Monday, January 31, 2005

original sin

scriptures say adam and eve, persuaded by satan in the form of a snake, started the whole thing by eating an apple from the tree of knowledge. ages later now its all being reenacted with some changes. what was till a couple of years ago a sin committed in silence by the minority apple users has now been justified as a global panacea from the snakes of spyware and malware. everywhere you turn there is at least one article or blog or poster or a pair of white headphones proclaiming to the world that the apple is back to bite the humans. its ipod this and mac mini that everywhere. this apple is getting all the good publicity that the one from the tree of knowledge never got. we'll have to wait and see if its all just yet another route to hell albeit a colorful, cushy one.
there i've done my part adding to all that macochism.

yo wake up.i'm done serving the apé's the main course for all you macheads and future switchers. i get my daily mac and cheese from these :

Headlines that scream "we love macs"

thinking about a new ipod. hold on, check here first to see if you need to wait just a little longer for the improved newer version.shh..its a secret though :

this guy is daring ,sets balls on fire.also writes some interesting mac related stuff

did you know Shift+F9 displays a slow motion exposé effect ? take a hint at :

mana for the mac geeks :

saving the best for the last.will original sin be passed on or is it just a disease that needs a Windose shot(kinda borrowed this term from suderman's links..i dont think he'll mind). read about some very interesting thoughts on the future for us poor humans :

Sunday, January 30, 2005

there is no such thing as simple blogging

i'm not frightening anyone from blogging the stories of their life or their dog's. in fact this is a mini-guide to inform new bloggers of some options they have.there are also some rather major guides if you google enough.

i decided a few days ago that i'd put my collective thoughts and random mail ramblings into one spot so the rest of the world can dissect me and my evil double life that i reveal now and then. a few posts in, i find myself bogged down in blogtopia.
to relieve myself of the hassles of paying for a website or the blogging software (there are a lot by the way) i decided to go the way of the majority and signed up at blogger
walking through the steps was easy : select a template and some more rather simple options and you are set. i posted my first piece almost immediately and it was a piece of cake. for later posts i will just need to login with my username1 and password1

i realised that like some other blogs i read, i'll probably need to be a goodie2shoes and link to their sites and others i read so my readers get to know me more. i had two options : write the html code within the template for each of the links or blogroll, a service that allows me to add linklists to my blog that will also automatically update when someone posts something new. now thats something i could use. and just like that i had username1 and password2. like most other paranoid netizens i have a different password for each of my accounts. yet another alternative to blogrolling is that allows you to manage bookmarks rather easily. right now my links are just plain html. i will probably choose delicious.

my second post revealed blogger's shortcomings. nothing to be alarmed of and rather easily fixed. blogger doesnt allow photos to be stored so i needed to find a online photo storage site. being a mac user meant (apart from being in the minority) i had to be different and chose flickr to be my online album manager. username2 and password3. cos flickr needed a email address instead of a username.

then one of the other bloggers revealed his way of tracking visitors to his blog. my selfish gene was at the height of its activity now. i quickly surfed over to statcounter and got a counter for my blog. yup the tiny number thing below the blogger logo on the right actually knows where you come from, the brand of toothpaste you use and what you had for breakfast. its also a woefully small number. i must visit my blog from different machines at work and increase that number.

a few bloggers also have a relation with a authenticating website so you dont comment anonymously and flame them. so if i needed to give some feedback or point out a spelling mistake in another post, i need to let them know that i'm authorised by Typekey . So username1 and password4 (but this is more for the blog reader than the blogger)
alternatively i can choose to add a commenting site to manage the comments on my site that doesnt require a reader to sign in to anything. one such site is haloscan . that makes it username1 and password5

finally some bloggers also have a small box on their site that allows readers to instant chat with the blogger.i am not going over the top but in case you are interested to add it to your blog one such instance can be found at myshoutbox. so what could have been username1 and password6 was averted.

to summarise : 2 usernames and 5 passwords already in addition to all my email accounts, numerous online bank accounts (all of them are empty u phisher freaks), online communities and forums.
end to end all those usernames and passwords can go around the blogworld..twice.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

brides and bulls

after rollingstone gave it a 3 star rating , this has to be my next movie. so despite warnings to the contrary i shall venture into foul territory(the dinky apartment that calls itself campus video) to find out if they have a copy.

i think the time is ripe for me to come out of the closet and declare proudly that I'm a bulls fan. all of you blaming me of jumping onto the bulls bandwagon when they are on top : you are right. the current team seems to be the best since the great one graced the united center so i'm watching more bulls basketball than ever. the downside is that tickets are almost impossible to get. chicago is a huge basketball town and even when the team was losing more than 50 games a season , they were still 2nd in money earned last year. united center is just a couple of blocks away but will i get to see a game live this season??

The Terminal - a frustrating wait

the lone commenter (ok it was a friend and i literally threatened him with spam in his inbox )on my blog told me to tone it here i am after a week's hiatus. i saw The Terminal yesterday. its kinda old and being a steven spielberg product was something others deemed worthy of a theater visit. wrong. i saw it on dvd and am so much happier for that. i havent seen a flimsier storyline from the mani ratnam of the west. victor naworski comes to USA and is forced to stay at the JFK terminal after he finds that a coup has ousted his country's govt and that the US no longer recognises his country as a nation. they seize his passport and tom hanks who's already learnt to survive in a uninhabited island finds this a cinch. the handicap that offsets his proximity to burger king and potable soda is his lack of english diction , which he quickly masters comparing 2 tour guides, one in english and the other in his slavic tongue. no sweat for someone who can talk with volleyballs. he makes friends with the local airport employees ,helping one with his love life and enemies with the head of immigration who is determined to put him in some other dept's jurisdiction so he doesnt have to struggle with him. its kind of confusing as to why at first he wants victor out of his hair and later is determined not to let him go see new york. anyways victor lives happily in gate 67 applying for jobs within the airport and meets catherine zeta-jones a air-hostess who changes partners as frequently as flights. the question that has NOT been in anyone's mind is answered when he reveals that he is in the US to fulfil his father's dream of getting a sign from every one in a famous group of jazz musicians. if that was indeed a suspense the writers were hoping to spring , it worked on me. there was no indication of jazz music or a father or a promise he made to him till that point and suddenly its what the movie is all about. the war ends in his country and he is able to defy the immigration officer to go and get the jazz artist's sign.
the victor character is a little too selfless to believe. he is willing to sacrifice a whole lot more than a normal human being. tom hanks is too seasoned an actor to make any mistakes but i think spielberg made a wrong choice in selecting such a story .if such a movie is supposed to "slow me down and make me smell the flowers" it didnt work. i only felt frustrated that i spent 2 hours on it.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Fourth Monkey

symbolism has been a mainstay in indian filmdom for ages. be it the locket with the picture of a loved one inside, the bandanna that the hero ties on to indicate a one-sided fight or the family song that helps reunite everything from lost dogs and the old rickshaw-driver to their rightful families. these are all symbolic devices that put the move in the movie. in ayudham the fourth monkey is one such symbol which while occuring only twice in the whole movie aptly sums up the entire story.
siva is a happy-go-lucky guy who gets into unnecessary fights.his father is a constable who doesn't want him to do so. the fourth monkey makes his first appearance here. when his dad points out the 3 philosophical Gandhian monkeys that neither see, hear or speak no evil , siva rummages around and finds the fourth monkey which is curiously posed like a bhajan singer with clappers in its hands.siva takes the walking stick from the gandhi statue nearby and places it in those hands making the fourth monkey the see-evil-hit-it-with-stick monkey.
his dad though does not get the point even when taught with such brilliant visuals and like every other father he manages to meet the health minister who comes to their city for a visit and gets siva a medical seat in a college in madras hoping he wont get into any more trouble. (side note : prashanth who plays siva has already attended medical school once in the US , in Jeans .he might be acclimatising himself to indian humans in case , like road rules, the human heart is on the right for desis ) . he meets and likes maha(sneha) there who also instantly likes him. but a local goon is infatuated with maha and won't let anyone get near her.according to statistics he has killed 12 who loved her, blinded 9 who looked at her and cut the arms of 5 who hit on her (literally) by mistake. i long for the times when villains used to be public servants smuggling drugs or making illicit liquor and generally abducting any woman they liked. these modern baddies are obssessed with one girl making themselves vulnerable (usually a trait of the heroes and exploited by the baddies) and at the same time robbing the viewers of a lewd item number.
siva decides to love maha full time and takes on the don's goons. moving away from convention he first makes sure his familes are safe before he goes after the goon and finally gets news that the goon has gotten away to mumbai. things seem to return to normal and the fourth monkey makes yet another appearance when siva's dad himself takes the stick from gandhiji's hand and places it in the fourth's hand symbolising above all else that dads reserve the right to call their offspring monkeys without indicating anything about their own origins. but obviously the villain is still around and kills maha's father before finally perishing in a climax that was eerily similar to terminator but for a change the goon was running around with the damsel while a severely injured siva climbed stairs looking very much like a robot.anyway it ends with the goon dying in a flaming pool of his own petrol.
i didnt listen to the music but the picturization was over the top for some songs.there is one in the streets of london with caucasians dressed in lungis and fisherwomen outfits.
if you have a feeling you have seen this movie, its alright. most of the scenes and some lines also have been lifted from Run (a 2002 film with Madhavan in the lead, the precursor to this strong-yet-clever hero genre) and its all because of
the fifth monkey who is hiding behind the scenes - the director who apes several other movies without compunction. its one thing to make a film of the same genre that is currently popular, totally another thing to lift an entire script and replacing the characters. its like my attempt to copy programming code by replacing only the variable names. but the monkey concept - all original. kudos to the director for coming up with something this banal.
my next flick is a few days away so read this guy's stuff instead so u also know what a good review is about.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

all you need is luck

As soon as my alarm clock gave voice to the fact that I needed to be up, I begged it to wake me up in another 5 minutes. The alarm then proceeded to voice its opinion of how important it was to wake up early on exam day and how it would rather be  working in the kitchen finishing the samayal than waking me up. Coming to the conclusion that consciousness was better than listening to more of this I woke up and saw my mom heave a sigh of relief and move to the kitchen. Toothbrush in hand, I assessed myself in the mirror. It was the last exam and I’d be having no more of this for the next 4 months or so of my vacation. Maybe I could talk my mom into allowing me to sleep for a week. Knowing fully well that I was still dreaming I proceeded to do the necessary steps to ensure that I reached college in time for the exam. Somewhere along the way my alarm clock lost sight of me and when I got out of the shower I found that I would need something more than my breakfast ready on the table and my clothes laid out to ensure the proper execution of my plan. Something like a teleporter that could instantaneously transport me to the bus-stand. In one quick motion that was as well practised as an olympic pole vault I slipped into my clothes and in another timeslice had gobbled up my breakfast and discovered that hot things remained in a state of hotness well after they’ve been removed from the source of heat. Dousing the flames in my mouth with ice cold water I rushed out of the house , backpack in one hand and one unworn shoe in the other.

On reaching the bus stand after narrowly avoiding being caught for speeding I was relieved and angry to see that the bus was nowhere in sight. It was then that I noticed my friend standing in the shadow of the shop’s awning that saved us from the early morning UV rays. On seeing me his face flashed a vision of surprise. Curious about what had surprised him I approached him and he started
“Hey , is something wrong with you ?? “
Thinking it was about my mad rush to the bus stand I replied
“ No nothing..I just thought I was late and that’s why I came running”
“Oh not that, your are not wearing THE shirt”
I looked down at my shirt in slow motion. No audio. My head bends down , looks at the shirt and then my mouth slowly opens in an agonizing scream as I realise that it is not THE shirt I am wearing. A bit about THE was a normal half-slack , with light green white stripes on a white background..most ppl used to say its pale from age (I’d had it for 5 years then)and my mom threatened its existence on a daily basis but I held on to it because of its brilliant track record..23 successful end-sem exams and I had had IT on for every one of them.In fact I was thinking of sending that shirt to the convocation to accept the degree instead of me and now all those ideas would be moot just because in the euphoric last-exam-of-the-sem state I’d actually forgotten to wear it..I quickly shot a look at my watch. my friend,observing my action, warned me,
”No da , not worth’ll miss the....” 
I  wasnt there to hear the rest of his sentence..I was racing faster than I had while coming to the bus stop...the lazy cows walking along the street started in surprise and were hurled hither and thither as I blazed a path through the bustling street.vendors and school children were treated alike as I hurdled and squeezed thro every obstacle.I was home and rushed through the hall straight to my closet, ignoring my mom’s surprised cry and my father’s stare from behind the newspaper.when I was thro finding my shirt the room looked like a tornado swept disaster area.I put it on in a hurry.the lightning pace was brought to a standstill as I screeched to a halt in front of my father.
“What??” he asked,not even bothering to see me from behind the newspaper.
“Can u drop me at the next stop?? I’ve surely missed the bus here but I can still catch it at the next stop.” I blurted at one go.
Here’s the funda behind that : the bus usually took a slightly longer route to get the next stop and there was a shorter way that would get me in time to the wasnt the first time that I was late and this being a well practiced routine I was sure my father already had his scooter keys ready.he he walked out mom went to the puja room to pray that I catch the bus.
“Its not like I am going to board a space shuttle”,
I thought to myself but didnt have the time or the temerity to utter it before toeing my father to his scooter.
“Hurry, appa,hurry” , I urged my father. I jumped on the scooter and we whizzed away.I rediscovered my faith as we progressed in starts and stops thro the maze of madness that the shortcut was.
”If I catch the bus, I’ll offer all my notes to be used as scrap paper to wrap prasadam at the temple”, I promised my family deity.
It seemed like an eternity before we rounded the corner and I could finally see the next stop and the group of students waiting for the bus.
”Aha..made it on time”, as I thought these very words, I also caught sight of the college bus approach the same corner from the other side...I swear I cud see the eyeballs of our tyrannical driver as he took a look at me and then proceeded to accelerate more into the seemed as if he cared more abt making me miss the bus than the poor souls schumacher and coulthard we raced into the corner.he had the inner edge but my vehicle was of a lighter design and so it was a question of driving skill rather than father revved up , sped through and cut across reaching the bus stop a full half second before the schumi-wannabe.
”Bring out the podium, where’s the champagne, where is the pit crew??” .

With a triumphant grin I sprang off the scooter,acknowleding the applause from the huge crowd.I turned back and thanked my chauffeur before climbing into the bus and grinning at the furious driver.with a self-content smile I plonked beside my friend who congratulated me on the successful dress change and bus chase.we started quizzing each other abt the exam and before we knew it our driver was honking his horn to warn us that the sharp turn into the college gate was approaching.we braced ourselves as he swung into the turn.after thanking God for our safe arrival despite the driver I got down and went straight to the I sat down I was aware that I was grinning.
”Nothing could go wrong now”. my lucky pen.check. my magic shirt.check.I could write a short story in the exam for all I care, I wud still pass.A shadow came over the desk and I looked up at the professor in charge of the exam.
”Hall ticket” were the only words he uttered.
”Sure” I said , putting my hand into my shirt pocket to get the hall ticket out. hand encountered emptiness.the slow motion again.I looked down into my pocket s..l..o..w..l..y. of course I had left the hall-ticket in the other I headed to the principal’s office I knew that it was going to be a longer day than usual.
I no longer have the shirt or the pen.I no longer depend on such powereless things for success.I rely only on myself, my talent and most importantly my favorite striped socks.I washed them once and failed a midterm - havent washed them since.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

livin' la vida loca

(written sometime in Dec 2002)

How often are you out of control? I mean can you ever recall a situation where you can't do anything about what's being done to you and in fact any action you take could lead to disastrous results to you? I can recall several and most of them have come in a saloon..yup..ever stop to think how much ur hands are tied when a tiny wisp ,of what was till a moment ago attached to ur head, tries to get into your mouth ..well as disgusting as this thought is, even more frustrating is the fact that you can't do much abt tilt ur head in whatever angle the barber asks you to and you can't ward off a friendly housefly with a nod of ur head bcos you dont want to risk living with half a earlobe for the rest of ur life.
    Due to unavoidable circumstances my hair had been allowed to grow in excess of its usual and was now causing headaches.I have found out that the amount of hair is directly proportional to my headaches and have also determined that i need to have it cut every 31stday from my previous haircut..unnecessary details about me, I know.So when my friend headed out to our local unisex beauty parlor I tagged along.
I usually have my hair cut at a place in one of our school's recreation centers but decided to give this local place a try .I had been warned about a spanish beauty whose english vocabulary was limited to "si" ( spanish for yes , most americans except those in california know this word..the mostly spanish population of california is more adept at conversing in tamil and vietnamese).turned out that part of the warning was right - the part abt my barberess being spanish and her knowing "si".
There were 2 hefty middle-aged women in the "beauty" parlor and there were about 3 customers. we sat down and proceeded to browse through a magazine and after a while one of them finished up with a customer and asked the next person in-line to take the seat.2 ppl who had come before us motioned to her that they were waiting for the other lady . that should have been warning enough . with a crooked almost beatific smile she looked at me and asked me to step-up to the challenge. i threw the magazine on the couch and got up . a 6ft 1 (skinny)giant facing a roughly 5ft 3 spanish mom and before i knew it i'd been reduced to abt 3 feet ,seated as i was in the barber's chair while she hovered above me like a vulture circling its prey.she threw a black cloak over me and proceeded to tie it up at the neck with a white piece of paper.despite my efforts to distract myself with pleasant thoughts, the only image that jumped to mind was that of a billy goat with a garland around its neck being readied for sacrifice to a huge ayyanar statue .To complete the picture the priestess proceeded to wet my hair as if i was being sanctfied with manja thanni and then for the first time in my life i used a translator in a barber shop. not that i needed a translator ,it was obvious i was there to get a haircut. but this was a crisis and i had to find someone.the other lady came to the rescue and asked me in english how i wanted my hair cut and i told her i wanted it short but not really her capacity as an unpaid translator she turned to the other women and told her just one word in espanol and then the hair-raising experience began.
she would cut some hair and then would attempt to brush the cut hair off my face.attempt because she would abstractly whack a comb/brush on my face , an action that reminded my of how some servant maids in singara chennai would sweep the floor without dislodging a single molecule of dust from its was totally unlike any other hair-cut experience.. i was never asked once if i was satisfied with what was happening to the mop on top of my head.well she wasn't doing anything catastrophic and i patiently waited till she blew the loose hair with a dryer and announced that i was all set.well she didnt actually say anything but i managed to understand and leaped out of the chair into ecstatic escape and turned around to see my friend being invited with the same he is a little fickle about how his hair needs to look. he proceeded to explain carefully how exactly each strand needs to be cut to his translator and wonder of wonders the translator lady said something that sounded remarkably like the one word translation she had given for my request.
we paid up and as we were leaving our ever smiling barberess gave us a couple of table calendars with pictures of  people with fantastic hairdos. must have been pictures of how they looked before they came in . oh well it was a scary experience having someone else control my life even if it was only for some 30 mins.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

the golt, the dad and the idli

A movie's effect can probably be measured by how long it stays in ur mind.if u have to watch it a second time it may not be because u didnt understand it the first time , the movie might've made u think and raise questions that demand a second watching to answer properly.i saw eternal sunshine 2.5 times.most movies are worth their length in time if u see the end, remember the beginning and connect end to beginning.a few others are bad enough to make u pause in between and start writing reviews.

TAKKARI DONGA is one of them. this is one movie which will also be watched twice not because it made me think or anything but just cos my room mates will make me watch it again. its a pesarattu western. if the europeans can make spaghetti westerns, the golts can surely claim a name for their effort. amazing attention to detail in terms of western ghost town setting, saloon included , realistic costumes etc.but the makers clean forgot some movie requirements like continuity, lip syncing, a screenplay etc. i guess the title means super thief or something.the hero is obviously a thief, who plunders at will.after a requisite train robbery, bank robbery, a song pictured in the grand canyon with a few western extras , the hero embarks on a journey escorting the daughter of this guy who promises him a valuable diamond in return.then there is the other small time crook and his daughter who also likes this guy and in a indian movie first (and probably last), this second girl has a dream song picturised only on the hero and the first girl.the story progresses adapting many conventional western plot mechanisms - a sheriff who dies, a hanging rope bridge, a map to a diamond mine and many non-western ones - a dog that follows the hero everywhere and scares snakes away, 2 or 3 more dream songs, a revenge for his father's death story. but it all ends well i guess, cos the hero gets the lady and the diamonds and kills the baddie.i'm too tired to spew any more sarcasm on this movie.

now the more interesting revelations - the hero is mahesh babu not very well known to the tams but the heroines are lisa ray and bipasha basu and given such a script , any hero who says no to having a good time with these two damsels needs to come out of the closet and admit his orientation.i actually take back what i said abt this movie being bad.this movie did make me think as I was watching it : as to how i too can write a script and find someone to finance it ( only in goltland though) and of several titles which might have actually fit the movie better :
Warangal lo okka westernu
Gunfight at the guntur corral (or gunturlo okka gunfightu)
Kakinadalo okka cowboy
Koncham dabbu kosam (the golt take on "for a few dollars more")
and keeping in tune with the modern longer titles
Once upon a time in andhra

Sergio Leone who actually invented the spaghetti western genre must have turned in his grave as soon as this movie was conceived. i did see King Arthur too. a timepass movie nowhere as entertaining as donga or review-worthy.also watched the new episode of Coupling. this is a british comedy along the lines of friends, but much more hilarious.see if u can catch it on a idiot box near you.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Wipe that smirk off your memory

Human life is boring. Now I am not saying that as a hook to draw u into reading this or to make a grand entry literally speaking. That is a fact and by this time u r probably old enough to realize that human life is like one long boring bus journey followed by subsequent stops where you get down stretch your limbs and promptly hop onto another bus and continue with longer, more boring journeys. Pretty much everyone looks forward to the stop and transfer part so much only because they expect the transfer to take them to a newer exciting phase (which actually starts out being new and exciting) only to settle back into the mundane again. And so life goes on. But occasionally during the journey one needs to keep from falling asleep and needs to look out of the window in case they miss a sight that is unusual and ever so slightly makes the bus journey worth it just to catch that glimpse.ok enough of the metaphoric world. In real life I think that rare visual or forget-your-boring-life-for-a-second happening is provided through 2 things - life itself and art. If u r like most other normal humans i.e. someone who doesn’t surfboard or climb mountains during the weekend u r less likely to be surprised by life. This weekend I was rather pleasantly surprised by art. By a movie (which isn’t surprising as that is the highest art form I am ever exposed to).

"Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind" was as good a movie as any I’ve seen in a long while. (yup all that superhero-like entry was for a rather usual movie review). It is a movie abt relationships and people.cliched line u might think.but of course .u cant call a rose by any other name.the handling and characters is what makes it so special.charlie kaufman who also wrote the scripts for adaptation and being john malkovich, movies I haven’t seen yet, has done a great job of coming up with a script that while masquerading as a love story backwards (starting from the rather painful breakup to the first meetings and expressions of interest) also lays bare the slightly dark side of its characters' emotions. Jim Carrey and Kate wins let carry it off to a T. The movie opens with Jim Carrey voicing over what seems to be his character sketch. Anytime a movie starts off with a character sketch that matches the viewer's it’s found an audience. Maybe I am giving it a little too much credit but I cud definitely identify with the Jim Carrey a lot and that’s partly responsible for such an eulogy of a review. The other reason is because the idea of erasing someone out of your memory, though kind of old (countless heroes/heroines saying "enna marandhudu" and then singing a sad song with beard on face (for the men) and a bottle in hand) is actually shown practically. No doubt countless geeks will question the technicalities behind erasing a particular memory bringing time-space continuums and neuron activity into the picture. But again its the script's strength that it sidesteps these issues and deals with the ones that matter while totally avoiding the mush and sentimental mulch that would’ve given the movie a chick flick branding .I have no rating scheme in place for the movies I see but this movie would be right on top of any scale that I choose. You don’t have to agree with me but just go see it for yourself.

I will go and see Takkari Donga a rather poorly rated golt movie. A sneak peek revealed its abt cowboys in kakinada. Heh heh.