About the Blog

This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

January 27, 2010

Avatar the movie & Cameron’s inspiration list...

As the theater lights dimmed and the wild fantasy world of Avatar unfolded in 3D, the kids shrieked in excitement while I watched in wonder struck awe. Grizzly machines, fierce denizens of the wild , floating mountains and the verdant colorful world of Pandora all comes alive in this epic saga and while one is tempted to think of the Star Wars trilogy, even it fades away in comparison to the sheer size of the canvas and the scale of the epic created by James Cameron.

Cameron sets out on his story of mankind colonizing another planet for its rare mineral Unobtanium much like oil here, and its apparent that the new millennium man has not his lessons of the past. So its history repeating itself out in another planet. This far away world has almost similar set of variables & conditions that GOD set up to make things around us possible, so Cameron definitely ascribes to the theory of cosmic inflation

And with this presumption he goes about weaving a simple story of adventure & bravery, of sacrifice and redemption woven around a world of imagination that draws its inspiration from many sources. I have tried to make a list of possible sources from what seemed to be plausible inspirations to me, however it must be noted that Cameron has cleverly tweaked them to make it mighty interesting

1. The various animals/creatures depicted in the film have strong resemblance to prehistoric denizens of the Mesozoic era. A panther like creature akin to Gorgonops chases Jake, the Na’vi hero and separates him from his expedition team. Then there is a Placerias type animal with the head of a hammer shark & body of a Rhino , while the heroine Neytiri saves the hero from a pack of Coelophysis type of nocturnal carnivores. A horse that looks a variant of Macrauchenia, seems to have the head of that of an antillope & body of Clydesdale.

2. Birds are certainly variants of archeopteryx.& Ornithocheirus and larger variants of Pteranodon with large wingspans, teethed beaks and in lively colors of green,red & yellow

3. The military machines in Avatar bear the real hallmarks of the US defense industry , the helicopters are a cross between UH 60 Black hawk (overhead rotors are replaced by variable fan blades in the side) & V-22 Osprey . The spacecraft (shown in the beginning of the movie) looks a contemporary version of the US space shuttle. All these machines seem straight out of Boeing, Hughes, Lockheed or a Grumman factory with their trademark designs & hallmark black colour (do all military equipment have to be black?). If they had been inspired by flash Gordon comics i am sure they would have looked somewhat similar to Russian military equipment (with bulky bodies , sharp edges and other than black colour).

4. The society of Aliens (Na’vi tribe) is cleverly constructed with dollops of inspiration from the Dark Continent (Africa). Any social anthropologist will vouch the strong cultural affinity to certain Central African tribes that species in the movie ascribe to. The headbeads & body paraphernalia including bows & arrows, the dialect, rituals & even the odd song in the movie has undoubtedly been influenced.

5. Transmogrification: in the comic Calvin & Hobbes, our friend calving gets into a cardboard box & then transforms into something else. Here too our ex-marine hero (who is physically challenged) changes his constitutional identity to that of an alien & shuttles forth by a flick of switch from what seems to be an advanced version of Calvins cardboard box.

6. The motorized robots (large "mech" motorized suit )seem straight out of ‘Transformers’ and appear as a variant of Megatron while the central evil character Colonel Miles Quaritch leader of the security forces closely resembles the toy Chip Hazard, leader of the Commando Elite in the movie ‘Small Soldiers’. 

It is evident that Cameron like his contemporary Steven Spielberg, is a big fan of the comics and toys.

January 17, 2010

Open Office

I was in Bidar recently conducting a 1 day workshop for Govt officials in their district office premises. During the course of our meeting a stray dog entered our meeting room and was quickly given marching orders. That reminded me of a similar instance in Hassan district office when a similar meeting was interrupted by a beggar seeking alms. When I narrated this incident, the senior district officer quipped rather wryly “Yehan toh OPEN OFFICE hai” (its open office here).

Now I know what the term actually means and probably where the German Software Company Stardivision (now owned by Sun Micro system) that developed this software could have got its inspiration from.

January 13, 2010

3 Idiots : rolling credit

Last week I went to Fun cinemas at Cunningham road to watch the English flick Avtar with the kids and there I saw these ‘bum’py benches quite popularized by the movie 3 idiots. It reminded me of the 3 issues that unwittingly got tagged with the movie and bore striking resemblance to its namesake. Was it art imitating real life or otherwise? For there could have been only 3 idiots emerging after the release of the blockbuster movie of the year and it would not be difficult to put a finger on it. And the rolling ‘credit’ would go in the following order

Idiot #1(Chetan Bhagat) – the writer who cried foul over the credits for the film. But why cry over spilt milk Mr.Bhagat? I can understand 10 lacs would be a pittance compared to the 200+ Crores that the film has raked in and is still counting. And I am sure you wouldn’t have cared much if your name came in the rolling titles or elsewhere if your remuneration was linked to a percentage of movie proceeds. It doesn’t take so much of arguments over 9 o clock prime time NEWS to figure out whether the film is loosely based on your book or inspired or whatever else you call it. Just the trailer of the movie or the clips that is regularly shown on TV channels is enough to settle the doubt. Anyway you make to the top of the list for making of hash of it, you bargained a candy for the movie deal and then you gatecrash late in the party as a spoilsport .

Idiot #2 (Producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra) - ‘All is not well’ Mr.Chopra. You took the bookrights and made it into a successful commercial masala movie but in the whole process conveniently forgot to give the devil its due. The least you could have done was to assuage the poor writer by massaging his alter ego and giving some credit for the movie. But no you choose to relegate him to the back alleys of rolling titles in the film. Whoever so have read the book will not have any doubt about where the movie is derived from . I have read the book but not seen the movie , and the promotional clippings of the movie on TV channels is enough to convince me about its veracity. So why go to town on the subject contradicting the same? Your unconvincing performance in front of the media entitles you to the second honors.

Idiot #3 Viewer (Hoi Polloi) – You neither got any credits nor raked in the moolah, but you were doughty inspired by the movie to go and re-enact the ragging scene. You are the quintessential idiot who ensures that there is no business like show Business.

January 3, 2010

To Byte or not to....

I lapped up an external Hard drive during the year end promotional offer at STAPLES recently. I was in a bit of dilemma while choosing the capacity of the Hard drive, whether to go in for a 250GB or its multiples thereof. The Grey cells were trying to process the required capacity that would fulfill my need in the long run. But the dilemma was to put a finger on the exact number of bytes & its billion multiples that would suffice my purpose. Considering that just a few years back my 1 GB pen drive (pic inset) which now appears like one of the solid state radio’s of the 1950 era replete with cathode tubes like resistors seemed to be enough of a backpack for all my digital storage requirement.

But Moore’s law equivalent was relentless, the digital information deluge was far outpacing this one GB summit of mine. With swathes of HD content downloads available on superfast internet highways nowadays, the decision was not easy. And compounding the problem was the fact that last year I landed myself with a small wafer sized pen drive that was now gulping 4GB of data quite effortlessly. It also dawned upon me recently that I needed to take regular backup of my laptop data to keep a BCP in place, just in case the red lettered situation arose. I knew of friends & colleagues who landed themselves in a digital snafu after getting their laptops stolen or when the Hard disk crashed and their teary tales of years of toil & sweat , the rag-picked digital heap all vanishing into thin air, just in a snap of the finger.

Wiping out one such nightmare of my mind, here I was trying to mull over the required bite that I need to put in this byte machine to chew up my necessary data. The store did not offer me much options to choose from but with an offer going on Seagate at Rs 4999 for a 500GB storage device, I reckoned it was a good deal. Now 500 GB I reckon is enough to store about 5000 copies of Encyclopedia Britannica. Even this may be a minuscule considering that Facebook, for example, uses more than 1 Petabyte of storage space to manage its users’ 40 billion photos. A petabyte is about 1,000 times as large as a terabyte (1000GB) and could store about 500 billion pages of text.

Given this complexity it crossed my mind to try out the other option of using the services of web hosting providers and online backup services that are available in plenty today. But that would be too adventurous for me , I for one believe in the motto that my data should belong here under my own hood.

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