Monday, October 23, 2006

Random, left-of-field, call it what you will...

but here's my question: is it wrong to enjoy music without really paying attention to the lyrics? Well, with the internet being what it is these days, I have no excuse. Most media players allow you to read the lyrics of the song currently playing (I use Winamp, so Lyrics Plugin works best for me). I'm a musician first and foremost, so to me, the music is key. But I'm proud to announce that I've begun listening to lyrics. And I've gotta say, music is a lot more fun! Its almost as cool as the time when I became able to listen to bass, keyboards and guitars separately on tracks!
As it turns out, everyone's got something to say. Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder creates all these images and stories that simply unfurl of their own volition in my head (See Severed Hand, Jeremy, Ocean, Garden, Rearview Mirror). In hip-hop, The Roots get real tongue-in-cheek kinky on The Seed, as do Gym Class Heroes on The Queen & I. Maynard James Keenan of Tool/A Perfect Circle really gets me (or do I get him?) - The Outsider, Schism, Right in Two, The Noose, Blue, The Pot, The Grudge are all simply perfect pieces of work. Steely Dan lyrics are always a joy to read, though sometimes I have to refer to The Steely Dan Dictionary to understand what Becker and Fagen are smiling about.
I wish I could write like some of these folks. The ability to plan an idea in someone's head, and then direct its course, is something I've always wanted. So far, I've only tried writing about things that scare or amuse me, but I haven't been able to go much further than pulling a bit of wordplay here and there. Its kind of like how your bodily movements are inhibited by some mysterious force (try walking a like a crazy for a bit a la Jack Black in Nacho Libre (5 stars!), or twist your arms while you jump - the fact that you're not leaving your seat bears testimony to my theory). I wonder how listeners will react to my contrived imagination, all of it. Because thats what I would like to be able to put down on paper. All of it. Samples coming soon.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Digging Deeper

So I've got my semester finals on right now, and what better time to get important things done, like cleaning up rooms, moving furniture, taking long walks, and reading news on things I enjoy? Well, helps you get the last part done, and how! Most of you might already be familiar with the Web 2.0-styled news giant, but for those of you who haven't stumbled upon it yet, be prepared for a treat! The site gets news articles from all over, with little blurbs from users. If you found the article enjoyable or useful, 'digg' it, so that it gets a higher ranking. You can pick from topics like Technology, Science, World & Business, Videos, Entertainment, and Gaming. You can even personalize your news preferences, view all news at once, and search for articles as well. Check it out!


Monday, October 02, 2006

I'm Back!

I'm not very sure how one goes about making a comeback on one's blog, especially when your reader base is, well, small. Still, I've always enjoyed writing for anyone who'll read, so here goes nothing.

Fiction / Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry A poignant, personal and touching story about the trials and tribulations of the aging Nariman Vakeel and the various people whose lives he has touched. The tale makes its way through avenues of grief, bylanes of mirth, and side-streets of intense drama. All the while, Mistry ensures that each character creeps into your psyche, yanks out every ounce of feeling you've ever had and hands it to you wrapped in gilt-edged paper. Mistry's attention to detail is impeccable, and his understanding of the human mind and heart belies his age. His sensitivity draws you in, and his imagery alienates you, both deliciously so. The story ends with a touching epilogue which makes for a fitting finish to a masterpiece like this. A great read!

Music / Steely Dan - Aja I can't get over just how amazing Steely Dan is. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker are some of the cleverest musicians to ever walk this earth. Aja, their 1977 album, features a bunch of 7 great tracks that showcase witty lyrics and fine songwriting, especially Josie and Black Cow. Steely Dan specializes in smooth jazz-pop; this album doesn't feature their now-signature horn section in all its glory, but the sound is full and warm, with great keys and guitars. Aja also sounds like the perfect forerunner to their more recent work, such as 2000's Two Against Nature.

Film / 16 Blocks / Directed by Richard Donner, Starring Bruce Willis, Mos Def
Easily one of my favourite suspense movies of all time, this 2006 flick follows retiring cop Jack Mosley's (Willis) last assignment: to transport a witness from a police station to the court where he will testify. However, there are lots of folks who don't want this witness to reach the court... ever. And they will stop at nothing to achieve their goal. Its up to Mosley to keep the nervous, edgy Bunker alive. I loved this!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

More Web Goodies

Since my PC is on the blink, I've had to resort, of late, to using any damn system I can get my hands on. However, most of these don't have an IM or any music to listen to. For those of you who use MSN/ICQ/AIM/Yahoo! Messengers, there's hope yet: go to and sign in on your service(s) of choice, and chat easily. I love how my contact list is intact, complete with user groups too!
As for music, offers the perfect solution. Just register (a very brief process), and download thier radio player. Then, you can search for music by tags or similar artists. The quality is pretty good, and works even on 64-kbps connections, skip-free. Give it a spin!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Quick Firefox Tip

As you might know (c'mon, you're one of 5 people who read my blog), I work for Deviantart Inc., and there's a lot of PR work involved. This means that I have to frequently visit user pages, which have URLs like Its a pain to type this over and over again, especially since I'm used to hitting Ctrl+Enter for (type sitename, hit Ctrl+Enter, and Firefox/IE will add the rest for you). Here's a trick you can use for deviantart pages, blogger blogs, and anything else with a similar URL type:

  • Click Bookmarks > Manage Bookmarks > New Bookmark.
  • In the 'location' field, type '' or '', without the quotes.
  • Add a keyword thats short and easy to type/remember. For deviantart pages, I use 'da'. So, to go to my page, i simply type 'da abe-x' (without quotes) and hit Enter. Similarly, for blogspot pages, I use 'bs'.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

PC Nightmare!

Litestep is an excellent shell replacement for Windows, with a lot of nifty features and much room for customization. A shell (for those of you...) is something like a large program that runs many sub-programs within itself. Windows runs its own shell, explorer.exe, and Explorer runs all the sub-programs, like your browser, media player, etc.
Now, I work for as their Gallery Director for Skins & Themes, meaning I handle artist relations among those who create skins on this massive digital art community. This means checking out tons of skins, themes, dishing out advice, help, doughnuts, and what-have-you. Now, we accept submissions of Litestep themes, and one of them looked so good, I just had to try it. I also claim to be pretty adept with PCs, seeing as how I've been using them since I was this high. So I headed to the website, downloaded the installer, got my theme, and got down to work. Now, once you've got Litestep installed, you'll notice a different taskbar, your windows will look different, the way you access programs will change, and so on. The beauty of this is that you can configure it to work the way you want. It requires a lot of coding, but I just wanted to see what my PC would look like with that neat theme. I allowed Litestep to replace Explorer as my default shell.
Once I applied the theme, however, the computer froze.
So I rebooted it.
Then it said I needed to download some additional software in order to get Litestep working properly. But I couldn't do that, since my cable internet had to be logged into before I could be online. And this login box would show up only after I got past this download box, which only had the options 'Download' and 'Cancel'. So I hit 'Cancel'.
Once I cancelled, I realized that if I didn't download that stuff, I wouldn't see any icons, taskbars, or anything that would allow me to use this computer. I would simply have to stare at a Litestep wallpaper. And cry.
On my friend Sudhanva's advice, I tried starting up in Safe Mode, and Last Known Good Configuration, only to find that I would still have to deal with that download issue. I resembled a mime actor depicting loss, tragedy, betrayal and dumbfoundedness all at once. A low-rank mime actor at that.
Finally, I decided to boot up normally one last time, and planned to just hit keys wildly till something worked out in my favour. I cancelled the download process that wouldn't happen, and hit Ctrl+Alt+Del, just like I had done so many times before. Then, I had a brainwave: Task Manager > File > Run > explorer.exe.
This action opened up a folder view of 'My Documents'. I hastily redirected it to 'Desktop', which had a shortcut labelled 'Explorer as Shell'. I double-clicked, and regained my freedom, sanity, and my wonderful PC.
Moral of story: Don't try this at home. Not for n00bs! I wish Litestep had some kind of rescue button somewhere. Would have saved me a lot of pain. Ah, well...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Chillout is the new Electronica

I've discovered a lot of great new music over the past couple of months, that can loosely be generalized as 'Chillout'. I'm talking about downtempo world music, jazz-influenced pop, indie-rock-tinged electronica, latino-glazed-hip-hop and such. Its mostly very freestyle stuff, and I'm sure a lot of it falls under other genres too, and many movements. Still, you get the idea. Here are some artists I highly recommend (albums in parentheses):
  • Nitin Sawhney (Philtre, Human, Prophesy)
  • Zero 7 (Simple Things, The Garden)
  • K-OS
  • Air
  • Bill Laswell
  • Royksopp
  • Cornershop
  • Massive Attack
  • Fiona Apple (Extraordinary Machine)
  • Talvin Singh (Ha)
I was introduced to many of these bands by a friend from college, who is half-Nepali, half-Indian, somewhat US-bred, and well-versed in underground/dance/trance/house/groove/hip-hop and other such genres of music. Its amazing how much great music is out there, that is solely for the purpose of serving as the background score for your engaging in doing nothing. Don't get me wrong, these artists know exactly what they're doing; some of those I've mentioned above are very into fusing regional sounds with drum & bass, blips and bleeps, traditional beats and myriad strains of violin, organ, and samples. Hit up your Torrent client for some of this stuff, and I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised. Look up for 'Pure Chillout', a 40-track album that should give you a good idea of what I'm so excited about.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006



Pink Panther - Steve Martin / Directed by Shawn Levy (avoidable)
Good Night, and Good Luck - David Straithairn / Directed by George Clooney (fabulous)
Se7en - Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey / Directed by David Fincher (must-see)
Memoirs of a Geisha - Ziyi Zhang, Michelle Yeoh / Directed by Rob Marshall (good)

I've been listening to a lot of alternative metal, which is actually very straight-forward 4/4 nu-metal with a tinge of noir. Still, its good music. Also some other stuff, here's a list:
  • Dark New Day - Twelve Year Silence (good alt metal)
  • 10 Years - The Autumn Effect (very boring)
  • Lacuna Coil - Karmacode (almost as boring)
  • Joe Satriani - Super Collosal (similarly boring)
  • Eric Johnson - Bloom (smooooooth)
  • Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine (simply brilliant)
  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Howl (excellent indie-style Brit rock)
  • Mattias Eklundh - The Road Less Travelled (solo guitar wizardry)
  • 36 Crazyfists - A Snow-Capped Romance (inventive hardcore)
  • Dave Navarro - Trust No One (alternative rock, not bad)
  • Helmet - Meantime (good, angry hard rock)
  • N.E.R.D. - Fly or Die (Hip-hop done right)
As you can see, a lot of therefore are therfore justified when they say, 'I liked their old stuff better.'

I need more sleep. Waking up is over-rated. I'd rather just close my eyes, and pretend to be surfing Savage Chickens, a neat comic strip made on post-it notes. Here's one of my favourites from there. Good night, and good luck.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Worship her, she's French!


Alias Betty (Betty Fisher et autres histoires)

Directed by Claude Miller, Starring Sandrine Kiberlaine, Nicole Garcia

This is a fine French film, a wonderful story told in as bleak a manner as possible. It tells of the novelist Betty Fisher, who loses her son while her mother is in town to visit. Now what kind of mother would this woman be if she didn't replace the lost child with another one straight off the street? Betty's mum thinks so too, and in less than a day, Betty finds herself caring for another child. The kidnapping makes the local news, which causes a lot of trouible for the actual mother's boyfriend. Several other stories also surface, and each one is tied together with another, culminating in a grand, mind-boggling finish, one that satisfies, and also leaves one quite tongue-in-cheek indeed. Edouard Baer plays the bungling Alex Basato, a con-man living off his mistress. His character undergoes trials and tribulations of all sorts, and is sure to have you in splits.
A very well-made film, with excellent camera work and a lot of great acting. The French sure know how to tell a story!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Paper Street

I just had my midterms last week, so I decided to de-stress by catching a few flicks:

  • Ira Mediyama (August Sun) - Written and Directed by Prasanna Vithanage
The first Sinhalese movie I've ever seen, this film captures 3 stories that show the impact of war on the daily life of ordinary people in Sri Lanka. It did that quite well, but it failed to tie the 3 stories together, something the director kept stressing on. Other than that, this film was well shot, but the pace could have been quicker and more consistent. I guess you have to be Sri Lankan to truly appreciate it.

  • Fargo / Directed by Joel Coen, Starring William H Macy

Absolutely wonderful! A really well-made noir film, about a man who hires criminals to kidnap his wife, so that his father-in-law can fork over a million dollars in ransom money, which he would take his own cut from. Unfortunately, things go wrong. Horribly wrong.
Macy and Steve Buscemi put in very strong performances that make this film very special indeed. The dark humour wasn't lost on me, and I had a blast watching this. 5 stars!

  • Fight Club / Written by Chuck Palahniuk, Directed by David Fincher, Starring Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter

Only the best film I've ever seen. I've seen it a few times before, but this time it really hit me: this is a masterpiece, one that should be preserved, shown at high schools all over the world, translated into as many languages as the Bible, and should be thrown in with your paycheck from work (just so you don't miss it). The book by Chuck Palahniuk is fantastic as well; I can't say which one is more impactful.
This movie has a lot to offer to those who are looking for entertainment, flim-making ideas and inspiration, or even a purpose in life. The story is extremely well told, with scenes and dialogue that will stick to you like badly-made toffee. The tagline says it all: Mischief. Mayhem. Soap. Come get some!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Living In The Past

Jethro Tull was nothing short of perfect on the 3rd of February, as Ian Anderson and Co. belted out classics from the past 3 decades that made the group a force to reckon with. The premier progressive-folk-rock outfit played hits including 'Living In The Past', 'Aqualung', 'Thick As A Brick' and also renditions of pieces by Bach and Mozart in their own magical style. Anderson was in top form, displaying his mastery on the flute and on vocals. A true auditory treat for the 3000-strong (or so I believe) crowd present.
Thermal and a Quarter opened the show, with a short and sweet set, beginning with Queen's 'Radio Ga-ga', and moving on their originals, including 'How Can I Get Your Groove', 'Bend The World', 'Paper Puli' and more. A great set, but I've seen TAAQ do better. All in all, a great experience.
Bangalorean Deviants met up today at the second B'lore devMEET, at the Garuda Mall Cafe Coffee Day, for a cuppa and conversation, and later on, lunch at Casa Picola. Pictures can be seen here. We had a good time, and I hope we'll meet up again soon. Feb 26th, whatsay?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Well, the Forum Three Playfest 2006 is finally over. It was a great learning experience for me, scoring the music for 2 plays, plus playing a bit part in one of them. There are so many things an actor needs to keep in mind; not quite the cakewalk I imagined it to be. Anyhow, I'm sure I'm richer from the whole month-long exercise, and maybe I'll sign on to their upcoming projects as well. Three cheers! By the way, there are a few pictures here.
Music: I've been listening to Charlie Parker's Jam Sessions, as well as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Mars Volta, Galactic, Sonic Youth and Primus. All good, all very good.
DevMEET coming up this Sunday, the 5th, at Garuda Mall's Cafe Coffee Day. Be there, or be elsewhere! Aditya Pandya aka iamlame is expected (visiting our fair city to attend Unmaad 2006, the IIM-B fest). There's also the TAAQ + Jethro Tull concert on the 3rd. Good times ahead!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Its been a while since I blogged, hasn't it? I've been really busy with two plays that Forum Three will be performing this month (see the Forum Three Bulletin Board for more information). I've been playing around with my digital camera and Photoshop CS some, too. Results will be up soon. For some plain-vanilla photos of the Ghoshals from this year, click the Flickr button to the right (or just go here, same difference).
I've been listening to a lot of great music, including Thelonious Monk, Derek Trucks Band, John Mayer Trio, Gov't Mule, some Indian bands (Zero, Acquired Funk Syndrome, Pin Drop VIolence, Moksha, Motherjane), and the like. I'm hoping to get hold of the recently-recorded Caesar's Palace EP. They're a great new band that specializes in jazz-funk-rock
I don't know if I've mentioned this, but these days, I work. I write for the Sri Lankan magazine IT Times (see the December issue in PDF format here), and I'm the Gallery Director (Skins & Themes) over at Hectic, I tell you. Haven't watched any good movies in a while, but that will change as soon as this play-fest is over. Lots of stuff to do, come back next week for more. Cheers!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Well, Clara has been replaced, by a new Sony DSC S-60. Her name's Maria, and she's got similar features, save for a more petite LCD screen, and her buttons are a bit more dusky. Other than that, I love her very much. I'm going to make sure no one loses her, by taking several drastic precautionary steps, including making the current user wear a suit of velcro so as to be able to attach Maria to his/her body and not be able to misplace her.
What have I been up to? Oh, not much. Sleeping, eating, taking in a few movies (that I don't think are worth mentioning, except for Green Street Hooligans - easily the worst I've ever seen). I'll gather up my thoughts soon and write something more coherent. Till then, y'all be nice to each other.