Toy Story 3: Pixar's Best Since Nemo

To Infinity and Beyond!

The theater in downtown Berkeley was half empty. Judging from this and the trailers we’d seen, we looked at each other slightly concerned.

Our concern went away very quickly. Starting with the usual Pixar short, titled Day & Night we were blown away. The short is hard to describe because of its simplicity: it consists of two characters (“Day” and “Night”) that walk through the screen and see in their “transparent” bodies the world they are living in projected (I hope this description makes SOME sense).

The brilliant and thought-provoking short led to a classic Toy Story-style opening, that quickly got us hooked. The glasses sure help the delivery but the movie hardly seems to force any “3-D kung-fu” moves that have become such a staple lately.

But in the midst of the ever-improving animation, the story (written by Little Miss Sunshine‘s Michael Arndt) continued to show why Pixar is one of the best studios out there. A whole slew of new characters get introduced in this movie and the bulk of it takes place in a new environment: a daycare where the main characters get played with (read abused) by a bunch of crazy toddlers.

I won’t give out much about the movie here. There is lots of laughs: the now-famous Spanish-talking Buzz Lightyear, resulting from a reboot of the figure in the movie, is hilarious! There is also lots of special moments that may make you shed a tear… I know someone who did. šŸ™‚

I know the string of perfect reviews for Pixar movies has been broken. But I don’t care. The story and the delivery of the closing movie for the Toy Story series was amazing: it’s, simply put, the best movie they’ve put out since Finding Nemo.

Silvio Rodriguez en Oakland

Vivir en el area de la bahia de San Francisco tiene sus beneficios. Uno de ellos es que muchos artistas musicales nos visitan. Hoy fue uno de esos casos.

Esta noche, Silvio Rodriguez se presento en el teatro Paramount de Oakland.

Ambos, mi esposa y yo, crecimos escuchando Silvio… asi que cuando supimos que venia a la bahia enseguida aprovechamos la oportunidad. Logramos conseguir asientos buenos (lease no muy caros y con buena vista) en el balcon de arriba…

Pero lo mejor de todo fue realmente el derroche de exquisita poesia musical que Silvio compartio con los presentes. Con un repertorio que se balanceo entre sus clasicos y material mas reciente, Silvio dejo a la audiencia satisfecha luego de dos horas y media de musica.

Entre los temas clĆ”sicos que Silvio compartiĆ³ estuvieron:

  • En el Claro de la Luna – el tema con el que abrio el concierto.
  • SueƱo con Serpientes – “… hay los que luchan toda la vida: esos son los [hombres] imprescindibles.” ~ Bertolt Brecht.-
  • Cancion del Elegido – la cual dedico a los Cuban Five.
  • La Era esta Pariendo un Corazon – con un arreglo genial que le dio nueva vida a una cancion de 1968.
  • Oleo de Mujer Con Sombrero
  • La Maza – un tema super-poderoso que movio el publico entero.
  • Como Gasto Papeles – un momento super-intimo… exquisito en que Silvio interpreto solo con su guitarra el tema entero.
  • PequeƱa Serenata Diurna (“Vivo en un pais libre…”)
  • OjalĆ” – que se puede decir de este tema que no se haya dicho?
  • Unicornio – luego de muchos pedidos del publico (incluyendome!)

Pero el concierto tambien conto con momentos especiales que trajeron canciones mas recientes, como:

  • La Gota de Rocio (1985)
  • Quien Fuera (1992)
  • El Necio (1992)
  • Casiopea (1994)
  • Mariposas (1999)

En general, a nivel tematico, Silvio nos mostro un lado suyo menos politico y mas lleno de sensibilidad poetica y musical. Fue una noche inolvidable: creo que nuestras vidas podran contarse como “Antes del Concierto de Silvio” y “Despues del Concierto de Silvio”.

Rework: Book review

Reading “Rework” is a lot like the experience you get from 37Signals (the company behind Basecamp and many other web-based productivity tools, whose founders wrote the book).

37Signals sticks to their philosophy and they don’t care too much if you don’t like what they stand for: they believe in it and stick their product development efforts to it. This is highly commendable: sticking to your guns in the face of criticism (which will always be there) is tough. But it can come across as arrogant at times.

When/if you get past the discomfort some of the controversial positions from Fried and Heinemeier may generate, you start to see why these guys have been so successful at what they do. They have a firm stand against some wide-prevailing practices: workaholism, growth for the sake of growth, meetings (they call them toxic) and letting your customers outgrow you, to name a few.

At face value, many of these propositions may sound outrageous to most, but give yourself a chance to read through “Rework“: you will not only find yourself questioning some of the things you do in your organization… I bet you will find yourself reading it again and circulating it within your team!