La La Land

I first came upon the trailer for La La Land on The Verge last July. I played it on the telly and immediately decided to watch this on the big screen when the release eventually comes along. It was not the actors nor the music but just the cut of the trailer, the visual vibrance was enough. I didn’t see the trailer again and forgot about the movie.

December comes along and I realize the limited release included our local CinéArts theater (I don’t how it falls under the category of an artsy theater when it is just another branding effort by a big chain. One thing I do miss about Rochester is The Little Theater referenced here in this review. The view of the screen there has not been matched again. Hope to be back there some day and catch a matinee) so on a Friday I left a little early from work and we got to catch the first show.

When Sachin was at the top of his game, there were a few moments, where he would step out of his humility and decide to toy with the bowler, go out and do it, enjoy doing it and show the bowler that he is enjoying it, with that subtle nod of his head. La La Land does exactly this in the visual story telling. The swagger and bravado is all too real to see.

Being a musical and being a story of a musician and an actress, there are a lot of songs and dances that enable a magical realism but the real choreography in this movie belongs to the camera. The eye popping colors across all the costumes on display throughout the story are embellishments on offer, the lights cutting in and fading out as needed to showcase the actors and their wares, but the movement through that space by the camera, matching the flow in rhythm with the dance at some points and with the song at others while going against the dance, weaving you in and out of those realms.

May be it is just me, but I do feel a little jaded by the overt realism in movies over the years, characters struggling against ginormous odds. Its either that or we have un-relatable fantasies ala the superhero movies. But here we have a self-aware meta movie doing justice in as much to be aware of the fallacy of such fantasies, but while keeping the story about two people, their crafts, their passions, their struggles, their success, egging each other on, with no external conflict but their own, gets to the crux of the continuing need for such fantasies. The subtle drifts towards to the fantasy and the return back to the grind, is probably the best handled metaphor throughout the movie, that it is a drift and not a cut. The need to return is real and immediate but it is a continuation, not a clean slate, like if it were a refreshing vacation.

There’s so much more to like and write about this movie and its songs. And am sure there will be videos on YouTube that will showcase why the making of this movie is an educational experience for movie makers, in due time. But for me this movie, took me back to the time where watching a movie meant me being lost in the world setup on the screen. A good part of that is us being ready to indulge in such worlds. But a bigger part is those worlds do need to entice us and engage us. And the nod at the end of the movie tied together with the two smiles – those two smiles coming up knowing what could have been but wasn’t, made sure I will indulge in future worlds to come.

PS : And if you haven’t watched it yet, give it a chance at the theaters. The grandeur of the camerawork is best suited to be experienced on the big screen.

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Moonset over South Bay

As amazing as it was to go up Mount Hamilton, scout  a secluded spot , get up on our car to lie under the expanse of the visible universe above us to witness the Perseid Shower, the best sight of the night was the view of Moonset over South Bay. The waxing gibbous burning bright orange thanks to city lights was a sight to catch. 

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Kate O’Sessions Memorial Park

I discovered Kate Sessions a couple of months ago when I was avoiding the I-5 when heading from UTC to Ocean Beach. There’s a do-it-yourself car wash place on Garnet Ave that I take my motorcycle for a bath and thats when I found it. On my way back from the wash, I headed out there.

This place probably has the best view in San Diego. I felt totally at peace being there and it is a dog-friendly park which I am totally down with. Ever since I moved to this country 7 years ago, I miss Blackie so getting to play with a few free spirited friendlies was very refreshing. Mt. Soledad gets a lot of tourists and locals, but this park seems to be a local community secret.

When I took my wife the next time around, there was a swing set up by someone on one of the trees by the parking lot. After haggling with a couple of kids we got our chance with the swing and that is when I captured this.

Lyrics – Raaz-e-Fitna – Nescafe Basement

This song has been on an infinite loop since I first heard it in December 2013. The lyrics weren’t available anywhere on the internet. Thanks to @ShravanDathS for transcribing this for me in his increasingly scarce spare time.

 

Kya raaz-e-fitnah hai rukh-e-husno jamaal mein !
Hungama hogaya hai Jahaan-e-Misaal mein !!

Yeh hai Fanaa-e-Ishq joh Parwaana jal gaya !
Kya Ramz hai Chiraagh ke iss Ishti’aal mein !!

Kya raaz-e-fitnah hai rukh-e-husno jamaal mein !
Hungama hogaya hai Jahaan-e-Misaal mein !!

Hairaan hai Shauq Pursukoon junoon chupa hua !
Pehchaan iss Urooj ko Zikr-e-Zawal mein !!

Kya raaz-e-fitnah hai rukh-e-husno jamaal mein !
Hungama hogaya hai Jahaan-e-Misaal mein !!

Death is nothing at all

Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away to the next room. I am I and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name. Speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without effect. Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same that it ever was. There is absolute unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you. For an interval. Somewhere. Very near. Just around the corner.

All is well.

~ Henry Scott Holland

Jailbreak tweaks on my phone

A colleague of mine recently jailbroke his iPhone because he could and didn’t know how to put it to use. Cydia’s discovery mechanism isn’t that great so I made him a list of tweaks I had on my device ( using another app, AppInfo ). I am sharing the same here.

UI/UX
 
  1. ActiveDock : Mac like dock with active app indicators 
  2. AndroidLock XT : Pattern Unlock on Lockscreen 
  3. *appslide : Intuitive interface : Mix of Android,iOS and Windows back button flows. App 1 link opens App 2. After consuming content in App 2, returning to App 1 involves pressing Home Button. No more need for App switcher. 
  4. *Auxo : Enhanced recent apps drawer and quick settings access. 
  5. BytaFont : Change system fonts 
  6. Default HD SBSettings : Neat theme for SBSettings
  7. Flowtation : UI animation for Notification Center
  8. *LockInfo 5 : Access email, twitter, feeds, calendar, weather and handle notifications from Lockscreen. The only reason I Jailbreak my device.
  9. SBRotator 5 : Use Springboard and all applications in landscape mode
  10. ScrollingBoard : Scrollable dock 
  11. *Zephyr : Intuitive OS X like app switcher. Each app is treated as a full screen app and swiping from edge of screen takes you to the next app. 
 
Utilities
  1. 3G Unrestrictor 5 : Removes download limits on app on mobile networks 
  2. Activator : Assign actions & gestures to functions 
  3. AdBlocker : Blocks ads 
  4. Browser Changer : Change default browser ( to Chrome for me ) 
  5. iFile : File system browser
  6. MapsOpener : Change default maps ( to Google Maps )
  7. PushTone : Custom sound notifications for all apps 
  8. SBSettings : Settings drawer from Status bar
  9. UnlimTones : Download or create your own ringtones from iTunes library on device 
  10. WinterBoard : Default Themer. Themes downloaded from Cydia will need to be made active here
  11. Xcon : Fakes jailbreak status to apps that detect jailbreak before running