Monday, November 29, 2004


On Diwali day, the most anticipated film of this year has released and three weeks on it has been declared a blockbuster. Here is what I think of the performances of the main players.

In the first half, the romantic scenes when young, is all the same things that we've seen him do over and over - the clichéd shake of the head being the most prominent one. He himself is believed to have admitted that he can sleep through his romantic roles !!

The prison & court room scenes offer him a chance to do something different, but he completely falls apart when playing the older man. The absent-minded look when making the paper airplane and the trembling is so inappropriate and unnecessary especially when the 55+ Amitabh Bachchan & Hema Malini, his parents/guardians, have been shown to be so naturally lively & energetic.

This role coming after Kal Ho Na Ho goes some way in breaking her image of the bubbly and lively actress. She delivers a decent performance and justifies her selection as half of the eternal love couple that this movie set out to be.

A very big opportunity for her to establish her as the No. 1 actress in Bollywood. Having been cast opposite no actor (maybe opposite Anupam Kher) and no songs being picturised on her, she had to power her performance solely based on her acting skills. And she does a great job in the courtroom scenes and also holds her own against SRK, Anupam Kher and Akhilendra Mishra.

With the songless Black opposite Amitabh Bachchan, where she plays a blind girl, coming up, with director Sanjay Leela Bhansali who is known to extract brilliant performances from his actors, she is sure going to become the Rani of Indian Cinema.

Music/Songs - according to me, the BIG player
Well, I had already been addicted to the songs having listened to them non-stop for the last few weeks. Some reviews said that the songs were out-of-place. Well, I strongly beg to differ because I think that the songs have been excellently picturized with great lyrics, choreography and direction. Although there is not the Yash Chopra regular, Holi song, there is the beautifully done Lodhi song. The special effects used in the song Tere Liye right at the time when the lyrics go "zindagi leke aayi hai beete dino ki kitaab" was very heart-warming.

The tunes by Late Madan Mohan, you must listen to the "Making" cd atleast once, are simply amazing. Lata Mangeshkar is at her best, especially in the last few years, although I am not sure I can picture Preity Zinta singing in that voice. The various male voices have been chosen well too and I really missed the last 2 songs in the CD while watching the movie.

And finally, Yash Chopra:
This is certainly not the best movie Yash Chopra has made. I was disappointed even after hearing the name of the movie as it is not a typical YashRaj films title. The idea of creating a timeless classic love story with the Ind-Pak background has been tried before, most notably, in Henna. The striking similarity of some scenes to Madhuri Dixit in Dil To Pagal Hai, the meeting by chance, the gardens in DDLJ-Silsila, the scene where SRK talks to the heroine's mother, SRK following the heroine to her home, is not just a coincidence. An equivalent to the timing of most songs can be found in previous YashRaj films (directed by himself, his son or Karan Johar).

He has definitely managed to get an excellent cameo out of Hema Malini and Amitabh Bachchan, who has had less good performances than Abhishek in the last few months. The picturization of the songs is excellent and although, the climax could have been much better, the best part of the movie was the last poem by SRK.

I would say that the movie did not meet the pre-release hype. However, the heightened expectations created by the media were unrealistic in the first place.

I had heard a few reports that this would be the last film directed by Yash Chopra. Well, this was an apt summary/précis of all his films.
Maybe the fact that most eternal love couples are remembered 'coz there love story had an unhappy ending or maybe because most of this couples have the woman's name before the man's name when their name is mentioned, worked against this would be classic love story.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Living without a home !!!

Student is living without a home
By Sarah West
Published: Friday, November 19, 2004

Imagine getting dropped off at Old Main Hill the week school started and having nowhere to go.

It might seem crazy, but that's exactly what happened to Eric Woolley, a sophomore majoring in psychology, at the beginning of this school year.

"My parents just drove me up here [Logan] with all my stuff and just kind of threw me off Old Main and drove away," Wooley said.

He slept his first night on Old Main Hill because he didn't know how to get around or where to go.

"Who needs a house? Home is an abstract term," said Broden Howell, a senior majoring in sculpture. "The open road will be his school."

There are a few spots that Woolley normally sleeps. There's one up Green Canyon that he really liked to go to when he had his father's truck for the first two weeks of school.

Woolley said he found a purple and green bike that didn't have a seat, and rode it for four weeks. The front tire had a little split in it so it leaked air slowly and progressively died on him. Woolley didn't want to deal with putting air back into the tire so he chucked it.

Woolley occasionally sleeps at friend's houses, he said, especially when it's raining. He said he was miserable and just wanted to stay dry.

"I pretty much just find a good place to sleep away from everyone. I live in two sleeping bags that fit one inside the other and a pad, and that's about it. I have a tarp but that's only if it gets cold or rainy," Woolley said.

Woolley's said his friends don't think he can continue living outside because they don't think he realizes how cold it's going to be.

"I wish I could tell you what I'm going to do [for heat], but I don't know," he said.

So far he's only gotten cold one night back in the third week of school where temperatures dropped to 45 degrees.

"It's awesome," Keith Lewis, a junior majoring in psychology, said about Woolley's life style. "It brings out the hippie in all of us ... until it got cold and then I couldn't do it."

Woolley's planning on living outside at least for this school year until April or May. But after that he's not sure what he'll do.

Brian Anderson, a sophomore majoring in English said as far as housing costs go, he's thought about why he is paying $900 for an apartment when he could just be out on the Quad for free.

Woolley keeps big and heavy items in one spot and takes a backpack holding everything he needs for the day, including his sweater, hat, water bottle, paper and school supplies.

Woolley doesn't cook his food like most students. Instead, for the first month and a half to two months he ate green apples all day, every day from the trees at Lundstrom Park. He'd also go to the Aggie Stop and get a corn dog.

Now, Woolley goes to the Old Grist Mill and Great Harvest about once a week, and he eats whatever is on campus and what his friends will give him.

"I've noticed there are a lot of microwaves on campus, so I've thought about getting canned food for Friday dinner. You know, that's my treat for the week."

He's only taken two or three showers the whole time he's been up on campus at the HPER, and one shower at a friend's house. However, he does shower when he goes home on weekends.

Woolley said his favorite part about living outside is meeting all the people.

"The worst part of sleeping outside is every night I have to go either back to the spot where I was or else find a new spot. If I'm down in the homes in the valley, I have to trek back up, grab my stuff and find a place to sleep."

Woolley's alarm clock stopped working because the batteries froze, so now he just wakes up on his own. He said he usually wakes up at about 10:30 a.m., which is when his first class starts.

Michael Sowder, Assistant Professor of English and Woolley's poetry teacher said, "his living outside keeps alive the spirit of Henry Thoreau, who said we should live simply, close to nature and use our free time for higher pursuits."

Sowder also said he's rooting for Woolley to make it through the winter, but if he decides to come in, he understands.

"I'm always amazed at how he comes into class from the mountains - on time, clean, smelling of clover, and full of Tom Bombadill good humor," said Sowder.

Woolley likes to write poetry. Some of his poems are written on napkins because when he was a cook and a lift operator at Park City Mountain Resort, that was the only paper available to him.

Woolley said people have asked Woolley what's going to happen if he finds a girl.

"I guess I'll just take that into consideration," he said.

Woolley doesn't have a job, so he has a lot of free time. When he's not in class, he goes up the canyon, hangs out on campus or goes to a friend's house.

Maren Andrew, a junior majoring in English, said she always sees him at school functions, such as the free movies.

She said, "This kid knows how to budget."

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

How to combat Sidhuism !

-by Cyrus 'Bakra' Broacha

Navjot Singh Sidhu is changing the way we look at commentators. By that I don't mean all commentators will start wearing turbans, but instead all will have to sharpen their wits to keep up with the Indian ‘Oscar Wilde’, now commonly know as Navjot Singh Very Wilde.

To help these struggling commentators, Broachaskar has painstakingly arranged for some new phrases to be used in the market. Phrases that may be borrowed without fear of copyright infringement by all associated with cricket.
Here's the first example.

Phrase 1. "He's setting the field like Raaj Kumar Santoshi". This is a hilarious phrase that ridicules the fielding captain for setting an over-extravagant field for a mediocre bowler. Say seven slips and two gullies for Ricky Ponting bowling with the new ball. This is akin to Raaj Kumar Santoshi who often takes poor scripts, poorer actors, making a super far over budget, complete bomb of a film. Thanks to Santoshi's extravagance, the producers and financers often develop respiratory problems.

Phrase 2. "His running between the wickets is like Jayalalitha". The famous Indian politician is famous for constantly changing her mind about supporting the centre. Very often she gets peeved and pulls the rug from under the central government’s feet. Thus she's a great candidate for causing run-outs. So all poor runners like Inzy, Saurav and co. better watch out for the hefty comparison.

Phrase 3. "He's a Tehelkian Captain". This refers to a Jardine like captain who won't stop at anything to win a game of cricket. A sort of Machiavelli Tehelka.comma. "The end justifies the means". It also refers to captains, who won't stop at anything to lose matches such as is alleged about Salim of Pakistan and Hansie of Southern Africa.

Phrase 4. "He won't make the Lagaan team". This refers to a cricketer with poor skills. Such a cricketer should not be paraded on the world stage, instead he should make it to either cricketing side in the film Lagaan. Let's face it, the film may have been good, but the bowling and the cricketing gear was atrocious.

Phrase 5. "He's got P.M.K." This refers to a cricketer who is always injured, or heavily injury prone like Ajit Agarkar or Mervyn Dillon. They seem to suffer from P.M.K. -- Prime Minister's Knee Syndrome. Like our poor beleagured ex-P.M. whose one knee or the other is always acting up. Of course his excuse is he's almost 80 years. What ailments Agarkar will have on his 79th birthday only God will know, and only he will be able to provide assistance.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Advertising !!

An Ad for Durex condoms
Using our competitor's products? - Happy Father's day!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Marketing !!!

Is this great or a silly ? Does it surprise you or was this bound to happen ?
The media always tries to use sex to sell everything. But it is difficult to guess how they would have tried it with "design patterns". If you want to meet chicks like this hang out at a bar... not a bookstore.

Sample chapter from O'Reilly

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Diaries ...

I saw Bridget Jones' diary today. The final scene was as follows:

Bridget:"It's just a diary. Everyone knows diaries are full of crap..."
Me: or are they ?
Mark: "I know. I was just getting you a new one. We've got to make a new start."
Me: :D

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Raj's "Real" Obituary - The Apprentice

Raj's "Real" Obituary
Reality television mourns the loss of the colorful, innovative, and dynamic Raj Bhakta. The Trump Organization took him from our midst at 9:55 PM EST on Thursday due to his lack of self-control, womanizing, excessive collection of bow ties, and a grand vision not embraced by average souls. Raj suffered from Sammyism, an aggressive disease that affects all parts of the body, and causes one to dream big, act in an eccentric fashion, and eventually alienate everyone within close proximity. Sammyism is named for Sam Solovey, a contestant from season one of The Apprentice who passed away early last season from strange and erratic behavior, giving rise to the disease now attributed to all reality TV contestants who suffer from work-related breakdowns, grandiose ideas, and obsessions with wealthy men named Trump.

Raj was a great man who admired Winston Churchill, had a keen understanding of American and European History, and appreciated a fine woman just as much as a perfectly aged bottle of wine. Raj is survived by nine rather ordinary men and women who will never attain the extraordinary heights of his mind or spirit. Raj was ill suited for the colorless landscape of corporate America and can now rest peacefully and no longer battle the underachieving and uncreative peers who will never know how to properly wear a bow tie, use a walking stick or recite passages from Joseph Stalin's memoirs. Raj, we will miss you.

Mini Me
As this week's episode gets started, the teams gather on the roof of Trump Park Avenue. Hard hats await all candidates in a subtle reference to last season's drama surrounding Omarosa and the falling cement. Omarosa's spirit lingers and will surely haunt all of us for years to come. More interesting is that Raj is the only who decides not to wear his hat. He surely thinks it is improper for a man of his stature to wear gear suited for a laborer. Or better yet, Raj simply does not wish to mess up his hair.

As Trump explains the task, he reintroduces previously fired contestants Rob, Bradford, Stacie "The Magic Eight Ball" J. and Jennifer "blah blah blah" C. All four grin ear to ear as they clearly enjoy the extension of their fifteen minutes of fame. They will participate in the assignment with Bradford and Stacie J. working for Apex while Jennifer C. and Rob go over to Mosaic. The teams will renovate houses on Long Island, and the group who increases their property value the most will win the task.

Last week I predicted that George leaves for a business trip and never returns. Well, so far I'm proven correct because in this episode Matthew Calamari sits in for George. I performed some research and learned that Mr. Calamari began working for Donald Trump twenty years ago as his personal bodyguard and eventually worked his way up to a top position. Knowing this, I now like to think that Trump decided not to hire me because I'm too small to protect him.

Eight Ball in the Corner Pocket
While in the suite, Stacie J. unleashes her fury on Ivana. And Jennifer C. is right there cheering her on. Stacie J. demands to know why Ivana called her crazy. They argue and Ivana looks a little shaken, clearly afraid that Stacie J. will pull a Magic Eight Ball out of a pocket and launch it at her. I know from experience that once fired from The Apprentice, animosity builds towards the former contestants. We spend sleepless nights reenacting scenes and considering how we could have acted differently in order to prevent our boardroom demise. We have nightmares about The Donald firing us and daydreams about mowing the greens at Trump National golf course.

The Hugh Hefner Suite
Raj is the project manager for Apex and Sandy leads Mosaic. In her interviews, Sandy exudes confidence and feels certain that her team will win this task. I'm not sure why Sandy is so positive, considering that she runs a bridal salon in real life and probably knows nothing about renovating homes. On the other hand, Raj is in the real estate business and should hold the advantage. But Raj makes disastrous decisions from the start. For a visionary, he proves incredibly short-sighted on this task. Kevin and he select a contractor who looks like the doctors just released him from the insane asylum. This joker certainly did not convince me that he was competent. And worse, Raj decides to turn the four bedroom house into three bedrooms. The objective is to increase the value of the property, and Apex cannot accomplish this goal by reducing the number of bedrooms. But I again can read into Raj's clever mind. He thinks in terms of his own tastes and desires a large master bedroom. He surely envisions for himself a lair with mirrored walls and sheep skin carpets. He would call it The Raj Mahal.

Ty and Carson > Dead Beat Contractor
Neither team had any experience renovating a home. They needed outside help but instead relied on their own ideas. If the project managers had thought outside the box, these homes could have looked like a million dollars. If I had been project manager, my team would have turned to our favorite pastime for guidance: Reality Television. Instead of hiring contractors, who often represent the lowest level in the home renovation food chain, I would have turned to Ty and Carson, two of television's most innovative home creators. Ty is the host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Carson is one of the hosts on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. No, I'm not suggesting that I would have employed them for the task as the producers would never allow such cleverness. Instead, I would have instructed my team to spend ten hours taking copious notes while watching every episode of both shows. Each team member would focus on an area of expertise. After completing the reality TV makeover marathon, the entire team would have a keener understanding of how to maximize a home's potential and eliminate the need for an under performing contractor.

Potty Training
The appraisers and real estate agents review the renovated homes. Sandy and Mosaic perform a commendable job having transformed their home into a marketable piece of property. On the walk through Raj's house, the appraisers and agents discover that the upstairs bathroom has not been completed and the stairway carpet appears terribly soiled. Raj knows his team will lose the task when the evaluators walk into the unfinished bathroom. The toilet sits in the middle of the hallway, the sink is not installed, and significant painting remains. Apex has sealed their fate.

Richie Rich
Matthew Calamari and Carolyn read the results which are a surprise to no one. Raj's Apex increased their home's value by 7% and Sandy's Mosaic added more than 10% to their property's value. As a reward, Donald sends the winning team to his socialite friend, Denise Rich's house in The Hamptons, so they can see a beautifully renovated home. Denise Rich welcomes the candidates to her estate in Donald Trump fashion... minus the onyx floors, celestial ceilings, and gold encrusted walls.

Meanwhile, back in the suite Raj takes advice from Jennifer M. on who he should bring into the boardroom. Jennifer M. is crafy as she points the finger at Ivana and cultivates a positive relationship with Raj in order to protect herself. Jennifer M. is brutal with her comments and in a side interview says that she will stop at nothing in the boardroom. She has shown this wicked side in previous weeks.

And the Winner Is...
Apex heads to the boardroom and when Trump enters, he's dressed in black tie. He explains that he's off to a formal affair after the boardroom where he will give out an award. Maybe Mr. Trump should dress that way to every boardroom because some would argue that he's giving out an award week after week in there as well. Perhaps the seventeen losing candidates receive the prizes as working for this tycoon would surely serve as an uphill battle each and every day. Moreover, Trump is quite sharp in his tux. He looks like a penguin who wears a bird's nest to protect his head from the cold winter months.

Trump questions the losing team and many of them stand behind Raj. Kevin takes some heat for his part in selecting the contractor. Raj allows Jennifer M. and Chris to head back to the suite and asks Ivana and Kevin to join him back in the boardroom. Prior to his departure Chris speaks up and says their team is terrible and will lose next week without any personnel changes. Trump is annoyed by Chris's comments and encourages Raj to bring the outspoken one into the boardroom as well, but Raj declines. Ultimately, the eccentric Raj gets the boot for reducing the number of bedrooms from four to three and not bringing Chris in as a result of his disloyal comments.

Hey darling, have we met before?
Raj waits for the elevator in the reception area and instead of sulking over his elimination, he heads over to the desk and asks Robyn for her telephone number. I commend him for attemtping to turn a negative outcome into a positive one. Every other fired contestant simply accepts their fate and heads down to the street. But not Raj. Robyn does not respond to Raj's request, but he suggests in his taxicab confession that he will eventually get her digits and take the lovely lady out for a date.

Last season I also broke with the formulaic departures of the other contestants. None of this aired on the program, but I would not go quietly into the night. First I tried to storm back into the boardroom and plead my case to Trump, and then I refused to jump in the taxi waiting for me downstairs. I simply could not part with Trump Tower. Once the producers called security, I realized my time was up.

Sam's Unpredictable Predictions
John Kerry fills in for George, who is on another business trip. Kerry, still reeling from the close election is anxious to unseat anyone with the name George, and he jumps at the opportunity to sit in for Trump's sidekick.

Last season's Omarosa fills in for Carolyn, who finally gets to take a much needed business trip. During the boardroom, Omarosa complains that her chair is smaller than the one normally occupied by Carolyn. Omarosa claims racism and storms out of the boardroom never to return.

Continuing his break with tradition, Trump wears blue jeans during next week's episode. Never able to resist a product placement, Trump accepts a half million dollar payment from Levi's to toss his trademark suit in favor of denim. The Apprentice ratings plummet as viewers are appalled at the site of The Donald in anything but a coat and tie.

During the boardroom, a mouse darts across the boardroom table. Trump is shaken by the sight and is clearly embarrassed that there are mice in his signature building. All of the remaining contestants are spared elimination next week as Trump fires the rodent instead.

George returns wearing a bow tie and using a walking stick.

When Trump says to Robyn, "Send them in," She responds, "No" instead of "Mr. Trump is ready to see you now." The Donald has no idea what to do. To make matters worse, another mouse darts across the boardroom table.