Pointless

No really, it is. I try to go to sleep early, really I do, but I just lie there awake until around 3, when exhaustion overcomes me. As a consequence, it’s really hard to stay awake in class and sometimes I find myself being shaken awake at the end of a class not remembering when I fell asleep. It’s not possible to go on like this anymore. Something must be done, holidays must be granted. Please, for the love of god. It all seems so pointless. Like this cat, for instance:

Sisyphus Cat

Spoilers

This one is for Marc and Suren: Do you remember The Neutronium Alchemist? I do. Crossroads of Twilight? I do. Pandora’s Star? I won’t forget that either. Thanks for all the help spoiling the story, it’s just what I needed. I’m always the goddamn second chicken.

Savage Chickens - Spoilers

Chicken: Is this “The Sixth Sense”? Have the robots killed the boy yet??
Other Chicken: Augh!

Tip: Spoiling movies is more fun if you make up new endings

Vaikom Basheer – Perch – Moonshine and Skytoffee

Moonshine and Skytoffee This Sunday, me and the family went for a play by Basheer performed by Perch at the Museum Theatre. Apparently my granddad used to tell my father Basheer’s stuff all the time, so the parents were rather enthusiastic about the whole thing. Pipe and Bikram were there too – gone out of their minds. Anyway, the show was actually pretty damn good, and remarkably low priced for such a nice job. The play itself is really nice, I wonder how much I’ve missed out from not reading Malayalam literature. That’s why it’s useful to know people like Samyuktha who’ll tell you about stuff like this and not reserve tickets when you ask for them :P

It was lots of fun and it had all sorts of memorable characters and the like, and though in the beginning it seemed a bit forced, after a while everyone just slipped into their parts and it went off really well. There were some nice bits where they came to the audience and played around with a few of the front seat people, having a little fun at their expense. Yep, it’s worth watching but unfortunately Sunday was their last show. You can, however, watch next week’s play Sangathi Arinhya: Same group, same time, same place. And yes, don’t worry, it’s in English.

तारे जमीन पर

I saw Taare Zameen Par(तारे जमीन पर) today with the rest of my family. My mom’d booked the tickets and I didn’t want to go to be honest, but you know how it is — spend time with the family, that sort of thing. Man am I glad I went along because this has to be the best Hindi film I’ve seen. It was a film, not one of those entertainment shows that have all those silly song and dance routines involving people teleporting to fields of flowers and crap like that.

The Movie:

The acting was so natural, especially the little kid‘s, it was almost like watching little bits of life. Now that I think of it, every single thing about how the actors played their roles was natural and real, and you wouldn’t have noticed it all then. The soundtrack was beautiful, it fitted in perfectly with the atmosphere and kept the tension going through the intense bits and stuff like that. I’ve been told the cinematography in Indian films is really good, but this was some neat stuff and combined with the music it was super. It all came together really well.

Aamir Khan:

I’ve got to give it to the guy. I hated Mangal Pandey: The Rising, and I thought Rang De Basanti was contrived, but the job he’s done this time is wonderful. He chose a nice film to do and didn’t try hogging the limelight or anything letting Darsheel Safary do his thing. It’s also very cool that he chose to make a film on dyslexia and children who are a bit different, talking about how things we take for granted are hard for them. Frankly, I find these films far more interesting than the standard Indian stuff.

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Indus Creed – An Amazing Indian Rock Band

Indus Creed - Formerly Rock MachineI was just reading Chetan’s blog the other day when I came upon his old list of Indian Rock Music. So I went straight for a band that I’d heard a bit about a long long time ago, Indus Creed, and man was I blown away or what! These guys were so damn amazing, it’s no surprise that people are still talking about them years after the band broke up. I just know that some of their songs are going to be eternal favourites.

They’ve got the good old classic rock feeling going with most of their songs, with a very Indian touch in some with the percussion and flute. It’s not just the music that gets me with this band, it’s the insight and meaning in their lyrics:
Take “Die for your country” for instance, it speaks of war and how those who start it never end up actually fighting it and how the so-called leaders get men to join the army with the nationalistic slogans and mottos, calling for people to “die for their country”. Super. Rock ‘n’ Roll Renegade seems to be about how people claim that rock musicians in the country are spoiling “the Indian Way of Life”.

It’s a shame the band’s no longer around, they deserve to be real famous.

OpenTTD – New graphics engine

OpenTTD - LumbermillA long time ago, back in the 90s, when I had my first computer I used to play cracked computer games in the summer while I waited for the other kids who lived around to finish their term. We worshipped TDU-JAM because they brought us all those games that we just didn’t have money to pay for. One of those was Transport Tycoon, later followed by its improved successor Transport Tycoon Deluxe, or as it’s more commonly called, TTD.

After a while, I found TTDPatch which had all this cool functionality added on. The guys who wrote it, including the creator Josef Drexler, must’ve been some programming geniuses because they modified the original game and added all sorts of unbelievable additions, all in assembly code. Anyway, after a while, along came Ludvig Strigeus and he used a disassembler to convert the entire code for TTD from Assembler to C, OpenTTD took off from there.

Now there’s a new thing going on at TTForums’ OpenTTD Graphics section where they’re making new sprites for the 32bpp mode that OpenTTD has recently implemented. When it’s all done, which doesn’t seem like too long considering the rate at which new sprites seem to be coming, I’m going to give it a spin and see what it’s like playing that good old game. It’s aged well. You can look at all the new graphics at the Exhibition Page on the wiki, along with a comparison with the original graphics.

NLS’ Admit One Theatre Festival

Ranjitha’s family, Pipe, and Sayuja - ThumbnailI returned from Bangalore today after participating in Admit One at the Alliance française there. Our theatre group put up Picasso at the Lapin Agile, a rather funny comedy about Picasso and Einstein meeting in a bar in Paris a couple of years before each of them pulled off their respective masterpieces. It was rather fun doing the whole thing, though all of the times we practised it sucked. I mean, seriously, it was horrible when we were trying to do the whole thing back in MCC, just didn’t work. Then there was the other troubles with the girls’ hostel and their ridiculous objections to everything.

Anyway, in the end Ranjitha won Best Director and Rinila – Best Actress, yay! That’s pretty damn good, considering the rest of the outstation teams that performed. Strangely enough, we were one of only two one-act plays ; that was strange because the time allotted was only 45 minutes. The other one was a superb play by Kirodimal, super-real acting, superb original script, worth paying Rs. 200 to watch. It was about an Iraqi professor arrested for inciting students to riot, and being interrogated by a policeman at the station. It was very well done, every single action was perfect for the character, the lighting was perfect, the whole thing was just gripping.

Another play that was rather interesting was the LSR‘s adaptation of Woody Allen’s Death; they won the Best Play award finally, but I’m surprised none of the actors got an award because they were plain amazing and their accents were perfect! The script, naturally, was just hilarious.

I missed the Sri Lankan performance, I think, but I didn’t miss UET Lahore who put on a lovely show which was a nicely choreographed mime. Before the show they asked people to not only turn their phones on silent but also to not fiddle with them, and then they switched off all the lights half way through. Until that time, the two mime artists on stage, one with an orange painted face and the other with a green painted face, were running around trying to go one up on each other with some cleverly done mimes. After they decided to start fighting, the lights went off and after a minute or so of total darkness, the blacklight came on and the only things we could see clearly were the fluorescent paint on the artists’ faces and their fluorescent costumes. This is when things started to get fancy because in the blacklight the stage hands couldn’t be seen, so the whole thing started to look like some crazy martial arts movie with the two artists flying across the stage (literally!) and performing fancy triple kicks in the air, dodging fiery red bullets and fighting with burning swords. And there was teleportation and shit, man, it was so freaking crazy. It was pretty damn amazing. I mean, I’ve seen this trick being used before with stage hands dressed in the same colour as the background lifting and supporting the main actors, but not like this; I mean, you didn’t even need to suspend disbelief, the jumping and kicking looked perfect and we weren’t even sitting in the right position for it.

Afterwards, because we’d been too lazy to book our tickets for a bus or train, we stayed the night and half the next day at Ranjitha’s place, making a mess of the place in the process. Her mom must think I’m retarded or something :D

Lots of fun. Yeah. Unfortunately, I forgot about my camera until the last day.

Footnotes:
[1] Hindu article talking about Admit One

Kontroll – A surreal subterranean story

It’s weird, it really is. The whole movie is set underground, in the stations and tunnels of the Budapest subway, with the lead characters being the ticket collectors. It’s a story about ticket collectors, really. The people in the movie are kind of weird, they treat the ticket examiners like scum, and just push them away on their way out of the station. Sometimes they fight the ticket collectors and win, and sometimes they make fun of them and run away, and other times they just ignore the poor fellows. It looks like a sad life, what a job!

There’s drunks, suits, pimps, mischievous travellers – oh, and there’s also women in pinkish bear costumes who does acts of kindness. The main characters are Bulczú’s team, and each member of that team has some idiosyncrasy or the other. The funniest of the whole lot is the incredibly dense Tibi. The first half of the movie is mostly descriptive, but the real action starts after a while and then the movie starts to center around Bulczú and what he does underground (he lives there, never going up).

It’s hilarious and disturbing, this movie, and the ending is rather … confusing. But if you put your mind to it you can probably think up a plausible explanation. Very nice. Very neat.

Some screencaps:
1. Cut-throat competition? Check.
2. The inevitable crowd

A funny little photo – Bhagavad Ajjukam

Some time ago we did a play at the Chinmaya Heritage Centre, Chetpet, for the Dean Foundation. It was for World Hospice and Palliative Care. There were a bunch of other colleges who did some other stuff too, though we managed to watch only one of them go at it, the WCC girls with their A cappella band which was pretty good. It was fun, though a little confusing. I don’t think the play was meant to be done under lights, with mics and all. Not too bad, though it could have been nicer with more than the 9 days we had. The funniest part was Pipe’s ramblings in Sanskrit whenever he forgot his lines, plain hilarious. Aadi and Varma were hilarious too, the little kids loved Aadi’s Yama’s Messenger act! Anyway, yeah, I could go on about everyone but what made me think of this was that today Sundar (our mridangam dude, totally expert, him and Arundhathi, go see their shows sometime), yeah so Sundar, he tells me that we showed on some local Tamil channel. Yay! If I’d known we were on TV, I would have had “HI MOM!” painted on my chest. Nah, I wouldn’t have, but I would’ve liked to. Here’s a little photo of the show which I managed to get out of the Indian Express (October 10, City Express):

BA - Play - Chinmaya

So anyway, after our show, this dude Cary was picking out the winners for the raffle with us MCC crowd making a ruckus in the corner over every win. I nearly managed to fool everyone into thinking I was a girl named Amrita and after accepting my prize and giving my acceptance speech I was ready to go back to my seat but the real Amrita’s friends landed up and pinched my rightful prize. Ah well, next time, next time…

Oh and they gave us surplus women’s talcum powder, those nice folks. I liked the abundance of ‘refreshments’ better though. Very hospitable folks. Real hospitable folks.

Radiohead – Pay as much as you want.

In Rainbows can be downloaded off their site for just as much as you’re willing to pay. There you go, you’ve complained for ages about how things are too expensive for you to pay for. You’ve rationalised your piracy by claiming that art should be able to reach even those who can’t “afford” it. You’ve spoken at length on how you’d pay for an album if it were a 100 rupees. Well, go on then. If you like Radiohead, put your money where your mouth is. Show them how much you think their music is worth.

Of course, if you’re one of those cheapskates who can’t put $2 in, don’t download the album. No need to waste their bandwidth.