blog, since ’99

Entertainment

October Movies

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Excellent (not intimidating) concept, and very tricky to handle. Beautifully directed. Story about two lovers peeved off with each other, trying to erase their memories of each other. During the process, in their memories they realize that they are making a mistake. They try to run way and hide in unexplored memory and cheat the process. Needs patience, not for the casual movie goer for sure. Jim Carrey definitely would get nominated for this one. (5/5)

2. Man on Fire: I rented the movie because of Dakota Fanning (and, yes, Denzel). It could have been a John Woo movie, the plot is such, and Tony Scott’s swoosh visuals and overlays could have made it a Matrix genre. But the script spends time on the characters, even small ones, and gives a very indulging feel to the movie. Denzel should get a nomination (4.5/5)

3. In America: It is a story about how an Irish family migrated to the US is building a new life after the loss of their third child to brain tumor. The story is told from the first daughter’s perspective amongst poverty and hardship. The sisters (in real life too) are outstanding. Amazing story telling and very gripping style of direction. If you are interested in independent films, this one is a must watch. (5/5)

4. Collateral: Typical Michael Mann structure and storytelling. Not anywhere close to Heat, but if you liked its story and script, watch this one. I see a lot of similarities with the kind of roles that Tom Cruise is doing, with Indian actors Kamal Hasan and Aamir Khan. (Guess, great actors will always have something in common). Tom’s last line in the movie is just brilliant script writing in terms of closure (4/5)

Links

Who remembers Holodeck73?

I tried to, but couldnt remember the first URL that I ever typed into the Netscape 2.0’s location bar (No, not netscape; It must have opened home.netscape by default).

But I do remember my first search: “graphic design”. And though I dont recall the result page, that’s where I really discovered the power of hyperlink. And amongst others, Holodeck73.

h73.com was one of the best design portals while I was growing up with the Internet (read mid 90’s). There were others like Project Cool or IPPA, but h73 was different. It was truly the inspirational launchpad as it called itself. I discovered many other great sites like Shift or PrayStation from h73. But in 2001 or so, the site was shutdown to make way for newstoday.com

After years, yesterday I was going through an old note and remembered the guy who was running h73, googled his name – Mat Mejia – and reached his current site, droppod.com. And through the second scroll, saw this once familiar winged logo. Archived there, was the last homepage of h73. That was nostalgic. It even sounds nostalgic – the last homepage of h73!

I wrote to Mat and said Hello. He said Hello too, but probably didnt know the background of my mail. Anyways, it paved a way to rediscover those very hyperlinks that I had once chanced upon on a results page. The next post looks like: “Design Links Update”

Entertainment

Philadelphia

I cant believe I never watched this movie in full, till today. Every time I caught it while surfing the channels, I always wished I could catch it from beginning. And after all these years, I watched the movie tonight.

It wasn’t about winning, thankfully. It was about love and life. Tom Hanks was outstanding in the scene when he walks out on to the street from Denzel’s office – he deserved the Oscar for that alone. Cannot forget the opera scene, especially Denzel’s reactions. Demme is one of the best director when it comes to telling an underlying story.

Rita Kempley of Washington Post said what I want to: “It’s less like a film by Demme than the best of Frank Capra. It is not just canny, corny and blatantly patriotic, but compassionate, compelling and emotionally devastating.”

Uncategorized

The Plug

Having seen Movable Type engine in action, I became a fan and chose to ignore my blogger account and set up my blog at mblog.com sometime ago. (That explains the silence here)

Guess what? Sighting some silly reasons they just one day pulled the plug to mblog.com. And are demanding $35 to retrieve the posts on the server! I have not done anything on my blog that is remotely a breakthrough in my writing, so I just let it pass. I am wondering about the serious writers. Poor souls! (Sigh)

Lessons learnt from this episode: (1) Always keep a back up, (2) Do not blog anything serious – LOL and most important (3) Be loyal.

General

One Day’s Salary

“We have built this institute by drawing money from one day’s salary of police staff in Maharashtra. Central government’s grant was paltry”, officer in charge of the Central Police Research Wing in Pune (Pune Times May 29, 2004).

And how much does that come to? Five crores! That is close to 2000 crores for one year. Put that in perspective — the money allotted (mind you, not *spent*) for relief activities last year was 77 crores!!

2000 crores of taxpayers money is the salary of the cops in Maharashtra! Let it sink in. Two-frigging-thousand crores!

To come back to the 5 crore institute, how many research programmes are happening there? Hardly 5! And how many are using the high-gloss club house’s sauna and pool? 150! Way to go Jack, way to go!

General

Income Tax & Country

About 55% of India lives under poverty, as per Tim Sebastain. Another 20% are poor, that means 25% of the population is all that’s left when the government gets out to collect taxes. Simple logic? Wrong! My guess is <5%, the rest are business men (I heard that business women do pay their taxes) who do not pay anything. I have seen many businessmen who are looking out for chances not to pay up.

And we, the stupid law abiding fools say nothing and keep paying taxes silently, expressing frustration in lunchrooms or at a smoke break. Discussions go like — that politician in Bhosale Nagar, just bought a Terracan, which is his 8th car and BTW, all of them white in color spotting the number 1 on plates. Is he paying any taxes as per his income? I will bet my foot that he is not, and never will. And the great government will not do anything about it, I am betting my other foot on that.

Atleast the system has assured that I will be walking.

Footnote: “Unless waste and ostentation in Government spending are avoided, or eschewed, no amount of moral sermons would change people’s attitude to tax avoidance.” — Justice Sabyasachi Mukherjee at IncomeTaxInfo.com

General

Too fast and too slow!

Life is happening too fast around you. So how does that leave us? The truth is, it makes us feel things are too slow!

Picture this — You are back at your desk with jet-lag and suddenly you think of the idea you discussed with your team sometime ago. You call up the lead and ask — “Hey, what happened to that idea that we discussed? You said you’ll get back to me in a week?!”. The guy says, “Yes, we discussed that two days ago, chief!!”

Two days? No way. It feels like a long time ago; So many things have happened in between then and now. You feel that things are slow, because they are happening too fast?

General

Lack of What?

All the writers I know (like Arun Katiyar) say that reading and writing come in a package. So if you are not reading, then I understand you cant write either. Quite simple. Well, I have written (well, not) lots, but I was never a reader. I could never do that long stint. So my reading comprised mainly of poetry and short stories. They were short enough to hold one’s attention, and conceptually make one think as well as visualize. I like that.

But in recent times, I find it tough to even write, forget the reading part (Regardless of what the *propah* writers say about it). I am yet to discover the reason why, but, another writer told me — you dont think when you write/ what to write. You just write. Now, that makes really good sense, and explains why I am here!

Gadgets

5.1

There should be a limit to complacency (Aargh!!). My should-I-do-it-now? nature (and a swell theory for any time management expert) has been a big let down for many, including myself. Anyways, this one is about an outcome of it.

Now, I love music and movies and have been wishing to improve my listening/watching experience for quite a while. It all started when I listened to Hell Freezes Over on DTS 5.1 in a treated basement in Bangalore 4 years ago! I was (literally) blown away!! I bought a Torvin sub-woofer (200w RMS) and 4 satellites (4x20w RMS), and an amplifier to hook up to my Sony Wega 29. Life was suddenly… er, thumping.

But, as they say, audio is never the same once you listen to 5.1. I have been hunting for a *middle-class* solution (the receivers ARE expensive) for years. I quite liked the Yamahas (was sold on RX-V496 for a long time), but finally after listening to Ganesh’s take on Yamaha’s discreet amplification, last month I bought a –drumrolls– Denon AVR-1403/483. Now looking at the search and research I have put into this, barring a budget constraint, I should be dying to get it going, right? Well, not really. I cant explain it well enough, yes money is (always) an issue, but I hope I get those speakers soon. I am evaluating Torvin, Yamaha, Sonodyne and possibly, some kits recommended by DIYAudio.

(Thanks Ganesh, for all the help in this hunt)

Maybe you should consider Arca hybrid speakers from Cadence — they are an outfit in Pune (down the road from German bakery) and their glass valve amps to provide the thump of a lifetime. Don’t forget the gold-plated connectors. Comment from Arun 19 May 2004

Entertainment

Immortals by Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone has released an all time list of 50 greatest artists.

While I am very happy that they have “finally” included Little Richard, and the likes of Janis Joplin, and guys like Jerry Lewis or Jimi Hendrix — one can go on and on about this, but where is Pink Floyd? Sting? Or Metallica? At least Queen?

John Lennon deservedly gets two mentions. I even heard a cry that Bryan Adams was not there. Don’t mind, but Bryan who?