Entries from May 2006 ↓

Da Vinci Code, Leonardo & Cryptography

My homies and I weren’t the first batch of people who watched the movie Da Vinci Code as I found out my sister watched it a day earlier during the movie premiere. She was ushering during the movie premiere hence she get to watch it. And no, she ain’t a VIP (but, she’s a VIP in my life even though I wouldn’t admit it :) ).

Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t a movie buff, nor a fan of the book Da Vinci Code. Reasons? Because the whole world go so hype about the book. Even the illiterates are seen carrying the novel wherever they are (in buses, coffee shops, etc.), it just doesn’t make sense if I read them because everyone has the book. Even my homie was seen carrying the book when I knew this man hardly reads. Anyway, after watching the show, though I couldn’t anticipate more because I haven’t really read the book, I knew many elements are missing in the movie as compared with the book. Mickey Mouse watch, romantic scenes, etc.

But there are many things you can learn from watching a movie like this. I learnt about cryptography (not like I don’t know before this) and it also reminded me of Leonardo’s real name. His real name ain’t Leonardo Da Vinci, it’s Da Vinci just because the place he was born is a hamlet named Vinci. His full name ought to be just “Leonardo” because he was an illegitimate child. However, he was fortunate that his dad acknowledged him as Leonardo di ser Piero. Somewhat, he’s more known as Leonardo Da Vinci as he is today.

I always admire Leonardo’s works. Even when the cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles named their characters after artists like Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Raphael, etc. My favorite character is Leonardo, the leader of the pack. Ironic.

On crytography, I was searching for a simple way of crytography for various reasons, and I found ROT13 to be one of the simplest but still useful. ROT13 stands for Rotate 13, it’s also known as Caesar Shift. It was used by Caesar against his illiterate enemies but nowadays, it’s no longer effective. The method is by shifting the alphabet 13 times to the right. Unvy pnrfne!

Zen

I came across an article about Zen. Zen is not a religion, a philosophy or the way of life.

As its founding principles state, Zen Buddhism is a path to eliminate suffering and discontent from a person’s life. While this is a lofty promise, the path to Zen comes loaded with extras.

For instance, Zen forces a person to re-examine the preconceptions and prejudices that have been burned into him from birth. It helps him step out of his egoistic self to better understand his true Self. It helps detach his sense of satisfaction and fulfillment from things and situations over which he has no control, freeing him form outside influences, and giving him a firmer handle on who he is.  

I found the following useful:

How to incorporate Zen into your life

1- Take time to breathe every day
Set some time every day to just sit in a quiet place. Take controlled deep breaths, paying close attention to exhaling and inhaling. You could even repeat a word out loud (“Om” is a popular choice) to drown out your thoughts.

2- Know thyself
Try to see yourself from an outside perspective. Take away your prejudices, envies, grudges, and desires, and see what’s left. That’s the Self, what Buddhists try to purify.

3- Resist the seductions of marketing
Everyday businesses will try to make you believe you need something you never knew existed. Ask yourself how much your life would really improve with an extra piece of stylized plastic and metal. Try to detach your sense of happiness from possessions.

4- Live in the moment
Stop dwelling on what happened in the past and what might happen in the future. You are living in the present so concentrate on the here and now. Leave tomorrow for tomorrow.

5- Learn from the veterans
The ultimate guy’s guy, a hero of modern sports, LA Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson is a Zen devotee who uses its principles in his coaching. He not only makes good athletes great, but he gets them to recognize their true abilities and accept what they can and can’t change. By focusing on the moment, teaching selflessness in action, compassion towards fellow players, and accepting defeat as part of life, Jackson has made the teams he coached more cohesive and better equipped to deal with the pressure of pro sports. Just look at his track record.

Da Vinci Code (2006) – Movie Review

Da Vinci is a brilliant movie

Da Vinci Code is a brilliant movie. For a non-believer like me, I decided to review this movie sparingly.

Da Vinci Code starring Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, Audrey Tautou as Sophie Neveu, Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf in LOTR & Magneto in X-Men) as Sir Leigh Teabing, Paul Bettany as Silas, Alfred Molina as Bishop Aringarosa and Jean Reno as Bezu Fache is a movie adapted from Dan Brown’s book. It seems that the film rights were purchased from Dan Brown for US$ 6 million. Audrey Tautou, the French actress who plays Sophie in the movie is a lovable lady. She acted and became famous in the movie ‘Amelie’. Sir Ian McKellen delivered a solid performance as one of the key actors in this film. Can’t wait to watch him in X-Men: The Last Stand next week.

Audrey Tautou is hot!

The entire movie is about seeking the truth and solving mysteries that have been unsolved for nearly 2,000 years. The length of the movie is about 2 hours and 30 minutes. The story is a bit twisted, and sometimes give you a different kind of feelings. Before the movie was released, many religious organization including The Vaticans and Opus Dei actually protested against the film. One of the archbishops in The Vaticans called this movie “full of calumnies, offenses, and historical and theological errors”.

I am somehow amazed that this movie is released in Malaysia, uncut! In some countries, certain parts of this movie are cut. In fact, I’m amazed it is even released in the religious country of ours. Kudos to that! To those who haven’t watched yet – heed this, this is a very controvesial movie that might bring false sense and theories to you especially if you’re a religious person (whatever the religion is). (spoilers ahead)… but, I strongly agreed with what Robert Langdon said at the end of the movie, “The only thing that matters is what you believe.” I second that.

The Burning Crusade

With the New Alliance Race of the expansion set for World of Warcraft, “The Burning Crusade” finally revealed, I’m more desperately keen in getting back to the game. even though the release for U.S. and some other parts of the world will be in third quarter of 2006, I still can’t wait to get my hands on the game. The new alliance race is Draenei, very unexpected since Draenei to me is a very minor race and was hardly mentioned in any of the Warcraft games.

Check out the Draenei race here.

Check out The Burning Crusade here

Draenei, a minority race becomes the part of Alliance

MP3 Scam

For the past one week, I have been searching for a couple of mp3s on the Internet but to no avail. I thought I have managed to download them through UTorrent, but the songs are either corrupted or not really listenable. This led me to think of purchasing the songs online instead. I have found one web site called mp3musiq.com and another one called mp3maximum.com. These guys offer you to sign up for USD $34.95 to get unlimited downloads of mp3s, games, software for life! With some suspicions, I googled “what is mp3musiq.com?” and I found some answers.

Two of these sites are good enough to tell me to back off. Good things in life like what they claim they offer are often too good to to be true. So guys, please do your homework before buying anything online. There are a lot of scammers out there. Greed does not pay! Beware!

And just FYI, this site has a list of web sites that deceive people into signing up for free unlimited mp3s, free unlimited softwares, free unlimited movies, etc. But all you get is a peer-to-peer software like Limewire and Frostwire. LoL! Keep yourself alert and don’t get fooled!