Dec 3, 2010

Seriously?

NASA found bacteria whose DNA is made up of Arsenic instead of normal earth stuff. And they are shitting their pants in disbelief and amazement. It's understandable to be thrilled to have found a new "alien" life form, but what they say is this : "The implications of this discovery are enormous to our understanding of life itself and the possibility of finding beings in other planets that don’t have to be like planet Earth"

I mean is it only me or some of you have also thought (since you were born) that looking for water/oxygen may not be the best strategy to find aliens. Why the fuck do aliens have to be like us. In fact on this very blog I wrote in a post dated July 10, 2007 :

"They fools ( read NASA scientists) look for drops of water in search of life.. Look at me, I am an extraterrestrial...I eat uranium and I DON'T breathe."


Now I understand why this blog is so highly rated. It's because I inadvertently make such path-breaking statements even in random, seemingly frivolous posts.
Am I a genius, or NASA needs to recruit people who are not dumb?

Oct 29, 2010

The Sirens of Titan

"He was a machine, like all Tralfamadorians. The Tralfamadorians, according to Salo, manufactured each other. No one knew for certain how the first machine had come into being. The legend was this: Once upon a time on Tralfamadore there were creatures who weren't anything like machines. They weren't dependable. They weren't efficient. They weren't predictable. They weren't durable. And these poor creatures were obsessed by the idea that everything that existed had to have a purpose, and that some purposes were higher than others. These creatures spent most of their time trying to find out what their purpose was. And every time they found out what seemed to be a purpose of themselves, the purpose seemed so low that the creatures were filled with disgust and shame. And, rather than serve such a low purpose, the creatures would make a machine to serve it. This left the creatures free to serve higher purposes. But whenever they found a higher purpose, the purpose still wasn't high enough. So machines were made to serve higher purposes, too. And the machines did everything so expertly that they were finally given the job of finding out what the highest purpose of the creatures could be. The machines reported in all honesty that the creatures couldn't really be said to have any purpose at all. The creatures thereupon began slaying each other, because they hated purposeless things above all else. And they discovered that they weren't even very good at slaying. So they turned that job over to the machines, too. And the machines finished up the job in less time than it takes to say, "Tralfamadore." "

Above is an excerpt from Kurt Vonnegut's "The Sirens of Titan". It is in no way a representative of the general theme, or a major turning point or for that matter the high point of humor in the novel( that is if you consider this as humor). How can it be? Sirens contains ideas worth 10 different full length novels and in the end it is about meaninglessness of it all, so how can a small excerpt give any sort of glimpse into the novel? Not the excerpt above and definitely not the pathetic little description on the back of the novel which makes it sound like B-grade science-fiction.
Around three years back Kurt Vonnegut re-ignited the passion for books in me and turned me into what I can safely say an avid reader. Around one and a half years back when I had read all what Vonnegut had ever written, it felt like a huge void ( much like when football season ends in May) , but this was different considering that possibly my glory days of being a keen reader were gone for good. Direct comparison of any author I read subsequently with Vonnegut didn't help the cause at all. But it turned out to be naive assumption considering that all Vonnegut books can be re-read and re-re-read without losing any of their charm. I finished reading The Sirens of Titan again today.
The closest I can come to describe The Sirens of Titan is that it is a brilliant satire on religion( in its The Church of God the Utterly Indifferent) , War/Military( in its brain-washed Martian army), Stock Markets ( in its richest man on earth who became a billionaire by betting on stocks with initials corresponding to letters in bible) ,human life in general (in its human beings used to serve an unbelievably trivial cause) among lots and lots of other things. I may have given more than decent amount of spoilers above , but it hardly matters because The Sirens of Titan can't be spoilt. I read it second time with almost the same amount of awe and curiosity as the first time. Jasper Fforde in his amazing introduction in the copy I have desperately tries to say that Sirens is not a science-fiction novel, Vonnegut uses science just as a medium to convey some great concepts. To be fair, Vonnegut doesn't even try to give any (ridiculous) explanation to all the science and technology he has used in Sirens- which is a good thing because it would have unnecessarily made the novel twice as thicker without serving any purpose in this case. This novel needs to be read.By everyone.
Even if Mercury,Mars,Titan, aliens, galaxies, wave-phenomena, chrono-synclastic infundibula and space-ships fueled by UWTB( Universal Will to Become) are not your thing, this book is.
Even if absurd & convoluted are not your thing, this book is.
Even if cynicism is not your thing, this book is.
Even if books are not your thing, this book is.
It's hard to believe but you will find The Sirens of Titan bleak, depressing, funny and uplifting at the same time. Worst thing that could happen to you after reading it is that you may stop taking your life very seriously and thereby ruining it. It's still worth it.
The Sirens of Titan has my highest possible recommendation. Thank you Mr. Vonnegut, may you rest in peace.

Sep 26, 2010

Opinions & Snobbery


I like people with opinions, even when I find their opinion ridiculous.

PS: I would have proudly worn that T-shirt 7 years back ( especially if I had thought of the idea)
That was the time when I had simple segmentation of people:

Child in Time/Burn Type: Yeah, we can be friends
Highway Star/Black Night Type: Yeah, you have potential
Hush Type: See you at the party!
Smoke on the Water Type: Please stay away from me

Now I don't listen to Deep Purple.
Now only idiots wear that T-Shirt.
Now I have opinions on many other subjects other than music.

Jul 20, 2010

Nitpicking

Oh, I am getting sucked into this. Blame it on internet. I have no personal vendetta against Christopher Nolan and I loved Inception . But what's with all this reverence and all this "most intelligent thing" to come out since String theory bullshit. Get a grip people.
Ok, let's start from the basics ( no I am not discussing the movie plot here, I mean THE basics) - A problem is "interesting" in one of these 2 conditions: 1) Problem itself is very complex and difficult to solve 2) Problem is not that difficult but the solution seems obvious only when you have seen it. Have you ever tried working on an Excel file made by someone else - specially someone smart ass. Let's say he is trying to solve a simple problem : What is 2+3? But he changes his problem to: What is (10/2 -1 )/2 + 2^3 -5 and he is extremely fond of cell references - he keeps the 10 in sheet no. 5 , he keeps the 5 in sheet no. 27 and so on. Boy, wouldn't you have hard time trying to decipher the problem/solution and who would blame you if you thought that the guy has made an amazing excel model. David Lynch is that smart ass - if you have ever watched Mulholland Drive or Lost Highway you would know what I am talking about. Great entertainment- Yes , but super smart- No.
Not that Nolan tried to emulate Lynch . The underlying problem in his movie itself was simple enough - in fact too simple for my liking. My complain is that he should have thought more about an "interesting" problem rather than devoting so much time on complex(and sometimes unnecessary) and long drawn solution. And it had flaws.
Talking about smart movies- Memento was smart.Sixth Sense was smart. Even Ocean's 11 was smart- so what if they didn't have Penrose's Staircase and Totems , they had Pinch!
Inception is a straight-forward summer blockbuster with awesome visual effects which amount to a great watch and let's keep it at that. It doesn't require second or third viewing for "in-depth" understanding. I don't think I really missed any point,and even if I did it was not because I was not paying attention or the "model" is ingenious , but just because it is Nolan's Excel file .

Jun 1, 2010

Jose - The Man

"I am Jose Mourinho and I don't change - I arrive with all my qualities and all my defects."

Qualities:Ability to blabber entertaining 1-liners like the one above

Defects: Ability to kill everything we like about football, The 9-1 formation, The way he encourages his players to not touch the ball as long as possible, Megalomania, Cockiness, Lack of respect for players, Blaming everyone and everything in a loss, Taking credit for everything and everyone in a win, Lack of adventurism, Claiming magical abilities when he wins with teams with owners who bought him such players who would have won the league 90% of the times anyway- even without a coach ,Portuguese lineage, Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, The way he worries more about off-pitch entertainment that he provides during post match interviews than on-pitch entertainment that his team provides during the match, His love for everyone with abominable pouts - Ronaldo, his dog and others.

Oh, humiliating Real Madrid again next season will be much much more sweeter.

May 13, 2010

Surreal

The trick is to keep your MP3 player switched on when you get off the train.

Footbridge at K.U.R.L.A. station is where humanity descends. But, well, you have your MP3 player. So, you can afford to climb the stairs at your leisurely pace ignoring the pleas from the people behind you when the world around you is rushing as if you are the only one with all the time in the world. And suddenly you see a guy swinging to Head like a hole playing in your earphones.Or he may just be straightening his neck after sustaining an elbow. In such a wonderful, dreamlike setting, strange things are bound to happen.Like day before yesterday, I almost had a crush on this middle aged woman because she was singing The great gig in the sky to me. It took me some time to realize that she was actually shouting at me because I had stepped on her foot. OR probably she was singing The great gig in the sky to me. Sigh, I will never know. Anyway, the point is you will always find a singer to any song playing in your player. Seriously. Mathematically also. Work out the numbers. It may seem improbable after considering various factors like lip movement mapping, mood of the song etc but you are forgetting that you have the power of infinity! I mean as soon as you put infinite number of people in the equation, everything tilts in your favor.

PS1: Final round of matches in La Liga this Sunday. Considering that Barca leads Real by 1 point and faces the relegation battling Valladolid, it looks like a done and dusted deal. But it looked like a done and dusted deal in 2007 too. Oh, I have rarely encountered such nail biting, heartbreaking stuff. And it was going all too well for Barca that day until the last few minutes. In a space of 10-12 seconds Real scored a goal there to level the scoreline 2-2 and Barca conceded a goal here to Espanyol ( who else? god save people who have such neighbors) to level the score 2-2, thereby gifting the league to Real.
Anyway, I won't write more about that stuff 'coz I figured this guy writes much better than me.
So here's what you do: Read THIS , then watch THIS (Hollywood drama and all. Yeah Messi's famous Hand of God replica also here. Btw a caution, don't read too much into the video, it's made by a Real Madrid fan) and then read THIS and consider yourself well prepared for Sunday.

PS2: K.U.R.L.A. : Kick U Right into the Lower Abdomen ( I thought at the starting of the post that I'll come up with a good backronym by the end of the post. Well.

PS3:
head like a hole
black as your soul
I'd rather die
than give you control


Apr 7, 2010

Maradona would have definitely scored

Maradona could have and would have scored that 4th goal yesterday. After all, dribbling past 3 players, shooting the ball , getting it back on rebound from the goalkeeper and again shooting it in the net(from a ridiculous angle) in 88th minute against an Arsenal team which had almost given up is no big deal for "El Diego". He has scored better goals and more important goals in his illustrious career. But Maradona wouldn't have waited for a second after getting the ball on rebound just so he could notice the gap between the legs of Almunia, Maradona wouldn't have waited one second to leave absolutely nothing to chance; he would have smashed the ball at the goal and WOULD have got his goal. Messi's first 3 goals yesterday - a super strike from zero available space, a composed box finish, or the arrogant chip will definitely be more talked about because of their importance or apparent beauty. But it's the 4th goal I have watched countless number of times since yesterday with a gaped mouth. Messi would never bang a ball in the goal from outside the box hoping for a scared goalkeeper or a slight deflection off a defender like say Ronaldo or Rooney. Messi in a way is like any other FC Barcelona player in believing that philosophy - have you seen those crazy Barca defenders who would rather pass or dribble the ball inside their own penalty area ( and boy can they pass & dribble) than clear the ball arbitrarily. Messi just takes it to another level.This strive for perfection makes him miss some goals which he would have otherwise scored if he had given LUCK some breathing space.After all, it's an imperfect world. But who will explain that to Messi. For him end does not justify the means. Any one of us will take "Hence Proved" any day. Maradona will take" Hence Proved" any day. Messi will not.Maradona is like us. Messi is not.

Apr 2, 2010

Romance

If Bryce Dallas Howard and Rebecca Hall decide not to marry me (due to family pressures, their inability to understand Indian accent, Shiv Sena or any other insecurities they may have) they should marry this guy: This Guy
I'll be happy for them( true love and all).

PS1: I know that I have mentioned Elisha Cuthbert and Jessica Alba before on this very blog (along with pictures and all) but those were more immature infatuations. I have grown older and wiser after that.
PS2: If you haven't seen "The Village", "Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona" and "Trainspotting" you won't get the essence of what I am talking about. Also you should kill yourself.
PS3: Yeah yeah, go ahead , go to Google images, Youtube, whatever.

Mar 16, 2010

This is Ground Control to Major Tom

Loneliness and dashed hopes are the worst that could happen to a person or as Kurt Vonnegut would say about them- "Fates worse than Death". But then, Vonnegut is Vonnegut. When he is at his pessimistic,cynical & depressed best, he could have convinced you that even writing blogs or for that matter reading them are fates worse than death. "Life is no way to treat an animal" is what he wanted as his epitaph - you get the point. Ironically though, Slapstick, Sirens of Titan, Cat's Cradle, Bluebeard... are few of my favorite books and all of them are very funny.

I saw "Moon" again today. It's such a brilliant little film.In this movie about the Moon and cloning(ok, this is only a minor spoiler), I felt much sadder for Sam Bell( played by amazing Sam Rockwell) who is suffering from loneliness and dashed hopes than I felt for the whole of Na'vi civilization, or for Tom Hanks dying of Aids or for Tom Hanks on a failed mission or for Tom Hanks stranded on the island or for the retarded Tom Hanks - nothing against Tom Hanks. In short, Moon is a rare sci-fi classic. And it is directed by Duncan Jones(debut movie) who is son of the man who gave us the most memorable sci-fi song ever ( yes, there are sci-fi songs too!) . I am talking about David Bowie and his "Space Oddity" released in 1969 just days before the moon landing. I absolutely love the song and you can listen to it here .Going by "Moon" , Duncan Jones has a great career ahead of him - starting with the sequel to Moon!

The unique thing about sci-fi movies is that they have something out of the ordinary (as per the definition) , and hence more interesting and at the same time since it's science there is a "distinct" possibility of them being true/turning out to be true - quite often more believable than the crap they try to sell us in other "real-life" dramas. Sadly though, whenever someone talks about sci-fi movies all we can think of is people dressed up in funny costumes fighting with tube- lights, USA saving the world or Mila Jovovich kicking asses and killing people - not bad, but not good enough. But there have been few excellent sci-fi movies, there are at least 6 I can definitely vouch for , 6 movies which will take your breath away , 6 movies which everyone should, must, have to watch : 2001: A Space Odyssey, Back to the Future , Contact, Gattaca, Children of Men & Moon.

PS: In 1999-2000 , I probably would have included The Matrix in the above list but now I just feel like punching Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne whenever I see their faces in the movie and I feel like puking when I listen to dialogues like these:
Neo: What is the Matrix?
Trinity:The answer is out there, Neo, and it's looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to.

Jan 29, 2010


"Mediocrities everywhere.. I absolve you.. I absolve you.. I absolve you....I absolve you.. I absolve you all."

Quote courtesy : " Amadeus"

Jan 13, 2010

They don't love you like I love you

She may not be conventionally pretty but who wouldn't fall in love with her after listening to this.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps

Mind-boggling Science Fiction 3

Me to my personal Artificially Intelligent buddy, Rocket:  Rocket, can you do this calculation for me. What's 7 + 4? Rocket: Dude, d...