The Grandmaster

The Grandmaster/Yi dai zong shi (2013) by Wong Kar Wai is a movie about grandmaster Yip Man/Ip Man, or is it??

Yip Man

Yip/Ip Man

Who the heck is this Yip Man/Ip Man? Grandmaster Yip Man (I’m used to this spelling, and since phonetization from Chinese is arbitrary anyway, it doesn’t really matter how you spell it, though quite a few people would get offended if you’d spell it Shit Man or something) was born in 1893 in Foshan, a city in the Guangdong province in China. He started his martial arts education at age 7, in the kung fu style of Wing Chun. During his lifetime he moved to Hong Kong, back to Foshan, and again back to Hong Kong, where he died in 1972. He (and the Wing Chun style) gained international fame through his student Bruce Lee, who made a number of “realistic” kung fu movies (e.g. Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon, Enter the Dragon) in the 70′s.

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Would you like a cookie? — from: www.movie-bistro.com

What is the movie about? Well, that is a bit hard to say. [spoilers] There is going to be a challenge match between the successor of the Grandmaster of the North and Yip Man (Tony Leung) the chosen Champion of the South. But then the match is cancelled (?) and Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi), the daughter of the Northern Grandmaster, fights with Yip Man during a dinner party in his honor. They like each other (and Yip Man is married). She goes back up north, the Japanese invade China, and Yip Man moves to Hong Kong. She vows never to marry, get children and use kung fu, and then kills the successor guy, who collaborated with the Japanese and took over the family estate. At some point after that she moves to Hong Kong, becomes a doctor, meets Yip Man again, and succumbs to opium. Yip Man starts teaching Bruce Lee. [/spoilers] Makes sense, right? Umm…

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Loser! – from: www.flixist.com

So what’s the movie about? It’s not really about Yip Man, even though he’s the main character. He is portrayed as a somewhat mysterious taciturn person, who looks at people as if he knows everything, and speaks in short, philosophical sentences. Aside from some facts of his life, we don’t learn anything interesting about him. It’s not really about (Wing Chun) kung fu, even though Yip Man is fighting in the movie. It’s hard to recognize Wing Chun techniques, moves and postures, except for when Bong Sao, Fook Sao, and Tan Sao are demonstrated. In general the fighting scenes are short and the movements are too fast, and often filmed in such a way that there’s hardly anything to see.

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Really? This small?? — Shut up, I’m practicing my Tan Sao! — from: www.flixist.com

Okay, so it’s a love story, right? No, not really. After Yip and Gong have met, we see them sitting without expression, seemingly lovesick and thinking about the other. [spoilers] Only years later they meet again in Hong Kong, the first time in her doctor’s practice, the second time as a goodbye (fake tears…). [/spoilers] It felt contrived and unconvincing, unlike the romance in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

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Gah, forgot my umbrella again! — from: www.movie-bistro.com

Bleh, has nothing been done well? Sure. The Grandmaster is an artistic movie, with great art direction and often beautiful cinematography. Even though during the outdoor scenes it seems to either rain or snow (guess they chose the wrong season…oh wait, is that a way to make it look artsy?), the imagery is quite enjoyable. Overall it’s a disappointing movie though.

Turtleturtle score: 6.0 / 10

imdbscore: 6.5 / 10

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Quest for the Holy Browser

 

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Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Since this is my very first blog post (aside from the “intro” post), I decided to go with an “easy” subject. I have been looking for a fast, lightweight, and stable browser, which would still be able to give me (some of) the comforts one gets with the current major browsers. The browser needed to be able to run plugins like Lastpass.

Granted, the current major browsers are far from slow, but they seem to get slower and slower after having a number of tabs open for some hours. This can also cause freezes and/or crashes of the browser. Okay, opening the task manager, locating the process, ending the process, and restarting the browser once in a while isn’t a big deal, but I’d rather avoid it, and the sluggishness, altogether if possible.

I the past I’ve been using Firefox mostly, then switched to Chrome, back to Firefox, tried Comodo Dragon, went back to Chrome, then back to Firefox. Trust me, there isn’t much difference in performance between the two. Firefox immediately starts using a lot of memory, but doesn’t change that much if new tabs are opened. Chrome starts by using relatively few resources, but the usage increases with each tab opened.

At some point I discovered Pale Moon, which basically is a Firefox browser without the “useless” extras. A pretty good browser, which I’ve used for quite a while, but still not ideal. Recently I went back on the quest and looked into Internet Explorer, a browser I hadn’t used for many years, and which didn’t make an impression either. After ditching IE, and looking into lesser known browsers like Seamonkey, 360Browser, Slimbrowser and the like, I happened upon Iron, from SRWare.

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SRWare Iron is a supposedly open-source browser (SRWare puts the source code up for download, but Rapidshare gives a “404 File not found” error) based on “Chromium”, the open-source web browser project from which the source code is used by Google Chrome. Personally I was unaware that Chrome sends information to Google while installing and using the browser, but apparently Iron doesn’t do that. First I used the browser just for Facebook, and it was super fast. My extensions installed without problems. The downside is that Iron offers its own, very limited selection of extensions, instead of connecting directly to the Chrome Web Store. Extensions from the Web Store install normally though. Extensions which are not in the Web Store can be downloaded and drag-and-dropped onto the extensions page of Iron.

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A few weeks later Iron turns out to be the fast, lightweight, and stable browser I’ve been looking for. Chrome extensions can be used, and added benefit is the browsing privacy. Iron is now my primary browser. Recommended!

Download SRWare Iron here.

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Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

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Oh no, yet another blog!

chickensTo blog or not to blog? People who may or may not have anything interesting and/or useful to share do so, without apparent regard for the cluttering of the internet. Of course the question is whether this is a problem or not, since the internet is cluttered already and we need search engines to find the things we are looking for. I guess adding a few pages will not make matters worse, so maybe they could even make it better!

So why blog? I’ve thought a long time about if it’s actually worthwhile or not, to share the things I want to share. The answer to that question is still out in the open, because it’s only by doing it, that I can figure that out. In any case, with certain ideas it’s important that as many people know about them as possible, to potentially get to a critical mass, so that the ideas may become reality.

What is this blog going to be about? This blog is not going to be a single-subject blog. I will write about a variety of subjects, ranging from computer tips & tricks to health and from economy to Wing Tjun.

How often will this blog be updated? Posting will not be at regular intervals. It will totally depend on my capricious nature. When I feel like it. Just accept it. The next post will come. Really.

Why the chickens? It should be clear to anyone with a working brain how chickens are connected to this post. The chickens symbolize the, uhh, well, it was clear before…anyway, chickens.

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