The Sanctum

Welcome, traveller. This be the realm of Jay Niner, where everything be possible, and nothing ever happens. If, perchance, thou wisheth to tarry, then find thou a page from the Grimoire and read. For we are here in eternity, and we are in medias res.

31.8.11

Review: Conan the Barbarian (2011)

If you want that sword-slinging, gut-wrenching, brutal feel, then go watch this. And stay with it.
Jason Momoa should have stuck to playing Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones, but I suppose his contract expired since his character dies in the first few episodes. 
So he rebounds into this, and does a Khali act from Get Smart!. Wonderful. 
On top of which we have Rose McGowan, once tipped off to be the next Red Sonja, acting as a witch. Stephen Lang pulls off his trademark villain role, as the infamous Khalar Zym; but he's a far cry from his performance in Avatar or The Hard Way, and a very far cry from James Earl Jones' Thulsa Doom in the '84 Conan the Barbarian. 
So, why am I slamming the movie? I was looking forward to it in a big way. I mean, there's only so much gut-smashing, smart-talking action you get from Duke Nukem, but Conan's in a different league- he's smarter and meaner; sort of like comparing a wolf to a jaguar. 
I've been a big fan of the whole franchise- from Howard's original stories to Marvel's adaptations, and then the current Dynamite Comics' series. There's an appeal to the character- and how the stories are told.
Although Morgan Freeman narrates well, he doesn't start with the trademark "Do you know, O prince..." and I wasn't expecting that. 
The point is, this looks and feels like a rehashed Deathstalker, for Christ's sake. The graphics are bland in places; there's a point where the camera does a dolly act past a mud city in a cliff; and although I suspect it's supposed to be abandoned, it looks like a cheap inch-high replica instead of original animation.
Odd.
And there's Conan's monosyllabic grunts... nuts. Rose McGowan? Oh dear. Stereotype bad witch. Rachel Nichols? Stereotype Damsel in Distress; again, look to the original for her counterpart. And Khalar Zym. Although the character looks great, he just doesn't have that force behind him- that evil menace that's so common on screens these days.
Altogether? Two stars out of five. Not even worth downloading. Even the erotic scenes don't match those of Howard's original descriptions- and they're comparatively mild if you look at Drive Angry or Machete.
To top it off, this year seems to have been a bad one for Comic Adaptations; from Green Hornet to Green Lantern, Cowboys and Aliens, or even Captain America (which I'll admit is still better than all of the abovementioned), they've all been lacking. I mean, look at Thor, or Iron Man. 
What made those two so much better? If that question could be answered, I have no doubt that we'd have an award-winning comic adaptation. Until then, they'll just teeter between being comic adaptations and plain comical.
Signing off.
Overall rating: Two Stars.
Pros: Environment, Ron Perlman's performance, music
Cons: Everything else: weak characters, weak plot.

27.8.11

That's all for today.

Self- made banner for a website generation assignment. Weird way to spend time, I know; but oddly satisfying all the same.

21.8.11

Nucking Futs

As I recline on my bed as of 9.09 in the laptop clock, I look around to see- life.
In a cubicle.
There's inactivity. There's boredom. There's melancholy. We're alive!
As the title goes, Nucking Futs, for lack of an external censor.
*
9.10.
I decided to burn my hand. It was mildly painful, as the head of a cigarette burns at a considerably high temperature. I'm sure someone will know the exact specs, but I tried it out anyway.
It left some skin burnt, but nothing too much... the masochist in me wants to slam the butt on my finger, the same one I'll write with tomorrow. 
The realist in me shut up years ago.
Nucking Futs.
*
9.15
Six minutes have passed since I finished the fifth download of a childishly imbecilic game that I decided to rack my laptop with. A 2005 model shouldn't by any measure be able to support 2009 games, and it doesn't. Sensible laptop, mindfucked owner.
Doesn't stop me from downloading the sixth part, before installing it and then wracking my brains trying to reduce its graphics and performance, and then uninstalling and deleting it when it doesn't work. Summat to do anyhow.
Nucking Futs.
*
9.20
I debated whether or not to go down and have dinner or starve. Moral issue, existential crisis.
The humanitarian part of me realized that not having dinner would 

  • no doubt affect my stomach. 
The logical part of me realized that not having dinner would 

  • keep me awake half the night and quite likely till morning as I prowled the corridors in stealthy reconnaissance looking for the unwary hostelite who would leave more than his/her share of food lying around, 
  • it also meant I would increase my performance-to-resource ratio, forcing my body to consume itself to support my brain, but giving my systems a temporary boost.
Unsurprisingly they arrived at the same conclusion together.

Nucking Futs.
*
9.25
I finally looked around for enough "chanda" to go get my junk. Granted, there are no immediate relief zones of any discernible quality to be found from where I'm sitting (or staying); but if I'm going home by September then it stands to reason that I may sample goods of excellent merchandise in familiar confines... Panvel, Kamathi, BP, ah, my sainted whores.
In other words, BP rocks, Madras blues repress.
Until then, abstinence is the foundation of virtue.
Nucking Futs.
*
9.30
Apparently a visit to the ATM is required after several glances into the musty reliquary that passes for my purse.
The adage sticks through, then; Money come, money go; mindfucked brain, remain.
Nucking Futs.
*

18.8.11

The Endless Run

I don't run, it's true, but my mind does; it's constantly churning out ideas. Like yours, or like anyone else's.
Sometimes, all my brain decides to do first thing in the morning is to take a nap- a nap which continues for most of the day, during which I conveniently go into zombie mode, and the day slips past and I finally realize that I've lost one whole day of my life that I'll never get back.
Bugger you, and your day, my brains whispers back, snuggling into its nightgown. The human brain, if nothing else, is a bitch.
*
So, my fingers keep hovering over the keyboard for minutes at a time while I try to come up with something that'll entertain both you and me. Eventually I might even delete this blog, and then I'll rue the day I did that.

What's to tell? I'd advise you to go read A. G. Gardiner, who once wrote a piece on how to do nothing. Jerome K. Jerome went further, writing about how he did absolutely nothing for a month.
Both of them agree on one point- it's bloody boring doing nothing.
*
About two months back, around this time, 2.52 pm, I was hauling my scooter back to my home.
I have this absolutely moronic habit of not filling petrol in it after I go drinking. A friend of mine back in Pune would attest to the number of times that habit has brought things to a literal standstill.
He lived near Viman Nagar, and I lived ten kilometres out of the city.
The worst part of the trip wasn't dragging that junker of a scooter on a vertical incline; it was watching people go past at speeds of seventy and above. You then realize just how much you depended on the vehicle to begin with; just how much you owe to whoever invented an internal combustion engine and vulcanized rubber.
And every time I think about how I stupid I'd been that night, I can't stop laughing my arse off. It's just typical of me to push the damn thing around instead of storing it somewhere and sleeping it off. Hell, I was asleep on the pavement halfway home for about an hour.
Nuts.
*
I was thinking of writing this story, you know?
About a journalist in the future. How do we predict what media will be used? Obviously, some advanced form of the internet that's so easily accessible no one will even want to use a monitor of any kind.
At that point, a situation which I put forth to two of my teachers may come forth- that the news industry could become one single amalgamated organization. Global, planetary, galactic, whatever you like.
On top of which, they have their own bio-engineering plants which effectively allows them to churn out fully-grown, multi-skilled reporters with all the physical capability to fight off miltary commandos, steal into high-tech security encryptions, exchange bullets and still be able to submit their copies after all that.
For a detective and crime fiction fan, it seemed like quite an idea to me at the time. The only problem was getting the stories right.
I suppose that can be solved in time.
After all, you only write what you know. If you don't know what you're writing about, you'll end up writing like Woody Allen talks.
And that's a lot harder than it looks. Only someone genuinely all over the place- and that's no compliment- can write like that.
Well, signing off. Yawn.

16.8.11

The Bilingual Argument

What in hell is up with the political scene in India?
Everyone left and right of me is writing (apne vichaar "prakat" karna jise bolaate hain) about politics and Anna Hazare. 
So I might as well as join the bandwagon.
Lots of questions on the subject, and while we're at it, let's beat around the bush for a while longer, answering daft questions.
For all intents and purposes do not crucify me if you disagree. I cannot tolerate being nailed to a cross. We shall begin this interview from the POV of two bakchoders- I mean, college students- No.  1, the interviewer and No. 2, the interviewee.
*
No 1: Tasreef rahiyen bhaijaan, sawaalon ki na koi kami hai na aapko chup karvaane ki gunjaaeish.
No 2: Talk English, dude.

No. 1: Kya aapko lagta hain ki Anna Hazare ke recent arrest me government ka haath hain?
No. 2: Dude, don't ask fuckall questions.

No. 1: Kya aapke bheje me koi shak raha hai ki yeh sab kyun ho raha hain?
No. 2: Dude, WTF. It's all to get the media attention in India, homie. When the media controls the masses, the best way to get more power is to control the media. Now Anna Hazare-

No. 1: Kya aap ek hi point pe rahenge?
No. 2: Fine. My point is that no matter what sort of communication you use, fear/righteousness/justice/injustice, the end goal is to get your point across to the people. Now, Anna Hazare can very well get a morcha done and people will now about it. On the other hand, those he is out to expose profit only from one thing; to delay his message until they have counter-measures to work against his ideas. 

No. 1: Kya aap is naye karnaame pe thoda charcha karna chayenge.
No. 2: Why not. It's pretty obvious that there was a trumped-up charge brought up at the last minute to clap him in irons. While the whole country waits for his message with bated breath... you have heard of one meeting his destiny on the way he takes to avoid it, haven't you? What do you think is happening? An assault on the corruption/etc. has given way to an assault on basic democratic rights.

No. 1: Lekin aapki kya raein hai is mudde par? Koi gyanvardhak tippani?
No. 2: No, not yet. I have really no interest in this sort of stuff. All I can say is that the Government should either take an example from China and turn completely communist, and clamp down on this sort of stuff, or else be utterly libertarian and let the people decide- but in this sort of case, it's like a Magician's trick of Forcing; no matter how many cards you hold out to an average passer-by, he's always going to pick up the one you want him to. The Government should get its thoughts in order and do a better job of playing politics.

No. 1: To aap yeh kehe rahe hai ki ek taraf pe rakhshas, us taraf pe Bhagwaan; beech me khada bandhar, jo machaye tufaan...
No. 2: Exactly. Now, the problem we are all facing is the sort that gets solved by arguing an issue to death. We could sit here and keep talking about it; or we could go out and do something. *I* have already spoken enough. Those who do have problems with the situation- since I'm far enough from that that it doesn't connect, and political scenarios are not my cup of tea- should do what they feel is right. 

No. 1: Kya desh me kranti ho payegi is muddhe ke vaaste?
No. 2: Nope. There will be a lot of shouting inside and outside parliament, a bunch of people with too much time on their hands, who will stand out in the rain with candles, yelling slogans out in the hopes of changing the world. Let them; or let them become politicians and change it through the rightful abuse of power instead. Words don't break bones. It's reach that matters, and now that Anna Hazare, a gandhian of sorts, has that sort of reach? It's possible he may incite more protests, but a full-blown revolution is too much for the average Indian; we'd be waiting till next October waiting for campaign slogans to arrive.

No. 1: Kya aap chutiye hain?
No. 2: I follow that feed on facebook and twitter; I agree with most of their stuff and WTF are you bringing it in now?

No. 1: Phir humare show pe aane ke liye humara shukriya ada ki jiye. Is romanchak aur anokha safar pe aapke raein sunkar badi hairani huyi; aasha karte hain ki desh ke vaasi is kaarname par apne bhi vichaar dalenge, aur apne apne bhaavnayon ko ve prakat karenge. Hume yakeen hai ki desh ki pragati zaroor hogi; dhanyavaad.

15.8.11

Reprisal

While this blog will focus mainly on my ranting over unavailability of certain luxuries, I also intend to examine:
  • The humanity of deprivation
  • The insanity provoked in the depths of the human mind due to the uncertainties of fate.
Alright! Let the ranting begin.

*

After nearly two weeks of holding back, I finally let go and marched all the way to Thiruvanmiyur. Bought a pack of Davidoffs and after several people waxed eloquent on the qualities of the Dunhill Red, I decided to sample that as well.
Imagine yourself running twenty kilometres with a friend.
Then afterwards, stopping and bringing up your bottle of water for a nice, long drink.
And the water gets knocked out of your hand, leaving just 10% of your throat drenched while the rest is still calling out piteously for salvation.
That, reader, is an accurate summary of what happens to me during Davidoff deprivation. Granted, a pack of cigarettes is not supposed to be worth the bother, but Davidoff is more to me than a simple pack of 20 cigarettes. I've tasted probably 50 brands of cigarettes till now, and fifteen or twenty types of cigars. It's not that I didn't like Nat Shermans or Camel or Pall Malls, didn't appreciate the taste of Gudang Garam or Charminar, or Djarum. Nope, it's just that eventually at a point in life you begin to get accustomed to something. 
I got accustomed to Davidoff, and Old Monk, two or so pints of Feni, a good bottle of Chianti, slow cars and large bikes, a country-made cot and Konkani beedis, Kerala rains, country chicken and bengali sweets, South Indian coffee and Dilli chai. 
The problem is, I could just have gone on smoking and not noticed what I was missing. You only ever learn the value of something once it's taken out of your hands. I'll learn and re-learn the value of my laptop when it conks off on me, which is too bloody frequently for my taste. Therefore, instead of incessantly walking up and down this oven of a city, I can indulge in Navy Cut while I wait for the weekends to get my relief.
That's the humanity of deprivation part covered.
As for the insanity provoked, it stems from the fact that while I was supposed to go home to pick up a carton of Davidoffs a friend bought for me, I couldn't just because my mother got suspicious at hearing that I'd be going. My whole family is scattered across India- parents in Amravati, sister in Pune, cousin in Nagpur and yours truly in Madras.
It's not a really big deal, not going. What's a big deal is that by the time I reach home in september, that carton will have been devoured to the tobacco flake.
Never mind the rest of the stuff I'd put for safekeeping. It's a bloody shame if you don't have anywhere to store weed and acid and so on and so forth, and as a result must leave them with people you only trust about as far as you throw them. We should have a bank for that sort of contraband, and the Government would be able to control it all the better.
Ah, well- smokers unite, puffing our right, another one we'll light.
And so on and so forth. 
In any case, I have near around to three times ten the number of smokes; it should keep me off those ghastly Classic Milds and the intolerable Gold Flakes. While I may have started out on that, I gradually veered toward the stronger, harsher stuff. 
Some people I know smoke weed to make sure they don't smoke. I smoke so that... okay, vice versa doesn't work out that way, since I do both. I know people who smoke weed 24/7; I know people who could sit down with a hookah and not get up for hours; I know idiots who jumped off cliffs on acid. I'll stay away from those daft highs and listen to Tex William's advice; if there's anyone who got it right, it's him.

12.8.11

Another Untitled

I've been going over the recent tenor of my blogs. They've been a depressant, haven't they? Maybe I should remedy that. 
I'm sipping from ichor; an old monk whispers into my ear, he's not really bothered about the Ferrari Robin Sharma made him sell. What he is bothered about, though, is that I enjoy myself.
Rum.
Smooth, strong, amazing. There is truly nothing like rum.
Unless it's whiskey. Or sex. Either will do... but I digress.
Today was pretty much the same as any other. I had someone called Kancha Ilaiah over to talk on about caste and the Dalit Bahujan in India- biased as hell, but an enjoyable experience all the same. It was something else to see someone who actually cared- 
No, scratch that. I do see people who actually care. The crazy thing is, I just remain in the background. Some defect in my genetics- I'm really unconcerned, apathetic. Perhaps its teenage skepticism. I hope so, or I've wasted valuable time trying to change the mould I broke. Nuts to that.
I've been reading up while the classes've been going on, though. 
G.R.R. Martin's A Dance with Dragons. One hell of a good read, although some of the characters lack in depth as compared to the others- but Martin's really delayed this one, so I shan't complain and only thank whatever's out there while I read a pirated copy. The internet's so cool, no? It allows you to read up stuff that's not been released yet. 
But for that matter, the Internet's also the cause of this generation's - mine and yours, reader- apathy. We know so much about what's going on, and whatever we don't, we google, because of which we have our opinions on just about everything. 
I never really wanted an opinion- opinions only fill your stomach if you're a politician or some high-ranker- but I did want to have a nice little house tucked away somewhere, and a fridge full of rum/beer along with it.
*
A relative of mine had once told me about the Red Indians. Apparently, they had a legend of a white man who, famously, apparently, had gone into the deep woods with nothing but a skinning knife and a bag of salt.
Twenty years later, he returned to the tribe- much after everyone thought he was dead- and all he asked for was another bag of salt, before vanishing once more. 
Sounds like Into the wild, doesn't it? Stuff like that does happen. As I am humbled, so should you be; there is always someone, somewhere, having a life we truly admire. Celebs don't have a life, so they don't count. No one would be truly happy with their life under constant scrutiny- and I know enough that while money drives the world, if you're stuck in a desert with a million rupees and a Guinness (I'm talking about the beer) then you'll go for the Irish. Life's fucked up like that. 
*
People have often said I'm socially disconnected. I suppose it's true. I don't like company, I don't often like more than three or less good friends, and I hate crowds. Call it what you will. Everyone's damaged in some way or the other. My dream, as I've often mentioned, is to own a backwaters cottage and retire out of contact of everyone, leave no trace of myself behind. I've often thought about how it would be, to have the world forget you- and to forget about the world, and I've done that- it feels great.
Until then, I'll continue to blog, until the day comes and I can quietly vanish into my own wilderness in the future. Sayonara till the next.


11.8.11

Memento Mori

There's an old saying: writers are the gods of their worlds.
They're not. Editors are the gods in writers' worlds.

I used to pull off some dumb graveyard shifts at Call Centres; half the time because it meant getting money, the other half, pushing same money off on booze and parties with chicks and dudes too sleepy to care otherwise. I was pretty much the same then... I mean, who isn't fucking sleepy at three in the morning? When all you have for entertainment is the occasional jackoff calling for a repair.
Nah, it's nuts there. 
Money come, money go; mindfucked brain, remain.

I should wash out my mouth with soap. I'm going back to my heydays, when all this blog used to see was profanity enough to make God turn the other cheek.

But where was I? Ah.
I had a particularly disheartening grammar lecture today. God in heaven knows who invented Grammar. I don't, and if I did, that sonuvabitch would be sleeping with the fishes. If a junkie can write, and write passably well; I hope I do; then why the hell do you want to force stuff on him that comes out properly when he's writing?
Let's face it- there are only two rules to life. The rule that lets us do as we fucking please, and the rule that makes us face the consequences of our actions.
If you can bargain with these two, you've got it made. And I don't mind... I've done my bargaining.
When the call centre days went on, I often had the dubious post of having to edit reports and stuff. I could just pick up the typos by the kilo and toss them into the dustbin.
I suppose that habit disappeared, of keeping track of my own typographical errors, when I started working in Print seriously. The idea of having an editor above- having anyone above you to keep track of your mistakes and rectify as needed- makes you grow complacent in your own ability to report, until you find yourself saying, 'Fuck typos! I'm paid to report, bitch!'
Ya, I did say that.

That's when the Latin phrase "Memento Mori" hits me. "Remember your mortality". 
It's a pretty good thing to keep in mind, isn't it? When things like small, dumb mistakes you don't remember making come back to bite you in the ass, they, more than world-altering mistakes, remind you that you're a human.
Side note: The inspiration for this blog comes from the fact that I sent a piece full of typos as an assignment. I've regretted it since afternoon... well, to Beelzebub with it! Shan't make the mistake of being an eager beaver again.

9.8.11

Another Untitled.

If it serves me right, then I was by all means a pompous brat in my fifth standard of my State Board school back in an Amravati no one knows anything about.
If it serves me right, then I had grammar lessons back then, too. I really don't understand what sort of perverted joy people get when they turn language head over heels with rules; I can understand that while the written word is music, grammar is the script for the musician to argue with his manager.
It's only there to make sure innocent writers are suckered into that mire of commas by over-thinking his editing with concerns over clauses, punctuation marks and all those little dingbats that go into the editing.
My own preconceptions about writing stem from my overly talented parents. One teaches English and Chemistry, the other, English Lit. And neither of them have any love towards the murkiness of English Grammar.
Nobody in their right minds would, I think, support something can render language into maths. Consider the following equation:
SUBJECT(SIMPLE) + PREDICATE = (NOUN + VERB)ADJECTIVE/ADVERB + NOUN

This is pretty much something I found a goon teaching in an English tuition class. That's what I mean by turning English into Maths, and if you consider, the sentence was actually:

"My teacher speaks some Sanskrit."

Nice way to put it, smartass. 
------
In any case, I suppose the grammar classes will continue, and I will have to grin and bear it. It beggars belief that people would teach this.. however, let's skip the topic, now that I've blown my top, it has settled back down on my head once more.
Most days I can guess that people feel like a zombie. Especially those in jobs they don't like.. get up, eat, work, get back, sleep. Life can go on with that cycle for years on end, until one day we can get up and look at our shriveled hands and realize- I'm at an old age home, I don't even know how I got there.
What is the point, exactly?
Overworking ourselves like this? I know people who're barely seventeen and have started working with papers, banks, shops, trading, real estate.. why the need to begin working so early? I have no answer to that question. I certainly wouldn't start now. I still need to down a few more thousand beers.
And I need to get a Ph.D. If there's one thing I noticed, a Doctorate is of value anywhere. And not a fake or a comparable-to-doctorate degree, but the real thing can give you a good push up any ladder. My parents are both doctors, and if not for my constantly draining their resources would have been living a fine life in some part of Italy or Europe, where they want to tour once the Black Sheep of the family stops mooching off his parents and gets a job.
But they're prepared to sponsor me till the doctorate, which is mighty good. At least five years of boozing until I can finish a five/six-kilo thesis on some archaic topic or the other, and then we'll talk business; probably rack in a few years at some paper, five more, perhaps, and start teaching.
To anyone who's listening, a teacher's job is pretty much the best job on Earth. Consider; you get three months off at any time of year, which is like a paid vacation, and you get to influence the next generation. Maybe not so much about the last part, but I want to teach in some corner of Europe.. and then come back home after arguing metaphysical writing or some aspect of theology or journalism, plop myself down in a recliner with wine in hand and a fresh page to continue whatever novel I'd be writing out at that time.
That's my fantasy.. and there's absolutely no reason why it can't come true. It doesn't even need too much effort, either... well, maybe it does, but I don't want to get into that right now.
Maybe y'all, dear readers, should figure out concrete plans as well. At the end of the day, nobody wants money- it's happiness people want. Money is just a shortcut to happiness, no debating that fact, but let's face it- you aren't going to angle your life to get the bucks, if there's your dream on the other road, are you? Gamblers will, but most people won't.

8.8.11

Review: Chaos Legion

That redhead's a guy. Just for confirmation.
Oh my dear lord in heaven and the sainted squirrel on the maple tree.
If there ever were a people who went through trial and error to get their games right it was these bastards at CAPCOM who brought out Chaos Legion.
While I can appreciate the artistry that goes into a Hack-and-Slash game, the genteel subtlety of the combat involved and the brilliance of mind that brought this creation to life..
No, I'm sorry, I can't.
What is Chaos Legion? It's a 2003 fantasy H&S for the intellectually reverted; or for the gothic-oriented romantics. While the main premise of the game is that you're a "Knight of the Dark Glyphs", Mr. "I-love-my-babyface-and-red-hair" Sieg Wahrheit who's apparently murdered secondary character Seila, your eternal friend Victor Delacroix's love, the whole thing spirals out of control before you can even get a chance.
So, Victor D. takes a downward spiral, thinking only of getting Seila back while at the same time giving Sieg (pronounced Zeke) a few pieces of his mind.
While all this is going on, Sieg (aforementioned Knight of the "Glyphs") has the power to control legions of seemingly supernatural monsters.. with names such as "Guilt" or "Blasphemy", "Hatred", "Malice", "Arrogance", "Flawed" and so on. Charming. All of them have one speciality- Guilt uses swords, Blasphemy uses Bombs, Hatred goes hand-to-hand, Malice uses crossbows, and so on. The only legion I did like out of all of them was the "Ultimate" legion, "Thanatos", which in keeping with most Jap games Sieg happens to lose early on. Handy.
So you go around collecting nine parts of that Thanatos thingy, while the whole tragedy unfolds.
And it's full of dialogues like "It's time for me to send you back into that darkness!" - No self-respecting villain should be caught saying that. And no self-respecting hero should be caught saying "It's time for me to rescue him from the darkness around him."
I had a grammar class today that I wanted to forget, and the game brought it all back- every lesson of grammar involving active voice, passive voice, clauses.. just because of this idiotic game.
It's the perfect game for you to wreck your fingers on; take out your frustration on a bunch of pixels. It works.
But if you're looking for story, good characters... go play Devil May Cry and have a few laughs, because you won't get them here.
Rating: 2.5/5
Pros: Good gameplay, pure hack-and-slash
Cons: Dumb characters, bland story, fake american accents.

6.8.11

Another untitled

There's a really good thing about being pleasantly high. I wish it wasn't vodka, which I'm still not sure I like or not, considering I really hate apples, and Romanov tends to taste like such, but then I'm not sure.
Romanov is one helluva place to begin my blog.
What is vodka?
Vodka is Russian for Water.
Please don't question that fact- I heard it from a friend, so I have no idea of its credibility. Da, si, oui, hao, hai and which ever language you prefer, "yes".
It's strange that that one word would have so many different languages. You'd think that the Tower of Babel Syndrome would have worn out by now; God can't have infinite wrath. It's too time-consuming, even by infinity's standards.
In other words, God needs to learn restraint.
All that "divine wrath" and "judgement of souls" would be pretty much farcical if not for the fact that a few billion people believe in it. Why faith? Why not believe in oneself? I remember a Father who preached that all one needed was the ability to believe in oneself, and God would help such a person all on his own. God, of course, helps those who help themselves.
Why was this Father with a capital F so.. eloquent? It went against most of the teachings of the Church, to say that if man believes in himself he could move mountains. And the Church, if anything, is based upon pure, unadulterated faith. To answer that question, one must look to the greats. None of them, from Alexander to Einstein, Gandhi and others, managed without that faith- they all believed in a higher power.
Do we need a higher power? It's doubtful. Technology is our god in this day and age. Without the wonders of technology I cannot- there is no will not and may not- blog. You cannot complain, abuse or comment on this blog if not for the internet in your hands.
And the internet these days. I can pay a thousand bucks for it and still not get the speed I need; even 2K will not give me the ability to download movies in one hour. To put it bluntly; there is no good internet speed in India, even if we want to act like attention whores with the 2G scam and the 3G revolution. I mean, who the hell would be bothered by that shit?
I know my hacker friends. All they're bothered with is the speed at which internet can go.
India is one country fulla' attention whores. I wish I knew the reason for that statement; but I don't. It's one of those thing that pops out of your mouth; such as when you say: Nobel's a cholo bastard for inventing dynamite!
Well, he was. If he didn't invent dynamite, I'm sure someone else would have, but all these inventors- they had the ideas that were a few years ahead of their time. So, if Nobel didn't invent dynamite, then someone else would have- after, say ten years past Nobel's date of invention- and we'd be talking about Nuclear weapons like they were the most recent toys in our arsenal.
As it stands, they're not. Military around the world has stuff lying around that's considerably more eco-friendly.. but that's a matter for another time.
This blog started as I was high, let me end it then;
I wanted vodka; I got it. I wanted a high; I got it. I wanted sweet release; she came not; I wanted "Absolution"; I got "Romanov".
And there endeth the tale.

4.8.11

Ya Ali

Ya Ali Madad!

I begin today's rant with a plea for help.
And I'm not asking you, dearest reader, for the same; no, thank you. The problem is that I have been raving off my head too much these days. As an old friend (passed away, no less, which is why he's both old and late.) would say- 'you're an idiot.'
He wouldn't need to say much more to get me back on track.. but if memory serves me right, there was a 'mother****ing' and a 'bastard' in there somewhere.
So, back to my plea for help.
I'm epicurean by nature, which means that I need something to do, something to ward off this spirit of boredom that seems to have taken up residence in my immediate surroundings. And there is nothing to do, truly, apart from listening to Nakkadwale Disco every few minutes.
But I have to hand it to my six-year-old laptop. More than my mom with her red-hot chimta (a red-hot pair of tongs that she'd threaten me with when I misbehaved), this piece of junk has taught me patience.
To survive anywhere, one must be patient, or extraordinarily talented. You have to work for years to perfect that sudden movement that can strike precisely at the base of your opponent's neck and find its way into your own groin.
Ouch.. yeah, that's happened.. but that I blame on whatever I was inebriated on at the time.

And none of you will teach me patience and the resilience I need to survive those drearily dank evenings when one tends to ask oneself after the tea sessions, much like the vultures in Disney's The Jungle Book- 'so, what do we do now?'
I went off to some IT park called.. Asendas? Ascendas? Dunno, but it was mighty close and had Subway in it, which to my chagrin and almighty despair did not serve more than 3 sauces on your Sub. Then why even ask us which bread we want, betichod? Just make the damn thing instead of wasting time.
That was one helluva dry sub, and on the way back I had the idea of visiting the TASMAC bar nearby.. but it kinda slipped out of my mind. Maybe something to do with the first half-decent filter coffee I've had in ages. That's the only thing I can say about the South in general and Chennai in particular- the coffee is amazing. Original filter coffee, or so they like to say, but it's not the formaldehyde they serve at most places. Maharashtra in general did not know how to make coffee- the north and west concentrate mostly on tea- but the south is all coffee, man.
You can feel it in the air, when you cross over past AP into my beloved Kerala- Ah, my beauty, past compare, your rains like a downfall of despair- when the vendors start yelling Kaapi! Chooda Kaapi! (Coffee, hot coffee instead of Chai! Garam Chai! (Tea, hot tea).
A friend informs me of the varied cuisine here.. Greek and Thai and Italian, from what she asserted. Well, I've got nine months before I must deliver, and I have yet to conceive yet.
You dirty minds.. you thought I was going to.. I can't believe you thought that. I'm shocked.
I suppose this is where I beat a hasty retreat. I suppose Ali in his infinite wisdom needs must decline on my request, but that's okay. I do not expect the powers-that-be to really give a half-decent answer.. which is why I'm an atheist in the first place, like the half the generation.
Interesting idea for another blog.
Watch this space.

3.8.11

Ghost Story: Review

I've been an avid follower of Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files since I picked up a yellowing copy of Fool Moon at Landmark. It occurred to me that someone who'd name his book that should have more than a sense of humour- and I was right. 
Jim Butcher has put together one of the most wise-ass, street-smart angry young wizard characters the literary world has known. Harry Dresden simply personifies those qualities just mentioned; and that pretty much sums up why people read it; at some point sequels become less about the plot and more about character development. Not so with Codex Alera, Jim Butcher's other series (which already ended, sadly; it was his only successful attempt at sword-and-horse fantasy- his words).
However, much like Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings acquires a cult following for Darth Vader or Gollum, Sauron and so on, The Dresden Files's star attraction is the smart-talking, hard-hitting Chicago Wizard. And at the end of the 12th book in the series, Changes, Harry Dresden is sent to sleep- with the fish. 
Now, you'd think that death is the final frontier, but Jim Butcher would disagree. Ghost Story, the 13th in the series, pretty much sums up in the name itself what Dresden's going through now. He's dead, and he has to find out who killed him.
Predictable plot. 
What's not predictable is the fact that for once in his life, Dresden realizes that while he could kick ass alive, in death he keeps getting his ass handed to him by ghosts older and stronger (never mind wiser) and that things are around that could re-kill him. Pretty much a climax of the story is that while Butcher explains frequently that ghosts are memories and not the persons they were, Dresden actually stumbles into the spirit world with his soul intact. 
Shouldn't be possible, according to Butcher's World Rules- but Dresden is another version of Branson who won't actually say, "Screw it, let's do it" but he'll just go on to wreak hell.
A host of colourful characters make appearances, and Dresden just realizes that what he did in Changes just about twisted the world around. Killing off a huge faction- worldwide- would have crazy consequences, and combine that with the fact that he was dead- you're talking a lot of power plays all over. Chicago has Dresden's allies to keep it safe- potential lover and ex-cop Karrin Murphy, the now-feared Molly Carpenter who, like Harry, starts training with the Leanansidhe (Harry's Fairy Godmother-and the Sidhe are one bunch of ruthless bastards in Butcher's world) and so on.
Dresden being Dresden realizes that in the end, the only one holding him back is himself- and that as usual, he makes the craziest mistakes ever possible. 
Here, I am afraid, is where things get predictable; anyone familiar with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy should know the point where Zaphod Beeblebrox realizes who the hell erased his memories. Apply the same scenario here, and it's easy to find out who killed Dresden.
All in all, though, it's a much more humane book than the last few (I mean, the first five or so were mostly Dresden being a smartass in the worst situations possible), and Jim Butcher manages to keep the storyline going, as well as leaving us waiting for yet another installment- although the preface indicates that he may soon bring Dresden's stories to an end, let's hope it isn't anytime soon. 
Like Sherlock Holmes, Dresden's an anytime read, simply for the fun of it.
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Reviewer's opinion: 3.5/5
Pros: Changes in scenario, and character development and overall ending.
Cons: Story feels slightly bland, predictable outcome to the murder.