Mdeii Life - Anand Krishnamoorthi's blog
Friday, May 30, 2003
The title�s kind of a misnomer. Today I was fiddling around with WAP on my mobile phone (after all the talk yesterday). I did a Google search and I even checked out my blog and Chakra�s WAP page for details check here. Here�s a thing for the usability guys. Even though my blog turned out in full detail, it somehow was very cumbersome to go through and navigate (tables don�t render the way they look here). So if I were to design a WAP-friendly web page, would it in anyway affect the �look� here? Or do I need to have a WAP friendly page at all? Plus there are the technical issues: not all websites are WAP accessible I guess. The tech gurus can tell me more about it.
Thursday, May 29, 2003
JRR �taken a toll� kien
Too many lengthy posts and too many parentheticals today. Hmm... probably too much Professor Tolkien.
My all-American nephew though seems to have problems his own, he is not all too friendly with girls, women, infact anybody who is female or so it seems. He prefers the company of boys and men.
Calling a 4yr old chauvinistic would be pushing it, in fact I wouldn�t even wish to call it a problem (just wait till he turns into a teenager), but as of now, he�s offended quite a few women, especially his grandmother, whom he refused to even offer a seat at his mostly male-invitee gathering for the fictitious museum unveiling of his fictitious latest discovery: a complete set of triceratops fossilised bones.
My mother who recently acquired a new set of skills herself (though very painfully for her and more so for the rest of us *) finally got her intricate Mysore-style painting of Ganesha mounted and framed rather professionally. I�ve been making pictures and sketches all my life and in recent years been taking quite a few photographs as well, but a tasteful frame seems to do the trick in most cases: enhancing the picture�s aesthetics manifold.
* A major section of the Chennai fine-arts circle is, I believe almost too mercenary to be true; and that disturbs somebody who has been involved with mostly teaching child-art for more than two decades
From dragons to dinosaurs
Talking about children�s fancies, my nearly 4 yr old nephew Aditya is all too fond of dinosaurs. I don�t know if he�s the only one or is there a whole generation of American pre-schoolers, but crazy he is about palaeontology. So I�ve decided to make a game (on palaeontology) for him using my newly acquired scripting skills (with lots of help from Mihir of course) for his birthday. Any ideas?
I have heard quite a few great tales told to me as a child that I have grown to enjoy and understand differently in recent more adult times. Probably one thing that differentiates �mature� (hardly the right word) fiction from children�s stories is the way they are understood and interpreted. By sheer exposure and experience, adults seem to discern layers in a story that children might not. Not to say that children don�t like complex stories, they do, but children don�t read too much subtext: that is left for crooked older minds to discover. The Hobbit was no exception for me.
A very wild and apocryphal (even stupid) sub textual reading would be the seemingly prophetic parts of such epics. Saddam fell as suddenly as Smaug and the adventure climaxes with the real conflict over the sharing of the spoils. Save for �terrorist� goblins, the glorious warriors and politicians would have finished each other off on flimsy reasoning.
I had borrowed the book from Mihir quite some time ago but found only time until yesterday to read it. What do I say? It is a classic.
I am yet to read The Lord of the Rings trilogy and (more important for a film student) see the movies, but from what I have seen of trailers and snippets (and that is hardly any exposure good enough to comment with & if the three other books are of the same vein of the prelude) I have to make one observation. The Hobbit is a story of dark things all right, but I found the imagery very vivid, colourful and dramatically dark. Not de-saturated and morose dark as most interpretations might make it out to be.
UnRelianceable and the Lynx browser
Apropos (that�s and old word!) Kribs' post on giving back his Reliance Mobile, I suddenly am in the midst of quite a few such complainants, even though I personally have no reason yet to give up my phone(at least not until the bills come in). In fact the last thing I would want to do is to suddenly go out of contact on a familiar phone number and especially losing the number that sounds so rhythmically me.
This brings back memories of the days when I accessed the Internet on a shell account with a Lynx browser. I had an e-mail ID with Hotmail that I was similarly fond of and did not want to give up. But alas, when Microsoft took over, they put in some security features that took Hotmail out of the scope of a Lynx browser. At that time a shell account was all I could afford and so reluctantly let go of that early hotmail ID (it even had my undistorted full name without the irritating underscores and clumps of fancy numbers brought about by non-availability of usernames in later days).
I don�t know if I�d be forced out of what Kribs might call an unRelianceable phone connection. Touch the dark timber of Mirkwood! (Hmmm� that brings me to the topic of my next post!)
Tuesday, May 27, 2003
Y A B C (Yet another blog contest)
There are quite a few competitions happening in the Indian blogosphere that I�ve decided to start one of my own. Besides, my exams are over and I find myself suddenly jobless. I�d probably have a contest for the best-designed blogs? I�d sure like to take the advice from the senior bloggers on that one.
There have been recurring problems with my blogspot archives. I have to keep republishing all my archives every time I publish a new post. I think I�m not alone on this. Just hope things get sorted out quick.
Watched Martin Scorsese�s Goodfellas Today. Very stylishly made and very stylishly cut by Thelma Schoonmaker. Yet I somehow feel this movie lacks the raw vitality of Raging Bull. Probably Goodfellas�d grow on me if I watched it more times. That�s happened to me before with movies and music.
OJ�s nominated my post to the Blogmela that Anita�s hosting. (That�s five links for nine words) Thanks OJ!
I�m kinda feeling guilty for not being well read enough to nominate somebody myself. Will try! Will try!
Monday, May 26, 2003
Shining and shaken
Just saw Stankey Kubrik's "The Shining" (original book by Stephen King). I'm a big fan of both the SK's. Boy! This is Classic Horror.
The end of a semester
The end of a semester�s worth of studies, a semester�s worth of worries, a semester�s worth of hopes and a semester�s worth of tests. The last of the exams have been taken care of; a month�s worth of chilling out to look forward to. Books and movies everyday!
Sunday, May 25, 2003
The art of darkness
Saw The Godfather II today on TV. This was probably the hundredth time I�ve seen it, but that�s a movie I�d love watching over and over again. There is this one issue though with broadcast television�s fidelity. This is something akin to a theatre with bad projection or acoustics. On DVD Gordon Willis comes across as a master cinematographer, but on broadcast TV, it looks like just murky and dark camerawork: Great injustice to a craftsman�s work. There is only one other person I know in India who can underexpose with such guts and class and that�s Madhu Ambhat. His work in Mani Ratnam�s Anjali earned him a great deal of respect from the guys who saw his movie in good theatres, but most people (unfortunately a majority of theatres in our country are non-standardised and the projector lamps are too dull) thought that he was just short of lights on the set. Blame the projectors, but Mani Ratnam was branded for shooting in the dark.
There is one thing in adapting to prevailing conditions (most film people use this as an excuse for overacting, loud dialogue, over makeup, flat lighting and gaudily colourful costumes), but there is a whole new thing in getting things to work for you; after all, even if you owe your work to your audience, you at least have to show some courtesy for the medium and the art and do them some justice.
Friday, May 23, 2003
How to write a really interesting dull-blog-entry?
1, 2, 3, 4......................................1024.
Hmmm! Now, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5...............................768.
Buzzzzz...Swish! Thwack! Miss!...
Buzzzzz...Swish! Thwack! Miss!...
Buzzzzz...Swish! Thwack! Bang! Crash! Miss!...Shwish! Snap!
Is that blood?
Buzzzzz...Swish! Thwack! Miss!...
Buzzzzz...Swish! Thwack! Miss!...
The amount of glazing on the eyes (in microns) is equal to amount of time spent staring at the monitor (in microseconds) multiplied by the square root of the number of milliseconds between each wink divided by two if you are male and four if you are female the whole power 16 modulus 3 multiplied by the aqueous constant (9.4532x12^18).
Did you know that weekends occupy two seventh of a week? Wow!
Buzzzzz...Swish! Thwack! Miss!...
Today I learnt that if you stand really long on one toe, it goes numb for the rest of the day and if you just sit all day, same case with the butt!
If you put your little finger into your ear canal and wriggle real hard, you�ll hear a popping sound!
Old chairs make creaking noises...interesting!
Buzzzzz...Swish! Thwack! Miss!... Darn!
Another attempt at being dull
One of the world�s Weirdities
There are some people so arrogant in this world that they can even make you feel condescendingly proud of your humility. Talk about projected feelings!
Wednesday, May 21, 2003
For long I had been toying with a story concept that involves bringing to life inanimate objects and therefore a conflict with humans. But I was devastated to find that Derni�r Invention by Lolo Zazar was just that story I had in mind: and it was so well executed�a lovely short film. Small consolation was the fact that my story was a lot more macabre that this movie was.
It was indeed fascinating to see expressions of non-linearity and non-narratives on the big screen. But for the odd festival, most of what I read about this kind of storytelling, I never get to see. What little I get to on TV is OK, but this is how these films are meant to be seen�in a movie theatre.
Non-linearity and non-narrative storytelling, of course is not a new concept: a typical example would be the MTV music video story. But difference and difference for the sake of difference and shock value is so trite that most non-narratives become unappreciable. During the recently concluded animated film festival, for once I could enjoy not watching a narrative unfold. So what does this mean for the Gestalt theory, our inherent desire to construct meaning and narrative? I guess familiarity leads to meaning formation and if that is broken, then the result is initially chaotic, but fascinating in the long run. Au Premier Dimanche d�Ao�t by Florence Miailhe was a classic example. It is not so much of form taking over and overwhelming the content, but more a question of the little stories in the images and the absolute non-existence of the goal and conflict-consequence duality. Of course a wonderful example from mainstream cinema would probably be the Connie wedding sequence from the Godfather.
It is music that most easily carries this kind of storytelling by taking away the context of diegesis and thereby leading to better appreciation of the non-existence of narrative. Indian cinema is unique by the existence of such absolutely non-deigetic, non-narrative storytelling in the song sequences, but somehow or the other, none of this comes out. I guess our fellows don�t know the narrative (and anti-narrative) purposes of the song. The songs exist purely out of habit and convention.
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
French Animated Film Festival
Made it just in time for the screening at 6:30 at the Russian Cultural Centre. The films were simply great. The guys had told me not to expect too much of a crowd, but boy the place was chock full. I have to make sure to get in earlier tomorrow.
Monday, May 19, 2003
Chocolate bar, Sandwich, Chocobar, Sight and Sound
That�s what exactly I had for lunch at the British Council cafeteria. (Chocolate bar thanks to Rohini.) Weeks ago, I had borrowed this wonderfully instructive book: The Technique of Film and Video Editing by Ken Dancyger. Today was the last day of my extended loan period. So I sat in the quiet centralized AC comfort of the BCL and finished the book. Took me some time to finish the last five chapters and after that I gladly picked up this month�s issue of Sight and Sound. There was this neat article about the shooting for the Exorcist prequel in Morocco. An interesting thing was the tone in one part of the article that talked about the supposed perils of shooting in today�s troubled times in a Muslim country that too a movie with a strong Christian theological theme. Talk about the all-pervasive nature of contemporary conflict; it sure has the western media completely paranoid. But I sure don�t blame these reporters either; it�s the times we live in.
Sunday, May 18, 2003
French Animated Film Festival
Since Thursday, a French Animated Film Festival has been going on at the Russian Cultural Centre organised by The Alliance Fran�aise de Chennai. Missed it these few days, must catch it tomorrow.
Somehow I have always been enamoured by and interested in the Sapphire theatre complex on Mount Road. Of course I have no memory of ever being inside the complex or watching any shows. Just the building and its location were fascinating. For years it had been in disuse locked up, gathering cobwebs like majestic ruins on one of the busiest road in Chennai. I had always dreamt of one day buying up the place and building a super post-production/screening facility. OK why suddenly all this nostalgia? Today on my way home I noticed the tell tale signs of construction/demolition in this part of the world�coconut-leaf-weave envelop around the theatre. Through a small crack in the covering I noticed the theatre building being pulled down. So much for my dreams!
Tomorrow I have my end-semester exams in electronic journalism but that did not prevent me from spending the day out with the guys today. Vipul and Mihir, already pissed about me not making it to Bangalore were insistent that I join them today: and I did not regret it. We watched The Recruit: the kind of movie that five years ago would have me talking about for days.
Now! Let me not come across as a disparaging hothead! It was a good movie, very very good in certain respects, but definitely not the kind of movie that I would want to keep talking about or want to watch again and again. Neeti from IMI had also joined us and after the movie we went to the usual places. Mihir joined us at Coffee Day (he could not make it to the movie). After hours of unceasing yapping, I split; after all I had to do justice to my academics. Hehe!
Saturday, May 17, 2003
Wings of hope
Saw this movie last week. Pretty melodramatic, but seemed to be a very sincere effort at filmmaking. Fantastic cast. In fact, one can even sense the maturing of the storytelling through the movie. While the initial sequences were not choreographed and cut that brilliantly, as the movie progressed, the form and the content seemed to seamlessly blend.
Natural ability vs. Effort
There are a few things, a few skills that come naturally to people. Of course there are always the things that don�t come naturally, where you�d have to put in more than extra effort to do well. But there is a certain advantage to not having a natural skill. By continuously failing in endeavours one gets to know all that can go wrong in that particular case. Therefore by not taking it for granted, anybody can in fact be better at mastering a skill that was developed by sheer effort. Plus you can teach better if you�ve had to learn it the hard way, being able to understand every single mistake that can ever be made.
I guess I spoke too soon about the rains in Chennai. To put it ironically, it turned out to be a damp squib. The days feel like you�ve been made to stand in front of a very large hair dryer. The nights: well, have you ever looked out of the window at a moonlit scene where the leaves of the trees glisten in the dark? Looks like a painting: in my case it might as well be a painting. Nighttime and the trees and the traffic and the birds and the beasts are all motionless and silent. Dead silent and still as painting: not even a hint of a breeze. That is when the dialup icons on the systray mimic nature: absolutely no movement, no blinking lights, nothing. Frustrating and suffocating!
Well my exams aren�t all completed, yet I�m kinda relieved that I�m through with Scriptwriting. I might sound like just another sore student, but only in this godforsaken system is one made to despise areas of study that are most dear to them. I�ve never ever thought that I�d dread taking up an examination in scriptwriting. So far, OK! I might even do reasonably well in this exam. Touch wood! This was reason enough for not being able to blog regularly the whole of last week.
Tuesday, May 13, 2003
It rained today!
Saturday, May 10, 2003
Staying with antiques
Sitting in the AVRC waiting room, I pulled out from under the pile of newspapers an issue of a computer magazine�an outdated issue from September 2001. When you think of the towers falling it does not seem so long ago, but the magazine indeed looked ancient. It had articles on outdate versions of software and reviews of really costly CD-writers and the very �latest� Pentium 3 processors.
How do you feel when you see an old clock or an old gramophone player or � inch tape player that is still in perfect working condition? There are always grandparents or uncles who�d bought them when they were 20 just because they knew these things would still be good when they�re 80.
How many of the stuff I�ve bought now would remain good till I�m 80; stuff that I can talk about as �From the good old days when they used to make them special�. Is that era gone or would I be able to show off my 25grand ONKYO when I�m an old man?
How many media can a celebrity exist in? Today a radio show was dedicated to the hits of Rajnikanth. That intrigued me: Rajnikanth, or many other actors for that matter do not exist in the radio medium. I can understand if there is a television program showing the hits of Rajnikanth, but not on radio. It is either SP Balasubramiam or Mano or some other singer, but never Rajnikanth in those songs. Take for example one song from Johnny; Rajnikanth keeps running throughout the song while Sridevi sings in the rain (in the visuals); but ironically where there is no male voice in the song, it figures in the program on Rajnikanth hits on radio: just because he is exists in the visuals? Think!
This brings me back to the first question how many media can a showman exist in? The more the better I guess�isn�t that the essence of showbiz. That brings me to another question: how many celebrities exist on the Internet medium?
Friday, May 09, 2003
Today Mihir and Vipul leave for Bangalore to meet up with Adithya.
So while their friends holiday,
They just stay.
For the end-semester test
Not able to do join in the fun;
Pouring over books without rest.
And sweltering under the sun.
And sweltering under the sun.
Of mangoes and molars
Folks are back from Bombay with more fruits. Great! But there is only one thing that�s not so great: sometimes, these fruits come with lots of fiber and these things get stuck between the teeth. Hours of picking and brushing are of no avail especially with teeth like what I have. So the next time you see me grimacing and tying to make faces: actually I�m not. I�m just trying to get the mango strands out from between my teeth.
Wednesday, May 07, 2003
This goes to show how sapping the heat in Chennai can be. Today, as my parents were not in town, I had to fend for myself: in terms of breakfast. For a rice eater like me, cafeteria tiffin in the morning comes nowhere close to filling. Add this to the heat and my hands were trembling by the end of the morning session of classes. A good glass of fresh fruit juice helped fix that. I immediately went and had two plates of rice, just to bring the biorhythm back in order.
One more thing that came through in Kyle�s writing seems to characterize the trend of the day: intolerance to dissent. Any prominent person worth two paisas seems to scowl at liberal and left-of-center thoughts. I am no commie, but I do recognize the role played by a divergent thought. It makes for good balance, it makes for good debate and it makes for good democracy. Ever since Dubya decided to call anybody who disagreed with him a traitor and a villain, you knew this guy was never championing democracy.
I am not very sure, but I think it was Rabindranath Tagore, who, while talking about God said that God gives everything, even the right to disown God and be an atheist. Well, I was just paraphrasing, but the meaning holds much water. What was said about God goes for democracy: The State. True liberty given by the state is the liberty to challenge the state itself.
While sounding fanciful; patronizingly co-opting even, it is profound philosophy that anybody in any sort of authority needs to internalize.
Kyle Williams is a 14 yr old who might as well be a 54yr old republican. I am no one to comment about American domestic politics, but I somehow was a little too flustered by the guy�s writing. For me, a child is a typical �stereotype�, if the word can be used: typical of the child from the story of�The Emperor�s New Clothes�.
The whole idea of encouraging the �child�s point of view� is to bring to public discourse a level of uninhibited, innocent, honest, unbiased and fresh frivolity. None of these is present in this chap�s writing. As I said earlier, he might as well be a 54yr old republican, there is nothing 14yr old about him and that is sad.
When I was 14, I talked about democracy and human rights, but I also was a happily ignorant optimist when I believed in Utopia: and believe me, just because of my childhood wisdom do I still trust in humanity and all that we stand for.
PS: This might sound a little too far-fetched and I have no research substantiating it, but I have a feeling that this is indeed a 54yr old republican pulling a stunt. After all, the internet does offer a great deal of anonymity.
Tuesday, May 06, 2003
Last night�s episode of Frasier had this thing about the pitfalls of being a Good Samaritan. I have my own story today. On the bus on my way home, I was very polite to an elderly gentleman by offering him my side of the seat where he knew he�d be more comfortable. He immediately gave me a bunch of flowers from a temple and blessed me!
I had my second internal exams today. Going by what happened the last time, I�m not expecting too much in terms of marks.
The last time I remember ever having dedicatedly listened to radio was almost fourteen years ago. We had a shift system in school and my classes used to being in the afternoon. That meant that I had time to spend at home with my grandmother who was an avid radio listener. Now after all these years the launch of two new FM stations has me tuning in once again. I spent almost all of this evening with the radio on. It just might be a fad; it might not, but I�m right now enjoying myself. Songs are good, but they seem to have only songs all the time.
Monday, May 05, 2003
I began learning about database and other �back-end� concepts today. Just a few months ago I would have never imagined me getting to do this kind of study. This was never my cuppa; but I guess once you get the hang of things, they�re not that bad.
And other miseries
You see my exam schedules were so designed leaving me with holidays starting the end of May. That was not good as the rest of the chaps had to be back at work or at study by that time. So that gave me exactly two days of quasi-leisure between the last class-day and the first exam-day. We had planned a trip to Bangalore but as ill luck would have it, one of my internal exams has now been scheduled right in the middle of the little break I was banking on. Makes me feel cheated and stupid.
The fire star
That�s a very crude Tamil to English translation of the word describing the �hot spell� that began yesterday. What a day to forget the coolers on the table.
Everybody says I�m pseudo
Watched �Everybody says I�m Fine� last night and I�ve never seen a more contrived, pseudo wannabe flick ever in my life. If some guy just out of film school had made the movie: that is the only scenario when such an effort is excusable. To think that there were stories circulating about Rahul Bose getting good money for his scripts from big Hollywood studios makes me wonder: in fact makes me feel very self-confident. If Bose can call himself a �reputable� filmmaker and actor, then I�m Francis Ford Coppola!
Friday, May 02, 2003
What does all this mean?
The happiness of being with the family; the agony of approaching exams when the rest of the chaps are laughing their butts off at me watching me slog when they�re on holiday; but the immediate implications are: Saturday and Sunday are days off from college and classes and exams and study for me. Yeah! This Sunday we guys�re supposed to be working: and Kribs, I won't be attending your class tomorrow!
Aunt and uncle from Bombay brought us Alphonsoes: an entire crate. That should last us� say a few hours at least?
Imagine 10�s of aunts and uncles and 20 odd cousins and a handful of nephews and nieces all gathered under one roof. My 10 yr old cousin�s having his thread ceremony this weekend and the whole family�s here. For me today seems to be some sort of �nostalgia day� as I relived the days from years ago when on similar occasions all us kids used to sit around an aunt who used to roll balls of food from a huge bowl and place it in each of our hands in turn to eat. It was great to see the tradition continuing with today�s kids�of course I joined in this time as well.
All gyan and not bad taste
This morning, waiting at the department lounge, a few of us were jobless enough to watch Gyan Darshan. Not bad at all. In fact they had some really good programs on. But somehow all their best stuff seems to be from the mid eighties. Their slots even today almost always seem to be filled with reruns of the fare that enlightened me as a kid watching Doordarshan. To watch the stuff all these years later was very nostalgic: especially the European programs like the Transtel West-German science shows.
Thursday, May 01, 2003
Next week I start my exams
God bless me too!
Today being May Day and therefore a holiday, I watched another film: �Snatch�. God bless the invention of the disk! God bless Vipul Sharma!
That�s how I�d describe the film I saw today. Le Fabulex Destine d�Am�lie Poulain, or Amelie as it is better known, was an enchanting and deliberate flick. Even though there are quite a few movies today adopting a similar cut-away, zoom off, special effects, snap back, cannon-thread style, this film, I found remarkable for the simplicity of stories it told. A very good feel-good film!
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