Wednesday, December 26, 2007

groovy, baby!

for the next few days i will not be able to shake your hand. neither will i be able to write properly and this post is being dictated to apple's dictation software. the reason for all this is screwdriverosis, the main and probably only symptom of victims of an IKEA trip. millions of carpenters all over the world are cursing ingvar kamprad for the DIY* madness that he has unleashed on the rest of the world while millions of hapless individuals happily succumb to this not so fatal disease in their hunt for bargains

we had a sofa set that had a black wooden frame and some sort of plastic intertwined over the frame forming holes of a multilateral shape. (btw we just stepped back about 20 years if those 2 'had's didnt give it away). we also had a dining table with a sun mica top made to look like wood. needless to say my family had no part in assembling either. when the plastic intertwinings gave way and started sagging after i had jumped on it a few hundred times, an intertwiner would be called up. he would take a seat in our hall and when plied with enough tea (and cash) restrung them to tensile strengths capable of bearing a jumping 8 year old. we later moved on, to a bigger flat and to a better sofa (ie one with no plastic). along the way we acquired a shoe rack that was so nicely crafted in expensive wood that it became a partial dresser and a solid but shoerack-like shoe rack that was wide enough for 4.67 shoes. both created under the influence of my mom's tea by a carpenter and his seemingly more talented apprentice. expert worksmen that they were, they even created a bookshelf with the remaining wood and added it to my room where it housed some computer books that i never read and a super-power memory book.

but none of these wooden marvels had ever had my fingers laid on them except after they were varnished and lacquered and in most cases also dried.

when i finally finished last night, the screw count was close to 2 scores. on the flip side my house is now home to pieces of furniture with exotic european names. in one corner vika curry and vika amon coupled to become the desk that holds my powerbook-monitor-keyboard-mouse-wires entity while flarke posed with grace befitting any tv stand, despite having to bear a non-lcd, non-hd, non-cabled TV. i've done what every budget-minded person does in these united states - put together a veritable menagerie of ikea furniture and have done so without making a single cup of tea. if i were more intelligent, i would start a deIKEAting institute where for a price, recent ikea victims can choose any piece of furniture and unscrew and dismantle to their heart's content. however no such thing exists. so, for a while, don't mind it if i refuse to shake hands next time we meet. it's nothing personal.

*DIY is short for Do It Yourself. in case you've always had others do your things for you or are living under a rock
^ IKEA stands for Ingvar Kamprad(the founder) Elmataryd(farm where he grew up) Agunnaryd (his home village)..or so says wonder he shortened it, would've cost a lot of money for a super bowl commercial otherwise.
^ Here is an interesting quote from a woman who names the furniture:
"For bathrooms, it's Norwegian lakes. Kitchens are boys, and bedrooms are girls. For beds, it's Swedish cities. There's a lady who sits there and comes up with new names, making sure there isn't a name that means something really ugly in another language. But it doesn't always work. We gave a bed a name that means 'good lay' in German." if you have the time read the complete guardian article

Monday, December 10, 2007

what's up, doc?

after 16 years i realized that mahesh bhatt was an inspired man. dil hai ki manta nahin was not a movie i particularly enjoyed watching but watch i did, for whatever aamir khan touched those days was gold..actually it pretty much is today as well. i watched movies of his that no one else probably did - awwal number, love love love, daulat ki jung to name a few. and so it was that dil hai ki manta nahin was watched. i dont remember much of the movie..there is a watermelon song as my sister put it. and a kind of funny (then) hitchhiking scene where aamir tries and fails to stop a car while pooja succeeds with a display of her (shapely?) leg.

fast forward to a couple of nights back and i'm watching the exact scene unfold in black and white as claudette colbert stops a car while clark gable and his defeated thumb watch in amazement. this was in 'it happened one night'. the scene appears,yes, it did not strike me till then that 'dil hai..; was a hindi speaking evil twin of 'it..'. i should've guessed as much. isnt he the same one who gave us criminal, which despite an alluring manisha, was still a straight lift from fugitive? someone please review his other movies and let me know where else i've been fooled.

a bit of trivia i gleaned from the wiki is that the hitchhiking scene, where gable chews a carrot while explaining the nuances of asking for a ride, is also one which inspired friz freleng to create a carrot chewing bunny named bugs...amazing , eh?, the amount of mutual inspiration film makers share.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

a flickr of speech

i've never paid for someone to keep my stuff except during the early days of grad school.

back then a few hundred golts and fellow tamils invaded a university en masse and caused the "senior" grad students hosting us a lot of grief. our moms, deeming it necessary, had sent along a microcosm of india in 2 humongous bags fittingly called india pottis. so to add to the 10 or so parasites er.. new students being hosted in each one bedroom apt, several mini indias encroached the corners,sides and middle portions of all the rooms. when, one day, the hosts found that the bathroom had been rendered inaccessible by the great wall of india pottis, they decided to fight back. they rented some storage for us to keep them till we found apartments of our own. my 2 tamilnadus were in the first batch that were sent there. i thought that would be the last time i paid to store my belongings. how wrong was i?

an india suitcase at least has some substance to it (actually there is a lot of substance..ask the cranes that are used to lift them). what i am paying for now is a bunch of pixels..they are colorful and all that but they weigh next to nothing and in most cases carry not a single packet of grand sweets mixture or adhirasam. yet here i am touting their existence so i can get a few more hits and justify the $24.95 fee. damn you flickr!

here is what i said about this before and here is a sample that also doubles as a rather large hyperlink.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

is it just me

or does timbaland's 'apologize'[] sound a bit like new york nagaram[]?

i've been wrong before though..

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Letter to the Sculptor

dear madame tussaud,

kindly apologize our rude interruption of your wax modeling session. as you must already know, you recently held a vote to choose the next bollywood star to enter your museum and ended up choosing that poor boy salman. we dont know if you wanted to save the expense of making a wax shirt or you mistakenly thought his doll would make a good pair to that ash doll( you are reading an old edition of filmfare..ash is married to a banana tree, happily). our concern, as true tamizh fans, is that you are missing the big picture.

one of the greatest stars of our time is spending his life in relative reality while he is actually the one worthy of standing unmoved in your great hall. no we are not talking about the south indian superstar you might've also heard about. we're referring to the other superhero par super, the man who can freeze ice itself..the one and only captain.

we kindly demand that you start creating a wax figure for him. with two guns. like this. we realize that you might not have the requisite amount of wax to model him..such is his girthness and greatness. not to worry though. we solemnly pledge that from now on every true tamizh fan of the captain's will donate all the candles from his/her birthday cake so you will have a never ending supply of wax for the rest of your figurines.

please do the please go back to your waxing.

true tamizh fans of captain

p.s we just realized captain is a man of action..immobilizing him is a rather difficult task..we thought we'd warn you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Azhagiya Tamizh Magan

ATM is out. Valayapatti and Nee Marilyn Monroe are my current favs. rahman remixing Ponmagal Vandhal was a shocker. For a moment people turned back the tape cover to ensure it was not a product from Yuvan or Mani Sharma. However I see that aslam is rapping for him in this song. At least I hope its him. Wonder if Lakshminarasimha Vijaya Rajagopala Seshadri Sharma Rajesh Raman fell out of favor.

valayapatti gets props due to the ragam mentions. ok ok i have no idea how to spell ragam but i'm still vaguely interested if only to act knowledgeable if i ever visit chennai during dec. kelaamal sounds a wee bit like 'aagaya vennilavae' from arangetra velai []. (the video deserves its own post, especially to describe prabhu's break dancing in the second half of the song).

going by the songs alone, looks like vijay is yet again a student. however i sincerely hope that the 'ella pugazhum' song is one that he sings to his kid as he sends him off to the first day of lkg classes. one can still dream.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

gravity sucks (i obey inverse square laws)

after trying for about an hour to get a screenshot that

a. didn't reveal completely what i was doing but did enough to pique your interest
b. seemed to somehow show that i was frightened,excited or had an adrenalin rush
c. made me look good

i gave up

c is out of the question..skydiving is not makeup or plastic surgery. b didn't really happen..ok maybe i was excited just before and for a brief 2 seconds after i was pushed out of the plane.a is not possible either - human nature dictates that i brag about this so i don't really care about hiding things and piquing interests.

so you get the pic below..the all revealing, rather frightening image of me falling down with another guy strapped to my back. a minute later he saved me from going splat by opening the chute strapped to his back. the float down was a complete let down after the first couple of seconds of free fall. kind of like the scooter rides from childhood when you were made to stand in front.

so by all means go for a jump. it's kind of expensive. like many other things its hype exceeds reality and for god's sake remember to keep your mouth closed or you'll get an image like this. the video - i plan to sell it to parents as a scare aid to be used instead of the bogeyman or boochandi as the case may be.

p.s you dont know it but you just had a narrow escape.i was going to start this by explaining how i once fell from a mango tree sans parachute.but the screenshot extraction process frustrated the nostalgia out of me.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

saroja saamaan nikalo

i and then. a mile or so. my usual schedule is a long run over the weekend followed by 2 or more weeks of intense whining that my ankle / calf muscle / stomach / (insert muscle name here) has been sprained / inflamed / ooh..aah..ouched. but i've come to enjoy it so much that i go out and try it again as soon as i feel better. the person mainly responsible for this is my runner roomie and now he has started blogging on his runs and more here:

written in a conversational style, it is quite informative (unlike this one) and is updated whenever he runs..which is like every day or so. (you can say that about my blog as well. the update frequency that is). so mosey over and give it a shot.

oh and the title - in my opinion, the best running song. it is always the last in my playlist so i gain an additional boost for the last 4 minutes 15 seconds of my 5 minute runs.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

the fruits of labor (day)

3 day weekends rock..4 day work weeks are better

naan avan illai , the new version, is a horrible way to waste time. the lead is played by jeeva who is a con artist who tricks women, marries them and escapes with their jewels. my take - his insipid dialog delivery wouldn't have fooled any crow into dropping its vadai, let alone tricking 5 women. the story unravels through court scenes in which, lest you forget, they make him repeat the film's name about 276 times. finally the judge decides to let him go and some random woman kills him. the director tries hard to con everyone into thinking it was a good movie by (literally) filling the screen with distracting visuals of namitha. i heard quite a few fell for it and managed to make this a hit. if you are going to watch it, go directly to the last 3rd of the movie and save yourself some time.

urchagam [] sees ranjith barot back after a long time. none of the numbers reach the heights of minnal oru kodi from VIP but they are all pretty good. i liked veyil and naram pookal. the other soundtrack that's been getting some play time is kannamoochi yenada [] by yuvan. typical yuvan sans the rap piece and a complete koothu piece. of 5 songs, sanjaram is a nice number. isnt there something similar to proofreading for lyrics? in sanjaram madhushree makes pani (snow) sound like paani(thats hindi for water in case you scored 68 in your 10th board hindi exam) and thangi(stay) sound like thaangi(support/bear). my guess is that it was caused due to the transliteration into english. does anyone know how that process works - getting north indian singers to sing in tamil that is? do they get the lyrics in english or hindi or do they just make them up as they go?

finally i read next by michael crichton. its rather similar to state of fear. this time he takes up genomics. through a thin storyline, various technical papers and articles he tries to teach us about the science and ethics of genetic science. as a story its not that gripping but he does discuss some rather pertinent points about gene therapy, cloning and the likes. while it reads like one long opinion piece, its still quite absorbing. the fact that it is very relevant at this point in time is obvious. just this morning bbc had this article.

i think i said finally by mistake..there is still ooh la la la that i've started watching thanks to current. if u havent heard of it, it is a pretty decent band search tv program that is being telecast on sun tv. they are streaming it for free and legally at (click on the Videos section). some of the original compositions were awesome and so were some of the remixes. take a look if you have the time.

that's it..i'm done..u can go back to work or whatever else u were upto. thanks for listening

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

a word of action

ever noticed how superheroes have adjectives and adverbs built into their names. like the costume they wear, it makes them different from their alter egos. making them appear more powerful while at the same time describing what they can do so there is no way you are caught unawares. when spiderman swings down to rescue you, you can be rest assured the ride is going to be kind of sticky and will involve some swinging.

now swing the cameras southside..i mean south of india side. captain. one word that encompasses all the adjectives,adverbs, nouns, pronouns and prepositions in any language, mainly tamil. its mostly a verb though cause when said aloud each syllable screams action. and no silly costume for captain. the occasional colored contact lenses and a police uniform maybe but he doesn't need a cape. there are no masks or trickery involved either. he is just captain. did you notice there is no indication of what his powers are? that's cause he can do everything. one would need the entire dictionary to describe his special powers.

with so much going for him, there is still no comic book...when amateurs like peter parker naturalize themselves as pavitr prabhakar, why this discrimination? someone start a publishing company and start one for him already.i guarantee it will be a collectible even before the first page is printed.

for those unfortunate enough to have never known the captain click here []

past posts on this topic: Accentually Speaking

Thursday, August 16, 2007

vegetables, water, air, the music of sivi

remember what i said about familiarity and instantly likeable songs a couple of posts ago. forget it. if possible delete that post from your feed. i just changed my mind. fresh music is awesome in a way that that tripe from harris can never hope to beat. listen to sivi. dharan is a relative newcomer who has just one other movie to his credit - the bhagyaraj directed parijatham whose music was apparently a hit though i totally skipped it. so i am going back to take a listen. if you are sort of jobless, click here to listen to the songs from sivi. time well spent.

oh and the two of you who read this through a feed, here is a link you might not've seen:
do your bit and earn free karma points. this offer wont last forever.
(karma points are not redeemable for airline tickets, magazine subscriptions, electronics or cash.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

just another day

waiting here tied down as the sun rises and the activity starts. mostly just chairs being drawn up just in front. the kids all march in, happy that in a short while it'll all be over. their clean pressed shirts wont have to suffer the entire day..just the tiny prick of a pin as paper meets cloth. important folks walk up and take the seats. a few of them stand up and take turns speaking. the kids applaud eagerly as if that will speed things up. the most important of those folks walks over. at first its just a little tug and then the climb begins. almost there. the binds seem to be tightening up. it'll be over soon.higher and higher. suddenly with a jerk the ties are released, flowers fall and the wind blows. freedom.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

harris and the templates

do your senses have a tough time acclimatizing to all the new tunes? never fear cos template man is here. bheema represents yet another iteration in the neverending loop that harris jayaraj has been spinning for a while now. the songs being vaguely familiar hook into those parts of your brain that propagate the warm, fuzzy feeling that familiarity breeds and are promptly pushed to the top of your playlist. talk about reusability of code. harris has his algorithm down pat.

two of the songs - mudhal mazhai and siru paarvayalae - feature his signature meaningless lyrics. i wonder if it is to make it tough to render the songs on stage. the singers would feel silly doing that before a live audience. maybe it is to hook the kids in so they have something to repeat endlessly and irritate their parents. ranga rangamma has some drumline beats that get inducted into the library of tamil film music beats. it is somewhat of a koothu song but doesnt come close to his own kalyanamthaan from saamy. the rest of the songs are neat

if you are so inclined sit down, dissect the songs and find out where the individual bits have been inherited from. i tried for a bit and gave up. its easier to just enjoy them for now and hit up itwofs when they finally post the original source of the songs.

Listen to the tunes here

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

of roaring lions and foxes in the 20th century

three more movies went down this past weekend and it all probably started with a small video shop called 'video age' in the kilpauk neighborhood. my neighbor's father owned it and i remember with some clarity my many visits to the shop, with its cassettes neatly arranged in the wall and my favorites tom & jerry volumes 1 through n among them. i probably cursed my neighbor a lot for being born into a video shop, especially one that had so many tom & jerrys.

we initially had a b&w idiot box that gave way to a color one with 8 fantastic channels. 7 of those received the most beautiful static ever seen(or heard) and 1 broadcast DD and its sonorous yet hypnotic intro scene in all its faded glory when they chose to broadcast something. the sunday evening movie was the highlight of the week (i tried the 1.15 pm regional ones..but couldn't read the subtitles fast enough). there were several times we would be out on sundays and on the way back fervent prayers would be offered to the gods of buses and traffic signals to somehow take us home in time for the movie. then came the video shop and the concept that for some money you could borrow things like a VCR (or a VCP if u like) and some 5 or 6 flicks that could be watched over the weekend. it was like someone giving you all the big fun in the world for the price of 1, that you could chew and then return after the weekend. yeah it was that good a deal.

the vcr and the tv formed a two-part act which happened with great fanfare during a few summer weekends and what a show they would put on. the vcr, the star attraction, would arrive in a mini procession all decked out in its velvet-lined leather costume and windows that revealed nothing of the sights it held within. the flicks were carefully chosen to take into account everyone's tastes - a bond movie for my dad, a cartoon for me and my sis, a tam flick for my mom, a random yet somewhat famous hindi one (taken mainly because we'd seen one song on chitrahaar) and maybe one more cartoon. there would be a marathon session over the weekend as we'd hurry to get through all the rented flicks before the clock struck 12 and the tv turned back into being just a box. until the same cycle was repeated again a few weeks later

now, the library is my new video shop. every visit results in at least 2 or 3 dvds borrowed on my friend's account. if i'm too lazy to go to the hall and watch it on tv, my laptop plays them for me. weekends are still movie weekends and except for the nearly extinct VCRs and VCPs, the video age still marches on and till it does you will have to bear the posts i make about them movies. its a glorious age indeed.

the gentle notes of a shehnai playing the dd theme close out the broadcast for the day

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Vertigo is a flick i've wanted to see for a while. there is a definite break in the film after which you can sense the mood changing. as an investigator suffering from vertigo, james stewart gets manipulated in the first part and plays the manipulator in the second. its set in san fran - the sloping streets always adding another dimension to the screen. i missed the hitchcock cameo so i guess i'm going to have to see it again and of course blog about it again.

will be taking a short break..from the short stuff that is. a full length feature which can wrap around the blog world twice when laid out end to end is on its way out..or will it be as long as 1.6 times the distance from my main blog to its one of its satellites...dont hold your breath though

disclaimer: that image..not mine. its from so were the others. so if anyone's copying them, dont complain if the MPAA catches up

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Good Bye Lenin!

Ux - danke schoen
Good Bye Lenin! is german for "funny scripts, excellent characters and neat acting equals awesome movies". a son has to prevent his mom from knowing about communist germany's fall as she wakes up from a coma shortly after and should not hear anything exciting. he goes about recreating the east of the past and hilarity ensues. the "making of" special feature on the dvd reveals how the crew had to recreate a 90s germany in 2001 through some amazing conversations with the director and editor.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Live Free or Die Hard

the u.s govt is under siege by a cracker who hacks into their systems and who else do they turn to but john 'profanity bleeped' mcclane. had to wait a bit for the action to start. once it did, it was a gut punching, bullet ridden, mcclane screaming ride all the way. plenty of awesome punch lines and a weak hacker story that has its logic confused balance each other out. mcclane's final act reminds us once more why we enjoy this series so much.


so i watched more than my share of movies last week. no i wont bore you with detailed, opinionated write-ups about each one of them. instead you will get detailed, opinionated snippets that are pocket-sized for your convenience. like snacks before mealtime you wont even realize they are gone till you see that your feed is empty. however unlike those snacks, these are actually good for you in a not-so-verbose kind of way. enough said comes the first of those

Sunday, July 08, 2007


p.s. spoiler alert...i have no idea if i have revealed important parts of the "story". read at your own risk ..and this post is almost as long as the transformers movie

what if robots could do everything that humans could? think independently, feel emotions, act, ham? yes ham. when bots start hamming you know that you've wasted a hard earned $5.75 on matinee tickets to transformers. my childhood robotic hero was the one and only giant robot. transformers cartoons werent shown on DD and i didnt get caught up in the mecha revolution till i started watching anime. just want to make it clear that i am not a transformers fanboy. go on.

what could one do wrong when you are given robots to play with? what if they were awesome bots that can go from mundane vehicle to mechanized warriors in a blink? well you get involved in them so much that you can forget to build a coherent plot. the first half of michael bay's toy story is a mishmash of scenes that cut from an attacked qatar US army base to the power corridors of DC to teenage suburbia really quickly. each scene barely lasts a few minutes. through these rapid cuts we come to know that
a. your car may be a bot. if its yellow and has racing stripes try talking to it
b. U.S. intelligence uses australian signal processing experts who know the top U.S hackers more than the U.S intelligence and together they all agree that something alien is attacking them
c. the U.S has secret agencies that the secretary of defense does not know about..really? No...are you serious?

the yellow car bot has some other vehicle buddies who all descend to earth in time to explain why a certain cube is so important that it has to be renamed and shrunk to a smaller size. their vehicular foes meanwhile are plotting to awaken their boss, get the cube and use its awesome power to make bots out of your toaster and microwave. Their goal - to conquer the universe. using your oven and fridge. hence proving that artificial intelligence has some ways to go.

despite my general griping, the transformation effects are awesome. i liked the mostly gray, black and silver decepticons (the bad robots) more than the autobots (the good ones) who looked like clowns stepping out of a carnival in their yellows, reds and blues. the action scenes between them are well choreographed. however perspective is something that the cgi people chose to ignore and in an effort to thrust the action on you, show two grappling hunks of machine parts so close up that you dont know whose exhaust pipe is on whose tire.

the finale takes you from hoover dam to the streets of LA where the bots pull out all the stops and transform, protect and destroy in a metal orgy (metallurgy. get it? :) ). shia labeouf runs around with the unwieldy cube which i thought could've been shrunken some more to fit in one of his pockets and megan fox who plays his girlfriend utters stellar lines like "i'll drive, you shoot". however the star of the show is a near-maudlin optimus prime ( one of the autobots) who instead of kicking the decepticons' ass offers to give his life for the human race. give him/her/it a lifetime achievement oscar and retire her/it/him. left to continue its act, its going to star in the sequel and i dont want to spend another $5.75 on a 2 hour commercial for toys and detroit cars.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

scan artist

so you are one of those old enough to have started out with an yahoo account. remember your surprise when you found that you could upload photos to your yahoo account and get a snazzy url where you could point your relatives and enemies to suffer roll after roll after roll of vacation snaps. signing up and waiting in line till the sole scanner in the computer lab becomes available was an experience. as was taking up residence in the lab for the rest of the night so you could scan rolls beginning with "My first birthday" to "when vetti boys toured chicago - yesterday". yup those days are gone

yahoo closed its photo shop and invited several folks who still had photos there (me) to migrate to one of many choices (flickr - yahoo's new photoshop in case you just woke up after a decade long sleep, shutterbug etc). i was only happy to oblige. i hadnt visited those in ages and looked quite unrecognizable in some of them (ok that one was the sears tower not me). i proceeded to choose flickr as i already have an account there that i occasionally post somewhat ok looking pics to. the photos got uploaded and what do i see. a tiny little icon that says "pro" in sweet blue. that is apparently yahoo's way of saying "sorry we caused unnecessary nostalgic feelings by making you go through your old photos and then made you move them". this is something that i have been resisting for a while now. i dont take as many photos as this $24.95 yearly investment warrants but if you give it for free i am more than happy to take it. it only lasts 3 months though. so lets see if that ups my photo count. quite sneaky of yahoo though. in all probability i'll end up signing for the yearly account. if u want to test those flickr goodness before you take the plunge, look in your inbox for that mail from yahoo and migrate your scans to flickr. your snaps will be happy. for 3 months.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

passive voice

i hate sore throats. suddenly my room-mate and maybe my neighbors too are happy that i am no longer singing (yup no quotes around that - typed or finger) when i cook. several people are delirious with joy that i have not called them in a while and overall the world is feeling perky despite all the other miseries. i had to find some way of ridding myself of this condition and others of their happiness and landed upon a pack of halls. its working..slowly..i'll have a voice soon.

that obviously drove thoughts back to vicks and the sway it held over me when i was young. chocolate was always there and one had a myriad assorted sugar treats that you could invest in and let dentists reap the benefits years later. but i had a thing for the vicks pill. first off it came in a neat till packet unlike the twisty wrapper. it was triangular in shape - far more geometrically attractive than the usual, boring cylinder and it had one awesome ad going for it. i still remember vicks ki goli lo kich kich dhoor karo and the animated kich kich monster that would rotate and shrink to a point as a glossy,brown molasses like vicks screen descended down the magnified throat . everytime that commercial came on i wished that i had kich kich and given a choice would've picked vicks to be distributed in class on my b'day over any of parry's offerings.

now i am troubled by that stupid kich kich monster on a yearly basis. each time that happens i pop in a zillion mentholyptus pills and as one of them slowly dissolves i realize that i may have something to write about in the next summer blockbuster post. coming soon to rss readers near you: prickly heat powders and the image of cacti and thorny bushes on people's backs.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

sivaji the boss

so after the long wait outside the theater we were let in but not before several imaginary guards frisked us. they removed things that may hinder us from having fun - logic, reason, the ability to comprehend gravity or any physics for that matter. those things have no place in mythology. you dont question anything when gods reincarnate even if it is only on a theater screen.

every frame is a technicolor fantasy where each pixel has been carefully choreographed to display a precise combination of red, green and yellow. the background music/rap mix adds a dose of adrenalin to some stunning fights. all i'll say about the music is that it has been composed by this guy called a.r.rahman. the camera angles and lighting nearly perfect in every scene, song and fight, causes the already outlandish costumes to shine with a new resplendence. did i mention the colossal sets yet? they were colossal. and while all this brilliance jousts for space on the screen, the style maven, who made millions grow their hair longer just to brush it back like he does, takes center-stage and rules the movie. he dons wigs, imitates other stars, woos his woman and fights with the energy of a sprightly young star in a 3 hour sequence where he is rarely off the screen.

there is a plot somewhere and it is as old as the sherwood forest. it is about one man creating his own government from the black money he reaps in dubious ways. who cares about that when style looking like a million bucks is bouncing chiclets off villain's foreheads and tossing coins laterally. the dialogs witty and clever in the first half are delivered with the timing that only vivek can manage. in the second half they burst out like bullets when the superstar utters them in his inimitable style. the scene i liked the most is the one in the tea stall with thalaivar eating vazhakka bajji with the villain. just awesome. the songs were spectacular though for some reason athiradee reminded me of smooth criminal more than desperado. some scenes could've been removed from the first half if only to shorten the movie but it looks like shankar decided to give the fan his money's worth knowing fully well that the black ticket costs are going to soar during the first few days.

while all the supernova references and "god returns" cliches bounce around the blogs, it may be tempting to leave out Shriya. she didnt have much of a role but boy was she hot. and that girl can certainly act and dance. hopefully we'll see more of her on the screen after this. shankar is the man behind the whole show though. he proves yet again that he is a master showman. if at all any god chooses to reincarnate, i am sure they will choose this man to orchestrate their entrance and manish malhotra to design their costumes.

we finally returned from the land of the dancing maharaja at 1.55 am and regained enough logic and sense of gravity to start our cars and drive back home. the 3 hour experience was quite unlike any movie i've seen in the recent past. and yeah i realize some lines could've been removed from all this if only to shorten this paean of a post but then i wanted to give you your free subscription's worth.

Friday, June 15, 2007

from the newsdesk, wherever that may be

the word 'sivaji' has become the word that was transmitted most via text message in a given period of time. earlier the record had been held by 'happy' followed closely by 'new' and 'year'. several people in chennai reported that they had typed the word so much that their fingers were refusing to type anything else. over across the oceans and mountains, recipients of the text messages interviewed in the U.S liberally cursed the senders (mostly good friends) in their mother tongue(mostly tamil, followed by telugu) for not thinking about the high text message a cruel twist of fate several recipients were forced to seek employment in theaters showing sivaji in order to pay for those charges. incidentally the second most transmitted word record is now held by 'super'

in other news, the CEOs of Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, even U.S.Cellular submitted a petition to the Super Star asking him to act in at least one movie a month. they also suggested his movie names be longer than the single text message limit.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

how loud is too loud

every man has a breaking point..mine came when the electronic sounds that form the start of athiradee started to pour out of the speakers. i stood up to dance and didnt really sit down again.actually i dont remember much of what i was doing after that. the decibel levels rose to near ear-splitting levels and caused droves of demure desi damsels to change into dancing queens. the men werent far behind. many ran up and down the aisles forming trains and others who had been sitting were dancing in place (like i suddenly found myself doing) with arms and legs flailing trying to keep up with the beat. and try doing that while also screaming your lungs out. my voice is gone, my ears are ringing and legs ache. all side effects of experiencing rahman's music live. an awesome experience. now i am properly primed for sivaji next week.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

the ipod of t-shirts

damn it damn it damn the recent past at least 2 of my ideas have been lifted from my brain by some clever folk and used in their posts. the best one was to screen print tees with Che-like imprints of thalaivar and it looks like ravages in collaboration with mdeii posted something very similar like 2 months back. how they did the time travel and read my thoughts can only be explained if we assume these two are the time travelling japanese guy and the mind-reading cop from heroes. well serves me right to not write as soon as the idea strikes

i shall go ahead and post this anyway cos i have nothing else to post about. so the idea was to market to rajni's fantastic following. ok so he lacks a name that rings so well with Che as does Cho but you have to accept that his style is pretty revolutionary. commemorative t-shirts would celebrate his hold over the masses. the images would be from his movies - thillu mullu could be represented by the title scene where rajni pokes his head through a 'wall' and the back could say "IAK Chandran" and have a varsity-letter style number like one of those sports jerseys, basha could have any one of his poses and then just "ULLE PO" on the back or any one of the words of wisdom from that flick..and of course one from Sivaji..all to coincide with the movie release. u get the idea.

those tees priced reasonably (ie below the rs.500 range that tantra sells in) will sell like those hot cutlets one gets near adyar signal. we would blitz the market. coupled with a decent non-profit it can actually also do good while making money. (see i am not all that greedy).

p.s i'd like to apologize to any person who in the future will think of such an idea and curse me like i am currently cursing ravages (more than mdeii as I dont know him as well)..

Friday, May 11, 2007

did i miss anything while i was gone?

thats it. after a long, hard struggle i've finally given up trying to become a film snob. my computer was plotting to kill me after i put it through movies like Z, rashomon, to kill a mockingbird, following. i even saw the start of an orson welles movie called the trial. turned out to be the best over the counter soporific you can order for its defense i watched it after a slightly heavy meal. and so it was that i landed upon chennai 600028.

the movie and its characters are out to have some fun and do so without taking themselves too seriously. there is not much of a story. team a loses to team b in the beginning and then wins over them in the end. in between, you meet team a. the screenplay is what makes the difference. nothing path breaking but some regular scenes get treated in a way that made watching them quite enjoyable. there are some that use old music in a different context - in particular a retake of a song from manvasanai. the cricket commentary had me in guffaws.

i'd only recently been tricked into taking up cricket for a day. i thought it was a tennis ball match but was asked to wear the full gear and face the cherry. watching this movie after that match was quite enjoyable. it scored close to 100 considering my recent watch list. me, i scored 3 and came home limping on a really stiff knee. i think i'm also giving up on my dream to make it into the US cricket team.

Monday, March 05, 2007

flaws of motion

motion is inevitable. speed is addictive. control however can prevent bloody,scraped knees. i learnt this first hand as i went through an out-of-cycle experience rounding a corner on my sister's bsa slr when 10. tired of falling off my sister's bike i quickly graduated to several first rate spills from my own bike. slowly balance was achieved and by that time my sis had upgraded to a moped. i took to it like a fish would take to a motorized fin. it could go faster and i didnt have to change the chain as a bonus i also learnt how to steal petrol by watching the helpful petrol bunk attendants. my sis then went and got herself one of those kinetic hondas. being a speed demon, i decided to one up her and grace my dad's scooter with my lead wrist. there was one small hitch though.

left hand back brake, right hand front brake. right? wrong. the more variables that are introduced into a problem, the tougher it becomes to solve. i now had one break in hand, one beneath my feet, a clutch that could rotate clockwise, anticlockwise and otherwise in the other hand and a lot of confusion in my head. carry over the fact that the scooter is perhaps the most unbalanced piece of machinery ever invented and you got yourself a lot of problems on the street. the result was that between balancing and changing gears, i was sufficiently scared off geared vehicles for life.

(one has to take time out of life to ponder the strangely asymmetrical beast that the scooter is. now is not the time though.)

still peer pressure is a rather coercive thing. it makes people do things that they didnt think themselves capable of. i, for instance, joined a driving school after Ux started taking lessons. i didnt learn much with the instructor controlling most of the drives using his set of pedals. but after sitting behind the wheel for a month or so i entered the driving test stage of my driving life cycle. the guys who assess driving tests must be descendants of the vikings. how else can one account for the courage and sense of adventure that causes them to repeatedly get into a 4 wheeled metal shell of terror under the control of someone whose hand-to-eye coordination skills are hitherto unknown. i slowly started in the first gear, didnt stop or make my car buck like a horse, went into second and was just starting to dig my spurs in when i was asked to stop. that was it. the metamorphosis from relatively harmless on ungeared two wheeler to homicidal with one foot on the clutch had taken abt 100 meters and 3 minutes. fortunately for scores of pedestrians i didnt own a car and the few times that i drove Unhygenix's it was in iit where even the deer would hide knowingly.

i conveniently chose an automatic when i bought a car. none of that clutch nonsense for me. Unhygenix, ever so trusting, did let me try his bimmer here a couple of times - the time that it spun its wheels like crazy without moving an inch was the last. the burnt rubber can still be seen on a section of I-90 somewhere in indiana. the drive continues however sans any clutch or shift but with a lot of control including that one incident where with total control i skillfully guided my vehicle's left side onto a stationary pillar. my next objective is the space shuttle. heard that there are no gears on that ride(must be easy). i wonder if i can get underground parking though.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

the woefully short

disclaimer: music, a subject that i know nothing about yet write up one pretentious post after another. anyone who knows better (i.e. everyone) please feel free to school me.

this one is about short tunes..the dittys that have so much potential to fill a full 5 minute slot yet wrap up in a minute or so and pretty much leave us wanting for more. i have no idea why they are so short. maybe the studio owner chased the crew out or the producer didnt pay the music director's entire fee. nevertheless here is a short list of my favs:

en jannalil therivadhu ( mozhi) : a spanish guitar, a simple rhythm and karthik's voice - this song just takes off in one small minute

hari gori ( majnu) - slightly longer. the indecipherable words lend a mysterious aura to it..seriously though, if i remember right it also fit in really well with the situation.

Ninaichu Ninaichu (sethu) - a love song on a rocket. maybe illayaraja felt it would not be able to sustain that speed so the flight only lasts 51 seconds

aathukulla athimaram (rajathi raja) - its an oldie and gets mention here as it reminded me of the other short numbers. this movie also has another ditty - ulaga vazhkayae - which never fails to make me grin when i listen to it.

ore nyabagam( minnale) - short and catchy

the only a.r.rahman number of comparable length that i really liked was the mangalyam bit from alai payuthey. though it is the slow paced version of endrendrum, its a good mix.

did i leave any out?

yuvan and his bling bling

yet another mutant offspring of tamil and hip hop snakes its way into the airwaves courtesy who else but yuvan. jalsa (remix) from the chennai 600028 soundtrack has hey-yo-yuvan dropping lines like fiddy drops bullets..wait that doesnt sound right. well neither does yuvan talking about riding his bimmer with the woofer and the tweeter. the lyrics still sound a little stilted. nevertheless yet another attempt by yuvan. the man certainly doesnt tire of trying this genre and as a nod to his western gurus, he manages a self-referential line ( "4 mixes in a row and i'm still in my game" what?) and even includes a diss at the end of the song.

though he regularly dips his toes into the rap world, he manages to restrict them to a specific genre of movies - the young, urban kind. for other movies he spins some pretty good numbers. check out thaaliyae thevaiyilla from thamirabharani or kadhal vaithu from deepavali. the latter with some fresh lyrics by na.muthukumar and a catchy tune is a rather nice number.a far cry from the cookie-cutter tracks that harris is rolling of the assembly line in his massive song factory. i am not getting into the debate of whether a cover is better than the original but it does get a little stale when you hear the same sounds over and over again.

here is a nice assignment though...identify the 4 mixes that yuvan has blended so far.. tons of extra points for using google...u will then shine like the sun and be number 1 like yuvan..rhyme unintended

Sunday, February 11, 2007

ay dappankuthu !! uttalakdi !

i had a small chat with the roomie arguing that rahman would never win a grammy cos though his music rocks, he doesnt have hips...ok what i meant was that a shakira with her ruthless truthless hips was bound to hit the charts and have more exposure just cos she was more marketable than a reserved man from south india (that vande mataram video was awesome but was probably a bit too patriotic for an american awards show).

fear not for the desi sound though..hottest record of the world this past week on bbc radio 1's zane lowe show..mathangi arulpragasam aka M.I.A gets down and does the koothu at

update: the video is on m.i.a's psychedelic site..Ux aka my legal counsel prevailed and made me pull the plug on youtube

Saturday, February 10, 2007

plumbers wanted

at first there was dial up and the bits dripped to us through our ultra thin telephone lines like water out of chennai taps. then came tcp/ip connections or as we liked to call it "the one with more pictures of [insert covergirl/actress name here] than you would ever be able to see in your lifetime". these days the net is 'free' and i have a decent number of feeds in my rss reader. more than half of those go unread. lets just say that if the information onslaught were a snowstorm, it would take a while for us to dig our cars out. realising that bloggers like me might soon start misusing more weather related analogies, yahoo decided to introduce a spanking new snowblower called pipes

the pipes are a neat tool. quite like their unix counterparts. they are meant to let you create a sort of filter to retrieve the essence of the growing information stockpile. it took me a while to figure out that it does not work with safari or opera (the faqs mention it, i didnt think to read there first).but on camino/firefox i found it rather easy to hook up my blog to one of their 'modules', produce a stream of keywords from the titles of my posts and then pass it on to flickr which promptly displayed images that were not at all related to my blog. a quick search revealed that a hundred other folks had applied pretty much the same logic and so there are a lot of flickr related pipes already. tim o'reilly has more on this in a neat write up

pipes are new. the buzz will be enough to cause several bloggers suffering writer's block to chime in with their thoughts.they are still a little tied down in terms of what they allow one to do. but i'm sure they will catch on, more features will be added and ppl will probably clone that flickr pipe and apply it to youtube and google videos eventually creating seveal more ways to search for porn. but for the rather brief time that i tinkered with it, it made me feel a little intelligent. so get off that rss reader's scroll button and make yourself a nice, warm cup of filtered information. its a blizzard out there.

here is the link again:

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

slide show

a parrot riding on a monkey sitting on a cart pulled by a labrador. this strange menagerie working with such symbiosis is rarely spotted in nature. i spotted it in an awesome movie called durga a long while ago(and yes i watched it more than once to be sure). however this one is not about any of these species because there is one creature that above all is revered in the indian movie industry. it appeared in this movie too but i dont think it had a license or it would have also driven something.

if one were to slice the tamil/telugu movie industry pie based on species ( omitting homo sapien sapiens to avoid statistical skew and the use of mathematical terms), you will see that nearly the whole pie is taken up by the hisstrionics of various snakes (sorry abt the typo heh heh). there is a thin sliver that is occupied by the monkeys, parrots, dogs (all of whom were at one time or another called ramu) and the lone camel that bit goundamani in indian but i dont think they emote as well or contribute as much to a story as our reptilian friends do. u can watch any movie whose title has the 3 letter code 'nag' embedded in it and be assured of learning nothing about the reptilian life cycle. pretty much the only take home message from these movies is dont mess with snakes in heat. also beware of women wearing light colored contact lenses and forked tongues who love milk and steer you away from the mongoose cage at the zoo.

snakes have also appeared in several non-NAG movies. they would often play wingman to the heroes - frightening their lady loves and enabling the heroes to step in and display their courage. wont work as well if a cow or say a bunny were trying to scare the lady. they also play able henchmen helping villains to swiftly eliminate foes. there are very few folks who'd be scared of a villain with a monkey on his shoulder, unless it were a gorilla that is. you get where i am going. snakes are indispensable to a good movie.the ultimate movie however would pit a viciously venomous viper against the courageous captain. snake after snake would bite the captain and fall down dead while the captain would grin and say "paambu enna kadicha saak adichu sethu poidun" . would make the dog and monkey act look like a street act, i tell ya.

Friday, January 26, 2007

an open letter

someone (probably u current since u r the most recent export) call me and remind me how one sings A,B,C in india. my nieces have drilled the "now you know my abcs, next time wont u sing with me" rhyme into my memory and i cant, for the love of language,remember how we rhymed with Zed. and yes Ux, I have to go back and read that "Super Power Memory" book again. i forgot most of that book.

as an aside, i hope they are teaching all the indian kids to pronounce Z as Zee. i see a not-so-distant future where all the call centers move to china & other lands because they decided to teach the Zee and the indian schooling system daftly stuck to their british ways. wouldnt like the indian economic engine to lose steam due to a single letter.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

tv with a twist

there are few things as irritating as knowing the end to a suspense drama. coming a really close second is knowing for certain that a twist is not what it seems. let me illustrate with the only example i know of. i belong to the average tv watching crowd. which means that i probably watch at least 3 unique versions of 2 different crime dramas(name these and pat yourself on your back- you've just toured the US from the east coast to the west), 2 completely opposite doctor dramas(one comic, the other acerbic), 1 insecure budding superhero saga and i can go on and on without ever reaching the end of my slot.

all of these except for the funny medico and the rookie man of steel are 1 hour dramas that have as their goal identifying either the murderer(a human) or the potential murderer( a disease). the trouble however is that to make things interesting, they introduce a villain about halfway through the show. the average human brain, being what it is, quickly calculates the time left (1 hour minus 40 minutes is roughly...wait let me open calc) and makes the logical leap to the fact that this cannot possibly be the villain. the villain has to be someone who is identified within the last 10 minutes of the magical hour. so one moment you are happily analyzing clues in ur mind and the next moment you realise that none of those are valid anymore.

a corollary to this is the crime drama that has an arrest in the middle but by then you see another apparently clean character played by an actor you know is more well known than the one who got arrested. case in point a law & order svu episode which has all fingers pointing to this indian doctor. when he gets arrested, you see Kal Penn in the background, as a janitor. any desi who is familiar with this actor of indian origin will instantly realise that he is the villain. he is too good an actor to play any role lasting less than 10 seconds.

my room-mate and i were discussing one possible solution to this issue a while back. just dont specify any time for these dramas. the show can end in the 21st minute or the 66th. of course we are yet to figure out the revenue stream from such a stupid idea. by the time we do that, you will all be downloading these random length tv shows into your iLens - the gazillion giga byte, Ultra Super Duper HD viewer, satellite communicator, 6 channel dolby surround sound stereo player, 5 giga pixel camera portable device that is actually a contact lens you can buy in green, pink, blue, white or black. your head will have a slight downward tilt when you wear it and you have to use iRenu to clean the iLens but gosh imagine your surprise when you discover who the murderer really is.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

color me wrong

after hearing a lot abt the new opera browser (yeah the rock was heavy and it took a while to wake up and wiggle out) i finally downloaded the free version for mac and imported my safari bookmarks. running it thro its paces i quickly noticed something weird. my flickr page appeared rather dull. thinking it might be a browser problem, i quickly opened safari and camino to the same page. while safari makes my images look like they took a dip in a pantone river, the other two make them look like they've been washed by bleach.

here take a look for yourself:

so if it seems like i get carried away when shameless plugging what (to you) looks like barely tolerable pics, it is cos safari fools me into thinking they look vivid. if u've read this far and are even remotely interested in how macs are fooling you(us), read this

p.s. it might be worth your while to follow the pantone link from above. link courtesy:the hold all

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

oka oorilo oka rojulo okamokka autos

so i went to hyderabad for a day about two weeks back and was shocked rudely. no nothing wrong about the city. the weather was fantastic. crowds just like madras and a delightful early morning auto ride through banjara hills were all rather pleasant. it happened when my cousin and i headed to charminar. we boarded this vehicle that was commandeered by someone who can only be called the caretaker of dharma. in madras we would call it the auto and the person driving it as a highway robber. getting down at the charminar, the meter* showed rs 51.80.. my cousin, new to city, handed out 55 rupees with trembling hands expecting a short course in choice hindi/telugu curses or at the least a rebuke. we instead got Rs.3 in return. shocked badly i walked straight into one of the minars, forgot several website passwords including the one from where i had to print my online air ticket and so nearly missed my flight the next day. despite my condition, my camera managed to snap these

*an object that based on wheel revolutions and some amount of timing correctly calculates how much it cost someone to go from point A to point B if turned on at point A - in madras it sits on the left side of the auto and is used to balance the auto because the auto driver usually drives sitting on the right edge of his drivers in madras dont need it as they are expert statisticians who use a combination of approximation methods and actuarial sciences to determine the mysterious variable called "flat rate"..footnotes nearly as long as the blog post, only on this blog

p.s. google helped me find this article when i was looking for a meter photo. obviously the author has not visited madras