August 25, 2011

knight rider kids

In the month of Holy Ramadan, it is more likely that you will hear an elder person whining about the good old days. A typical lecture starts with "You call this Ramadan? You should have seen it when I was a kid." And of course it is followed by the festival routine: "So you call this a Bayram? You should have seen it when I was a kid."

Well, the world inevitably changes so as the way we celebrate Ramadan and the festival following it. And as a matter of fact, resisting this change might have some tragic consequences as we saw a couple of years ago when some kids were lost and presumed dead while they were knocking the doors of the neighbors to ask for treat. It is OK if kids go and knock everydoor in a village or a town where everybody knows everybody, but it is very dangerous when kids insist doing this in a big city. Perhaps this is a very extreme example, but it happened and it was tragic.

In the classical way to celebrate a Ramadan festival, or Bayram as we say it in Turkish, or Eid as Arabs say it, families visit each other in an hierarchical order, and honestly, no one can convince me that it is better than taking the time for a holiday. But no matter how I think, the elder people will always talk about the good old days. Whether they convince me or not is another matter, naturally.

On the other hand, even though I hate to admit it, I am a middle aged man now, and I have my own memories of celebrating the Bayrams. Ask a senior and they will immediaty dislike it, but actually I remember those days with a good smile on my face. And when I think about it, it is actually not limited with the Bayrams. The world was a better place when I was a kid.

But the real question here is: "Was the world really a better place when I was a kid, or did I just enjoy it simply because I was a kid." I think the answer is the latter one.

I am actually the last generation who had a semi-decent childhood before the computers hacked our lives. We had computers and computer games, and we spent some extraordinary hours in front of our home computers, as they were used be called back then. But they were not the center of our lives and we actually had a chance to go out and play - not in the shadow of ugly concrete buildings but in the open. We were the Knight Rider Kids. That show was a legend when we were kids. They were great days.

But they were great becuase everything was an exciting adventure for us when we were kids. Try to show the best episode of the Knight Rider to a kid today and he will die either because of extreme boredom or laughter. But we loved it back then.

Does this mean those were better days? Well, they were of course better but not because we had the Knight Rider on our TV screens. They were better days because we were kids and we were ready to enjoy life as it was given to us. And I guess what elder people miss is not actually those old days and how they used to this and that, but their own childhood as we all do, as a matter of fact.

August 19, 2011

the boxing scenes in the movie Fighter

As I mentioned several times in this blog, the first thing i want to see in a movie is a good script. It doesn't have to be the greatest story ever but it has to have a good script written by a person who knows what he is doing.

Last night, my wife and I watched the movie Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. Actually, I translated the movie into Turkish when it was first released here, but of course the subtitles were not mine this time when we watched it.
The movie is about boxer Micky Ward and how he won the title. It is indeed a great story. Well now, real life stories tend to be trickier because the story is already there and you can't twist it to make more appaling. And I beleive this movie has a great script, focusing on the conflicts this Micky guy has, instead of making a pure boxing movie.

I particularly loved this film because there were really some very solid similarities between his life and mine especially when it comes to family ties. It struck me the first time I translated it, and it struck me again yesterday while I was watching it. And my wife too, shared the very same feeling with me.

So I checked some of the reviews this movie got, and saw that a lot of people disliked it because it didn't cover Ward's presumably the best boxing matches. Well, I am totally Greek to American boxing scene so I can't know about that, but I wonder: "Does it have to?"

I mean, first of all, this is not a Rocky movie. It is not about boxing entirely. It has boxing scenes alright, but boxing is not the focal point of the story. It is about a man who becomes a champion against all the odds. The guy wins the title and it ends. It doesn't necessarily show us how great this man fights even though there might be one or two missed opportunities there, because there is an incredible knockout which could have been handled glamorously.  Yet, you enjoy those scenes as they are.

From the script point of view, it would be rather far-fetched if it actually tried to cover all the great matches Ward had.  And the story would have get lost. As I told you, making a story out of real life experiences is indeed tricky and I am simply glad that the script doesn't fall into such traps. So I'm not sure if all those people who say that all those fights should have been included to the movie realize that it would have been a very bad movie if they had actually included all of that stuff.

And as a side note here, even though I enjoy Mark Wahlberg's acting in general, the star of this movie was actually Christian Bale, doing a great job while perfoming Ward's elder brother. You realize what a great job he had done when you watch a piece of original video of these people at the end of the film.

August 05, 2011

this cool thing called triberr

I once met an interesting guy in a new year party one of my friends threw last year. The guy claimed that in this new era of connections, you only need 5 links to connect to anyone in the world. Meaning that, you might be a complete stranger to me right now, but if we dig enough we will see that you are a friend of a friend of a firend of a firend of a friend, at worst. People were joking "Oh, you are a friend of Obama then."

Even though this theory can't obviously cover every indiviual in the world, at least not in 5 steps, i think it is a true statement in general. Sometimes I come up people with interesting opinions in linkedin, and when I check out who wrote it, I see that we are connected in 3rd degree with most of them. Of course, a sample from linkedin can definitely not represent the world itself, but ok, i think you get the idea.

Now, the real question is: how effective is it? Let's assume that I can indeed find a link with anyone in 5 steps. Does this mean anything? Whatever personal advantange that I migt be after, can such a loose chain provide me that? Not at all.

On the other hand, Dunbar's Number suggests that a person can maintain an effective and meaningful social relation with 150 people at most. Do you remember the movie The Devil Wears Prada? Miranda character, portrayed by Meryl Streep in the movie had to hire assistants to remind her who the people were who attended to her party. Because, she had to look like she knows every one of them while in fact she had no clue who the hell they were. She had far reached her 150.

This 150 people can be called a tribe. Your tribe.

Now, this guy called Dino Dogan and his associates have created this system triberr which helps you to build effective and meaningful tribes in twitter. I am not really sure why they chose the "tribe" notion other than anything else, but I have a feeling that we all listened to Seth Godin while he was talking about his social tribe theory.

If you have a blog or an online business, or anything online that you want to spread to people, twitter is really a good way to do it. Well now, the follower numbers in twitter can easily override the 150 limit, but we (should) all know that twitter is not about building social relations but about promoting your message whether it is a groundbreaking idea or just a detail in your life. There are a lot of people who love to tweet when they go rest room. I didn't go that far, but I frequently tweet about what I eat or drink...  Mostly coffee as a matter of fact.

Triberr is a cool way to multiply the number of people you reach through twitter. If you are not a celebrity and don't have several thousands of followers already, your reach will always be limited. That's why most users rely on the power of retweets. Basically, you tweet about something and hope that other people will retweet it so your message will be heard by a much bigger crowd. And triberr lets you build a tribe, a group of effective twitters who will promote each other's blog posts on a particular RSS feed. If you post to a blog, all your tribe members will tweet it so the number of people you reach will multiply. It is indeed a cool feature.

August 01, 2011

eastern promises

The movie Eastern Promises is actually about Russian mafia in London and it has very little to do with anything Turkish in it, but the opening scene has some Turkish dialogues so i thought i should talk about it in my "movies with something Turkish in it" category.

In fact, the only thing Turkish in this movie is the old guy and his nephew who speak Turkish, and later on, it turns out that they're Kurdish, not Turkish. And honestly, even that is not enough to explain the horrible accent they talk. And even though the Turkish dialogues are just a few, the old man manages to make the wrong choice of words. He tries to calm his nephew saying "Durgun." which is obvioulsy a wrong pick from the dictionary.

But don't bother, this Turkish/Kurdish touch is not really significant for the overall plot, and it wouldn't really matter if the guy was from anywhere else. As I told you, the film is actually Russian mafia, and it was quite an interesting film. 

I was too tired and it was indeed a very hot night yesterday, but my wife and I kept watching it until the end credits, and we would do that if there weren't anything Turkish in it. Yet, it is still nice to hear or see something local in a foreign movie.