29 November 2009

Arsenal - Chelsea : Clash of the titans.

Live text and updates here.

25 November 2009

Oh... My... God !

I will begin by defining the word "Nitro-damn" - Any saying from the legendary Nitrodamus that wishes harm upon anyone else's feelings. I came across a few such nitrodamns which I intend to share with you in the near future.

So, I really got bored watching movies during this vacation that I started a poll. "Which FRIENDS character do I resemble the most?" with a single intention. To blog. I had just recently concluded my first ever viewing of all ten seasons of the series in order and loved it. So, came up with this poll just to see what people would say so that I can write about it. Ash de Notre-dames (the above mentioned Nitrodamus, if you are part of the majority who didn't read this) mentioned something about a funny-dumb-poll in his book "Prophecies? Do you care?" (Available in black market for a hundred bucks!) I am not sure if he was referring to this poll or the voting they might do before giving the Nobel Peace Prize, but I have my theories.

I believed that the outcome would be so heroically Joey that I could start this post with "How you doin'?"
It didn't turn out that way, though. Without much ado, the results!

Character  Votes  Percentage
---------    -----   ----------
Chandler    22.5      80.35%
Ross          2.5         8.93%
Gunther     1             3.57%
Mike         1             3.57%
Joey          1             3.57%

To begin with, most 'Chandler' voters confirmed that their choice was based only on the asocialness of his character and 'the way he speaks' (Note: Nothing else). Some went great lengths to assure me that they chose Chandler only because the question was framed in such a way that they had to choose the closest character, however far that may be. The sadder part is that I've hardly spoken to the only person who voted ~Joey~ (a super senior of mine from college).

Two votes were not counted in this exercise. One voted for a 'feebee' because it was the only character he knew. :) The other vote was for Cassius, whoever that may be! (Yes, that was Poochi's vote). One interesting observation is that the two girls who participated in this survey accounted for 1.5 votes for Ross and the other Ross vote was from a guy who talks to girls twenty seven hours in a day, and hence subject to taking girly decisions. Interesting, no? Girls believe I am the geek who can't flirt. Got to admit, I should have known I had that coming.

Anyway, Looking forward to Monica! :)

PS: Chandler's supposed to want to be like Joey, no?

21 November 2009

The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown

Dan Brown comes up with a winner, for once. Much as I have not liked the Da Vinci Code because whatever Dan Brown's own thoughts there with Robert Langdon and Sophie made up a near pathetic storyline, I tend to agree that his style and importance to HIS original work (rather than an account of researched history) has improved vastly in the Lost Symbol.

Before you get any ideas, let me tell you that this is not a book that-you-don't-put-down-till-it's-over. I didn't do it in one read. Heck, even TV serials proved more interesting sometime in the middle. I only say that this is much better than the rest of his books; Angels & Demons included. If those could manage to sell themselves, this baby sure can!

This look into the world of Masons from a third person's point of view works wonders at times. If only Dan Brown had realised that there was no need for him to create a build-up before coming up with a Scientist's name, the book would have been much better. Considering there are references to so many scientists, there is no point in explaining all their achievements, stories behind them and their link to the Masons before giving out their name. This was not only so stupid that I skipped most of it, but also irritating. Though it is easier to make a twelve hour event more dramatic and interesting compared to tales of whole lives, the book drags on at times.

Still, the book manages to retain its 'Utterly predictable' tag. (Spoiler ahead, duh !) Except for the fact that Inmate 37 is Zachary, there is nothing else you can't predict twenty pages earlier. Even in that case, it doesn't make any damn difference, except to aid a ridiculous part of the story.

What I like about this book is the part about 'One True God' and yeah, the last word (not Lost. Last). Hope; good messages by any religious / non-religious standards. This would make one great movie! It was a good account of History, many parts of which I didn't know and my introduction to Noetic Sciences. I'll start reading up on that for sure.

Overall, if you have any expectations at all from this book, you'll only end up thinking it's not entirely a waste of your time. If you haven't read or heard anything about Freemasonry before, you might even end up loving this.

20 November 2009

Of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid...

Many people I talk to have an automatic assumption that my favorite Indian batsman ever is Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. Through this post, I say, 'No'.

If you'd see this blog, apart from that post on IPL, I have mentioned Cricket in only two other posts. Dravid-1 and Dravid-2. That will say it all.

Players like Sachin have become great because of a natural cricketing talent. No doubt he is among the greatest batsman in the history of the game, what with the drives and flicks in which the ball miraculously gains speed on its way to the boundary and a million other shots and records. The blistering 175, which under anyone else's name would be his personal best, was just another century in Sachin's cupboard.

Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh have been great too. They are amazingly stylish players who can wreck any bowling combination on their day; like a Kraken set on a merchant ship. Oh, I forgot. I am not writing this to talk about them. ( Just a special mention for Dada ) :P

Dravid, on the other hand, is where he is because of the passion and hardwork he puts in to his game. He's definitely not as much of a natural talent as the others are, but the hard work he put in to create the Wall that has been totally impenetrable over the years shows his passion, attitude and dedication. 'I want to play Cricket for life. I want to be the best in that.' is an attitude not many people in the side have. He is probably the only Indian cricketer who has had no problems with the short deliveries (any deliveries for that matter). :) In fact, very few people around the world have gone about their dream with a determination Rahul has shown. All of Jammy's shots are well practiced, right out of the textbook, with insane amounts of hard work behind them.

I've always had this feeling that Cricket fans in India have never been as supportive of Rahul as they've been about Sachin or Sourav, despite the fact that he has had greater successes at more crucial times for India. "He is too slow. Not at all the guy for ODI cricket.", "He is getting old and very slow. New faces like Yuvraj should get into the test side instead." "Useless player. Mattaya potu savadipaan". You sure must have heard statements like these from the same people who are currently cheering him for his amazing 177 that saved us from yet another collapse. Nobody questioned the decisions to drop Dravid from the Indian squad repeatedly. Remember the Bengal outcry for Ganguly? Sachin, despite poor performances at times, could never be treated like Dravid. That'll be the end of the Selectors' selecting days.

The cycle
Dravid misses out on a few innings.
He's dropped with a belief that the rest can pull India through.
We start collapsing slowly and steadily.
Selectors have no other option. They get him back.
He delivers.
History repeats itself.

I can't say he won us more matches than anyone else in his generation. That is probably not true. But he has definitely saved us from many more humiliating defeats than anyone else I know.

Every time I see him play, I get a feeling that in life, you don't have to do what you are naturally fit for. There will always be obstacles, like that Mervyn Dillon delivery in a Windies tour. Should that stop him from going on to hit an amazing century? No! If you want to be something, keep that as a goal; plan it and put in the effort. There's no way you will fail.

Rahul Sharad Dravid. He will always remain my personal favourite.

(Pic: Linked to wikipedia)

PS: Added this amazing article about RS Dravid.

17 November 2009

The Man from Earth (2007)

This movie explores the possibility of a man who could live forever, and is very cleverly put forward. The writer should be commended for the research he undertook in coming up with this.

A goodbye party for Professor John Oldman turns into a discussion that explores the possibility of a man who could live for 14000 years. John Oldman, played by David Lee Smith (who, by the way, looks exactly like Robert de Niro), claims he is over 14k years old. He puts forward his case to a gathering, which has a biologist, historians, a student of history (played by a very beautiful Alexis Thorpe - who resembles Emma Watson, only more good looking), a very devout christian woman and a psychologist. It is fun to see that despite their best efforts, no one is able to disprove his case.

Whether he really is the man from the past (who is also Jesus Christ) or just a plain liar is revealed near the end of the movie. Though no scientific queries are answered in the movie, it sure raises a lot of questions. A refreshingly good watch.

2012 - Worst movie to be classified under Science fiction

This post resonates the feeling of movie-goers worldwide.

One of the movies many looked forward to, 2012 did not just tell us about the disasters predicted by the Mayans. It was a disaster all by itself, big time! I do not know why they had to waste some of the best special effects in Hollywood on a movie so flimsy.

Right from the word go, this was a totally unbelievable movie. I am not talking about the 2012 prophecy. I am talking about the luck some characters in the movie have, especially John Cusack, as he dodges earthquakes, volcanoes, floods and any other catastrophe-in-waiting with equal ease, putting Harry Potter and James Bond to shame.

15 minutes or so into the movie, as L.A caves in to a mammoth earthquake, John Cusack is always one second ahead of the caving earth till he comes to a falling flyover. The whole bridge collapses and he is able to drive under it, escaping by a millionth of a second. Seems no one else in the whole of LA can match his driving skills. Again, the person from whom John gets a plane conveniently dies, allowing John to fly out of LA with his family, taking off from the last stretch of land in the whole city, the runway. Oh, did I mention the collapsing building into which John crashes his car through the window, drives through the office floor, flies through the window and lands on the other side of the building unscathed? With someone so talented, we don't need Superman.

I won't go into further details, but I'll just say it gets even worse from there. At the end of the movie, I felt so bad that even the brilliant special effects didn't convince me it wasn't a complete waste of time.

The gang I went with was the only source of entertainment that evening.

15 November 2009

Lifting Music

Music directors from the Tamil Film Industry have always been respected around the world.

Musicians around the world, from Hungary to USA, have wondered at the Maestro's ability to breathe music. People adore AR Rahman for his unparallelled talent. There may have been instances where even these two greats have been accused of lifting music from somewhere else, but we can never be sure they did it. Personally, I think that it must have been a damn coincidence, because they don't need to do that. Anything off the top of their head would top the charts.

However, it is in the same industry that there are music directors who lift most of their songs from other languages (mostly English) and at times, even old Tamil songs. The worst part is, some of them are celebrated as great music directors. How can 'All Rise' with Tamil lyrics in Unnale Unnale be allowed to top the charts? heck I could even hear 'I rest my case' as such in the tamil version. Hearing such songs from someone as respected as Harris Jeyaraj, I wonder if the title song of the film, which, incidentally, is among my favorites, is also a rip-off of some other song. Whatever, I could only thank him for bringing that song to me which I may not have heard otherwise. Devi Sri Prasad is another music director I am thankful to. The question is, do such songs deserve the 'Song of the year' award?!

Now, what prompted this post??

So I've always liked Karthik Raja's music a lot. This morning, I heard 'Listen with your Heart' from Pocahontas (check it out, a part of it is on Youtube) and understood where he got his best ever song from.


14 November 2009

Siragugal ’09 – an inter children’s home Talent Carnival - posted on behalf of Bhumi

This is the press release for the event, Please pass it on to your friends in the media.

14 November 2009
Siragugal ’09 – an inter children’s home Talent Carnival

Bhumi is a non-profit organisation with the primary objective of providing supplementary education to children from orphanages, slums and rural community centres. Young, energetic volunteers with the will to change today and the vision to change tomorrow teach English, Maths, Science and Computer Science for two hours every weekend.

This November, Bhumi is organising an inter children’s homes cultural and science exhibition, Siragugal ’09. This annual fest for children is a platform to exhibit their talents, compete against their peers, help them gain from the exposure, and thus doing a world of good to their confidence and holistic development.

875 children from 30 children’s home spread across Chennai and its areas like Avadi, Villivakkam, Chengalpattu, Nungambakkam, Gumudipoondi, Redhills, Mugalivakkam, Vyasarpadi, Kancheepuram will be participating in this Talent Carnival. An array of competitive activities has been structured for various age groups to ensure complete participation. These include Dance (Solo / Group), Song (Solo / Group), Pot Painting, Mimicry – Monoact, Soap Carving, Rangoli, Drawing – Painting, Adaptunes, Elocution, Skit, Essay and Poetry.

The event is not only supported by Outreach (the Corporate Social Responsibility wing of Cognizant Technological Solutions) and Sneham (the Corporate Social Responsibility wing of Infosys) over the last week hundreds of employees of leading Multi-National Companies like Cognizant, HCL, TCS, Emerson, Orchid Pharmaceuticals, Lyca tech., L&T have pooled in with small contributions helping raise Rs. 1 lakh for the event.

In order to manage the activities and the event effectively, volunteers from Outreach, Sneham, Chinmaya Organization of Rural Development (CORD), M.O.P Vaishnav college for women, Guindy Engineering, The Indian Institute of Financial Management and Research (IFMR) will be working with Bhumians on the day of the Carnival.

Date: Nov 15, 2009
Place: Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Kilpauk (Chennai)
Inauguration: 8:30 AM

Ms. Archana Raghuram, Senior Manager, Cognizant Outreach will light the lamp and inaugurate Siraguga’09. Playback singers Ms. Kalpana and Mr. Mukesh will be the guests of honour.

Valedictory: 4:30 PM

Our chief guest ‘Food King’ Mr. Sarath Babu will address the children.

The event is also supported by State Bank of India, Food King, SS Music, Velammal’s PUPA.

For more information please contact us @ 98942-09741 / 98408-68441 or
Email us @ Siragugal@bhumichennai.org .
Webpage: http://bhumichennai.org/siragugal

Vande Mataram!

Dr Prahalathan KK