Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Beating Evening Boredom


















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This episode is definitely up there in terms of any Family Guy or Daily SHow episode!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

School of Rock





TBS played this movie yesterday. This movie's soundtrack qualifies for one of the best collections for rock music and the BGM uses bits like Back in Black, Cocaine and Smoke on Water. And not surprisingly, I found that Jack Black is a part of a Comic Rock band, Tenacious D.

The kids in the movie, especially the kid who plays the lead guitar riffs the living daylights out of you. The comic portions are amazing and its just super that you see the "We Don't Need No Education" on one of the props...

A must watch if you like comedy genre in movies and rock music

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Religion

Recently, I have had to speak for God and against religion that I think I should collate my thoughts somewhere.

My take on Religion:

Religion has long since outlived it use. In the early days of human development, people were under no barrier and the development of human beings with regard to their environment was literally in infant stages. As time went by, the early human realized that without any kind of a forced social structure, the more dominant specimens will get the best of food and men/women (as happens in every other animal society). And based on the popular 80-20 Pareto Principle, it would have come to be that 20 percent of the population enjoyed 80 percent of the 'good' stuff. So as time went by, this pattern could have come to be unsustainable which resulted in the institution of religion. Humans decided to deify anything that could not be classified with their knowledge/experience. But as with any first system, the religious system had certain drawbacks, which was why the legal/Governmental branch of structuring came into being, where the people were fooled into thinking about 'social good', common good and other such principles. But both the systems had few basic similarities that the power to decide what was acceptable and what was not acceptable was vested with a few individuals. Most of the rules/regulations were based on the current knowledge in science and social living. But as we have apparently seen in politics, unless there is a continuous improvement in any system, it is sure to go to waste. The problem with religion has been that people have not only neglected to improve religion as the change with time, but have rather regressed a lot. Since I have been brought up as a Hindu, I can confidently say that the folks have started concentrating more on the means than the end. I cannot otherwise, understand how people are now fighting over which matam is greater or whether worshiping Narayanan or Mahadeva is going to get you moksha. I have seen thousands of brahmins claiming to be devout and performing sandyavandhanam thrice (twice) a day, claiming to read the vedic scriptures but totally ignoring the basis of santhana dharma. People are proud to say that they can recite a particular stanza from the Gita, but they are more or less blind as they cannot see past the metaphors that kṛṣṇa uses to drive home the concept of God and who the brahman is. More awful are the folks who perform a 1000 parikarams, 20000 homams and all that without thinking once to see if they do sandyavandanam everyday. Even more inexplicable is the fact that people more often than not have heard about 'Thoonilum Iruppar, Thurumbilum Iruppar' logic, but do not pause to think that a God who can reside in a thing like a pillar or a twig, can as well be manifest in an orphaned kid or the homeless guy who is asking you for a couple of rupees at the street end. And to add insult to injury, you see folks fighting over religion. Christians, claiming to be followers of Jesus of Nazareth, condemn gay people - I do not know if Jesus particularly said Love Everyone* (* - does not include homosexuals or immigrants). I cannot, for lack of a better term, understand the religion of Islam, so I don't want to include it here. I see conservative people saying that being homosexual is not natural. Tell them that certain animals indulge in homosexual behavior in the absence of the opposite sex and they tell you that they do that to copulate/reproduce. While they recognize that nature/God is powerful enough to make 2 same sex animals reproduce under certain circumstances, would it be that impossible for nature to influence certain humans to turn homosexual so that the population explosion and the subsequent plunder of the ecosystem be controlled? As fantastic as this idea might sound, think about how an ape would have reacted if another ape told that one day their species will give way to humankind. Nature is too complex to be understood and it works in various ways - so never dismiss something that you don't understand.

God:

I'm a strong believer in God - Not that that God has 4 hands and either a mace or a trident. The God is the untapped potential/power inside each one of us. We can choose to give it a particular form - male or female - and try to tap the potential by meditating on it. This doesn't mean that Sri Rama didn't exist. For all you know, he might have been one of those humans who truly had self realization and so was considered God by others and we continue to believe that without realizing the significance behind it - as has been the wont of the human race. Surely, even for staunch non-believers, they've got to accept that there are certain things which are beyond control - while we know that all living organisms grow, based on scientific evidence, we do not know why they grow. We can say that the Universe originated with the big bang - but what caused the big bang to occur in a particular time instant in the way it did? Our current scientific, technological and mathematical prowess do not allow us to give a concrete answer to these questions - some of us have tried but there are no definitive answers - so I cannot see a logical/rational reason to eliminate the existence of God - in fact the more you analyze nature and the world around, the more you are awed by the total lack of scientific progress/explanations regarding many things.

Human race has always been an arrogant one. We talk about we impacting the planet, global warming and all that - but what we are trying to do is to analyze the impact of a process that has been in effect for 200,000 years on a system that is 4.54 Billion Years old. I agree that these numbers are again the result of the same human mind - but since both the numbers are from the same source, humans, I can assume that the error factors in them balance each other out. If the current global warming is solely caused by the human kind, I would really like to know what caused the original Ice Age and the subsequent meltdown. The day that we, humans, realize that we are but just another living species whose control over the planet and the ecosystem is as limited as that of any other living species, we should have a much better life

(P.S: Don't start telling me that how man made certain species extinct by hunting etc - biological extinction has always been there - just that we think that we are superior than a lion hunting a deer versus a human being killing a deer - the reasons might be different, but the basic act remains the same. And also, we see that man causes a particular impact on the environment based on 30 years of data/observation, but you never know how its going to play out when nature/the biological system decides to restore parity. For more confusion, read about the recent article on how the planting of more trees is causing slower wind speeds which impacts the effectiveness of wind mills and you shall start realizing that we trying to understand Earth and trying to extrapolate or predict its behavior is like a blind man trying to feel the tip of the titanic's hull to judge its size)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Microsoft Mobile Under Seige?

In the last 1 week, Microsoft Mobile is finding itself battered and hounded.

First, the Windows Mobile got a response which could only be compared to Microsoft Vista in terms of the catatrosphically disastrous reviews - the most damaging one from Mobilecrunch, which, to quote, says:

Windows Mobile 6.5 is a spit and polish job on 6.1 — nothing more, nothing less. Every single change in Windows Mobile 6.5 feels like it was made by a team of homebrewers or modders, rather than a huge corporation with truckloads of money to blow on one of their flagship products.


And of course, the disastrous Sidekick upgrade and the wordplay on Microsoft and Danger is overwhelming.

All this might perhaps, finally, make Steve Ballmer (and of course, the Windows Mo) quit and in fuse young blood that might yet make Microsoft more relevant in these changing times of Cloud Computing, SaaS and internet based technologies, where Microsoft has been lagging for quite a while. {It was quite interesting to see Ballmer play the Google's Anonymity and Underplay card when questioned on Windows 7 during his EU Trip}

Microsoft's success in the 80's and 90's came from the fact that they were what Google is now - a company which consistently tossed up good products, with a sound financial platform and of course, one of the best talent pools in the world. The talent and the financial platform still lives on, but the new and innovative products have died out. In the last 10 years, I can count only 2 success stories - Windows XP (which was really a milestone) and Bing (take the Bing ads with a pinch of salt, however). Perhaps make a younger person, who, might be able to make decisions to move the company in the right direction - I don't want to see the Motorola story happen once again to a company which I'd like to see exist in an meaningful manner for more years to come.

Cony

When I used to be young, there were these imitation walk-man units / calculators which had quite innovative names like Cony (Sony), PPL (BPL), EIWA (AIWA), Ponasonic (Panasonic). Seems nowadays, subtlety is no longer in vogue.

Click.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Tag Tag

I have been tagged and have tagged many of my blog friends. Recently, I have noticed a few things online which causes immense irritation or frustration. I'm sharing them here. Anybody interested can continue this from here:

1. Funny spellings and morse code English - Lots of people use spelling which are downright funny - apparently, nyc = nice, lyk is like and cool is kewl. What I cannot understand is these alternate spellings are in no way an easier option as kewl and cool are four letter words. and lyk is one letter shorter than like. I do not know what the person who is using these funny spellings is going to do with the time they save by typing these funny and hard to decipher spellings. The best of them all is the 'moi'. I'm linguistically challenged, knowing only English and Thamizh. I first thought that moi was the thing that people used to give during weddings or other social occasions in India. It was one of those kind souls who later explained that moi was French for me.

2. The usage of 'awwwwww' and 'Muaaaah' - These words must be officially banned from usage. I do not know how the hell they can either sound or be cute/romantic for anybody. Awwwww sounds more like the sound that Vadivelu makes. And Muaaah, with its spelling and all that sounds like the sound an erumai maadu (buffalo) might make. While I cannot for sure rule out that the janthu's which type these muaah's are not erumai maadu's, I'm reasonably sure that they do not want the general populace to know that they are one.

3. The 'Like' feature in Facebook - Someone says on their facebook status - "Enga veetile inniki ezhavu" and you would see a couple of their 'friends' liking it. I cannot fathom how people could 'like' certain stuff which they seem to do on Facebook. I will not surprised if somebody might actually leave a suicide note on facebook and unsurprisingly, some of their friends will like it.

4. Babe - The last time I really liked using this word when a movie about a piglet/pig came out when I was young(er). Nowadays you find every roadside romeo addressing every female he knows with this word. Again, I cannot see a reason as to why they cannot refer to that girl by her name. I cannot see why calling somebody as Babe (variant - babes) will be cool.

5. Use of the word Only - Recently there is a spate of sentences which end with only (colloquial usage = wonly). Popular examples - I'm working on a sunday wonly, I'm drinking beer wonly. If ONLY these F'ed morons stopped using this word!!

6. Having work related status messages on Facebook/Gtalk - It is understood that when an employer pays you for 40 hours, they would expect you to work for the money that they pay you. And of course, all jobs come with the clause that at certain point of time during the job, you might have to stay back on the odd day or have a crazy week once in while. And I guess most of us undergo this, irrespective of where you work - starting from Google/Microsoft/Intel to Mannar and Co. Then why the hell should someone crib about 'Oh! I had to work like a dog', '10 hours at the office'. If you are so bloody busy with work, how the hell can you find time to login to twitter, facebook and update the status with these 'oh-i'm-so-busy-look-at-me' not so subtle message? Inda madri vetti velai panra nerathile ozhunga velai panna, veetuku ozhungaana time ku polaam!! I cannot understand how these foolish people expect to be paid to update facebook status and put some 140 character nonsense in Twitter.

7. Twitter - I own a Twitter account for the past 6-7 months and cannot, for the limited intelligence that I possess, understand the purpose of Twitter. I assume that no-one on this planet would be interested in knowing when I woke up, when I sodikified my kai-viral and when I had my last coffee. At this rate, I'm quite afraid as to what other personal detail can come out on Twitter. And when I saw that twitter was recently valued at 1 Billion, I could not help think, Kali muththi pochchu.

8. Blog jaalras - Nowadays, celebrities use Blogs, facebook as an easy means to publicize themselves / reach out the public. A good case in point is Chinmayee's blog, where, except for those sporadic weird posts which scares the living daylights out of you, you more or less get information about her shows, songs etc. I generally do not find posts like these irritating, as I understand that as a celebrity, your market value is only as good as how well people remember you. In fact, I only hope more celebrities take to blogging so that we get to know how various industries work, the dynamics etc. What does get me is those makkal who put some comment like "Oh! You are the living legend of acting", "You are the vidivelli of tamizh cinema". Ada Raama!!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Apple - The Shine Never Comes Off

I've been using the iPhone from Apple for more than a year now - while I can say that this is the coolest phone I've had, I find the media and the online folks are way too liberal to Apple - I do not know what Apple has done to be dealt such a sweetheart deal. The iPhone has lots of bugs and very frequent fixes. The number of Software updates to the iPhone software is way too many and perhaps Apple has not right to spoof Microsoft in its TV ads anymore. And the network that they have partnered with, AT&T, deserves to be one of the worst in terms of coverage. No wonder Verizon has its latest ad up and running successfully. Recently, I'd been to Boston and the only way that I could be on a phone call was if I came out of my hotel room onto the parking lot! Thank God, I make at the most one personal call a day. The Apple Yippies (these wannabe folks who are like Rajni Kanth or Kamal Haasan fanatics) blindly ascribe any shortcoming of the iPhone to AT&T - while I agree that network coverage and the ability to have 3G anywhere in the US to be issues related to AT&T, the phone arbitrarily crashing out of Apps, The removal of the Google Voice app, 3 years to introduce the MMS feature and the inability to provide a stable OS release that does not need to be updated every 3 months seems to be very poor performance coming from a company which likes to project itself as ultra cool and very pragmatic. And not to say, quoting an Apple Support Rep., you SHOULD switch off the phone once a day and you SHOULD connect to iTunes every week to make sure you iPhone works well. If Windows OS had a similar flaw, Apple would have a field day with its oh-I'm-Apple-and-so-I'm-cool ads with that young guy and the bespectacled guy having yet another pointless commercial. I feel that while Microsoft is culpable in certain issues - especially, with their Internet technology, by any standard, Windows is the best OS for a person who uses the PC (or the PL - Personal Laptop) - which has been there, done that and most importantly, walked the walk and talked the talk - I especially like the fact that they support their earlier versions - very recently a friend of mine forwarded a Powerpoint presentation which we made in the 11th grade - Powerpoint presentations were a big deal back then and it was really nice to get to view it once again. I really doubt if I could do something similar on the iPhone (10 years from now) if the iPhone exists till then.

Talking about gadgets, my laptop is on the verge of natural death and my camera has kicked the bucket, quite unexpectedly. Bringing hope, Thanksgiving is around the corner and Black Friday is there, too. But if anyone finds an amazing deal somewhere (apart from fatwallet, woot, edealsinfo and cheapstingybargains - which I almost habitually check), please let me know. Of course, I would like to have the free Windows 7 upgrade option :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Speechless....




Enna Kodumai Saravanan Idhu?!?!?

Champions Trophy

Thank God, India exited the tournament. I don't want to use 'crashed' out as they never had any momentum going into the tournament or during the tournament to 'crash' out. Harbhajan Singh, as always thinks he has a God-given right to be successful and kept bowling poor line and length. Ishanth Sharma is a trend-setter. In my memory he is the first Dravid of bowling - meaning, he is a test match bowler, where, you can afford to have attacking fields and not have a concern about being containing - He is young and so can improve on his temperament and perhaps comeback to the ODI team.

Dravid - needs to go back to Bangalore and only come in on overseas test tours (but the way the pitches around the world are being 're-laid' to convert them into batsman friendly ones, he can retire from all forms).

RP Singh - another vetti. I think to motivate him, the BCCI has to pay him like he gets during IPL - which is not viable/sustainable. He could be India's answer to Flintoff's mercenary ways.

Dinesh Karthik - I think he is the true modern reincarnation of Hrishikesh Kanitkar.

Sehwag and Tendulkar - the best opening combo can have at this moment. They complement each other well, yet, are similar in certain ways which makes them a potent combo.

Google Wave




If Google can pull this off, without too many bugs, then they might be onto something - but I'm surely skeptical at this point of time.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Retrospect

Recently a good friend of mine told me that he was waiting for my review of Unnaippol Oruvan - This part pleased me as I was at some point of my previous life calling myself a Tamizh Padam PhD - but the reason he gave me stole my thunder - that I generally kizhichify every movie and he was looking forward to see what faults I will find in this one.

Apart from this guy, there is always rathathin raththam, arumai thangachi who keeps telling me that I write blogs to instigate people, make them angry and perhaps sambadhichufy their vayitherichal/sabam. Of course her accusation comes from the fact that amongst our likes, there are only 2 anomalies - Shriya Saran (I like her) and Saurav Ganguly (Akka is a Udal Mannuku, Uyir Dada-ku kinda of fanatic, while I'm, quite evidently, a passionate hater of Ganguly and his ideas {rather the lack of them} ). I generally discount her criticism as I thought she was over exaggerating - but now I'm tempted to think that I've got to definitely tone down. I'm passionate about my opinions and views, but when it encroaches on others' sensibilities, I guess, at that point, I become something I don't want to be - overbearing and hypocrite - so no more rants and raves - no more criticisms - at least for a while so that I can get the "too-much" of it out of my system.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Lost Symbol

I loved Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons for the same reason(s) I like Alexandre Dumas, Charles Dickens (Great Expectations) and Robert Louis Stevenson - the uncanny ability to weave a fictional story around historical events and characters. In utmost honesty, I liked Angels and Demons more than the Da Vinci Code, though the latter had more shock value. Less said about D. Brown's Digital Fortress and Deception Point, the better as, they are worser than the masala movies that Dr. Vijay gives out.

I digress. In his latest book, Brown returns to his favorite topics - Symbology, Pagan and Christian origins and of course an esoteric cult, here the Freemasons. The book starts quite in the Da Vinci mode, with Langdon being brought into a crime scene, him trying to evade authorities, a few twists and turns and the final denouement, followed by a fill in the blanks session between lead characters. To me, having spent almost 6-7 hours at a stretch to complete the book, it felt like a huge letdown. Highlight the next para for spoilers:

The plot itself is very reminiscent of the Da Vinci - there it was Jacques Saunière, here it is Peter Solomon. And you feel that book has too many parallels and you would not notice this, had the plot been thicker and more interesting like, the da Vinci Code. The character of Mal' akh is quite a mix of the psychotic Ghost from dVC and the Hassasin from A&D. The only new thing in this book is that P. Solomon is alive till the end, while Leonardo Vetra and Jacques Saunière were killed in the previous book. And to please the crowd that he displeased in his previous outings, here Brown plays to the religious galleries. I was amused to find that Brown was liberally using the Advaitam, propounded by Sankara (since there were multiple Sankara's, he is referred by his popular name, Adi-Sankara, who, single handedly established the shanmata and stopped the rampant spread of Mimamsa and Jainism and Buddhism which was the case in South India - read Ponniyin Selvan for another historical-fictional work by Kalki). Brown expounds on the asAvAdhithyO brahma | brahmai vAhamasmi concept and towards the latter portion of the book, ends up preaching to the choir (for most of the tambrahm crowd).


If you have not read the dVC (which is going to be a remote possibility) or its been a long while since you read the book, give this one a try and you shall be happy you did. Else read the book some months down the line when the paperback edition is released.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

San Jose

When I used to be really young, whenever my mother made my favorite palagaaram - Kesari mudhal baadam halwa varai - I used to eat them till I used to feel sick - sometimes I used to be choked with the sweet taste. San Jose is like that - continuously predictably good weather, at the least one Indian in every direction you turn your head, one big company per street... But all this is making me hate this place more and more. Wonder why.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Internet Explorer and Shopper Discounts

One of my rule of thumb is that Microsoft is internet challenged. They cannot produce one internet based product which is useful for your daily life (including Bing, which is more interested in giving you some service related search results instead of what you are searching). See below: Shopper discount is a scamster online who have a pop-up for IE and when you use your CC it phishes for it and uses it to charge $12.00 every month. I googled the word shopper discount and also searched for it on Bing. While google's second link was about scams, the money hungry Bing tries to promote this scam service. And the LYAO part comes with the Bing advertisements on TV parodying Google. There is a typical tamizh cinema thittu (dad to udhavakarai son) which comes to mind. I don't want to say that. What I shall say is even if Microsoft drinks water standing upside down, they cannot get any close to Google in terms of Internet technology. When it comes to OS and Software suites, I take my hat off to Microsoft - they are God - Windows XP might perhaps be one of the best things that ever happened to me in my life, but when online, run away from Microsoft as if they have the Swine Flu.






Point in case: I'm an Internet Explorer averse person. In my opinion, Internet explorer is like an American car - useless, unreliable and of course, susceptible to every tom, dick and harry out to make a fast buck. A person whom I know quite well is, well, for personal reasons a big fan of Microsoft - and sadly, Internet Explorer and so via that channel, this moron Shopper Discounts phished my credit card number and have been happily charging me 12 every month. Since I quite recently, with a superlative mind control methods chose to zap out all balances on all credit cards, I was surprised to find that there was a balance in one through this shopper dicsounts. So, this whole blogpost might be a result of some personal experience/bias, but the point to take is stay away from Internet Explorer. Use Google Chrome. I swear on God that I've not had any pop-ups at all - even when I visit the usual suspects like Rediff.com, Cnn.com, Ibnlive.com. You never know - when Internet Explorer might let you down next.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Sun TV effect

Whilst I was in India, Sun TV used to play and replay certain songs and manufactured them to be hits. A good example I would say were those stupid thathuva songs of Dr. Vijay. Now that effect that has been revisited. This song has been played and replayed so many times in the last few days that I catch myself humming the tune - worsht!! The guy who wrote the lyrics for this song deserves to be flogged till he promises to learn thamizh and write better songs.

How the web views you...

This tool from MIT is cool - try it!!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Tennis

Seeing the current US Open, I think Men's Tennis is at its nadir with regard to service games. There was a time that Sampras used to serve out 4 aces to seal the deal after he has broken his opponent. There were other guys like Rusedski, Ivanisevic and Philippoussis who had killer serves and of course you had Becker and Co. for a very good serve combined with all round playing skills. The only person currently who has the ability to move the ball in the box on a regular and consistent level seems to be Roger Federer. Tennis, in particular, the women's game, is becoming more and more a baseline slugfest (complete with guttural moans and cries - Nadal, Sharapova to be noted). If any one of you had seen the the Wozniacki - Kuznetsova game yesterday, you would wondered if there is any more subtlety or nuance in the game at all. It was like 2 barbarians having a battle with racquets. Nobody cares about serves. The average first serve percentage for a Women's game is around 30-40 and in the Men's its closer to 60. A pity, really....

Monday, August 31, 2009

Eeshal

1. Agassi being honored at the US Open - and the commentators hyping him up and saying he 'gave competition' to Sampras through out Sampras' career!! I simply cannot understand why these American commentators try to lick Agassi's ass so blatantly and unashamedly when Sampras was also an American player.

2. Agreed that Roddick played out of his skin in this year's wimbledon. Hats off!! But then putting him as a favorite in the US Open when you have Federer, Djokovic, Murray and of course, the Mudhevi from Mallorca, Nadal in the fray is another obvious attempt to something by Pam Shriver what Brooklyn Decker must be doing at their home.

3. I don't understand what standing Pam Shriver has to comment about other women's tennis player. For all her alattal and atoozhiyam, she went to one Grand Slam open. She keeps referring to her playing days and talks as if she was a Martina Navratilova or Steffi Graf. Bullshit bullock-carts, I say!!

4. James Blake being referred to as a 'great' player is a bit too much - ivanga kosu thollai thaanga mudiyalada naarayana!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tamil Cinema

'Tamil cinema' community in top 10 Orkut India communities -http://www.google.co.in/intl/en/press/pressrel/20090825_orkut.html


Been a part of this for the last 3 years and to say the least, the ride has been an interesting one.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bucket List

This movie is an anti-climax. You have the best cast possible - Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman and some amazing lines written. The villain is the screenplay. What could have been a brilliant movie is let down by unwanted mushi-ness you can ever see in Nicholson movie.

Edward Perriman Cole died in May. It was a Sunday afternoon, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. It's difficult to understand the sum of a person's life. Some people will tell you it's measured by the ones left behind. Some believe it can be measured in faith. Some say by love. Other folks say life has no meaning at all. Me? I believe that you measure yourself... by the people who measured themselves by you. What I can tell you for sure is that, by any measure... Edward Cole lived more in his last days on Earth... than most people manage to wring out of a lifetime. I know that when he died, his eyes were closed... and his heart was open.



I wish somebody would say the last two sentences about me when I cease to be. The thing that I like about the movie, is that the fact the 2 guys are able to accept the fact they are going to die and are able to actually have a few pun-filled conversations about it. I see folks around me planning for next year and the next 5 years and all that and though I do realize that this kind of long term planning is essential, we should not lose focus of the fact that you never know if you'd be around the next day. This denial of the actual fact is what makes people flip over when something bad happens. You see folks committing suicide when the stocks fall, putting up stupid Facebook messages (emotional of course, as stupid alone is fine with me) when a loved one either passes on or a relationship they'd assumed eternal ended up having an expiry date. I think this thought of mine was inspired and is now, very succinctly captured by Melchizedek's story in The Alchemist.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Shaaa rook Khaan

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-august-19-2009/shah-rukh-khan-detained-at-newark

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Public Fawning 101

A former room-mate of mine used to say that Tamizh makkal, and Indians in general try to take pride in what other Tamizh-makkal or Indians do. That is one of the primary reasons why you see these film stars like Shah Rukh Khan expecting people to 'know' them and their bloody star status.

A few months ago, Abdul Kalam was frisked by continental - lots of Indians felt angry/humiliated. I didn't. All these politicians, leaders and executive fucntionaries are at the best, first amongst equals (thank you, J. Archer) and so, I don't believe that they should enjoy any special privileges that we do not enjoy. As much as they enjoy the free plane travels, free train travel to their onnu-vitta-chithappa, let them also go through the stuff that the aam-aadmi goes through.

And, Shah Rukh Khan saying that he was targetted because 'his name was Khan' (a generous nod to the next moronic movie  that K. Johar is making) - though sounds bad, is the bitter truth. As much as I disagree that majority of moslem followers are jihad-fantics, it is a verifiable fact that most of the who's who of the world's terror list are the followers of the moslem faith. Honestly how many times do you go to the airport and see the DHS poster up asking for names such as Srinivasan or Sabapathy or Abithakujalambal? So, Shah rukh Khan, instead of blaming the folks who did their job in spite of you creating a ruckus, blame your holy brothers who are involved in holy wars to stop the nonsense and co-exist. Till then all the Khans will be subject to these 'random' checks. Also, SRK must be  thanking his stars that those guys did now know him. If they knew him and had by their ill-luck seen such masterpieces like Rab Ne Bana Di  Jodi and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, they might have requested Obama to re-open Gitmo and put him there and kick his insolent arrogant ass into shape.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

அரசன் எவ்வழியோ, மக்களும் அவ்வழியே.
I wonder how the authorities, who themselves hold similar views about women and harassment are going to say to this. After all, India is a country which blames the women for instigating men to harass them. Well, well.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Scandinavian Trip - Travel Memoir

One of the few advantages of a travelling job is the travel itself. Apart from the thousands of miles that you collect on your mileage accounts, the Platinum Elite status in hotels, you do get around to seeing lots of places, though the sightseeing is strictly restricted to 6pm - 12am time slots.


Courtesy one of the projects, I had an all expenses paid for trip to Denmark and Sweden sometime in the recent past. After a few tense days of waiting for the visa ( I applied for my visa 10 days before I was scheduled to leave - which included a weekend) and some innovative packing techniques later, I found myself trying to trying in vain to print my boarding pass. At this point, I seem to have a curious disability - I can never use the check-in - what with a 30 character name with 4 spaces in it, each airline takes immense sadistic pleasure in playing permutation combination with my name(s). It seems like those times when I had math problems which went like there are 4 empty seats in a row of 30 seats - how many ways can the 4 empty seats be distributed without 2 empty seats being next to each other. Well, I digress. So after some trouble and swears, I found myself being attended to by an agent - but at that particular point of time, lady luck seemed to favor me - and so I got a free bump to business class with no miles lost. So there I was, a happy camper. The flight from Tampa to Atlanta was over in a jiffy. The one from Atlanta to Copenhagen drilled into you that you were travelling to an European country. Accented english, strong smell of alcohol 5 minutes after take-off and of course the danish instructions that the stewardess was giving on how to save myself if the need to came to that. The best thing about being in business class is that, every sitting moment, you realize what you'd have been condemned to. The bend yourself into two and act as if your shoulders don't exist routine. You get a laptop charge port and free wireless and of course, the choicest juices and snacks from time to time.


Without more ado, let it suffice that I reached Copenhagen feeling at peace with the world. My feeling of cheery well being was also prompted by the fact that I was 6 hours earlier in time and so, was waking through my usual deep slumber time. But then, my reverie was broken by the number of Indian junta at CPH. My room-mate had joked that I would be detained at CPH immigration because of my Indian passport, but seeing the number of salwars and formal pants - sneakers combination, I would not have been surprised if the Immigration guy greeted me with a  "Vanakkam, Thalai". An hour's travel journey and a 20 minute ferry ride later, I found myself at Helsingborg, Sweden - a quaint little harbor town which was historically owned by Denmark and Sweden for almost equal portions of time.


After doing the biggest tourist attraction in Helsingborg, the Tower Karnan, I was quite politely told that all restaurants close by 3pm on Sundays. After much roaming around I found an Irish-American pub, complete with the Bo-So and Celtics banners, I had bruschetta and a coke. Not that it was delicacy, but the devil was in the details - the bruschetta had a fine layer of turmeric powder. As hard as I can think, I cannot logically think of a way that our turmeric reached the viking territory. Perhaps one of those Vike-Dude married an Indian chick and got apart from the usual paruppu-thenga and murruku, some manjal stuff too. I say this because, the next day - I had fries, which had, as you might have guessed, turmeric powder strewn on top. And Pepsi was conspicuous by its absence and the monopolizing Coke was selling at $3 per serving. For some strange reason, the folks over there do not refill beverages and look at you like you are from some unknown place if you ask for a refill and of course, they charge for it :)


The work itself was easy - thankfully, as the team was known for its tough workstyle and they were nice enough to drive me to Bastad, the place where the King of Sweden used to hang out some years ago for summers. They still play the Swedish Open there and it was heartening to see a life size metal sculpture of the great Bjorn Borg. The beach over there was one of those pristine beaches, existing just for the rich and famous. By my limited knowledge of the modelling world, I was able to recognize 2-3 super models.


(To Be Continued)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Dilemma

Going by my Wall Street Survivor performance over the last 6 months, I seem to have made a killing in profits. Does this mean I can graduate myself to the real thing? Well, well, well......

Thursday, June 25, 2009

King of Pop

I have seen politicians in India using the hyperbole unnecessarily on each other! Like once when Manmohan called Dr. Kalaignar as the Architect of South Indian Heritage or something like that - Mostly, they should be taken as the aberrations of a delusional mind - but it won't be an exaggeration if I said a big chunk of the global music industry died today with the inarguably, most deserved King of Pop - Michael Jackson.

I think he was perhaps the inventor of the Music Video concept - with his smash hit Thriller. MTV, VJ etc etc - I think need to start everyday doing a poojai to MJ with the Thriller video on. While everybody recognize his dancing and singing skills, the man was a lyricist and the year after he was inducted to the rock and roll hall of fame, he was inducted into the Lyricist Hall of Fame.

My 5 Favorite MJ Songs (Audio only): Heal The World, Stranger in Moscow, Thriller, Ben and History (and perhaps Ghosts at the same list too)

My 6 fav videos: Thriller, Bad, Beat It, We are the World (it had the leading singers of that time in a single video - it was rumored that Jackson and the other guy who produced it, wrote the song and recorded the video on a single night) and Blood on the Dance Floor and Smooth Criminal (just for its Rajni-esque intro).

R.I.P

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Siesta Beach



Accidentally, while flipping channels on the Travel Channel last week, I heard about Siesta Beach being in the top 10 beaches in the US. So the decision to check it out was made. The telly told me that this beach was special for its water color, sand and the sunset - the typical beach-y things.

The Travel:
The beach is difficult to map/GPS, basically because, it is not your typical touristy beach with lots of shopping areas nearby - so if you are interested, here goes: Take I-75 South, Exit# 205, proceed West on Clark Rd., cross US-41 and you shall hit on the Stickney Point Drawbridge and subsequently, Stickney Point Road. Proceed and the road hits on T intersection. Take the right and proceed approximately 3 miles and you shall see the beach to your left. Alternately, if you are a scenic route person, take the I-275 South, and it will join 75 after SunShine Skyway.

The Beach:
The beach has one of the whitest sands I have ever seen. Mainly, the beach is extremely clean and the absence of the typical beach commerce takes you by (a pleasant) surprise. The beach is quite long, by Florida standards, and on one end you see the skyline (whatever little it might be) of the Sarasota City and the other end of the beach is a awesomely located house which has water on 3 sides! The beach lends itself to a pleasant and long walk along the shoreline. The water, though not comparable to the sublime colors you see in Miami, is a cool blue for the Gulf Coast. The best aspect for me the conspicuous absence of desi junta in the beach.

Sunset:

The Sunset, was surely not over-hyped at all. It was absolutely breath-taking and I think this is the best sunset that I've seen, along with the ones I saw on board the ferry at San Fransisco, underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, near the Alcatraz prison. We reached the beach at 6.45 pm and the sun did not show any sign of going down anytime soon, though my Google Weather had predicted that the sun would go down at 8.30-ish. Right on cue, the awesome spectacle began around 8.27pm - the colors and the effect of the rays on the water has to be seen to be believed.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Super Commercial

This commercial from AT & T is really good - it has a basic theme, a very strong message, sugar coated enough to not jar you.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bing-u Para Bong-u



Apart from shoving Bing (previously Live Search) down your throat by having it as a default browser tab in IE 8, Microsoft has got it completely wrong in trying to somehow make you do a bing search by making links on MSN.com as bing search results. This is basically a bong-u from Bing in trying to increase their search count and I recently saw a statistic where they said their bing searches have increased by 3 percent in terms of market share. What I do just to thwart is that I hover over the link to see what the search keywords are and google it - there - I added a search to the Google count. As much as it sounds silly - this not too subtle (rather, showing down your throat) approach of Microsoft is going to rant the people. Those who were already anti-Microsoft are going to run like crazy to Google. I guess that Microsoft and subtlety cannot be in the same sentence unless there is a negating term present.


P.S: While playing gilli cricket - there used to be this older guy who will willingly play himself in the weaker team (or the team with lesser number of makkal) and take a double gaaji - this is exactly what Microsoft is doing.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Mentally Detached State

This last weekend, had to make a trip to the airport to pick a friend of mine and I found myself blissfully overshoot the exit - The road to the Tampa airport is peculiar that the airport exit is the last exit before you hit a 10 mile bridge, which cannot and does not have an exit for 10 miles. It just got me thinking as to how you can end up doing something, almost on auto-pilot - without thinking actively about what you are doing.

The first recollected instance of this happening was my english exams - the last time I did any academically related activity before my english exam must be way back in my primary school when we were really tested on grammar and all that stuff. Thankfully, when I was in the sixth, the CBSE had a brain wave and abolished any direct grammar testing questions - or so my school told us. So grammar was more or less nullified to complete the sentences kind of practical testing which didn't demand that I know the difference between adverb, adjective and all those stuff - till this date, I really do not know what an adverb is. One of the best things that was taught to me in PSBB was by my 'class' teacher, Mrs. Asha Kannan, back in my 4th standard who said that a grammatically correct sentence is one which sounds right to you. I  have stuck on to that logic and so far through my school, UG and GRE-Toefl-CAT times, this logic has helped staying away from actually studying wordlists or Wren and Martin or Nurnberg and Rosenblum. In fact, my recommended book for GRE would be the Big Book which has 50 practice tests out of which you take, arbitrarily, 10-15 exams and you should be really fine for the GRE. And the version of the CAT exam that I wrote was more RC specific which helped me ace the verbal section (though I majorly flunked the DA section :) ). SO more or less, my english exams back in school involved taking the question-cum-answer sheet (thankfully to avoid junta from writing their sondha kadhai sogha kadhai, we were given allotted spaces to write our answers). So, my only aim was to finish the paper inside of 1.5 hours and to have a sound nap on the desk. This might sound pure lunacy, but somehow I loved to sleep on the desks - and so throughout the exam, I was more or less on auto pilot with the formal letter, RC and all that stuff.

The next 'remember-able' instance of me being on auto pilot was my electrical machines laboratory in my UG days. The lab was a very simple one. They gave you all the circuit diagrams and all you have to do was to make the circuit connections and take the I-V readings and depending on the experiment, do a plot and end up with the shunt resistance or series resistance of the armature and all that stuff which all had pre determined formulas. So all the work involved was to rig up the connections, take the I-V readings and do a rough plot and see if it looks anything like what it is supposed to. As long as you didn't mess up with your 3ph connections or didn't do outright silly things like connecting a voltmeter in series, you ended up with the correct readings. And the remainder of the time was spent in which guy was line vittufying for which girl in the class - this was a pretty fun activity. We were grouped based on our roll numbers and being named what I'm, I was pretty much preceded by 4 guys with the same name as me and succeeded by the same number with the same name (the first and second portion of my name are perhaps, the most common south indian names ever, though I don't think there are many people with my exact combination - based on the fact that I pretty much got my name in all the social networking/email accounts). And I had these two amazing guys in my group who were pretty much your enthu-pattani kinds. So more often than not, my lab 'experiment' was done and dusted within the first hour and the for the rest of the time, we guys would have a happy time looking at inter-lab-group line vittufyings and intra-lab-group line pottufyings. The fun would be when our crazy EM professor would start on his rant about 'indha kaalathu engineering pasanga' which would provide us enough entertainment for the day.

While in college, I had the other daily routine which involved me in auto pilot mode - the 40 odd km trip to and from our college to my bus stop - through, some hook and lots of crook, I changed my bus to a route which had the Bus Coordinator Prof in it. That guy - as is the thondru-thotta vazhakkam of people who have power - always made sure that the bus on his route was either an air bus or sometimes, air conditioned air bus. So for the 10K I paid every year, I decided to get a bang for my buck and take the air bus - so reach the bus stop at 7.30, talk arbit stuff about anything till 8, board the bus, get the last but one seat and sleep. Some of those days, the bus coord guy would come around asking for our bus pass to see if we were genuinely on that route or whether we were people who pretended to have missed our original bus to be on an air bus. After a while, unwilling to be disturbed from my morning siesta, I had my bus pass and placed it on the next seat and pretty much had a sound sleep until we reached the Chembarambakkam lake, by which point, some guy would SMS you asking whether you had completed some arbit assignment or record or obse or graph... So the last 10 mins of the bus ride was spent in: 1. Getting to know what was that I had NOT done that was supposed to be submitted. 2. Determine if I could escape from the prof who demanded the submission through the gift of the gab (more or less, my college had this typical categories of professors - 1. female staff who had completed their ME a couple of years ago 2. Male staff who had completed their ME a couple of years ago 3. Senior staff). There was pretty much no escape from the 3rd category and it involved me doing some real work in the bus with my calculator and graphs. Category 1 was the easiest - you could yap to them about some arbit thing - mostly, the prevalent Madhavan padam or some indee padam (depending on their geographical background) and you can escape with pretty much anything, including murder. Category 2 were the ones who had various sub categories:
2 a. The rural quota ME guy - you talk 4-5 sentences in english , putting in every complicated word you know and you can pretty much walk away scot free. But the trouble would brew if you did in the presence of category 1 staff as our rural romeo would feel offended that you asinga paduthified him in front of the 'figures'. So in those instances, you somehow create a familiarity, talk in chennai lingo about some arbit stuff and escape.

2 b. I'm-a-know-it-all-and-you-better-lick-my-shoes kind - these were the kind I absolutely detested. These are the kinds who studied ME because they were para aarvam to continue masters after their UG, but due to either financial status/own principles, chose not to come over to the US and do their ME in MIT (Chromepet) or some other local pultu college. Whatever you do, you never want to let these junta know that you want to go abroad for your higher studies - if you do, every instance that they get, these makkal will say, "Unnaku ellam US la MS admit kudkaranga" - You typically say to these makkal that you are 'thalai-la adichufying' as to why you chose electrical engineering and you put in an extra bit - "epdi sir neenga ME pannenga? Sema padips ah sir neenga?" More often than not, this statement leads the 2 b category person to believe that he is a self anointed guru for you and they tell you some arbit mokka logic that they followed to be in the 'successful' position - you listen to that arbit logic/funda and walk away with a sorry  (Naan ennoda appa amma solliye ketka maatein - bloody nee solliya ketka poren plays in your mind when you walk away).

In my department we had a peculiar assistant professor who was once suspended for doing some 3rd rate stuff with girl students - this guy was more or less your sabalist kezham - who at 50 odd years wants to see how he can use his age to do silmisham, which the poor girls would not mind, thinking of him as their thatha at college. So with this guy, we do an Arjuna (of Mahabharatha) - like the way he used Sikhandi to defeat Bheeshma, you channel your gate pass/leave letter (forged) or permission letter (to not submit record etc) through a few of the well favored girls (the thatha, apparently, had some 'taste' in the figures he wanted to deal with) - so you give your requests through one of those favored girls and you pretty much, ended up with his signature on any piece of paper.


I digress - coming back to my point, so, the last 10 minutes of my morning bus journey was most often than not spent in some academic activity. The evening bus journey back was slightly more interesting - as most often my route was linkified to some other route in the evenings (as the bus coord left college at 5.30, he reserved the route to leave at 5.30). So this gave me a ring side view/knowledge of which payyan is dating which ponnu. Which 'pair' was spotted where in Madras - who are all the guys who are putting kadalai to a girl. All this was fun to hear and sometimes, you get to watch these wooings in the bus - and by the time I reached poonamallee, I was pretty much entertained for the day - after which I read the book (non academic, of course) or slept my way through till my bus stop - the good thing being that most of the days, our bus was held up at the Kathipara junction - which, I could have avoided had I just gotten down at Kathipara and walked to my bus stop near the Guindy railway station. But then that would mean that I have to wake up from my stupor and do some actual work, which would have meant that this activity of mine would have never found its way here. :)

After all these auto pilot experiences, I pretty much think, this was my first auto pilot experience in the US, where I was able to do work without actually thinking about what I was doing or why.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Mani Ratnam - Write Up - A request

Makkale,

Planning to do a blog post on the Maestro from Madras Talkies. Please feel free to comment on your favorite 5 Mani Ratnam movies - with reasons if possible. You can also mail me at karthik[dot]sriram[at]gmail[dot]com.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Marriage WebSite Nonsense

I've had a few of my friends getting married (this being the peak marriage maatu-sandhai season) and most of them have the time to come up with a website. Before I start my rant on the website itself - I have a huge problem with people saying, "Please treat this as a personal invite". Till quite recently (before these weblinks became a part of my daily email checking routine), I thought emails were personal. If somebody emails me on my personal email address, I assume that they are addressing a personal issue. Then why this statement? If they mean personal as in meeting us/you personally, then I think that this is one of the oft-used, least meant cliches in normal communication (the first is in tamizh cinema, where there is a dialog - Unga kaiya kaala nenachu ketkaren!). I have made a promise to myself that the next time I see this line in an email, I'm going to press the delete button for the mail.

Now onto the website - most of what I say are observations - add to them if you have come across any other versions/flavors.

1. As soon as you open the weblink, it takes close to 2 minutes to load. Why? Because there is either the mushy romantic song loading or the traditional nadhaswaram and melam music loading. A quick thing to do is while you wait for the page to load is to reply to the original email wishing them the best or whatever.

2. The section which makes my blood boil - Our Story / How We Met or some other such cheesily named section. What I don't understand is there are only options available - either you met someone at work/college/wherever you used to hang out or you had an 'arranged' marriage - which involves the parents putting in spade work to find a well educated and good looking bride/groom and making them talk. A new masala mix which has been added now is this we had an arranged-love marriage, when all it involves is for those makkal who were closet-romantics (either due to parental pressure/considerations or personal incapability) varuthufy kadalai (if they are not in the same city) or roam about the city like let-loose-donkey and then saying - "Oh! we were very  much in laaauv before we got married!!" Thu!! But onto the website kandraavi - so when there are only two options/stories boards (okay, three! ), why should they try to put in the site? We all know the route map a-b-c quite well. While I agree for the junta concerned it is still a story of their lifetimes, do not try to shove it down our throats in your website. I know that I have a choice to not click on that section, which is what I do nowadays. Also, another question that lingers is, when I meet someone (in person) and they tell me that they are getting married, my immediate response would be to congratulate them and in the case I know the person really well, I will go on to ask what their significant other is - professionally. I have never had the urge to ask people - where did you meet? did he lick your shoes or did you stand at the bust stop for him in the hot sun etc etc. These are personal details and I do not know how these makkal are brazenly vekkam-ketta kinds to put all these details in a frickking website. The pseudo category three makkal go one step further. To match the masala the lauv option provides, these guys go to a level of cheesiness which borders on stupidity. A popular line from this category is - "Oh! He travelled 10000 miles to see me". The last time I checked the only way to get to India was by twisting yourself into two and packing yourself into an economy seat in an air plane and make a 10000 mile journey to India. There were no fancy phancy particle transfer process which would make you disappear in the US and make you appear at Ranganathan street in Madras (okay, I saw Star Trek yesterday!). So, why in God's name should such matter-of-fact be romanticized? The levels of the desperation of that guy might have made him travel that distance for any girl, leave alone you. I sincerely hope somebody bans publishing "How we first met", "where we proposed", " What color socks was he wearing when we decided to get married" crap online. As I already said, these are personal stuff and should not shared on a website.

3. Photos/Gallery - I'm a big fan of photos and so do not mind this section. This provides the visitors a chance to see the kannalam kattikara makkal together or the actual kannala pictures - either way, I think this serves some purpose.

4. Guestbook - The section in itself is not a bad idea, but the way it is used by the morons who visit the website makes this a puke section. Visitors put in, literally, Orkut type scraps. The most often used words are "Cute", "Chweet" and "Muaaah" (In decreasing order of popularity and also signifying an increase in the sender's stupidity from L-to-R). Recently Blogeswari , blogged about these dimwits who use funny abbreviations/versions for normal english words - lyk for like, gr8 for great, Chweeeeet (the higher the stupidity, more the repeat of alphabets) for sweet, Muaaaah to signify their overflow of emotions aka a kiss. Ezhavedutha peedaigal! I want to meet the praguruthi who set the rule that using these crazy spellings/words are either: 1. Cool, or 2. Cute. I want to give that person two tight slaps and thirigify their thalai like they do for kozhi(s). And this crib of mine is directed towards the female populace who address their friends of the same sex as DA or YA or Babe. All the three usages are highly puke inducing, despicable usages.

5. Contact Us/Details to Reach the venue etc - these are genuinely sensible and not oftenly misused sections, so let me not disparage them unnecessarily.

Please feel free to add any more details kandravi-er versions that you've seen.

Come As You Are

This is a song which I listen to when I'm not exactly in good spirits. One of Nirvana's best:




Come as you are, as you were
As I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend
As an old enemy

Take your time, hurry up
The choice is yours, don't be late
Take a rest as a friend
As an old

Memoria, memoria
Memoria, memoria

Come doused in mud, soaked in bleach
As I want you to be
As a trend, as a friend
As an old

Memoria, memoria
Memoria, memoria

And I swear that I don't have a gun
No I don't have a gun
No I don't have a gun

Memoria, memoria
Memoria, memoria
(No I don't have a gun)

And I swear that I don't have a gun
No I don't have a gun
No I don't have a gun
No I don't have a gun
No I don't have a gun

Memoria, memoria

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Who Will Be Amazing This Year?







Heart says Kobe, Brain says Howard.

On a parallel note, my workout goal was to reach the Kobe fitness levels - Where you are fit enough and not too huge with bulging muscles and all that, but reading this article left me in no uncertain terms about what my chances are with achieving my goal:

Media cozies up to Microsoft

Courtesy: Wall Street Journal, D1, Dt. Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Search War is ON!

So after redesigning the Microsoft Live (I have to accept that they made a nice idea of those pictures), Microsoft is trying to beat the God of Search Engines with Bing. Bing from the promotional video seems to be a more advanced version of the Google Suggest and a few other google features already existent. But given the desperation levels of Microsoft to better Google, you can be sure that they have something up their sleeve - which leads us to the next question - What is Google going to do? Its not by luck alone that they are the most successful Internet based company in the last 20 odd years. And remember that they contributed their company name as a verb to the english language.

Sabaash! Seriyaana poatti!!

Another take, albeit by a much more professional person.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ayan - A Review

I was seeing a tamizh movie in a theater in Chennai after what seems to be ages. So the review might be slightly biased positively towards the movie.

1. Story
Typical Masala fare. But nowadays, tamizh movie directors package their masala quite well with technology that you do not realize what you are being fed. My parents tell me that when I was young they used to feed me when I was gazing at advertisements on TV, as I was very picky about food. Similarly, what was started by Vishnu Varadan (Billa) and Shankar (Sivaji) is now being followed by Anand in Ayan. There are intro songs, some personal reference dialaaks ("Namakku eppovum Jo thaaan!") and some well choreographed fights and a stupid heroine who looks good.

2. Cast
Surya all the way - If the same movie was made by Ajith or Vijay, it would have sunk without a trace as people will clamour for change from them. Surya, who is now on the rise to the superstar status, tries his hand and since he is relatively new to this genre of films compared to A or V, makkal don't seem to mind. Surya seems to have gained weight after his 6 pack look for Varanam Aayiram. His hairdos, costumes and coolness factor makes you realize why every guy who you meet on the streets of Chennai is a 'fan' of Surya. The female population has already seemingly willed their sothu to Surya and cannot get over the fact that he is already married to Jothika. He is now a complete package - Has the looks, seems to have picked up the basics of tamizh padam dancing and is quite good in comic timing and Tammanna Bhatia is good looking in stills but looks like a Vellai Eli in the movie. As is the marabu in tamizh padams, she is shown as a desperate to fall in love, stupid and sometimes annoying girl who goes to college (but rarely you see her studying/going to college) who dances quite well in the songs. Nandu Sindu Fame Jagan is the main comedy track. Though he manages to raise a few laughs, he mainly relies on double meaning jokes to make his stuff work. The villain was more a comical one than anything. Prabhu has seemingly settled to play support to heroes. He carries on his good work from Billa in this movie too, playing his part with quiet efficiency. He somehow was in the same boat as Rishi Kappor in Dilli - 6 (a good role in an average movie. I know I do great flattery to Dilli - 6 by calling it average. It should be called crappy). Renuka of KB Teleserial fame is quite jarring with her kural and chennai tamizh.

3. Direction/Screenplay
The director has managed to take a very normal tamizh pada story and managed to keep you away from looking at your watch/cell phone for time for 3 hours, which is a great feat given the kind of movies I have been seeing in tamizh recently. I think, a major portion of this credit should also go to Surya who has literally appeared in each frame of the movie and done everything from comedy, fight, romaans and the usual hero stuff without appearing tacky.

4. Music/BGM.
BGM was pure comedy for the scenes with the bad guy. The songs though are quite catchy. I didn't like them when I listened to them when the audio released. But seeing the movie, made me a big fan of 3 songs (below). Harris Jayaraj has managed to elevate and seperate himself from the pack of music directors in tamizh - I can say that A.R. Rahman apart, no other music director has been so consistent in giving popular music.


Oyaayiyae Yaa - TamilBeat.Com



Nenje Nenje - TamilBeat.Com




Vizhi Moodi - TamilBeat.Com


Overall Opinion:

One time watch. Watch it for Surya.

The India Trip

In my limited knowledge of desi-history in US, I guess I had the most impromptu trip to India - I booked tickets 3 days before I had to leave, I had no check in luggage on my trip to India and I spent close to 2 hours to shop for my trip.

1. Lufthansa has improved by leaps and bounds. I always liked their no-nonsense approach to flying - they never miss baggage, they don't get delayed and are quite the epitome of the German efficiency. The only crib I had with them - the Haider Ali-kaalaththu planes have been discarded for newer ones with personal entertainment systems. A cool addition. The food is, as usual, quite good. But the major fun was while I was on my Frankfurt to Chennai leg, I had a desoid (tam) guy who by his looks was a typical onsite software engineer from the W/I/T/C/H companies - he was blatantly and pathetically trying to flirt with the Indian stewardess - I tried to drown myself in sleep (which was how I managed the 26 hour journey) but that frickking guy kept passing 'clever' and 'funny' remarks that I asked for a seat change - thankfully ended up with an empty row of seats where I kattai neetified and slept. :)

2. This might sound cliched - But I had a major reverse culture shock in India. Makkal were hip, had money to scatter on the roads and I was seeing BMW 7-Series car with scratches and bent fenders! The prices of clothes, books, auto fares and groceries have doubled/tripled from my 2007 experience. Sometimes I felt that if I worked in India at the same level as I'm right now, I might be called a poor guy. Makkal were flaunting 25k cell phones just like that and the respect for money (especially for the poor old Rs. 100 note) was floundering.

3. Inox Theater in Chennai is a rip-off. The theater has an odd smell of sweat and butter popcorn. The sound system was the only saving grace. Coke cans cost in 60s and pop corn packs cost close to 100 upwards. And all this for a Wednesday 12.00 noon show. I saw that Friday evening shows costing 360 per head for the latest releases!

4. Spencer's Plaza has passed its days of splendor and opulence. Its now a mere shadow of its former self. Landmark is the only place which will not test your perspiration limits. I do not know if it is me, but I think Landmark has kind of given up on their Nungambakkam High Road store in terms of improving looks and space. The Landmark stores in Spencer and City Center were much better maintained and spacious.

5. Interesting observation at Landmark: Maximum 'youth' crowd were seen around the magazine section, leafing through the Maxim kinda mags seeing Bommai :P

6. Besant Nagar beach has become 'galeej' much like Marina. But it presents a stark picture of contrast - you have on one side, places like Barista with its youth crowd, varuthufying kadalai over a cup of some version of coffee while on the other side of the road you have the typical thalai ku mele duppata 'couples' doing romaans! PDA (Public Display of Affection) in Chennai has reached new levels from my last trip. I saw a couple in CCD (location not important) almost fornicating inside the premises over a cup of coffee.Now I know why they have couch style seating in those places and some (convenient?) dark corners.

7. The dressing sense of youth crowd in Chennai still beats my limited common sense/rational-ness. While I was profusely sweating with just a normal t-shirt on, I saw makkal wearing one t-shirt and another shirt on top in such a way that the t-shirt made up for the sleeves and torso while the shirt was more like a jacket kinds. I sweated a few liters more just by looking at those makkal. But curiously enough, makkal have still not given up on the crotch-lock trousers. The trousers that male makkal wear might make female population in US envious. The good thing to note was that stupid wearing your trousers half way down the legs (which I believe was a direct influence of hip hop videos) seems to have passed.

8. The Chennai Super Kings Jersey at the Reebok Showrooms costs Rs. 700 and Rs. 1999! The difference between the two priced shirts seems to be that the one priced higher has the letters 'D', 'O', 'N', 'H' and 'I' printed not necessarily in that order and Number 7 on it. I think I should be getting the job who is doing that spray painting of the number and letters. If 6 letters are worth 1300, then I think I have a good business plan to buy my dream Ferrari.

9. CNN-IBN is now exactly Indian version of CNN. Paisa peraadha vishayangal are given out as news. Amrita Arora having a fab bod after marriage is discussed at 8am on the news. Some other maida maavu indee shaniyan actor comes to talk about his designer line and all that crap.

10. Chennai airport now has international power outlets and free Wi-Fi. Lufthansa had a rare slip up on my return trip and I ended up spending 3 quality  hours at Chennai between 12.00am and 4.45am and the internet helped me catch up on emails and do all the internet-y activities.

11. Courtesy, Jaya TV, Enge Brahmnan is now a big phenomenon in Chennai. I heard Cho Ramasamy now comes on TV and blatantly claims Brahminical Superiority. While I do not exactly support this kinda 'jaadhi' pracharam, I feel that the amount of shit that tam brahms go through from the Kazhaga Kanmanigal, this is an expected and late-arrival of a retaliation. Gone are the days of Tam Brahm! Thank You Ma'm logic.


P.S: Met up with Nirmal, who gave me more insights into the changes described above. He seems to have a balanced head and I do not think 4 years of working life has changed him one bit from the nice guy I knew in SVCE.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Current Project

Seems quite a mushy song - But I confess, I like it. The guitar can be played by just plucking the strings - the song is quite easy to sing.

Tampa-vil oru Mazhai Kaalam

The tropical weather is here. 90 degree heat at 1pm - Rain like there's no tomorrow at 5pm. Frogs and other reptilian cohabitants of the 'woods' where I live close to duly note  your presence, make sure you notice their presence, and more importantly, size! [Picture taken at 4pm EST]

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sweden, Anyone?

If someone has been to Sweden and back, please let me know the insider information on actual visa processing times and general travel arrangements that you made from the US. I already got the lowdown from the official Swedish consulate in Washington DC website.



Monday, May 11, 2009

Change is life

5th May, 2009: Tuesday: Decide on going to India
Wednesday - Friday - Make arrangements for paying visa fees.
Sat - Sun: Wait for the payment to get activated
11th May, 2009: Monday: Book visa apptmnt and flight tickets
15 th May, 2009: Friday: Leave to India.

I don't think I have even travelled officially at this short a notice.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Vodafone Zoozoo Ads - A collection

There have been a few ad campaigns in India which have been quite good - their conceptualization, execution being on par with any of those ads from around the world. On those lines, here's one more: