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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Midnight's Children Book Review

A friend of mine recommended it to me saying that it's a fantasy novel but I found it otherwise. Many incidents in the book are for real. I would like to call this one da de facto diary of a schizho. It is so twisted and smartly written you will just be lost in the story. A very powerful and politically inclined narrative, this could have easily been the heroes of the old times. Every page is a predictable gripper and you will want to read more as you find out that the author is letting you take a lead on the story. The beauty of it all lies in it being a story full of how such common occurences of your every day banalities of life blend under the cover of a dark and unspoken era of political turmoil and unspoken injustices on human freedom, exodus' and mass killings, the plot unfolds the sheer will of four hundred something child prodigies born at the hour on the midnight India attained its independence, with supernatural abilities conspiring to have under the powers of it's leader and the main character of the book Mr.Saleem successfully united after 31 years of awaiting, having unfolded many a unbelievable feats through it's telepathic midnight congressional communions and a skeptical stand point on the regress of a disillusion that subtly sinks into reality as Saleem, the vanguard of the army of midnight children, the unspoken covenant a victim of holocaust reveals to the comfort of a stabilizing 3 decade era from the night of independence the new generation of prodigals in his son and in successors of the missing age revolutionaries who fought and stuck to their ground and fought it out with governments ruled by royals with dark sides to their apt descriptions. The book is a lovely read through time as the reader will find himself geographically moving north and northerly around the subcontinent visiting the oldest cities crossing the largest rivers and the highest mountains and the meanest marshes with forests breathing their breath taking magic on a lost undercover troop, through beautiful ice clad valleys to intoxicatingly intense vast fields and beyond. A marvelous journey through spaces history unfolded itself and stands witness today. A snake charmer and his super prodigal son with ears used to uncommon sonic manifestations pristine. On his acquaintances with new found virtues Saleem himself with unusual nasal powers that sniff out emotions and color, the very human expression has to relieve his time finding humility in such a beautiful succession that has set the juggernaut rolling for a crave that will surely supersede any reader’s appetite for a complete entertainer. 
You will particularly enjoy sections of the book where the nasal revelations start to direct the story in a different dimension and the midnight confessions start coming in with such well thought of fluency that every time you will turn a page you will be taken by the events as if you picked the right time to read this book as these events start superseding you as if it were to be following a phase, unless you can relate well to a schizo the main character of the book, it’s a classic work of literature very few with such accurate exploitation of language almost as mystical to its content as to it’s implications through the narrative, only a very pensive and collective historian could have pieced together events of unspoken times and substantially created a fabulous art of fiction as a inspiration of sorts
Now this is what I call clever writing. It's not a page turner, it's a line tuner, if there exists something like that.

I mean this guy(Salman Rushdie) can leave his reader's anticipating for every single line.

If you are a regular reader, you will see through his narrative though. Midnight's children is about a guy who was born at the strike of the hour on the midnight of India's independence. Though I found a striking resemblance in his narrative style with that of Robert Ludlum( Author of the Bourne Triology), as he talks about a whole new legion of post-indipendent India's children just the way Ludlum has his 3rd reich in the Holcraft Covenant.

But Rushdie is predictably imaginative. There is extensive use of Hindi(My mother tongue) and this is not the kind of book you would like to stop looking for words, or you will loose the flow.

The subtle message lying underneath this compelling story telling style is to highlight the socio-political changes that were happening amongst the masses in India as she was basking in the glory of its independence.
The bottom line is probably that this is an excellent novel but one that I didn’t like it as much as I would have hoped to. Maybe this was due to the fact that it felt a little boring in the beginning. So, if you get through the first 80-90 pages, you will want to finish the book asap!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Gadgets and Gizmos

Nokia E7 SmartPhone with Video


What a Phone by Nokia! This Nokia MobilePhone comes up with 4-inch “Clear Black” display with the full QWERTY slider.

Nokia E7 PhoneHere are the detailed description/features of this SmartPhone:
Dimensions:
  • Size:123.7 x 62.4 x 13.6 mm
  • Weight (with battery): 176 g
  • Volume: 97.8 cc
Keys and input methods:
  • Full QWERTY keyboard
  • Home key, Power key, Lock key, Camera key, Volume key
  • Finger touch support for text input and UI control
  • On-screen alphanumeric keypad and full keyboard
  • Possibility to use capacitive stylus
  • Full screen handwriting recognition
Colours:
  • Dark grey
  • Silver white
  • Blue
Display and user interface:
  • Screen size: 4″
  • Resolution: 16:9 nHD (640 x 360 pixels) AMOLED
  • 16 million colours
  • Capacitive touch screen
  • Orientation sensor (Accelerometer)
  • Compass (Magnetometer)
  • Proximity sensor
  • Ambient light detector
For more details, visit Nokia’s page. See the below video of this “Ultimate Business Smartphone”:

video


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Photoshopping is back!!

My 2nd post on photoshopping...





Remember what I told u in my 1st post??..about using your own photos and editing them...thtz wht I did here(used a photo of myself). I used many layers in photoshop CS4 here. 
     This is a line art illustration. The concept of line art uses different densities of crosshatching to simulate lighter and darker shades of grey. Now, I went through some steps to have the desired effect. These steps   can be altered if you have something else in mind. But, the following steps will atleast give you the transition my photo has undergone. 


The steps are:


1. Open the photo you want to work on

2. Download brush set from
and download a suitable texture that you want to use.

3. a) Duplicate the layer.
    
    b) Apply Smart Blur: Filter > Blur > Smart Blur. In the pop-up mode set to Edge Only. This will       produce an inverted line art effect. Invert: Image > Adjustments > Invert. Hide this layer, we will use it later. Create a white layer above the original background (face)
4.  Create 2 different patterns.
a)  Create a new document with a with background
b)  Draw a 45 line on a new layer
c)  Use: Alt-Shift-Command+the right cursor to create a copy of the line to 10 pixels to the right. Continue until you get a set of strips.
d)   Merge the layers
e)    Select a square area
f)     Create the pattern: Edit > Define Pattern
g)    Name the pattern stripes 1
Now create a second pattern
a)    Reflect the strips horizontally
b)  Repeat the process from letter e
c)  Name the pattern stripes 2
5. Create the first layer of shadows line art
a)    Duplicate another layer of the background
b)   Apply Threshold: Image > Adjustments > Threshold
c)    Move the threshold level so you get the layer areas of shadows
d)   Open the Layer Style and apply Pattern Overlay
e)    Select the first pattern you created
f)     In the blend mode of the dialog box select Lighten
g)    Scale the pattern till you like it.
h)   Convert this layer to a Smart Object: in the layers dialog box select Convert to smart Object
i)     Set the blending mode to multiply
Similarly create a second layer of shadows line art and set the blend mode to multiply.
5. Bring back the edges
a)    Move to the top of the layer stack the Edge layer created in step 3
b)   Set the blending mode to multiply
For darkest shadows:
a)    Create another copy of the original layer
b)   Apply threshold
c)    Set the level so you only get the darkest shadows
d)   Be sure that this layer is on top of the layer stack, set the blending mode to multiply


6. Background Paper
a)    Open the texture file
b)   Drag and drop it to the main file
c)    Place the layer above the white and below the shadows line art
d)   Select the eraser tool, select a small brush with a 30 % opacity
e)    Erase some areas inside the face like the cheeks, it doesn’t has to be perfect we are emulating ink coloring
f)     Now increase the opacity to 50% and erase the external part.
Your Line Art is ready!!
Tell me how whether you liked my 1st tutorial on photoshop or not.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Linkin Park-A Thousand Suns

Linkin Park - The band that inspired me to get into metal and rock music. The first metal song I really liked was (and is) Numb from the legendary album Meteora released in 2003 following Reanimation.


Three years after its last effort, the back-to-basics Minutes to Midnight, nu-metal band Linkin Park returns with the politically-driven A Thousand Suns, an album that is, in many ways, a step forward for the band, and in others, a step back.

Linkin Park's first two albums, Hybrid Theory and Meteora, are primarily well-produced ventures into the realm of teen angst. The band's third album, Minutes to Midnight, attempted to diversify the band's lyricism, with the political "Hands Held High." Such diversification has not gone unnoticed, and the new album is political at heart. The quality of the lyrics have tightened up. 

However, if there's one aspect of Linkin Park albums that have made the band stand above the other rap-rock albums, it's the production quality. Unfortunately, in Minutes to Midnight, the band ignored the fantastic production quality that Meteora had and attempted to go back to the basics. This may have been the band's single greatest mistake. Linkin Park is forgettable at best when attempting classic rock. Minutes to Midnight was produced by the legendary Rick Rubin, who proved he makes mistakes.

Although he returns to produce A Thousand Suns, he's clearly recognized the error of his ways; the production on the new album shows a drastic change from the previous album, one that is more in line with the first two albums. Synthesizer dominates the soundscape and piano is used to a more brooding effect than in previous albums. This helps to create an album that is significantly moodier than LP's previous efforts, which were more about rage than melancholy.

The album is full of short vignettes(depictions) that help listeners move from one real track to the next. "Wisdom, Justice, and Love" is a minute and a half of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking as his voice gradually becomes distorted to the point of sounding like Megatron from Transformers. In fact, if you removed these tracks, you'd be down to a mere ten full-length songs.

There are several stand-out tracks on the album. "Wretches and Kings" is the album's most aggressive song, with a crunchy guitar, heavy hip-hop beat and bitcrushed chants of "Hey!" in the background as the band lays down some of the best verses on the album.

"The Catalyst" is the album's next-to-last track and serves as a fantastic synthesis of everything the listener has heard thus far. The song begins with ominous synths and gradually becomes more and more intense, adding on layers of stuttered beats, guitars and harmonization between members Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington.

There are other notable moments on the album. "When They Come for Me" has a tribal beat and Shinoda asserting, "I am not a criminal, not a role model, not a born leader; I'm a tough act to follow." "Waiting for the End" has a beat that sounds uncannily similar to Jay-Z's "99 Problems" (also produced by Rubin).

A Thousand Suns is unlike any album Linkin Park has released, due to the nature of its lyrics, structure of the album and its fresh production from Rick Rubin. It's a pleasure to see Linkin Park pushing the envelope sonically again, rather than regressing as it did in its last album.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Fountainhead-Book Review


I read this book when I was 17. At that time this book went a little over my head due to its objectivist philosophy. But now after reading it for the 2nd time, the point was crystal clear. It's a wonderful combination of story telling and philosophical presentation. While some of the main characters lack an arc, it was refreshing to get to know them as self realized individuals. Resist temptation to not like this book when disagreeing with a motivating philosophy.This seems to rank with the best of both religious and political books in terms of how polarizing it is, which at least makes sense to me in the sense that many people use the objectivist philosophy as it espouses their political basis and arguably a "religion." This is still a novel - a fiction with characters - and I think it succeeds on that level outside of some hilariously pretentious relationship decisions, general length, and overuse of the word "bromide." Appreciate that the characters have interesting motivations. I found the material completely relevant to today's world.  As a philosophical delivery agent, it's unsurprisingly heavy-handed but definitively makes its case. I had assumed that I'd vomit if I were to even glance at philosophy in general, but this book makes me think I might really like example-based presentations of them.The only reminders of when it was written adds to its charm rather than detracts from the message.
There is a reason that 70 years later, this book still sells. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Retro Wallpaper



A Retro style Wallpaper (Exclusively photoshopped by me)

My 1st post is on photography...well not exactly photography, rather photo-editing.
Editing photos is a really delightful task. What fun it is to watch the effect of different tools taking place on your original photo!! The so-called retro style wallpaper I have posted, is created by me from scratch using a couple of boat pics I clicked from my cam near the beaches of Thailand. You can always use parts of pictures that you have clicked yourselves. It kinda adds a reality and and establishes better connection with your wallpaper. There are many photo-editing softwares on the market, but I find Adobe Photoshop CS4 and CS5 the most satisfying ones. You can do a lot of things using the many tools provided. The above pic was photoshopped using layers and layers of textures and brushes. If you want to know exactly how it is done, post a comment and I'll post my lesson.