Friday, January 24, 2003


Quizzing has been one of the passions of life for me, it still is ,but I have a feeling that the best days are over, it is a bit ironic as one's reportoire of knowledge always goes on increasing provided one doesnt have amnesia or Parkinson's or Alzeimer's disease etc etc, though one tends to forget things in due course of time, but the net effect is always an augmentation. Quizzing prowess is not directly proportional to the data in your head, but how well you have organized that data, made it useful i.e. Information. Enthusiasm, the will and ability to comprehend a long question cull out the relevant hints or pointers, using lateral thinking for connects. Not to say that these faculties diminish with age, but with added responsibilities, plus lack of practice, irregular quizzing activity do take their toll.
I hope I can continue doing quizzing, and keep on meeting and having a friend circle which is equally enthusiastic about it.
Till now I have been quite lucky to be a part of COEP BoatClub and to have Ramanand as my colleague in PSPL .
So I should make the most of it till it lasts.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Raging Bull

Saw an amazing movie "Raging bull", a biopic on one of the greatest middle-weight boxers of the 50's Jake La Motta, the role was splendidly performed by RobertDeNiro , top drawer stuff, the acme of his career. Movie alternates between black/white and color. With some realistic boxing match scenes, puts to shade others like the Rocky series. Also Sly Stallone could have learnt some acting skills from the thespian DeNiro. Joe Pesci playing the role of Lamotta's brother also churns up a moving portrayal.
The movie showcases the life of LaMotta , his consummate boxing skills, his temperamental and unpredictable nature, his predilection to violence, the domestic pressures and pangs of celebrityhood. The end is somewhat tragic as he gets estranged from his wife and brother, and leads a lonely life as a NightClub entertainer.
Martin Scorcese as director has really directed a masterpiece.
Some interesting facts about the movie that I culled from the Internet.
1)The Superb Sound effects for punches landing were made by squashing melons and tomatoes. Sound effects for camera flashes going off were sounds of gunshots. The original tapes were purposely destroyed by the sound recordiing team to prevent then being used again.

2) Robert De Niro accidentally broke Joe Pesci’’’’s rib in one scene.

3) Robert De Niro gained over 25 KG by eating lots of pasta to play the older La Motta, and Pesci lost weight for the same scene. This was the best method acting in the history of World Cinema and till date people refer to it.

4) Director Martin Scorsese makes an appearance asking Jake to go on stage.

5) To Prepare for this role, Robert De Niro went through an exhaustive boxing training and even entered in 3 local boxing matches in New York. He Won two of them.

6) To show up better on black and white film, Hershey’’’’s chocolate was used for blood. This was first started by Alfred Hitchcock for his classic shower bath scene in Psycho (1960).

7) Although only a few minutes of boxing scenes are there in the movie, it took nearly 6 weeks to shoot them.

8) While preparing to play Jake La Motta, Robert De Niro actually met Jake La Motta and became very good friends with him. They spent the entire shoot together so De Niro could portray his character accurately. La Motta said that De Niro had the ability to be a professional boxer, and that he would have been happy to be his manager and trainer.

9) Much Later Jake La Motta sued the crew of the movie.

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Monday, January 13, 2003

5 Paise worth at 5 AM (Panch).am about Pancham

Not 5 am out here in India, but must be somewhere out there in the wide world. Maybe at Seattle. This post inspired by a musical soiree on RD attended by self along with my blogging Guru Ramanand and the venerable Niranjan, had a nice time, alternately appreciating and making some irreverent comments, like RD would have been a good platform independent coder in Java , as he could so effortlessly migrate a song from one language to another ,to some bawdy comments on the Maadal players, which reminded one of some choicest Hindi expletives. To Bhupi's(Bhupinder) seemly inebriated state and faux pas on the stage and Gulzar's impeccably starched Kurta ,that made him look as stiff as a Army Seargent .
It was organized by a RD Burman fan-club called Panchammagic. The guys really went ballistic in his praise and his greatness , but that was what expected of them. They obviously didnt form a fan-club for critical appreciation or objective evaluation with other composers. Celebrity adulation, is generally irrational.
In my opinion I feel RD was most versatile among all composers, and was innovative , risk-taking, good visualizer. The popularity , also had to do a lot with the melody of the Bhonsle sisters and The Greatest of them all KishorDa . They were at their prime and contributed immensely to his success.
The current spate of Remixes, do bastardize his songs, especially for the teens of today, who scarcely get to hear the originals, but it in no way takes away any of Pancham's songs lustre or respect, infact obliquely also make them more visible, making something other also visible (see the videos), but Gulzar was quite virulent in his attack on the Remixes, along with their skin-show, but a lot of virile young people would not mind it a bit I guess.
Overall it was quite entertaining and informative, with Gulzar and Bhupender in a candid mood.

Friday, January 10, 2003

Annual Resolution Making Ritual

Always like the previous years I thought of having some resolutions. Goes without saying that most of them , dont see the light of the day, literally, as after partying on 31st, the next morning some of them go kaput, like the one I had that I about sleeping 7hr 59min59sec, as I wanted it to be less than 8hrs. This year I thought I should set more realistic smart goals, make them quantifiable and estimatable. Have a mission statement and Vision for the New Year (All this Jargon an unfortunate rubbing off by reading of Management books, as well as a CMM Quality initiative in the company). So for this a major meeting was required between the affected parties. An entusiastic mind which always bites of more than it can chew, and a very practical and somewhat lazy body, ever recalcitrant to any change, full of inertia, but once it catches on to a idea it is the best ally. A perfect embodiment(pun intended) of Newton's First Law. For the non-physical arty-farty types it reads "A body at rest tends to stay at rest and a body in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force or (mind)". So there were a lot of exchange to and forth of ideas. Finally some compromises were reached after prolonged negotiations mostly while driving or at the loo. With the workers(body) threats of strike and lock-out, the management finally relented and gave concessions, but still coerced some tangible benefits out of it.

So the proposed ones and the final list adjoining in curly braces:
1. Do not sleep more than 8hrs a day { Dont sleep more than 8hrs a day for 3 days consecutively } (FYI: Already been broken)
2. Personal grooming i.e. brush teeth and wash face with soap before sleeping . (Still going strong)
3. Eat healthily {Dont overeat more than 3 times a week} (What defines Overeating ? No answer . [A Sceptic]"Unnecessary rambling about specific goals etc blah blah "
4. Augment knowledge {Read something technical atleast 3 times a week for 30 minutes minimum } . [Me] "Answers that sceptic in the previous line."
5. Efficiency at office { Wait atleast every 15min before going to mails/ blogs of friends}
6. Exercise regularly {40 pushups at one stretch by March-end, 30 min non-stop running June-end. Current status 20 push-ups and 15 minutes running}
7. Be regular with the blog { A post every week }

So see you next week, and if you don't then you know another resolution has gone down the drain...

Thursday, January 02, 2003

New Year Ups and Down
The new year has started with a bang and with a mortal scare.
Ushered in the New Year high on spirits(literally) . Boogeying it out in a party organized by the Bombay Disco Fire-N-Ice. it had all the works, lasers, psychedelic lights and sounds, a giant video screen for watching the gyrating crowds. The DJ had a fixation for techno songs, which werent my preferred aural stimulants. I have a penchant for solid unadulterated music, a la Daler Mehndi or Bryan Adams. Finally the International DJ (thats the way it was advertised on Pune Times :) ) played a couple of songs from Kaante, which perked up the crowd.
The down of this New Year was really numbing. Met with a bike-crash on the 1st , was speeding up the Nagar Highway. Had to brake suddenly as there was a minor oil-slick ,which wouldnt have affected any wild-life or the environment, but would have certainly added me to the endangered or extinct list. So skidded and banged the vehicle in front of me, and went down with my bike, not deserting it till the last moment. Was reminded of the Captain of the Bismarck :) . As I fell and laid sprawling in the middIe I could almost sense a truck or a car, steamrolling me and my life flashing in Fast forward ( exaggeration. Pardon me ) , but thankfully everyones brakes and minds were alert and they screeched to a halt behind me . I was dazed for a moment, was as grateful to my helmet as some of the fortunate soldiers of a World-War blitz. Some samaritans lifted my bike and a dazed me, to the side. I did a quick self-check to find that I was miraculously unhurt, not a scratch ,was as smooth as Hema Malini's cheeks. Though later on did discover some minor bruises. The bike was also in fine fettle.
I thanked the guys as well as paid my obeisance to the Gods and was back on my way albeit with a wary eye on anything wet and shiny on the road...