Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It's time...

After over two months in the suburbs of San Francisco, it is time for me to go home. By this time tomorrow, I will be on a flight to New York where I would stay till friday night which is when I catch the long flight back to Bangalore. Though I have enjoyed visiting so many places in the States and meeting so many of my old friends, I have to say that I am glad that I am leaving. Unlike Jaya, who is homesick after just two weeks here, I am not really homesick but just tired of this part of the world where everyone has a car and it is tough to get around by public transportation or by foot. Working at the headquarters was a great experience but I really love my city and am yearning to get back to it and my beloved bike. I will be there at the start of the next month!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A bunch of movie reviews

Ok, I am bored and I tend to watch a lot of movies when that happens. Over the last two weeks, I have been to the theatres thrice and have seen as many movies. I was contemplating to go to 'The Host' sometime but haven't gotten around to doing that. So, the movies that I saw are -

300

A friend of mine recommended and since me and another friend had nothing much to do, we walked into this theatre in LA and saw this movie. Turned out to be the biggest waste of six dollars ever! The movie is entirely shot in front of a blue screen (much like the disastrous 'Sky Captain and the world of tomorrow' which gave the film a unrealistic PC game feel. But that wasn't the worst of it. I can't even begin to explain how lousy this movie was. The other day, I was watching 'Cool Hand Luke' again and I felt that they have stopped making films like those in Hollywood. The best movies of the contemporary world come from Latin America or Iran. No, not even Europe is making them anymore!
Anyway, 300 was by far the most bloated, over-hyped movie that turned out to be so goddamn lousy that someone in the crowd (in the theatre) said aloud, "that was horrible" at the end of it.

The Namesake

Based on the novel by the same name by Jhumpa Lahiri, this movie is directed by Mira Nair, a director whose works I have loved over the years. I did not like the book probably because I did not relate to its characters. Even though, I did not relate to the characters in the movie version too, I liked the film and I felt that it was probably the best Indian American movies I have seen. All the other 'Desi' movies are things I have found very shallow with caricatured parents and silly storylines but this was refreshingly different. For one, it does not ridicule the parents but portrays them with dignity and even though they do not express their love for each other in the way the Americans do, their love is hard to miss and more harder to not appreciate. Also, it does not go to the other extreme of disparaging the American culture as immoral but shows them to be different. One gets some idea of why ABCDs are called so. Caught between two different worlds and cultures, it might be hard to balance the two.
A film that is worth seeing, though there is nothing great about it, unlike Salaam Bombay.

Pan's Labyrinth

After an Indian crossover film, I saw a Mexican film (Spanish with English subtitles). I liked the film because I thought it mixed fantasy with reality (of the setting it was set in - the Spanish Civil War) quite well and is paced very well. The Americans suck at creating fantasy in their movies and they usually resort to things like princesses and queens and kings and princes, which is fairytailey and quite unoriginal. The Japanese animes have gone to whole other world of fantasy, creating the most incredible worlds and amazingly complex stories (see any Miyazaki's films and try not falling in love with them). This film is somewhere in between because even though it deals with a central character who is supposed to be a reborn princess of the underworld, we never see the kind of princess worship that we see in the American films. Also, it deals with pretty adult themes and has some scenes that are fit for children (the villain stabbing a boy in the face with a broken bottle is one).
I liked it for its emphasis on its women characters and a nice suspenseful story. Would definitely recommend as a movie to be watched in a theatre.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Hooked



A friend introduced me to this singer/composer/musician and since then, I have been hooked on to his brand of music.

Btw, he is Joao Gilberto. Perhaps a more user-friendly and a more famous song will help you appreciate him.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Google catches World cup fever!

Google launches Cricket World Cup Campaign

To include a Cricket Blogging contest

New Delhi, March 12, 2007: With World Cup fever at all-time high, Google India unveiled a Cricket World Cup Campaign today, promising cricket fans a uniquely interactive experience through the Internet.

The campaign will help users write, share, debate about and enjoy the Cricket World Cup through an integrated platform of Google products like Google Desktop, personalized homepage, Blogger and Orkut through a special landing page www.google.co.in/cricket . This would be a one-stop shop for all information related to the World Cup, allowing visitors to access regular updates, post individual comments and analysis and express their love for the game.

Sundaraman K, Head of Sales, Google India said, "Google aims to constantly improve its users experience by designing products that make things easier and deliver better results than what was available before. Cricket is one of the key passions of users in India and this campaign is designed to bring people across communities together, offering them a unique cricket experience across different Google platforms."

Google has teamed up with renowned cricketer and commentator, Krishnamachari Srikkanth, who will host an expert blog 'Cricket Zone with Krish Srikkanth' www.worldcupwithkrish.blogspot.com. This blog will allow users to interact with cricket experts as well as other bloggers on the performance of the various teams and engage in match analysis and a host of other interactive sessions. Additionally to the blog, Krish will also bring expert content to an interactive social networking experience through Orkut Krishcricket community www.orkut.com/worldcupwithkrish

As a part of this initiative, Google is also hosting a blogging cricket contest, entries for which can be submitted at www.google.co.in/cricket/contest . This will include posts on anything from on-the-ground reporting from West Indies to viewers opinions on the progress of the various teams at the World Cup. Both existing and new users will get an opportunity to participate in the contest. Google will also have a fully equipped Blogger vehicle that will visit, Bhopal, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad, educating people on the use of Internet and blogging for self-expression. This educational road show will begin on March 19, 2007 from Chandigarh.

About Google Inc.

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google's targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.google.com .

# # #

Google is a registered trademark of Google Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated


Thursday, March 08, 2007

International Women's Day

20070015
Picture taken in the GH, IIT Kanpur

Over at the Blank Noise Project, it is action heros time! Support the movement and make the streets a better place.

Last year, I wrote -

"I am surprised that women don't screw men over whenever they get the chance (some women do but not all) because men (again, not all men) screw them over (pun intended) all the time."

A year later, I still wonder about it all and a year later, I look at how much the Blank Noise Project has progressed. People like Jasmeen and Annie are putting in a lo to effort to spread awareness and I hope that their activism is actively making the changes that we ought to see in our society.
Some time ago, there was a call for activism in bangalore and even though I volunteered for it, I could not turn up at the last moment. I want to do my bit to the efforts of these fine women because I feel strongly about this.
"Eve teasing" is such an harmless little term, isn't it? The "It is just a bit of harmless fun"s and "don't take it seriously"s are pretty common justification for this. In a larger feminist picture, how serious is the problem of "eve teasing"? How important is it for the empowerment of women? How is it going to the contribute to the liberation of women?
I think it is very important. How many women would go to work if they could travel without fear and their fathers/husbands did not impose restrictions on their movements (of course, the fact that they impose restrictions is itself a problem)? How many women are likely to get a quality education when the centre of education - the university or the college - is away from home, perhaps, in another city? How many job opportunities would open up to women if they could travel long distances on the public transportation without harassment? How many women would be inspired to be independent and be confident of thinking for themselves if they could walk on a street alone without being bullied and thus being confident of being alone and looking after oneself, much like we men get to be? How many men would start respecting their female colleagues for being good at their jobs because they had the option of choosing the one they were most interested in and not because it was closer to their homes or the hours were normal?
I could go on and on like this but the essence of the issue is that I believe that safer and "eve teasing"-free world would make it easier for women to be empowered and thus accomplish the primary goal of the feminist movement.
This year, I hope to contribute more than my words. Let that be my International Women's day resolution.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Pix Surf

I have officially started a new blog. As you might have noticed on this blog, I sometimes go on a overdrive posting several pictures and though this was never an issue with me personally, I realise that it is time that I separated my photographic interests to a new blog and the result is Pix Surf. It would be a photoblog where I would regularly post the pictures I take. I would regularly post pictures that I have taken over my numerous trips and tours and generic pictures of abstract nature that I sometimes take when motivated. I might include travel details and stories behind the picture as time goes on and I become more and more regular at this new blog. Though I could have chosen any of the multitude of blogging softwares, I decided to remain loyal to blogspot because I have come to like it a lot and I feel that wordpress is going down the wrong road and because Google is actively working on blogger and would continue to make it better as it has always done with all its products.
My current blog, the one you are reading, would continue as it is and I would refrain from posting pictures here unless I feel that it is important for something that I have to say or if Pix Surf fails to attract regular readers.

PS. Pix Surf should really be considered my third blog, if you consider Blogbharti, where I am a contributor.

PPS. If you have some suggestions to make about the blog, please feel free to make them where ever you feel like. Or you could also email me!

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