Monday, November 28, 2011

Kimya Dawson - Same Shit/Complicated

I love this song, specially the lyrics. The reason i like Kimya Dawson is because she writes poems just the way i would like to write and she rhymes them as well. Also, her poems are incredibly personal and she does things that i would like to do in my life.  This song is from her latest album - Thunder highs. I saw her perform this song live and it was simply awesome. 

You were looking down at them, they were looking down at you.
You were starched and press, they were all disheveled.
They were holding hands, they were ragamuffins and 
they said "I know we're not fancy, but we're on the same level.
We've got plans, big plans we're gonna change the world.
All you care about is dollars, that doesn't make sense.
All you do is hit snooze, watch the news, buy shoes, drink booze, make money, feel spent.
Day after day after day, it's the same shit.
Day after day after day after day after day."
Then you looked at them without batting an eye and said
"Hey little hippie, let your freak flag fly. 
Why don't you go smoke a bowl in your best tie dye,
get a tattoo of a dancing bear holding a peace sign.
You can talk the talk but when it comes to real change, 
aren't you and all your little friends exactly the same?
You sit around at potlucks pointing fingers, placing blame, 
drinking kombucha, and eating tempeh.
Day after day after day, it's the same shit.
Day after day after day after day after day."
If you are judging them while they are judging you,
and you think that makes them assholes, maybe you're an asshole too.
Do we argue with each other 'til we both turn blue,
or find similarities in what we like and what we do?
Yeah, just because someone does not look like me
doesn't mean that they are a clone or a sheep.
Maybe they like their job and they're living their dream, 
and they love their friends and their family.
Some people thrive between nine and five, 
and feel like they're choking if their neck's not tied.
And some people feel as if they're gonna die
if their seams aren't straight and their shoes aren't tied.
Some people like business, some people like numbers, 
some people grow organic heirloom cucumbers, 
and only feel free with their hands in the dirt
in a pair of old jeans and their favorite t-shirt.
Some people feel enslaved when they have a boss, 
some people without one feel totally lost.
To make this world work it takes all different kinds.
We have all different tastes, different strengths, different minds,
so it doesn't make sense to generalize
and it doesn't make sense to judge with our eyes.
We need more compassion, we need to be kind
if you open your heart you might like what you find.
'Cause there are some mean bus drivers, but there's some nice bus drivers
and there are some nice cops in Madison, Wisconsin.
And there's some nice teachers, and there's some mean teachers,
just because you have a mean teacher doesn't mean all teachers suck.
and no one is nice all the time, no one is mean all the time
think about what someone's going through that's making them be mean to you
maybe their pet gerbil died and they are really sad inside, 
or maybe they got in a fight with someone that they really like,
maybe they are really shy and don't know to socialize
they just want to run and hide, not saying that it's justified
but if we learn to empathize the resentments will vaporize
situations metamorphize before out very eyes.
then the need to stereotype will become outdated when we realize everyone is really complicated.
We are all so complicated.
I am also complicated.
I'm a black mama lactivist, a home-owning punk.
It's been over a decade since the last time I got drunk.
I drive a minivan, I've got junk in the trunk.
I think Danny Devito is a total hunk.
I like revisiting the shit my therapist helps me remember.
Being friends with someone for a long time, still not knowing their gender.
I fight for equal rights and I fight for inner peace.
I pray to the dead for the gratitude I need.
I've got chickens in my backyard and a little garden plot,
I really hate commercials but I got a slap-chop.
I'm a sucker for a remix, let me tell you what,
by the time that I am finished, you're gonna love these nuts.
I'm a little bit pop culture, a lot bit D.I.Y.,
I don't know the definition of T.M.I.
I write poems about my period, post pictures of my log,
if you don't like body functions then you shouldn't read my blog.
My husband's a musician from the mountains in France,
he wrote me a song, we did interpretive dance,
then he knocked me up, now we have the coolest kid,
yeah, hooking up with him's the smartest thing I ever did.
Now I feel like I can fly when I'm on roller skates,
I get a little high when I eat dried dates,

I feel like unloading when i'm loading up the car,
I feel like time exploding when holding my guitar.
I don't understand what numbers have to do with success.

or what sales have to do with happiness,
unless they're the kind of sails that will carry me to sea,
where my grandma and grandpa are waiting for me.
I never thought I'd make it to 25, now I'm 37 and I'm glad that I'm alive.
If I ever need a tour bus I'm still gonna drive,
cause I looking out the windshield as the world goes by,
looking out the windshield as the world goes by.
Now I'm 37 and I'm glad that I'm alive
and I like looking out the windshield as the world goes by.

Perspectives in motion

I am a big fan of moving shots. Shots in which camera captures motion. Think A Straight story and the video of fields from Mr. Straight's lawm mower as he is driving. With that music, it is awesome. Another example is Kieslowski's bleu/red when there are couple of shoots when you can see the outside view as a person is driving the car. Or think how do you see when you see outside the window from a railway train. I love the feeling of things going past me, places, towns whizzling past me, new things, watching horizons, air hitting your face, trees coming and going, coming and going.

Videos when running are also very cool. So i decided to shoot those. Most of them have me driving except the one at Yellowstone.

Snow covered trees @Yellowstone -

Driving to Philz on Middlefield -

Driving to Redwood national Park on Highway 101N

While hiking -

(The camera is shaking because i am moving...lessons to learn)

Yet another one -

Redwood national park

Thanksgiving weekend was close and everybody was asking - what are your thanksgiving plans? As usual, i had none. So last Sunday, 4 days before thanksgiving, i started googling. Somebody had told me about redwood but driving 7 hrs alone earlier seemed like an ordeal. But now that i am going to leave this place soon, i thought that this would be a nice small road trip + time with nature + hiking. I looked at couple of airbnb place for lodge but since it was expensive, i booked the first highly reviewed lodge - curly redwood lodge and then i had the plan.

Redwood national park

Curly redwoods is a big giant redwood forest full of big giant redwood trees. Here are a few trip highlights

~ Crossed avenue of the giants. I was supposed to run a marathon here in May but i bailed out. But now on driving, i realized that it would have been awesome to run here. Very leveled and very beautiful route.

~Videos. With my new phone+camera, i  had began clicking photos but this trip marked the beginning of videos especially moving videos. Will share links below.

~Hiking - Hiked the prarie creek redwood national park. Started with Prarie creek trail, moved to West Rdge trail by Zig zag trail#2, and then turned back to Friendship ridge trail and finally back to trail head from James Irvine trail. Total 13 miles. A very different trail compared to my previous hikes. Most of the trail was covered with fallen leaves or tiny branches, so it was all red in color. Also, it had rained so it was all green and wet. A lot of humidity in air. Since it was not the peak season, for my first 4 hrs of hike, i saw only one person.  Hiking alone clears a lot of concepts in life.

~ Room stay. Spacious room. Since i reached thanksgiving night and it was raining, i stayed at room and watched two episodes of dekalogue - VIII, and X. Watching kieslowski just makes life meaningful!

~ Driving - 7 hrs to and 7 hrs fro. Lots of driving. But it was a scenic route. Plus on the road i had downloaded NPR podcasts - top 50 records of last decade, 100 most memorable songs, Stephen Breyer's lectures, so it was awesome.

~ Hot tub - Stopped at Arcata at Finnish country hot tubs and saunas. Took one hr of hot tub time and relaxed there. The hot tub setting is quite natural. According to yelp, it is one of a kind in US.

~ Small town. Crescent city is a very small town. And so was Arcata, Garberville. It was great to see life in small towns. Very slow, easy and relaxed. No traffic, no queues. Saw even a cyber cafe at Garberville which was very interesting. Also, found a lot of Hippie influence especially at Arcata and Garberville. I had forgotten that california was the classic hippie destination. Saw people hitch hiking rides, clothe styles, stores selling indian gods and other eclectic things.  Mountain view is a suburb but still the city is close, living in a small town would be very interesting. No matter how small a town is, there is a performing arts center with plays/dances, artists touring, there is a downtown, and local cafes.  I wonder how these people see whats happening in this country. I was reminded of Sarah Palin's real America theory.

~Redwoods - They were big, huge giants. They were everywhere.  Good to see that they exist.

Hiking video -

Driving perspective -

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Music discovery

For lack of a better title - this post is titled music discovery.
Here is what happened. I have been feeling for quite some time that my music intake has reduced and i was feeling weak (music deficiency). So i started listening to some stuff that made me feel good but it told me how much weak i really was. This blog post just throws links that i have enjoyed or links that needs to be researched because there is whole world of things that i have to listen soon.

For NPR links, listen to the blog post as well as comments, there is a tone of info even in comments -

Songs that make you feel good -

Songs that make you cry -

More songs that make you cry -

Kashmere stage band - : Basically this is a funk band, so lets see what is funk. Also included is James Brown - known as the originator of funk.

Kimya dawson albums - Alphabutt and Thunder thighs.

NPR - the decade's 50 most important recordings -

NPR - when new york was on fire - This post talks about the origins of many music forms such as hip-hop, rap and repetitive music.

Money ball OST -

Life in Oct 23 - Nov 26

I wrote a 3 page long life in series two days ago and then i dont know what key i pressed, but it closed the window and for some reason blogger didn't auto-save the draft. Alas, here is attempt 2 with 2 more days of update.

Last Life in series installment was little bit sparse, it didn't cover all things that happened to me. Hopefully this one is full of info.

~Boardgames - Yes, i have been a weekly member of office board games (With Maneesh, Brian, Dane, Heather and Sean). We have played Powergrid and other games which i dont remember (sorry about that). It has been a lot of fun and wed evenings were never so interesting before.

~Office move - Yes, our office moved from Mountain view to San Bruno. This meant many things. To start with, it now feels like a big company. Reminds me a lot of trilo days. Large office space, small cubes,  less communication and general lack of purpose :) The office move also brought back the commute, so now we (me and Nikesh) take that caltrain and ride the bike from Milbrae. We experimented with multiple time slots, now we take the 5:57 bullet from Mountain view and 4:24 pm on the way back. San Bruno is little hilly so riding the bike there is a decent workout. I am loving riding my bike again, its a great bike.

~Thunder soul (Kashmere stage band) - Thunder soul was the camera cinema club movie for the month. It is a docu based on a  high school band who under their prof - Conrad Johnson made funk/jazz albums which won many awards and festivals. The amazing thing is that not only it was a high school band but its a band of all blacks and this was 60s when the civil rights movement was very high. What make these documentary is so special is its sheer timing. What we see is that the band members reunite after 30 yrs to stage a concert to than prof who is close to his deathbed. A few band members have not played for the last 30 yrs, so it makes the whole process very interesting. A very inspiring and emotionally charged documentary. As Tim(club director) rightly said, this is a movie that you would not see on your own if it was released. The discussion with the director was very interesting afterward. This movie is not getting any theatrical release because its opening weekend on a test theater was not as expected. So, even thought it has won many awards, it still is not release worthy which is very frustrating for a director.

~Thunder thighs - From thunder soul to thunder thighs, this is the new album by Kimya Dawson. She was in SF, so i went to see her concert. It was great, i have not heard her new album fully yet but from the songs she performed, it seems that they are really good, it is basically poems set to a song like tune. And her poems have message, strong points of view which i agree to most of them. THere were couple of other performance as well and Aesop was there. Overall a good concert to attend.

~Music - a separate blog post coming soon :)

~Diwali was decent. Had big plans to cook Rasgullas and dahi vada  but nothing materialized... was lazy :)

~Crosswords/Nytimes - I wanted to read nytimes on my ipad and they wanted me to buy digital subscription. On researching online, i found out that buying print gives digital for free and print had a 50%off offer. So i bought it and its been great fun reading a physical paper since.  Its going to take a long time for humans to adapt :).  At the same time, Tom Macke from office told me that he solves crosswords every day and it takes him 5-10 mins to solve it. He even went (actually invited) to the annual crossword competition once and e said that he was no good there. I asked him to solve the crossword in front of me and it was amazing seeing him work. Anyways, so he sends me a crossword daily and even though i am no good at it, i like cracking my head against it. Even with google (used under restraint) i find it difficult.  But it is very interesting nevertheless. I spent 4 hrs last sunday at the sunday crossword which is supposedly easy but big. It was lot of fun. The whole community around it is also very interesting, its great to read the analysis of a crossword puzzle like in the Rex parker blog or at nytimes.

~Wordplay - I have been a frequent listener to NPR's wordplay on Sundays with Will shortz. So much that about year and half ago, i even ordered his books but never worked on it. Since my new crossword fascination, i have been trying to boost my learning curve with these additional materials, so i spent the last saturday working on puzzles in that book. So fun :)!

~Film making workshop - I bought a fb deal to attend film making day long workshop at SF school of digital film making. It was about two weeks ago on a saturday and i was in no mood to listen to classes. But still i went there but bunked after half way. It was okay, on the first half they covered roles/terminology directing 101, camera positions and showed us cameras that they use. Things that i missed were lighting, scripting etc.  Too many people showed up, it seems that film making is the new craze these days. After skipping the class, i went to Lulu and had an awesome french lunch :)

~Halloween - Halloween at office was less fan fare than usual. I went as a occupy wall street protestor. Also did pumpkin carving at Deepti didi's home with Siddarth and their neighbors.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Stephen Breyer

I went to the City arts and lecture recording last week. The way it happened was quite interesting. Somebody in office posted tickets to some other lecture. I was not interested in that one but i thought that this is one area which i have not explored and i listen to City arts and lecture whenever i get time and i like it. So, i just went to their site and browsed upcoming lectures, saw a judge's name and description mentioned democracy. I just bought the ticket. Pretty easy, huh? And then the day comes and i go to this lecture. Turns out that the interviewer is Michael, The Michael Krasny, whom i listen on NPR all the time and i like his voice and style. So woot! And then Michael Krasny walks in and there comes the clash with my mental model of Michael Krasny with the real one. He is old, he is human :). But nevertheless, he starts talking and all is well in this world. Now, coming to the main point - Stephen Breyer. What a judge, what a person! You can listen to the recording at -

 Since then, i have listened to another lecture by Stephen (on a podcast) and will be reading his books very soon. In the KQED lecture, Stephen talks about how court works, how the 9 judges vote, how he works with his staff etc. He goes into some history, why courts were created, debates on things that is the court the right system etc. He also shares things that he has learned from being a Supreme court judge - aka to listen. The fact that another Supreme court judge by listening to the same facts can come to an exact opposite conclusion than him makes him question himself even more; he has learnt that an effort is required to see the same thing from another view point and that makes the whole process very interesting. He also shared few books he liked, his memories from his upbringing at SF etc. He mentions few cases, of prominent is the Bush vs Gore case - i would leave you to listen to the podcast recording.

He answered questions very well, in particular the one that i liked was his approach to many things which from what i understood (a) Give time to things, if you dont think that they are correct, find out what is correct and then act , (b) history is filled with bad cases, infact it is a great boon to live in democracy the way we have it now, whether you like it or not. So, do not come to conclusions very quickly, see the other view point and try to get more facts. And there were lot of anecdotes shared. I am going to read his books, may be on this trip to India :)

But a great man. I was very pleased that i went to this lecture. And seeing Michael Krasny, thats a wow!
Wiki page -

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My thoughts on Occupy

Griftopia book review


Yes, a post on movies was long awaited. Infact my last life-in series also didnt cover all the movies.

1. The Ides Of March -  Went with Zoheb to this one. This was a Clooney directed by political drama, (and clooney also made Good night and good luck). So, i had to go for it. Dcent movie. Nothing extraordinary.

2. Delhi Belly. This was almost forced on to me by Gurshi. I didn't like this movie. To be fair, this movie definitely gets full marks for breaking out of Bollywood, an interesting story line, and no-song drama.  If a movie contains any of the previous points, that is definitely a fail in my mind (remember Jaane tu yaa jaane na). Anyways, my problem was this movie was that (a) The whole belly arch, its too obscene to watch in a movie. (b) i do not like that Imran khan - too much over acting and ... this movie didnt click with me. If you are making a masala movie, there has to be good humor which was missing and the sound track was also not that good.

3. Anonymous - was Shakespeare real or not? That is the question that this movie addresses and offers an alternative theory which says that Shakespeare's plays were actually written by someone else. Good acting and decently made movie. It could have been more tighter in editing.

4. Raising Arizona - Watched this one yesterday. Considered to be a classic in comedy genre and one of the best Coen brothers films. To me, this was again a decent movie but i would not call it a classic. Nicholas Cage is definitely good to watch and this movie has the typical Coen brothers stamp. I think Coen brothers are such a hip because they always show a different America, an America that is often ignored by others and while showing that, they are true to the subject and understand the local sentiments very well. But to me comedy means something else. Best american comedy for me is Woody Allen's movies like love and death, My cousin Vinny,  Charlie Chaplin and others.

5. Agora - I am a big Rachel Weisz fan. So even though this movie was not that appealing, i watched it. It is again a decent movie,  and Rachel Weisz is very amazing :). It covers the era in Greece when Christianity was beginning and how it questioned the Greek philosophy of science and mathematics. Truely a sad part of our era, Christians will never believe this version. Even though it may not be historically accurate, i believe that it is also not far from truth as well.

6. The man from nowhere - Wanted to watch a mindless movie, watched this one. Pretty mindless but entertaining.

7. Aagey se right - This was was very interesting. Came from our netflix recommendation. This movie is actually a spoof on bollywood movies and the trouble with spoof movie is that they sometimes become what they are trying to spoof. That is the same issue with this one as well. But this movie has shades of brilliance - The scene when he goes underground to get his gun and when KayKay is talking over webcam. KayKay does a very good job but he should be doing better movies, a lot better movies. Good comic movie. Shreays talpade is also quite good. The ending could have been better but it is not.

8. Dear Zachary - This came from a recommendation from Maneesh. Highly recommended! It is a documentary and one of the very well made documentaries. Lots of love and personal elements put into a movie and made with lots of passion. I cried a lot in the movie.  I am not giving any details because thats how this movie must be watched, with no prior information. Must watch. Cant stress enough!!!!!

Saw some movies again -  Music from the inside out, Swades.
Need to see Kieslowski again.

Asian food and museum

I promised a blog post on Asian art museum and the Fremont Thai temple last time i blogged. I try to keep my promises so here it is -

Fremont Thai temple - 

From Asian art museum + thai temple

If you search for Fremont That temple on google, the first result is from yelp where yelpers are saying how awesome this food is. And that was exactly my reason to go to this temple.  And to explore a Thai temple too... recently after visiting HongKong, i am actually quite impressed by Buddhist temples. The temple was very quiet, neat and spacious. This is how local temples should be, no restrictions,  people acting sensibly, no noise. Kudos for maintaining it that way.  Every Sunday, outside the temple, there are stalls of different foods. It will me 70% non veg, 30% veg. If you are a thai cuisine fan like me, it is definitely amazing. We tried fried sweet potatoes, fried bananas, pad thai, spicy eggplant, couple of sweets. All of them were very tasty, not the restaurant style, these had a little bit homemade touch to it :)

Asian Art museum - 

From Asian art museum + thai temple

This was one of the pending museums in my coverage of SF museums. Gurshi also agreed for this one. We reached there about 3 pm, so 2 hrs to see the entire museum. We took the free tour on South Asian Goddesses where the tour guide introduced us to Parvati, Ganaga along with others ones. The one thing that i felt while visiting the museums was that i had never seen statues of Gods in such detail ever before. I have been to many Indian temples, some with equally similar statues but just because of the crowd, too short of a time to see, and because of scores of Pujaris there, i have never been able to see them. So seeing these statues here, the sculpture work was indeed quite fascinating. Asian art museum typically gets broken statues because they are no longer cared by the temples once they are broken. So, even with their broken shapes it was quite interesting. Most of the museum was dominated by religious statues which was kind of interesting. I really liked the Indonesia's puppet collection and there was also a video of it.  The potter collection was also very interesting.

From Asian art museum + thai temple

From Asian art museum + thai temple