The long of it

Or:How I Learned to Stop Worrying and blah blah blah

There are things, powerful things, that keep me from making regular posts on LJ or my blog, and amongst them are a strangely useless ergonomic keyboard, my propensity to make more spelling mistakes in a sentence than actual words, and the evillest invention of man yet, work. My theories on how the concept of doing not so fun things and continually proving your skills to gain another abstract concept: money, is directly linked to the invention of the nuclear bomb and Kurkure, to name but a few blights of the humankind, should be well known, but aren’t. Thank your favourite stars.

People who have ever read anything I have written, when I actually used to, should have alarm bells ringing in their head right about now. Yes, I am doped up on enough coffee to take care of the Brazilian national deficit, and work ended unusually early today(by which I mean at 2200). Yes, this is going to be a long post without de eville eljaye cutte, and I am going to write till I get bored or fall asleep or both.

The Dark Night returns.

So let’s talk about music, or more specifically, the sound of it. I have a very strange relationship with music; no one can say I am a music kind of person. I am probably one of the seven people on earth who doesn’t list music as a hobby on their CV/orkut type places etc., and that is mostly because it’s true. I don’t own an iPod or similar, never had a portable mp3/audio cd player, and my hi-fi system is hooked to my computer to amplify, among other things, the Windows default welcome tune, and the CD tray on that thing has been barren for 5 solid years. My computer hard drive has about 3 gigs of songs tops, the rest backed up on DVDs/CDs that get used every once in a bloody long while, and I can’t even list the songs on my HDD. I admittedly own a phone with iTunes, but the last time changed the playlist on that was when I bought it. I tried on more than you think you are for size, and the album still inhabits it.

So we’ve established my general apathy to music, yes? Now let’s sample this: I can’t imagine surviving without it either. There is a very simple thing that most people tend to ignore about all music: it’s all sound. That, my thoroughly bewildered and not unfairly bored LJ friend, is what I have been(probably) leading up to. I am a big fan of sound. All of it. Most days, I am looking to listen to at least 3 good sounds from all the music that I sift through, and believe you me, I do sift through a lot via my office LAN and teh intarwub radios OMG.

I listen to a lot of music simply for the sound. There is something inherent about sound itself, that makes you feel something. A child scratching on a piece of slate emanates a sound that makes you cringe from within, yes? There are millions, nay billions of such sounds that can make you feel something without having to resort to prose or music videos. The correct sounds can make the same sentence seem funny and intensely rude. Sound has power, and it is music’s DUTY to channel that power into something important, something with meaning.

We live in the age of confluence – I swear I saw a mobile phone concept which had a cigarette lighter and a Swiss army knife – and our art forms have blurred together to form newer children. Break down a music video, and that has a moving picture, sounds, colours, and even idolatry. The basics of art forms are quite simple however. The picture, painted or otherwise, has to tell a frame’s worth of story, or abstract feelings onto imagery. It’s business is imagery. I have long argued that Cinema’s primary service is the art of creating a spectacle, to show motion in pictures. The written word (responsible ones, not this tripe) has power, and that is to be channelled to tell stories or evoke feelings that the spoken brother cannot. Music’s primary business is sound. Maybe only for me, but there you have it.

There are at times a single note, half a guitar riff, a voice modulation in a phrase that are all it takes for me to listen to a song over and over again. Then there are songs that have subtext in the sound itself. Not the lyrics, or the imagery of the videos or the album cover, but the sounds themselves. That is a rare breed that makes hair on the back of hands stand. Lyrics are important in songs for most people, and probably why I listen to all that jazz. Sometimes, though, you have to go beyond what the song is trying to say and listen to what the music is whispering. Probably why I find myself increasingly getting hooked to things like live performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, or Yo Yo Ma concertos with Morricone, or original scores of recent films, simply because of the purity of sound, the disassociation that they covet with pre-conceived imagery(probably not in the case of film OSTs, but you’d be surprised at how much the shuffle button can help create a disconnect).

I find myself turning the radio on during my drive to work, trying to distil five minutes of good sounds from an hours worth of songs with a 70-20-10 ratio between Himesh Reshammiya-Bullshit-Songs. Suddenly the mood changes, does it not? A one sided argument about the sound of music suddenly threatens to turn low brow when I mention Hindi film music? You’d be surprised at the regular pace at which some notes can create vivid feelings amongst these. You’d be well advised to begin listening to one Rahman, Allah Rakha, maybe even without paying attention to the lyrics. There is a particular love ditty that he created that was very romantic; nice non-dil/pyaar/ishq type lyrics, but (to me) had a faint but unmistakable undercurrent of impending sorrow. You couldn’t tell, really, if you paid attention to the words, or the imagery or the placing of the song in the film. But from the moment I heard that song I was gripped with fear, and I wanted to call my girlfriend to check if she was okay. Every damn time. Surprise of surprises, when I saw the film the song belonged to, the dude in the song dies right after. I was shocked. Here was someone who was creating songs for me, the guy with a sound fetish.

That and the realization that I just listen to anything these days, as long there are 5 notes worth of excellent, unique sounds, made me get up and make this post(that, and gallons of caffeine coursing through my veins). This is as much an admission of a hidden, suppressed personal peculiarity as much as it is a strong suggestion to stop paying attention to what is cool to listen to and what is not. I can’t remember names of artists, bands, genres or albums. I can’t recount my all time favourite top ten alternative or grunge bands. Simply because I don’t care. At the risk of sounding musically illiterate, I unequivocally state that I don’t care about the genre based segregation of music that music channels and music magazines push down your throat, nor do I care about the literally thousands of artists and millions of tracks that are required listening for any rock/jazz/concerto fan in any given year. If it sounds good, point me to it. But if you think it’s important because it was a great commentary on the punk society of 1950s Lisbon, for chrissakes, keep away from me and go back to your music snobbery and iSocks and celebrity posters. I listen to ARR, Michael Bublé, Philip Glass, John Ottman, Pete Townshend, The NESkimos, and Crystal Method and tons of others ALL IN ONE DAY. And you know what, I hear better sounds in my music than you, Captain.

(This was probably in response to the most musically racist comic I read in recent times, and no I won’t give you a link. In any case, blame the coffee)

I am returned. Pay homage to the usual places. In the face of Ellis abandoning you all, I shall be your Internet Love Swami on LJ. Tell me all your filthy secrets(or generally amusing foibles).

Long Ass Post

Long Ass Post

Its been a long time since I wrote with reckless abandon, the kind of thing that would have made any web page recognizable as my handiwork. Careful, measured prose is all fine and nice, but writing like I treat my vocabulary as a wherewithal to form a bulwark against the withering sanity that people around me thrust down my throats, thats what I miss. A fight for my sanity, is what it is. This is going to bore you if you’re reading this, and you’ll want to stab your brain if and after you finish. Fair warning, this.
I’ll be in trouble when my noesis will be taken over by my inert state of being. That it should happen is my worst fear, and that it WILL happen is a reality I have form a defence against. Its not about whos to blame, its about protecting my creativity against the immense geek hubris that threatens to take over my art of the cosmos.

GIVE IT TO THEM YOU MONSTERS!

After having had time to savor LoTR:RoTK, and after seeing my heart leap with joy (not literally, of course, I haven’t seen anybody’s heart leap with joy or anything else for that matter, its just that feeling my heart leap with joy would have been kind of an oxymoron, and don’t even ask me why) when they actually GAVE the Golden Globes to Peter Jackson and friends, I think they have a shot at the Oscars. And I want to them to win, not because these awards are some meaningful representation of cinema, in fact they’re quite the opposite, I mean the movies make unhealthy amounts of money, the actors take home inhuman number of them rupees, and you still have to watch them gloat in front television once a year over a gilded statuette, which half of the people sitting watching the whole gala feel they did not deserve. I want them to win, because for once, the fat, evil people behind the whole charade have a chance of recognizing good work, regardless of its non-pseudo-intelligent-arthouse-cinema roots. Its a good piece of cinema, and finally someone has a fighting chance to get back at those maniacs for all the unfair praise that they have handed out in the past.

WHEN IN ROME, PLAY COUNTER-STRIKE

I don’t like CS. Not anymore at any rate, especially since it has been played, replayed, hacked, cheated, and done to fucking death by all the world and their cousins. It is a fine game, but time has come for it to move over and create room for more worthy successors like Desert Combat(BF1942) or Natural Selection, hell even Day of Defeat. I’d like to play these mods, make a map or two, you know stir some shit up. But noooo, the only mod people in my office are willing to play is fucking counter strike. And that is where it irks me the most. I have a lot of fun. I forgot how much fun a non cheating server of CS, incidentally in the same geographical location as all the players, essentially what has come to be known in common gaming parlance as a LAN party, can be. I still crave for some NS, and they do, in all fairness indulge me in some UT2003, CoD, and NFSU from time to time, but CS remains the official game of the office, and my only complain is I have nothing to complain about(CS! Man, how can I not diss CS?).
Plus my bi-weekly bouts of Halo show a sign they might continue, which is a cool thing. I’d also like to mention that the most you can make of your online time is by playing some Enemy Territory, but since there aren’t enough takers, play what you can get your hands on. And if your machine sucks ass, there is always Gunbound. I guarantee, regardless of the time of the day, you’ll find a Korean to kick your ass to kingdom come. Its free, fair, cheat-less, and oh so detailed. I’ll even be nice to you and add you to my buddy list if you come on a Sunday. 🙂

FIGHTS OF THE OLD RPG

While on games, I finally played through KoTOR, and I’m going to play through it again, this time as a good guy. So is it better than Deus Ex 2? Yes, most definitely. My thing is, if you are making a sequel, by all means improve on the original, but always, always, respect the source on which you base your present work. Look at Thief II, Fallout 2, System Shock 2, even Tribes 2, the veritable titans of modern gaming culture, and no I don’t care if you were born before their originals came. Invisible War(And thusly is DX2 known), is scrumptious to say the least, but it disrespects the source material, which as we all know was something that deserves to be put in a time capsule alongwith other stalwarts for the future generations to marvel at, much like how you gape open mouthed at renaissance artwork. Part two is a game well deserving of your time and attention, and you will be richer for the experience, trust me its an excellent RPG, but it is not deserving of the words preceding the ‘2’ on the box. Anyhoo, KoTOR. It is exhilarating the first time you play it, and the finer plot intricacies (which are really not that fine as intricacies at all, but you do tend not to notice some points since you’re playing through at a blistering pace), are much more pronounced when you start sipping the smooth, sweet honeydew that is the story that illuminates the solid gameplay, one more time, this time promising not to give in to the trappings of the dark side. I’ll let you know how it goes, but my money is on another road well traveled.

SAND-WITCH, UMMM… SANDWICH

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time has also merited a sequel at Ubisoft, and I am elated. PoP: SoT is a game you need to put inside the coke coaster of whatever machine you get your game on, and bask in the ethereal light it emanates. I shit you not, my PC is positively glowy after having installed it. The levels, the artwork, the puzzles, and the graphics are all top notch, and much like Max Payne, there is a cool thing that will elevate the already solid gameplay above all things that are simply solid and awesome. Apart from freezing enemies, going into slo-mo much like bullet time(only not, since bullets are conspicuous by their absence in a game set in some B.C. shit), and doing awesome cool combo tricks on combat, you can turn back time. Verily so, you can abuse your boss or mother-in-law and then just turn back time, only remember not to run out of sand.
I am yet not decided on whether these games that we have talked about can still, with all their light sabers and daggers of time intact, surpass the sheer experience of having played Call of Duty (twice!). People say it was not a good year for PC gaming. I say if all I get to play is classy entertainment like this, albeit a little less times a year, I think I can make my peace with it.

MEDIOCRITY THOU HADST FUELED AND FOOLED ME

Yes, indeed. EVERY single book I have picked up very recently has had all the trappings of a good mistress, only to reveal a cheap whore at corners, and you wonder what to do with a book which is not really polished turd, but also not really a gem. What has my taste in books come to? Or have all writers come to the conclusion that one listless, mediocre title will slip past unnoticed? Surely you remember Frank Herbert? His son is actually shitting on his begetter’s work. Da Vinci Code was an excellent read. But behind that piece of prose is a stumbling, struggling work by Dan Brown called Digital Fortress. I have had the (mis?)fortune of finding out. Simoqin Prophecies could have been a great book, worthy of timeless appreciation, but inspiration and pilfering have a thin line between them, and dancing on that line is not a good idea. Siege of Mithila is trying to lengthen a pretty straightforward epic,and has no even pace, but a trot reminiscent of a camel. So I ask you, must I always look at reviews and the ridiculous star ratings at Amazon and the like to pick up my books? Can’t all these people just write something cogent and good, (I also picked up Lirael and Sabriel) and just be done with it? Nevertheless, I can’t complain that I was bored, since they are pretty entertaining on their own right. Ok, The Butlerian Jihad sucked, but the rest were actually good. I guess I have just been waiting for a book to overwhelm me like other mediums I have shown interests in.

JASSI JAISA KOI NAHIN

I have always refrained from commenting on anything remotely smelling of political undercurrents, since such commentary should be limited to people who know what they are talking about. But this has spurred my interest like no other. This means someone has a clear chance of starting a game development studio, or an application software development house, and probably succeed. The only resources required, apart from tangibles like a solid revenue model, are acumen, spirit and diligence. But this also smells of a government sponsored sop that will attract voters by the drove, as well as be abused by the very same people. A clear cut opportunity will be turned into an exploitative and exploited venture, and I will hate everyone with all of my angst and misanthropy, and the latter I have in liters.

GRAND THEFT OTTer

There are many reason why you should ostracize me, but being a gamer is the least of them. I am sure you are even vaguely aware of this. Then why must I wear my ‘Fuck You’ shirt and start defending my hobby like a crazed maniac when someone irresponsible and deranged decides to do something about his not liking the smell of his school bathroom by pumping a few bullets into his teachers head? You have heard so many defenses and allegations that

whatever I might have to say will sound jaded to you. But really, all people like Leiberman need to understand is that those people are MAD. Off their rockers. Or just plain evil. More people play games than you’d know, and even more watch Jerry Bruckheimer movies. If I have to listen to one more person telling me games will make me into a blood-lusting monster, so help me, I will take my hand, put it through his eyes, into his brains, swirl it around, and take the grey matter out of his nose till he is brain dead. And I’ll claim I did this because I saw it on fucking FRIENDS, and Lisa Kudrow showed me how to do that. What? I told you I hate people.

THE BASTARD CHILD OF THE HERO

And while on the general waters of misanthropy, I also dislike militant open source evangelism, so quit waving your yellow flags already. I am all for the ‘OSS revolution’. But newly converted fucktards just have to make it their business to tell me how much good their shit is, and how I am Bill Gates bitch because I use Windows 2000 to play my games, which he doesn’t yet have an answer for, not yet anyways.
I have a friend. He installs Linux, runs stuff on it, experiments with it, and generally tells people how good that makes him feel. That is a good thing. He is not sitting on forum boards replacing MS with M$ and telling everyone why they have to use ONLY firebird.
On the other hand are people you meet once in a while who just thrust their fucked up browsers or email clients on my face, and tell me its good because its open source. Fucking hippies. They don’t even know the first thing about the open source movement. There are people wasting their sweat and blood for no monetary gains just so you have a choice, and these hippies just give them a bad name. Its not about sticking it to Bill Gates. Its about everyone having a choice, of having the power to switch to something more stable, and feature rich, if they want to. I use Opera and Eudora. They are by no means open source, or even free. But they are way better than all the options I have tried, including open source stuff, and more importantly demonstrate my exercise of choice. As long as you know and respect that, I’ll hear your case. But if all you want to do is smoke pot and make sex noises insiniuating how M$ is screwing the world, I suggest you move your sorry ass out of my face. Because I have a Sushubh and I’m not afraid to use it.

Bulla kee jaana main kaun…

Bulla kee jaana main kaun…

Last night, while attending what promised to be a tedious social gathering, I had one of the best times in recent memory. Performing yesterday was Qadir Niazi along with his band. For those who haven’t heard this sufi marvel, I urge you to do so the first chance you get. They perform at the Dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin in New Delhi when they’re not touring the globe. The songs made more sense than I could imagine, and the sheer raw energy the band had just transformed the mood at Siri Fort Audi. A friend once told me if the frame of mind is conducive, and the songs are right, you’re able to connect to them, feel them inside you.
True words.
The second performance of the night was what I now consider one of the best kept secrets of the Indian Fusion music scene since… well since a long time. Rabi Singh, a self professed ‘Sardaar with a guitar’, sang Gurmukhi fables and sufi folk songs from Punjab, ones we’ve heard since kids, with such rare earnest and musical honesty, while at the same time creating his own sounds, that the whole auditorium was floored (no pun intended). This is what Punjabi music should have been… move over Jazzy B. He said something about an album in March, and I can hardly wait. The most profound experience of the night was listening to
him play ‘Bulla kee jaana main kaun’ in his own tune, a blend of new age rock and country.The song was sung by Bulley Shah when he had his moment of realization, his epiphany. It literally means,
Bulla, what do I know who I am?
I’m not a Hindu,
I’m nut a Turkish/dweller of Peshawar,
I’m not a Muslim.
I haven’t killed my brother,
I didn’t drink the blood of an infant,
I never beheaded an animal.
I never saw a God who told me
To do all these things in his name.
Bulla, what do I know who I am?

There’s more too, but I’ll let you buy the guy’s music (or download mp3s :P) for the rest.

Bhor Bhor Bhor Bhor Bhayee…

Bhor Bhor Bhor Bhor Bhayee…
You know what is fun? Going to an Indian Ocean concert with friends. So I had fun on saturday. Gobs of it. As an improver, there was Shubha Mudgal doing an absolutely random jam thing with them. Wow. The best thing about them, that has not changed with fame and time, is their unassuming, unabashedly down to earth attitude. They way they connect with the audience is a synergy to be seen.
Rahul seems to go from strength to strength on the bass guitar. Right now, he’s somewhere around the super cool category. The girls seemed to kinda like Amit, the drummer. I got that idea when a particularly raucous groups of girls screamed at the top of their lungs, “We Luuuurve Youuuu Amiiit”. Heh.
Sushmit was his usual quiet, genius strumming on a guitar self, while Asheem is did what he does best… percussion, mostly tablas. AND he sang note to note with Shubha Mudgal. All in all, fantastic.
One funny thing happened… you know the time when a concert is about to end, and during a slow song, how everyone takes out lighters, matches, and candles? Well, since there was a dearth of smokers in this particular crowd, cellphone-obsessed Delhi improvised, and whipped out its phones, displays lit up! 😀

Finally this is the story of my life:

image courtesy Dork Tower

Involuntary Celibacy

Involuntary Celibacy

oh, yes!

and this too…

*Laughing real hard, tears down his cheek..
Garibon ki sunoh.. woh tumhaari sunega! Baba! Andhe ko ek rupya dede baba! Bhagwaan tumhari jodi banaye rakhe! Tumhare do do pappu hon!

Ok, now that all that is out of the way, my crap for today. I saw Darna Mana Hai and T3 during the weekend. Though the latter was fun, actually more fun than I thought it would be… Ramu’s latest was crap times seven. T3 managed to hold its own without Cameron and the original crew because it didn’t take itself too seriously… it was making fun of itself the whole time. Needless to say, that is the kind of smart, cheeky direction that makes movies enjoyable. Speaking of which, head on over here to see the latest by our cheeky director dude.

Another observation for today… women should never, ever, for the love of God, please, never wear purple lipstick. They look hideous.

Sitting here thinking about what to write for my post today I was coming up blank. Now that’s very typical of me, the blank thing. But I usually have some sort of complaint that I will bitch about or some bit of news I find interesting and thusly think you must know. But today I just really didn’t have anything. So I decided I needed some sort of muse… so of course I loaded up Winamp and scrolled through my big fat list of songs. Only problem the list is alive but the songs are gone… fsckin office policy. Anyhoo, I thought I could hum a song myself, so I scrolled through my list of songs, and picked a little ditty titled “The Mark Has Been Made” by Nine Inch Nails. As my crap-tastic office policy berated me with zero music and no entertainment, I realized that I need to start a revolution, but thats a story for another day. Thing is, I realized just how god damn much I enjoy these nails that are nine inches long. If you are not familiar with Trent Reznor and his genius I trust you will take my advice and get to know his music. Nine Inch Nails is on of the most influential Industrial Rock band, and Trent himself writes and records all of the albums pretty much on his own.

Whats the whole point, you ask? Nothing, I say. You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!

Drums of Heaven

Drums of Heaven

If you had any idea how many times a day I think of writing a blog entry and type up something stupid and then delete it, you’d laugh at me. I laugh at me. Everyone laughs at me. Stop laughing at me.

A lot of times it’s just stupid observations like:
Looky! Helvetica versus Arial!
Or that Japanese name thing(previous post). Or this. hee hee. Sorry, was just too funny.

Anyhoo, I wanted to post about this band called Say Hi To Your Mom . Kickass band and all, but thats not why I wanted to talk about it. This people, I don’t have to tell you, is the best name for a band. In fact, if there was an award for best name for a band, they’d probably win it. Of course Cream would give them stiff competition.

Speaking of Cream, whatever happened to Jack Bruce? He was a decent singer and all (actually, much more than just decent), but the bass that he played really, really used to knock me over. Only reason I ever listened to the All Starr band. Now I’ve never been a huge jazz fan, but his guy was remarkable on his bass guitar.

Back to cool name bands, another one that caught my eye was a Japanese rock band called The Elephant Kashimashi. Heh. So yeah, I was saying sometimes I just write stupid things here. But look at the bright side, there aren’t as many broken links on my toolbar now.

world is fucking insane

I have been wondering if our world is fucking insane.
won’t afflict you with the entire litany because I don’t think that’s why people read the things I write, to be exposed to surreal political views which are completely unmoored from reality. I would, however, draw your attention to the following article, which details a congressional hearing on the links between terrorism and, um… peer-to-peer file sharing.
John G. Malcolm, deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice, did say there seems to be some connection between illegal copying and organized crime, in that many of the groups profiting from illegal copies are highly organized and can have international distribution networks. Organized crime often supports terrorism, he suggested.
“These groups will not hesitate to threaten or injure those who tend to interfere with their operations,” Malcolm said.

Statements of this kind gnaw at the sensible mind, they chew on it and try to eat it. I won’t even gauge the clumsiness with which these two incongruous concepts are lashed together. If you want to see triple-x, explicit evidence of corporations with their hands up a government’s ass, working the their jaws like some malevolent Poop with chilling ramifications for personal liberty, well, there you go. Peer-to-peer file sharing and Terror? Terror? Do they not have dictionaries there? There’s another T word you fucks might like, too – give it a try: it’s called “Tenuous.” The only people terrorized by peer-to-peer file sharing are vastly potent multinational businesses, gripped by the realization that they sell carriages in a world of bullet trains.