Tuesday, 29 December 2009

3 Idiots

People are raving about 3 Idiots everywhere. People like it so much, that talking anything negative about the movie is a crime. The movie-hall where I went to watch it had it on for something like 12 shows -- 12 EFFING SHOWS!! I remember a time where there were only 4 shows in a movie hall and the tickets cost 40 bucks -- given my age, I also remember Keo-Karpin, Rasna, and two rabbits from Lijjat Pappad. Coming back ... yes the movie ... and here is where I put the SPOILER ALERT!

With that out of the way, 3 Idiots is a movie with the message that students should study what interests them rather than what will land them a lucrative job. If I were to describe the general theme of the movie in one word, it's: "Independent-Thinking" (yes, those were two words, but look how smartly I hyphenated them)

While watching the movie, I felt that there were two forces pulling the movie apart. One being the good part (for lack of words in my vocabulary) which showed the real deal in engineering colleges and which made me laugh. The other part being the cringe-worthy part which showed Bollywood illogic in all its charms. The good part reigned the first half of the movie. The cringe-worthy part unfortunately took us to the end.

There are jokes in the movie which have been lifted off the net. A certain part even seemed to have come from the book "The Kite Runner". So if we think about it, although the makers of the movie wanted the message of independent and original thinking to get to the audience, they themselves didn't get it completely.

Final word: watch it once. Or if you can wait, just download it off the web (legally) after 12 weeks and don't spend money on those expensive tickets.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Happy Birthday To Me -- 25

Finally I'm 25 -- the legal drinking age in Delhi. Nope, there are no other advantages associated with that age. And so continuing last year's tradition, let me talk (brag?) about the year which went by.

  • Jan - Usual running around. Ran the half marathon in the midnight marathon, which was a come-back event (I had fallen sick in Dec 2008).
  • Feb - Took up kickboxing classes at a place near my house. It had been my childhood dream to learn a martial art.
  • Mar - Ran up and down Nandi Hills (twice). Gave up kickboxing after my first sparring session, where I was left wounded and wondering: why am I paying money to get beaten up?
  • Apr - Went with office colleagues to Belur, Halebidu, Shravanabelagola. One of the most memorable one day trips I have ever had.
  • May - Ran the Sunfeast 10K with Rakesh. Also won a small-time office athletic competition held at our gym.
  • Jun - Bought a bicycle; started cycling to work and also did some long rides over the weekend. Another awesome trip to Dodamakkali nature camp with my chums.
  • Aug - Started the hard part of the training for the Kaveri Trail Marathon. Did my 20 miler and fell victim to Jaundice (more like Viral Hepatitis, but WTH).
  • Sep - Recovered from Jaundice. Started cooking on my own to fend against the bad viruses and germs which you gain by eating "bahaar ka khaana".
  • Oct - With physical activity out during the you-have-recovered-but-need-more-rest period, made a bunch of video recordings of songs on the guitar. For additional embarrassment posted them on youtube.
  • Nov - With the you-have-recovered-but-need-more-rest period over, started training (running/cycling) again. Ran the 25K in the Bangalore Ultra in a decent time. Started filling up applications for further studies in Amreeka.
  • Dec - Did my first sub 2 hour half marathon in the Bangalore Midnight Marathon.
So a good year, all in all. On the one hand, I wish I hadn't gotten Jaundice. But on the other hand, I wouldn't have learnt cooking (in my dictionary cooking == Dal-Chawal) and read so many books.

Whatever happens, happens for the good. I really hope I don't have to use the previous sentence next year.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Questions from Avatar

I saw James Cameron's Avatar yesterday. I liked the movie, but have some questions (questions may contain spoilers ... ALERT!):

  • Why does the Pandora wildlife allow "bonding" (the connection they make via those worm-like things at the end of their hair)? What is in it for them -- there doesn't look to be an evolutionary advantage? Who would want to be controlled by someone else just to (sometimes) serve and die (did I just define soldiers)?

Figure 1: Thanators are the meanest in the Pandora wildlife. Not many people like them.
  • Where are the f*cking robots? Come on, I mean. If we have rubbished earth, mastered space-travel and found life on another planet, we would (should? (must?)) have honed our present-day robots. And if so, why not send them to battle instead of humans?
  • More of a philosophical question: how do you determine, which is the most intelligent life-form on a planet? Do we just assume that whoever looks closest to human beings, is the most intelligent? The Na'vi happened to be the most human like. Apart from the fact that they have hair which bonded, every other aspect is human: looks and body structure, red blood, hunter gatherer, bipeds, sleep, their own language, rituals, etc. In fact Na'vi's are just the regular folks who live in jungles in planet earth. And we have our sympathies towards them just because they look like us?! I mean, who was rooting for good old Thanator (Figure 1), except me, when he was trying to kill Jake Sully. I ask: is it OK to kill Thanators, but not the Na'vi?
  • Why were the main ship's glass walls not vulnerable to the Na'vi arrows, but those of the choppers were?

    Answered (source):

    However, it is rumored that a Na’vi firing in a vertical attack dive can generate enough combined velocity (between the 40-meter-per-second release-velocity of the arrow from the bow, and the 120 knot dive speed) that the two-meter long arrow can hit with sufficient kinetic energy to penetrate the Scorpion canopy if fired at close range.

  • What would happen if two Na'vi hair-bonded? Who would control whom?

Figure 2: The Na'vi are blue and angry. Bonus question: what would happen if someone cut off a Na'vi's hair? Who is their barber?
  • During the final bombing, in all their wisdom, why do the humans choose to literally throw explosives out of the main ship? And such explosives which explode, without a detonator, on just contact? The attack on the home-tree was impressive, with all those rocket like missiles. But no, for the Tree of Souls, we will just dump some explosives labeled ... "explosives" (duh!).
  • And continuing on the attack on the Tree of Souls ... did the humans leave their entire base unguarded and take each and every soldier for the attack? If not, then how did the Na'vi conquer Hell's Gate (the base) so easily?
  • Who amongst us believes that there will be a sequel? I for one do and am hoping that it does. I mean come on, if I were the CEO of RDA (the evil corporation exploiting Pandora), apart from being extremely handsome, I would also be quite pissed-off that a bunch of indigenous folks have stopped my mining operation because a trigger-happy general cut down a tree. And I would want to send in more forces, and get my base back.

    And if I were Jake Sully, I would know that this is going to happen and would be busy training the Na'vi in the art of explosives and gun warfare. Maybe I will fix couple of Gun Turrets on a Thanator, maybe people will start liking Thanators because of this, maybe the Thanator population will become happier, maybe more people will start hair-bonding with Thanators ... Ah! What a pretty Pandora!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Midnight Marathon -- Post Race

If there was a perfect race which I ever ran it has to be this one. It was just plain beautiful execution by me. I finished the half marathon in 1:55:02 -- which is sub 2 hour and a personal best.

My initial plan was to maintain a 5:40 pace till the half way mark and then see how I felt. In fact when I reached the half way mark I was a minute ahead. I reached the 10 mile mark within an hour and a half. I hovered around the 5:20 -- 5:30 pace for the next 4 KM and the last KM was run under 5:00.

The course was pretty good. A newly tarred well lit road. It was initially supposed to be 2.75 KM one way and back, but at the last moment the organizers had to cut it short and make it 2.1 KM. So the people running the HM had to go out-and-back 5 times. Mostly flat; a very minor decline/incline towards the U turn point.

The organizers had managed to rope in Bisleri as one of their sponsors, so there was bottled water all throughout. Which helped me because I didn't stop, not even for a bit, in the entire race. The only sad part was the lack of electrolytes. I didn't have much of a problem because of that, but spare a thought for the people running the full marathon. Kudos to RFL for setting up their own pit-stop which had electral.

Anyway, after I was done with my half marathon, I was happy with the time, but not really satisfied -- I felt I could have pushed harder. So I chatted with the guys for a bit and then decided to give company to Pankaj who was doing the full.

I did one loop with him, when I started having some cramps. So I had some salty pizza and then continued with Pankaj on Shantanu's cycle. I accompanied him on the cycle for 2 more loops, after which I gave back the cycle and I ran with him on the final loop.

So in all I would have done around 30 KM of running and around 8 KM of cycling. Best part is, at the end of it I still had energy left to do more.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Krrish on Laziness and The Stubble

I made this to take care of my pre-race nervousness. I'm satisfied with how the panels and the dialogs came. Not too happy with the over all story-line and the fact that the bottom text box in the last panel is kinda blurred.

Midnight Marathon: Pre Race.

The Bangalore midnight marathon is 5 hours from now and I'm running the half-marathon. Few people whom I know are also running the Full Marathon -- I question their sanity, just like others question mine.

It's a pretty boring route -- an out and back measuring 5.275 KM to be done 4 times (yuck!). The FM guys need to do it 8 times!

Except for a bruise on my right-shin due to a bike accident, I don't have any major worries (the bike accident happened today afternoon, when an asshole biker -- who was violating the one way -- came right in front of me, from behind a car, resulting in a head-on collision).

A bit of pre-race nervousness; would like a sub 2 hour time.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Wolverine against W.A.L.S

Might be considered my first web-comic. Influenced by Flyyoufools and Penny-Arcade.
I wanted to post this on the newly created Mawalys (मवाली) FB group, but for some reason the FB group page is not allowing me to upload photos (despite the fact that I'm the administrator and I have enabled the setting).

If you don't know about W.A.L.S or the Shave India Movement, click here.

Fame Decays Exponentially With Time

Monday, 7 December 2009

The Chetan Bhagat Blocks (#chetanblocks) Saga Documented

On Monday 7/12/2009, sometime in the evening, the Indian author Chetan Bhagat blocked few people from his twitter account. Chetan (@chetan_bhagat) was having a debate with a journalist (@jojiphilip) on books and piracy, when he received some tweets which didn't gel with him. The result was him blocking those people from his twitter account.

This started a massive surge of tweets related and unrelated to this incident with the hashtag #chetanblocks. This is currently a trending topic on twitter and tweeple are retweeting just to see it go up -- which also hurts Chetan's reputation (I guess).

I'm not sure who coined the hashtag, but its originator might be Saad Akhtar (who writes an awesome Indian web-comic flyoufools.com) who was one of the people blocked by Mr Bhagat.

Update: As witnessed by whatthetrend.com, the hashtag was originated by @nikhilnarayanan.

Order of events for context (I have too much time, I guess):

@notytony quips and gets blocked.

It's somewhere after the above tweet, when the hashtag (#chetanblocks) started trending.

Chetan's responses:

At this point, Chetan took a break after which he came back with a flurry of responses (which IMO should have been a blog post). I have omitted few of them, but I think I have kept enough to do justice to his position.

I think the battle (if you may) is still on. Enough for now; tired of taking screenshots.

Update: Other related links:

Update (7/12/2009 7:36 PM): Added notytony's tweet.
Update (7/12/2009 8:18 PM): Updated with Chetan's latest responses.
Update (7/12/2009 8:35 PM): Corrected hashtag origins.