I am looking for singers (male & female), preferably with Tamil knowledge, lyricists, drummers, keyboard players, flutists, guitarists for my album. If you are interested, please leave a comment or contact me via my profile page

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

[Book Watch] Fountainhead

******SPOILER ALERT*******

Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, as a novel has had mixed luck with me. First time i picked it up, few pages was all it took, to decide i wont read it :-)

But my buddies persisted and i decided to give it a try and man, was i a lost soul for the better part of two weeks. While i read the book, it was one of the most addictive books i've ever read - but it pushed me further into depression. The small print and the size of the book made a fast-reader like me, crawl like a road-roller racing against time, prolonging the depression.

The story is about 'the ideal man', Howard Roark - an architect, with modernistic ideas - a man, who does not know how to emote, who does not feel anger, happiness, but just lives on. He wants all his work to be purely his. Not a pencil stroke of dilution from his original construction plans. He does not care about the money, nor the reputation involved - it is either his way or highway.

Peter Keating, is the embodiment of successful men by corporate standards. He manipulates everyone in his way to get to the top. He gives up some many things he loves - his love-interest, his passion for painting and, his morals - to reach the top. Only to be controlled by Ellsworth Toohey.

Ellsworth Toohey, a critic, reviewer, is manipulator par-excellence. He manages to control a vast majority of the population with his socio-religious-communist view, preaching self-sacrifice, altruism and use that card to get his needs satisfied. He cultivates collectivism - cult by volume. He attempts to steer the world in the direction he wants via the masses a.k.a his followers.

Dominique Francon, is a beautiful woman (apparently - 'heriones better be beautiful', is a theme that has been adopted since time immemorial :P) - who is potrayed as the female equivalent of Roark. She displays very little emotion. She and Roark speak without speaking. She rarely permits herself to indulge in the emotion that a normal woman is expected to.

Gail Wynand, a media mogul - controls everything via the ever-powerful media. He holds a vast empire of magazines, real estate and commands enough control within the powers-that-be to let life-of-the-country run, the way he wants. He is the ruthless, merciless, amoral, rich business magnate.

Story in a nut-shell - Roark stays at Keating's place, from where both go to the same architecture school. Roark is expelled, for refusing to do things the conventional-way. He insists on modernism in his work - while the school would have none of it.

Apparently, not just the school - but the world. His work fails miserably, building after building, contract after contract. Keating, the topper, takes the help of Roark, every single time, and is supremely successful in his career. He is backed by the likes of Toohey and Dominique - both writing for Wynand publications. Along the way, Keating meets Dominique, who also happens to be the daughter of the owner of the company he works for - decides that marrying her would mean control of the entire company.

Dominique meets Roark, and they fall in 'love' - if it can be called that !. Toohey decides to prevent Roark's success at any cost - since he believes in collectivism. Dominique agrees to the strategy because, Roark's work is too good to be let appreciated by the masses (!!). Dominique marries Keating to get him the success, that is supposed to bring Roark down (so that masses dont get to appreciate Roark's work !). Subsequently, Toohey decides, he will throw spanner in the life of Keating by, introducing Dominique to Wynand.

Wynand asks for Dominique's hand in marriage and succeeds. He falls madly in love with her. He discovers Roark, and immediately adores him as his hero. Slowly but surely, Roark starts getting more attention, albeit, not publicly endorsed by Wynand. Toohey does not like the developments. He arranges for Keating to be de-throned and installs some of his yes-men at the helm. Toohey also builds up worker's union against Wynand publications.

Keating now almost a pauper, needs a project desperately to redeem his lost status. He approaches Roark for help - and Roark agrees to help on one-condition - 'Keating would have to make sure, his design is accepted and implemented as is'. Keating accepts the condition and takes Roark's help. Toohey arranges for dilution of the design via more architects and the modified building is up and running before Roark comes to know of it.

Roark, not happy with the development (flaw in his character potrayal ?) - blasts the building and surrenders himself to the cops. Wynand, for the first time, comes out in support of Roark - all his people revolt against him. Public stop reading his magazine, he loses support, money - everything in trying to support Roark. Dominique publicises sleeping with Roark, Wynand unwillingly divorces her, his publications character assasinate Dominique - and he builds back his empire.

Roark delivers a climactic lecture, as is the wont of heroes, and gets acquitted the moment he stops his lecture. Toohey is fired, Roark marries Dominique, and everyone lives happily ever after.

phew - the nut-shell is not very small apparently ;) - the one reason, i chose to explain the story is, if it takes so long to write, it needs much more time to read :-D

I liked the development of characters and situation -not the narrative so much. The story ends highly unlike what has been preached through the book. The philosophy is cool - 'The need of the individual comes before the need of society' :-)

Verdict - needs patience, needs stamina, needs perseverance - to complete this book -Not recommended for light reading.

See more Book Reviews

Monday, September 26, 2005

[C says..] Tennis Racket

I am a Tennis Racket. I am asleep when it is cold outside. At other times, i chase tennis balls around and slap them hard.

See C's Origin

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Cost Cutting

The term 'Cost Cutting' was made famous post-dot-com-bust era. Everyone has heard it been used, sometimes, closer to heart, sometimes farther away from it. What would be life, if we can't make fun of it and have a few hearty laughs at the expense of 'Cost Cutting'.

A multi-million dollar company - ( yeah which company will be run for less than a million, the CEO's salary would eat most of it :P ) - suddenly, faces the heat from the board/investors. These are the first few steps they will take

* They will convene a board-meeting at the costliest hotel ever known to mankind and decide 'Cost cutting' is the only way out.

* To set the cost-cutting process in motion, the first item that will save them millions of dollars is...... pen. Yes, the number of pens that will be available will be cut-down. You will have 5-10 pens for about 100 people in an office. Ofcourse, there is a good reason for this move - are you not using 'e'-verything ? why do you need a pen ?

* If you don't need pen, why do you need papers ?. There will be this circular that will be printed on the costliest color-printer based stationery, which will break the news that, printers will not be equipped with papers anymore. However, you are free to bring your own papers to print out what you need.

It will be announced that, the initial cost-cutting measures will give the company much needed savings, that the senior management, will now declare a raise for themsevles.

* Few months, later, the board convenes yet again in the costliest hotel ever, and takes a 'hard' look at the numbers and decide the cost-savings is not good enough and decide to hire a consulting firm to help them identify measures of cost-cutting and agree to pay them $500k. The consultants would come in and identify, many more items in the stationery drawer that need not be around, like, stapler, clips, glue, files, folders etc.

* Toilet tissue usage will be rationed as well. Higher your grade, more tissues you will get. Usage over-and-above your quota, would be directly deducted from your salary.

* Restrooms breaks will be clocked.

* Trash cans will not be provided. You have take care of throwing out your own trash.

* Fresh air savings scheme will be introduced to reduce the A.C/Electricity costs

* Musical chairs will be introduced for desks. To cut down on cost of playing music, the division boss will take care of croon'ing and he will never stop ;)

* Mouse pads will be auctioned off.

* Only ONE machine will have internet connectivity for the entire company. That desk, will obviously not have a chair.

* Telephones will be replaced with throw-away plastic cups tied together via shoe laces. Yes, you silly - you will have to supply the shoe-laces. Ofcourse, you can't talk to anyone but your colleague next door.

* You have the option of, deferring your weekly salary, interest free until Y3K. And you have to personally appear to collect the same. To compensate for the non-availability of weekly pay, you will be offered a loan with low-interest rate of 10%.

Few more things will happen, including hiking the severance pay of the CEO, because his services are needed during the crisis and they want to retain him.

Ultimately, the company will go bankrupt and the high cost of human resources will be blamed for the disaster.

The business model of the company, 'eTrash' - check the status of your trash can at home, anytime online - was sound enough ! and it was too bad, the employees let the company down.

P.S: While you are busy commenting, let me go check whether someone has already patented this idea :P

Disclaimer : Any coincidences to companies living or dead is purely accidental and unintentional. If it did, I admire your company's cost-cutting strategies - are you hiring ?. If it did not, i can run the cost-cutting-office for you, on one-condition, that whatever you plan on saving, you should alteast give me 200% of that :-)

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Support CRY

If you are, in, or around, these locations - Pittsburg, Chicago, Southern California, RDU or Boston, please support by joining the CRY Walk.

You can also support the walk through Walk Pledges.

Follow this link to CB's blog for more information

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Sania, Federer, Agassi, Ganguly ...

What was the first thing that hit your cells when you read the title ? If it was Ganguly being the odd man out in the list of names- you rock dude(tte) ! - you *are* the die-hard Indian cricket fan :P

First, Sania Mirza, the lass creating ripple of jaw-drops, made it to the fourth round of the US Open Tennis Championship. There are two ways of looking at it. One, no indian tennish player, male or female, has been as successfully consistent in making it to the Grand Slams rounds. 3rd at the Aus. , 1st at the French, 2nd at the Wimbledon and 4th at the US Open. This in itself is a 'first' for Indian tennis and add to it the gender factor - no wonder she is a celebrity !. She is nowing knocking on the doors of the Top-30 list which is a real great achievement. Second, way to look at it, yes, so what ? - It may be a rare thing for Indian tennis. Don't players from world over, small countries or otherwise succeed in all walks of life, sports included ?. Why is it that it we, as Indians, should be so proud of someone making it to the initial rounds successfully ?

IMHO, the middleground, as always, is somewhere in between. [:p ;) ] She should be duly credited for breaking the shackles, and duly encouraged to perform and reach higher goals. (p.s For the record, I had initially made-these couple of posts about Sania (Sania1, Sania2)

Second, Agassi. Just hats-off to this old-work-horse-warrior. Just amazing, to look at how he has managed to remain so focussed, fit, determined and dish out such quality tennis at such an age. His game was simply awesome. The commentators have now taken a stand, that he is the best-ever returner the game has known. I guess, i have to agree looking at the way some of the returns were made in today's US Open finals ! - I had hoped that he would win US Open this time around and end his career on a high-flying note, but that was not to be. May we see more of this man and his wonderful tennis !
(p.s For the record, I had initially made-this posts about Agassi)

Third, Federer. So far, i had not seen Federer play tennis, in-line with his reputation of the best ever. That was primarily coz of one Aussie named L.Hewitt - who happens to forget his tennis, when Federer seems to be anywhere on the planet. But today was different. Man, this guy can hit a winner from anywhere on the court, and best while it is his forehand. His back-hand was still very questionable, but even then his shots were real good. His serve was good, high first serve percentage. The power he packs into his shots are awesome. While Sampras did all of this pretty much the same way, the one thing that separates both is the 'aggression' that Federer seems to be made of.

Sampras, never used to bother about attacking the opponents' serve, but for the closing moments of a set, he would gently knock it in, get his serve done with in matter of seconds and get to the closing moments, move to the next gear, unleash his running forehand, couple of backhand passing shots and be done with the game.

But Federer, plays every point like that - as if there is no tomorrow ! If he can maintain such intensity through his career, and remain injury free, and play like this for another 4 years, Sampras reign could come to an end, easily at that. Only time will tell. ! (This is a radically different stand than the one i took sometime in may. Robbie, i partly agree with you :P )

(p.s For the record, I had initially made-this posts about Federer)

Zero'eth, oops, Fourth, Ganguly (why does mind tend to correlate ducks & ganguly always :-?) - hee hee, am not sure what to write Ganguly. But let me add a word about all the hulla-bulla that had been raised in the recently concluded series against SriLanka. It was about whether Indians were batsmen short or bowler short or fielders short. I think it is all of them.

Think of it,
when Indians win, do all the batsmen score ? no Only two people do.
when Indians win, do all bowlers take wickets ? no Only two people do.
when Indians take good catches, do all the fielders do well ? no Only two people do.
(and all of such feats - neatly separated by a gap of two years - too much 'planning' huhh ? )

My recommendation : Indian team should follow NFL style strategy. Have a batting-team (where all of them are batsmen), bowling-team(where all of them are bowlers) and fielding-team(where all of them are good fielders) and a coach (to decide, when to use which team :P)

Let us enjoy the week ahead and please write in to the BCCI suggesting for the NFL style teaming strategy :-)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Bees are here...

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi
Srikanth's album H1BEES is finally here

I would request you all to kindly encourage such artists, who create music purely coz of the love they have for it.

His motto is 'It isn't hard to compose original music'. Coming from one of the people we know in the blog community, i want to take this oppurtunity to wish him all grand success in this endeavor and urge to you take a minute to support his attempt.

Enjoy the music, and have fun while it lasts.

Related Reads : Behind-the-Scenes, Srikanth's Blog

Disclaimer : All Copyrights & Trademarks belong to respective owners and apply.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

[Song Glance] Ponniyin Selvan

Back in action with one more quick glance at an album. This time it is the movie called 'Ponniyin Selvan'. The music is by Vidyasagar. Lets get to the review quickly ;)

Ponniyin Selvan by Vidyasagar (Click to listen @ Raaga.com)

Do Re Me - Kunal, Arjun, Benny

Don't know why this song needs 3 singers :-) . VS brings out his trademark chords arrangement, with unconventional mix of the beats with some techno-sounds (yes sounds ;) ) - The rap section is quite passable. The invention of 'Skip' feature makes sense after all

Vennila - Cicily, Harish Raghavendra

Simple, folksy number - this song is sure to appeal to masses just for that fact. Stanza starts off in very promising fashion, only to lose direction somewhere in between, nonetheless, song willl definitely stay around on your lips, longer than the last drop of coke ;)

Kadhal Poonga - Udit Narayan, Sujatha

The opening strings piece reminds of some 90s VS number ('vennilave vellai poove' - Arjun, Meena ?) . And yet again, Udit is totally out-of-place with some of the sections in the stanza - not just the pronounciation, which is proclaimedly horrible - but even the singing aspect of it. Just does not fit the bill. Sujatha would have sung this number sleeping :-)
If you are thinking this song should be called 'Kadhal Pisasu' (Run), you are not alone :-) You may end up liking this number, if you liked 'Kadhal Pisasu'

Thachikko - Anuradha Sriram, Mathangi

The song is definitely likeable. Highly catchy and hummable - Anuradha & Mathangi contrast and complement each other very well. Rhythm is very typical of VS. Beautiful touches of kaapi ragam found here and there. Nice song !

Siruthooral - Srinivas, Sadhana Sargam

Nice, melodious piece - simple song - nothing spectacular, neither pedestrian. Both the singers have done a decent job. With few sessions, you will come to like this

Kola Kolayya - KK, Sujatha

Folksy dance number - nothing to write home about more than these three words. With the craze for such numbers, dont wonder if this catches on :-)

This album is testimony to what is called the dis-interested music director phenomenon - either they should not sign-up or if they do, they should give their best. One expects better from seasoned MDs like Vidyasagar.

Enjoy other reviews from the archives

p.s : Enjoy your (long) weekend, drive responsibly. I will be back in action by wednesday. Have fun