So I chanced up on this Youtube vid of Discovery Channel’s ‘The World is Awesome’. XKCD had its own lyrics to it. Someone (actually many someones) made videos of it. Given that the original is a camping song called I love the mountains or Boom-de-ah-da, it’s the sort of song to which you MUST add your own lyrics and sing it either while going on a long bus trip or around the campfire. Somewhat like Suraaaaaangani - no one remembers the original lyrics, so everyone makes up stuff, chorusing only on the ‘maalu maalu maalu‘ bits.
And so I came up with ComputerSciencey words to the original tune. Given that this is all off the top of my head, I’ve not animated it or cartoon’d it (though I have vivid images in my head of what could be done), though I’d be delighted if someone did that and raised me to XKCD-level kvlt-ness.
Here goes. Additions, corrections, animations are all welcome.
I love regression
I love the Bayesian Nets
I love SVMs
I love the convex sets
I love the whole world
And all the ways to learn
I love XML
I love DBMS
I love big data
I love Open Access
I love the whole world
And all the data tombs
I love all fractals
I like combinatorics
I love upperbounds
I love a sort that’s quick
I love the whole world
So much complexity
I love wired networks
And data on the cloud
I love peer-to-peer
And speeds in gigabaud
I love the whole world
So much connectedness
I’m actually seeing in my head the faces of profs and grad students and labs which could be singing this, possibly in an ad for the Compsci department of some university.
There, my nerd-cred and nerd-karma quotas for life are fulfilled.
I’ve been exceedingly tied up with this and that and god alone knows what else, though I feel like I’ve not gotten any darn thing done. But over the past couple of months, I’ve managed to watch and read stuff.
Most of it has been random shite I wouldn’t rewatch or reread. But some stuff has penetrated my numb skull and made an impression on me. I’m a sucker for small details which I don’t explicitly notice, but which give me a glimpse of a feeling of something, somewhere I want to be. A flick of the wrist, a hint of jealousy in a voice, some microexpression, pastel colour schemes… they don’t even register, but go on to hit me like a ton of bricks, drawing the seemingly arbitrary line between “good” and “godawesome”.
So… here goes.
I hunted this one up just for the title. It sounded genuinely hatke. It’s a whodunit, with Rajit Kapoor as the detective, only it’s more Roger Akroyd and Poirot’s Last Case than his well-known Byomkesh Bakshi. It is shot very well, the white balance makes the images very sharp. And the characters apart from Rajit Kapoor and Rati Agnihotri aren’t known faces. Due to this, it genuinely feels like a whodunit… you can’t assume anything about any of the characters, you’ll be willing to go wherever the story takes you.
Saat Khoon Maaf
This movie sort of lived up to expectations, though watching a bad print sort of dilutes the experience. But what I liked the best was not Priyanka Chopra’s performance, though she does do well here. It was the characters of the servants – the butler, Usha Uthup and the dwarf jockey which gave it a real feel for me. When the butler is poisoned, it sort of hit home for me, the evilness of Naseeruddin Shah’s character. Usually the support staff in any movie are either just in the background and nothing happens to them; they are in the same state in the end as in the beginning, or their deaths are inconsequential, some sort of a sideshow. But here, it’s a turning point in the movie. Whoa.
And Vivaan Shah. The character of the narrator was so incredibly well-etched. The dark way in which he talks about each death in a casual way mirrors the sort of feel in the original Susanna’s Seven Husbands story, where the narrator is just a bystander, but the muffled irritation he has to every husband of Susanna’s (and is conveying the same to his wife) earns my empathy, makes the story personal in a way going deeper in to Susanna’s mind couldn’t have.
Tina Fey’s memoir. It’s not a bodice-ripping tell-all tale or anything. It’s exactly what you expect from a comedy writer. She writes about her early life, her path to SNL, life at SNL, 30Rock, playing Sarah Palin.. and then reflecting on her life, child(ren)…. the stories aren’t spicy or edge-of-seat. But it’s the way she writes them that keeps you glued to the book. Her writing style when she is trying to be funny is reminiscent of Woody Allen. When she’s not being all WoodyAlleny, she has a very conversational, stream-of-consciousness way of writing. You can as well imagine her saying these things on some talk show or the other. Her pragmatic approach to feminism appealed to me, mainly because I haven’t heard these sorts of points of view elsewhere, and it gives my (very similar) points of view some validation.
I’ve always found Tina Fey pretty, and wondered where all those ugly-jokes came from – on 30Rock, everyone makes derisive references to her looks including herself, and she herself talks about her looks in a self-deprecating way. That, mind you, was a little unsettling… it felt like she was just playing the Geek Girl card while being Hollywood-ugly (the sort who only needs to take off her glasses to look like a leading lady), not real-ugly. But only until I saw what she looked like before she began doing Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live… overweight, badly-dressed, with a haircut that didn’t quite suit her… and realized, well, she does know what she’s going on about; it’s not just exploitation.
This gives her a self-deprecating yet mean and nasty sort of a sense of humour, that is enchantingly delightful. She disses Paris Hilton, she disses random people on the Internet who’ve left nasty comments about her… you don’t always want to agree with her, but her insults are fun to hear and file away in memory to use sometime later.
This is a famous movie, apparently. It’s one of those very few Chinese movies famous outside of China which aren’t about martial arts… here, you must keep in mind that the only Chinese movies I’ve watched are Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and those ones dubbed in Tamil that show on Vijay TV on Sundays.
This one’s made in and set in Hong Kong. It’s got two stories, told one after the other, and they pretty much don’t intersect except for one brief moment.
The stories are normal, usual, whatever you call it…. they didn’t much make an impact on me. What did was the dialogues… my favourite is where one of the protagonists is arguing with the cashier in a departmental store about the feelings of a can of pineapple. The cinematography is good too. It gives me a feeling of deja vu; I seem to have seen this movie before I came to UCI – When I was at Hong Kong airport for my transit, this was one of the first shots I took, and the movie seems to look like that, only much more ’90s-looking and with better white balance and contrast.
Yeah, the dialogues are good, but I think the poignancy in the movie comes from the heckuva lot of stuff that is left unsaid. It’s been ages since I’ve watched a movie with latent emotion portrayed in a believable way. You know that scene in Sarkar where AB senior and AB junior realize that Kay Kay Menon is the one who betrayed them or something? That whole scene passes without a single word, just ominous background score and ‘powerful’ glances exchanged between them. That’s ‘latent emotion’ alright, but I didn’t find it one bit believable…. it came off as too forced.
In the climax of Chungking Express, he asks her if they would accept a boarding pass that looks like the one she gave him a year back, and then she says a very casual ‘maybe’ after which she writes him a new boarding pass on a tissue… that scene to me was pure magic.
And, of course, the strains of California Dreaming playing throughout the second half… I liked very much.
I liked the first story much better than the second one. Maybe because like the protagonist there, my twenty-fifth birthday isn’t all that far away. Maybe because of the pineapple dialogue. Maybe because of the pithy philosophy he spouts while nursing a broken heart, same as I do even when not nursing a broken heart – “Running is good. The body loses so much fluid when you run so that there’s none left for tears”. Maybe because Takeshi Kaneishiro is way better looking than Tony Leung. Maybe because on some days, I feel like Brigette Lin, with the whole world against me and so tired that I want to just sleep, though I might not remember to wish people on their birthdays when I wake up. Maybe because I found Faye Wong’s character in the second half way too creepy and stalkerly… maybe a few years back, I’d've found her character as alluring and enigmatic as the director wants you to think she is, but all I feel now is she is crazy, creepy and needs a restraining order.
After watching this flick, I’ve pretty much made up my mind that I’m going to fly to India the next time transiting at Hong Kong, with a really really really long layover and a transit visa. And take pictures of the streets and neon lights downtown at night. And edit them to make them seem as psychedelic as possible without making it look like Tokyo….thinking of which city gives me the shudders; the ghost of the Ryu Murakami books I’ve read so far still refuse to stop haunting me.
I’ll leave you with a clip of Quentin Tarantino talking about Chungking Express.
No, this post is not about cricket. It is instead about this blog turning six years old. It now needs to be enrolled in school, told to not talk too much, and needs to learn how to face the big bad world.
Many people have asked me how this blog started. No, actually not many have, but I like to say so just so that I can fall into more nostalgia. It was first year at NITK, and I was reading The Hindu in Tuhina’s room on a late Sunday afternoon, I think. There was an article about blogging in the supplement – remember this was 2005, people said ‘Wow’ if you said you wrote a blog. We thought it’d be a good idea to have one of those. I don’t know why it seemed like a good idea to do it together, but I’m glad we did. And here we are.
We’ve really come a long way since then. The folks who were the rebels of back then have sold out to the system now. Not us, mind you, I for one didn’t care enough to walk off the beaten path. I doubt I’d spare a glance today for those I considered my heroes and heroines back then – Shashi Tharoor for one, Arundati Roy for another. To use big words, I’d say both of us have found our own voice by now, sort of, and it’s not the crazy ranting voice that says “What’s wrong is the entire SYSTEM”, for everything from a stubbed toe to the 2G Scam, like we were afraid back then.
We’ve made our peace with the ‘System’, and those that exploited the ‘System’. The Mumbai train attacks turned me into a raging rightist, but it seems like I’ve made my peace with that as well, and I’ve read so much raging on the Internet since then that I seriously doubt any doomsday-prophecy sort of piece will ruffle me now, be it about the state of research or Reservations or anything. We now love the whole world and all its messed-up folk. And that does not necessarily mean we have to be nice to everyone.
One thing I’ve never brought up in all these years on the blog is about ‘Being a woman on the Internet’. Or simply, bringing attention to the fact that we are girls writing this blog. And I’m glad we had that unspoken, unwritten rule on during our most awkward years…. when I read the blogs of much-younger girls who haven’t been out here long enough, I feel a shudder for all that could have possibly gone wrong for me if I’d written like that. That’s not necessarily true for every girl on the blogosphere, but knowing me, I know things could go seriously wrong if I write like that. And why do I bring it up now? Because while I’m still school-going now, I don’t think I’m all that impressionable and vulnerable, and frankly it’s hard to harass someone via a blog now when there are so many other realtime webapps available for that. And um, we also have seen enough trolls that if we’re feeding one, it’s because we have too much time on our hands.
It would be easy for me to diss those little blogging girls for taking us back by 200 years, for using Blogger and WordPress like a matrimonial service and for doing the damsel-in-distress act and all that, but while I knew at the back of my head that dissing is not the right thing to do, this episode of 30 Rock puts it all in perspective for me. It’s not right to expect everyone with two X chromosomes to speak for all of womankind, and it is plain stupid to think every woman represents all women. And while doing so in real life is by itself idiotic, bringing those rules online is even worse. This whole ‘all of us gals should band together and stick up for each other’ thing is probably relevant maybe on a workshop floor, but not on the Internet, because women have been represented on the Net in real-world-esque proportions since about 2000. So I think it’s okay to hate some women bloggers just because they aren’t very nice people, and I think all those ‘A woman is a woman’s worst enemy’ or ‘You girls tear each other down’ sort of lines are unwarranted for.
[Aside: I've been quite taken in with Tina Fey for quite a while now, especially more so since her book, Bossypants came out, and the number of talk shows she was featured in just rose up exponentially. Read the book. She's very funny. Overall, her writing feels very like Woody Allen... I was reminded of Without Feathers in a lot of places.]
I also realize I’ve put in a lot of Tambrahm-this and Tambrahm-that into this blog. Given that Tambrahmness is the current flavour of the season, what with all the Rage comics and all, and the Indian comedy scene I follow is being dominated by Tambrahms who very nicely appropriate every single thing that can be exploited for humour into ‘Tambrahm culture’, I declare I’m sick of it, and as a mark of protest, I renounce the self-identification and henceforth am just someone who speaks Tamil as badly as I speak Kannada, and who’s a Bangalorean. Because the next stage in every such cultification is going to be “You are not Tam enough” or something, and heck, I don’t want to be Tam if it means segregation of the Sathyabhama sort and general desponess that follows, or the total murder of the language or a choice between being stubborn about your community or totally rebelling… I prefer being a wannabe Kannadiga any day. And I thought of what if every community had their own Rage comic, and decided the idea of caste-based rage is sick unless you are raging against caste being relevant in anything…. so no more Brahm either, unless you mean Brahms the composer. I would say Bangalorean-GeneralMerit, but that doesn’t sound cool enough. So, to hell with it, I say.
I sometimes wonder how appropriate it is to put up so much of my life out online. What if I become famous one day… If I’m on any independent Bill-drafting committee, will stuff from here come to bite me in the back? Am I digging my own grave by giving out so many details that anyone can misuse? Or, going the other way, am I not using this space enough? When I go through rough patches in research, shouldn’t I try reaching out people who might be able to help me get out of my own way by using this platform? Shouldn’t I use this to enforce some accountability in myself, like in Julie and Julia?
I wonder what has come of six years of blogging. For me, yeah, surely, it’s been great venting out here, it’s been great organizing my thoughts, and getting to be less of a bad writer, and it’s surely been great making acquaintances with people who were somehow tricked into commenting here. When I went through a bit of a bad phase a few months back, I was really overwhelmed by the positivity people showered on me. And it sometimes gives me a high when I interview for a job and the interviewer tells me he (they have always been male except in two interviews and those two nice ladies didn’t give any indications of having read this space) enjoyed reading my blog. But what have I given back? I’ve not had memes to my name. I haven’t coined insulting terms for other people that have caught on greatly (though I suspect I’ve in my own modest way propagated the use of the term amit_123). I wonder sometimes why people read me if they aren’t some insane stalkers or schadenfreuders. No, really. I’m not fishing for compliments here, that thought really does cross my mind. Then I figure out it’s timepass, just like those close-to-150 feeds I subscribe to on Google Reader.
I ritually thank my readers and frequent commenters by name every year, but heck, none of you lurkers comment and I have no idea who all you no doubt wonderful people are. So yeah, if you’re reading this, especially if you’re reading this on a feed reader, I thank you for all your support. Even more so if you’ve been my big brother/big sister on cyberspace and watched out for me and informed me of my faux pas before it got really bad… you folks know who you are.
And just as ritually, I mention Goddess Saraswati. Education has been my priority for literally all my life now, and I pray learning new things and using the power of the written word always stay with me, and bring me my good fortune. And given that I would soon be for sure stepping into the real world, I pray this time to Goddess Lakshmi as well.
And…. all I have left to say is Thanks for Reading.