Jul 18, 2011

CM Punk

I have always had a liking for professional wrestling. When, I was a kid, when I thought it was all real, I used to love the action and contests, following storylines as if they aren’t scripted.

Then came the time that I realized that everything was fake – well, all the story lines – and I started losing interest. Then came startling plots starting with the take over of WCW by WWE. Then came personalities like the Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock who were more than just wrestlers, but entertainers.

That was followed by a time when the whole wrestling industry took a bit of a beating – they couldn’t find people to fit in the shoes of these biggies who had found greener pastures – Hollywood, to be more specific.

Then came CM Punk – Punk has been here a long time, however, but he hasn’t risen to such a stature until recently - and the wonderfully plotted storyline where he was supposed to leave the the WWE with the championship.

That main even – Money in The Bank pay perview in Chicago, was the best that I had seen in my entire life. The energy in the crowd was amazing. And of course, this was all thanks to that wonderful guy behind the mic – CM Punk.

Thanks to him and his extraordinary skills – and some wonderful writing from the WWE – wrestling has become entertaining once again.

To CM Punk – thank you!

Jul 17, 2011

The painful truth about auditions

It’s hard to be in auditions – both when you are being audition and when you are auditioning someone. When you are auditioning someone, it is a huge responsibility. I have had the pleasure of auditioning a talented musician for one of my bands.

But just talent doesn’t count. Being professional is very important. Unfortunately, this person didn’t make the cut. Not having rehearsed enough, not having worked the parts out properly. Maybe not experienced as much as the rest of the band members were.

It’s disappointing to say to this person – I’m sorry, but you got to go.

Jul 16, 2011

Professional musician

I’m no virtuoso. Neither am I an amateur. I am a decent bass guitar player and a musician. Like everyone else, even the virtuosos, I learn each and every day.

But unlike how I should, I don’t put in that much effort to improve my skills. I don’t know the problem – it’s a lack of motivation? Maybe because I’m already settled in with a few bands and am known as a professional already?

Whatever it is, I know what I’m doing is not good. Being a professional means that you have to act like one. Seeking constant improvement. Practicing your skills at home. Instead of watching some garb on television or something.

There used to be a time, about a year or so back, when I used to attend sessions held by Dee Wood at Whistling Woods. Every week, I would learn something. Dee would ask us to rehearse more. Set mini goals for ourselves. But improve each and every single day.

It’s time that I ought to find the right balance between work, life, and honing my skills.

Jul 15, 2011

More quality opinion

This piece from the New Yorker mirrors my opinion about the Mumbai blasts – the latest series of them, that is. Please read it.

Jul 14, 2011

Care for some sane opinion?

Unfortunately, it’s the same shit all over again. Television, newspapers, rants, opinions… wait a minute, there is something different this time around. And that is Twitter! With Twitter, you get access to the thoughts of free-thinking individuals which are, trust me, far better than the farce the put on TV these days.

Yes, Mumbai’s resilience needs to be sent back to the cupboard. But if you want to some sane opinion on issues such as this, as well as cricket, from an intelligent Mallu, of course, here’s what you have to follow – @prempanicker on Twitter.

Jul 13, 2011

Another attack

I got to know about this as I was riding a bus from work back to work. From Twitter. I was the first one in the bus to know. Then I got a call from my sister. Even though the conversation was in Malayalam, a few of the fellow commuters picked up the tone and the mention of the bombs and asked me what was happening.

I told them that I had read on Twitter about the Opera House + Dadar blasts. Then, they all started dialing their dear ones. They all got signal jams. Twitter was the only thing that was working. I sent an SMS out to my Mom and my sister telling them that I had reached home safely. I didn’t turn on the telly. Instead, I followed the events unfolding on the internet and Twitter.

What do I have to say about the attacks? Just that I think they are disappointing. Just because of their frequency/regularity and the apparent inefficiency of the authorities to prevent them despite heightened intelligence. I am sorry for those who have lost their dear ones. And yes, Mumbai won’t be showing it’s resilience this time around. It’s about time we started taking this as a serious issue and started working towards eliminating such attacks.

Jul 12, 2011

Dream Sweet Home

I am ashamed about my apartment. And some people, without meaning to be so, make me feel even worse. Most people joke. Some people boast. Some people just make me feel so insecure about my apartment by being where they are in their lives.

I don’t quite know what I can do, with the kind of finances that I have, to upgrade myself to a better apartment where I can proudly invite people over, where I won’t be insecure about what they will think of me. An apartment without infestations, with good ventilations, lighting, and comfortable interiors.

Having said all this, there have been people like Mike, Rob, Bruno, and a couple of others who have visited me in my apartment and said wonderful things about it. I want someone like that now. Someone who will appreciate what is there and how difficult things are to make better.

Jul 11, 2011

Planet of the Apes (2001)

The other day, my friend and band mate Howard Pereira (Depth, Dischordian, Overhung) told me that the ending of the 2001 remake of the Planet of the Apes was more confusing and surprising. I remember having watched the remake before I had watched the 1960s series of five movies. So, I decided to watch it again.

Overburdened with anticipation, I watched the movie today. Honestly, apart from the production, everything was incomparable to the 1968 classic. What happened to the dumb/mute human beings who were lobotomized. What about the classic ending with Statue of the Liberty. And what was the new ending which left the viewer totally confused as to what just happened.

Unfortunately, I must rate the movie to 2.5 star because of the important things that it failed to bring out from the classic.

Jul 10, 2011

A new beginning

I am getting bolder. I have decided to bring some improvements in my lifestyle. The latest entrant is  new computer without the monitor. It’s a powerful machine that can help me restart home recording.

But the most important upgrade – the baptization of my apartment into a Wi-Fi-enabled one. :) Very happy and proud man here!

Jul 9, 2011

Google+

The whole world has been talking about and I have been dying to get into it. I finally did that today. And I was impressed. Google+, the latest and the best effort by the search engine giant, to enter into the social networking space.

It’s a clean interface and I’m still getting used to dragging people into Circles. I haven’t tried hangouts yet. The news feed is primarily geeky stuff related to Google+ itself. Compared to FaceBook, they have got privacy up front. That way, they have succeeded.

But it’s still grossly underpopulated and undertested. Will it be compatible with FaceBook and Twitter. Would we need to update Google+ separately (the others have integration features). Only, time will tell.

Until then, ummm… I don’t know, I might give it the same attention as I give to Twitter and Facebook.

Jul 8, 2011

Sashi Tharoor–oh, please!

Yesterday, I read an article about Test cricket by none other than Sashi Tharoor. I have generally respected his opinion. But I disagree with him on the present issue of the attritional cricket in West Indies being boring. Test cricket, even when attritional is more entertaining that T20 cricket. Every session – 2-hour session – is more captivating than the smaller version of the game.

A cricket lover wouldn’t be able to deny the fact that even if you didn’t tune into the first half (or 3/4ths) of a T20 match, you would still be able to catch the climax. What about a session in test cricket. Can you predict how it will take twists, how a battle between a bowler and a batsman can shape up.

No, you can’t. And hence, Test Cricket will remain on top of everything in Cricket. If you want people filling up the stadiums, avoid television broadcasts in the city that it’s being played in until the stadium gets full. That’s what Cricket Australia does and they are pretty darned successful in it.

Jul 7, 2011

A memorable experience

I have always enjoyed performing at the Hard Rock CafĂ© in Mumbai. This is despite shoddy sound and bad acoustics. Apparently, one of theirs PA doesn’t work properly. Today, the sound was close to pathetic – you can’t expect people to simply ‘graduate’ as sound guys without having proper knowledge.

However, the performance (with Overhung) was enjoyable. It was my first gig with my new bass processor. Apparently, my sound was really. I also enjoyed performing a song with a vocalist that I look up to – Suraj Jagan. I performed “Man In The Box” by Alice In Chains and Suraj totally killed it on stage.

Why was tonight’s gig special? First gig with new bass sound. Also, because three of my colleagues attended the gig – this is pretty unusual in my case.

Jul 6, 2011

The ride of death

I don’t understand why some rick drivers do this. Fast, brash, without apparent knowledge of any traffic law. Today, I endured one such ride. I think he almost ran the rick into something big and heavy almost three times. And all the three times, I hoped that we would crash.

Yes, I would have been a martyr then. I would have technically taken the rick driver off the road and saved others lives.

The only good thing about it – I got to work earlier that I otherwise would have.

Jul 4, 2011

Mr. Azad–really, really?

I can’t quite believe that Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad said it. The whole world heard and is making fun of India. And the ministry. The Health Minister said these words “Men having sex with men is a disease!

Shallow, callous, stupid, archaic, unscientific… I’ll run out of adjectives to describe the statement. I’m ashamed and appalled. I don’t know how I can show my face around.

Strangely, this coincides with my 4th anniversary of meeting Vinokur. Happy anniversary of friendship, Vinokur!

Jul 3, 2011

Saturday night gigs are awesome

I have my own criticism on Not Just Jazz by the Bay. I know it is a famous venue for live performances even from the early days of Independence, when it was called ‘Talk of the Town’ – they still have their Butter Chicken dish named after their old name – which is what my friend and band mate Robin always has for dinner when we are gigging at the venue.

Anyway, about the problems with playing there – the stage is small, we have to play 3 hours almost continuously, the venue is small, the pay is almost non-existent, the entry charges are steep, and the sound is not up to scratch.

Yet, playing there on Saturday nights is something else. The place is packed and gets behind you every time. Let me tell you something – there is nothing like the feeling that you get while performing in front of receptive audience – I think it is almost as satisfactory and rewarding as seeing a patient walk after surgery.

Yesterday was one such day. The crowd was wonderful. We played well. And we enjoyed a hell lot. Thanks Cirkles!

Jul 2, 2011

Gig vs Gay party

So, tonight, I paid the price of having two jobs. I had to ‘work’ on a night when the biggest gay party of the year (perhaps – the venue was Blue Frog, and it featured man performances by LGBT artists – I was even invited to perform my songs). Yes, I have a gig with Cirkles at Not Just Jazz By The Bay (which has been apparently renamed as Pizza by the Bay).

I don’t think I should be complaining too much. It’s fun to play in Cirkles and Saturday night crowds at Jazz are always fun. Plus, I’m earning some money. But I would still miss a wonderful party – my friend at office had plans to go and was inviting me. But that’s life and I had to choose ‘work’ over ‘play’.

Jul 1, 2011

The Last XP crash

After my monitor, it was my computer. Yes, my 3-year-old machine is crashing very regularly now. This time, even System Restore didn’t work. I had to call in my computer technician and  he re-installed Win XP. It took about 5 hours (and multiple attempts).

The balls that I have shown in the last few days (fixing my monitor, buying the new bass pedal) make me feel that I am in for a new computer pretty soon. I am already in talks with the computer guy. I think it will happen this weekend. Godspeed!