Oct 26, 2007

Anticipation.


I don't remember, when was the last time I waited so eagerly for any movie.

That it is written-directed by Coen brothers is obviously a big factor.Oh I have loved almost all of their movies - The Big Lebowski,Miller's Crossing,Raising Arizona,Barton Fink,O Brother where art thou ? etc - although their most acclaimed Fargo is the one which I find grossly overrated.
That it will be visually stunning is not even a question.( Look at the list of movies I have written above for God's Sake).And it is based on supposedly great Cormac McCarthy's novel.

But more importantly, the trailer. THE TRAILER. It won't be an exaggeration if I say that it is one of the best trailer I have ever seen.Ok I don't know why. Nowdays almost all movies have brilliant trailers, where they show the best scenes/cuts from the movie and finally when you watch the movie, you come to know that those were the only scenes watchable.
But this one is different. It is dark.It is wicked. And it forewarns you what to expect of the movie.And boy, does Javier Bardem look chilling as the bad guy.I mean really chilling. Javier Bardem has this"Hey, look I am so psycho" look or lack of look on his face.And well they reaffirm my feelings about him in the trailer, when they are discussing him: "Just how dangerous is he?" "Compared to what.......bubonic plague?"

Watch the trailer here: TRAILER
Don't blame me, if you choke upon the trailer.I almost did.

Another movie which I am looking forward to see ( obviously not as much as the one above) is Into the Wild.
It has an intriguing storyline. And the wonderfully mellow soundtrack , where all the songs are done solely by Eddie Vedder(obviously I already have the soundtrack ).

Watch the song Hard Sun from the movie here : Hard Sun

PS: Watched Shoot em Up today on big screen.Imagine cheesy.Imagine gross. And I mean , really, really test your imagination.And then you'll be hugely surprised when you watch the movie.Whether positively or negatively depends purely on your taste.If you can watch a single person killing atleast 200-250 people ( and yes its not a bomb blast,where BOOM, and 100 people are dead.He kills them one by one) and you can enjoy dialogues like this :

"Well I was just remembering a limmerick. There once was a woman who was quite begat. She had three babies named Nat, Pat, and Tat. She said it was fun in the breeding, but found it was hell in the feeding when she saw there was no tit for Tat. You have caused me no end of trouble, but now I shall return the favor. Tit for Tat, right?"

or
this
"You want to know the difference between this luxury car and a porcupine?
With the car, the prick's on the inside. "

then you are in for a treat! Else please don't watch.

Oct 18, 2007

Rock n Roll is still rebellious


You can't imagine how sad I feel when I download music from internet.And when that music belongs to the Gods like Radiohead the guilt is just too much for me to handle.And so I am forced to buy their CDs from time to time even if I already have their high quality mp3s on my comp ( just to wash away some of my sins). Oh yeah, 192-320 kbps is good enough quality for me , even though I can make out a distinct difference between a mp3 and a CD sound.

Mind you , I don't use the term "God" very liberally.Apart from Radiohead , I have used it only for Pearl Jam and Pink Floyd.And in other fields,say sports, I have used it for Zidane and Ronaldinho and now I use it for Messi.I have used it for Federer too. While Federer's God-dom looks challenged by a 20 yr old dude from Serbia who can imitate Sharapova better than Sharapova( don't tell me you haven't seen his videos); Messi it seems, won't have any competition for some years.Obviously this conclusion is contingent upon some assumptions like :
1) Other lesser football players won't take out their frustration of their wives' infidelity on poor boy's shin.

2)Messi won't become fat due to drinking and over eating or would not be involved in other controversial stuff like rape charges ( like other famous dudes from Argentina). This ain't a very improbable assumption, considering that Messi is a mama's boy who sleeps at 9'o clock every night.But then it doesn't take much time for a mama's boy to grow up.

And my habit of deviating from the topic............

Coming back to Music , coming back to musical Gods. While Pink Floyd has stopped producing any new music and Pearl Jam's last two albums were mediocre to say the least , Radiohead just won't let go of its genius.And I thought after Hail to the Thief , enough is enough ( just how long can a band keep on producing amazing stuff. Even if all the other tracks were rotten, I would still rate Hail to the Thief 5/5 just for one "Where I end and you begin" . And surprise, surprise other tracks were also classics). But well its Radiohead, and their latest album "In Rainbows", might not be as brilliant as Kid A, Bends, Ok Computer or even Hail to the Thief , its still a Radiohead album. Any other band would die happily the day it produces an album like this.
But this post was not meant to be a review of In rainbows.
Whenever Radiohead is about to release any album, there is an unbelievabale amount of buzz in whole world.And well, when Radiohead decides to release an album which you can download( even for free) from their own website you can imagine how much crazy millions of people will go.
Their contract with EMI expired few years ago and boy did they pull off some stunt!Its as simple as it gets , you go to their site www.radiohead.com , where they say its upto you how much money you want to pay to download their album , and yes you can enter zero also. If you are a bit suspicious you can click at the "?" mark and then they'll say: "No Really. Its upto You."And obviously since its readily available on their site, its readily available on numerous other sites from which you can download ( if you don't even want to enter your credit card number).

No prize for guessing, who is pissing in their pants- the record labels.But rock bands have always had this burden to rebel against the authority, haven't they? Now you tell me who deserves the Nobel Peace Prize - Al Gore ( no disrespect to An Inconvenient Truth) or Radiohead for spreading peace and unity through their freely distributed music?
Not that Radiohead is very philanthropic or anything.They released their album on 10th October and more than 1.2 million people downloaded the album from their official website on the same day ( obviously they had pre-ordered the album).If this number is not mind-boggling enough, the average amount that their fans paid for their album was 4 pounds or $ 8.1 !! So that makes it an earnings of more than 9 million dollars on the first day itself! (and this time there is no fucking middleman.)
What the Fuck?
And this is not all, Radiohead will definitely sell a lot of their conventional CDs when they come out early next year.As Jonny Greenwood puts it very candidly - ".......people will listen to our new album and if they like they'll definitely buy the CDs where they'll get the better sound quality"
Maybe thats why they have kept the bitrate of mp3s to 160kbps.. (which infact has infuriated many of their fans....bloody people. what more do they want for free? Now even 160kbps is not good enough for you? what about iTunes?what about old Kazaa and Napster days where you could get only 128 kbps?).
So Radiohead might actually end up earning much more than what would they have done if they had released it conventionally, plus they have made millions of new fans. They have become the Robin Hood of music industry.Radiohead is not the first band to do something like this, but they definitely did it in style and obviously their already huge fanbase helped .
Many other bands will follow suit, but I am not sure how much money will a less famous band make out of this marketing scheme.
Whatever may happen in the future , most important thing is that I won't ever have to be shamefaced when I download music from the net . :)

Oct 4, 2007

Thailand

Here's the account of my first overseas trip! Well sadly though,downside to such an amazing trip is the feeling of having wasted 25 years of my life.I ought to travel much more!

Nok Air is a low cost no frills airline from Thailand, and be warned, its much worse than the worst airline by which you have ever traveled in India.But I guess it doesn't matter when you just have to go there and sleep for 4 hours until you reach your destination.Its a different matter that we all were shit scared when we read the news of some low cost airplane crashing in Phuket and killing all passengers(most of which were tourists) just days before our travel.And Nok Air's funny looking orange,pink,red,green (supposedly cheerful )planes didn't help mitigate the fear.

Tip:All those planning to go to Thailand please go as soon as possible. Looking at the way number of Desi tourists are increasing, Thailand will stop treating you like foreigners soon.And believe me, you don't have much time left.If you want more proof,Nok Air operates on only one international route : Bangkok to Bangalore!

Anyway we reached Bangkok safely.First thing that you see is the grand, beautiful airport!The number of people might be same or even more than a Delhi or Bbay airport, but you don't feel it coz of the sheer size.We had planned to go directly to Pattaya from the airport ( almost a 2 hrs drive). We almost changed our itinerary when we came to know that last two days of Thai Open were in progress with likes of Nadal, Djokovic, Roddick and Ana Ivanovic taking part.Anyway we stuck to our plan because we were not sure of the availability of the tickets and more importantly because nobody could fucking understand English.

Second thing you notice about Thailand is that only females work there! Every showroom, fast food joint,restaurant, hotel, barbershop, medical shop , departmental store has only women employees!What the fuck!? Is it that male/female ratio is extremely skewed .If thats the case I wonder what could be the reason.Was Thailand extremely active in World War 2 , or they had some Pol Potic despot who killed only men or they practise Male infanticide.
Internet confirms that sex ratio is indeed 97/100 and it states the reason as higher life expectancy of females!But come on, even with 0.97 male for every female you gotto see some men working!I think all the men there either drive taxis , play adventure sports or sleep at home( what a life!).

Before I go further with the trip here are some widely held myths about Thailand :
Myth 1:
Thailand is dirt cheap and your travelling cost is only the air ticket.
Truth: Thailand is as expensive( if not more) as India.Ok very high end hotels are cheaper in Thailand but you are anyway not going to stay in those.

Myth 2: You get all sorts of cockroaches, snakes, dogs,earthworms,butterflies and other exotic things to eat in every corner of Thailand.
Truth:We didn't see any snakes or dogs being served in any restaurant. Cockroaches were sold only on roadside shops, but they looked too .. ahem... unhygienic.But I did eat all possible seafood ...oysters,squids, shrimps and fishes!

Bangkok to Pattaya was a smooth 120-130 kmph Camry ride on awesome highway. Thailand has a potential to shock you in every conceivable way.Seriously.Believe me you'll get the feeling of having seen it all after a trip to Thailand.
You must have done this "Height thing" a lot when you were kid.
Much like:
Height of Coincidence: A husband and a wife were married on the same day!
or Height of Minuteness: A pimple on the dimple on the right cheek of an amoeba!
or Height of Heights: Shitting on Mt Everest to make it an inch higher!

Here are two more for you:
Height of Hypocrisy: Public display of affection and nudity is prohibited in Thailand.
Height of Irony: Bands like RHCP, Megadeth, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys,Metallica, Strokes, Placebo tour Thailand very regularly and nobody understands English there!! But then ,as they say Music has no language.

We had an amazing time visting beaches ,speed boating to Ko-Lan island ( where i ate the best/first fish of my life) and underwater diving- Walking on the ocean floor and feeling(ahem) various sea animals was a good experience.The bodyguards had developed a very efficient underwater sign language where they clearly instructed us as to poking which body part of a particular animal will result in being bitten and poking which other body part of the same animal will be a pleasurable experience for you and for it.
Then there was other stuff like Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum! And well obviously you must have heard a lot about the "night life" of Pattaya, but I'll keep the sleazy details out of the this blog(you can read it all over internet, if you are that curious).
The best thing about Pattaya was its Hard Rock Cafe.Ok, as far as ambience and acoustics go , they were pretty impressive, but then in Bangalore I have seen better.But its in-house band (from Phillipines) was simply awesome!They were basically 5 dudes and 1 dudette. And all ..yes all of them could sing..and sing well. AND PLAY WELL.So what happens when you have six different kinds of high quality singers , you get to listen to breathtaking variety of songs. They played everything from Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry to RHCP and Nirvana.The girl even sang Shakira and well it was enjoyable especially with she and many other American females around us showing latino moves.Believe me I have never heard a band do a cover of Bohemian Rhapsody in its enirety and I have never EVER heard a better guitar solo live ( Freebird!!).
The disadvantage of such a good band playing infront of you is that you stay in the cafe from 9.30 P.M. to 2.30A.M. ( yes ! they played till 2.30!! ) and end up spending a bomb( No matter how sexy the waitresses were, they were still pain in the asses ...sir woood u like to eat something ..sir you woant anatha beeeaa...sir we have offa on Heineken... basically you have to order). However,they didn't disturb us much when we went there again next night(yes we went again!!) .
I donno why they opened Hard Rock Cafe in Bbay coz Bangalore is the perfect destination. But then Hard Rock Cafe Pattaya will still be different.Ok picture this:

Hard Rock Cafe Pattaya: Chilled out crowd, chilled out environment,chilled out band,chilled out waitresses and waiters, people dancing and enjoying themselves,everything chilled out..ok except that some transvestite might pester you to dance with her/him, music playing till 3-4 ..whole night.

Hard Rock Cafe Bangalore( which I believe will open by the end of this year): 1000 rupess cover charges,Saturday/Sunday Couple entry, no space to sit if you enter anytime after 7.30 P.M., no space to stand if you enter anytime after 9 P.M. , waiters with ridiculous attitude, band( not even half as talented) with ridiculous attitude,last order at 10.30 P.M., music off at 11 P.M., police entering and pushing people out at 11.20 P.M.

Oh shit, I forgot that this post is not about Hard Rock Cafe, nor its about Bangalore( India) bashing.
Bangkok is like Delhi with its amazing roads and infrastrucure(actually much better than delhi), its like Bombay with its traffic jams(actually even worse than Bbay), and its like Bangalore with its tuk-tuks or autos ( actually much much lesser in number than Bangalore).Oh yes there is skytrain which is much like Delhi's metro, only its over the ground.In Bangkok we behaved like regular tourists, visiting palaces and monasteries.We even took a boat ride in a river that went through the city( a poor man's version of Venice).

Fact 1: Toyota holds more than 90% of the Thai 4-wheeler market. This conculsion is based purely on observation and no secondary research was done.

The malls in Bangkok are MASSIVE...take Forum, which is the biggest mall in Bangalore , multiply it by 10 and you get Siam Paragon/Siam Centre.And they are really posh too.To give you an example a whole floor of Siam Paragon contained only cars..and what cars! We had our photo sessions with all the beauties -Porsche,Ferrari,Lamborghini, Masseratti,Jaguar,BMW, Bentley and what not!!
I wonder where Thai people get all that money. I see them involved in only two professions: Tourism or Idolizing their king.Many websites warned us not to utter a word about their king or else we might get severely beaten.But then Indians are Indians (sorry for generalising) ...we got our kicks by abusing the king in Hindi infront of Thai people(akin Raja C*****). Actually abusing the king in English also wouldn't have caused any problems... but there some amount of risk is involved ( Oh come on you know the general rule.. no matter how fucked up anybody's language vocabulary may be there is a high probability that he knows all the swear words. Take me for example... I can swear in Telugu,Tamil,Bengali,Spanish,French,German and probably Thai)

One of the best things to do in Siam Paragon is Karaoke..and its different than anything you have seen in India. You get a whole room fitted with amazing speakers, LCD T.V.,Karaoke software, amplifiers, microphones, a cool collection of songs and obviously beer. Then you don't have to worry about people booing you or laughing at you. You know that you are in the company of equally pathetic singers( i mean you friends) and you can let go.Well then there was nothing stopping us from singing Hey Jude or We didn't start the fire or Bohemian Rhapsody or even My Humps (:D).
We did some cheap T-shirt shopping after vehement bargaining(or so we think) and got good deals(or so we think).
Finally I can't stop myself from describing the incident which happened on my return flight( same old Nok air where all announcements were made in Thai and some announcements were made in English which was as good as Thai).Anyway my fellow Indian passenger was quite hungry and he called upon an air hostess :

Do you serve meals?
Yes saah we have beeaah ..we have singha beeaaa..we have heineken beeaah
@#$@, I want meal.
Yes saah we have.. we have singha beeaah.. we have heineken...
( I took pity on my fellow passenger . Since till now i was quite conversant with Thai English)
He wants to eat... eeeaat something.
ohh..yes saah... we have cakes, biscuits...
Do you have any meal ?
yes saah we have meaah.. wait.. 5 minutes i'll get you..
(after 5 minutes)
Sorry saah we have run outta meaah
ohh.. what do you have that i can eat
saah... we have cakes, biscuits and saah.. we have very good veg-non veg meaahss...
@#$@@#, what in non-veg meals?
yes sir we have non-veg meaah
what in non veg..? ok get me whatever you have.
ok saah. which beeaah you want?
is beer included in the meal charges.
sir we have singha beeah, heineken beeah...
is it included in the meal charges..?
Yes saah..
ok give me one Heineken
(here again I have to save my fellow passenger's ass. As I was more than aware of Thai English and Nok airways.I tell him it can't be included in meal charges)
Ok then give me only one meal.
ok saah..thank you.

(Now you know what you are up against when you travel to thailand.)

So this was our trip( ok atleast 50% of it ).
For pictures, you have to visit my orkut page :)


Mind-boggling Science Fiction 3

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