Monday, November 22, 2010

Into the Wild

Last friday, friend and I, let's call friend 'EM, walked over to the Natural History Museum to check out the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition.

Equipped with student cards, we waltzed our way through with a substantial (50%) discount on the ticket which is otherwise 9gbp. Impressive. Student ID's that have an expiry date far far away just rock!

There were about 100+ photos, in various categories. My personal favorites were those with animals in them rather than just the landscape views. I think it is because these pictures capture an action or emotion, and most often a spectrum of them that can be captured only because the animals are oblivious to the cameras, or in time ignore them. Snnneaky, but so cool.

Some interesting things that came up:

To travel or not to travel? Some photographers seemed to have gone out of their cocoon and travelled to places far from home, camped at dangerous spots with potentially achy knees, waiting patiently for the perfect shot. On the other hand, you had a photographer who just took a few steps, looked out his window, made a dash for his camera and lo! he captured a fantastic shot of a bird against a pristine background, but was probably a snow-covered cement road. It could very well look like he was in a land far away.

Patience. A description on one of the photographs explains that the photographer was waiting for about 2 weeks for a particular type of bird to do something, when it finally happened! The important words being - 'two weeks'! I would love to be a wild life photographer, but two weeks? 'EM says I'd not have the patience. If it is two weeks of sitting calmly, staring at green grass, waiting for a movement, I'd have to agree. But, I am open to hoisting up on a machan with lots of books, and possibly my laptop, and music and waiting for the King of the Jungle to stroll by. That I can do. Multi-tasking to an extent is an asset I believe.

A thousand words. A 1000 words may be a bit much, but even tho' some photos are visually stunning, there are some that transform from 'nice' to 'exceptional', all with the inclusion of a mere 20 or 30 words.

Three collages were placed in the exhibition as part of the 'Photojournalist of the year award', and while you can get a pretty good sense of what the overall idea is, it is worthwhile reading the accompanying words. Once you've read those words, it's almost like the picture comes alive in many more ways than when you saw it in isolation. If you click here to see 'The House In the Woods', you'll see what I mean

I think we all create our own interpretation of a collage, which depending on how creative you are, 'it is intriguing', or it is kinda 'blah'. And then sometimes, words provided to you force you to explore new possibilities with that same photograph, and then again, sometimes you fall in love with it completely, or then just consider the vision the photographer had for the photo silly, and the photographer officially, cuckoo.

The wonderful thing about us humans is this opinion thing. You are always entitled to it, so you can always be right in your opinion.

When I grow up. Kids younger than 10 were featured in this exhibition. How cool! Most of their photographs had captions that started something like, "When my father and I...." Sweet and very commendable too. I have a Nikon D90, now, quite late in life. These guys are lucky. So young, and already featuring photographs in exhibitions. Kudos kiddos!

And now I've picked just two of the photographs, coz if I went for more, I'd be in a fix. I liked too many.

Endangered Wildlife
Andy Rouse - Tiger Stalking

Nature in Black and White
Ken Dyball - Lookout

Pic Source: Natural History Museum website

Today I'm humming: Soobax by K'naan

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sticky Stickers Suck

Ever bought a piece of ceramic, glass or whatever else you've bought only to come home and then carefully try to peel the price tag or other info. sticker they chose to put on it? You do it ever so cautiously as you work through the edge of the sticker so that you can peel the entire thing off in one go, and then - it snaps (!) right there, in between, and leaves you with one piece in your hand, most likely the colorful and attractive blue part, while you stare (exasperated!) at a disfigured whitish pattern on the item? I have. And Ugh.

Sure it comes off, or will come off at some point or with all other remedies, including possibly heating it with a lighter, but it robs you of the joy of just getting it off in one simple swoosh. C'mon, tell me you agree.

I wish some retailers (M&S), or manufacturers or whoever, come up with a slightly better solution. Or then place it at a spot which doesn't mar the look. I'm thinking maybe there should be a benchmark for stickers that are used, and companies should consider it their competitive advantage. You know something like - 'No Sticky Stickers. No residue - For that perfectly smooth feel, in just one swoosh!'

They'd have one confirmed patron for sure.

One more thing, I also wish ordering and delivery of furniture were made a bit easier, or quicker and had slightly less shipping costs.

That's all the complaining for one day.

On the positive side, the house is coming together, kinda. The glass coffee nesting tables have arrived! I like. Very heavy, like very heavy. The package weighed 46 kgs. Three little tables. Well worth it tho.

And so has the little Creepie bench which I adore.

And the rest will come shortly too. I'm hopeful.

Today I'm humming Oh Boy by Ms. Li

Friday, November 12, 2010

Oh Javier!

It's Charisma, yup, that's what he's got.

He's not a pretty man per say, and I'm not attracted to him in a lusty way, but there's something about him. He slowly but surely buys you in. He's got the charm factor and lot's of it. I think it works more coz it seems like he isn't faking it, or is really good at faking it. I prefer to consider the former to be true. I've picked four of his movies that show how this one-sided relationship blossomed.

No Country for Old Men: I like your stoic, cold-hearted, maniacal character Javier. I am beginning to like you as an actor. Strictly just that. I mean, it's not like your haircut encourages swoons or warm tumble twists in the tummy. It's not me being rude. In your own words apparently when you saw your potential haircut for the movie, "I'm not going to be laid for three months."

Vicki, Cristina, Barccelona: Now, now. It's changing. Firstly, it's a Woody Allen movie. Second, you have a new hairdo! It makes you look quite nice - inviting, charming, warm, self-assured, confident, open, quite the free spirit. Loyalty issues persist most likely, but in these one-sided, not-wanting-to-pursue-type hypothetical relationships, we can ignore that bit. Oh, and there's stubble too, which I think should just stay on you, period.

Before Night Falls: And, now even more respect. You seem all of the above mentioned, and because of your character, Reinaldo, more intelligent, philosophical, determined, vulnerable, and fearless, all at the same time. I'm not into gay men, so we'll leave this one for just tremendous respect.

Eat. Pray. Love: Didnt expect to see you (didnt read the cast of actors prior), so was pleasantly surprised coz until you arrived, Liz (seemed a bit...boring), and this coming from someone who likes Julia Roberts. Agree, she is probably one of the few actresses that can carry a movie on her shoulders and one that will make people go to watch the movie, but she fell short. At times I felt she overdid it. Javier, you again, I liked. The warm, dedicated, hurt man who lives in a very cool house btw in Bali, and who seems to value marriage.

So there we are. Javier, you make movie watching easier and complex. You are calming and intense. You are balanced, with a fantastic presence. Your accent is cool too. You and Penelope make a good couple....I think so anyway. Stay together, please. Don't let us find you naked in a hotel room with a needle in your arm, and a strange woman by your side. It won't be pretty, even with that stubble.

Today I'm humming: Something Stupid by Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Selfish Pigs

I want the larger share of the cake, well, I just want it! Even if it means taking it from 2 yr old birthday girl, Tululu.

Ouch! Imagine if I did do that. I'd be one unwelcome guest foreva at Tululu's mom's house.

When you want to do more than normal social etiquette allows, but don't do it. Or choose not to coz who knows what that entire situation would turn into (like losing friends forever).

It's the act of being selfish. And we humans generally prefer not to be termed selfish because the meaning by the Oxford dictionary goes something like this: lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.

Nope. We prefer to be nice. But that doesn't stop us from employing the Selfish Pigs. They'll do it quite happily. It's in their nature.

Andy Riley's little cartoons are his way of dealing with a situation in real life, and cleverly directing the Pigs to all his dirty work.

I found them quite cute, so had to share! I am keen on checking out the book titled quite subtly - Selfish Pigs. Not like 'em dirty buggers care anyways.

Plain sadistic

Move it

Catch me if you can

Source: Huffington Post

Today I'm humming: The little shoemaker by The Gaylords

Monday, November 08, 2010

Radiate confidence...

..but, only after you get under the knife.

The words on the title of the post are on an ad that has been catching my eye a few times now. I see it when I stand still on the right hand side (left hand side is for me on energetic days) on the Tube escalators going up . The ad is a decent visual, colorful, much like many of the ads you see as you glide upward into the real world. The advertisers have but a few seconds to win you over. This one features an attractive girl, perfect body I'd assume depending on your benchmark of perfection. Well, the usual model types.

I find it quite ridiculous though, because the ad is for cosmetic surgery. So what is putting off is that 'radiate confidence' is encouraged not by having confidence in what you know, or even who you are, but completely on how you look. It's a trite statement, I know. And over discussed too.
And it is a business for these surgery companies, but still, it's ridiculous.

I'd imagine the ad to be more about a cream that enhances your glowing complexion, or a public speaking course, but no! And yet, there will be tons of people who will head home, go straight to their 'Goals for the Summer notice board' and add one more thing - "Radiate confidence - Contact Dr. Quack."

I understand it is about perspective and is very subjective.

Bad day for one: Not fitting into size 18 jeans
Bad day for Paris Hilton: 3mm of armpit fat sticking out from the Badgely Mischka dress

For this ad, I'm concerned about the one's that don't particularly need the surgery, coz they look lovely just the way they are!

It's also not that I'm completely against plastic surgery, not at all. In fifteen years if something is bothering me, and I want to take care of it, I may do it. I don't know. Maybe I'm a future hypocrite.

I do believe tho that if you do change things about yourself, you do it for the right reason. Not just to radiate confidence this summer! There are some of us who probably really need it to correct a defect, or even if there is something that bothers us far too much.

On the one hand we can learn to live with it, because its ours. Even find it endearing maybe? It becomes part of how another may describe me. Part of my identity, but only if I were made to feel special because of my uniqueness. But when descriptions say turn to poking fun which may cause me to rethink my existence on earth?? Wellll, then maybe its time to just do what makes me happy. The point is - within reason. Reasoning done with a rational mind. Don't just encourage a compulsive need to nip and tuck and cut and flush out and scrape - in the name of self assessed beauty. Coz this summer it is radiate confidence, next summer it will be something else.

Besides, aren't you afraid of all those needle pokes and the mental images of the blood and the sound of the scraping on that nose of yours as they work to beautify it?

Oh wait, I guess that's just my mind.

Today I'm humming: Nah Neh Nah by Vaya Con Dios

Monday, November 01, 2010

Stories: he told me five

Some books you can't put down. Others, I try to get through coz I prefer not to leave a book halfway. Not successful every time (Red Badge of Courage, I give up....for now). Since there is no TV yet at home, and I haven't even been connected to the Internet until very recently, I have been honing my unpacking skills and then, reading.

Love and Longing in Bombay by Vikram Chandra is a lovely read. Perhaps more so since I hail from Bombay. Each individual story is well-rounded, holistic and forms the perfect story circle; no loose ends, but some ironic conclusions. I love how well he develops his characters. They stay etched in your mind well after you have put the book down. e.g. Kshitij, Sartaj, Dolly, Shaila, and Shanti.

Vikram tells us five stories. Each story is a one word title, e.g. Shanti (peace), Shakti (strength) etc. and is a story being told by one man on five different evenings.

All the stories are a very easy read, not filled with fancy words that for some prove that a writer is really good. The words are simple but carefully chosen, the stories, very well thought-out, and the sprinkling of Hindi really makes me like it much more. "Wah Mr. Chandra, aap kahaniya acche likhthe hain".

One of the criteria of a good book for me is when I get excited as I am walking home, or when I am actually happy about the imminently long tube ride, and I see a vacant blue cushioned seat! I can't wait to tune out, and jump into the world of characters far beyond the chook chook of the train.

Now, I'm onto exploring Miriam, Rasheed, Jalil, Laila and many more in a Thousand Splendid Suns, and the book sits right in front me. Such a tease. But for today, I'll meet you all my Afghani friends in a bit. Restraint is critical when to-do's need to become done's.

What have you been reading lately?

Today I'm humming: Cheek to Cheek - Jane Monheit version