Monthly Archives: December 2005

2006: Now in Sight & Other Gross Things

Wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year. May all your wishes come true… Obviously, that is not possible, but then, who cares?
 
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A list of stupid gross things. Standard disclaimer applies, you were forewarned.
  • In India, pre-marital sex is still considered a taboo of sorts, and most of the newly weds are virgins. The first honeymoon night after the wedding is considered to be the day the relationship is consummated. I was just wondering, what if the gal is having her periods?
  • Sagar says: I saw this one girl build a sand castle on the beach. And a dog comes along and decides to pee on it. Then, every dog that followed also peed on the sand castle.
  • Srikhand with fried fish
I would have come up with more, but I’m bored!
 
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On second thoughts, this post never existed. Poof!

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Censor: Rated U?

Been to Pune on a brief trip – a wedding was on the cards.
 
While coming back, they showed this stupid totally crappy Hindi movie, Koi Anjana Sa (or something to that effect) in our coach. It was a Balaji Telefilms production, and that should tell you in great detail about the film quality. (For the uninitiated, google for Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Ekta Kapoor.) I had no alternative but to watch it; it’d not go away even though I tried to block it with my earphones!
 
Anyway, so this movie is rated U, or open to all.
 
And it has a rape scene. No flesh or anything is shown, but the act is pretty much portrayed.
 
That’s the funny part: The man takes off his shirt, loosens his belt, but does not take off his pants, and neither does he undress the girl in any way except taking off her dupatta. I wonder if they do it some other way… Or is it only dry humping! (That can’t be it, because she does indeed get pregnant later on, which brings a lot of stupid things in itself, and I’ll refrain from going there as this post is not about the film.)
 
The point in consideration is that how is the movie rated U? It should atleast be a U/A (or PG in the American Censor Board terms). Or is our censor board of the view that if they don’t take off their clothes, nothing really happened, and the kids will not understand what’s happening. (Actually, they very well do, they always do!) Only if bare flesh is portrayed in some form, will they wake up?
 
Maybe the censor board is a skin tone detection machine! Anything down below the inner thighs is okay, so long as it’s not in a rape scene, where you need to wear full clothes, and the rape can be symbolic, with just the dupatta being taken away. Happens in almost every family film… Pardes had it as well… I’m sure there will be more, I don’t watch as many Hindi movies, so…
 
Double standards… Hypocrites…
 
And frankly, who the hell cares? The internet makes it all very easy anyway.

The Dark Side of Martha Stewart’s Living

I can’t help it, it’s that good:
“I mean, it’s like you go to somebody’s house for Thanksgiving and they’ve spent eighteen hours covering the rooms with little orange squashes and quinces and crepe paper, and the meal is like Henry the Eighth, and you can’t eat because you get this creepy sick feeling that the person who did the dinner has nothing else to do with their life. It’s the dark side of Martha Stewart’s Living.”
Of course, this one is also from the Microserfs.

Waving at trains

From the Microserfs:
Q: “Why it is that people wave at trains?”

A: “We wave at people in trains because their lives – their cores – are so intensely and powerfully reflected in the inexorable, unstoppable roaring dreams of motion and voyage and discovery, which trains embody. One can’t help but admire the power and brutality and singularity of decision a moving train implies. Wouldn’t you agree, Mr. Underwood?”

There are so many fine sparky parts in the book. Sheerly amazing!

The Binary Soup

101011111111111000101010111000
010101110101010100101010101000
000000011111111010101010101010
101010101010101010101010101010
101111101000000001111110101110
001110010101011110000011100101
110011110001010101010101111111
101010111101010100001101001100
Well, there isn’t much variety here, is there?

How to best spend Rs. 20K

Suggestions are now invited for the best way to spend Rs. 20000.
 
Stuff that can be had:
  • A brand new video iPod
  • 4 x 200 GB 7200 rpm SATA HDDs
  • DVD Writer + 300 blank DVD-Rs
  • Holiday for a couple in Goa (well, I’d need to hunt for a girlfriend before that!)
  • Half a bike
  • 20000 minutes of talk time
  • 20 each of Sea-Breeze, Sex-on-the-beach, Black-Russian, Bloody-Mary and Pinacolada
  • 512 kbps internet connection for a year
  • 2 shares of Google (GOOG on the NYSE)
  • 200 movie tickets
  • Platinum jewellery for someone special
  • 2000 packs of Maggi
  • NVIDIA 6800 512 MB PCI-X video card with SLI
  • One year membership to a lifestyle club
  • 20 hours with a prime-time hooker
  • 200K in 30 years
  • 20 happy underprivileged kids
  • A start-up
There’s a lot more that can be had. Dream big. Or small. What say?

Wag the Dog

This one is going to be a real shortie:
 
Q: Why does a dog wag its tail?
A: Because the dog is smarter than its tail.
 
If the tail would be smarter, it would have wagged the dog.
 
Now, this works on so many levels, I just cannot begin to list them all down. Those interested, there’s a movie by the same name. Go check it out. Plus, Mark Knopfler did the music for it, so it’s pretty nice.

Small is good. Or is it?

Back from the brief hiatus on the blog, exams took their toll, and then there was Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and in general lethargy to post, though there are a couple of things that are at the back of the head, and will be posted in due course… Meanwhile, another question that’s worth asking:
 
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Just read the whole of the Ex-Googlers’ blog, and that got me thinking:
 
Time and again, I have observed, things start small, and everything is beautiful, perfect even. It is fresh, bubbling and has a nice homely feeling. And then it grows. Because it has to. Because that is the natural progression. But growth brings alienation, staleness, the usual crap. It slowly starts passing out of your hands, till one fine day, you just cannot associate with it anymore, and spend time thinking about the good ol’ days when it was small.
 
Here are some examples:
 
I was coached at the Chate Coaching Classes (CCC) for my tenth grade exams, which are quite a big deal here, and my parents, like all good parents, wanted me to excel. Dad was against it, and to his credit, I now realize it too, but it’s too late. (I should probably make a point to post this separately.) Anyway, so this CCC was a big-timer in the Solapur-Akola-Kolhapur area, and was a new entrant in Mumbai. And they were big, but being new in Mumbai, they had the small-new-fresh feeling… I enjoyed my ninth grade coaching there, and then gradually, things started changing… The branch manager there was pretty close to me and my friends, as was the area manager. Slowly, the relationship strained, and things drifted away. Professors were slowly getting the “professional” drift, and it was just not the same anymore. The whole nicey-dicey thing was lost.
 
Jasubhai Digital Media, the publishers of Digit, had earlier launched CHIP, licensed from the original CHIP publishers in Germany. And boy, what a computer magazine it was… Totally took the Indian audience by awe. It was so much more classy and better designed than PC-Quest and the others. I was instantly hooked from the first issue, and got myself a subscription. The it grew, because it was a commercial venture, and it had to make profit. It branched out into other categories, the magazine itself changed its focus from computing to technology, and soon they had a conflict of sorts with the licensors. They decided to move on to a new name, keeping all their staff and tech center the same. But, something went wrong at the transformation. Slowly, it began to loose its touch. It seemed to be close and personal earlier, and now, appears far, and behind a customer support desk! It was as if, it has lost its soul. Sad to say, I no longer subscribe to it.
 
The Google story, from what I see at the blog, seems to be very similar.
 
Which brings me to the question, I wanted to ask, as promised in the first paragraph: Is growth necessary? Can small be good, and can small be sustained? Or is it necessary to get ever increasing profits, users, or whatever it is that you plan to achieve by getting bigger than what you already are? One crucial aspect is: Are people going to miss you if you do not grow. Consider GMail, if it was to be small, and therefore limited to only a few people, most would loose out on a wonderful piece of doing email. Is this right?
 
Some day, I might be in a position to have my own start-up. Or maybe join a friend and do something. What will we do then? Will we grow and risk alienating our close users / clientele, who joined us for the fresh-small-personal feel? Or is it possible to grow, balloon even, and retain all of that?
 
Weigh in.
 
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Three vivas to go. Everything will finally end on Friday, and then will start the project work, gaming, and some development.

Environmental Audio

My PC has a decent 5.1 channel Creative manufactured speaker and sound-card solution. Which basically makes movie and even normal TV watching a very rewarding experience.
 
The thing is, the sound card does some very fundu stuff: When the video has scenes of a hall, or a similar closed room, the output actually changes to provide the reverb and the echo. Ditto for scenes in closed quarters, such as a bathroom, or songs that have what they call ambient sounds (in the high frequency range, that provides the feeling of space).
 
All of which is top class, makes for an awesome session.
 
But my question is: Where does this information come from? AFAIK, the conventional DivX / Xvid encoded audio has a 2 channel stream (or in some cases, 5), which carries zero environment data. DVDs may carry it, but recorded TV programs surely don’t. And yet, when I play back the media in VLC Player, it sounds freakingly kewl. Now, games that support the EAX standard can do all of that, and that’s fine too, because I know that the game developer put additional information about how the sound should, well, sound… Including equalizer settings, environments, reverb, chorus, echo and so on.
 
So does the VLC Player have some sort of algorithm that deciphers some hidden frequency patterns in the recorded sound, and enables the stuff on the sound card, or what? And if this is possible, why doesn’t every one do it?
 
I really need to read up on this somewhere… Links, explanations and chat welcome!

Artist Reco: Utah Saints And Movie Reco: Flight Plan

The prep leave brings, among many things, time!
 
Undoubtedly, not all of it is spent studying. In fact, a lot of it is spent sampling new songs, playing new games, and watching new movies! So, here are some recommendations for you:
 
Artist / Song Recommendations:
 
Utah Saints: They are fairly obscure as such, and if wouldn’t have been for Chill O2, the lounge album that featured their Lost Vagueness from Two, I wouldn’t have found them. Two albums till date, the first called Utah Saints released in 1992, followed by Two in 2000. Dance / Electronica / Techno. But uber. The vocals are simply amazing at times, and they way they blend in with the beats is simply incredible. Favourite Songs: Something Good, Soulution, My Mind Must Be Free, Love Song, B777 and the Three Simple Words. Apparently they do a lot more DJing than full albums.
 
Pandora: This is not a band, or a song. It’s a website, based on the Music Genome Research, and attempts to suggest songs that are similar to the first one you ask it to play. Every new song that it plays can be rated as Yes or No, and further songs are then customised to suite your particular listening needs. And it works pretty good, for the time it did, cause it got posted to /., and it has been crippled every since. 128 kbps connection needed to stream audio.
 
Movie Recommendations:
 
Flight Plan: Jodie Foster plays the role of an propulsion engineer in Berlin. Her husband has recently fallen and died, and she is flying to New York with her 6-year-old daughter and the husband’s casket. Only, no one apparently sees her daughter on the plane, and she gets lost. I am not going to put in spoilers here, in case you want to watch it yourself, so… Just so that you know, there is a big big twist, and in general a nicely done movie. Has it’s edgy moments. Worth a watch, DVD should be fine.
 
Deuce Bigalow – European Gigolo: This sequel is again, only just watchable. Has it’s share of jokes, but is quite explicit (maybe the version that I had). Worth a dekho if you got nothing better to do, but otherwise passable.
 
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Maybe I’ll make this a regular feature on the blog, every once in a while, I’ll put up recommendations like the one above.
 
My MSN Messenger won’t sign in for some obscure reason, cause everything else is working. Troubleshooting agent says: Gateway is offline. But that can’t be… So, I am without IM connectivity! Gaaah!