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Jun. 28th, 2008

woody, thoughtful

I love my mother.

And she knows I love Kung-Fu Hustle.
:)

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Jun. 20th, 2008

spimey

My Incredible Hulk Review



Heh. Wordle is *fun* :)

May. 16th, 2008

blue

Of dragons, Pratchett and my immortality.

You know what? This one is essential reading. I kid you not.

It was the summer of 2003, and a younger, sillier, blue-haired version of me was studying for my Masters at Warwick U. One afternoon I noticed that a bestselling novelist was giving a talk on creating fantasy universes and while I hadn't read him at all at the time, I had enough friends who were completely geeked out on his prolific output and I thought I'd give the talk a whirl.

Terry Pratchett was a fascinating speaker -- warm, funny, self-deprecatory and most insightful -- and after the talk, I went up to him, he made a pleasant blue-hair jibe (which I won't repeat, don't bother asking) and I asked if I could buy him a beer and chat a bit. He was most amiable, so we trotted off to the Graduate bar and talked about writing and fantasy.

It was a fun chat, highlighted, I feel in hindsight, by his recommending Good Omens as a good starting point for his work "because I'm sure at least Neil's bits won't be completely dreadful." For the record, he also called the first half-dozen Discworld books absolute rubbish -- but that could have been because he was, at the time, telling me to go ahead and write a few bad books to find my stride as a writer.

Anyway, so I picked up the tab and, later, a few of his books, and it became my brag-story to Pratchett-fanatics over the years, and that was that. (By the way, those of you well infatuated by the man's staggering body of work are likely to hate me even more now. Heh)

Cut to now, when a justifiably crazed phone call from the ever-excitable wildpixie cued me in to a Discworld novel published by Terry in 2005, called Thud!

Great read, and recommended heavily, but for now let's just let the book speak:

Lady Sybil's eyes focused. 'Give him to me,' she ordered. 'And you take Raja!'

Vimes looked where she was indicating. A young dragon with floppy ears and an expression of mildly concussed good humour blinked at him. He was a Golden Wouter, a breed with a flame so strong that one of them had once been used by thieves to melt their way into a bank vault.

Vimes picked him up carefully. 'Coal him up,' Sybil commanded.

It's in the bloodline, Vimes told himself as he fed anthracite into Raja's eager gullet. Sybil's female forebears had valiantly backed up their husbands as distant embassies were besieged, had given birth on a camel or in the shade of a stricken elephant, had handed around the little gold chocolates while trolls were trying to break into the compound, or had merely stayed at home and nursed such bits of husbands and sons as made it back from endless little wars. The result was a species of woman who, when duty called, turned into solid steel.

Vimes flinched as Raja burped.



The only dragon mentioned by name, ladies and germs. It's only a few words, but it isTerry Pratchett, and if swallowing coal is what it takes, so be it. I think it counts as a bonafide second or two of immortality. God bless ya, Terry.

May. 14th, 2008

confusion, george

apocalypse now?

Full-throatedly egging on Shoaib Akhtar and celebrating his wickets?

Wow.

Is that the first horseman I see?
Or is the IPL truly shattering boundaries with such force?

Wow, again.
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Apr. 25th, 2008

spimey

yeah, sure I needed a quiz to tell me this...

Your results:
You are Spider-Man
Spider-Man
90%
The Flash
80%
Superman
70%
Hulk
70%
Supergirl
65%
Iron Man
55%
Wonder Woman
50%
Batman
45%
Robin
45%
Green Lantern
40%
Catwoman
40%
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.


Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

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Apr. 14th, 2008

barton fink

Going to bed hungry.

Writers, in a way, are like cooks.

The best ones have their own signature style, and these wordchefs leave their unmistakable signature on the way they alchemise the language, the way they take basic ingredients and turn them into magical repasts we lovingly gorge on.

Jonathan Swift, for example, with his brutal brilliance, makes one helluva bloody steak, meaty and guaranteed to fill you right up. Joe Heller simplistically makes it work really well, a serving of perfectly mashed potatoes. Julian Barnes attacks with delicate force, apt word selections blended precisely to make his swordfish a la siciliana. Neil Gaiman -- like good ol' Jorge Luis before him -- meshes a bit of literally everything together in a marvellously judicious mix, coming up with a thick broth heady enough to warrant Getafix comparisons. Anthony Burgess laces his bizarrely exotic fricassée -- complete with diced dodo and pterodactyl meat -- with a mugful of country hooch that takes over the skull. Nobody quite knows just how Nabakov spices and soaks his meat, but the thing about his phenomenal leg of lamb is that every bite is an absolute sensation.

Poets are the great dessert chefs, but that's fodder for another post -- if you're interested.

And then there's another wordsmith who crafts, with excellent and irreverent genius, the finest biryani in the land. His words coat the meat thickly enough to bring it to mouthmelty texture, and he tosses in unconventional ad hoc ingredients with mad scientist flair, letting words and grammar flow into a zany, rulefree raita. Sprinkled with a dash of saffron that seems to act as both aphrodisiac and hallucinogenic, it's the stuff of emperors and egomaniacs, despots and dreamers.

And tonight I feast on just that. Ah, bliss.

smell what the man is cookin...Collapse )

Mar. 21st, 2008

kill, jerry

The coolest thing these days...

... is having Rolfe Kent's title track from Dexter as the ringtone on my phone.

And it always rings while I'm shaving.

Heh.

Feb. 25th, 2008

sane

To we or not to we...

There are times when you reluctantly rise from your comfortably cocooning Sunday afternoon bed, the sun streaming on your face as you keep turning (both yourself and your persistent phone, onto 'silent') and tossing, burying your face in a pillow -- but as said, irked or not, you're up now. And really not in the mood for the usual.

So you go for a horseback ride.

Not literally, of course. That's just posterior-cruelty (and not particularly nice to the steed either, who'd probably like a siesta himself.. it just is that kind of weather.)

No, you mount the stallion -- hell, the word really would be literally after all, won't it? When you lie back, let that harsh sun-glare pour onto pages and light up words, glorious words about an Emperor and his self-devised immortal Queen, and his struggles with individuality, personality, peace and plurality.

The magazine you read, to get to this particular afternoon's marvellous galloping sojourn, is The New Yorker, and the wordsmith in question, writing about Akbar and Jodha -- in a sharply incisive, everfunny- narrative that spans 8 pages, not 3.35 hours -- is the one man in the world who can describe air as quivering, "like a frightened blackbuck."

His name is Salman Rushdie, and his The Shelter Of The World (Jahanpanah) is available here, to read online.

Anytime, buddies. Read on, into the sunset.
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Jan. 15th, 2008

butch, american, pulp

judging books by their covers




I bought it on absolute impulse.

In a Delhi bookshop for an indulgent three minutes before rushing out for a road trip to Patiala (where I found the bizarrest, most wonderfully B-movie hotel room ever, but more on that later, perhaps), I had to pick up something fun, something to offset the glorious Murakami book (again, later?) I already had in hand for the long car-ride ahead.

Enter this mad book by Austin Grossman, something I'd never heard of.  The back blurb said the protagonists were the vile Doctor Impossible who wanted to, via titular manner, take over the world, and Fatale, a cyborg-superchick trying to cope with her surprising induction into the Champions, the top-level superhero squad in the world. I gave it the quick Page One Test, smirked constantly, and so the book was bought.

Niice, by the way.

The writing is sharp and constant, the voices are realistic and both characters -- stock comic book characters -- are written deeply enough to give them life. There is much DC-referencing throughout, in terms of characters and story arcs, but why Grossman's book works is because, unlike the men and women in capes that populate it, it brings a depth to its two protagonists: people with inadvertent powers making very different choices -- simply to get by.

While in ideal territory for spoofing comic convention -- and I don't claim the book eschews it entirely -- Grossman manages to build a few awesomely compelling characters and genuinely tell their story without trying for one-liners. Sure, the situations, costume descriptions and plotpoints may often be ludicrous, but when the characters themselves are playing it straight, you concentrate more on their neuroses and their, well, feelings.

It isn't Watchmen, but I have a feeling it'd amuse Alan Moore quite a bit.

Comicheads, buy it now. I also think all you non-graphic novel type log might love it and want to pick up something with panels soon. Either way, recommended reading.

PS -- Last week again I bought some stuff I hadn't really read about purely on the strength of their covers -- but then it isn't quite the same when the covers feature the words Neil Gaiman or Julian Barnes.
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Nov. 28th, 2007

barton fink

Bollywood Blues: The Movie.



Set to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.
Featuring Vaspar Dandiwala, Diksha Basu, Matthew Schneeberger, Krishnakumar.

Comment, everyone.

And you lot, forward!

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