Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I have a lot of things to say today, and some of it quite funny too. I just don't know where to start, so I'll go ahead and do as they say: begin at the beginning.

Yesterday night, roundabout 2 o clock, I had just got off the internet after going through random gaming articles and found I couldn't fall asleep. I was hungry and I couldn't get to sleep and half an hour later found me at the kitchen making noodles of all things. I woke up the entire household by doing so. I'd wanted to go for coffee...coffee has a way of dulling the hunger down enough, but lately I've started disliking that drink. Blasphemous I know, especially with someone like me.

So anyway, after noodles, I didn't feel sleepy one bit. So I did what I do best: read. I read Zora Neal Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God...almost all the way through (just a few pages left) and a good book on a full stomach is good. And Their Eyes...is a good book indeed; I'd read The Color Purple 2 months back and Alice Walker had written that she'd been influenced most by Hurston and I can see how. I also finished Native Son a day back and comparing the two I found several interesting things to mull about today: Native Son is written by a man, and Hurston's book is a marvelous vacation compared to his. The sheer optimism in Their Eyes... seems almost non existent in Wright's narrative. But then they are two very different tales.

I finally fell asleep at 5 30. Hurriedly woken up at 9 o clock. Classroom cleanup! Fled to college, got off at the market, bought a broom, a big one, and went to class. A few friends pitched in, and soon took over, and we were done in an hour or so, and the classroom looks a lot cleaner and healthier.

Throughout I was extremely sleepy, and by the time the eds started, I was ready to drop. Which was a shame, because the cinema eds of late have been thoroughly brilliant. And thats one of the reasons I forced myself to stay awake...almost.

Back home, I took Baghu for a walk. He must have been surprised...I normally don't take him out before 9- 9 30 at night. But I'm glad I did, because Baghu met his neighbourhood gal-buddy Sarah, who seemed extremely pleased to see him as well. And even though Baghu couldn't 'see' her technically, he had a lot of fun running around and the both of them chased one another and had a blast.

Ratchet and Clank is winding up. I'm probably at the last level....the difficulty feels a little too steep a little too suddenly. Its not a bad game at all. But I just wish there was a little more platforming in it, especially since it was marketed as a 3d platformer with shooting elements. It seems more like a straight out action game with platforming elements thrown in. Which makes for some brilliant gameplay, true, and there is some strategy in it as well...with so many weapons at your disposal, you can think up really exciting ways to get rid of your enemies. The visibomb is literally a blast to use.

It had its moments, the game did. I don't know if 10 years down the line, it will be hailed as the classic people are calling it. But then again, this is the first game in the series, and the sequels I've heard are way better. I'm just a tad disappointed because the true platformer, as a genre, has almost completely lost out. There is no true platformer that's been released in a long time. Klonoa perhaps, but what else?

When it comes to gaming, I'm always a generation behind. If it weren't for my sister, I'd be two generations behind. She was the one who got me the ps2. I've always oscillated between pc and console gaming, and if you ask me now which one I like best, I won't be able to answer. On the one hand, the pc controls seem to me the most accessible and I'm definitely more at home with the pc, but on the other, the extreme lack of variety in pc gaming is appalling. I'm not a fps junkie, and a non fps player would be a fool to invest a lot of money in a new gaming rig. I'm not exactly a console-limited player either. In my all time favourite lists, the best looking and fun to play games are mostly console specific titles, while the most absorbing and moving have been pc ones. So taking sides would not do either side justice. And just for the record, I am not a graphics nut. This has several reasons behind it: not owning a 3d gaming machine till very late in my teen years, the burning of a brand new 8600gt not even a year old at that, before I could try Mass Effect out on it, a childhood love for drawing and anything 2d...the reasons are endless and I shall not proceed further.

I was thinking to myself today how little of my actual thoughts I reveal here. This being a public blog and all. In fact, I generally don't like it too much when people get too personal on their blogs nowadays. I've always held that barring a few exceptions, really REALLY private stuff lose their value and meaning when you post them for all the world to see. Because they really aren't meant to be written down to be read by everyone...they don't read well at all. Either they sound terribly pretentious, or terribly gloomy or too artsy for their own good. But that's just me. Your inner feelings and needs, prejudices, opinions...stuff you feel too deeply about to even trust yourself with, if you get what I mean....merely translating them into words is like...I don't know, taking a painting and then having someone describe it to you instead of seeing it for yourself. And unless you're a very trusted someone, a very close friend, you can't ever see it for yourself!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Today was a mixed bag day of sorts. Non stop classes till 5 30. Will be cleaning up the classroom tomorrow. Was extremely tired of the world when I boarded the bus. Brilliant breeze as usual at night and walked the dog for a while. The stars were out, and reminded me of Vaughan, who I have to study and who also looks to be quite good: I saw eternity the other night. What a start to a poem.

Veering away from cosmic matters, Ratchet And Clank is a good way to wind up a day which wasn't very exciting. But that's probably for the best.

PS: Some thoughts on Native Son. It is harrowing in parts, and certain portions are expertly handled and evoke a genuine sense of despair and understanding and disgust and despair again in turns. Not disgust, that's too strong a word. Shock. But it could have been shortened. The length probably heightens the suspense but also dilutes the overall impact the book has on you. Nevertheless, one of the better books I have read this year so far. The narrative zipped along while never shying away from elaborate, stream of consciousness sections and you really find yourself in the head of the protagonist. A recommended read to anybody with even a passing interest in the state of African Americans in the 30s in America.

PS PART 2! : I almost forgot! New discovery of the day!
Arctic Monkeys.

Oh boy, heard this a long time back, clean forgot about it till today when I happened to find it again on youtube!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

In the park, the giant trees, the few that still remain, swished and swayed in the now very strong breeze blowing all over and it sounded exactly like the sea. The wind felt exactly like the sea as well.

The late afternoon was a deja vu filled moment when I suddenly got reminded of what I used to do at school, right around 3 30-4. It used to be the penultimate class of the day, winding up, and when a storm would show signs of starting, its like a gleeful poltergeist took its turn possessing all of us, at once or individually. Even the teacher. The last class would be called off if this persisted, and 4 30 found me either walking home, or taking an auto, hanging on by my bony hands, eagerly anticipating the rest of the day after school. Didi would be back from college at 7, met with an excited shriek and all hell would break loose if it was a Friday and it was windy and stormy. There were nothing quite like stormy Fridays. If it rained Friday night, Saturday, a day full of cartoons and books and short study sessions followed by outrageous breaks in between, would start with a sweet muddy smell coming from the garden in front. Have you ever seen tiny snails? Baby snails, green all over, not bigger than your fingertip. Not to mention the huge ones, who would pop up all over the place all of a sudden. One day they aren't there, the next, they're all over the place, climbing walls, trees, in the garden. Squishing a snail under your shoes by mistake is one of the worst sensations in this life.

Today, when school is long gone, and Fridays don't hold the same sort of charm they used to even two years back, it was rather lovely how nature conspired to feel and sound exactly like it would 6 years ago. I'm so very thankful for days like today. You barely need anything else.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hello world. Its 10 55 am and a Saturday. I have the whole day ahead. And I woke up just now. The to-do list for today includes:
  • Page 1 of my all new webcomic.
  • Finish Native Son
  • Watch Shutter Island with Baba
  • Find a little time to study again in the evening.
Here's hoping I do all of that. Will be back.


Hello again. So what did I do all this time?
Lets see. Okay, first things first. Dark Cloud 2 is addictive. I'll give it that. The weapon leveling system is interesting to say the least, as is the idea of spectrumizing (that is, the ability to turn anything and everything into its elemental state, which helps add to a specific stat of your weapon. So lets say you get a flame stone, and you spectrumize it and turn it into a flame sphere, and when you synthesize that with your weapon, it gets better at dealing with foes which firepower...I think. Something like that, at any rate) and it reminded me of Secret of Mana. So badly in fact, that I played Secret of Mana all afternoon. So Native Son not touched all day long, except for a little bit in the morning. The test is not far away, however, so I'll have to buckle up.
Baba and me watched Shutter Island. For me, it was marvelous viewing it the second time over; you catch a few nuances here and there which you obviously couldn't understand the first time you saw. Baba liked it, but said it could've been shorter and a little more subtle. As far as acting is concerned, we loved Caprio and Kingsley, but Baba was of the opinion that Matt Damon could have played Caprio's role even better. Come to think of it, they do look quite alike!

...or not.

And in keeping with my promise of a comic strip, well, here it is.

Role reversal. Heh.

Its finally rained. And before my blog starts sounding like a weather forecast, I'll go. Good night.
A certain pop-corn smell in the American Library today (of all places) reminded me how very long its been since I've been to the movies. The last time being Avatar. Its become extremely costly, the movies...you either have to catch the morning shows or shell out more than 100 bucks. Which hurts, both my conscience and my wallet. This is where I fondly remember the days when I used to go to Globe, New Empire, Light House. I'm a sucker for old world charm and quaintness.
Have finally got hold of Worms Armageddon, thanks to a pal. We plan on playing tonight. Worms is the most fun I've ever had when it came to online gaming. I'm not a fan of MMORPGs. They tried to get me hooked, but something about the mindless grind has always put me off. And it comes back to hit you one fine day in the future and you find yourself lamenting all the wasted time.Reading Richard Wright's The Native Son, and I'm surprised how smooth and brilliant a read it is. I am absolutely loving the book. I hope to finish the rest tonight.
And its stormy and windy and superb outside. A welcome break from the heat.
Baghu, hot, tired out and panting furiously. Baba had taken him out and as usual, he'd pranced off with his dog buddies to the park.Baba, who's become a bookworm all over again recently.

And finally, Ma, who finally allowed me to take her photograph, and I'm glad she did.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Today saw me starting on an action rpg which goes by the name of 'Dark Cloud 2' and apparently its sort of a classic in the ps2 library. Nowadays I make it a point to never get my hopes too high when starting on a book or a game...I get disappointed too often as it is. But Dark Cloud 2, as far as I've gone at least, looks to be exactly the sort of game I like: a fantasy set up, cool animation, a nifty battle system, levelling up. Its like someone finally let me breathe after that blasted excuse of a game. Yes, I'm talking of Final Fantasy XII and I'll say here that I think the entire franchise is a joke. There I said it.

Water snakes are beautiful creatures. I saw one today again, its head out of the water, peering at us. No classes have left me observing nature, that too in Jadavpur, and its quite interesting. You spot odd critters here and there, and if not anything else, there's always the occasional mutt to pet. In the central jheel of Jadavpur, there is a HUGE fish. I've only seen it once and its big. Prolly some sad mutated fish bored out of its wits, having to spend time with small fry in the now very dangerously diminishing lake.

I want to start a comic book club in Jadavpur. Or even a book lover's club...something which will get together like minded people and people can have fun talking about their favourite genres, books, etc. That would be very fun indeed.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Its very hot here in Calcutta suddenly. The bus rides to college in the morning don't seem to end. College itself is your usual fare, but lately its been quieter than usual, with two of my friends always involved in some work or the other. Good for them: at least they're keeping busy. I never seem to keep busy. Things might change from today though, with the next test date announced.

The weather however, took a turn for the better near the afternoon. It's cooled down by now. I've cooled down with a glass of lemonade which Ma handed me upon getting back home. Some strange impulse had me unearthing my camera and clicking a few photographs. I've always wanted to keep a photo journal blog, but have never managed to maintain one on a regular basis. Here's me starting again. Or I will be starting, since today I don't have any good photographs to display. I'll post a few old favourites.
Incidentally, I read out a story to another friend of mine sitting on the college ledge today. One of Maupassant's , and I had to read it for a film analysis class in which we compared a film adaptation of the same by Renoir with the text. Fascinating stuff, really. I never did think about adaptations in such a light before...well, maybe I have, but when you're actually being taught something like this, dissecting one element after another its very fun to sit back and listen and see. From where we were sitting, you could spot a crow feeding its young, in a bunch of twigs atop a tree nestled dangerously and flimsily on a branch, just above the lake. My friend suddenly remembered a rather gruesome real incident he happened to witness once: a baby crow had fallen down into a lake, and a water snake had apparently caught hold of it, taken it underwater to drown it. I won't go into what happened next.

Back home, I'm either lolling about, or having trouble deciding how to occupy myself. I'm interested in too many things, but can't seem to focus on any! A dilettante is what I'm turning into. But my friend said today, do you have to be good at everything you do?
Tomb Raider Anniversary is good old fashioned fun.

Terry Pratchett is....I don't know why I haven't read him in all these years. He's too good to be true.

And something is terribly wrong with my camera. Everything's blurry.

Oh boy.