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Archive for March, 2009

"Omkara"

This is a retelling of “Othello” set in contemporary India. Shakespeare’s story works amazingly well, with only a few very minor tweaks. (The director has also done “Maqbool,” an adaptation of “Macbeth,” but I have not had a chance to see that yet; it’s in my Netflix queue.)

Omkara is the leader of a gang in rural Uttar Pradesh; the gang does local politician Bhaisaab’s dirty work. Omkara’s two most trusted lieutenants are Langda and Kesu.

Meanwhile, Dolly has run away from her family and her impending marriage to Rajju because she has fallen hopelessly in love with Omkara. Her father, a local advocate who also works for Bhaisaab, is furious, and confronts Omkara at his headquarters. Before any violence ensues, Langda contacts Bhaisaab, who forbids Dolly’s father from shooting Omkara. Angry and shamed, but powerless to change anything, Dolly’s father leaves. At a later meeting with Omkara, he plants the first tiny seeds of doubt: “a girl who would decieve her father like this is capable of anything.”

Meanwhile, Bhaisaab has been released from jail, and wins the local election. At a religious ceremony celbrating their win, Omkara surprisingly names Kesu his successor, rather than Langda. Langda is dismayed and exceedingly jealous, as he assumed he would be chosen because of his years of faithful service (he is also married to Indu, who Omkara’s sister), while Kesu is a relative newcomer to the gang.

Meanwhile, Dolly has settled in to life in Omkara’s compound. All seems to be going well: Omkara is full of love and treats her well, even giving her a jeweled belt that has been worn by brides joining his family for generation, she gets along well with Indu, everything seems to be falling neatly into place to assure her happiness.

Meanwhile, Langda’s jealousy is raging away, and he devises with a cunning plan to punish both Omkara and Kesu for their roles in his slighting. Dolly and Indu are unwitting pawns in his scheme, and both end up paying a very high price for their involvement.

You know how the story ends: not at all well.

Kareena Kapoor (Dolly) and Vivek Oberoi (Kesu) did not annoy me as much as they usually do, Saif Ali Khan (Langda) was suitably bitter and evil, and Ajay Devgan (Omkara) was both menacing and hot, as any good Othello should be.

Official site

Source: personal copy

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Growing Pains

Is Facebook Growing Up Too Fast?

Very interesting article, especially given the kerfluffle over recent changes.

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Source: borrowed from library

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Berlin

I would love to go to Berlin and soak up bookish culture. It’s just so thrilling to be in a city that takes books, writing, and intellectualism so seriously–and still manages to have fun with it! Ich bin total neidisch.

In Berlin, Authors Find Their Voice

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They are making a movie of Where the Wild Things Are.

I had no idea!

Official trailer

IMDB page

The trailer looks pretty cool, but it’s not coming out until October, so I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

And an article that explains more about the journey from book to film: The Story Behind Where The Wild Things Are

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I love Animoto! It’s a fabulous service, and I simply cannot say enough good things about it. I’ve used it for both work and personal presentations, I’ve installed their app on my phone, and I’ve even downloaded some videos to my phone as well.

My favorite videos so far are:
our wii bowling event
my trip to Japan
my floral reaction/tribute to Perfume

I will return to this Thing when I am at home with access to all of my pictures, and can explore other services.

I’ll be honest: I don’t like any of the other slideshow tools as much as you-know-what. Some of them are better than others, but I really think that Animoto does it best.

I made this silly picture featuring topiary deer on Captioner. It amuses me.

This also amuses me: my very own loldeer! Made at rolfbot.

I wanted to make something awesome with CaptionBubble (I have the perfect picture from Japan) but I was unable to get my photo to upload, either from my computer of from Flickr. That was annoying.

I don’t have enough pictures on Flickr to make a Flickrmosaic, which was disappointing. But I made this on Image Mosaic Generator:

I don’t really have enough pictures on Flickr to make a good slideshow (I don’t want to pay to upload *all* my photos), but none of these tools really grabs me in any case. I didn’t really like the effects that the comics tools use.

Made on Tiltshift, which I really think is fun:

I made this on Picnik; it was really fun to play with the intensity and saturation!

This was really fun–I really like manipulating pictures, and any of these tools can do amazing things. Definitely things I will explore in more depth. I realize I was supposed to tell a story, but I honestly had too much fun playing around to create a structured narrative (I also don’t have a lot of photos with people in them). Perhaps later…

All the photos I used are ones that I took, if you’re wondering.

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Book Meme

From Not Enough Coffee, via the 23 Things Ning boards; originally from Booklist Online.

1.Which book has been on your shelves the longest?
I have no idea what the book is that I have owned the longest, as I have many many of my childhood books still on my shelves. The oldest books I own are probably Marjorie’s Busy Days and Marjorie’s Vacation, both of which were my grandmother’s, and whose copyright dates are 1907.

2.What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?
My current reads are Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-Up Idealists and A Revolution in Taste: The Rise of French Cuisine, 1650-1800; my most completed read is I’ll Never Be French (no matter what I do): Living in a Small Village in Brittany; my next read is any one of 10 or so titles piled precariously on my nightstand.

3.What book did everyone like and you hated?
The Artemis Fowl series.

4.Which book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?
I dunno, Dickens, maybe?

5.Which book are you saving for “retirement?”
The ones I don’t get to before then.

6.Last page: read it first or wait til the end?
It depends on the book, but usually I peek.

7. Acknowledgments: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside?
They can be either, depending on a wide variety of factors.

8.Which book character would you switch places with?
Lots of them!

9.Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time)?
Yes. Far too many to list.

10.Name a book you acquired in some interesting way.
Almost all of my books I have bought for myself or been given as presents. I unexpectedly found an English children’s book I had been looking for for a long time at a used bookstore in Paris. That was pretty cool.

11.Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?
Yes, but very rarely. I usually buy books as presents for people, but hardly ever donate from my own personal library.

12.Which book has been with you to the most places?
Ha! If you knew my life’s history, you would understand why this question is hilarious. I take books with me whenever I travel, so I own books that have been to multiple continents and countries, as well as a whole host of states. I have no idea which title has been to the most places.

13.Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad ten years later?
No. There is no way on earth that “Billy Budd” can ever ever improve.

14.What is the strangest item you’ve ever found in a book?
Nothing too terribly strange, just some bookmarks and photos. Not even any money. I did buy a book that I had no idea was autographed by the author until I got it home.

15.Used or brand new?
Both.

16.Stephen King: Literary genius or opiate of the masses?
Eh, I am a weenie, so the only book of his I’ve ever read is The Eye of the Dragon, which I liked. I have enjoyed his NF essays that I’ve read in a variety of places, so I think he is quite capable of writing good, literary stuff, but he’s also no fool and knows what pays the bills. Not my cup of tea, in other words, but who am I to scoff?

17.Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?
Probably, but nothing springs to mind immediately. Possibly LotR, just because the films eliminated an awful lot of boring prose.

18.Conversely, which book should NEVER have been introduced to celluloid?
Too many to name!

19.Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?
My mom and my friend K.

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36. Comic Relief

This is a very silly Thing, and I approve. 🙂

I’ve already experimented with making comics of my own–I’ve done some book reviews with Toonlet. You can see them here.

Because we all feel this way sometimes (by lisabquinn):
Librarians in the Times

My tag cloud:

I’ve actually played around with several generators already, but I don’t have the posts tagged as such. I’ve done my name as a call number, I’ve found out which Jane Austin heroine I am, and I’ve discovered my inner super hero. I know there’s more lurking on my blog, but I don’t have time to track down any more.

I think generated content like this is a fast and easy way to make your blog/homepage/whatever more interesting, but the important thing to remember is that less is more. The occasional silly thing sprinkled amongst other content is good, but it just gets tedious if you only post these sorts of things and nothing else.

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35. Books 2.0

Organize Your Personal Library:
I’m a devoted user of Library Thing, so although I looked at some of the other book sites, I’m not planning on switching over. My only “complaint” about Library Thing is that it’s pretty much only set up for books, and I’d like to get my movies cataloged–specifically, I want to track which Bollywood movies I’ve seen, which ones I own, and which ones I want to get.

I wanted to like lib.rario.us, but got frustrated very quickly. Entering a DVD by title got me the mystifying error message The ASIN field is required. You can try the title lookup, hopefully it helps. 🙂 which didn’t help. (And now that I’m complaining, it’s working just fine. Bah.) I can’t seem to edit the title information, so I’m stuck with whatever comes up, even if it’s not quite right. I think I will keep looking.

ITrackMine I had better luck with. It’s easier to enter items, and I like how the site looks and works better. There is an option to edit title information, but it’s still pretty limited. This is worth a closer look, and I will play with it more later.

Books On Your Phone:
I have eReader on my phone, and I’ve started reading Tarzan of the Apes on it, as it seemed apropos for Hawaii. I also added TwitterLit to my Twitter account recently; it’s pretty fun, and surprisingly hard to guess the book based solely on the opening sentence. I bookmarked Daily Lit on my sidebar a while ago, as it’s pretty cool.

Readers’ Advisory:
I really like Reading Trails and BookLamp, and will look at both of them in more depth. I subscribed to Book Calendar, because I need to have a bigger “To Read” list than I already do.

Online Book Communities:
Overbooked sounds fabulous, but the website is dreadful. Run away! Run away! I enjoyed the blog at Readerville. I’m not really big on book groups–I like the *idea* of them, and I understand why they are so popular, but they’re just not something I want to participate in. Too many potentials for nasty fallouts.

Book Group Resources:
I like the broad range of things available on Lit Lovers–the fact that they have activities and suggestions that go beyond sitting and talking about a book is a great opportunity to perk up a book group that has gone stale. Worth a deeper look.

Booksprouts is definitely the service I would use, if I were to start/join a book group. I like the fact that it’s online, and so you are not limited by the common constraints of time and geography. I also like that you can make your discussions as public or as private as you like. This is an excellent resource.

I enjoyed the videos on BookVideos.tv and I especially liked the broad range of the topics they covered. And I am also deeply appreciative that they are NOT book trailers, but rather short interview with the author about the book in question. (There are good book trailers out there, but the vast majority of the ones I have seen are a bizarre digital afterthought trying to appeal to a certain type of potential reader, but going about it in the worst possible way.)

Audio Books:
LibriVox is a very interesting idea, and I will poke at it when I am not on the ref desk, as I can’t really listen to audio files here. Podiobooks and Open Culture, same thing.

Book Swaps:
Book Mooch looks fun, and I have joined; we’ll see how this works out. I’ve looked at Paperback Swap before, but am turned off by the “fees may be added at a later point” part. And I think their website is hideous. BookCrossing intrigues me, but frankly, I’d rater make sure that my books go on to a home that wants them, rather than casting them out into the wild.

Book Reviews:
I like the look of Book Browse, but again, am turned off by the membership fees. One Minute Critic looks like fun, and I will explore it later.

Children’s Books:
I really like Just One More Book and the International Children’s Digital Library. Tonight’s Bedtime Story reminds me of Sur la Lune, but specifically adapted for consumption by children. I like the interaction that’s available in Silly Books; a 2.0 Reading Rainbow, sort of.

Book Rental:
Eh. Not for me. I’ll either borrow books from my library, or buy them. (Or swap for them, if Book Mooch works out.)

Facebook:
I’ve looked at some of the books apps, but not recently. More exploring to do!

I don’t think these tools hamper one’s reading experience–for the most part, they are designed to either enhance it, or to look at it in a completely new way. I sort of feel like any reading is good reading extends to the Internet: while I might prefer that my hypothetical children were reading Real Books(tm), reading on the Internet is better than not reading at all.

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SRK FTW

Stumbling Toward Bollywood. It’s a very good article, and really goes into why Hollywood has failed miserably in Bollywood, despite ten years worth of trying (sort of).

The money quote for me: You don’t go up against Shah Rukh Khan, no matter how good your product is. Heh.

“Om Shanti Om” is a great movie, and I am not at all surprised that it blew “Saawariya” out of the water–it’s fun, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but at the same time, it manages to tell a pretty silly and unrealistic story in a surprisingly effective way. And it has *awesome* musical numbers!

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