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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Apologies

I have actually had people asking me why I haven't posted for some days (okay, two people count as people!). It's because, on top of a ton of work, I've been involved with this. My Law School Class is finally trying to get together a 'yearbook', more than a year and a half after passing out of law school. Promptitude is our primary virtue.

Update: There was a mistake in the url linked above, which has now been corrected, the world can now heave a huge sigh of relief!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Must watch cheese

Watched Scent of a Woman yesterday on DVD. There's a reason they make cheesy feel-good movies you know? they actually make you feel good....if they're well executed like Scent of a Woman. The character of Lt.Col. Frank Slade is sheer brilliance, and Al Pacino is outstanding. Of course subsequently he went on to do many other roles where the ghost of Frank Slade hovered above each character played by him, but we can forgive him that.

Chris O'Donnell does the male ingenue bit very well, and Gabrielle Anwar looks stunning in her brief appearance. The background music is very good, and some of the dialogue is brilliant, eg Frank Slade to Donna (after he guesses her soap by smell and she says "that's amazing")... "I'm in the amazing business"...

Conceded it's not a great movie, but it's super feel-good fun! And don't miss Philip Seymour Hoffman as the rich preppie, how far he has come!

Cheese update: One more feelgood thing, this morning I realised I could sing along with 'Thank you for loving me' by Bon Jovi, in its entirety...yes the song is a cheesy rehash of some ten other cheesy Bon Jovi songs, but the significance of it is that I've never been able to sing along with a Bon Jovi song completely before, without dropping an octave...I think all that singing along with simon & garfunkel in the car has helped....whoopee!!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Cellphones

I miss not having a cellphone, I do. When the cellphone first came out in India, I remember my uncle had bought a NOKIA handset which was ...ahem....as thick as a brick, for which he paid....hold your breath... 40,000 Rupees. It looked very cool for the time, and the fact that you had to stick your head out of the window to make a call, and that you couldn't use it in most parts of Madras didn't rob it of all the coolness it's price tag demanded.

Then a cellphone tower (base-station) came up near my house in Kottayam. For some inexplicable reason I felt damn proud of it, and I even remember referring to it as 'my cellphone tower,' although I was still half-a-decade away from getting a cellphone of my own.

I had a friend who used to crank -call people whom he knew had a cellphone, to make them spend the 8 rupees per minute that was the charge for incoming calls at that time. Oh yes, outgoing calls were 16 Rupees per minute and incoming calls were 8. This was called 'airtime.'

In college, around second year (2000) a few people started getting cellphones of their own, and these were the outrageously cool people with money to burn. I even remember a discussion I had with my room-mate about whether a cellphone or a car was a greater luxury (laptops didn't even figure in the same league). We proceeded to do a census and the car won by a whisker, with 5 people having cars and 8 people having cellphones.

Stories abounded about embarassing attempts to show off cellphones, including the one, which I am sure you have heard, about the guy apparently talking on his cellphone, and the phone ringing in the middle of his 'conversation.' There was another one about this guy who stopped wearing his watch so that he could whip out his cellphone whenever someone asked him the time.

Then pre-paid cards came out, the gray market started to flourish and prices of handsets began a steady decline. More and more people started getting cellphones, and the queues outside the hostel phone booth started getting shorter. Shouts of "*insert name*....PHONE CALL" became less frequent in the hostel. The people who earlier used to earn glares of irritation mixed with envy, when they hogged the hostel phone, could now spend hours talking to their sweethearts in the comfort of their hostel room, without offending anyone.

And then incoming calls became free, handset prices dropped even further and somewhere along the line, even I got a cellphone. A cheapie Motorola that would be a shoo-in for the "worst-designed cellphone in history" award. It refused to leave me. I left it behind in a restaurant and got it back, I've left it behind in people's rooms and I've got it back, it still lives in my cupboard as my backup phone. In the meanwhile the cellphone slowly and surely became an essential part of my existence. Communication, reachability, the feeling that you're never alone, the hours of mindless conversation with countless people, all these things became an addiction.

But somehow I yearn for a cellphone less world. Where I can sleep without being woken up. Where you can't reach me if I don't want you to. Where ICICI Bank doesn't want to sell me credit cards every other day. The grass is definitely greener on the other side...I am POSITIVE!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

College abilities

This is not just another nostalgia trip, but the desire to regain some of those things I never realised I had, till they 'stealthily disappeared' like some friends of mine did from a sociology class.

I'd like some 'college abilities' please; some ability to hero-worship unabashedly; some ability to love a piece of music so much that you wear out the rewind button on your tape-deck; some ability to fall in love with a pretty face for the reason that the face is pretty; some ability to ride 'trips' on a bike carrying a mattress and two pillows; some ability to see a deadline and decide 'f*** it'; some ability to sit-up till 4 am, doing nothing but bitching about people; some broke-ness, to fully appreciate the beauty of a tasty meal; some innocence, to feel outraged at the 'evil ways' ofthe world; some naivete, to believe that you can be a lawyer and be a rock star at the same time; some cellphone-lessness, to be able to sit near the hostel telephone waiting for it to ring; some cockiness, to be able to throw condoms in class; some bravado, to wear a black-band in protest....against anything; some one-rupee coins, to call someone from a coin-box phone; a football ground, to miss when it's replaced by a library; some more bass on the drum monitor....

Bla bla bla, fine it's just another nostalgia trip, so sue me.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The aliens have landed.......in Kerala

No, this is not yet another crackpot American claiming to have seen a UFO, it's a scientific paper published in a peer reviewed Journal "Astrophysics and Space Science," by Godfrey Louis and Santosh Kumar of the Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam, Kerala. Louis' site has more details and links to the paper as well as the response of the press around the world.

When Shashi Tharoor become UN Secretary General (de jure ruler of the planet) and with the assistance of our alien friends, we mallus are gonna kick all yor non-mallu asses....and take over the universe.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Cracking the Code

In my continuing efforts to become a North Indian so as to completely blend in with the...er....people in this part of the country I have cracked the 'repeated-word-with-altered-first-syllable' Code. Let me explain for the benefit of the less neand....i mean North Indian.....'Dil Vil' 'Pyaar Vyaar' 'Love Shove' 'Pub Shub' etc.,

There's been a raging debate amongst us aspiring (sigh!) North Indians about the rule regading the use of the 'SH' syllable or the 'V' syllable in the repeated word. To this day, none of us have been able to really crack the code and all we could do is stand by and watch in meek admiration when the Choms rattled off these repeated words with instinctive ease. Enraged with envy and consumed with self-doubt, I was determined that one day I should also be able to stand tall, and be able to say 'Photo-Shoto' without a quiver of doubt. It is with unabashed pride that I announce that today is that day, the culmination of my efforts, the fulfillment of my dreams, the achievement of my ambition, I HAVE CRACKED THE CODE.

It is simple.....English = SH.....Hindi = V.....let me demonstrate

English

Love Shove
Pub Shub
Photo Shoto
Mall Shall

Hindi

Dil Vil
Pyaar Vyaar
Chain Vain

As I write this, I am reading a msg where a friend has simply said "Tod Phod"....DAMNIT.....one more f***ing syllable....my dreams lie shattered....where does PH fit in....will I ever fit in?.....sniff....

Monday, March 06, 2006

two biopics and a gender-bender

That's my movies this weekend, in order of preference:

Transamerica - Beautiful film about a pre-surgery trans-sexual man-becoming-woman who discovers that s/he has a teenage son who is in a spot of trouble, and their road trip to California from New York. The acting is beautifully restrained with Felicity Huffman delivering a measured yet mind-blowing performance. The script is a wry, spare masterpiece with a fair smattering of thought-provokingly funny lines. Where the film loses out is in the entertainment department; while it's a brilliant premise executed equally brilliantly, it lacks a real plot/story which makes an otherwise deftly crafted film a bit of a drag at times.

Walk the Line - Standard biopic, super performances from both Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon (she looks super!), great music, predictable narrative, technically solid. If you're a Johnny Cash fan the film will knock you dead, if you're not, it will still entertain. But I wouldn't really call it inspiring.

Capote - Intense, painstakingly shot, stunningly acted, boring movie. Here I must warn you that I am very 'base,' and I don't have a taste for the finer things in life, and so if this is good cinema, as all critics seem to be saying, then do go ahead and see it. Don't let the fact that it bored me keep you from witnessing a great performance from Hoffman, some breathtaking visuals, and the real story behind one of my favourite crime novels...then go and read Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

mastadons with lasers

I am delighted and very proud to announce that in my office I now use a machine running the very brand new Pentium D 64-bit dual core processor.....I am fairly sure very few of you out there in blogland have a dual core processor powering your computer.....although i have to confess my user experience has not been mind-blowing due to a very slow hard drive....the very fact that my CPU has four fans (one on the processors, one for the SMPS, one at the back of the cabinet and one at the side) as well as a fully perforated front portion, for ample ventilation....makes me feel proud and joyful....plus i use Linux, for the warm glow......so it's an unbeatable combination for deriving intangible, non-material satisfaction out of your computer....

but i am warned that hyper-threading (that thing i wrote about some time back) has not been turned on, on my chipset, and if that is done, marauding mastadons will.....well....maraud out of my CPU and knock me down with blitzy lasers of computing performance....(do mastadons need lasers...i don't know)

now somebody will kill my joy by telling me they have an AMD64 athlon or something.....but until then....EAT YOUR HEART OUT single core losers!!! BUWAHAHAHA

Shh...Listen

That's not just the title of a motherjane song, it's my latest inner-peace-attaining, simulating-the-feeling-of-being-in-a-movie activity.

What you need to do is listen...listen to every single sound that your ears are picking up...right now i am listening to my fingers typing, some people talking, some pages being flipped, a chair creaking, a vehicle honking somewhere far away, a phone ringing, the printer spewing out some paper, a pen dropping, some others typing, and a number of unidentifiable sounds.....concentrate on nothing but the sounds around you...think of them purely as sounds, disconnected from their origin and meaning....just do that for a minute or two especially when you are walking or moving things about and it feels nice, vaguely like you're in a movie! I swear....

....you can now call me Sri Sri Revenge of Smith.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

EMI's the Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years

M got me this book from Singapore some time back. When I got my hands on it, it was just a stupendously brilliant book and quite possibly the most perfect literary gift for someone like me (a Beatles fan, a sort-of musician and a wannabe sound engineer). And then I realised it's a rare out-of-print masterpiece that would cost me a bomb if I were to buy it off Amazon, so it's even cooler!

I don't know how she does it. Absolutely perfect gifts; sometimes reading my mind and figuring out what I want, sometimes just figuring out what I want before I know it myself. And the rubbish I've got her (and anyone else!).