Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A double-header review on the Lit Blog - reviews of "The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes" and "Marvel 1602".

Imitation  as a form of tribute

Comments there, please.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

- On Friday it seems that there's less of a rush coming in to work at peak hour. Makes me wonder, where does the crazy Friday evening rush appear from? The roads are clogged from 3 PM to almost 8 PM and even later at times. Does TGIF mean people get to work early and leave at normal times, or maybe they come late and leave early/on time?

Maybe there's some secret factory that generates Friday-commuting drones that suddenly hit the road saying 'Thank God It's Friday!" Recycling them (or storing them till the following Friday) must be a massive job, since they disappear by Monday morning when things are back to normal.

- Ever wonder how almost all retail stores have women's sections on the first floor/street level (that's ground floor for Indians) while the men's section is hidden away upstairs or in the basement? Retail science has evolved so much. They've figured out that men have the homing instinct and will hit exactly the store and section they want, clearing out the minute they are done, missing most of everything on sale in the bargain.

Which is why 90% of shop window displays in these stores are devoted to women's apparel with a forlorn mannequin in the corner sporting menswear. The women's section is on the street level, guaranteeing temptation and instant gratification those who seek it most.

- I'm given to wonder why the most beautiful women play Lizzie in various versions of "Pride and Prejudice". Kiera Knightley plays her in the '05 version, while Aishwarya Rai plays her in Gurinder Chaddha's butter-chicken edition. Isn't she supposed to be less conventionally beautiful, but with more spunk than the dainty Jane? Looks apart, Knightley's characterization isn't completely off. But one has to wonder if it's a recent phenomenon. I'll have to check older versions to know.

- Day 4 of Perth is yet to be played, and I have a request of Anil Kumble. Please, please, when you need a breakthrough ( I know there's going to be enough of those pesky partnerships with the Aussies), can you toss the ball to Ganguly? On a swinging pitch, it's going to be interesting to see what he can muster. He's had a lackluster match with the bat and I'd count on his general form to give him an edge with the ball. I'd give him and Tendulkar a few overs here and there just to mix things up and see what happens.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Notes on a long and unexpected hiatus

- A couple of book reviews are in the works. But it's all amorphous and murky. Sitting down, revising and declaring something as blog-ready isn't quite happening. To put it succinctly, mazaa nahin aa raha.

- Props to JR for pointing out a fabulous Holmes pastiche by Neil Gaiman. Fragile Things is one of the few Gaiman works I haven't read, so it's duly on the library hold queue now.

- I'm super-happy about the death-knell being sounded for DRM with MP3s being sold on Amazon by all comers now. Add lossless audio too and we'll love you for it.

- On a personal note, creative expression finds more avenues. 'Is there anybody out there' takes on an entirely new meaning.

- New Years come and go. Resolutions kept and unkept take their toll. But going downhill sideways in the freezing cold finally sounds like my idea of fun.

- Enough of the 'monkeys' and the 'maa ki's. Real Test cricketers ought to last more than 70 overs. Seriously, Michael Clarke getting three wickets? In an over?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A sense of place

I get asked if I moved to the city for the nightlife.* It seems to many people that nightlife is why you'd want to live in the city.

If nightlife is defined by late-night coffee at one of the coffee shops that this city seems to breed like weeds, yes. 'Getting down' was never my cup of tea. Or coffee.

That's not the reason I moved. I moved because I love the city by day. I love being out at the Pike Place Market on a bright, sunny Saturday, soaking in the crowds, people-watching.

Being  a Seattle vaasi, coffee is, of course, an essential commodity. Coffee to wake you up. Coffee to warm you up. A coffee for the hours of table space you use up at the neighborhood coffee shop. Coffee to make you feel less guilty about using their wi-fi and their fine establishment all this while.

While the promise of city living has been fulfilled, there's more and more I seem to like about it.

Cities have a sense of place. When I'm home, I'm in Seattle. When I walk out (as opposed to drive out, which I'm not required to do all the time anymore), I walk past the Troll. The statue of Lenin. The Fremont Bridge. 

It's unique. There's a sense of being in a place and time that's not like any other, anyplace, anytime. A few years from now, more IT hegemonies will take over real estate everywhere. We'll be making history for all the wrong reasons as traffic in the area is already at clusterf#*k proportions. But what I have now is great.

Quirky is good. And Fremont has loads of quirky. They practically invented the term. I'm still not conformist enough to dislike quirky. So, some time more of this doesn't look too bad.

*I moved from the suburbs - a 10 min commute to office,  to live in the fair city of Seattle 15 miles away. In rush hour it can take me upto an hour by bus or car to get to office or to get home.