Friday, May 30, 2008


... you feel like you are always swimming against the tide. Need a break, but can't say it!

Monday, May 26, 2008


Oh, we now have a gleaming black car. Neat :)


Material Mom led me on to Pablo Neruda's Keeping Quiet. Lovely. My favourite lines:

if we could do nothing for once,
perhaps a great silence would
interrupt this sadness,
this never understanding ourselves
and threatening ourselves with death

On another note, my Whirpool refrigerator is yet to be repaired. Did I mention that its brand new?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Price Caspian is a bore

I wasn't expecting too much from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. But the movie managed to disappoint me even then. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was way better. This one is long and cumbersome! Except for little Georgia Henley (the youngest Pevensie), everybody else seems to be sleepwalking through the movie. Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) tries to go for dashing, but ends up looking dirty and unwashed instead. (spoiler) I wonder why Aslan (the lion) had to wait till the Narnians were almost exterminated before showing up! Ho hum!

The storming of the castle was pretty spectacular, primarily because of the dark lighting. Otherwise, the CGI is real bad - especially the animals. Aslan looks terribly unreal, as he did in the first movie as well. Loved the cameo from Tilda Swinton, hope the Ice Queen comes back in the next movie. Yep, I haven't read the books.

Verdict: Give it a miss.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Niggling little health problems, teething trouble at the new place, a living room that is still bare, a brand new fridge with a broken part that is yet to be repaired - no wonder then that I have this feeling that I woken up on the wrong side of the bed. Though I'm still debating on which side that is! Need some music to soothe me and some exercise, which can't happen till those niggling problems go away. I need a break!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Do you have a reputation

Stumbled upon Naymz, a website that creates an online profile based on publicly available information on the Internet. Without telling anyone about it, that is! Just the other day I was reading about how Internet users leaves bits and pieces of themselves online; well Naymz collates these and puts up a summary (they call it reputation) without you knowing about it. At least they have the decency of letting you remove profiles if you don't want them. Check it out today to see what kind of a reputation you have online and take control!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Look who's talking

Excerpt from Steve Ballmer's letter to Jerry Yang:

"We regard with particular concern your apparent planning to respond to a "hostile" bid by pursuing a new arrangement that would involve or lead to the outsourcing to Google of key paid Internet search terms offered by Yahoo today. In our view, such an arrangement with the dominant search provider would make an acquisition of Yahoo undesirable to us for a number of reasons:

-- First, it would fundamentally undermine Yahoo's own strategy and long-term viability by encouraging advertisers to use Google as opposed to your Panama paid search system. This would also fragment your search advertising and display advertising strategies and the ecosystem surrounding them. This would undermine the reliance on your display advertising business to fuel future growth.

-- Given this, it would impair Yahoo's ability to retain the talented engineers working on advertising systems that are important to our interest in a combination of our companies.

-- In addition, it would raise a host of regulatory and legal problems that no acquirer, including Microsoft, would want to inherit. Among other things, this would consolidate market share with the already-dominant paid search provider in a manner that would reduce competition and choice in the marketplace."

Funny that Microsoft should be concerned about "reduced competition and choice" in the market place. Oh wait, we aren't talking about Windows, or Internet Explorer, or Office! However, it worries me that Google seems to be on the way to becoming the next Microsoft.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Thoroughly enjoyable

Disclaimer: I have a soft spot for Robert Downey Jr. And I haven't read any Iron Man comics.

A superhero movie where you don't get to see the superhero as much as you get to see the man underneath? One with incredible special effects, but these are kept to a bare minimum? If you think that such a movie won't work, watch Iron Man.

Iron Man doesn't stray too far from formula of depicting the rise of a superhero - there is the rich playboy, the mandatory angst, the perfunctory side kick and love interest, the scheming villain etc., etc. The primary reason Iron Man rises above the clutter is the choice of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, the genius weapons manufacturer who has a change of heart when captured by Afghan rebels and brought back from the brink of death with an electromagnet that protects, well, his heart.

Iron Man is like Batman in the sense that he has no intrinsic/natural superpowers, but Tony Stark is no Bruce Wayne, and Robert Downey Jr. never lets you forget that. He plays Tony Stark with an unabashed bad boy edge - even post his rebirth-of-sorts in a dark cave in Afghanistan, he never fully loses that naughty/haughty gleam in his eye. Make no mistake, Tony Stark immensely enjoys the blue blood that runs in his veins. There is some angst - the loss of his father, an unconsummated love interest - but nothing so deep rooted as to drive him to be a caped crusader. Stark's driving force behind Iron Man is personal - he has done harm and his ego wont let him sit back and allow that.

Though the special effects are phenomenal, they are kept to a minimum here (more likely in the sequel). Iron Man focuses on the birth pangs of the superhero, the hits and misses that lead Stark to perfection (the villain, played by a menacing Jeff Bridges, gets it right on first trial though!). This is a movie that is more human than superhuman, and like I said before, Robert Downey Jr. is perfect for the part. He is an immensely likeable screen presence with eyes that go from bad boy to puppy dog within seconds. My first reaction when I heard that he's been cast for the role was that he didn't fit my description of a superhero (neither did Christian Bale when he was roped in as Batman, for that matter), but now I can't think of anybody else who could have pulled it off better.

Gwenyth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) is completely wasted, so is Jeff Bridges. With that bald head and beard, he looks like a cardboard villain, and its to his credit that he lends some spark to an otherwise bland role. Fan reviews tell me that Terrence Howard will become Iron Man's sidekick, so we can expect more out of him in the next movie.

Verdict: See post title.

Friday, May 02, 2008

I am through with Jhumpa Lahiri

I loved "The Interpreter of Maladies" and even though the woes-of-the-Bengali-diaspora theme began to wear thin, enjoyed the lucid prose in "The Namesake". In parts of "An Unaccustomed Earth", Lahiri seemed capable of breaking free from the mould that she has cast herself in. But she fails pretty spectacularly and that is my biggest complaint against her otherwise beautiful writing. Most writers carve a niche for themselves - Marquez for instance, wrote about mostly the Latin world. But his themes transcended his locales, didn't stop anyone from connecting with his characters and the worlds they inhabited. The ethnicity of his people added colour and potency to his stories, but was never the story in itself. A point that Lahiri would do well to remember!

I am not saying that "An Unaccustomed Earth" is not an engrossing read (ask my hubby about it!). In a couple of stories, the lead character's Bengali roots do not get in the way of the story. But Lahiri fails to rise above her own limitations, just like her characters always fail to rise above themselves. "Hema and Kaushik" was the biggest disappointment - this lacks the subtlety that graces most of Lahiri's writing. Critics have gone gaga over the book, but I think I've read all the Jhumpa Lahiri I need to read.