Thursday, July 29, 2004

Spidey Expectations

Spidey-2 is being touted as the biggest movie of the summer. I saw Spidey-1 in Cinemark, Dallas with my brother and my good ol' pals Rangs & Jai (ya! I can take names). Jai, if I remember right, cunningly  watched the movie without telling his girlfriend about it. He would have tried to bluff it by taking her to the movie the following weekend and pretending that he was seeing it for the first time. He might have gotten away..(the keyword is might) but not with me around! I have a loud mouth. Ah.. so much good  karma... I seem to have done in the past.

Its difficult getting tickets for Spidey-2. I Don't want to see the movie in Bangalore theatres. Theatres really suck in Bangalore. With so many people migrating into Bangalore, it high time Bangalore throws 3-4 multiplex theatres of its own.  Trichy a small-time town in Tamil Nadu has about 4-5 multiplexes (pretty good ones too) and for quite sometime boasted to have the largest theatre complex in Asia. Pune, the last time I had been there had 2 high quality movie theatre multiplexes, where I felt, it was worth watching a good movie. Chennai seems to be pioneering the habbit of investing in Movie theatres like crazy. Bangalore I feel has a lot of work to do in this regard.

I think the quality of theatres is directly proportional to the local movie industry. Kannada movie industry is doing bad. In anycase the number of Kannada movies made is less than 50 per year and given the spread of audience and ROI expected, they are not really techno-crazy hi-fi budget movies. So from the looks of it, they really dont need such hi-fi theatres.

Hopefully should catch Spidey-2 in my weekend trip to Madras.  Sathyam theatre people seem to believe there is no end to spending money on themselves. I remember during 1994 (when Speed was released) Devi Complex came out with Digi Dolby 6.0 surround sound and in that process became the first theatre in India to do so. But over time Sathyam because of its huge money power has done face-lifts upon face-lifts to its complex.

The couch kinda seat system (mostly caters to lovers who are expected cuddle up and not watch the movie at all) in Subham is something amazing. If one has pepsi and some chips this theatre probably gives a my-drawing-room-is-blown-up feeling.

When I went for Troy I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw some 60 odd "Sathyam" uniformed guards standing on the road and inside the theatre regulating traffic. Now there are temporary parking slots and long term parking slots. A/C ticket booking lounges resemble U.S ishtyle AMC/Cinemark complexes.

Mayajaal seems to have now occupied second place in Chennai after Sathyam.  It does have a big bowling alley, bar/restaurant/shopping centre and a 10 theatre complex ( it strangely reminds me of the East End Mall in Columbus). But its so far away from and so damn expensive. Watched Yuva in Mayajaal and spent half a day and tons of money just for a movie. But ya! the theatres are cool and does have that amrikaan look to it ( which I sadly guess is what people want).

 

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Anyone can Comment

I got a lot of angry emails from some feminists that I have deliberately disabled comments. I had no idea I had disabled comments. I didnt know how to enable them. Then a wise old blogger told me I had restricted comments to registered bloggers.

So I changed the settings to allow anybody (ya! anybody) to post.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Parents are in town!

"Kitchen  is a mess, Drawing room diwan is a mess, Bedroom is a mess, no toothbrush/tooth paste stand, no sofa in the house, servant maid maybe cheating by not sweeping the floor properly, building electrician is incompetent"

Parents are in town and they dont like the way I live life. They have gone ahead, sneaked behind my back and committed a neatness. Its amazing that the same house and surroundings which I've inhabited for almost a year has so many flaws. I thought it was a well oiled machine, I have survived in it for a year which means the house must have something working in its favor.

Hey! I have a multi purpose diwan where I can sit and watch TV/ check email/ chat/ eat potato chips till 11:00 PM/ throw away the chips packet on the diwan/ retire to bed in the same diwan itself. Now tell me if there can be more comfort derived from a single furniture. Now the sweet little thing has been moved away from front of the TV and a couch sits in its place.

Heck! what can a couch do that a diwan can't? It was shocking to see the house arranged and give out that reeky "phamili house" impression. I was so close to naming my house swamp much like the hawkeye before me did; ya! this is no wijan-bu , the koreans arent fighting now and I dont have a still that prepares dry martinis, but its the principle that counts. Now its just too neat to be named swamp.

Gave up the car to my dad and am now travelling by good ol' auto. Like in the movie Being John Malkovich, I get to live inside an auto and find out why these autodrivers are so insane. It is my considered opinion that they have never read the rule book ever in their lives (they have never read anything in their lives.. hell! they cant read at all). According to them a licence is obtained by giving money across the counter.

Once they switch on their meter, their only purpose is to reach the destination no matter what. Other vehicles, signals, roadblocks, buildings are a mere headache or obstacles in their path. These obstacles have no meaning to autos but just play the role of an abstraction. My autodriver seemed to squeeze between vehicles ,thought everything else on the road was part of a conspiracy to delay him, showed scant respect for any color in the signal box.

Like the villian in T-2 he was relentless in his purpose. He had to move forward no matter what. If there was a gap ahead of him, even if it was in the opposite lane he would fill the gap by moving forward. If there was no such gap he would take the pavement platform. Bangalore is the only place in India where I have seen people travelling on pavements. Maybe to their limited brain functionality it is all a video game to these auto drivers.

But some day I hope to pay a lot of money to Veerappan and ask him to kidnap all the autodrivers and never release them for any amount of money. It is a completely different matter that the goverment wouldn't bother paying the money. Its also a separate issue that for the love of mankind Veerappan would get the money(if the govt paid) and slaughter all the auto drivers. 

 


Sunday, July 18, 2004

The Temples are there! Have our gods turned their backs .

The recent fire in kumbakonam and the death of so many children has showcased the sad state of affairs in one of the most important places in India. Kumbakonam was the crown among temple towns and was once rich in tradition and heritage. It seemed to be one of the towns that gave meaning and substance to " rich and varied heritage" of India which we said everyday morning in our school pledges.
 
After a spate of atheist goverments in Tamil Nadu, Kumbakonam has been captured by "the enemies within" and it now represents a desolate and empty town that in stark contrast to the rich splendour it oozed a couple of decades ago. Gone are the days when Kumbakonam families seemed to evoke instant respect. The rich ancestory it had is now long forgotten and plundered.
 
The recent fire accident is ample evidence that it is a forgotten place. The educational system of Kumbakonam which gave birth to so many supreme court Judges, architects, and IAS officers is dead. I was surprised a couple of years ago when on a flight from Boston to Dallas. I happened to start a conversation with a person. I later learnt that he had a top job as a Financial Analyst in Wall street. It was heartening to find out that he was from Kumbakonam. Ya! so many people may have jobs in Wall street but I was under the impression that Kumbakonam had stopped manufacturing educated people. Given that there were no Kumbakonam judges or IAS officer or top intelluctuals in India anymore, It brought a sense of assurance that the place still was able to generate intellectuals as it did in the olden days. But it appears that the happiness was unfounded. The decline of the place has been steady and certain.
 
Thatched roofs are the bane of rural India. We inherently lack the culture and sophistication to recognise safety as a priority and cater to it. As long as people can put something on top which can pretend to be a roof, a school can be conducted. A licence is obtainable anywhere in India by giving bribe. Corruption has once again claimed lives of innocent people.
 
India projects to the outside world that it can produce intellectuals from dirty swamps and thatched roof schools, where is it going to keep its face now ? None of the great people from rural india are proud of the facilities provided to them. They are proud of their land and their teachers, but facilities is completely a different matter.
 
In a hot hot land, class rooms without fans, children drinking water from mudpots, sweaty cooks cooking noon meals with dirty hands,  plates & vessels which have been barely washed carry these noon meals. This is in complete contrast to the IT boom and all the other trumpets our country seems to blow. This Kumbakonam tragedy in a single fell swoop has put India its place. Our country stands stripped naked and fundametal problems exposed. Its taught a lesson that we have a long way to go and we have misplaced priorities. In our extravagant efforts to boast and show off to the western world our Miss Worlds and Miss Universes and Bollywood trash, we have forgotten that inside the system some parts are burning. How relevant was BPO or million dollar deal or reduction of H1B cap to a child caught in the fire. How small everything else looks when pitched against a battle for life.
 
It may not be possible to solve all our problems before we move on to greener things. We may have to grow  in all fields simulteneously. But India is struggling to balance its priorities. The ghosts of the past and present are doing thier best to pull India back. A time will soon come where we cannot brush aside public comfort, convenience, health care, service, corruption and comfort. Soon the goverment will realize that it must recognize public comfort as priority and implement it. While the western world seems to fine tune its laws  through law suits, we seem to be knee jerking as a result of death. This knee jerk reaction is temporary. Soon most schools will revert back to thatched roofs after giving necessary bribes to the inspection officer concerned.
 
It was horrifying to see the charred bodies of students. If horoscopes were true then did the horoscopes of all 87 children preditc early doom. Something for everyone to think about.
 
It was also stupid when Jayalalitha summarily dismissed the top 4 people in Department of Education. Agreed Kumbakonam is her favorite place and she is expected to become emotional. But how the bloody hell are those 4 people responsible.
 
Catch the first person you filthy goverment Idiots!!!! Catch the cook who burnt the roof. Catch the local Eductaional Officer who is responsible for inspecting schools. Why shoot the President of India, when a clerk in a governors office is caught accepting bribe. There is this stupid system in our country that expects Railway ministers to resign when trains whose names he doesnt know crashes or derails. The line switching attdendant would have caused this accident by showing up drunk and commiting adultery with some whore during his duty hours. The train would duly derail or crash head-on with another train. The attendent because he belongs to some union or a particular caste (which the ruling party depends to get elected) would be let go. Why? because he is poor and we cant punish poor people can we ?
 
Even the poor need to be tamed. More so because taming them requires more force given their lack of education. The goverment needs to have the balls to castrate people regardless of their caste or socio-economic status (or lack of it)
 
It is sad in such a scenario that the idiots who were really culpable were let go and some irrelevant 4 bigwigs were suspended. This is just to show off to the people & media that the goverment is doing something. The real problem has bolted again. How will this stand in court? When will our stupid country filled with stupid rulers learn ?
 
It was even more sad when the bastards at Sun TV began their usual job of exploiting this event to the fullest extent. They did their usual routine of interviewing 4 people from the so-called public. The sun TV picks and choose people (or actors) who bitch about the goverment every nano second. These 4 "public" folks duly complained about goverment and whatnot and how irresponsible everybody in the goverment is.  No effort was made by this evil channel to boost the spirits of the people up. The bodies hadn't been burnt fully and they had already starting plotting and scheming against the goverment. This is the sad state of affairs in our country.
 
Tamil Nadu maybe the first state to host non-english staellite channel in our country. Sun TV may have been the first of the regional channels and pioneered this space much before the Zees and the Udayas. But all regional channels have affiliation to political parties. Sun TV makes no attempts to hide its bias and party support. If I was in the Election Commision, I would include Sun TV expenses as election expenses by DMK and ban DMK from contesting elections for over spending beyond the budget.
 
The only purpose of Sun TV the last few days was to blame the goverment and possibly try and get it dismissed. They didn't care about the 87 children who died.  They just ruthlessly walked over the deadbodies with their agenda.  Except the parents who had lost their children everybody else had an agenda. The 1 crore relief fund, the 1 lac /family all had its own agenda.
 
The Kumbakonam gods have turned their backs otherwise they would never have let such evil go unpunished
 

 




Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Troy

Saw troy over the weekend. It was not such a bad movie as it was made out to be. My parents, aunt & uncle accompanied me for the movie. We started at 9:50 for the 10:00 clk show. Given that Sathyam theatre road is congested even at midnight. I didnt have a hope of making it to the movie before start time.

But lucky me! The movie start was delayed by 10 minutes and I could see the movie from the start.

Troy is a movie based on the legendary poem by Homer called "Illiad". Homer wrote two poems. One is based on Greece's 10 year war with Troy. The other describes the adventures of Odysseus. We would have read snippets of this poem in our Gulmohar textbooks and other "non-detail" books. The actual poem is pretty big.

Achilles is pronounced differently from the way I had imagined it. ( the 'ch' pronounced the way 'ch' is pronounced in technology) Something like Acki-lees. I expected 'ch' to be prnounced the traditional way like "cheers".

Okay more on that later. "Achilles heel" is a popular phrase used in english to denote a weakness. Like "loose outside-the-off-stump game is Laxman's achilles heel". In this movie we really find out why that term came about.

The dialogs are the best part of the movie. They are Pithy and cut real hard. The audience were completely glued to this 3+ hour movie. The main reason were the powerful dialogs.

In the movie "helen of troy", which I saw some 15 years ago, Achilles and Hectors were shown as greek gods ( Homer imagned them to be so). they went about their business proteecting their land and honor like it was there Karma. Things were black and white. Here Wolfgang Peterson gives Achilles and Hector a Psycological complexity. Another dimension is added to the movie. It does two things to the movie (a) It gives a sort of cynical look to the way the movie perceives war (b) it shows achilles to be a sort of a semi-moron a war-geek and shows him less noble than Hector.

Achilles was not a moron. He was a mighty warrior, the movie calls him the greatest warrior of all time, who fought for greece and its people and not for its Kings. Much like our beloved Bheeshma Pithaama. He is a war-geek. He is an expert in hand-to-hand combat. But he is essential a Greek God, possibly with super human powers.

This movie reduces Achilles to human levels in many places. The gains derived is probably less that the negatives. Achilles sneers at Agemenmon (the greek king of kings). Agemenmon is a king who uses his mighty warriors to plunder lands and win battles. He receives the accolades for all the victories. Achilles says at one point " for once I would like to see the king win his own battles". Very true! you would expect the leader to lead by example, but then you dont have Project Managers coding for you do you?

The perverted mind that rules my head saw many parallels between Troy and my daily life. When Agemenmon receives bouquets and accolades for a war Achilles won single handedly, Achilles walks into Agemenmons victory party and sarcastically sneers " So you seem to have won some big victory. tell me about it". Given that many Project Managers receive hikes, promotions and appreciation letters for projects executed by poor engineers. I would like to ask some PM what problems and coding decisions he solved to actually finish the project succesfully. When the king calls Achilles for a one-on-one, Odysseus politely warns him " you know war! young men die and old men talk". Yup thats life. young men sweat and Old people earn.

The world is divided into people who actually do work and the people who pretend to supervise other people doing work. The gap between the two factions is getting wider. Supervisors, managers are becoming as irrelevant as kings who cant fight. Might warriors and coders will forever look down upon them. Anyway back to Troy. Achilles despises the weak king and fights the battles purely for personal glory and for the people of Greece. He is an independent warrior. ( battles are sort of outsourced to him).

The movie begins when Paris the prince of Troy seduces Helen, the queen of a greece kingdom, when on a peace misson to sparta. Hector Paris's elder brother is also on this peace misson and is a silent spectator as he watches Paris run along and "do" it with the queen every night. Helen's husband, Melanus, the king of sparta, meanwhile is in one orgy or another. Helen, according to Homer has beauty that canot be compared to the beauty of any living being. She is described to have "a face that launched a thousand ships". Helen looks beautiful in this movie. A few nude scenes doesnt hurt either :-)

The king is abviously upset that his wife has eloped with a Trojan weakling. His manhood is hurt and he calls upon his brother Agemenmon to wage war against Troy. Agemenmon who has been waiting to invade Troy calls all his great warriors(including Achilles) to invade Troy.

Hector gets the most powerful role in the movie. Eric Bana is excellent as Hector. Everybody in the theater seem to be on Hectorss side and pray that history repeats itself differently, in the duel between Hector or Achilles. Its a mighty duel and the scene comes off very well.

Peter'O'Toole, the legendary actor does a small and wonderful cameo. The scene where he kisses Achilles hands is taken very well and given the time and moment it deserves. Peter O Toole's dialogs are also excellent. He says " Achilles! I am kissing the hands of the man who killed my son. Something I never dreamt. I know your father Achilles. He was a nice man. But he was lucky not to have lived long to see his son die. Please return my sons body so that I can give him a prince's funeral."

Apart from this scene the , Paris duel with Melanus is very well taken.

This movie, and all the other movie versions of troy, err by subtly supporting the Trojans. No matter how balanced this movie appears to be it ends up supporting Trojans. The truth is both were at fault. Paris shouldn't have eloped with the queen (even if she came voluntarily). Hector shouldn't have slayed Melanus or Achilles's cousin. The Trojans were stupid enough to attack Greeks when they were retreating and even more stupid to drag the horse into Troy.

One last word about Sathyam theatre. I have been to so many theatres but rarely does one get to see a theater thats as good as Sathyam. Be it size, quality of sound or anything. Sathyam rocks! Devi comes second but Sathyam still rocks!



Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Unplugged

I have been told many times by my dad not to stuff my face in public places. I never listen to him. Saturday, while attending a marriage function, I gorged until I blew up like a baloon. Bisi Bela Bath(BBB) no matter how tasty it is, one should stop after consuming 1 ton of it. I set my upper limit as 2 tons and stopped myself when the BBB meter showed 2.5 tons.

By Saturday evening the limbs started feeling weak and by sunday morning I was feeling kinda oozie.

And then it began. It starts innocuously without notice, the tap opens and there is unrestricted I/O. It was just noon When I was servicing my 4th IO interrupt. I was thinking non maskable interrupts seem to have acquired a new meaning.

It is amazing what goes through your mind when body is busy doing IO. Since its a DMA mechanism there is not much brain involvement going on and the main processor clock cycles are free for day dreaming.

After the 5th time, the buffer space is empty and there is really nothing to dispose. The device still keeps sending interrupts. The IO drivers then work in a flushing mode. The whole system then for the next n interrupts resembles an oversized water tap.

It is amazing how the device interrupts the system when there is nothing to be IO'ed. I think bad food causes a situation where the IO ISR is serviced in a while(1) loop.

The ordeal is simply enervating. Never Mind the happy news that I lost 2 Kgs . But the disassociation with body control and just watching organs develop life of their own and start doing their own things without consulting their brother organs.

Yup! I was unplugged for a day and life simply rocked!

It was monday by the time everybody synced up to the main CPU clock and started behaving well. Still on cautious diet now. There is that withdrawal symptoms that creeps up my nervous system whenever I see food. I have managed to restrain myself. The pleasure of watching my weight drop down evryday is the only incentive..

food.. sniff..sniff..