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

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Next Worst Thing...

We all have our own ideas about what is the worst thing that human kind has known. So no discussions around that topic.

But, the next worst thing, is always kind of open to debate. So i nominate 'Reply to All With History' in email for the award.

What say guys ?

Friday, October 27, 2006

FlexiMusic Wave Editor

I came across this interesting software called "FlexiMusic Editor". FlexiMusic Wave Editor is an easy-to-use audio editor for professionals and home users (for Windows). It provides a powerful and user-friendly editing environment for novice users. You can edit and record music, apply effects and filters, adjust stereo channels, save audio to all of the popular formats and burn songs to CD. It includes many features for audio editing and converting.

Do check it out !!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Debut of Musical Musings

Musical Musings My new blog about anything musical - raves, rants, reviews - come'on - what else dya expect a blog to be huhh ;)

Check it out...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

RFIDs and India : A Trick missed ?

Here is an interesting article in BusinessWeek.com that talks about how the RFID technology is yet to take off in Asian countries. Some of the factors outlined are cost, non-availability of airwaves due to irregular standards and patents preventing standardization.

First thing that surprised me in the article, was how there was no mention about India - are we to assume, that it is a reporting error/bias or is it virtually non-existent ? - I'd tend to go with the latter.

Second, if the same countries like South Korea can manufacture chip at throw-away rates, that when added with profit etc, is still down-right cheap in US - why is it that it becomes costly in their own country ? What drives the cost.

Third, irregular standards that is not surprising giving the lack of foresight and planning in the Asian region

And finally, patents preventing standardization - are corporations missing a trick by following the American route - or are we still hung up about capitalization ?

Thoughts ?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

[C Says...] Umm...Smells good

How about mint-flavored-passive-smoke cigarettes ;) ?

C also wonders at the stupidity of the rule that all cigarette manufacturing companies should advertise about the 'quit smoking information' on THEIR website !!!! - how dumb can one get ?

It is like telling people who are trying to diet, "Hey we have many tips on dieting - please come visit our site pizzamut.com and click on a link "How to stop eating pizza" - right next to the cheese-dripping, "order a pizza now" link :P

In the past, C had said...

See C's Origin

Friday, April 07, 2006

Can you hear me now ? good...

'Can you hear me now ? good..' is an often heard commercial from a popular wireless cell phone provider. How would it be, if it were to be aired for an email service provider ? - can you hear you my email ? can you hear my voice mail ? :-)

NowPos is the first voice mail provider, that lets you do that. NowPos, founded and run by Ayyappa - and good buddy of mine, i have been associated with for over 4 years now, has changed the way you look at email in a radically different manner.

You can send a voice mail to any of your contacts - whether or not they have a NowPos account. They can choose to listen without sign-up - but why would you wait to sign up - when you can now interact with your near and dear ones vocally as opposed to verbosely typing up stuff.

It really takes me back by 6-7 years when there used to be this service called Navin mail (?? or something similar) - where you call up a local number in India and leave a voice mail for the recipient in USA and they'd be able to listen your voicemail by dialing up a toll-free number.

This concept trumps that idea by a long way. The next question on all of your lips would be, alright how do they make money ? Right now, as you might have guessed, it looks like they play ads before the voice mail similar to all the online radio stations like Raaga etc - and that forms a steady revenue stream.

They've already been featured on all major magazines including Forbes, Rediff, Hindu etc.. Listed as one of top 20 broadband innovations in Asia Pacific of 2005 - think it is definitely worth a try.

Considering that this an all-desi product, i think we all should give it a try and support such new innovations by people like Ayyappa.

It is still in beta mode, if you need any invites for signing-up do let me know.

Disclaimer : All the names, references of companies are for linking purposes only, no content replication intended - and all registered Trademarks apply.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

'Pun'ny Headline

Warning : Sense of humor/wit is a prerequisite - don't try this at home - AND don't ask me to explain :)

From Hindu.com - "Cong. to move cautiously on tie-up with DIC-K: Chandy"

ROTFL - politicians deserve this pun.....

Saturday, March 04, 2006

[Song Watch] Duet

Back with music review after a long time - was looking at my draft and found this was stuck since oct ! - long gap by any standards - standing testimony to even one of the few things that i love to do (music,analysis) suffered by the blog de' interest syndrome ;)

A very non-K Balanchander with so much masala-mass entertainer elements, rumored partly due to the fact that Prabhu (hero) - was acting in his 100th movie. Nonetheless, KB's love for ARR's music and the maestro's loyal weave of his magic wand to produce lovely melodies for KB's banner continued...

En Kadhale - SPB

Summary: A simple, soulful song with minimal rhythm, set in a dreamy ambience, conveying the pangs of pain from the separation of lovers. Amazing rendition, lovely chords and wonderful lyrics form the core of this song

Details: SPB opens this song with his legendar voice. His silky, golden voice lends such melody to the song. Sax, being the theme of the movie, is used as the 'duet' singer of the song. Lovely chords join in to complete the pallavi.

Sax interlude which is short, but beautiful takes you right to the stanza. SPB and higher octaves are guaranteed to produce the goose-bumps that you sorely miss in the new-gen of singers. Piano and bass guitar adequately back the stanza. The standout section is 'Ini meeLvadha' (2.12 - 2.27). Lyrics - Vairamuthu seems to have had a field day 'Amudhenbhadha, vishamenbadha, illai amudhavishamenbadha' (Translation: What am i to call you ? - as sweet as nectar, or a poison or a poisonous nectar ?)

Second interlude provides the interesting, context based composition - where Anjali (herione) appears, and the hero, playing the song, gets carried away and renders 'Anjali Anjali' (reviewed later) and recovers his composure to continue with the song. Beautifully interwoven that section is ! Second stanza is no different than the first, including, how SPB simply distances himself from other singers strolling this earth with his rendition !

Quite minimal bass & chords section (relative to ARR standards), supportive rhythm, nice dreamy sections also adorn the song. The tune and SPB are tailor-made for each other. I'm quite positive that no other singer could have done such justice to the emotion and diction evoked by power-packed words of Vairamuthu.

Rating 4.8 out of 5

Sax Theme Sad

Simple bass (wood?) forms the ideal backdrop for a free-flowing alaap by the Sax (KadriG ?). Nice and short, still wondering what made them title it as 'sad' :-? :)

Rating 4.2 out of 5

Duet Title Melody - Kadri Gopalnath

Summary: Theme/Title melody of the film 'Duet' played out by the peerless KadriG with a sad slant to the tune, slowly begins to grow on you and has you hooked-on to the end. Lovely instrumental section. ARR must do more of these kinda pieces !

Details: Hearbeat kinda lub-dubs welcome you to the song. With female chorus setting the stage with some humming, KadriG dons his wonder-hat and belts out AWESOME rendition of the ragam Kalyana Vasantham ( A: s G2 M1 D1 N3 S, Av: S N3 D1 P M1 G2 R2 s) - a janya of 'Kiravani' melakartha. The alaap can compete with most carnatic performances second-for-second. The splash of waves of water (thematic) and the birds chirping away, set the tune for some early morning context.

Starting at 1.48, the song takes an upbeat turn - percussion joins in the mela, with the KadriG upping the tempo. Female chorus singing swarams to back the twist and turns of the song forms a beautiful combo. 2.07-2.15 showcases, the maestros command over the ragam, what beautiful brighas that are made out ? Bass and chord provide so much emotion to the theme, starting at 2.45- 3.01. Just when ARR has you awestruck, the song tapers off suddenly !. Tease and stop seems to be the keyword ! - Guess, we will have to live with the tease rather than the absence of it ! ;)

Awesome composition and rendition !

Rating 4.8 out of 5

Kathirikka Kathirikka - Sujatha

Summary: Enterprising, catchy and foot-tapping casual song. Lyrics are very amusing taking potshots at the 'fat' (chubby) Prabhu (hero), starting with age-old cliche of 'Endha kadayila nee arisi vangara' to 'Othayila nee nadantha oorvalam pogudhenu...' (When you walk-by-yourself, people call it a procession). Sujatha comes out all aces with this song.

Details: Bass backs up alaap of the first line Kathirikka. The rhythm gets interesting with the shakers/bells that are part of the horse-rides or bullock-carts along with a liberal dose of Ganjira sounding percussion. Amazing bass and guitar riffs support the pallavi with Sujatha emoting very well. Especially, when the words 'moochu muttanum' (breathless) where she literally sings those words breathless bringing a nice-touch of reality singing ;)

ARR pulls out his typical rhythm-alaap for an interlude - simple, but keeps the momentum going. Stanza is on predictable lines, more conversational but sweet, filled with minimal chords (guitar?) and nice work on bass continuing.

Second interlude continues from where the rhythm-alaap left off in the first. But then, ARR has other ideas. He plays around the words 'Kathirikka' using a female chorus providing nice variations to complete the second interlude. Stanza follows the first stanza to a 'T' and the final sections of the song provide a nice crescendo.

Classic example of no-frills, simple, sweet, easy and casual song - very well sung.

Rating 4.5 out of 5

Mettu Podu - P. Susheela, SPB, Kadri Gopalnath

Summary: Carnatic based melody, sees the return of the queen-of-yesteryears P.Susheela, the combo of SPB and KadriG producing very loveable melody. Mridangam and Drums form an awesome pair producing very foot-tapping tune. Good use of chords, nice bass riffs (mute?), and nice selection of instruments (which has always been ARR's forte) like Veena, makes this song appealing to everyone.

Details: Susheela opens the song by singing the verses from 'thirupugazh/thevaram' (not sure, pls be kind enough to correct me). Even after all these years, she still has the knack for singing and beautifully does her part. Ragam Anandha Bhairavi (A: S G2 R2 G2 M1 P D2 P N2, Av: S N2 D2 P M1 G2 R2 ) is written all over the song. Interestingly, after this album, there were a spate of songs based on this ragam :-)

Against the roaring beats of the drums, SPB starts off with 'Thangame...' KadriG opens his account as well. Starting off at 1.56 - there is this interesting instrument, which shows up occasionally at the background, playing some wonderful sections, goes quite unnoticed in the larger scheme of things :-(. Chords and Mridangam are so apt and increase the melody value of the pallavi. Once again, i have to, but, register my surprise at how sweet/musical mridangams do sound when played at ARR's stables !

The first interlude is so beautifully done with guitar/veena combo (Kaapi'sh touch ?). I simply just cant stop loving that section between 2.47-3.04. Amazing ! =d>

Stanza is an interesting structure of 1-2 between the Sax and singer. Mridangam and drum continue their lovely, musical journey with some adorable company from chords and the reappearance of the 'mystical' instrument. Watch out for the section starting between 3.38-3.48 when the piece is simply awesome, with every passing line, the song seems to gain on melody.

Second interlude, is KadriG all the way with awesome alaap of Anandha Bhairavi, this time around, the mridangam more free-flowing and chords to back it up. The Kaapi section once again brings the song to the second stanza, which is a very similar to the first one.

Song extends to shower you with some lovely interchanges between SPB and KadriG on the sax. Yet again, you can listen to the music produced by the mridangam and bass shows up for a brief period to bring this superb song to a close.

Right from the word go, till the end, there is not a moment of slack, lovely rhythm, wonderful tune, nice instrumentation, awesome singing by SPB and KadriG - Perfectemo !

Rating 5 out of 5

Kulicha Kuthalam - SPB, T.K Kala

Summary: A simple folkish song, with SPB at his playful best. Catchy rhythm, and selection of instruments reinforce the theme of the song. TK Kala, seemingly caught ARR's attention with her voice (she used to be a regular with DD's troupe) - that she unfailingly finds a spot with any of ARR's rural based attempts (check out most of ARR/Bharathiraja combos- why dont they pair up any more, produced some good melodies) , does a decent job. Quite a faced-paced song.

Details : Gummi (Dandiya?), claps and jalra along with drums (emulating a ganjeera ?) forms the core rhythm and sets off the song. SPB starts sounding in his 'festival' mode right from the word go. Lyrics are based on "perfect-pair" themes, needless to say, hero-herione including themselves amongst the other perfect's ;). Before you know, you land up at the pallavi - which witnesses ARR lending his voice, quite similar to his attempt at Chinna Chinna Asai (Roja).

Charanam is a logical extension of the pallavi, and ARR irresistably brings out his chords which makes the section Koozhukku mor molaga (2.06) sound very pleasing (and makes the stomach growl too ! - mor molagais - yummy !! :-D ) The second interlude uses a chant like arrangement to kick start a flute section and tops it off with lovely veenai. The second charanam is no different than the first one.

This was a typical masala song, with not much scope or value for experimentation, and ARR takes the safe route out. Bit disappointing

Rating 4.2 out of 5

Vennilavin Theril - KJ Yesudas

Summary : A love-lost song, showcased, ARR's inclination to experiment with his orchestration - memory serving me right, one of his first attempts at using hordes of violins. KJY who was seemingly active at that point in time for ARR (Raakozhi - Uzhavan) renders the song with his usual elegance. Good work on the bass and chords makes this a quite complete song.

Details : Violin piece, that forms the core of the song, opens this song. KJY starts the vocals and nice female harmony/chorus helps accentuate the pain the hero is supposedly undergoing. The running bass, rhythm arrangements, shakers all form a critical combo that keeps up the tempo of the song. For those interested in lyrics, check out MIO for the same.

Quite an one of kind ARR experiment, definitely successful - could have been more variations in the song itself.

Rating 4.3 out of 5

Anjali Anjali - SPB, Chitra

Summary : A must-hear melody, super selection of instruments, lovely arrangements, chords, lyrics, and amazingly emotive vocals. One of maestro's All time best melodies.

Details :Sax plays out the opening lines of the song with Chitra following the sax. This intro alreadys sets you up in a cheerful mood. Some of the bass riffs reminds you of Kanmani Anbodu (Guna - IR). Some improvisation on the sax paves way for SPB's rendition. Guitar and bass follow the lead vocals with nice chords. Chorus like echoes of SPB's voice adds to the beauty of the lines poove un padathil... The first interlude is just a walk-through of the song's opening and just serves the purpose of setting up the charanam.

Boy, is it worth a wait or what ? - Maand ragam ripped inside out it is ! Starting at lines thirumagal thirupadam the piano rolls form a nice backing tacking the song to a wonderful crescendo at 3.29, the song returns to the few lines of the pallavi, without actually landing at Anjali - a nice setting after hitting the high octaves.

Chitra, seemingly unable to wait to get her chance to showcase, throws in her weight with a wonderful alaap of Maand - She is at her best when she does such alaaps that lets her demonstrate her improvisation skills. The charanam however, makes her sound strained at the higher octave, may be it should have been in a lower one ! - but the interesting addition to the instruments is the tabla which is a amazing - the Loy Mendosa style of 1980s.

The third interlude (yes, this is a long song - 8 odd minutes :-)) - is Naveen putting his hand up to add to the top-class performers. Whatever flute-like instrument (piccolo ?) it is, it is too cute and lovely. Amazingly done, only as he can, Naveen later returns to the closing stages of the song with super alaap backing to the rendition - just too good !. (The same way ARR does in Netru Illadha Matram - Pudhiya Mugam).

Must hear !

Rating 5 out of 5

Naan padum Sandam - SPB
A nice and easy song, with SPB and Sax forming the 'duet' for a song, that bases it theme on duality of everything. Quite a fusion genre song - with very good improvisation by the Sax (Kadri G ? - no credits available on the web) - Very soothing relaxing song - ideal for a sleep-time play list :-)

Rating 4.4 out of 5

This movie announced ARR's arrival on the stage with melodious, classical-based song quite apart from the popular fast-paced rhythm number that he was more known for. The alliance with Kadri G, was so successful that they repeated their magic with one more Carnatic based number Sowkiyama in the movie Sangamam. SPB was another major contributor with his inimicable enthusiasm. This album, is a must-have in any music lover's collection.

Overall Rating : 4.6 out of 5

For Archives of music reviews, click here

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Taxman cometh...again

I had this post done last year. Found it is relevant and current in its entirety. So re-posting it. However, one minor change/tip, just check out TaxActOnline.com - dont think they have income restrictions for Federal Free eFile...

Yes, it is taxing time for everyone. April 15th is the last day to file your federal taxes. State filing dates may vary. Virginia waits till May 1st.

Alert : Last minute procrastinators - You may choose to file at the last moment, but make sure you have all the information and correctly to say.i.e. make sure your W-2 has your SSN,Name exactly as in your SSN card. Make sure you have all the 1099-NT from the banks and they tally with what you have.

Some important tips :

  • Federal taxes can be e-filed free. Visit www.irs.gov to get more details
  • VA state taxes can be e-filed free as well. Visit tax.virginia.gov for more details
  • Most states offer free tax filing via their sites. Check out our state's web site
  • You can visit your local post office, public libraries or the website to download forms and instructions to fill the same.

It is advisable to calculte with paper & pencil (into the downloaded/pickedup form) and tally it with any website that you may choose to use. Keep in mind to not fill in your ssn when you are doing scrap work (safety precaution)

Remember, it is your responsibility to file taxes and get/pay any thing that is due. Any unclaimed refunds beyond 3 years will be forfeited.

Do not hesitate to ask for any help that, someone around you, can help you with. Or comment on this website.

Nothing stops with information - it has to turn into commentary ! ;)

Wow, what a way to make people lose their money. First, they deduct taxes at source, then they deduct more/wrongly. Then you have a limited time to fail and claim. And if you fail to be accurate in your claims, you will be penalised, even if you are due a refund ! Sad to note that most countries around the world use this mode.

Excellent money minting policy !

Monday, February 06, 2006

Super Bowl Ads

Supposedly amazingly imaginative, supremely creative, breath-takingly awesome ads that are unbelievably costly ($2 million for 30 second spot) are aired during Super Bowl (NFL) championships. This time around, even though i found none that really was jaw-dropping, will leave the judgement to you folks...

Here you go is the link for the ads

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Student Heroes...

We salute them, We celebrate them and We adore them.

Before you think, this post is about the sincere determined revolutionary leaders, let me set the expectation straight - it is about Heroes who have been students :) :P

These student heroes are sincere too, sincere sigamanis as they are called - because they do many things single mindedly - tease, fight and love , rag, launch 'rockets', and when not doing the afore-mentioned, beat up villains - who mysteriously will never be college students (Thank god !!)

Think of all the heroes who have been through this rigmarole...At a time, when their grandchildren expect to run around with them in the garden, these people run around with heriones singing ooh-laa-laa. Sometimes they defeat their age-defying makeup by even lifting the heriones for a ring-a-ring-a-roses (dont attempt this at home ;) ). Amongst their best friends would be one of Janakaraj, Charlie, Dhamu, Vivek, Vadivelu, Goundamani, Senthil, or any other evergreen student actors.

Lipstick is amongst their best friends too ! - with censors still ruling the roost, you can never doubt the source of lipstick to be that of herione's ;) It is learnt that the close up photos of hero's lips are used to teach KG students about the spectrum of colors. It definitely helps in also leaving a lip-mark on the herione for her to spank one-real hard slap - which will trigger the love between the two ! (phew) (dont attempt this at home too ;) )

They always are on the leading edge of stunt-executions though. Never failing to come up with a desi version of Matrix or Crouching or Silambattam they send hordes of people, sometimes ranging of the order of millions flying to the next village with a whistle ! (For people with lesser GK- the jet stream of air from the heroes whistle would simply blow these goondas off their feet OR the hero never brushed in his lifetime ;) )

One important element to such a hero, is his mother, who in reality would be as old as his daughters' college mate and a sister who would be the same age group as his grandson.

On a related side-note is that, there are heroes who have been college teachers with heroines running behind them. But, in reality, the student hero is so much older anway, that he can romance his teacher ! ;)

No salutations to the student heroes would ever be complete without referring to 'collective power of students' - which is the only way to ensure, the hero remains a hero !

Let us face it, they are student's heroes too ! ;)

Monday, January 23, 2006

[Discussion] Line/Queues - my view

Quite some time back, i started this thread, a discussion thread, hoping to get people to 'voice' their opinions on certain topics that are intriguing (atleast intrigue me ;) )

You can find the original topic here . Many of you had very interesting perspectives and thoughts about them. I guess it is time i brought mine to the table as well.

Here is my idea of a line/queue. The need for a line/queue arises because the service that more than one person is trying to procure can not handle more than request at a time. Hence the need for a mechanism to regulate the requests so that one can be handled at a time. Unlike in the world of automation, where even if requests are re-prioritized, there is no "protests" or atleast no "emotion" :-)

Having said that, when you stand in a line, you agree to the guarantee that you will be serviced in the order that you came in - not by any whims and fancies of any random individual or not by any other means. Even if you talk about a different lines, e.g. Balcony seat vs front bench in a theatre, the line to each of these doors still guarantee you the first-come-first-served basis position

When someone "allows" another person in the line/queue, it essentially means "altering" the position of every individual in the queue. I find it interesting that i never included one question in my list, - when the "allowing" person is actually young/handsome would you object ? ;)

Without lengthening the lecture anymore, i think "add" a person to the queue is "manipulation" of natural justice of the position, while "swap" is "manipulation of a lesser order".

Why so ? - think of a case, where you chose line1 as opposed to line2 because the person ahead of you has just 10 items in the check out cart. Now this person swaps with someone else who has 60 items in their cart - even though such a swap by natural justice is legal, your decision based on the "factors" at that time, that made you choose line1 has now been betrayed. Hence it is manipulation of a lesser order.

With all of these in mind, here are my answers without any emotion attached to them :)

1) Are you allowed to 'swap' positions with elderly/disabled - or you simply have to give up
Swap yes. Give up depends on the people in the line behind you, you dont own the right to alter someone else's position in the line.

2) If you are actually behind someone who is (doing the)swapping their position with someone else - will you object ?
No you are still guaranteed your position - but can still be aggrieved if the situation worsens as described above.

3) If someone has just one thing to do - a checkout with single item as opposed to a cart full - will you let them go forward ?
Same as Q-1 - depends on the people in the line behind you and their choice.

4) What if the guy ahead of you, instead of 'swap'ing - allows the senior person to come ahead (now you are two positions behind in the queue) - is there a case for valid objection ?
Yes, very valid objection indeed

5) What if the 'allow one more' happens to be not an elderly person ? - would you protest.
Vociferously indeed ;)

6) What if the 'swap' happens to be not an elderly person ? - would you protest.
Depends on the people/line

7) If you are seated on a bus/train and want to vacate the seat for someone elderly (or otherwise) - can the person who is actually next to the seat object ?
Hmmmm toughie this one - I guess we all agree that for the most part, swap is quite reasonable. So is this a swap ? or is this a 'give up' ?. Before there is any speculation of that sorts - the bottom line in this case is two things, standing next to a seat is implicit line/queue for the seat, but, since swap is always reasonable, the person occupying the seat can always choose to/not-to swap on a case-by-case basis.

There ends my take on line/queue - dont know how much in-line it is with others ? thoughts ?

Monday, January 16, 2006

[C Says...] Sense

Humans have 5 senses and still produce non-sense !
Humans perceive the non-sense via some sense !!

Makes sense ? !!!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year 2006

Wishing you all a very very Happy, Peaceful, Healthy, Prosperous, fun-filled and exciting new year of 2006. May this year bring more good to the surface of the earth than ever before.

p.s : I hope to be back in action sooner than later - thanks for all the kind and well-wishing enquiries :)