Today it was the first day it snowed. They were flurries. It looked pretty with the snow on the branches of the bare trees, which looked edible with all that frosting.
I got my winter jacket out for the first time in months. I found an old glove in a pocket. I lost three pairs last year. Actually that is not correct. I lost three halves of the pairs. There is chance that I lost opposite pairs and I could reuse the other two halves. Oddly the left hand glove on both occasions disappeared. Sinister? :)
Two of the three pairs did not belong to me. So technically speaking the lose has been 50% but effectively 100% damage.
This year I am trying a thought experiment. I have bought realtively high quality, expensive gloves from Eddie Bauer. The thought is that you are more careful with more expensive stuff. I don't think that I shall misplace them. Let's see. So far it has been about one month and I still have the pair. Please check back later for the status of the glove. I think I shall win!
Strangely yesterday was the 27th of November and Hendrix's birthday. All day there was not a single song on the Classic Rock Station. Strange.
Posted by hirak on Saturday, November 29, 2003
Eric Clapton and Friends
94.7 FM is the classic rock station. Today being Thanksgiving, there were two specials. One of them was the Eagles special. It was nice to be woken up and then stay in bed LYING and listening to "Lying Eyes". Hah!
The best was yet to come. Day after is George Harrison's Death Anniversary. So they had a one hour special called "Concert for George". It was great to hear Eric Clapton, Tom Petty ( Travelling Wilburys), his wife, Olivia and the usual suspects talk about George and music. The most entertaining of them all was of course, Ringo Starr. He is exactly what his character in "Help" portrays. He is different, not the cute looks of Paul, or maverick behaviour of John, or like soul searchingly quiet George. The good ole' regular bloke - Ringo. Despite everything being at a strange sort of peace. It was interesting to hear how George showed him how to hold the C chord.
Eric Clapton never took to Indian music despite George's efforts to get him and other guitarists to listen to Indian classical music. Olivia recounted how Eric finally agreed to play Ravi Shankar's arrangement. His bit is really great. Shankar's mammoth arrangement I felt, was too much of a pastiche to be anything distinctive. There was a shenai going crazy as usual, bits of Vishwa Mohan Bhatt on the Mohan Veena and Anoushka conducting some random vocals. Bit of a let down. Too much Indian Exotica, too little real music. "My Sweet Lord" is beautiful in that sense of being sincere to music and less to any image.
The rest of stuff was great though to hear George yell "Taxman". The two sides of Harrison.
"George's favourite was the diminished. He would play that and all the people would go crazy. It was beautiful."
Monty Python was the surprise entry adding the element of comic relief. "..George would not want a long speech about him cause he would be the first to shout out 'Rubbish'..."
Eric's tribute to Harrison as he played "While my guitar gently weeps". I wish I could have enjoyed the song unadulterated without the comments during the song by Olivia in the programme. That too in the middle of the solo. Man! I need to get hold of the 2 set DVD.
The only day I want to go to the Indian Store its closed. I jogged there in the cold expecting some nice 'samosas'. I had to be content to jog back and make some curd rice. Not bad considering they were playing the concert again. Ambience makes a huge difference.
ISA Diwali Show
Last Friday we had the ISA Diwali show. Which was held a month late. A testament of adherence to IST? It was supposed to start at 7:00 pm and I called my American friend to watch. She turned up at 7:05 and apologised for being late. The show started at 7:45 after Pooja and setting up of the equipment. The MC of show gave 5 minute long introduction.
It was all downhill after that. The sound system sucked. Bad. The Classical performances were first. The Indian junta typically, was not listening at all and was more interested in saying "Hi and Hello" to friends they meet everyday, while the poor musician tried to play above the din. Looking at the bewildered face of my friend Lisa, I was in splits. Of course, when the Indypop hits started the whole crowd got excited. We Indians love to talk about our great culture but want to nothing concrete to even make an effort to appreciate it. Lisa thought that the concert would end by around 8:30. Well what do you know. It was fun translating the Rafi song. I think it's not at all easy to convey the desperate emotion and feeling. How can you explain well enough what,
"Pukarta chala hoon mai, Bas ek sham zulf ki,
Bas ek nigah pyar ki"
She came to watch me and I did not perform till 10:00 pm and she waited. Thanks to impromtu prize distributions and zillion problems with the sound, more delays. Welcome to India!
Thanks to the ***tty sound system our first song "Kandisa" was butchered. Thankfully the second song the fusion piece called "Ananda" by Taufiq Quereshi and Kumaran-Ganesh from the Streams of Confluence was heard. As it is the bass guitar is not foremost in people's ears. (On second thoughts its good in a way considering the author's experience on the bass guitar)
I was ashamed of the rank unprofessionalism of the ISA people conducting it and the MC's who thought that they were in somebody's house yelling (announcing). Needless to say that the dances were a travesty of dances of any sort.
It would have been great to have a nice show after all the practice and late nights. I still think that the practice is more fun. All that instant jamming. Playing and getting nowhere. The jokes, the banter and the tom-foolery during practice is more fun than a perfect audience, a perfect sound system and perfect musicians(ahem!)
Posted by hirak on Monday, November 24, 2003
A quote about Daylight Saving Time
There was an extensive article in the WSJ which is linked below for another 7 days
WSJ.com - Deja Vu: "'At the back of the daylight saving scheme,' complained Samuel Marchbanks, the fictional alter-ego of Canadian writer Robertson Davies, 'I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves.'"
Posted by hirak on Sunday, November 16, 2003
The Chilean Pablo Neruda was a Nobel laureate who constantly questioned his own reality and ours. One of his last works was The Book of Questions . He died in 1972, and Copper Canyon Press published his "unanswerable" questions in 1991, translated by William O'Daly. From the lyric, paradoxical, enigmatic, tragicomic, surreal, or poignant questions Neruda asked, here are a few favorites:
Why don't they train helicopters
to suck honey from the sunlight?
How many churches are there in heaven?
Tell me, is the rose naked
or is that her only dress?
Is there anything in the world sadder
than a train standing in the rain?
What forced labor
does Hitler do in hell?
How many questions does a cat have?
Do tears not yet spilled
wait in small lakes?
Where does the rainbow end,
in your soul or on the horizon?
Who was she who made love to you
in your dream,while you slept?
And does the father who lives in your dreams
die again when you awaken?
Where is the child I was,
still inside me or gone?
Isn't the city the great ocean
of quaking mattresses?
How did the grapes come to know
the cluster's party line?
How did the abandoned bicycle
win its freedom?
If all rivers are sweet
where does the sea get its salt?
Does smoke talk with clouds?
I saw the Last Waltz again after a few years. This time more carefully with earphones and no disturbance from excited friends yelling along with Muddy Waters as he powerfully rendered Mannish Boy. The more I see his movies the more I admire the art of Martin Scorsese. This the as close you can get to the excitment, the sweat and the great music if you were not there.
It seems so real and natural. That is real art.
The temperatures have again fallen. Not yet sub-zero,but cold nevertheless. I use this as a justification to start drinking more coffee than usual. I am now at one whole pot of coffee a day.
Differentiating the men from the boys, hard core addicts dispense with the fancy creamers and sugar. It's pure coffee. Black and straight to the gut. Caffeine now acts as a kick-start for the day. The mid-afternoon sleep and boredom dispeller. I wonder if it's just an oral fixation or genuine addiction? My sweater now smells of coffee. Analogous to a smoking jacket?
Yet, I look forward to a different way of having coffee - like, in a coffeshop, over some intelligent conversation. It's been some time since the Barista days on Main Street. The excuse? May be not having the time or the right company for indulging in the ambience of a coffeeshop.
Surest Sign of Addiction:Drinking alone.
Posted by hirak on Wednesday, November 12, 2003
'The radio is nothing but a conduit through which pre-fabricated din
can flow into our homes. And this din goes far deeper, of course,
than the eardrums. It penetrates the mind, filling it with a babble of
distractions, blasts of corybantic or sentimental music, continually
repeated doses of drama that bring no catharsis, but usually create
a craving for daily or even hourly emotional enemas.'
Aldous Huxley; On Silence; 1946."
Wonder what Huxley would have to say about TV. Especially TV these days?
Posted by hirak on Friday, November 07, 2003
Today there was piece in the Michigan daily which had some facts right and an argument that has too many holes. I feel there are too many unecessary extrapolations and some grave misconceptions.Read Article. Well to come up with a convincing argument I had to some homework on the facts. The truth as always is obscured by the rhetoric and each one's own personal agenda. It becomes difficult to see the difference between black and white after the sophistry.
So far it has been an interesting afternoon so far as I visited R.S.S Website and also the the Bajrang Dal. I was impressed by the Sarsangchalak's speech. Not all right but it was much better than I expected. While randomly surfing I found the Niemoller quote. I read it for the first time in Boston at the Holocaust memorial. This one is made of glass pillars and has random numbers on it denoting the concentration camp numbers. It is hauntingly beautiful.Anyway its time to speak up.
Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten, habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist.
Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten, habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.
Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten, habe ich geschwiegen,
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.
Als sie mich holten, gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.”
“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”
Posted by hirak on Thursday, November 06, 2003
Microsoft vs Google:Ominous Signs of another David versus Goliath
"MSN now currently ranked 4th in search engines in a market lead by the fast growing Google now aims to take Google on.."
Wall Street Journal, today
I am kind of shocked and outraged being a self-confessed Google lover after reading this Wall Street Journal Article. It is the next logical step for Microsoft. No one is safe. This scares me a bit.
Google is going to go public some later this year and it is rumoured that it will be 15$ to 25 $ million. Microsoft already tried to takeover Google earlier this year. It seems that the was rejected by indepedent thinking, Linux-Unix loving employees. Microsoft claims that it will now concentrate on winning the Search Engine War. Perhaps it won't be the browser style war but with Redmond you never know.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Would like to see this in the future?
The Grateful Dead are playing and I am having a delicious piece of paratha with imported "chhundo"(CHHUN-do). After the microwave heated paratha I open my packet of imported Khhakra and eat it with more chhundo like a good Gujju boy. I mean how Gujju can you get? Grateful Dead and Chhundo. Somethings that you grow up with hold the same fascination like having it for the first time. Like a good slice of juicy Alphonso in May.
"This tastes Mexican. Like like chips and salsa. Only more spice"
Posted by hirak on Monday, November 03, 2003