Tuesday, 31 December 2013

first and last hours :)

I've decided to revamp, well, will restart writing or attaching thing that mean something! I miss blogs...Site Meter

Saturday, 28 September 2013

What I watched tonight! Argo.

Smart, suspenseful and Ultimately Satisfying

I don't usually go out of my way to see political thrillers. Argo" is one of those movies I would have passed up watching had it not been for one catch. The idea of the government using the making of a fake space / fantasy film to free hostages from Iran intrigued me. Once again, I'm very glad I listened to my instincts and took it in.

This is a really good thriller based on the little known attempt to rescue 6 Americans hiding in the Canadian embassy during the Iranian hostage crisis. Director Ben Affleck skillfully ratchets up the suspense while delivering a believable performance as Tony Mendez a CIA technician who devises a highly imaginative escape plan that could easily qualify for an episode of Mission:Impossible. Chris Terrio's adapted screenplay explains the basis for Iranian hostility toward Americans before settling into a human drama focusing on a group of low level diplomatic operatives facing the possibility of imminent death. "Argo" is an exciting political thriller which will have you white- knuckled and gripping the edge of your seat. Director Ben Affleck did a great job keeping up the suspense and pacing in the film. Even though you know how it's going to end, you are still nervous for the characters as you watch. That's just good filmmaking in my book. Site Meter

Thursday, 26 September 2013

What I watched tonight! About a Boy

No men is an island, however there are some men who are better off being an island

After going through a summer with varying degrees of crappy movies I decided to hit up this film which I haven't seen in a while. I realized I was watching nothing short of magic. A novel by Nick Hornby, is the basis for this film  It concerns Will Freeman a well off, single man quite satisfied living alone and enjoying the carefree Bachelor's life. At the same time a young twelve-year-old boy named Marcus Brewer  who enjoys singing to himself, bullied at school, and is hard pressed living with a single, lonely, depressed and suicidal-prone mother. By themselves they are in desperate need of companionship, but once they discover each other, they realize their needs are similar. The answer to both their problems is met when they learn, Life is sharing and each has more to offer than they believe possible. The film is a delight to view as we watch both Characters trying desperately to solve their personal dilemmas without asking for help. Thus the quote 'No Man is an Island' becomes important. All in all, the movie strikes a cord for anyone seeking comfort in the solace of independence. In this day and age where single parents have become the norm, this film offers more than just humor, it illustrates the fact, everyone needs someone. Easily recommended. **** The film is genuinely funny and insanely sweet. This is a film not to be missed especially when you have re-hashed rubbish being recycled over and over again. It is a true breath of fresh air.
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Friday, 23 August 2013

back, but not on track

I have not been having it easily lately so I have to resort to write and expose what is deep inside, I feel like I've been postponing this post for the longest time.

These mix of emotions and this very sense of confusion is leading to a great deal of new found feelings. I'm questioning everything in my life. I feel the need to destroy and eliminate. Blame that on my anger. I have a desire to push boundaries. Big time. There's this instinct to shake all that I stand for from its foundations. If possible, I don't want anything anymore. I want to exhaust myself until all of this makes sense.

This post is unstructured and probably senseless but that is how I have been feeling lately..."I am bored, Cold, Sleepy, Mad, Lazy, and upset." 

Mixed Feelings (Ambiguity)

Mixed feelings have odd ways of carving themselves in and out of one's life. It seems they are what make feelings so complicated, and they are what makes it so hard to be a human being. For me, moments of introspection are the only things that allow me to possibly divide them and sort them out in a way that makes sense. It seems like the feelings felt even about the most mundane things and things barely felt at all add up.

I suppose in summer I should give up my thinking a little bit. I shouldn't be feeling anything but happy feelings. But then, of course, things come up that tug at my soul a little bit and pull down the covers of the emotions that I have tried so hard to stop myself from feeling. 

Mixed feelings can result from little things.  If I shove my feelings down in my throat and dismiss even the tiniest of feelings, they might well up in some other way. 

And then sometimes there are the more serious mixed emotions. Sometimes, these feelings come when a cover on one of the skeletons in my closet is ripped off and I have to deal with it again. These are the feelings that are so easy to ignore and deny or only partially accept. The negative inkling in the back of that happy bliss, the grimace disguised as a smile... Those are where everything comes in. Sometimes, I deny all of these feelings because I am worried about what others might think or worried that I'm not supposed to be thinking all of the things that I am thinking.

 I feel like the odd boy out when I am with certain people. I might have smiled and tried to persist in how I was going, but it was true. In many ways I was different than the people I meet and while they sometimes tried to include me in the fun, I had the distinct feeling that my train of thought was unwelcome and that I was very different from everyone else there which led to a feeling of frustration at being unable to express myself. It might have been easier to speak up and ask someone, but I didn't want to acknowledge these feelings at the time. Hence, that was where my feelings of dissatisfaction and frustration lay. If I had acknowledged these negative feelings and nipped them in the bud (or accepted them, depending on their validity), then life probably would have been easier for me. The same can be said for a variety of other social situations.

Ambiguity is a part of life. It just is. As a human being, I will feel a variety of emotions throughout my life. To deny any of those is unhealthy and wrong and will probably come out in various ways later.

I am learning to accept how I feel and not to dismiss myself so easily. A part of this needs to come in accepting every part of me and just loving who I am. Only then will things possibly work out from me.

The ambiguity in life is what makes it so beautiful for me. It is those shades of gray that make things so beautifully complex. 

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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

4 minutes of your time!

stop for 4 minutes and watch this great video which will leave you wondering when are we going to stop harming ourselves!

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Monday, 15 October 2012

OTTIJIET - Traditional Maltese Biscuits in the shape of N° 8

Ottijiet are Maltese traditional biscuits shaped in the form of the number 8. Infact, the biscuit’s name is derived from the Italian word Otto which means Eight. The word otto was borrowed by the Maltese and the Maltese created the plural of otto into ottijietwhich is colloquial maltese.
These biscuits, are very easy to make and they form part of the autumn and winter cuisine.   The ingredients are very basic which are normally found in every housewife’s larder. However they are very delicious, especially when served at breakfast or teatime with tea and coffee. Once you start dipping these biscuits in tea or coffee, you won’t be able to resist yourself as once you pop you won’t stop.
Yet you should try them and share them with family and friends. They will surely love them!!!
Ottijiet are very popular in Malta, and can be purchased from all supermarkets and confectioneries.

Here is the recipe that makes around 48 biscuits

600g plain flour
3teaspoons baking powder
175g castor sugar
100 ml olive oil
Grated rind 2 oranges and 1 lemon
Juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon
2 tablespoons finely chopped rind of mandarin (optional)
2 eggs
150g sesame seeds

Sieve flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add sugar and mix well.  Rub in oil.
In a separate bowl grate the lemon and orange rind.  Add to flour mixture together with mandarin rind. Add the eggs lightly beaten and half of the orange and lemon juice.

Add egg mixture to the flour and process until mixture forms into a soft dough.  If dough is dry, add slowly some of the remaining juice.

Turn dough on a floured surface and knead lightly with your hands until dough is smooth.

Cut pieces of dough,  roll dough in your hands and form into a neat sausage about 20 cm long and thick as a finger. Join the ends together and then twist these rings at the centre to form a figure of eight. 
Dip them into sesame seeds and place them on an oven tray which has been covered with a well greased baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 220°C/gas mark 7. Turn the heat down to 160 -180°C/ gas mark 4 and place the biscuit trays in the oven. 
Bake for about 25 minutes until they are a deep golden colour. Leave them to cool on a wire rack and then store them in an airtight container.

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Veronica Decides To Die

I came across this book by chance and I was intrigued by its title. The problem is that once I started the first pages I could not put the book down. The title might suggest doom and gloom but even if it is weird how the story evolves one will be surprised, very surprised with its ending.

To create realistic characters or believable plot is not the point of this book and certainly not the author’s intention. I guess one really has no choice but to agree with this as it is patently obvious that this is not so much a book as a meditation on insanity with characters and plot which are merely vehicles to convey the author's thoughts on the subject and encourage the reader to reflect on the same and to explore how they may feel/behave/think in similar circumstances. 

Veronika is a 24 year old Slovenian woman who one day decides to kill herself, apparently because

(1) "everything in her life was the same and, once her youth was gone, it would be downhill all the way" and
(2) everything is wrong with the world and she feels powerless to make things right. After she takes an overdose of sleeping pills, Veronika wakes up in a mental hospital.

The author manages somehow to make you feel a love and hate relation with Veronika because her actions are so absurd and incomprehensible yet I wish I were able and feel really free to do them without worrying what others are saying about my actions.

In my opinion it is a very good read. It's a real journey to discover oneself and to know what counts the most in our lives.  it also made me wonder, who's really crazy in today's world :)

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book.

P 1
There is alwayas a gap between intention and action.

P 2
Nothing in this world happens by chance.

P 5
She laughed to think of the controversy in the newspapers, with some for and some against her suicide committed in honour of conutry's cause.

P 7
The human race must procreate. Society needs workers. A couple has to have a reason to stay together even when love has ceased to exist, and a country needs soldiers, politicians and artists.

P 8
God knows the past, the present and the future. In that case, he had placed her in this world with the full knowledge that she would end up killing herself, and he would no longer shocked by her actions.
-- This would work as great rationalisation for committing any kind of sin.

P 12
Absurd though it (she fighting with her husband over his mistress) may seem, I think that was the happiest time of her life. She was fighting for something, She felt alive and capable of responding to the challenges facing her.

P 13
Atlast she resigned to her fate.

P 16
And when he thought about it - and it must be said, he rarely did.

P 19
Some people always want to help others. Just so that they can feel better than they really are.

P 20
People think about sex only once a fortnight and transform that thought into action only once a month.

P 25
A lot of people would talk about the horrors in other people's lives as if they were genuinely concerned to help them, but the truth was that they took pleasure in suffering of others, because that made them believe that they were happy and their life had been generous with them.
She wasnt going to give this man an opportunity to take advantage of her state, in order to mask his own frustrations.

P 27
She had always spent her life waiting for something.

P 30
Her body was warmed by the desire of the person waiting for her.

P 32
I have never been depressed, never felt great joy or sadness, atleast none that lasted.

P 33
It seemed that noone wanted to share their inner world with strangers

P 35
She is not going to stop something which gives her pleasure just to be nice to a complete stranger. If she should react badly, you'll never have another chance to approach her. Tha mad always believe in first impressions.

P 36
After all she was mad too and she nolonger worried about pleasing anyone.

P 37
Veronika assumed an ironic air, smiled, turned and moved off so that no one would notice that her eyes were filling with tears.

P 38
She had never allowed herself to be provoked.
She needed to get back to the person she used to be, someone able to respond with irony, to pretend that insults didnt bother her because she was better than all of them.
Here I am with my days literally numbered giving importance to the remarks made by people I have never seen before.

P 39
In adolescence she thought it was too early to choose, now in youth she was convinced it was too late to change.

She went to work everyday always keeping to the same time table, always making sure she wasnt perceived as threat by her superiors. She was contented but she didnt struggle and hence she didnt grow.

P 41
Veronika regretted the slap not because she was afraid of the man's reaction, but because she had done something different. If she wasnt careful she might end up convinced that life wasnt worth living, and that would cause her pointless pain.
When the days are all the same, they pass more quickly.

P 49
Any drastic change in life could cause depression.
A man hidden in her past, or rather the fantasy she had built up about a man she had known a long time ago.
Like every normal young girl she needed to experience the impossible love.

P 52
What once seemed to her as a paradise, gradually turned out into hell.

She had used impossible love as an excuse, a pretext for breaking ties with the life she led.
To exchange her life as a respected wife for the life as someone else's secret mistress.

P 55
People never learn anything by being told, they have to findout for themselves.

P 59
Thats why I was crying. When I took the pills I wanted to kill someone I hated. I didnt know that other Veronikas existed inside me, Veronikas that I could love.

P 60
A person like everyone else in the world needed other people in order to be happy.

P 62
She had opened the door to her personal hell. She hated the love she had been given, because it had asked for nothing in return, which was absurd, unreal and against the laws of nature.

P 63
She had felt such pure hatred that now she had no more rancour left in her heart.
She had actually felt them, and they are no longer necessary, they could leave. She sat in silence enjoying the present moment, letting love fill up the empty space left behind by hatred.

P 66
The best way to avoid trouble is to share responsibility.

P 73
Veronika had always hated goodbyes.

P 75
How can you be so heartless?

P 78
A schizophrenic is a person who already has a natural tendency to absent himself from this world.

P 80
Imagine the excitement aroused by each gesture the victim made.

P 81
They became unable to leave their world, where they had spent enormous reserves of energy constructing high walls in order to make reality what they wanted it to be.

P 82
proud of being misunderstood. after all that was a price every genius had to pay.

P 85
There had been one missing element that would have transformed that love into a blessing. She should have allowed herself to be a little madder.

Whenever her dream was awoken though the feeling of frustration was so intense that she immediately sent it back to sleep.

A husband likes that kind of thing in a wife, He can show you off at parties.

P 89
Why didnt you stick to your guns? What did you have to lose?
My dignity by being where I wasnt welcome.

P 91
You have 2 choices, to control your mind or to let your mind control you.

P 92
Stay mad, but behave like normal people. Run the risk of being different, but learn to do so without attracting attention.
She must learn to care less about annoying others.

Did she really know what it meant to have an orgasm? Or had she only gone as far as men had wanted to take her?

P 100
At first she had tried to avoid her, afraid to awaken the young woman's desire to live.

P 113
He knew he had more chance of getting a reply to his silence than to any question.

P 114
doctor who answered to the name of Dr Igor.

P 116
We are allowed to make a lot of mistakes in our lives, except the mistake that destroys our lives.

P 118
He was so good looking. If only he would take one step outside his world and see her as a woman, then her last nights on this earth might be the most beautiful of her entire life.
I could fall in love right now and give everything I have to you.

P 119
All the manuals of good behavior say that you should never speak of love so directly.
Tonight I played for you like a woman in love. It was wonderful. It was the best moment of my entire life.

P 121
Her first orgasm came and she bit her lips so as not to cry out with pleasure.
She imagined herself both queen and slave, dominatrix and victim.

P 122
She gave herself to all that was most base and most pure.
It was so good that I can see love in everything, even in the eyes of a schizophrenic.

P 123
Veronika needed to reward him for the immense pleasure he had given her, merely by staying with her and witnessing her madness without horror or repulsion. -- do I owe the same to Shiva & Kishore?

P 124
She played in order to give Eduard as much pleasure as she herself had experienced.

P 127
To smile at every man I felt attracted to.

P 130
An orgy must be completely anarchic and joyful in which the feeling of possession no longer existed, just pleasure and confusion.

P 131
Sexual desire disappeared in the 3rd or 4th year of living together. After that the wife felt rejected and the man felt trapped.
My husband would think I was behaving like a prostitute.
My wife deserves my respect.
It was very dangerous being uninhibited in bed.

P 139
I am tired of all this. But I am used to it too.

P 142
Veronika didnt know what he was talking about. She regretted having taken his hand, she wanted to get away from there as soon as possible, to hide her shame, never again to see that man who had witnessed all that was most sordid in her and who nevertheless continued to treat her with such tenderness.

P 145
He began to understand that love was something other than what his parents gave him.

P 146
I would say that if someone only has a short time to live and decides to spend that time sitting beside a bed, watching a man sleeping, then that must be love.

P 147
If you were to die now, you would die with your heart full of love.

P 148
Many people dont allow themselves to love because of that. Because there are a lot of things at risk, a lot of future and a lot of past.
I will look at men in the street, right in theie eyes and I wont feel guilty about feeling desired.

P 153
You are someone who is different, but who wants to be the same as everyone else. And that in my view is a serious illness.
This is very true in my case. I am different. But I keep asking questin why others are not like me? why others are enjoying such simple things of life? Dont worry about that Srikanth. God chose you to be different. Why are you disappointing God with this kind of attitude.

P 155
The girl was playing the music with such soul because she knew she was going to die. And am I not going to die? Where is my soul that I might play the music of my own life with such enthusiasm?

It took me three years to understand that life was pushing me in a direction I didnt want to go in.

P 161
The art of diplomacy consists in keeping your opponent waiting. Whilst you may never get over first love affair, it always ends.

His wife felt proud and reassured. Her husband was an experienced man, he had entered the world of drugs and emerged unscathed. A man with such strength of will could control any situation.

P 165
perhaps she had found someone else to go with her to the crystal mountains.

P 169
worried that Eduard's interest in painting was lasting longer than expected,

P 171
After all diplomacy is also the art of postponing decisions until the problems resolve themselves.

P 172
He wasnt used to such outspoken expressions of affection.
You are deceiving yourself. Running away from reality.

P 173
He wanted something for which he had not been chosen and the price of which was his parents disappointment.

P 174
He thought that he could just give up and follow his father's advice, but he had advanced too far in his work. He had crossed the abyss that seperates a man from his dream and now there was no going back. He couldnt go forwards or back. It was easier just to leave the stage.

P 175
It would be far too early for me to tell you that I love you, but since I probably wont live through the night, it would also be too late.

P 176
Dont be embarrassed about being loved. I am not asking you for anything.

P 185
Look at my face. Remember it with the eyes of your soul, so that you can reproduce it one day. If you like, that can be your starting point, but you must go back to painting.
Letting you engrave my face on your soul.
asked the God she did not believe in to take her at that very moment.

P 190
An awareness of death encourages us to live more intensely.
Dr Igor was too excited by the results to pay much attention to minor details.
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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The truth behind better wages in Europe than in Malta.

I read the following article in the Times of Malta;

(http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20121010/world/italy-pm-monti-announces-surprise-income-tax-cut.440452) and I it is a great idea that in the following budget in Italy, an anti-corruption commissioner will be appointed to address corruption. Another great sign of recovery is that Monti will lower the income tax rate to 22 percent from 23 percent for those earning less than 15,000 euros per year, and to 26 percent from 27 percent for salaries between 15,001 and 28,000 euros. The top three income tax bands will remain unchanged.
However not everyone realize that it is not the amount you earn that matters most, but how much money one has left after tax is paid. One can compare the rates in Malta in the following link: http://www.ird.gov.mt/services/taxrates.aspx

Of  great interest is the following link which I am translating to English: http://economiaefinanza.blogosfere.it/2012/05/tasse-italia-2012-in-italia-le-piu-alte.html

Italy continues to have the negative record of the country with higher taxes. 

Let's talk about income taxes, but also taxes on labour - as is clear from Eurostat data - with high taxes and contributions paid by workers and employers. 

In Italy, the tax on labour, stands at  42.6%, exceeding by far the EU average which is around 34%. Rates close to Italy are Belgium (42.5%), France (41%) and Austria (40.5%). 

The tax, however, is more favourable in Malta (21.7%), Portugal (23.4%), Bulgaria (24.4%) and Great Britain (25.7%). 

The tax burden on Italian companies - says Pmi.it - ​​is stable at 31.4% in 2012, but taxes are by far the most expensive in Europe. 

The VAT, in Italy 21% and has increased throughout Europe. The countries with the highest VAT are  Hungary (27%), Denmark and Sweden (25%).  Followed by Romania (24%), Greece, Spain, Poland, Portugal and Finland (23%), and finally Luxembourg (15%) and Cyprus (17%). (In Malta the rate is at 18%)

In recent years, Italy has also considerably raised the tax burden on incomes, from 45.6% in 2011 to 47.3% in 2012, the European average is 38.1% and 43, 2%.  For the countries which use Euro 

Countries with the highest taxes are Sweden (56.6%), Denmark (55.4%), Belgium (53.7%), Spain and the Netherlands (52%), Austria and the UK (50%). The more favourable tax regimes are those of Bulgaria (10%), the Czech Republic and Lithuania (15%), Romania (16%) and Slovakia (19%).

In Malta it is (21.7%)

Highlighted text has been added and it is not in the link.


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Saturday, 8 October 2011

Stay hungry, stay foolish...

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice.''
"Stay hungry, stay foolish."

"Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful … that's what matters to me." Steve Jobs

We are gonna miss you Steve! You touched an ugly world of technology and made it beautiful!

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