Monday, December 28, 2009


To start off - it's a good movie to watch.

I went into this movie with a lot of apprehension reading all those not-so-flattering-reviews, about how it was a long-drawn love story; about nothing too much about effects and all; about how James Cameron went a little bit overboard etc.. But as millions of movie goers have proved, it's a good one - one to be watched at least one more time.

To start with, the bad news:
1. It's a good thing to watch an extra terrestrial species talk about Zen philosophy. They say lightning never strikes twice in the same place. They are wrong. It did at Fame Lido. Remember the cup is full/empty. Can we get on with precious life Hollywood - Next time you folks want to use this story in a movie, say something like "The full cup thingie". We will get it.

2. Unobtainium - The name of the precious mineral sounded like an old joke. Ask anyone in the theatre yesterday, they would have come up with a better term. (Trivia: If anyone wondered what this gizmo mineral is gonna do, it helps transfer energy with zero loss at room temperature - a super conductor at normal temperature.)

3. I would have liked it, if the men came back and had another go at the Na'vi. But it was not meant to be. Believe me, this movie smacks of a sequel. "Avatar - The Return of the Unobtainians" I would watch it, but if it takes another 12 years, James, my son may laugh at you. The fighting Colonel shouldn’t have died, his scars notwithstanding. His part should have been played by Hugo weaving, but who listens to us these days.

4. Hollywood scriptwriters conveniently eliminate the Hero's only competition. Tsu'Tey - remember, the unfortunate would-have-been leader of the clan? He had to die, and I hate it. He was more human than Na'vi. Fierce, trigger-happy, and envious - all too human. C’mon guys, he spoke English without an MTI.
(On second thoughts, he could have been Judas Iscariot in a sequel. May be, as Saurav-one of my colleagues said, he ain't dead coz he just falls off, we never see him die die, and may be he will make a come back with some cock-and-bull story. Or may be, the name sounds Chinese, so they just decided to bump him off.)

5. The Heroine Neytiri. Her name means “a burning wick dipped in ghee” in my tongue. Actually I liked her a lot. She's Zoe Saldana or something, and I would find it hard to imagine her in real life. The only give-away scene was where she put up a big fuss about training our Hero. She was snarling, hissing, canine and all. Gimme a break, we all saw your body language when all those fluffy phosphorescent things sat on Jake. He had you at hello. We're not Na'vi, but we know the playing-hard-to-get in front of folks game. We invented it.

6. Think about it. Paolini meets Wachovski Brothers and Tolkien in a park called Jurassic.

7. This movie should have been launched on June 5th.

And for the good:
1. That cross between a hammerhead whale and a Jurassic park breed. I loved them. Good species to have on project feedback sessions.

2. The war speech. I was wondering, why Tsu'Tey's translation in between. But it was a good ploy. It gave my goose bumps time to settle down, before they rose again. "But we'll send them a message" all rise "Iswha kfeklwfj sms" all settle "That this…………………..this is our land" rise rise rise “lando dsaldasd”. who cares. Man I wanted to go out there and fight.

3. You cannot live without India these days. Max, the guy in the Avatar program is an Indian. I doubted it initially, as he looked like a cross. But yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, it's official…he is Indian, and his full name is Max (bated breath) Pateeeeeeeeel (applause). Our own Gujju Bhai. The sad part is Indians are being stereotyped as scientists, instead of the old snake charmer types. Next time you get introduced to a firang in real life, just say e=mc3.

4. Effects: Give it to them buddies. The dirt that fell on your faces while Jake runs out for the first time as an Avatar is still wet. And the fires should have touched you. And this is the story behind that:

5. The whole thing about Eywa (Pandora's spirit). Read more about Gaia (earth’s spirit) when you get a chance.

6. Colors: Everything was good. Every color to exhaust a woman's vocab. Na'vi body color discussion must have been something like this:

James: So what color do we give the natives? Brown? Indians will claim that they are being portrayed as monkeys. Black? Stevie Wonder would have a problem. White? That would be politically incorrect western hegemony. Guys, I don't know what to do.
Intern: James? James? Over here.
James: Yes?
Intern: We can go with blue.
James: Yesss. Why didn't I think of it before? Blue it shall be!!!! We can never go wrong with blue!!!

7. Toruk Makto. Just Awesome.

Verdict: The goods and the bads more-or-less even out. If you've been a kid ever and liked a roller ...a kaleidoscope, you may like it. Remember the myriad colors that change when you turn it around a wee bit? At USD 300 million +, this is the biggest -beep-ing kaleidoscope that you’ll ever see.

To sign off, here's a poster to kill for:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

App Economy/Social Gaming


A small intro. My college education was more or less ruined by (among other minor irritants)two strategy games , both from Blizzard: Warcraft and Starcraft. I swore to myself that I would never get addicted to games again, and has been successful for 12 years. So far, so good.

Enter Mafia Wars. The app game. Companies like Zynga (of the Farmwille fame, that relies on peer pressure more than anything else, according to one of my friends) and Playdom are making it big. I just tried Mafia Wars because a colleague was heavily into it, and I wanted to figure out why. I kind of figured out, but I am hooked now.
Moral: Never trust colleagues.

It's big money, with these companies raking in millions from the power of their ideas. (Question: Can you make a million or so in two weeks by selling virtual potato seeds?)

It's a little irritating too - these games will make you want to shell out solid cash for some of the features - the other option is to play for hours and get there. Anyway, the games are awesome, and I haven't heard anyone complain so far.

Is this a fad, like pet rocks? Time will tell. For now, the answer is no. At least until something better takes over.
Here's a good read:

Friday, December 25, 2009

Flight 2010 - US to Dubai via Greece

The stock markets across the world seem to be celebrating 2009 in style. However, the surprise one in that pack is ATHENS SE GENERAL INDEX (Greece), up 28% for the year, outperforming most other markets during the year.

Greece had borrowed 60 billion Euros in 2009 to make up for its fiscal deficit. They recently announced their intention to borrow another 54 billion Euros next year. Greek bonds have been downgraded multiple times this year by rating agencies, and the country is sure to be EUs most indebted nation with debt levels expected to exceed 120 percent of GDP next year (and 135% for 2011). The socialist government headed by Prime minister George Papandreou is also facing the looming threat of social unrest, as well as industrial strike. Apparently, Niarchos is dead and so is Onassis.

What does the first and second para above indicate? It cannot be a case of "irrational exuberance," because there's precious little to be exuberant about.

The theme for 2009 was simple. Borrow, let a few things fall, cover up your mistakes, give discounts to new car purchases, announce a few austerity measure, reduce interest rates, let the financial markets rejoice, and claim that economies are back on track. Is it really that simple?

Countries like Spain (real estate again) and UK could also come under the hammer in 2010. Will next year go down in history as the year of sovereign default, one in which governments refused to pay up their dues?

Is the recession really over? Or was it just a trailer-a sneak preview-of something far more ominous that is lying in wait? If it happens, who will be the villain? Interest rates? May be yes. But a lot of people have a faint feeling that the dragon could be the ONE.

Monday, December 21, 2009

To the bloody dogs

Just read this. The url gives it away.

Is there justice in our land?

Chro: Nov 6 2007

Doc, there's some condition that refers to "I have everyone, but I have none-feeling."

None that I know of.

It should be there. Loneliness in a crowd - rings a bell?


At least call it chronic loneliness, will you?

Listen buddy, I have failed - and miserably so at treating you.

No you have not. You have not. It's me. It's always been me. I have failed you...doc..., isn't that right doc? As a patient. Your faults as a doctor is MY failure as a loon. I must be one of those lone patients that must have failed you. I feel even more lonely.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Aruna Shanbaug

Aruna Shanbaug. Never heard about her except today when she was in the news. Brain dead since 1973 - that's almost 4 years before I was born and I am 32. 36 years in a vegetative comatose state!!! She was a nurse and her state is the outcome of a rape attack. There is a petition in the apex court of this land for mercy killing.

The link below tells me that her parents are no more and her brothers and sisters don't care.

Aruna Shanbaug has a new brother - me. I care, and I hope the court grants permission to end her life, once again.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chro: Nov 5 2007



Have you ever stabbed people in the back?

No. But I'm sure you have.

What makes you think like that? I may be a bit awkward, pissopraynic n all, but that does not make me thaaat, you see.

I see.

Being sarcastic, aren't you?

No, just doin my job.

Actually, I've never stabbed people in the back. They thought I did it, when I was doing from the front. It's interesting.

What's interesting in that?

Studies reveal that 99% of the people who claim that they were stabbed in the back were living in a false world. They always saw it coming. They just refused to believe it would happen. Something like cognitive dissonance. And when it finally happens they weep, and say stuff like "How could he do that? I mean, how could he of all people."


And then they come to the obvious-and easy to make-but faulty conclusion that he was always like that. But the fact is, there are just a few backstabbers, not even enough ones for this world, and that excludes Brutus-the debatable father of this art, but a large number of hopeless idiots who push people to the edge, and then stick it on backstabbers.


Ok. Let me put it this way. Has someone ever stabbed you in the back?

No, never...hey listen, I gotta go.



You would watch out next time you turn around to pick up the medicines from the lower cabinet, wouldn't you?

He gave a dirty look, and as usual left without another word. I don't know what's wrong with him. Btw, he did not seem interested in my conversation. All through it, he was scribbling some crap in his notebook. I'm sure he'll stab me from behind one of these days.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


It's amazing how much you can accomplish if you lower your standards a bit.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chro: Nov 4 2007 Night

The true meaning of "Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem eum fugiat quo voluptas nulla pariatur?" came to me in my dreams. I made a mental note before I drifted off to sleep.

When you're apprehensive about a voluptuos woman, quiz her whether she has been molested. And consequently, has her voluptuousness been nullified by some faggot

Shleep Mister...Shleee

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Say What? Seh Wag?

I'm no big fan of cricket. The true fan in me died, alongside millions of Indians, during the days of the match-fixing controversy. Along with a few of my friends, I had gone to watch the India-SA cricket match (one that India won), riding on bikes for 6 hours-nothing great there, except, those 12 hours up-and-down was for the plain love of cricket. To come to know that India's win that day was fixed was hard to digest. To see Azza and Jadeja fall, to read about Hansie's death a few years down the line, and Woolmer's mysterious demise - the sum total was that cricket had become something that it was never meant to be. Of course we all saw snaps of Dawood and starlets in Sharjah long before all of this happened, but we came to understand cricket in a new light-or rather a new darkness.

As the morning of the third day of the Ind-SL test match started, I woke up from bed with nothing on my mind. I went to office, and sometime in the afternoon realized that Sehwag may have done it. I ran up to the pantry where the TV is located and tried to figure out if one of the batsmen on the crease is HIM. But it was not meant to be. He was out, in what must have been true agony for those watching - six runs short of a landmark, like Mallory possibly in his attempt to scale Everest. Sehwag lives on for another day. He might make it, or he may not. If not, there will be a Tenzing. But remember, we were privileged to watch Mallory fall.

There is hope for Indian cricket. A few of the old fans have started switching channels looking for some cricket action. The new young ones - well they never felt our shame and disbelief, and keep on coming - that was never a problem.

The problem is that there's too much of cricket. But if it's of the variety dished out by the man whose English halts a bit, but whose willow does not, I'm game - to believe in our religion once more.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chro: Nov 3 2007

Doc was giving me an injection (some tranqui stuff to calm my innards) when I decided to speak.

Me: You know that I only speak to you these days?

Yes, I guess.

And only a few words. But yesterday, after you left I spoke 598 words.

Really! That's some improvement. What did you speak?

Actually it was only 26 words. I repeated it 23 times.

Well what was it?

Excuse my Latin: "Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem eum fugiat quo voluptas nulla pariatur?"

And that means?

"But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?"

Doc: And I understand that you don't know Latin?

Bingo, doc!!! You're psychic. How did you guess?

Well. Let's put it this way. Newton saw the apple coming. Didn't he?

Oh yes....oh yes. I understand...I understand...I under stand where the apple falls. Eppur si muove. no, what would Galil have said? Eppur si fall. You and your tranq..

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

To the Dogs

Source PTI:
[The helicopter, which ferried AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh here today, was attacked by a mob after they came to know that actress Nagma who was to accompany the Congress leader for a road show did not turn up. SDO Sadar Sanjay Singh said a large crowd was waiting at the helipad to see Nagma and when they did not find her they hurled slippers and stones at the helicopter. The pilot left with the helicopter on safety grounds, but returned an hour later to pick up Singh.]

Sole comment: Next time, try Russian or Egyptian belly dancers. Lower cost, more bang for the buck. Call it "navel arbitrage" if you please.