Thursday, 29 May 2014

5 Super Powers That Facebook Endows You With

By Humay Waseem

Tuning into a "mystical" world 

The world of Facebook can be classified as utopian whereby users are endowed with the ability to alter their reality to be perceived a certain way and be surrounded by all things nice. Facebook allows us to “develop” certain “super powers” only possessed by fictional super heroes.

Whether it is appearing hotter, slimmer, smarter, funnier, or as having a more happening life or it is to forge a new identity, vanish into the ether, or be telepathic, Facebook makes it all POSSIBLE.

Here are 5 Marvel Comic characters and their super powers that can be emulated via Facebook:

Morph into a "new" you

1)      Mystique (shape shifter)

With Facebook, you can shape shift into anyone you want to be. Be it a man, woman, celebrity, animal or shoe. Of course, if you are resorting to that behaviour you are either unhappy with your current existence, stalking an ex or trying to pry on attractive unsuspecting prospects who wouldn't give you a second "click" otherwise.

Altering perception

2)      Professor X (Mind control and Telepathy)

On Facebook you can use your FB statuses, or picture posts to forge a certain image of yourself thereby controlling others’ perception of you. Of course, if you go through crazy lengths to do this, such as photoshop the hell out of your pictures people will feel your insecurity from beneath the facade.

You can also develop “psychic” abilities by gauging people’s online activities. Their statuses, likes, pictures and posts can give you insights on how they are feeling, who they are dating and whether or not they had a hook up or a break up. Super stalking abilities, in other words. 

Brain Crash

3)      Cypher (Omnilingualism)

Thanks to the google translate website now many can pose to be multi-lingual or omnilingual on Facebook. Be it French, Italian, Yiddish, Cantonese or Estonian- you can sound like you have been globe-trotting all your life. Just be ready to make an ass of yourself when your friend’s cousin from France unexpectedly shows up and says, in François “Votre français est merveilleux, comment avez-vous appris?”

"Living it up" in Paris

4)       Azazil (Teleportation)

If you really want others to think that you are enjoying your next vacation in Monaco, it is fairly simple to “teleport” yourself if you know the simple hacks. Virtually teleport to any destination around the planet in a matter of seconds. Just make a false Facebook check-in at Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo and make your frenemies green with envy. Of course, if someone catches you purchasing gosht at the local market, be ready to drown in a pool of shame. 

Being invisible

5)      Invisible woman (Invisibility, quite literally)

You can make yourself invisible through a single click by deactivating your Facebook account. When you feel that you cannot take any more attention you can choose to go underground. Your absence may be noticed, or not.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

'X-Men: Days of Future Past' Premieres In Islamabad

By Humay Waseem

Mountain Dew premiered Bryan Singer's latest mutant saga X-Men: Days of Future Past at Cinegold Plex Rawalpindi on Friday in a geeky, yet glitzy affair and StudioBloop was there to witness the triumphant return of the world's favorite mutants
The X-men have returned to the big screen in what could quite possibly be the biggest movie of the year
The screening of the film was preceded by an X-Men themed red carpet event that was attended by film enthusiasts and noted personalities from Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Host of the evening with a guest

The event had a festive air as celebrities, X-men fans, movie buffs and socialites flocked to the theater. The event MC, model Quratulain Chaudhary was cosplaying as Halle Barry's "Storm" while X-Men cut-outs were placed all across the venue giving the vicinity the unique ambiance of a comic-con.

Dr. Hassan Waqar Rana, the award winning writer and executive producer of the hit Pakistani action thriller Waar was present among many other notables from the entertainment industry. 

Dr. Hassan Waqar Rana
Speaking to StudioBloop, Rana said that he has been a huge fan of the X-Men series and found X-Men: DOFP to be more "grown up's version" of the series. 

He was particularly thrilled by the historical fiction twist in the recent X-Men films and confessed that he was one of the few who actually root for Magneto instead of the heroes. 

DJ Assad Saifullah, another X-Men franchise fan, had his concerns about Jennifer Lawrence playing Rebecca Romijn's part of Mystique. However, he thought that the character of Wolverine was always powerful enough to draw the audiences to the film. 

11 year old CEO of Fizzzzz magazine Ahmed Sarym was excited by the show. “The film was very nice, especially because it combines the first and the second trilogy. My favorite scene was the climax of the film.”, said Sarym.

X-Men fan Farhan Khan Shinwari was left a bit confused by the time travel bit. However, he found a lot of his questions answered and a lot made sense to him since X-Men: First Class and Origins. He also appreciated the fact that the character of Mystique was brought to the forefront in this episode.

Guests at the premiere
Javeria Hassan, who was a complete stranger to the X-Men series, found the film fascinating and engaging. She particularly liked the visual effects.

Imran Kazmi saw an improvement in this episode of X-Men from the previous ones. He particularly loved the about-to-be-infamous slow motion scene in with Quicksilver that had the audience in fits.

Sameer Hamdani, an ardent X-Men franchise fan, was somewhat disappointed in the film. Apart from not being thrilled by the precise historical fiction mesh that this episode offers, he was let down by the way his favorite character Wolverine was badly manhandled and pinned by Magneto in it, which challenged his invincibility.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is being touted as the biggest hit of 2014 and is playing across Pakistan in 3D, offering a mind-bending story-line, out-of-this world VFX and the greatest X-Men character ensemble ever to hit the big screen. This one's a must-watch!

The complete photo album of the red carpet event is right here

Thursday, 22 May 2014

5 Lucha Libres of Music

In today’s world of the Justin Biebers, Katie Perrys and Beyoncés where music success is all about personalities, egos, and glitz and glamour, there are, and have been, musicians who have kept their personal lives separate from the prying eyes of media and the public, and are only known for their music.

Their songs could be topping the hit charts but you won’t necessarily be able to recognize them if you passed them by on a street. They’ve created names and personas that are big, but not bigger than their music; akin to Mexican Lucha Libre wrestlers who put on masks to fight in wrestling rings and go back home without being known.

These “lucha libres” of music have plenty of reasons to use masks, make-up, pseudonyms, and avatars. They want to keep their private lives private and avoid public and media scrutiny.

Sometimes it is purely for the love of music and to break away from the limitations forged with egoAs one masked singer puts it “It takes away the whole premise of you becoming more of a star than the music.”  It is difficult to keep ones ego aside from the music but it is something that enables certain musicians to make music as it comes from the soul and not from their looks. 

And then there are some who use make-up and props to create a larger than life persona to overcome their real life inadequacies and insecurities. Here is a list of musicians who guised their faces to be seen in a certain mysterious way.

1)      Daft Punk

Daft punk is a band whom even your grandparents would have heard of by now but none of you would be able to recognize the legends behind the band if they were bare faced- French guys, namely, Guy Manel De Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter. You would recognize them for their robo-cop get up and robotic dance moves in their ornate helmets that cost a whopping $65000. Their uplifting and unique electro beats manage to top charts decade after decade. Their initial reason for being masked was due to shyness and later they added that it was in an effort to avoid compromising their personal lives and to keep the attention focused on the music.

2)      Deadmau5

Behind the gigantic mouse-head mask of Deadmau5 you will find a scrawny guy who could use a tan but tune into his music and you would be blown away by his killer almost otherworldly electronic beats- A Canadian super creative dude who goes by the name, Joel Zimmerman- he would challenge all your pre-conceived notions regarding tech nerds. After all, we are quick to judge artists based solely on their appearance. Zimmerman came up with the username Deadmau5 using the digit to shorten his handle for the chatroom's guidelines and the name stuck with him since. He does not like being called a DJ as he feels that it is a term that is archaic and does not describe his approach to music. 

3)      Gorillaz

When one thinks of alternative rock and electronica band Gorillaz one is instantly reminded of animated skinny guys with punk hairdos- 2D, Mursoc Niccals, Noodle and Russel Hobbs. This is an English band that invests equal efforts in producing musical and visual wonder-pieces and is the brain child of English Musicians Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. You will find their cartoon animations run wild on large multimedia screens even in their concerts. The band members came up with the ideas for the animated cartoon when they were watching MTV and the lack of substance on this channel prompted them to create their own imaginative virtual-band.

4)      Kiss

1970's New York City based band Kiss was not just a band but a circus performance all packed into one with their flamboyant outfits, blood spitting, fire breathing and smoking guitars performances on stage. Once you wash down their 5 layers of black and white Make-up you would discover Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer. They used shock value to make their way into the audience's hearts but in 1983 to 1996 they unmasked themselves to present a change to audiences. Kiss was heavily inspired by theatrical bands New York Dolls and Alice Cooper. In addition, the makeup of each member is inspired by their individual personas. Starchild is a hopeless romantic, demon is a cynic with a dark sense of humor, the space ace is a reference to Frehley's love of science fiction and The Catman was inspired by the fact that Criss felt he had nine lives due to the rough Brooklyn neighbourhood he grew up in. 

5)      Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson- everybody's favorite musician from the 90's used the help of make-up to portray his inner personality. His heavy goth makeup- single white eyeball and high heeled shoes lent him an air of mystery and gothic-ism without which he would be an ordinary Joe with his blonde hair and the name "Brian". Marilyn Manson is multi-talented being an artist, actor, song writer and music journalist. Bare-faced, Brian Hugh is not someone you would consider hot, hence to create a memorable persona and to reflect his inner dark side, he wears lots of gothic makeup. Maybe when he decides to stop making music he will take off his makeup.  

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Reds in the Blues as Man City Bags the Premier League Crown Again

So the verdict is finally here. It is not always that the result for the winner of the English Premier League goes down to the wire. It happened when Manchester City won last time in 2012, but this Sunday it was not half that close. 

While Liverpool needed a win at Anfield against Newcastle United, Manchester City had to lose to give the Reds any chance. However, the mighty Manchester City does not look like a side that can be easily troubled. West Ham United were simply no match for them. 

On Sunday, Manchester City played off with West Ham at Etihad Stadium in Manchester, ending in a convincing 2-0 victory. The opening strike came after 40 minutes from the French midfield star Samir Nasri. The lead was further reinforced by a fitting corner goal by captain Vincent Kompany. 

This result earned Manager Manuel Pellegrini his first ever English Premier League victory, while the Sky Blues seem to be only getting used to the habit of lifting the cup frequently. 

But this football weekend was a major disappointment for the Reds as Liverpool failed to live the dream of winning the title after 25 long years. Especially, when veteran captain Steven Gerrard is at the twilight of his career. 

The Reds fans were scared to death when Liverpool had a shaky start with Newcastle. Newcastle offered some strong late season resistance and panicked Liverpool defender Martin Skrtl, who has quite a knack for it, enough to score an own goal for them. This was Newcastle's first away goal since March, scored by, well, not them. 

Newcastle defended well enough to keep fighting well into the middle of the second half. It was then when a couple of almost identical Steve Gerrard free kicks separated by two minutes, enabled Agger and Sturridge to score in a rather comfortable manner to vaporize the deficit and take the lead.  

The Reds fans may be disappointed over their club not winning the title, but in many ways, the club was the greatest winner this season. But the very fact that they came so close... really that close, literally a couple of goals away... that fateful game with Crystal Palace... It's just so painful for a Liverpool fan.

Liverpool jumped up no less than 5 spots since the last season and will be a major contender in the Champions League next year, replacing this year's lackluster Manchester United who took their precise No. 7 spot from last season. At least manager Brendan Rodgers shouldn't be getting fired.

Player of the season Luis Suarez with the Golden Boot

They also had another consolation with the flamboyant Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez taking home the golden boot and named Barclays Player of the Season, for being the leading goal scorer with 31 goals and 12 assists in 33 games. Furthermore, this season was the first time since 1896 that the club had scored 100 goals in a single season.

As a matter of fact, the goals scored by the top 2 teams were just neck-a-neck, with only City ahead by 1 goal. However, the goals against gave them the edge resulting in a Goal Difference of +65, so even equal points would not have mattered in the end. 

This season was a major game changer for many clubs. Everton has turned out to be one of the most consistently well performing teams under manager Roberto Martinez, ending at No. 5. Crystal Palace bounced back from relegation to end up at No. 11, while Southampton and Stoke City improved positions too.

Of course, Liverpool has significantly improved, while Manchester United had a fall from grace under David Moyes and became zeros from champions. OK, just No. 7, but that's pretty much it for the defending champions.

Teams such as Newcastle United remain mercurial, while West Brom also had a terrible season, losing 9 positions, and were saved only by the skin of their teeth from relegation. Norwich City, Fulham and Cardiff City were not so lucky after all.

You can find the final league standings here.

In any case, Manchester City proved to be the best team throughout the League and thoroughly deserved the title.

And in terms of quality, consistency and conceding errors, far more than Liverpool.