Monday, August 22, 2005

Rushdie Rocks !!

So I have been really busy lately since these are the last 2 weeks of my internship and I have to present my summer research work to the whole group. So I have not had a lot of time to do other things like read or write. Of course I still have to take time out to feed this cute guy and take him for a walk:

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So today I finally got to bed about half an hour early and had time to resume my re-read of Rushdie's Satanic Verses. I had first read it back in junior year of college and I have always been in awe of it. Now, before I get accused of supporting an anti-Islamic agenda, let me make it clear that I am one of those people who can appreciate a work of art without attaching any religious connotations to it. I watched The Passion of The Christ and I thought it was an excellent movie. A movie, that's it - not anti-Semitic pro-Catholic propaganda as it is claimed to be. Whatever Gibson's intentions might have been, I still see it as a piece of entertainment and therefore treat it as such. Same with Verses - it is fiction.

Phew, that was a long disclaimer. Where was I? Oh yeah, I was going to describe how much Rushdie rocks as an author! Well ... a lot! For those of you unfamiliar with Rushdie, here are a few pointers:

1) He was born in India but raised in the UK. He is British by nationality.

2) He won the Booker Prize in 1981 for Midnight's Children (my all time favorite book). The same book then won the Booker Of Bookers' Prize in 1993 for being the best work in fiction to have won the Booker in its first 25 years. He was nominated 3 more times for Shame, Satanic Verses and The Moor's Last Sigh but did not win. (A gross oversight, as I like to claim).

3) He has been longlisted for this year's Booker as well for Shalimar The Clown (which yours truly has already pre-ordered, of course. It comes out in September.)

Yes, I am aware that I am gushing like a school girl but when it comes to authors like Rushdie (or Ishiguro, Morrison, Desai and countless others), the gushing is pretty much involuntary. Here's a little excerpt from Satanic Verses:

"They hadn't been getting along lately.
He told himself that afterwards, but not during.

Afterwards, he told himself, we were on the rocks, may be it was the missing babies, may be we grew away from each other, may be this, may be that.

During, he looked away from all the strain, all the scratchiness,, all the fights that never got going, he closed his eyes and waited until her smile came back. He allowed himself to believe in that smile, that brilliant counterfeit of joy."

It's passages like these that make me glad I became a reading nerd.

[ BTW, the canine's name is Java. He belongs to my landlady. I apologize if the pic is not very good. I took it with my new cellphone (flash warning). Don't you just love shameless self-promotions ?! ]

Thursday, August 18, 2005

InfoVis/Flash Excellence !

I was never a big fan of Flash but that's probably because Flash creativity was not as prevalent as it is now. The Flickr Tag Browser is an excellent example of good Flash and an even better example of Information Visualization. I should make sure and get this added to the InfoVis Collection that our class created back in Spring'05.

Man, this is addictive ! Oh, BTW, if you are not familiar with Flickr ... where ya been ?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


I have recently been bitten by the Haiku bug. They are amazing little things, aren't they? Here are the 3 that I wrote very recently. The last one is sort of a riddle. Try and guess if you can.

Broken heart yonder.
Life is empty and devoid,
Love does not answer.

War lives once again.
Death rides naked and merciless,
Men turn a deaf ear.

Intruder Alert.
Greek tragedy replayed.
Blue death imminent.

My favorite modern Haiku of all time is the one that won's Haiku Computer Error Message contest:

Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.

Positively Brilliant !!