29 July 2007

I'm Back

I am back from my trip to Matacanes.

Out of a total of 30 jumps into water, I managed to do 27 and a half. I had to skip some of them, more out of the fact that too much water had entered my mouth, my sinusitis and I was weary from trying to keep myself afloat; than the fear of the jump itself. I did have a precarious slip (almost certain death according to those who were watching me slip) in my very first jump itself, but I guess mother earth and motherland Madras have to tolerate me for some more time ;-)

Mark my words when I say this -- you need to be physically very fit and preferably know swimming well to complete this trip. This trip is a one-way traffic. If you start it, there is no other option but to finish it. Also, five jumps into the water is compulsory, with the least altitude among them being 30 feet, and a jump into pitch black darkness, being the other.

Photos and detailed trip report in the next few days.

I think I now realize when people say things like "Strike when the iron is hot" and other proverbs. For ten years, I had the chance to learn swimming from my grandmother in the cauvery river, but blew it all up without realizing how important it is. In one of those swimming lessons she was giving me, I embarrassed her by crying out for help ! If I had known swimming, this trip would have been an even more enjoyable one. And then again, swimming is a more complete exercise than anything I have encountered so far.

K.Shyam

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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 7:41 PM 2 comments

27 July 2007

Pain

Pain is, when your lower abdomen gets heavy with nature's call material, but it refuses to go out; you were determined to run at-least 10 kilometers, but had to stop halfway.

Life sucks. And this is why I refuse to run at any time of day except early mornings.

K.Shyam

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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:33 PM 0 comments

Good Links

If you are looking for a good introduction to carnatic basics, this is a good place to start off !

Courtesy, my friend Raghuram, who strives to maintain a minimalistic virtual presence.

Speaking of Carnatic, go here to listen to Prasanna play "Alaipayuthe" and go here to listen to him play "Vathapi Ganapathim". In case you did not know who Prasanna was, go here !

K.Shyam

PS: In case you want mp3 of the carnatic primers, mail me or post a comment.

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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:26 PM 0 comments

Chew this

Thyagaraja and Mozart were almost born in the same time, check here and here.

They lived seas apart at a time, when communication between places even as close as 10 kilometers to each other, was through horse carts and such.

Yet, you can recognize a lot of similarities in the music they have created.

Except, of course, Thyagaraja kicked some real serious ass during his lifetime ;-)

K.Shyam

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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 7:55 PM 0 comments

22 July 2007

Bravery or Fear ?

With all my fear of heights and lack of swimming knowledge, in around 8 hours from now, I will be going to this place.

This reminds me of something I heard/read sometime ago. "There is no such thing as bravery. Only degrees of fear" !

Time to hope that I come out with enough adrenalin to last a few months from this experience ;-)

Update: The trip has been postponed by a week due to bad weather :-(

K.Shyam



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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 9:13 AM 3 comments

21 July 2007

Brains ? Or the lack of it ?

Seriously speaking, where do those Americans who take crucial decisions have their brains ? In the places in their bodies where the sun does not shine ? (Okay, that is a polite way of saying their a**es ;-)). Or is it that they do not have brains at all ?

They ban any sort of liquids, toothpaste, e.t.c., e.t.c., from their airplanes, but are now going to allow cigarette lighters in their flights !

I think the rest of the countries must gang up and declare that, they will not allow passengers flying into their countries, to board flights if they have cigarette lighters !

Read more about this comedy here.

K.Shyam

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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 2:54 AM 0 comments

20 July 2007

Innum Yennai Yenna Seyya Pogirai - 2



Another gem from Raja. I had already written about it.

K.Shyam

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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:33 PM 0 comments

Timeless Classic



This song is a timeless classic ! The haunting chorus, the mesmerizing flute pieces, the violins, and above all the soft and sensuous voice of S.Janaki. Man, Raja is indeed raja ! Check out the way he opens the song with those beautifully orchestrated violins and the soft flute pieces.

In case you are interested in a piece wise analysis of this song, go here.

K.Shyam

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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:19 PM 0 comments

Sorgam



I leave you with this song for a nostalgic weekend :-(

Indeed, sorgamae endralum, adhu yenga madras-a pola varuma ?

K.Shyam

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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 9:44 PM 0 comments

Comedies

When Amma wanted to take over the cable Telivision distribution in Tamilnadu and make it a government enterprise, the first person to oppose it was Karunanidhi, since he feared that the monopoly that his grand nephews, Kalanidhi and Dayanidhi enjoyed, will disappear.

But, now that his nephews have burnt the bridges with him, he is all set to do the same thing. This is real egg on his face !.

Puratchi Thalivi-na summava ? ;-)

K.Shyam

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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 2:26 AM 2 comments

19 July 2007

Contender

Vidyasagar, whom I had covered in a few previous posts here, dishes out with a nice song in the move Thambi. This song is set in Reethigowlai ragam.





As I mentioned before, doesn't the lead actress Pooja look pretty ? ;-)

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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:40 PM 0 comments

Reasons Unknown

It has been ten years since the movie Thullatha Manamum Thullum was released.

I still do not know why these two songs have left some indelible impressions on me.

This one




and this one




Is it because of Hariharan ? Or is it because of Simran ? (The second thought is a distinct possibility ;-) ). It definitely is not because of the musician S.A.Rajkumar.

Or is it because that I was away having a ball in my hostel at NIT (REC) Trichy ? I would not know. But, yes, there are lot more such songs which transports me to another time, another place, another world.

Sigh, those sweet memories.

K.Shyam

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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 4:44 AM 0 comments

17 July 2007

Review - Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix

Firstly, I read quite a lot of reviews where the reviewer had mentioned that the movie is dark and disturbing.

I am not aware whether that was meant to be a compliment or a criticism, but I have a question to ask them. It has been three installments since that book was released. The lead characters are no more kids. In fact, they even make out ! That being the case, what is all this lame arguments about being dark and whatsoever ? Silly.

Coming back to the review, this movie, strangely enough, when compared to the previous movies, has nothing in terms of story. It could be possible that the director has made some drastic changes when compared the book and hence, made a lame movie out of it. Since I have not read the book, I cannot compare that scenario.

The plot has been beaten to death in many reviews and I will refrain from writing about it. There is nothing spectacular in terms of visual effects or whatsoever. While the previous movies had some dazzling CGI in form of the Quidditch games, this one does not even have that too. Somehow the idea of Harry teaching the kids to use their magic did not gel well with the overall movie. In fact, except for one or two situations, I did not see the kids using their spells anywhere else.

And the director has glaringly left out many details about the Order of the Phonenix. He tries to give some introduction to it, but inexplicably, there is no mention later on in the movie about it. Some amount of movie time to that aspect might have made the movie a tad more interesting. And what happens to Harry's crush Chang ? Is it a part of the next installment ?

At the end of the movie, you somehow feel the emptiness in the movie. And that is not a good sign !

K.Shyam

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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 7:48 AM 1 comments

Piracy

In case you did not know, pirated versions of Harry Potter's final installment is getting ready in the streets of India and maybe, China too.

However, before jumping to any kind of conclusions, think of this.

The manuscript is being prepared in London (I assume this, since Rowling lives there) and is being sent to many stores throughout the world under heavy security. If the leak did not happen at the source, i.e., the place where the manuscript was being printed or where it was being written, where else could it have happened ?

Now, what is the point in blaming India, China or for that matter, any country for this leak ?

The fault, without any doubt, lies at the source. So, a sincere piece of suggestion to the so-called western countries to first set their houses in order, before blaming others.

K.Shyam

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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 7:39 AM 0 comments

12 July 2007

1.. 2.. Bungee

start

Before I started to jump. My phobia of heights (Yeah, yeah, I know most guys are surprised when I say I have fear of heights ;-)), made me wait a full 5 minutes before I jumped. In case you are wondering why my hands are crossed on my shoulders, it was to balance myself. There was this dead weight that was tugging my legs !

first

And then, I jumped ! A second or two of free fall.

second

Almost at the end of the jump.

bounce

You start oscillating like crazy. That is when the yippie-ka-yey war cries escape out of you ;-)

clipping

The cable comes down to hosit you back to safety !

hoist

And there you are back !

This was Mexico's tallest bungee jump it seems. 70mts. The one in Bangalore was taller !

K.Shyam
PS: All pictures, courtesy Sachin

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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:07 PM 4 comments

09 July 2007

Review - Transformers

Crap. Totally avoidable. Micahel Bay needs to come out of the mindset, that whatever crap he coats with American Jingoism, people will watch it. How many times does have to use slow motion technique to show pilots boarding their planes ?

And yeah, as for the CGI, well, it plainly sucks.

Ebay being browsed by aliens to find out stuff ? World Wide Web being made available galaxy wide ? Come on, doesn't that sound real lame ?

Apart from a few really comic moments, there was/is nothing to really write about.

K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:19 PM 2 comments

Review - Die Hard 4.0

Excuse me, Mr.Bruce Wills. You had made an interesting character called John McLane. One of the most interesting points in that character being a larger-than-life hero, was the villains that he battled. A sneering German, a smooth talking German e.t.c., e.t.c..

Can you please tell me where they are in your latest installment that you have dished out ? I mean, the jokes are plenty, the action, thankfully, looks real (what was that flyover sequence ? Looked pretty lame), but where is the story and where are those menacing villains, who are absolutely necessary, to elevate the stories of good vs bad to really effective levels ? While you have managed to maintain continuity by making sure that your daughter is now in the thick of things, you seem to be pretty jaded yourself. Some more enthusiasm in paying your role would have helped. I seem to think that Justin Long has actually manged to play his part pretty decently, given his, "Hi I'm a Mac" sentences that we were used to !

In the absence of the all important aspect, viz, villain and an effective story line and screenplay, sorry Mr.John, you are indeed a Timex watch in the digital age.

K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:07 PM 0 comments

Review - Straight Story

I am generally not given into too much emoting and stuff when I watch movies. But, it was this movie that really created that lump in my throat feeling.

To start off, Straight Story is a pretty simple movie. An elder brother makes a difficult (considering his age and financial situation) journey to mend fences with his ill brother.

Unlike many other preachy movies about relationships and stuff, this movie just presents situations that the elder brother encounters along his journey. Situations which, if you are a traveler, would encounter.

The directory, David Lynch, strikes a chord with his viewers, extracting simple, nothing flashy and very effective performances from his crew. In fact, the screenplay is again devoid of any relationship jingoisms or any other overtures, and instead, concentrates and presenting realistic situations to the viewer. Note the situations where the lead actor bargains over the repairs done to his tractor.

This movie was based on Alvin Straight's real life story. Richard Farnsworth plays the role of Alvin Straight and to put it simply, provides a magnificent performance, literally living out the role. Sadly, it looked like he has reserved his best for the last. This was his last movie, before he passed away committing suicide.

Particularly touching were the last few scenes where it becomes really hard to dismiss this movie as "Just another movie".

K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 9:50 PM 2 comments