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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bleeding BLUUUUUE!!!!

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, semi-finals: India beats Pakistan by 29 runs.
One more match. FINALS: INDIA vs. SRI LANKA on 2/4/11, Saturday.
India, India, India, Indiaaaa, INDIAAAAA!!!!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

All the world's a classroom

Before the official beginning of ninth grade, we're having 5 days of 2 & 1/2 hour English classes as our teacher will be away from sometime in April to June. Today was the first day, and we studied one poem and half a scene from Shakespeare's As You Like It. Teacher gave us nine questions to answer from the poem. Some of them are quite long. She has weird ink rules. Green for questions and blue or black for answers.  I think she's the only teacher who does this green thing now that the Physics teacher's been changed after the previous teacher's retirement. I bought green pens today, but sadly I didn't get a refill that I could use with my existing pens and had to buy a use-and-throw polluting pen.
Plus, nice websites: Weebl's StuffQWERTYUIOPASDFGHJKLZXCVBNM.org
Peace out!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hypocrisy, hypocrisy

The cover in which
 I read the book
So, I finished reading Angels & Demons. The flow pattern of the story is different from The Da Vinci Code -- instead of gripping action throughout, this book has a long period of cool tension; they know when the cardinals will die, when the antimatter canister's battery will die down. The instant of the danger looming is perfectly pinpointed, and the danger is inevitable unless they solve the puzzles correctly. Compared to Da Vinci Code, less research and code-breaking, more mature emotions, more bloody narrative, more sad deaths. And, oh my god, hypocrisy, hypocrisy. Nearly everyone turns out to be something different from what they had seemed to be -- had I not known Langdon and known this to be a prequel, I'd have half-expected him to show an unexpected side of himself. Also, it's less inclined towards one ideology and has a more global and practical approach to the intricacies of religion in the modern world. Just like Da Vinci Code, though, it leaves a loose end, and does this in a less skillful way than the other book. In the Da Vinci Code the reason for the inconclusiveness of the quest was successfully made convincing and did not seem abrupt at all. In Angels & Demons, however, the hiding of the truth didn't touch me that well and also it was a little bit more abrupt than I would have liked. Maybe the warlike strain in the title had made my subconscious expect more of a clear-cut win for the Angels.
The title written in ambigram, a
powerful visual and symbologistic
feature used in the book (this ambigram
with different or no ornamentation
has been used in the book's other
covers and related merchandise).
Initially I had thought maybe all four cardinals won't be killed, but then it struck me that Dan Brown would surely show us all the ambigrammatic brands, and what easier way than to let the killings happen and the Hassassin be caught at the last moment. The killings and the adventure took up too much more of the book that the conclusion -- the ratio was too skewed for my taste. Also, unlike in Da Vinci Code, the ending was hardly related to the adventure itself. It concerned Landon, Vittoria and a hotel room -- spoils the intellectual satisfaction of a food-for-thought, adventure-rich book , if you ask me. Not against consenting adults, but surely against handing them the all-important last page. I wonder if Langdon the confirmed devotee of free bachelorhood sleeps with yet someone else in the last book. One more interesting thought: most probably the author had the idea of the prequel in his head, maybe even had written it when the wrote the Da Vinci Code: the references in it to this book were pretty solid. I think he realised that one would sell more and help up this one and the prequel.
Sad casualties: Leonardo Vetra (not so sad as the narrative is based on his murder), Max Kohler, the Pope, Olivetti, Rocher, the folio from Galileo's Diagramma, the archives Langdon had to knock down, the four cardinals. Last I checked, that's a lot.
I read just a few pages of the Lost Symbol. Going slow and giving my brain a break from Langdon and his creator.
For people new to ambigrams, check out the Wikipedia page on them, and note that the ambigrams used in this book (and the title ambigram above) are rotational ambigrams that read the same way turned upside down.


Images: Google

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Results

Sooo.... results are out, I came first (record unbroken yay) and now I'm officially in The Ninth. Yeah!
Mom gifted me 2 books for my good results-- guess which? Come on, don't you read my blog? I finished the Da Vinci Code, which was the pending gift for last year's results. And now? Of course, Angels and Demons and The Lost Symbol. Reading former now. :D

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Awesome Video

I found an awesome YouTube video on AnnaLikes, the latest Blog Of Note (March 21, 2011). It's an amazing, original concept by M&C Saatchi MENA presented in a commercial for Kunhadi: Youth Awareness On Road Safety. I added the link to my link page. Also, the video (and with it the link) are given here itself for you to watch:

Monday, March 21, 2011

E, e

I was thinking what I should write about today. I began typing alphabets into the post title field, and the auto-complete drop-down showed previous post titles beginning with those letters. I'd written with A, B, C, & D. The first one returning no match was E. So here you are: E, e, ea, ear, earn, eager, effect, earnest, epilogue, endurance, evangelize. Anyone game for 11 through 20?

(In case you're asking 'of what?', I'm sure you wouldn't be able to do it anyway so stop bothering).


Did anyone ever give it a thought that 'E' is three-pronged? Like a trident? By the way, it's also like a trunk between two tusks, like in an elephant.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

When I have nothing else in mind...

...I fall back on my collection of wallpapers. The one above (#27) is basically random brushwork of black on white, treated with several filters, including a blue neon glow.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Today

Happily happily merrily fly, say goodbye to yesterday
Time flying, passes by, upon us look here is a new day
Look back, learn;
Look ahead, yearn;
Take all you can from the world today.

Take all you can, then give back again
Lose what you can, only then you'll gain
You're alive, not dead;
Daydream, walk ahead;
Stop awhile to ease your fellowman's pain.

Stop awhile in your way and lend a shoulder,
Take a break from yourself and lift a boulder
To make a path clear
For those you find near.
Share your warmth with the unlucky ones colder.

Share your warmth, extend a helping hand
To help you need no fairy magic wand
Helping's no art--
Just do your part
Help needn't be big, it needn't be grand.

Not big not grand, just kindness everyday
Use your opportunities, give others way
A simple smile
Can take someone a mile--
Give what you can to the world today.

I wrote this right here, in the post editor :P. Came to me just like that. Don't know if it's good, that's yours to judge.



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Something awesome

From the Wikipedia article for ambigrams:

The big word reads two ways!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Calcutta Chromosome

The author
Yesterday I finished reading Amitav Ghosh's 'The Calcutta Chromosome'. Most of the book was quite slow-paced, and boring to read at a stretch. The writing seemed pushed-through, and there was much more of philosophy and mystery than science, unlike what the reviews seemed to say. The portrayal of futuristic technology and out-of-the-world ideas was also not very well defined, and the time jumps in between the chapters often got muddling. However, the idea behind the book is astonishingly unique and imaginative, and the last part of the book where all the preceding narratives and information come together is fast-paced, gripping and extremely thought-provoking, unlike the mellow feel of the whole long back-story. I finished this part in a few hours, whereas I had dragged on with the book for more than four days, unable to read much in one sitting and taking long to finish a relatively thin book as this.
The cover in which
I read the book
The word 'chromosome' occurs for the first time in this last part, and that too in a sense which is only an extension of the normal usage, which is a fragment of the author's imagination: that fragment which holds together the whole book, forming the base, spine, and soul of the whole story, if at all this overwhelming narrative can be done justice by that flimsy term. In those last few pages, the whole meaning of the time-leaping form of narrative, seemingly meaningless speeches and information, the eccentricity of the characters, all take logical shape and present themselves to the reader in some twisted manifestation of reason; reason which, in the real world, is quite unreasonable. In the real world it can only be considered a mind-boggling combination of far-fetched possibilities, but within the realm of the book's narrative, and within the scope created by it, all of the boring stuff begins to make sense when one reads through the last frantic efforts of the past protagonists, and the inconclusive fate of the futuristic ones. It suddenly makes sense why the author divided the book into two sections: one dealing with August 20, 'Mosquito Day', and the other dealing with the day after, and why he leapt between different time-frames, dealing with the occurrences of the day in question, in several different years across more than a century.

The whole connection between the killer disease malaria, the 'Calcutta chromosome' and the protagonists, and the mysterious existence of a controlling, scheming, invisible hand which partially reveals itself at times and in the end, is so unique and out-of-the-world that it hardly provokes a new belief, unlike the last overwhelming book I read (Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code). This book only puts forward completely off-track science fiction, with hardly any basis in reality, with even its historical references actually being true history overwritten by the author's imagination. The book is a good read altogether, if you can overcome the uncomfortable vagueness of the narrative while it builds up and manage to persevere your way to the end of the narrative that offers only an inconclusive conclusion, the only possible outcome, I guess, for the story hardly has any concrete base other than itself. 
Some other covers
The book has its flaws, for example the unsatisfying portrayal of a futuristic world and the lack of uniform excitement throughout the book. However, these could very well have been intentional, as this fogginess is possibly one of the reasons that the ending focuses the reader's mind solely on the actual 'Calcutta chromosome' storyline.  Thinking backwards after finishing the book, it took me some time to tie it all together, and it seemed as if the author had the ending planned throughout, but had to struggle to take his readers to that point where he could reveal his actual plan. However, having read Amitav Ghosh's 'The Hungry Tide' before and being familiar with his refreshing unpredictability and extraordinary thinking, I cannot decide on how much of the book's initial vagueness is intentional and how much a flaw. This gentleman has a way of toying with the reader's mind, and this particular novel of his leaves many, or rather, most of the threads loose for us to tie; most of the ideas open for us to interpret. Even after meditating on the book for a quarter of an hour, I could not decide on what impact to let the book have on my mind, what conclusion to draw from it, how to end it in my mind. I could not even derive what message the author had actually tried to put through, or had he intended no message, unlike most authors of far-fetched literary fiction? Was it only meant to be an enjoyable read based on a very unique and appreciable idea?
My understanding of this book shall forever remain incomplete, unless some miraculous new interpretation presents itself to me in the course of my pondering and rumination. I most probably shan't ever realise what I was meant to think and feel after reading the book. Whether that is my incompetence of thought and understanding, or that of the author, or of us both, I'm unable to say, and that itself will probably remain one of the indecisive trains of thought triggered in my mind by this book.
Not a proper review, not meant to be. Read the book, and see for yourselves, for I can't give you a clearer picture than I already have given. Revealing bits and pieces of the narrative and making a mouthful of learned-sounding comments are intrinsic parts of a proper review, which I'm not willing to do in this informal blog of mine. As this is a blog about myself, what I've written only concerns my reactions to the book based on the reading I do out of the love of it. (images: Internet)



Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mystery-Memory-Man

A few days ago, Mom recounted a little incident that happened this13th February. A guy in a black car, along with some friends, had stopped in front of our place. Our house is an accommodation provided to us by my Mom's employers, and thus many people have lived in this house before us, and we see signs of their inhabitance around here sometimes. An obscure drilled hole in a wall, nails in all the places where calendars are normally hung, a scored circle on the floor for someone's regular rangoli; little signs that are usually not erased by simple repainting. On that day, however, a not-so-usual sign of former occupants came in the form of a black car, registration number TN-BZ-5127. Obviously, the car was from out of state, bought and registered in Tamil Nadu. My mother did not recognise the model or brand, however she said most probably the current owners either stayed or had stayed in Tamil Nadu at some point of time: the car definitely did not look second-hand.
The guy on the driver's seat was talking to the other people in the car in a mixture of English and a southern language, presumably Tamil. From the few words she could catch, Mom could make out that the gentleman was showing them this place as a part of his childhood, pointing out street corners where he played with his friends and the trees that he grew up with. Making a rough estimate of his age, my Mom figured the approximate year when his parents must have lived here. In all probability, his father (note that female employees of this stature were even rarer back then) had been working in Mom's office. Mom also knew the names of a few former occupants, as happens in a colony of people sharing a workplace. The said family being probably Tamil, that narrowed the list down even further, and finally after setting her mind on a certain former occupant she knew, Mom decided to stop watching from indoors and come out to talk to the guy. However, the man had already seen her watching, and was naturally a bit embarrassed, caught staring at someone else's house and talking about it animatedly. Just as Mom stepped out, the car swerved, and before she could hail them and start a conversation, it was well in motion away from the house.
Listening to this little account, I felt a little bit sad that we missed the chance to listen to someone else's childhood memories regarding the very place we live in, where I am living the memories that I'll cherish later in life; where, maybe, I'd even bring my friends around and show them the area, my heart full of nostalgia and childhood memories. Maybe the then occupants of the house will watch me the same way. And maybe, maybe, they'll come out and stop me before I drive away.
Who was he, after all? Did my mother guess right, was he the son of the person she thought he was? What does he do now? Does he have kids, around my age, who are living their childhood in another cosy little house, that will remain in their memories forever even if they leave it? Who knows; but I wish them well, and I wish that they can cherish their memories as much as their father is cherishing his, when they are his age. I wish, that none of us get too lost in the travails of adult life to remember the little things that made our younger life beautiful.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Law Of Suck

It's not my fault that the world sucks; not my fault that the society and the system suck.
It's not my fault that people suck, that the environment sucks.
It's not my fault my life sucks, my school sucks, everything I own sucks.
It's not my fault that you suck.
The only thing that's my fault, is that I suck.

Wish everyone remembered that last line when they said all the stuff before that.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wallpaper 26

I'm feeling quite brave about the wallpapers again. Because I have a considerable number in queue now. I discovered lots of new techniques with the filters in Photoshop. Self-teaching is FUN. This one is done in Gimp, though.
Presenting Wallpaper 26:
I used different brush settings and map filters for this one. Hope you like it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wallpapers Yay

Surprise, surprise! The 25th wallpaper, that I made long ago. Done by combining different brush modes. Not completely satisfactory for me, but I quite like it. And as you must have noticed (you haven't? really?) there is a separate page with all my wallpapers now, that I'll keep updating as I post. However, the Blogger post editor hates me, so it screws up a lot of the formatting and positioning I do. So most probably I'll only update in twos, that is this one and the 26th will go up together after I've posted that one. But still I'll try putting this up on it's own. Let's see. Um... yeah. I have done a 26th wallpaper. I'll post it sometime.
My dream about this wallpaper thing is to make a nice workable interface on the Wallpaper page when I learn to code well. Then maybe we'll have a search function. And sorting, maybe. Till then the wallpapers are sorted on that page recent-up. But yay, now you don't have to click the Wallpapers label and go through all the posts if you want one of the old wallpapers.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Finshed A Book

Mom gifted me two books on Friday for my good results last year. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, and The Calcutta Chormosome by Amitav Ghosh. I finished Da Vinci Code. Nice half-truths, absorbing, but the ending didn't please me. Can you tell I'm too lazy to write a full-length review? I'm relaxing so hard that I'm thinking of missing singing class today. Something I've never done before without reason. Just read a paragraph of the other book till now. Sheesh, these short updates have got me!
Edit (14th March 2011):
The cover in which I read it
Looks like it's a less popular cover
The author --not that I need to say
much about him and his books, I guess

Yeah, that's an excuse for not writing a review-ish thing. A good excuse, you must admit.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The last two papers

Physics was okayish, but awfully lengthy. Computer was nice. Finished in little above half-time, as usual :P
So... exams are over, holidays, now to wait for the results. After results we usually have a few more days off, but for the coming year's class 9 (that's us), we are going to have 5 days of 2 and 1/2 hours special classes for English because our teacher will be on a long leave soon after school starts in April. And she hasn't found any of the suggested replacements to be good enough, which I believe because all the substitute teachers we get nowadays are outright crap.
Just ONE more day of going to school as an 8th-grader. Oh. My. God.
Special consecutive post, in the honour of the Great Exams That Finish.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Yesterday's Eng Text & Beng Lang

English Literature: Lengthy. Very lengthy. Had to omit some points to finish in time. Most of us found it lengthy.
Bengali Language: Reasonable length, pretty nice. Pleasant surprise, however this means we can expect really strict correction. Which is a bad thing, because easy+strict is a worse combination than hard+lenient. Because teachers are very liberal with strictness, and miserly with leniency.
13/15. Two papers to go.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oh man.

First things first, my internet bummed out so I couldn't talk about exams.
So, Maths II sums were easy but horribly lengthy. And I had a tummyache during the exam. Chemistry was pretty good, not too long, not too short. But there were some outside-syllabus questions which were replaced or converted to optional questions, however our teacher said that it was 'too basic' and we were all 'spoonfed children' for complaining about it. Is she crazy? Effervescence is easy to understand, but difficult to express on paper. A quick read from the book would've been enough for the answer to stick in our heads, yes. But did she ask us to read it? No. It carried two marks. Did we have enough time to sit there and think and frame an answer? no. There was one more similar question, and then there was an experiment. A whole experiment! Outside-syllabus! Experiments mean diagrams! We can't draw diagrams impromptu, without revision!
Really, not fair, don't you think?
So... 4 papers left. 11/15 done.
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