Monday, May 19, 2008

Turn the Page

Prepare yourself for what will come across as blasphemy. I have turned over to the dark side!!

At the turn of the century, I was part of a mob, that threw Robert Jordan books at a guy, who dared suggest, that Audio Books would become a feasible alternative to books, once we could fit in MP3s into small sized devices.

“earphones  instead of a book? a narrator’s steady, clear and wonderful voice, instead of the crackling, raspy wheezy voice in my head? 10 grams in my pocket, vs half a kilo in my hand(REF Wheel of Time)!!!! You shame me friend, you really do”

Yup. That was me. Admittedly me.

Circa 2007. Ipods are plenty around. As are audiobooks. And remember how all of us(ok ok, some of us) look back at our past, and in a rare moment of honesty, recognize that perhaps we were overweight, insecure pompous and ignorant know it alls, who in a moment of madness, did things we normally wouldn’t have?

If you said yes, then you were probably an English Football fan (that’s soccer, my yankee friends). Fortunately I grew up in india.

Anyways, I decided to give them a try and got a copy of a famous fantasy series, that currently spans nearly 200 novels.

I started listening to it, and before long, I was running out of memory space. God help me, but I like the idea of audiobooks.

Now I know what the bibliophiles will say, and I agree with most of what you will argue. It’s not the same as holding pages in your hands. It’s not the same as needing to squint in poor lighting conditions, or bend over in impossible yogic positions. It’s not the same as reading worm infested pages, a sure sign of quality. (the more obscure and harder to follow a book is, greater the number of worm  riddled pages).

It’s not the same as leaving a bookmark and getting up next morning to resume where you left off. It’s not the same as flipping a number of pages, that contain mundane descriptions of clothing, meals, or beauty. It’s not the same as reading that book jacket synopsis, often of a higher quality than the book itself. It’s not the same as reading the glowing (no doubt paid for) review by an author.

Probably you are right. Meanwhile, that audiobook friend of mine, whom we ganged up on? He is successful, has listened to enough books to hold attention at parties, and has earned the sobriquet of being “ a well read and learned man!!!”..

Imagine that… 


No prizes for guessing what this post is about. I have just finshed reading Batman 676, which begins the “ Batman R.I.P.”  arc by Grant Morrison.  While I didn’t quite dig into the whole batman and son and the resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul storylines, the hints thrown about the current arc had me intrigued.

Certainly, the teaser thrown in DC Universe 0, was one of the best batman joker interludes I have read so far, surpassing Alan Moore’s famous “shine the light” in the killing joke.

The mood is appropriately dark and full of foreboding, pointing to the imminent demise of Bruce Wayne as batman. The only thing that doesn’t work for me, is the suddenness with which Bruce Wayne decides to integrate Jezebel Jet into his life.

Given the past history, I am guessing that bruce suspects Jezebel of being “hand in black glove”, and is setting her up. Another minor gripe, is that Alfred seems to have forgotten about Selina Kyle , in Bruce’s list.

Oh well, no one believes that Bruce will be gone from the cape from too long. None of these guys stay dead permanently. That includes Captain America. The dead one was a skrull you know..

Right now, I have to say that secret invasion seems to be the stronger crossover event, compared to final crisis. So far, we only have the return of Barry Allen to look forward to.

Here’s cheers to Grant and Geoff!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008



Man Utd beat off the pretenders today. we beat wigan 2-0. ronaldo scored again. but my man, Ryan Giggs, appropriately sealed the deal.

poor blues could only manage a 1-1 draw against bolton!!! 

sir alex, take a bow!!!

a most deserving victory i say.. only one message for the reds

let's win the double and we will show

who's man united, here we go!!!

I AM .... writing this review

No prizes for guessing. Caught Robert Downey Jr. take to the skies yesterday. What can I say? Jon Favreau proves that not all marvel writers are RUSTY!!!

 I went in with some trepidation, as I am still smarting from the punishment that the PUNISHER was. And let's just say, that Jennifer Garner didn’t exactly electrify me in ELEKTRA. And lets forget how INCREDIBLY bad the HULK was. Haven’t seen spidey 3 yet, so judgement on that awaits.

 Back to the story. God knows why all directors think that a comic book movie must start with an origin story. Does no one remember that most of these characters were created well before the parents of the target audience even graduated?

 The origin was okay, although I did roll my eyes over how Hollywood tried to pass off Hindi as Arabic. All in the name of being politically correct and sensitive.

 The story isn’t all that different from the comic origin, change of location excluded. But the first sight of the first armor didn’t exactly set the audience cheering.

 But thereafter, the CGI guys took ovter. I have to compliment the stellar effects work done by the guys at ILM. Watching Tony try painfully nailing hovering and flight jet physics down, is a treat. And the first time he takes to the skies.. LOOK OUT BELOW!!!!

 The armor V3.0, which most of us are familiar with, looks stunning, and is easily the highlight of the movie. The battle with the F22 raptors is the stuff that jet boy dreams are made of. My only complaint? There isn’t enough of iron man flying around!!! The only downer is that the end villain battle is way too abrupt, and is more of posturing than serious beat em up action.

 Support characters are good, but the first movie seems to be all about tony stark, and less about iron man. No complaints though. This one is easily one of the top 5 comic book adaptations I have seen.

 Loved the nick fury cameo in the end. Although, given how the JLA movie got shelved, it looks like an AVENGERS movie will remain on the storyboards forever.

 Well, here's looking forward to the dark knight, and the watchmen next year.  

Monday, May 05, 2008

trouble in the middle earth

havent heard much from the foreign ministry about america lately? wondering what the government is upto? well, i will let you in on a secret. it's no longer the 123 occupying manmohan singh's mind. it's the 300.

what 300?it all began, a not so long long time ago, in a not so far far away land. an immortal line in indian cinema goes - all we need is food clothing and shelter.

since india doesnt have the time to provide shelter to the hundreds of millions who sleep on the pavements( we provide open sky accommodation you see), housing was the first myth to go bust.

our country is so poverished, that we cant even afford decent clothing. anyone who disagrees is welcome to take a look at our hindi movies for the last 5 years.

of course the feminists will argue that it's a representation of repression, exploitation. dear sisters, please note that even the men submit themselves to the rationing of clothes. salman khan was the first to accommodate the producer's request.

why, even the biggest superstar, SRK, could not afford shirts for his home production om shanti om.. poor guy(pun intended) had to go shirtless, singing "dil mein mere hai dard e disco". you see, discos dont allow shirtless guys in, upper class snobs that they are.

back to the topic, with shelter and clothing been dispensed with, what was the one comfort we had? 


for 6 decades, we ate like there was no tomorrow. for decades, our ancestors conducted genetic experiments, to allow us to naturally store more fats and cholesterol than other races.

we were into bio tech way ahead of anyone else you know. any wonder then, the only guy, who can make sense out of the whacked out genetics on heroes, is an indian?

the highest levels of diabetes and heart disease were a small side effect. nothing major at all.

but all this bliss would not last for long.

the wicked west, with it's health obsession, tummy tucks( the sworn enemy of a truly indian cultural product - the prosperous belly) and that evil word - DIET(close your ears!!!)

while we ate heartily, they starved naughtily. till one fine day, the white man decided to eat something for a change. but, rather mysteriously, no food grains could be found.

he looked high, he looked low. but all he could find were empty silos. 
so he said, let me buy some rice. a tonne to a dollar, would be so nice.

so imagine his surprise, when he found, that cheap grain, was no longer around.
in anger, did he look east, where he found the indians, having a feast!!

(i am so proud of myself for that impromptu rhyme. i take a bow, i take a vow)

well, that intelligent, rational and cautious gentleman called george w bush, could not restrain himself any longer..

he burst out- " the increasing appetite of the 300 million indian middle class, is the main cause for the global food crisis."

the manmohan government wont admit it, but it is quaking in it's boots. we all know what happens when you get W mad, dont we.. with the threat of an impending nuclear strike, the left threatened with a nationwide strike.

not to loose hope though. our bright ministers have a few arguments in their favor. 

for one, they will claim that we dont have 300 million middle class indians. we have 100 million rich ones, and the others. if you take away the number of bangladeshi immigrants, non marathi speaking mumbaikars, non gujrati voters, tamil speaking kannadigas, and those pesky NRIs, we only have 50 million others.

secondly, we are all into dieting. indians dont eat much you see. we are a culture that celebrates saving, not craving. our healthy politicians and police authorities are just exceptions to the rule.

plus, a lot of people starve in our country. we are very happy to parade them everytime richard gere and co decide to come here for a cultural experience. we proudly trumpet our poverty, our social failures to foreign bodies. just ask WHO or the world bank.

we dont have any rice for ourselves. from a surplus producer, we have transformed into an  export prohibiting society. in fact we are wondering if you could send RICE (condoleeza) here.

please dont nuke us. we will be happy to be your pawns, in the great south asian game to counter china.

the white house is yet to respond to these admittedly sensible arguements 

The Spillover Effect

a casual glance at the headlines for the last month or so reveals an interesting scenario. buried under all the fuss over obama vs clinton, is a series of statements issued from the white house, which could be put in the following categories:

1) the united states is a champion of democracy, and will not tolerate the anti people hegemonies around the world.

2) the threat of an unfriendly nation(read iran) obtaining nuclear weapons is the greatest threat for america

3) iran must give up it's nuclear policies, or else face the consequences

4) iran has proven links with al qaeda, and is fomenting anti american rhetoric in iraq

5) hillary clinton's challenge to iran, to the effect that you co operate, or we will take you down..

sounds familiar? just substitute iraq in iran's place and what do you get?

2003 redux

with george bush recently poking fun at john mc cain for distancing himself from the bush administration, and the democrat hopefuls making it clear that there is no love lost, why do i get the feeling, that W is preparing himself to give the ultimate greeting gift to a new president?

a losing and isolating  war in three theaters? ( afghanistan, iraq and iran)

maybe i am just jumping to conclusions, but who knows?

te(ch)sting times

what an eventful month has passed. dont know where to start.

AMD released a b3 revision of the phenom processors. b3 was a fix for the overhyped but rarely seen TLB bug.

while AMD isnt going for a ghz shattering attempt, they are positioning themselves as a very reasonable quad core alternative to intel's upper dual core offerings.

from the benchies seen on the web, plus feedback from a couple of friends, i can say that if you arent an overclocker, or a hardcore gamer, then the phenom processor is a very good alternative to the invincible core 2 duo.

bear in mind though, that the choice of motherboard is EXTREMELY important for the best results. while AMD has been touting the fact that you could drop in a phenom into any socket AM2+  mobo, there are reports on the web that you would need a motherboard equipped with a 790 fx chipset, to ensure that the BSOD doesnt greet you like an ex girlfriend.

the best choice is obviously the high end 9850 proc, running at 2.5 ghz.

video cards are a bit more muddled. all it boils down to is whether you are a fan of nvidia or AMD.

there is not a whole lot to choose between a 9600GT or a radeon 3870. but at lower budgets, amd rules the roost, with the 3850 card.

for a bit more though, the 8800GT  is still a no brainer. best bang for the buck.

this month's award for the best rumor goes to the one which speculates that the 3g iphone aka iphone 2 might be released (gasp!!!!) UNLOCKED.....

oh please say it's true steve, please say it's true.