Club loyalty has always been a very murky topic in football. Unless players are brought through the ranks at the best clubs, there is always a chance of them being poached by richer clubs with promises of bigger trophy-cabinets and fatter wallets. In a flash, icons are branded 'mercenaries' and supporters are left disillusioned. Yet, even in modern times, there are those who break the trend. Loyalty is best judged when put to the test and the following players pass with flying colours.
Paul Scholes (Manchester United): Considered by many to be one of the best of his generation, the midfield man is United through and through. Breaking through the youth level, Scholes soon became central to all of United's plans. Interest from champions Blackburn Rovers didn't even register with him. In fact, he never even had an agent. Nothing stops this guy as he returned from retirement at 37 to drag his club out of the mire.
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool): Having carried Liverpool on his back for the best part of his career, Gerrard is a true Kop icon. The boyhood fan fulfilled a lifelong dream by lifting the Champions League with his beloved Reds. But that's when Abramovich's 'oil mafia' almost turned his head around. A deal seemed imminent until Gerrard dramatically revealed that he could not possibly leave behind Liverpool and their millions of adoring fans. Public display of affection: the good kind.
Antonio Di Natale (Udinese): His inclusion in this star-studded list might surprise you, but that's simply because he hasn't ever thought of making it big time. A top scorer for Udinese and in Serie A year in-year out, Di Natale could have easily moved to any club he pleased. Instead, he made the honourable (baffling to some) decision of staying put forever. Now at the twilight of his career, Di Natale is still firing away.
Denis 'The Iceman' Bergkamp (Arsenal): Arsenal fans have fond memories of Bergkamp from his playing days, and rightly so. He could change games in a flash. Although not a local, he grew to love Arsenal during his 11 year stint with them. Many opportunities presented along the way, notably from Real Madrid. But he vowed to end his career at Arsenal and even took three massive pay-cuts to ensure it. Like. A. Boss.
Gigi Buffon and Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus): Their loyalty is the stuff of legend. Amid the mass exodus following Juve's demotion to Serie B, these two remained along with a handful of others. What's more is that their stock was never higher, after winning the World Cup just that summer. However, both opted to remain with the Old Lady and agreed to pay-cuts due to Juve's financial constraints. Del Piero was captain and top scorer while Buffon was rock solid at the back as Juve won Serie B and their promotion. All Juve players who remained behind deserve credit. Loyalty will never be a dying trait as long as players like these are around.
Special mentions: Though never really linked with a move away, it can't be disputed that Ryan Giggs at United and Paolo Maldini at Milan both are legends who could walk into any team. But the bond they shared with their respective clubs was so strong that no one ever had the nerve to even ask them about moving.
From self-stirring pots to mp3 players controlled by mouth, whacky gadgets make the world a better place. Sure people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars making them, but their bizarreness is worth it and RS brings you a new dose.
Kuru Kuru Nabe - The self-stirring pot: If you are not interested in cooking but ever had to prepare food, you know the toughest part about cooking anything is moving the heavy and hot pot around. It is laborious and the most boring step in cooking. Japanese dentist Hideki Watanabe came up with a solution for this problem, which he calls Kuru Kuru Nabe or Round Round Pot. Why? We don't really know. Rather than electricity or any mechanical elements, the pot works basically on thermodynamics to stir hot liquid contents. We could try it out, but we are too lazy to cook.
Smart Bed: How many times has your mom yelled at you to make your own bed? It is one of those questions with no real answer. Moms will yell about cleaning up our rooms and we will not do anything. That's the way the world has always been. OHEA, a Spanish furniture company wants to change that. Don't worry, it is not making us work; it is planning to put an end to the endless haukau that moms start every weekend. They came up with Smart Bed, a bed that makes itself. 3 seconds after you get up from the bed, a panel on each side of the bed opens up and mechanical hands come out to prepare the bed. First the bed sheet, then the blanket and finally the pillows are fluffed and put into their rightful places - all within a minute. Now this is what the world was waiting for.
Little Printer: This little guy runs on inkless thermal printing technology, cutting down
on any need of cartridges. Aptly named the Little Printer, this printer wireless connects to the internet and automatically prints any puzzles, tidbits of information or reminders with an app.
ZPen: First of all, taking notes is not something we enjoy. It is not even something we remotely like. But sometimes life drags us into lectures and carrying a heavy laptop just adds to the woes. The ZPen lets you write on regular paper and it turns that writing into plain text whenever connected to the computer via USB, plus it has got 1 GB of memory. The excuses will change from 'I lost my notebook' to 'My pen was turned off' before you know it!
Powerbella: Loaded with 3G signal enhancer and 12 flexible solar cells, Powerbella can recharge cell phones with a USB port. The biggest flaw in the design is that solar cells need direct sunlight, and umbrellas are usually stored for rainy season. Apart from that 'minor' hiccup, if you are willing to stand outside and park your umbrella for a few hours, your phone will definitely be charged.
CIRCUS MAXIMUS NINE
There was Dream Theater. (Well, they're still there, but I like to pretend they ceased to exist after Train of Thoughts.) And then there's Symphony X. Throw in a bit of Queensrÿche in the mix and a handful of Shadow Gallery. Voila. You have Circus Maximus, one of the most promising progressive metal bands to emerge in the last decade.
Circus Maximus' previous studio album, 'Isolate' was released in 2007. With five long years in the making, and with both their previous albums being insanely good, my expectations coming into the album were pretty high. The band had gone for a melodic overdrive while still being instrumentally awesome which is what you expect of a prog metal band. The album is more melancholic with straightforward melodies than their previous work. And although I really felt Mike Eriksen's vocals complimented the music incredibly well.
When asked about the album title, the bassist of the band, Glen Cato Møllen, said, “Well, we had a “common theme” occurring in the lyrics throughout the whole album... a type of you make your own luck type of feel… the number 9 symbolizes that in many ways, and having 9 songs we wanted to put on the album, it kinda fit too good to pass over.”
The album starts off with an intro track titled 'Forging' which is really a part of the next song of the album titled 'Architect of Fortune'. The song is pretty amazing with one of the most amazing chorus you're likely to hear. Probably the heaviest and most progressive song in the album. 4.5/5
Namaste is a nice little track with a sinister riff reminiscent of their previous album. 3.5/5
Game of Life is a really fun track. On the first listen, this was easily the favourite song. But its one of those songs you grow out of. 4/5
Reach Within is another really decent track. Pleasant on the ears with another great chorus. It's somewhat pop-ish, but who's complaining? 4/5
I Am is yet another masterpiece. Again, it's somewhat cheesy but with enough spice to not make it overly so. 4/5
Used is my least track favourite in the album. It's pretty fast-paced and somewhat straightforward, but didn't do it for me. 3/5
The One is one of the more hardrock-esque, straightforward songs in the album while also being the shortest, running at only 4 minutes. But it's a very enjoyable song. 4/5
Burn After Reading. It's an OK track with some good moments, but twice as long as it should have been. It might appeal to some, though. 3.5/5
Last Goodbye is a brilliant finish to the album. Lyrically, and instrumentally, it's almost as good as it gets. 4.5/5
Overall, the album gets a solid 4 out of 5 from me. It took a bit of time for me to appreciate the album wholly, but it was worth it.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
By Tareq Adnan
Let us, for the time being, discard with the unpleasantness surrounding the premiere of the Dark Knight Rises. On the nineteenth instant of the month of July, two friends set out from their home at approximately eleven pm for the nearest movie theater, hoping to catch probably the most anticipated movie of the year. They had neither tickets nor bookings but like most young people, they are sure of successful outcome and to hell with anyone else who disagrees. The movie isn't sold out, they assure one another; we'll get tickets.
They arrive at the theatre, navigate through the mess of the costumed menagerie that has come out in force and finally manage to get to a computerised ticket dispenser. Alas, all tickets for the midnight premier are obviously sold out. Disheartened, they compromise by buying tickets for the morrow when they notice that the tickets in their hands and the tickets the attendants are checking look surprisingly similar. One of them suggests that they try their luck. So they do, and lo behold, they get in.
We probably deprived two good people of their seats. Who cares?
We start off with a visual prologue of sorts, in the vein of The Dark Knight, where the film first introduces its villain. Where the Joker was introduced with a visual short of an elaborate bank heist, the villain in this movie, Bane, is introduced in the midst of a CIA-led extraordinary rendition. The viewer is treated to an intelligently satisfying escape in midair that involves two planes and lots of fast action. Bane, just like the Joker, delivers some choice lines that instantly propel him into different orbits (sic) of cool.
The scene then cuts away to Gotham City, where the aftermath of the Joker's antics have resulted in the exact opposite of chaos and anarchy. The city has enjoyed an unprecedented era of peace since the death of its DA Harvey Dent and the police these days are busy helping old ladies cross streets. Batman has disappeared after having allegedly killed Mr. Dent and Gotham's billionaire Bruce Wayne has since become a rich recluse. The only thing remotely interesting happens only because Selina Kyle, played by Anne Hathaway, can't stop stiffing the rich of their valuables. Into this peaceful pond enters Bane, a terrorist and a revolutionary, who starts creating havoc in a city that has grown complacent.
The story of the movie cannot honestly be summarised in a brief few lines without potentially giving away plot points that would inevitably spoil the experience. So let us stop here and begin the review in earnest.
First of all, the movie far outstrips the other superhero movies out there on sheer ambition and scale. The story is grander, more complex, more… vague than anything achieved by the likes of Spiderman. In the previous instalments we dealt with the characters' dilemmas - Wayne's struggle to come to terms with the corruptive influence the Joker, while the Joker himself endeavoured to strip the man of all his ideals and prove that all men are fallible. This time around Bane just destroys. He goes against banks, against governments and against cities to show just how fragile our current arrangements are. With a few coordinated efforts, he effectively dismantles all the trappings of civilisation and plunges Gotham into a state of anarchy.
This movie in many ways is a sequel to the first movie while dealing with the consequences of the second. We are shown how the League of Shadows makes its comeback; we are shown the aftermath of Batman's actions finally catching up to him. All these different elements point to an end. The story is winding down and the viewer feels it from the start. This isn't simply a struggle between two opposing forces, Bane and Batman. Rather it is a story of a tired building finally caving in from all the myriad depredations of abuse.
In terms of acting, Christian Bale delivers consistently as both Bruce Wayne and the indefatigable Batman. Anne Hathaway manages to sashay and class her way into Catwoman's leathers and Michael Caine is magnificent as the extremely human Alfred. But Tom Hardy manages to capture the film with his subtle acting. His character, bemasked and forced to use a voice-box, is in many ways crippled because expressions and emotions aren't conveyed in the usual methods. Hardy delivers by being a supremely talented physical actor, portraying his character with his gestures and his body language so that not once is the viewer forced to suspend his disbelief. And when that is mixed with the incongruity of his voice, cultured British professor delivering bomb threats, you are left truly amazed. You are watching Bane, and he is truly terrible.
The problem with the movie is the disparateness of its storylines. They all converge yes, and the last half hour is jampacked, but the build-up is somewhat rough. Tom Hardy is curbed too much and when he does appear on screen for a length of time, the dialogue that he delivers only undermines Hardy's physical style of acting. Anne Hathaway's character fluctuates between believable and clichéd and Joseph Gordon Levitt is simply not believable as a hotheaded young police officer. He says the lines and goes through the motions but… no. In the end, this reviewer wishes there had been more of Bane than Selina Kyle. Or Marion Cotillard.