Tuesday, December 31, 2002

cool browser alternatives

Tempted by the benefits of tabbed browsing {easy browser window switching, fewer occupants in the taskbar} and popup blocking features, I've started using Phoenix, a lightweight version of Mozilla. All I needed now was support for all those websites out there that were designed with the belief that "browser compatibility" was the same as "designed for Internet Explorer only". Phoenix has done a good job with the web pages I've visited so far.

Today, I got what I wanted: a tabbed browser with popup stopper integrating Opera's gestures and built atop the core of Internet Explorer. It's called Avant Browser. Pretty cool.

Pune Rocks ... and triumphs

At Mood Indigo's LiveWire this year (that's the IIT Powai national-level rock competition), Pune band AFS came tops. Another Pune band Headrush was part of the finalists. Great going. {report}

{followup: TOI | Jan 07, 2003}
gt sux

A website of rants ... { based on my bias, mostly justified}
library hauls, the greatness of joan and the second leg of an epic

Got a hand- and bag-full of goodies from AFPL yesterday on my way home.

* All About H Hatterr/G V Desani {a forgotten out-of-print classical of post-colonial Indian literature}

* America in the dark/David Thomson

* Movie Man/David Thomson

* Hitchcock's films revisited/Robin Wood

* The Best American Movie Writing: 1998

* Writing with Hitchcock: the collaboration of Alfred Hitchcock and John Michael Hayes/Steven Derosa

* The entertainer/Scott Joplin {CD}

* Greatest Hits/Lionel Hampton {CD}

* Reflections on the art of swing/Harry Skoler

* Coleman Hawkins: Greatest Hits/Coleman Hawkins

Finished with the commentary track on The Passion of Joan of Arc. Started watching The Godfather II (Sanjay Gupta can take some good lessons in the appropriate and intelligent use of sepia filters from this one).

Monday, December 30, 2002

a weekend of movies

Caught a few movies over Saturday and Sunday. This, in addition to relishing the great weather, taking my first walk through Candler Park (not a pretty site, especially with the dredging, but the ducks are still a pleasant relief).

Sunday, December 29, 2002

The Exorcist, with commentary by director William Friedkin

The Passion of Joan of Arc

Saturday, December 28, 2002

Star Trek: Nemesis

Dinner at the Cheesecake Factory

The Exorcist (restored 2000 version)

Friday, December 27, 2002

RIP video store, dinner and some much-delayed shopping

Found out that Urvashi, the video store and beauty parlour near the North Dekalb Mall, had abandoned its video store end of the business... unfortunate. Especially since I owe them the joy of a few rare Pancham finds. Managed to spend some electronic greens shopping for some clothes -- rather late in the season, but I've fulfilled my obligations. For dinner, we tried out Panera in the same mall. Was also interesting to note another abandoned large building ... this one was formerly J C Penny (previous sightings: Mars Music, Kroger, Home Depot).

The movie for the night was South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut -- coarse, ribald, excess, but a laugh riot. Even on this repeat viewing.

yay! kaante got me a free CD

Posted a review-lette of Kaante and won myself a compilation CD of current chartbusters[sic]. The review is a rather positive take on the film, so you can't accuse me of being a consistent cynic ... rather an inconsistent one, aren't I?
nostalgia (the rajiv gandhi slum mix)

WCNJ ("America's first and only 24 hour a day 7 day a week, Indian FM radio station") aired Julie Julie yesterday. It was about a decade (honest!) since I had heard that song ... Anu Malik warbling for Mithun in the Bollywood assembly line flick Jeete Hain Shaan Se. Used to be a slum staple (the slum in question was one called "rajiv gandhi", situated right behind my house) for festive occasions (more often than Hindu festivals). Another favourite was jhopadpati zindabad {translation: long live slums} from Ghar ek Mandir (another Mithun vehicle).
I knew it ... I knew it ... (aka or did I?)

Training Day had all the markings of a good source for the Bollywood ripoff machine. The latest buzz has it that Anil Kapoor is all set to portray a "cop with a difference" aka "a loutish law enforcer" in Anurag Kashyap's yet-untitled second film. I could be wrong, but I smell Alonzo Harris all over this.

Kashyap's career has been interesting. His ambitious low-key début Paanch (with some rock-riff-laden cool tunes from Vishal Bhardwaj for some occasionally pedestrian/situational lyrics), about 5 dudes out to form a rock band and make a difference, got stuck in controversy and still hasn't seen the light of day. This is rather distressing for the talented co-writer on Satya and Kaun.

2002: year of the blog

2001 was the year that weblogs burst into the national consciousness in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. But 2002 was the year in which weblogs became part of the mainstream, even while remaining outside it... {more} [link courtesy: blogdex]
software irks

Decided to be less masochistic with editing XML and decided to (finally) try out XMLSpy. The free version installable churns away (via InstallShield) and then in the end pops up a stupid dialogue back at me saying that " the system needs to be restarted in order to continue with the installation. Please click Restart to reboot the system". No way to politely indicate that I'd like to reboot later. Ugh!
training day: the final hours

The world is a dangerous place to live not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it

-- Albert Einstein

Caught the rest of the features off the Training Day DVD. The HBO behind the scenes documentary has some interesting inter-titles in black, white and grey quoting dictionary lookups on words like 'duty' and 'truth'. Yes, sounds like a clichéd device, but it fits the context of the film. Not much substance except confirmation of the support they received from people in Pinewood/The Jungle among other problematic areas in L. A. (this is confirmed when we meet "Bone", a resident of The Jungle who served as technical advisor and facilitated shooting in The Jungle, besides having a small role in the film). The commentary from directory Antoine Fuqua is heartfelt and insightful, without any of the flourish and pretentiousness that I have sensed in other director commentaries (a key culprit here is Peter "over-rated" Bogdanovich). He explains the rationale behind choosing to shoot on location to capture the expressionist texture that the city offers to the subject. While the commentary contains the obligatory and conventional "X did a great job" lines, it's still a pleasant journey along with a director highlighting the achievements of a crew that agreed on a great subject. The deleted scenes complement the commentary (although I would have loved to see the extended version of the scene when they make their first "arrest", terrorizing some young kids who've just got some marijuana). Especially interesting are two scenes (a) Alonzo reminiscing about his first days on the job (b) Smiley telling Jake what he has to do, directing him to the Jungle for the inevitable (and logical) final showdown with Alonzo (the scene also has the uncomfortable undertones that Jake is probably on his way to becoming another Alonzo, albeit along a different route).

"Ernest Hemmingway once said, 'The world is a fine place, and worth fighting for.' I agree with the second part.".

The closing lines of Se7en, which also pairs an experienced black cop (in his last week at work too) and a fresh white rookie, although taking them along a completely different course of events, with a more clearly defined villain. Couldn't help thinking also about The Devil's Advocate and (justfiably) Apocalypse Now.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

in a land before time...

A couple of months ago, Chris handed me a pointer to the trailer of the Jerry Seinfeld movie Comedian, which takes a look behind the scenes of stand-up comedy. This was a great preview {transcript} and (spoiler ahead) played on the mundaneness of movie previews. It also featured Hal Douglas, one of the most widely employed voice-over men for movie trailers. {catch a few trailers}. That set me on a little quest to find out more about these guys and I found some more information, this time it was Don La Fontaine. Thanks to a movie preview, I now know whose voice I hear in the theatre. Back home in India it was Ameen Sayani, and sometimes Harish Bhimani, although stars like Amitabh Bachchan did a lot of voice overs. Of course, Bollywood previews were never like this. They focused on the songs. But Sayani handled the radio promos, and the Big B did narrations for movies as far-flung as Zulm ki Hukumat, a Godfather clone with Govinda as Al Pacino.

xmas math

Guess what? Christmas also offers seasonal support for learning math ... the cool way. Case in point: the familar song (parodied to death in a recent South Park: The Twelve Days of Christmas. A little conundrum is finding out how much economic recession you'd end up in if you took the song literally and became the "true love" in the song. Simply put: how many gifts would you end up buying? To be very precise: how many gifts in all, regardless of type. So, you can assume that each turtle dove has a unique identifier (sponsored by Oracle, Microsoft or some other large corporate entity worried about security), and so on. This rising cost of generosity puzzle has its answer in an old mathematical oddity called Pascal's Triangle. Construct such a triangle upto 15 rows. Now locate the Triangular Numbers. These lie in the diagonal starting at row 3. Grab twelve of them. This should bring you down to row 14. Now go to the next number (should be 91, if you did everything correctly). Move a column to the left. That's your answer: 364. Basically, in human terms, a present for each day of the year. And just as God took a break, you can take one too (or two, if this is a leap year). A strong mathematical foundation for a lovable carol. Science backing tradition. {more}

nostalgia flash :Another connection to this carol can be found in the archives of the International Obfuscated C Code Contest. I remember the first time I heard about it, one of the problems everyone relished was a winner from 1998 {see: phillipps}. The output, was our favourite carol. Quite an achievement. Reverse engineering it aka breaking it down for human readability has been a pleasure for people {read: could be interpreted as a geeky activity, but to each his/her own}

kavi pres

Our current President APJ Abdul Kalam has also jumped onto the music bandwagon (a la Vajpayee). Music whizkid A R Rahman is the composer of choice (after all, since you're the President, you deserve the best, right?). The source material includes APJ's book Ignited Minds and his poem "Song of Youth" {lyrics} {news blip}.
diaspora dhamaka

Old news this. The Government of India has decided on January 09, 2003 to acknowledge, celebrate and involve the desi diaspora spread across the world. Pakistanis of Indian origin and Bangladeshis have been ignored. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas they call it. Milk the healthy cow seems more like it. Still, any money they can get from expats/PIOs and invest in a good cause (this being the utopian segment of this hope), should be a justified act. Potential cows (aka people who have confirmed their attendance) include "now that they have won awards and fame, let's call them our own" entities like Amartya Sen and V S Naipaul (the latter is an interesting choice considering how neither side particularly cared for the other for a long while). {newsitem}
merry christmas

Stuffed myself with lunch at a friend's place (aah those turkey meatballs and the lovely gosht...). Also got back some music to sample: Buddha Bar (Indian lounge electronica, defeated by a rather repetitive swing beat with minor variations permeating all tracks. The last four tracks on Side B were more interesting); Nitin Sawhney's interesting concept album Beyond Skin {review}; DJ Cheb I Sabbah's Shri Durga (which had a rather strong mix based on raag kirvani).

Watched Training Day yesterday again, for Chris's benefit, and the second viewing was rather rewarding. Ambiguous plot points became clearer, and some of the little dialogue bits thrown around in the film acquired new meaning and context, since I knew what was going to happen next. The alternate ending on the DVD explains the mysterious car and a strange backlight in the final scene of the film. Still need to explore the director's commentary, the music videos and the "making of" documentary.

To round off the day, a surprise (long overdue) call with wishes and updates from Renu and Neeraj.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

christmas eve

With the Christmas spirit labouring to get my spirits up, I pushed the envelope and extended my cooking repertoire that was previously populated by fabaceous entrees with spinach dal. Turned out rather well, with the luck of the season.

The movie for the evening was my first Max Ophuls flick, called Lola Montès, the story of a woman who had many lovers all around Europe and ended up in an American circus selling her memories and kisses to the masses. Wasn't too keen on Ophuls to begin with and the film didn't help me much. Peter Ustinov's performance as the circus ringleader went satisfactorily over the top (as in previous movies I've seen him -- talented bombast). The opening credits had a terrible font and the only thing that piqued my interest in the film was the first 2/3 of it which utilized the limited confines of the performance area to tell stories using props (of course, being a filmmaker, Ophuls can cheat by changing locations for the flashbacks). Very much like the Firodiya skits we'd put together during my days at GCOEP.

For non-Puneites, an explanation of Firodiya is probably in order. This is an intercollegiate talent competition where each college presents an amalgam of cultural talent woven into a script or narrative, within a 45 minute frame (15 minutes are additionally provided for setting up the stage, props, light and sound). My college, GCOEP, had been a pioneer and trendsetter in this competition, redefining and establishing the rules and traditions of the contest, and there are a gazillion interesting stories of how previous performances had included innovative uses of the limited confines of the stage to tell stories or convey ideas. In my four years, I had a chance to be involved with some creative moments myself, and the experience has served as a reference matching quite a few movies I've watched since then (a majority of which have been musicals).

Back to Ophuls's last work. Apart from this interesting reference, the film meant nothing special for me. The last 1/3 crumbled into French narrative (I don't know the language and its lyrical musical nature also seems to convey a certain hilarious flamboyance, which is rather annoying). The dialogues were expectedly rather abstruse and indirect. Despite Ophuls's contribution to cinema, I'd have to classify this under "French movies that didn't mean much to me".

Since I couldn't make a midnight service, I attended the papal mass at St Peter's Basillica by proxy. His Lordship looked rather weak and his voice reminded me of Brando as Vito Corleone. Not a pretty analogy to have when you're praying.

Monday, December 23, 2002

a lush red and gold trip back to a Technicolor past of tearjerkers
movie de la soireée: Todd Haynes' contemporary tribute to the 1950s melodramas (especially the work of Douglas Sirk), Far From Heaven {official site}. A great movie elevated by strong performances, especially from the talented Ms Julianne Moore. This postmodern homage is a dream for hardcore film geeks {I have to confess I lean to this side of the fence, thanks to a fulfilling exposure to Sirk movies via a film class I sat in on} and regular moviegoers. The only interesting event at Tara (one of two art house theatres in Atlanta) was the long long line of people (mostly the elderly) for a showing of About Schmidt, the new Jack Nicholson film that has Evil Jack going through a post-retirement crisis. Since this is a film set in the 1950s but made in 2002, we are treated visually to more contemporary frames while the plot adheres the conventions of that time, both in what must and may not be said or referred to directly. The best 'blast from the present' comes when Frank (Quaid) explodes at his wife Cathy (Moore) at the medical centre using the f-word. It's satisfying both for its shock value ("you couldn't say that in the 50s") as well as for not letting us forget our present, 2002. Go watch it. It's probably your only chance to catch some gorgeous Technicolor on the big screen.

burning question: was it just me or did Bernstein's theme quote the Adagio from Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez?

related : {salon}

Sunday, December 22, 2002

I caught The Searchers again this afternoon. Added the interesting use of "Gather at the river" (John Ford's staple favourite) at both a burial and a wedding. Then there was Peckinpah's dark use of it in a protest march in The Wild Bunch.

Movie du jour: Training Day. Denzel Washington deserves accolades for his performance -- against type, against convention, against role model, against everything an actor in his position should represent. What sets Denzel apart from the Tom Cruise line of stars is that he is actually a talented actor (Cruise fans will *strongly* disagree with me here). Despite having his share of bloomers (that long embarassment called The Pelican Brief with the "talented"[sic] Julia Roberts, he's gone from strength to strength, pushing the envelope for the kind of roles he could have taken on. Alonzo Harris is the most startling and impressive transformation of his career. Harris is the meanest, baddest, most brutal and vicious narc in the city and Jake Hoyt (an excellent Ethan Hawke) is the rookie under his wing. This is day one of Hoyt's assignment, this is training day. Harris sets about giving him a taste of street reality, and soon Hoyt's morals, values and perceptions take a beating, as does his self-respect. The film has a great script, and an appealing kinetic energy and enthusiastic acting (including turns by Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre and Macy Gray). This is a good flick with a race twist: it's Spike Lee minus the simple subtleties and messages (Of course, every time I heard the words "by any means necessary", I am struck by the ambiguity of their utterer Malcolm X, who, incidentally, was fodder for one of Denzel's acclaimed on-screen roles). Except for the unfortunately cliché-laced dénouement, this is a solid thriller brimming with contempt and malice. The burning question, of course, is: Did he deserve the Oscar? His fellow nominees included Will Smith for Ali, Russell Crowe for A Beautiful Mind, Sean Penn for I Am Sam and Tom Wilkinson for In the Bedroom. Smith and Washington seem to have received nominations for like reasons: attempting to break their image and emerge with resounding success. The Academy, imho, had a large howler when they awarded Crowe a statuette for Gladiator, and they rightly needed to atone for that transgression (although I haven't seen Crowe as Nash, I am willing to put my money on this film instead of him playing Maximus). Penn's "I'm playing a retard" Oscar fling was all front-bench-stuff, sans subtlety or heart or talent. I missed In the Bedroom, so I can't say anything for/against Tom Wilkinson. That leaves us with Mr Washington. His case has another advocate: like Al Pacino, an award has long been due. And once you treat the Oscars as appreciation for your 'body of work' rather than a single film, the choice seems fair.

As for the puzzling Ms Berry, I need to watch Monster's Ball. Whatever I have seen her in, she stunk to the high heavens, so this had better be worth it.

Saturday, December 21, 2002


movie for the evening: X Men. A strange choice of film for Bryan (The Usual Suspects) Singer. Being a comic book adapation, the film achieves all its goals, but if you're waiting for something interesting to happen, think again. Strictly by-the-book and endowed with some great SFX (although Wolverine spinning about one of the spikes in the crown of Lady Liberty is clearly amateur and shows!!!), the film is also blessed by an able cast (with a notable exception, but that comes later). Hugh Jackman is his first major role is great as Wolverine. (Rogue) Anna Paquin joins him to become the two focal characters in the film. Patrick Stewart has precious little to do and Ian McKellan is underused, although both attack their roles with gusto and seriousness. The echoes of Joseph McCarthy and the HUAC in Senator Kelly's crusade against the mutants are unsettling as is the opening during the Holocaust (Magneto's childhood). But these add some real-life credibility to an otherwise alternative universe.

And now, the notable exception: Ms Halle Berry. The Storm I remember from the comics was more mature than the dumb teenager treatment that Ms Berry affords it here, along with a deluxe platinum wig. Mercifully she doesn't have too many lines and if you watch the deleted scenes on the DVD, hers is the only one that seems a justified omission. Am I prejudiced? I really don't think so. I go out on a limb for actors trying hard to like them, but she consistently disappoints and Monster's Ball is going to be crucial.

the triumph of irony

Click .. click .. click ... and I discovered a fine Australian e-zine called The Jacket. The gem that caught my eye was The Questions of Postmodernism by David Lehman. (The title of this post derives from a line in this essay).
secular faux

Dr Rajiv Vijaykar, frequent columnist in Screen and Rediff is responsible for a rather unsettling article in the latest issue of Screen titled, rather inappropriately Muslims to the rescue. The agenda is a retrospective on the role of Muslims in Indian music. I am sure we acknowledge the contributions of giants like Mohd. Rafi, Talat Mehmood and Shamshad Begum, Naushad and Khaiyyam, and countless lyricists, but do we really need to have it hammered into us that they were Muslims? What was that, some social stigma/obstacle that they overcame to achieve critical and popular acclaim? A crutch? This is like instituting a Best Black Actor Oscar. Perhaps worse. It's hard to accept any naiveté from the author, since he is a man of some knowledge and wisdom. Shame!
more human tragedy in bollywood

One of Bollywood's lasting and successful(?) relationships has come to an end officially. Star (and rather sensible) actor Aamir Khan and his wife Reena (Dutta) Khan filed for divorce this week. The official press release bare of more details has confirmed months of gossip. As for why this came about.. one can only speculate. How can we forget her active involvement in Aamir's dream production Lagaan? And that he always went out of his way to praise her for being by his side through thick and thin? After 16 years of married life with two loving children (Reena Dutt gets custody; Aamir gets visitation)... Now we must only wait to see if the rumours about Mr Khan and Preity Zinta bear fruit. Or is it Suzanne Sablok?
thorns ... postmodern revisionist blaxploitative slick pastiche

coming soon ... : a more comprehensive outpouring.

In the meantime, if you haven't already seen Kaante, catch up on source material with The Usual Suspects, Reservoir Dogs, Heat, Fight Club, Snatch and the openings of Warner Bros movies.

Trivia/SPOILERS {NOTE: If you caught up with the movies mentioned above, the denouement should not be tough to figure out.}

* who is the undercover cop: hint One: Who's the narrator? What's the source? Elementary, my dear Puttan

* who is the undercover cop: hint Two: When the captured cop (see cool trivia nugget following) tells them (what the audience already knows) that one of them is an undercover cop, and there's the languid "settling in" of this heavy truth, who's the dude whose song makes it to the background? (and is mercifully truncated before complete aural destruction)

* As if to acknowledge the underplayed inspiration from The Usual Suspects, misdirector Sanjay Gupta names the hapless cop who is after the unholy six McQuarrie. Christopher McQuarrie wrote the script for the Bryan Singer film, won an Oscar for it, AND was also a police detective in real life. Nice touch.

* Another song omitted from the film is Dil Kya Kare, which is just as well, considering that this number pales in comparison to the electronica-mix-heavy heady other songs.

* In true homage to all action movies involving social scum and inefficient police machinery set in the expressionist city of LA, this movie also bases itself there. Complete with numerous shots (some new, some stock from source American movies) of the cityscape (which, unlike well-made LA films, add nothing to the narrative), excessive abuse of yellow filters, slow motion (again, no purpose) and guns.

addendum (october 28, 2003): Just to underscore the overt Thums Up plugs in the film, here's a newsitem about the advertising deal.

Friday, December 20, 2002


Yep ... that's what Kaante translates from Hindi to English. Out in the theatres today and I'm planning to catch a show tonight. In fact, I did catch a show tonight. But more later (faithful to Kaante as well as it's immediate parent Reservoir Dogs, this is a flashback).

Los Angeles. baara mai do hazaar (12 May 2000). jahaa.N ham chhe pa.NTar pahalii baar mile the. humane sochaa thaa ki duniyaa jeet le.nge. apani lag gayii {translation: Los Angeles. 12 May 2000. Where the six of us met for the first time. We thought we'd conquer the world. We got screwed}.

An hour earlier. We drove to Galaxy Cinema on Jimmy Carter Blvd and got tickets (deserted... but mostly because the previous show hadn't cleared out yet). We then drove to The Mughals. The music playing was surprisingly from previous decades, and, R D Burman (yay!). In fact, it was a seldom-heard song of his zamaane mein sabse puraani from the ill-fated Lovers. After placing an order for mutton biryani I paid a visit to Bollywood Video next door, and returned with two finds: Lovers/Kasam Paida Karne Waale Ki and Romance/Sawan Ko Aane Do. When I got back to claim a rather generous helping of excellent biryani, they were running a song from Romance. As if the coincidences with R D Burman weren't enough, these were both Kumar Gaurav starrers and so was Kaante which we were about to watch in less than an hour.

Back at the theatre, we weren't disappointed by the rush of people waiting. After navigating past some irritating Indian lass who insisted on vertical and horizontal integration of captured seats (Indians, no matter where they racinate themselves, will always be Indians -- NOTE: this statement has some positive vibes too, but not in this context), we found ourselves some good seats and settled down to be entertained.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

puri nostalgia

Desi dinner at the Udipi Café. I ordered a puri bhaji, since I don't crave dosas as much as most people do ... It's when the order arrived (along with several orders of chana batura ... aah those air-filled cushions of dough) that I realized how long it had been since I had a puri. And it wasn't greasy either (same for the other orders). I always believed the people at the Café were a mafia -- subtely staring at you and observing you. They're getting better at that ... although I caught a few careless glances. Aside from that, and the rather rundown strip it's located in, this is a good place to eat. {another review}
memories ...

Thanks to Chris for a pointer to mythological spam. This thing used to do the rounds of our inboxes a few years ago ...

And while you're riding the rib-tickling wave, check out the lyrics for I love my India, from Subhash Ghai's excrutiating movie about nationalism and NRI evil Pardes. While the rest of the song is familiar to most of us, it's the opening stanza (read: paragraph) with linguistic inanities that's the schlock masterpiece. A splendid time is guaranteed for all, even if you don't speak Hindi.

more remakes

shudders run up and down your spine. There's a Bollywood remake of the Verhoeven/Eszterhas/Stone skinfest Basic Instinct. Helmed by Pankaj Parashar (whose only credit of late will be his two-decade old memorable creation, the carrot-chewing Karamchand... his latest films have been licking box office dust, including his last one Tumko Na Bhool Paayenge, a ghastly gender-twisted remake of The Long Kiss Goodnight), the film will star Michael ... oops Manoj Bajpai (good choice) and Khallas Isha Koppikar (the subtle pronunciation hint "copy kar" is pure delicious irony). Gulp! {newsitem} {rediff}


Isha Koppikar vs Diya Mirza

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

bulletproof is back

As it turns out, the Fat film (couldn't resist that, sorry) is based on a comic book {more}. {courtesy: Chris}

{ref: previous post}

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

creative commons opens

The Creative Commons started off dedicated "to help expand the amount of intellectual work, whether owned or free, available for creative re-use". One step towards better ways of profiting from creativity. like Roger McGuinn.

Monday, December 16, 2002

more movies and books

3 movies (=6 dvds): The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring {extended version and special features ...yum!}, South Park (the movie) and Léon (aka the Professional).

thanks to a trip to AFPL I picked up Chuck Palahniuk's Choke and By Any Means Necessary, Spike Lee's bio by Jim Haskins (the title comes from a controversial Malcolm X quote) as well as Different Light/The Bangles and The Georgia Peach/Little Richard.

south downsizes in the post-boom dust

Atlanta lost 61,800 jobs in the twelve months that ended in October. September 11 hit the city harder than most would imagine. this and more
another couch sunday

don't get me wrong ... i love spending sundays on the couch ... quite relaxing. less stressful (unless every show you want to catch is a re-run). Besides the fresh set of episodes that TNN fished out for their TNG Sunday marathon (including the delicious Ship in a Bottle), I caught Badlands on TCM as well as Let It Be Me, a little romantic by-the-numbers film, redeemed by good turns by Patrick Stewart and Leslie Caron (as well as Campbell Scott and Yancy "Witchblade" Butler). The "Cartman brings Christmas" South Park episode rounded up the day. Jesus dies saving Santa from the clutches of Iraqi thugs who sound like Jamaican immigrants, after his sleigh is shot down on a goodwill mission by a terrorist. Acknowledging this noble deed, Santa declares that henceforth Christmas will commemorate the man called Jesus. Perfect note on the capitalist nightmare that Christmas has become in the US of A. My Kroger shopping bags have new red-and-green logos. As Kyle said it: Dude, that's pretty f*****d up.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

screen tidbits

Screen seems to have begun delaying the updates on their online portal with each new issue. Yesterday's page was full of week-old links and it's only today that I can see something new. Here's a little offering: sequels in Bollywood, middle-aged cinema {aka we're too old to do the tree dance, let's start a pre-geriatric crusade for stardom}, an interview with the fresh princes of plagiari-pop, Sanjeev-Darshan (quote: After all, a television channel today can air a Michael Jackson hit, a Shakira number and a Hindi film song one after another. But Indian melody will always win in the long run. These songs will click or sink on merit, but music like Nadeem-Shravan�s melodies and Devdas will always triumph over them.... biting the hand that feeds you ... Indian melody! pah!) [evidence], looking back at the hit duo Shanker-Jaikishen {probably known to art house moviegoers as the composers of the Hindi song that opens Ghost World}, and assembly-line bubblegum-pop-mush filmmaker Karan Johar pens his thoughts on cinema [gag! choke!].

Friday, December 13, 2002

chips, dinner and an epic to snooze

A home-park style Friday evening after a long long time. Back with friends on the old stomping grounds of Home Park {unawares note: cheap, shoddy rundown off-campus student housing close to the Georgia Tech campus, marking the north end of riffraff territory, although the south end is more horrifying}. We dined at Pappasito's Cantina up in Marietta. After OD'g on chips and salsa while we waited for a table, I stuffed myself with an excellent chicken chile relleno. The prices aren't too high, and the food and ambience are great. A lively slice in what appeared to be a rather lonely zone.

Back home, as if we hadn't had enough for the night, I ran through The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. While I didn't pay too much attention to detail (since I'm waiting on a kind loan of the extended version DVD set:) I was impressed by the technical finesse, the fluidity of the film (which is a blessing given the epic length), and a retro-trip to the stuff that embellished childhood all the tales of fantastic worlds and beings underpinning the neverending conflict between good and evil. I deeply regret not watching the film in the theatres (blame it on my previously unsuccessful attempts at reading any books by Tolkien). I will make amends by catching The Two Towers. Haven't seen the Harry Potter films either...so I can't even begin a comparison.

sign of the times ... technologies, experience, the economy

As a lot of my friends in the IT sector (students, employed personnel, benchwarmers, unfortunate out-of-work fuming hapless souls) know, the economy continues it's allegiance to gravity (despite what those omniscient analysts say to the contrary). This means a lot of people who would have been earning fat paychecks and driving [insert suitable sleek automobile label here] with a mere modicum of technical skills to help them along the way. Hey, in those good days, you didn't need more than a spirit of "I can master [insert suitable cool technology moniker] in a snap". No more days of working with low-level algorithms and squeezing efficiency and performance out of every [insert suitable atomic storage mechanism in appropriate programming language]. These are the days of APIs (aka the days of Java). Knowing the language is a small crumb in the pie. The APIs and the idiosyncracies of the language are what you need to get your skills honed in and these are what will get you a job (subject to the fatalistic probability distribution of the hiring and firing process. Joel Spolsky has a new post on this phenomenon. Vicious, direct and cogent.
frugal google

Google has a new service (in Beta) on their website called Froogle (a Google pun on 'frugal') that allows you to find information about products on sale online. Merchants interested in having their catalogues spidered and indexed and served to billions of Google users can avail of this service free of cost. Seems like a nice idea, and, true to Google tradition, bereft of evident (note: evident/apparent) capitalist underpinnings (aka betraying a "sell-out"). {link courtesy: james}

Thursday, December 12, 2002

the auction seer is back!

It's been a long time since I've found something interesting in the desi element on eBay auctions. And this one is special. A set of items {note: link content may be invalidated after the auctions end} on auction. But since your humble narrator here is so willing, you can view the interesting fragments below...

* Rare Indian 7"- 4 WILD instrumentals- sixties: On auction here is a very hard to find instrumental 7" from Bombay end of sixties. These 4 club tunes are from the 1967 Mod film Aakri Khat and were not released other than on this EP that was put out in 1968. Chic Chocolate (obviously not his real name) was Bombay's hottest instrumentalist playing for all hip film music directors on Jazz, latin and rock oriented title tunes and club tunes. He's a master on trumpet, piano and percussion. He came from GOA
Tunes are TICKLE ME NOT, CONTESSA, EXITEMENT, FEEL CHIC. All are WILD!!!! It's a crazy mix of rock, bossa nova, cha cha, mambo, twist. Well, like you know it from RD Burman. The tune CONTESSA stands out because of the strong bossa beat, oriental melody and beatnik horns. Pretty unique and would not be out of place on the very best American or European crime jazz soundtracks from the sixties. Chic Chocolate was one of the key figures in the shift to western beat oriented compositions in the Indian film industry. Besides his work on filmmusic, he was leading a jazz band for clubs like the Taj Mahal and the Greens in late night Bombay. This is one of the top favorites of the Bombaybeat team. It's a great addition to your soundtrack / exotica / Indian jazz collection ANGEL records TAE 1465 1968, ORIGINAL! Only some ringwear and very light background noise: NM-
. {note on Chic Chocolate below}

* RD Burman SHALIMAR OST Moog Sitar 45: Original pressing of the 1978 soundtrack 7" EP Shalimar by Rahul Dev Burman, aranged and condcuted by the great Kersi Lord. Contains the Top track ONE TWO CHA CHA CHA by USHA UTHUP (=Usha Iyer) and also the sleazy 'BABY LET"S DANCE TOGETHER' by Kittu. Sleeve VG++ (corners a littlebit folded), Record NM (unplayed). Polydor 221-334 {blaxploitation.com entry}

* KARATE Indian BRUCE LEE OST Rip off: One of the best Bappi records in his famous string of exploito movies starring the south Indian hero Mithun: KARATE!!! Hardly any traditional Hindi stuff here, 4 ultra long Hard Bappi Disco Tracks. Difficult to describe this record, how to describe 4 tracks? The�re ALL over 8 minutes, that�s the first thing, full off B-movie interludes. It�s an Orgy of Devastating Bappi Beats, Weird Moogs, Cheesy Girl Choirs, Boombastic Horns Sections, Funky Bass Lines but also incidental visits to the western genre and the Spanish Peninsular! All in the finest Indian SECRET AGENT / BRUCE LEE / BLAXPOLITATION tradition. This is a Hard Stomping Record!!! India 1983 Cover VG+/ Record VG+ (surface marks, but plays fine, actually as a VG++)

* WARDAT J.Bond/ Bruce Lee BOLLYWOOD OST: Ah! The 2nd part in the famous exploitation GUNMASTER G-9 sequel! Designed to be a mix of James Bond, John Travolta & Bruce Lee!! Filled with Bappi samples till the top! Ultra Loud Bappi Beats, weird keyboards, hilearious choirs, boombastic percussion solo�s, giggling ladies. No consistent songs here, but I Loooove the Hindi Ladies doing the James Bond Choirs�.Two tracks are sung by Usha Iyer, or Usha Uthup as she was called by then, the Grand Lady of Indian Jazz. She does some serious naughty gigling here: �Oooh I feel LOVE ! I hope you feel it too�.It�s really beautiful�Ha ha ha �.. It�s just too much now �hi hi hi I gotta get way�I hope all of you join on this trip. Including you. Mmmmm..... India 1980. Sleeve VG++. Record in not too beautiful condition, the best I could find. VG+ (many surface marks, no audible scracthes) But loud pressing, so sounds fine!

* crazy Bollywood SOUNDTRACK Upaasna 1975:Wow! One of my favourite Indian soundtracks of all times! Great cover, which pictures the sleezy westernized nightclub life which seemed to obsess 1960&1970's India. The lady in the back is Helen, India's most famous Cabaret dancer who made her debut in the 50's but was still rockin' in the 70's. The 10 minutes track 'Meri Jawani' lives up to the cover. The music is by Indian sleez-jazz masters Kalyanji/Anandji and this is one of their incredible highlights in the genre. As usual a paralysing multitude of themes, melodies, genres and instruments pass by. It takes them 4 minutes and at least 12 diffenrent themes to come to the song itself, sung really beautiful & intoxicating by Asha Boshle on a relaxed jazzy groove. In between the track builds up with horns and percussion. It builds and it builds, hysteric flutes, strange noises & rattles, strings of whole piano's being hit and finally it explodes into a frantic bongo madness with bone squeeking screaming. This is so rich, and so weird. Beyond any category. Sorry, words fail me to describe. Listen yourself: (Record Unplayed, Cover between vG+ an VG++ No small tear like on photo) {blaxploitation.com entry}

All these are auctions from Milan and Edo, who dig the Bombay Beats.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

new tools from google labs ... and a timeline

Google Labs have a couple of new tools out: the Google Viewer which allows you to "view search results as scrolling web pages" and Google WebQuotes which allows you to "view search results with quotes about them from other pages" {courtesy: blogdex}

with the year coming to a close, here's a retrospective from the Google Zeitgeist.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

flames of inspiration

have been meaning to post a link to rick mcginnis' take on Sholay, India's Citizen Kane (arguably yes, but I think of the melodrama-soaked Mother India as an epic rather than a showcase of brat-pack filmmaking talent). It's interesting that he quotes heavily inspired director Vikram Bhatt's retort as An amazingly witty comeback, and one that manages to combine postmodernism and reincarnation in one seamless, cynical sentence.
books, music, SAWG and a hot wok

made a short trip to AFPL yesterday on my way home and picked up some music and a couple of reads.

* [music]Greatest Hits/The Cars {should be a good introduction to the radio-friendly New Wave pop-rockers}

* [music]Tommy: The Original Cast Recording

* Critical approaches to writing about film/John E. Moscowitz

* The best american movie writing 2001/(ed)John Landis, Jason Shindler, James Robert Parish

The first SAWG meeting in regular time (the last meeting was cancelled for want of a quorum). I caught only the tail end of it, however, thanks to my planned library detour. Dinner followed, at Hot Wok (the third time I've been here: the first being in Spring 2001 and the second in Summer 2002). It's a good novelty restaurant with interesting service (honestly, I have no way to describe the behaviour of the server -- he's postmodern, sarcastic, terse, dismissive, polite, quick, informative, redundant, helpless...). The only pitfall (and it's quite important) is that you end with too little for what you're paying. And they don't have the triple schezuan that I miss from Pune -- which correctly localised "Indian Chinese" food. Incidentally, the wok is a large circular frying pan with 2 handles used for Asian cooking. Use that to impress your friends the next time you decide to take them there.

Monday, December 09, 2002

pandit treasure ...

The problem with a movie that bites the box office dust is the loss of a potentially promising soundtrack ... Thanks to Aditya for drawing my attention to one such soundtrack: Jatin Lalit's efforts for Sangharsh, the Tanuja Chandra-helmed disastrous desi version of The Silence of the Lambs (yes, murder with hams and songs). This is a curious soundtrack. Sonu Nigam sounds more like Mohd. Rafi (which is who he sounds like to begin with) here than in any other album: check out mujhe raat din bas (which incidentally sounds like an old Rafi song (zamaane ne maare from JL-favourite RDB's soundtrack for Bahaaron ke Sapne and mujhe dekhakar aapka muskuraana from Ek Musafir Ek Hasina) and also includes a sample motif from Paul Anka's Bring the wine, which JL first used in jaana suno for Khamoshi - the musical. The first song on the album, dil ka qarar is JL's take on the Nadeem-Shravan style of music (which apes a mix of the SJ/LP styles of music), except the dholak rhythms are better (even more RDB-like, especially a little variation that harks back to machal machal jaata hai dil). Then there's the wonderful yet neglected naraaz savera (plug: the Firodiya Karandak entry for 2002 from my undergrad alma mater COEP included this song in their playlist). Just as Vishal's undoing has been a Lata (read: a lotta) Mangeshkar, JL's undoing is twin: Goan yoddler Remo Fernandes and Dharaavi Diva Jaspinder Nirula. In other words, skip/erase manzil na ho koi whose only saving grace comes from some catchy interlude riffs (and a coda that quotes liberally from the extended opening of the R D Burman classic Piya tu ab to aaja). There are also signs of the Pandit mafia here, what with another sister (Shraddha Pandit) popping up.

If there's just one song you must listen to, choose Sanu's naraaz savera with rather competent lyrics from Sameer.
move over pizza hut and papa johns...

here's Amul with low-priced quality pizzas. This could achieve the same level of success that the T-series high-quality low-priced CDs did. All the best Dr Kurien.

weak ends

sunday, december 08, 2002

More TNG reruns fill my afternoon, after lunch at Curry in a Hurry, a "fast food" Indian eat spot in the Global Mall on Jimmy Carter Blvd. The biryani was the closest I've ever had to something from back home. The spice mix could turn you off, if you're not a fan of Indian cuisine. Bland food junkies stay home and gorge on mashed potatoes. All others welcome. Don't let the spartan milieu fool you. And while you're there, take a look at their menu -- the last page has cool details on the ingredients of Indian dishes -- an eyeopener even for the average Indian.

saturday, december 09, 2002

what does one do over the weekend sans transportation? precious little. Watched the rest of Flawless (started it off on Friday). Strange overtones of P T Anderson, but that's possibly because of Philip Seymour Hoffman giving the role of a misunderstood 'drag queen' ("Well, life's a bitch, so I became one, honey!"). Robert de Niro lunges at the opportunity to play a stroke victim and the film suffers from the effects of the Joel Schumacher school of filmmaking, making it essentially lightweight, lacking enough depth to be an interesting character/relationship study. And the damn DVD had no english subtitles making it an ordeal trying to figure out what Walt Koontz (de Niro) was mumbling... but then you get used to it .. Lady Marmalade resurfaces, predictably, but it's such a fun song.

Friday, December 06, 2002

prime video

One of the ongoing efforts on RMIM has been transcribing film songs (and the occasional non-filmi song) into ITrans. The latest addition is a rather interesting one. It's a transcription of a Jagjit Singh song...the lyricist being the current PM of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee (henceforth to be referred to as ABV{P}). Wow! A talented Prime Minister ... and a poet at that. Well, the album is titled Samvedna Sensitivity, which is dumb tautological redundancy (patented worthless phrase there)... Samvedna means Sensitivity, so this is like saying major major major major, halved of course... Chuckles aside, the lyrics aren't earthshattering either ... this transcription also includes the translation and there's a three course serving of clichés buried therein. And they didn't even stop at releasing this aural assault on current media (tape, CD?). They even made a music video featuring the budding (wilting?) lyricist, the unfortunate reliable voice (and face) of Jagjit Singh and Indian hoagie Shah Rukh Khan.

Flashback to 1998 when "swarachandrika" (sound of the moon/moon of sound/the silver-voiced one ... all bunk) Padmaja Phenany Joglekar (who before this tragic politically tainted musical foray could have lived life as a talented respected singer) decided to record an album of songs written by ABV{P}, who was a PM in stealth mode, unofficial but not official. Following the recording (and here I quote from a can of vitriol by Varsha Bhosle) "she moved the courts to restrain the Election Commission from including the cassette costs in Hajpayee's poll expenditure -- even before the cassettes hit the stands. Then, "the day after Atalji's album was released," Padmaja presented VP Singh a copy, who gave her his book of poems, and then "I set it to music, sang it for him over the phone and he said, 'Aapne meri kavita ko dulhan jaise sajaya hai'." ". That last part meant "you have decorated my poetry like a bride-to-be" (sigh!). Considering the rather mundane childish[sic] quality of the verse, shouldn't this be as illegal as child marriage? By the way, in case anyone's interested, the album's called Geet Naya Gata Hoon (I Sing a New Song). Yeah yeah... new my gluteus.

If it isn't already clear, the only reason we are subjected to this aural deluge of premiere sludge is because shri ABV{P} is the PM of the nation. It's like Bill Clinton inflicting SACDs of his saxophone performances on the US of A. And Ma'am Joglekar is now a Padma Shri only because her lyricist was such a big wig {pun?}. Pity.

I'm sure you're really really keen on reading fragments of premiere poetry and I won't disappoint you. As a sample, here's what the nation's old man had to say about his poem hum jang na hone denge (We won't allow a War): ``You must be thinking that on one hand I wrote anti-bomb poems and on the other hand made the bomb. There is a dichotomy in this,'' he said. The poems, he added, were real and written after seeing the devastation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ``These lines were written with the colour of my blood.''. You said it, Atoll.

As a sidenote: ABVP also happens to expand as Akhi Bharatiya Vidyaarthi Parishad (All India Student Council), which is the "world's largest student organisation" in India. Relish any irony you can find here ... yet another organisation with its own modular agenda.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

mystery of the missing restaurant

We chose Malaya Cafe on Shallowford Road as our Thursday dinner venue. When we got there all we had was a mall with enough decay to echo certain streets in India and no sign on the cafe (despite having an entry in the mall directory totem). To make amends, we ate at The Mad Italian instead, which has the ambience of an IHop. Good food, fair prices.
william shatner...

answers questions on slashdot. curt, but still rib-tickling.
welles echoes hitchcock ... and cartman markets revenge against parents

Caught The stranger on TCM and juggled breaks with the new season of South Park (Stan's sozzled future self pays him a visit to warn him against the dangers of drugs and Eric Cartman manages a business specializing in exacting revenge against parents. And then there was the other episode which trashed Russell Crowe). But I digress. The Stranger is a nice little noir nugget from talented brat Orson Welles showcasing his sense of style and his understanding of the medium and his successful attempt at showing Hollywood that he could make a film on their terms, on time (even finished a day before schedule) and on budget. The plot recalls Hitchcock's Saboteur and Shadow of a doubt and Charles Rankin (Welles)'s speech at the end (as well his alter ego's obsession with clocks) would show up again, in memorable form, in The Third Man.

related: a pocket reference to the film

unrelated link: South Park roll-your-own sound mix boombox

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

expensive reading

The one thing that strikes you most when you come to the US for higher education is the price of textbooks ... given my over-cynical view of academia in general, I find it unreasonable to price "high-brow" pseudo-fiction so high as to potentially dissuade people from studying something. And American students are constantly amazed that a $55+ valued textbook for a core class can be obtained legally in India (among other South-Asian countries) for about $8. Christopher Dreher attempts to find the answer to the burning question why do books cost so much?
software art ... not engineering

Software creation has traditionally been regarded as pure engineering (even clearly artistic aspects like user interface design and socio-computing aspects like human computer interaction and human factors have suffered as a consequence). Richard Gabriel, a distinguished engineer at Sun Microsystems advocates a programme that offers a "Master of Fine Arts in software", perhaps to restore the Poetry of Programming. With my ambivalent state of acceptance for Java, I rather liked his response to the final question on the page.
another boat club grass eater gets on board

Following the début of NP, we have Laxman Sylvanium aka BVHK.
e-culpa aftermath

In the world of newsgroups and mailing lists there are cardinal sins that everyone inevitably commits out of ignorance, sheer lack of cogitative capabilities or plain old-fashioned bad luck: posting personal responses group-wide, replying to posts with nothing to add, quoting entire long messages in your reply ... After having cursed numerous such examples on newsgroups and mailing lists that I monitor and post to, I finally fell face flat (obtuse etymology below) by inadvertantly posting responses to a quiz group-wide on a mailing list... What made it really bad was that this was on the day the quiz was put out, making it impossible for the quiz to continue. Of course, I could blame it on the interface offered by the Yahoo! Groups web-based front end where a single "reply" button defaults to a post to the group instead two buttons ("reply to sender", "reply to group"). Every mail client I used so far seemed to support the two-option approach instead of Yahoo!'s convenient[sic] single button avenue. But it's all mourning over spilt milk ... the cats are in, lapping it all up. Best forgotten.

obtuse etymology for face flat: I've been reading Barry Kernfeld's wonderful What to Listen for in Jazz, in small helpings, of course. A page in the chapter on form included a discussion on the choice of chords accompanying a tune and one of the descriptions took on a completely different (and interesting meaning): The chord was F A C Eb: aka F7. And a good way to read it would be FACE FLAT. Useful.

reading habit upgrade

With my evening bus and train home going out of sync, I found time to kill and decided to drop by AFPL. I had a few items on hold, but a casual walk about the new releases and the DVD shelves resulted in me walking out with a tad more loans than I could handle. A mixed bag that should keep my free hours busy.

* DVDs:The Bridges Of Madison County and Flawless

* Haunted/James Herbert

* Sergio Leone: Something to do with death/Christopher Frayling {brief}{review}

* Lullaby/Chuck Palahniuk (just in case you forgot, he wrote Fight Club)

* Step Across the Line/Salman Rushdie (more about this below) {review}

* From a Buick 8/Stephen King (I'm a Stephen King fan, so I was obviously thrilled to see this, although he seems dangerously close to the verge of becoming predictable and assembly-line) {review}

Rushdie's new book is a collection of essays, past and present on topics ranging from his experiences surviving the fatwa, his obsession with The Wizard of Oz, the death of Princess Diana, India, Midnight's Children, being photographed, and titular mystification. His film and music essays contain occasional glimpses of his roots in magic realism, but his non-fiction, for the most part, lacks distinctive style, but is quite readable. He has no earth-shattering observations to make, but fuses creative and critical instinct with his experience to come up with a rather readable collection. I caught him on CSPAN when he was reading from this new collection, and to date, he has been the only person I could stand on CSPAN (even Joe Queenan turned out to be a sad complaining weather bag with precious little to say and relying on the past glories of his Red Lobster... days, his entertaining cynical observations now sounding like senile whines). Perhaps it was his Indian connection. Perhaps it was his British accent. Perhaps both. Did anyone notice that his girlfriend Padma Lakshmi shares her name with the narratee in Rushdie's magnum opus Midnight's Children?

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

scratch it ...

Picked up the Soul Train 25th Anniversary Hall of Fame 3 CD box set with a nice colourful booklet to go from the Dekalb County Library yesterday. Oodles of sample-able soul and funk ... including treats like The Isley Brothers' It's your thing, which was used to close Out of Sight.

There's also Herbie Hancock's Rockit... which featured some really vicious vinyl scratching ... and then I had to dig out an RD Burman compilation of mine to retrieve an Amit Kumar song O Haseena from the disaster-fest Ek Main Aur Ek Tu, which showcased RDB's love for the same ... wonder if any other Bollywood music directors ever did this.

Monday, December 02, 2002

another one bites the blog

a resounding welcome to niranjan pedanekar, the oldest[sic] attendee at the Boat Club Quiz Sessions in Pune (the grassy knoll and all that) who has just entered the blogosphere. Content and a hopefully better template are coming up shortly.

music, another indian restaurant, and a movie

(reverse chronological order)

sunday, december 01, 2002
Began the new month recovering from a surprisingly welcome Yesudas song on WRFG -- haven't heard them play him in over a year. And then there was another ... and another ... Still reeling from the great playlist they had for the old segment (instead of songs from the 40s that absolutely no one in the small listener group they have has heard of), we inaugurated the month with lunch at Haandi, another Indian restaurant on Indian Trail. Modestly priced sumptuous food -- I'd recommend the Hyderabadi biryani. And the paper plates seem to be a vestige of a legacy of take outs, but that's a minor annoyance.

Minor annoyance in a CD exchange ...

We also took the opportunity to pay our respects to the Mars Music store on Pleasant Hill Road -- they're going bankrupt and consumers had promptly stripped the store bare ... it was both interesting and unsettling to walk past empty display racks, which once supported guitars from leading brands (yes, I'm partial to guitars .. the other sections were equally barren). Next door was Universal Groceries {last time} and I promptly picked up some more Hindi film CDs:

* Swami Dada/Hum Naujawan

* Godmother

* Bemisal/Jurmana

* Arth/Saath Saath

* Umrao Jaan/Bazaar

The rest of the evening was a quick trip through the commentary track of Rashomon and then my second attempt with audio books: Dashiel Hammett's Red Harvest.

saturday, november 30, 2002
Grocery shopping was the chore du jour. The Asian Variety Show concluded their mini-series dedicated to hyping Deepa Mehta's latest directorial venture Bollywood Hollywood, a North-Indian love story played out as an affectionate spoof of Bollywood film conventions and set in Canada. They also featured audience reactions to the shot-completely-in-New-York desi take on Meet The Parents.

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