide on your order. In keeping with the mix and match theme, Tresence allows you to make a personalised toasted subs by choosing from a variety of breads, meats, cheese, vegetables, and dressings.

The décor is fresh and playful, with lots of colour and pop art, making it suitable for children, families, adults and couples on a date. The main indoor area is quite small but features comfortable fixed semi booth seating along the wall and mobile plastic tables and chairs. Tresence also has access to the terrace with high tables that allow you to watch traffic on Oxford Street while you sip or lick away J The staff are friendly and the prices seem reasonable.  0.185g of Froyo with a sprinkling of chopped snickers and caramel cost me 6.48 GHS. The milkshakes go for 9GHS and the subs cost a flat 18GHS.


Unfortunately, they don’t always have all their advertised flavours and you have to pay an extra 1GHS  for whipped cream on anything.  I’ve also had the misfortune of being served a far from toasted sandwich on stale bread. As far as taste goes, I wouldn’t describe their offerings as mind-blowing, so let’s just say you can never have too many gelaterias, and tresence gets top marks for novelty.

Tresence score extra points for having an informative and up and running website. Check them out here http://tresence.com/

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

BEYONCE Running Commentary



1.       PRETTY HURTS

Is this track broken? I knew it I knew it…damn Torrentz…..oh ok…it’s keche….cool…hmm, yeah… Pretty hurts and Perfection is a disease mayne.
Is this her plastic surgery confessional? I see…

Short of the irony of Beyonce of all people singing about the pain of aspiring to perfection, this song is catchy and uplifting-ish. This is no “Unpretty” but I’ll give her kudos for the socio cultural significance. I also can’t stand the constant harping on beauty-inner beauty-real beauty etc. Can we all just agree and call it what it is? Beauty is beauty, Intelligence is intelligence, Compassion is compassion, we really need to stop trying to make ‘beauty’ a synonym for ‘good’

2.  HAUNTED

Aww cute, she said Beyons. ..spooky intro…hmm…did she just say Salamanca?                 #BreakingBad…no…Solomon? …I’m not going to ragenius for this…Beat drops…not          bad…don’t particularly get why it’s called haunted though…beat switches again?      Hmm…and again? Who produced this? Drake?... Drakes Producer?...Ah is this song              still playing…mmm…like some spirit that can’t pass on…I think I get it…

3. DRUNK IN LOVE (FT JAY Z)

                Mmm you’ve been drinking eh? Woke up in the kitchen? Ei beyonchi…really tho? After singing love in this club with ursher…we get another ref…this southern twang is too much for me mehn…surf board?...wow…B on that slizzerd now? I                              see…Impressive…Yay…daddy Jay…these days u dey repeat tins oh…smh…middle age             is catching up with you ehn…it’s cool…up all night like till 11pm eh? Oh Chale

4. BLOW

                Whoa…a new song has started already? Hollup…I love your face…you love the taste…title? Blow?! Eieieie Beyonce…of late you come understand entendres oh!    Hey! Moaning now…guess I know why it’s age restricted. Skittles tho? Mmm Grown             women on the floor! Ouch…that sounds hella painful yo..tear it out?..no TURN it          out..ok… I can get with that… Daddy long stroke ay? Chale Chale…and ofcourse…Le      Francais.

5. NO ANGEL

                Trying not to make a Mandela Funeral ASL joke… right…so…moving on. I’m breathing heavy…and you’re no angel…I’m no angel…but you’re my angel? I’m sorry but all I see is the cheesy video. She’s riding the beat though. Rapping again I see…


6. PARTITION

                 Who is Ms. Carter? Seriously? Blue Ivy? Better be Blue Ivy. So we’re on the hip hop hump I see…Yonce all on his mouth like liquor…Channeling Missy Elliot now I      see…the year she comes out of ‘retirement’…I’m just  a little confused…isn’t Beyonce a French derived name? oh…so is that how it’s supposed to be pronounced? WHOAAAAAA HE MONCA LEWINSKY-ED all over my gown? Oh no she                 didn’t….no.she. did. Not! Channeling old DC I see. Getting it in in the limo…basically.       Hard. Cute…Cos no matter how lewd and raunchy a statement is, It’s                              automatically more acceptable once said in Le Francais.


7.  JEALOUS
                                                Is this Run the World again? No…who cooks naked B? I know it gets hot but… anyway…So essentially, your man is straying so you’re also out there wilding…we’re  grateful you still have friends to randomly chill in the clubs with…you know those          unwed unencumbered friends *cough* Kelly *cough* Michelle  uhem… oh over so          soon…Ok not bad…goes easy on the ears

8. ROCKET

                There nor, “let me sit this ass on you”…wow…Cater2U pt 2….oh nice…this is that grown and sexy RnB…impressive, reminds me of D’Angelo. Obviously about what it’s about, but not so overt that it’s tasteless. 5 stars.  Daddy…daddy…been a bad girl…punish me?…so much has been written about how wrong calling your                            significant other Daddy is…but oh well…


9. MINE (FT. DRAKE)
                This is such a Drake song! Melancholy intro, Random rap, Balladeering…ah isn’t this just a different way of saying I’ll take care of You? And drake will not be undone on his own track! Sang it Boo! Overall nice jam, easy on the ears…

10. XO
                Any reason “XO” is immediately after Drake’s joint? No? ok…
                This song ended before I realised It was playing…guess that’s the filler track then…

11. FLAWLESS (FT. CHIMAMANDA ADICHE)

                Chi chi doing big tings neh! Eh eh! Rick Ross is shook right now! He’s wondering if he       qualifies to bow down even…oh man! Straight up Riri warning…this is the vid with in the denim thong right? Wow…

                First of all, let me give it B, this song is catchy as hell! “I woke up like this!” and no             matter how wrong…I’m going to be chanting this, along with “Big pimpin’”, “Larry Hoover”            and “drop it like it’s hot” Perhaps we give B too much credit…She represents women/   black women just as much as any other artist, not more. Does she profess to be a role        model? I’m not sure? Maybe. But you know who doesn’t? Rihanna. Ms Fenty has never              minced words in letting the world know that her worst behaviour is for herself…and maybe          for sales but most definitely not for the kids, she doesn’t consider herself a role model. That      doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a following and has no influence so she can act however she              wants. She can act however she wants because she’s an individual just like everyone else                 and furthermore, a pop star. We all know Beyonce was Riri’s Idol, booty hoppin along with          her in her bedroom, watching B on TV, yes, just like the rest of us, and now, they’re                 essentially peers. I’m just going to chalk up B telling other female artistes to “bow down” as                Hip Hop Bravado…when we all know what it really is…Apparently there’s only room for 1                 black female singer and rapper on top, and B is basically returning for her crown, that she                 temporarily abdicated to sort out family issues (as she says so herself) there was so much           hype about Chimamanda’s sample, personally, as a fan, but I feel it doesn’t do her justice. This album features a lot of fairly well placed snippets, but this one…this one I’m not too          sure about. It’s being trumpeted as “a sample of a feminist speech”, thereby implying that                 Flawless is a feminist song, which it clearly isn’t…or are the bitches she refers to men?    Beyonce hits us again with the irony of a song about how she has it all (money, career, husband and child) while featuring a sample that speaks specifically to the double               standard…or rather marriage oriented standard that women are held to. The basic premise   of the first verse is that B feels that the other artistes have had a field day in her absence,              but she has returned…so she hopes they’ve enjoyed their time in the sun and all, however        it’s time to “bow down”. Am I right in assuming she didn’t really understand the essence of               Chimamanda’s speech (which will probably be the most enthralling 30mins of your life) In                 shouting about breaking the mould and the glass ceiling, all Beyonce seems to be really        doing is perpetuating the very same ideals that are contrary feminism. She sings about                  Perfection being a disease of a nation while being the embodiment of this “perfection” I am      the only rolling her eyes? A successful man is one who has excelled in his professional field,               everything else is extra…mere garnish but a successful woman has to have her looks as well                as her family in check before being bestowed with that honour. That is the crux of the    matter and all Flawless, and this entire album do is reiterate it.

12. SUPERPOWER (FT. FRANK OCEAN)
                Not sure what the doomsday-anarchist themed video as to do with this song… and      frank has just 2 lines? Or is he humming in the background?

13. HEAVEN
               
                A song about our dearly departed…

14. BLUE (FT.BLUE IVY)
                Nice vocals, with a tinge of Bossanova J  Good way to end
                               
Whatever happens, the mere secrecy surrounding the release of this album has cemented it in music history, and it has already broken several record sales records. It’s a solid Hip-Hop RnB effort and is a far improvement over “4”. Beyonce gets top marks for cunning and planning, and if the past 2 years was her “disappearing” (world tour, several videos and singles, an album) then we’re in trouble now that Blue is walking and talking! There are endless critiques of Beyonce as an artist, what she represents etc, but perhaps we should just enjoy this album for what it is…Popular Music

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Mtv european music awards

So how did the most scadalous mtvemas of all time pass me by?

Redfoo...u a foo! Fire crotch? Penicillin?  Doggie style? Getting people wet? Jnr just become a man? Where were the censors? Oh..I know...monitoring mnm!

Nananana rrr tatatataaa

And speaking of Eminem. ..so that's it...he's back? We're back to those days huh? Ah well...guess mobo had a good run. Iggy azalea? What r u waiting for...jump on it eh. I don't understand why you didn't pull a lil mama on ems...or snoop!  Btw...are we back to dogg now?  Leave Ariana alone, Iggy she already scurred. How old is she anyway? 12? Cuteness has never been so....un ...cute

I don't care

Longest dress ever on Miley but then again...I guess its cold in space right?  And this might not be p.c. bur I gotta say...are all genetically vertically challenged individuals so posteriorly well endowed? That must have been the  most toned down of performances.  And shaddout to her waxer...definitely the most gifted artist of the night. Them high legs are an accident waiting to happen boo boo...that's why we wore them with leggings in the eighties baby.

I love it!

Ylvis dressed up to...not perform? How? Of all the places that catchy beautiful poignant nonsense would have been more than welcome. ... ah well

Big up nicole the pole! Don't mind riri ok...she was just hating. You woulda turnt that already turnt up video into something else.  You made me stop and pay attention to bruno mars' guitarr riffs and now...afromunchkin has my stamp of approval.  Good job!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunshine Salad Bar


Sunshine salad bar serves sandwiches and salads, as one would rightly assume, but this little known establishments a surprisingly varied menu.   In addition to the expected Indian cuisine such as chicken and beef curries with rice. They also serve more "continental" dishes such as fries and grilled chicken. 


Located on Embassy road next door to Firefly and opposite la piazza, sunshine features a open air garden terrace that reminiscent of a vintage villa complete with vines and dandelions. Perfect for a sunny day. The indoor dining features about 6 tables with a neat and simple set up. It's unassuming and refreshingly mature. An assortment of drinks and beverages ranging from our staple Coke, Fanta and Sprite to beers, tea and coffee.

Sunshine is one of the few places whose portions are something to write home about.  Tuna, chicken, ham, BLT, mushroom... their sandwiches come in a variety of combinations and are the best in town.  You'll never leave hungry...or angry for that matter. The service is good, and neither friendly nor rude. If you're looking for a quiet spot to simply enjoy your food and another's company, Sunshine is for you. From breakfast to brunch to lunch, their offerings blend seamlessly into the day.


There's a single wash-room with toilet and sink within the main building and next door is a shop from which you can pick up an assortment of healthy snacks and drinks to go.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Pinnochio


It seems Gelaterias really are a mark of Cosmopolitan living, because just a block away from Ci Gusta/Koala on 11th Lane, Embassy Road off Oxford Street is yet another one.



Pinnochios is opposite Firefly and Sunshine Salad Bar and next to Acrilex, in what is quickly becoming the trendiest street in the city. Christie Brown recently moved her shop to the adjacent plaza and Pinnochios shares a wall with what I believe is an Italian restaurant.(La Piazza) with upscale lounges and high end boutiques for neighbours, Pinnochios seems 
poised for success.

I first predicted the possibility of yet another 
ice cream shop entering the fray whilst dining at Sunshine Cafe. The landmark wall had been painted magenta and there was a cardboard sketch of what appeared to be an ice cream cone lying over it. All things said and done, I did not let Agatha Christie down and lo and behold,  no lie was told. This new comer has the largest floor space of all the gelaterias, with crisp, clean and well thought out décor  In full Technicolor to match their main attraction ( the ice cream of course) the establishment features a long counter with not 1 but 2 ice cream ..Scusi..gelato displays. The staff are not only friendly, but costumed and to your right you will find a quaint corner made up to resemble a bookshelf...who says you can't get serious work done whilst eating ice cream. Jokes on  you Coffee.



An ice cream parlour has a concave ice cream scooper that they use to serve from tubs of ice cream with smooth surface.
Gelateria uses a spatula and the gelato in the tub is under no circumstances smooth. the surface is ALWAYS undulating...the more peaks and valleys the better 

They serve a wide array of Italian style gelatos with creamy, fruity and a chocolate lovers dream of cocoa goodness, but in addition to this, they offer sweet and savory snacks ranging from crepes to pancakes, from wraps to sandwiches and believe you me, I spied a couple sharing a  bottle of Möet. With dining styles that range from classic ice cream parlour high stools to low tables, Pinnochios is not only versatile but trendy.

With a 5GHS price tag for a scoop and 10GHS for 2 , it's in keeping with the other gelaterias; more of a first date splurge than a casual-strolling-through-the-city-treat, and your craving/cure for depression might be better served with a similarly priced Magnum bar. 

For what its worth, the gelato is all that is puports to be; rich, creamy, delicious, and one hopes that it stays the same.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ci Gusta

My Italian is for all intents and purposes non-existent (background aside) but Ci gusta bene means it tasted good…and boy, did it taste good! Everyone welcome the latest entrant to the list of guilty dairy pleasure providers in the city. Signor Arlecchino better watch out. International franchises seem to gradually making headway into the Ghanaian dining market what with KFC and now this gem of a temptation. The ci gusta brand ranges from savoury to sweet and even includes well know Italian favourites like pizza, but the quasi secret branch in question is located on the first floor of Koala and serves mostly the sweet variety.



Prepare to get hooked on the delicious frozen yoghurt with their array of not less than 12 toppings (fruits, nuts and chocolate) albeit a healthy alternative to ice cream but decadent nonetheless. Soft serve ice cream and well as light yoghurt are also available. Crisp Crepes, waffles, and ingenious 5 minute cakes all to be had with or without creamy topping.

An Italian eatery  won’t be complete without coffee and there are many tasty twits to the traditional cappuccino and espresso.

Must try- large frozen yoghurt with toppings layered: strawberries and kiwi, cashews and chocolate sauce balls J a balanced meal if there ever was

Brand spanking new and decked out in blue and white, the décor has amusingly been described as sterile; the first thing that hits you is how clean and well arranged everything is. About 7 or so tables allow you to sit, eat and daydream or even stare out of the window if you so please. The display is uncluttered and the utensils themselves seem to serve as well arranged decorations.  (Watch out for the U cups)

 In line with the ever escalating prices of tasty treats…these start from about 5 ghs but expect to spend in the double digits if you start getting carried away with toppings…and honestly, what’s the point without them?



No wash-room facilities here either, but I'm sure you can pop down and use Koala’s if need be. And please note, if you’re craving crepes and ice cream for breakfast, don’t bother showing up before 11 am and they close when the main store does, so there will be no late night dates to be had unfortunately.