Monday, October 29, 2007

Cityscape Series

A.k.a. the "Scenes from a city" series. Just to put all these cityscape posts in one place, because I'm hoping that this becomes an ongoing series here.

1. Just another day in Sailu's life
2. The one about Delhi
3. Scenes from a city
4. More scenes from a city
5. One September Sky

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Two

A few days back, this blog turned two. Yay.

The first year – as I wrote here – was about seeing my words in cyberspace. The second year has widened the experience in more ways than one. Getting things off my chest has never been more fun. While I’ve always liked to write, it doesn’t come naturally to me. Blogging made me realize the rigour and discipline required for good writing. I realized it while writing and I realized it while reading other blogs.

Most of the time, my posts come out like my thoughts. A bundle of chaos, with some unpardonable trespasses and compromise on the English language. For e.g., it took me some time to realize that the “?” comes without a space. Ew, gross. Still, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience that I intend to keep doing till I can.

Over the last two years while I’ve cut down my regular reading list to a handful of bloggers, thanks to this job (which I enjoy more than any paid job) I’m subscribed to hazaar feeds, that I skim every once in a while on my feedreader. And believe me, there’s nothing more satisfying than unexpectedly bumping on to a good post. In these last two years, reading what I’ve read on blogs, I can safely say that for reading pleasure, blogging beats mainstream media.

Before I wrap, these are my top three posts from Year #2 of blogging.

1. Don’t you articulate me: I think this post got the best quality of comments. I never expected it, and if I can repeat it, I’d consider it an achievement.

2. The one about Delhi: Oh what fun. The trip was fun, writing about it was enjoyable and the comments were a party. I learnt more about Delhi on that trip and that post than I have in my life-time.

3. Scenes from a city: I’ve always wanted to write it. It’s the first in a series, which originated from Sailu – the original scene from this city. (Next in the series were More scenes and One September Sky)

In the early days, I used to stress over traffic and rankings. You know, all those tips about how to draw traffic, what to write, leave comments on other blogs, etc. Over time I decided to junk all of that and just write for the fun of it. I’m just lucky I get the comments I get. That’s what keeps me going. And this is the part where I thank my readers.

You.

This is my home and I invite you to it. Thanks for coming here. Thanks for spending time, time that is valuable to you. Thanks for leaving your comment and your thoughts. Those who have blogrolled me, it’s a huge honor and I hope I can live up to it. For your visit, your link and your comment, I’m a better blogger.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Where Seinfeld at

This wonderfully long NYT weekend article informs us that Mr. Jerry Seinfeld was working on "Bee Movie". Which is a movie about bees. Just like his show was about nothing, but then you already knew that.

I was a convert to his show. First time I saw it, I couldn't understand what the big hoo-ha was about. Today, I've got seven seasons on DVD and plan on getting the remaining two. Like other fans, I just loved the scripts and the characters (that one long post on Seinfeld lies with those other one long posts that never made it to the "Publish" click; and I'm just not into those linking-to-Seinfeld-scripts and going I-know-what-that-feels or OMG-I-lurve-it). I also admire the man for pulling the plug on the serial.

Superb article (and reading it on the Times Reader is so much better than on a browser.) Parts I liked was about how no one - self, obviously, included - really knew what Seinfelf was up to. The general impression was that he was in an exile of his own design.

Nor can Mr. Seinfeld understand why the industry seems to believe he has spent his post-sitcom career in a cushy exile of his own design, when he continues to appear at clubs and theaters as much as possible. “That’s what I do,” he said. “That’s all I can do. That’s what a comedian is. Our thing is not disappearing into other characters. It’s being this character that you are.”

Friends who have known Mr. Seinfeld for years say that he has always been sharply attuned to the fitness of his stand-up act, and eager to perform it no matter what else was occupying him in his personal or professional life.

“When he wasn’t out there for a period of time, he would start to get antsy and feel like he was losing his edge,” said Larry David, the co-creator of “Seinfeld” and star of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” “The phrase he would use was ‘out of shape.’ I never looked at it like that.”

That Mr. Seinfeld has, since 1999, been married to the former Jessica Sklar, the founder of the charitable organization Baby Buggy, and has a 6-year-old daughter, Sascha, and two sons, Julian, 4, and Shepherd, 2, does not seem to have diminished his fervor for hitting the road.


(I'm also a big fan of Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm". Seen it?). Given his perceived anonymity to the world at large, its not surprising that this is being seen as his comeback movie. I'm not sure it is, but how can you not get that reaction? Maker of hugely famous TV series goes back to stand-ups for years and is now doing a movie. Its Seinfeld and he's worked on the movie for 3-4 years. It's not about nothing. Its about bees. Can't wait to see it.

Meanwhile, read the article. Thats what weekends are for. Sinking into nice reading stuff that makes you come out saying hey, that was good.

So, found anything that you liked?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Born Bourne

If this was for Hindi, this below is my choice for movie of the year, English.


Relentless. Brutal.

I think those two words come top-of-mind, besides the usual stuff like thrilling, gripping, etc. These guys (Doug Liman for "Identity" and the absolutely top-notch Paul Greengrass for "Supremacy" and now "Ultimatum") have set the standard so far above that all the so-called "new, new" James Bonds and all the other crap that passes under the genre of "Thriller" is just light years behind.

Last night I watched the first two parts and today I saw the third. All three movies are cutting edge. Its just madness. The stunts, the car chases, the hand-to-hand fights, the sheer pace of the movie. And then the man himself. Or actually human weapon? Matt Damon is so comfortable in his skin doing Jason Bourne. His physique, his blank stare and his personna just brings the character alive.

For a man who can kill with such ease, its tough to call him vulnerable. He's not. He's the "man-against-the-world" in the new - how the Americans call it - post 9/11 world. Where Operation Blackbriar has taken over from Operation Treadstone.

In particular, I think the ending in "Ultimatum" was the best in the series so far. That one minute exchange between Bourne and his assassin, when Bourne says "Look at what they make you give" was the killer line of the movie (and also a nice punch at the believers of the "Whatever it takes" theory or should I just say right-wingers?).

And the music. This is the one thriller franchise that has thrilled me with the way they use music to take the overall cinematic experience to another level. I'd half-expected Paul Greengrass to dump a background score, but wow. Percussion (bhangra beats) and electronica (Oakenfold's "Ready-steady-go" in..I think "Supremacy") remain an integral part of the score throughout the series.

And I am just so glad they retained Moby's "Extreme Ways" in all three parts as the song played in the end titles. (For e.g. watch it in the "Supremacy" here). Just goes to show how you don't necessarily need a big band or a big singer to sing a title track in a big brand movie franchise, like - yes - how Bond does.

See the movie. Visit the website too. Do both really.

And if you've not had enough, watch their DVDs and look out for the goodies (for e.g. the making of the Moscow car chase in "Supremacy". Their stunt co-ordinators and producers go "Well, the chase in "Identity" was great and we knew we had to go a level up"...how do these guys do it.)

Definitely my picture of the year and I can say without doubt that I'm looking forward to the next Bourne instalment.