Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sportscenter India without Jason Dasey is like Coffee without Sugar-Bad!!

I have no idea what the heads of ESPN-Star were thinking when they removed Jason Dasey from Sportscenter India. They have replaced him with Wasim Akram and have made Sportscenter a Hindi show. They have shifted Jason to Sportscenter Asia, which means that we will never again see him on TV. ESPN-Star feel that to reach to the Indian audience, they have to make everything Hindi. I do not know Hindi and so I have absolutely no clue about what Wasim Akram is talking. Sportscenter was my favourite show and it was only because Jason Dasey was on it. His professionalism could be felt by viewers sitting 5000 kilometers away and unsurprisingly he was very popular with the Indian public. That is why I cannot understand ESPN-Star's decision to scrap the English version of the show. Sportscenter India was widely watched and commercially successful largely due to Jason's charisma. I remember changing channels whenever he didn't come on Sportscenter. The only other presenter I liked was Andrew Leci, but they shipped him to the football studio. Now there is no proper Sports news show I can watch. I was shocked when he announced his farewell to the Indian audience last week on Sportscenter. The grin on the face of Anand Narasimhan only intensified my anger. ESPN-Star has made a huge blunder and is definitely going to regret it. Wasim Akram was a legend on the Cricket field but he is left wanting in front of the camera. The Hindi cast of Wasim, Darain Shahidi, Poonam Sharma and Anand Narasimhan basically sucks. ESPN-Star has to realize that it has a large English speaking audience and must cater to their needs. Sportscenter India became the best sports news show because of Jason. Jason 'Desi' Dasey will be missed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

To distorate or not to distorate? That is the question!

Somehow I end up with really weird chemistry tuition teachers. Last year, I had a tuition teacher called Vairamuthu. He was an incredibly irritating guy who spoke horrible horrible English. I wouldn't have minded if he had taught me in Tamil but he decided to impress me with his English speaking skills. I quickly found out that he didn't have any such skills cos his first question to me was "Which school you?". I decided to let that go but the English that followed was even worse. I don't remember what he was teaching me but I very vividly remember this sentence, "The band (bond) is going into the distoration." When I asked him to repeat, he said "Distorate boy. Break you know. Distorating." Not only had he created a new word he had given it tense forms too! There was a scientist called Heitler in the book and the name is supposed to be pronounced Hytler. This guy pronounced it as Hitler and I was wondering for the rest of the class how Hitler had the time to think of Chemical bonding when he was busy killing people. He also had the interesting habit of burping every few minutes. He would go "burp, burp,burp...BURP.. so you see the distoration..BURP". He would also turn his head ninety degrees while watching me demystify his notes in my notebook. But the thing that irritated me most was his incessant need to make marks with a pen on my textbook. Every line of text in my text book would have scratches, blots or dots. I have a weird condition. I cannot sit still when a person makes my well-preserved book look like its third-hand. So I used to sway angrily to and fro trying to stop myself from grabbing the pen from his hand and making a dent on his head. I didn't study the last chapter in my book because he had covered my pages with ugly rangolis.

After all the mental distoration I had suffered I felt I had had enough. So I ditched him. My new Chemistry teacher is a lot better but ten times slower. He enunciates each word and makes sure that I say "I understand" after every line. He comes to my house at 8PM and leaves at 9.30PM but he doesn't know that I am asleep from 9 to 9.30. I have managed to sleep and say "I understand" simultaneously thereby making the one and a half hour experience more tolerable. In my previous class, he started making dots on my book. I got reminded of the past and I began to sway to and fro. He saw me doing this, taught that I was having a fit and left saying he will come back after I became alright. I feel that the only major difference between my two tuition experiences is that I thought the first teacher was a lunatic while the second teacher thinks that I am a lunatic.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Sir, how would you like me to cut his hair?

I had a pretty embarassing experience today evening. I had gone to Green Trends for a haircut with my father(he needed a haircut too). I sit on the chair and wait for the barber. He turns up after a couple of minutes, looks at my face, then turns to my father and asks him how he would like my hair to be cut. I am gaping at this guy thinking to myself "Dude! I've had a haircut before. I know the difference between 'short' and 'medium'." My dad told him to ask me that question and he looked at me sheepishly. "Medium", I said forcing a smile. "Which class do you study in?" he asked me in an overlysweet manner. "Twelfth standard" I said putting on a very mature voice. I wasn't surprised to see the shocked look on his face, a look I've seen many times before. Somehow no one seems to think that I look like a twelfth standard student. I am sixteen going on seventeen, for crying out loud. All of them think that I am in the ninth standard or something. Whenever I tell a stranger that I am doing my board exams this year, they're like "Which group are you planning to take?".

I think the fact that I'm short makes me look 5 years younger. Also my apparent lack of muscles doesn't help my cause. It is really an irritating feeling when people younger than you think that they are older and start bossing you around. There is probably one advantage though. When I'm 50 and everyone else is busy having plastic surgery, I'll look like I've just gotten out of college. Or maybe, I'll grow bald and look like a 30 year old with hair problems......I think its best that I assume that the former case is true.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Are you ready to penfight?

During lunch break in school, few of my classmates tend to play a game on the teacher's table. They are probably the only twelfth standards who still play this game. They are absolutely in love with it. What is this game then which makes them even forget to eat? Penfight. Yes, penfight, the game that delighted us when we were in the fifth and sixth standards. It still continues to delight these blokes though. They bring these incredibly heavy pens to school not for writing but for their stationery combat. The penfight club (thats what I call them) comprises of 8 people who have not missed a game of penfight for the last 2 months. They are pretty creative too. Some of them tie three pens together with a rubber band and lot of twine(they're not goin to use it for the exams, are they?) and some remove all the unwanted stuff from the pen like the refill(who needs it anyway?) and the spring and fill it with heavy stuff. One of the esteemed members of the penfight club filled his pen with chappathi dough to make it heavier. I won't be surprised if he becomes the President Of India someday. I think Pillsbury should start giving free pens with dough inside with every pack. They will make more money than they can imagine.
I felt that I had to make these people realise that they were playing a game created for children in the age-group of 8-12 and that they were too old for such childish activities. So I shouted out," Aren't you guys ashamed of yourselves? You are in the 12th standard for heavens sake. Stop playing this dumb game and help me finish my lunch!". Before I knew it, the chappati dough guy and his apprentice had lifted me up and were ready to knock the daylights out of me. So I decided to do the logical thing. I punched them in their stomachs and ran for my life.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Sob! It's over!

Our school play, Aladdin was staged day before yesterday during our Founders Day celebration and me and my classmates had a blast. We had been practising for two weeks(we even practised on sundays coming to school as early as 7.00 AM) and we put in our best efforts . There were many mishaps on stage, like the wrong props( I was doing the cave scene with a dirty sock on stage), wrong light and sound effects and of course the weird timing of the closing and opening of the cave. The mistakes on stage actually made the entire show much more memorable for me. We enjoyed ourselves immensely and I feel pretty sad now that the show is over, especially since my midterms start on Wednesday and I haven't touched my books yet. I got to play Aladdin and the entire experience is something I would cherish forever. This being my final year in school, I couldn't have asked for anything better. I got the chance to make new friends and I had a helluva lot of fun. The sad part is that all good things come to an end. I have to go now and get rid of the layer of dust sitting on top of my Chemistry book and start studying. Sigh.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Anniyan Movie Review (Contains Spoilers)

A still from Anniyan

I saw Anniyan a couple of days back and I felt that it was pretty pathetic. A loose storyline along with some shoddy screenplay makes it a complete mess. It is basically about a guy who has a multiple personality disorder. Ramanujam AKA Ambi (Vikram) is a lawyer who is a stickler for rules. He confronts the wrongdoers on the streets and is a very admirable character. He has a thing for Nandhini (Sada) who lives in his neighbourhood but she hates him because of his tendency to live only by the rules. This really distresses him and he becomes Remo, a ramp walk model (that’s how he introduces himself). Nandhini falls for Remo even though he is this humongous git who talks with an annoying accent. It’s quite baffling that Nandhini cannot distinguish between Ambi and Remo as after all the only physical difference between the two characters is their hair. Ambi becomes Anniyan when he sees people not acting in a humane manner and starts killing them. He opens a website where people can register their complaints and he goes and kills the wrongdoers. It is such an incredibly stupid plot. He kills people for giving substandard food in trains. How ridiculous is that. It is really irritating writing about this movie, so in a nutshell, Nandhini does something corrupt and Anniyan goes after her which leads him to a psychiatrist(Nasser) who figures out his problem, gives a dumb solution, the police keep chasing him, Ambi gets a positive verdict in a court scene after which he still continues to kill people. There is also a scene in Nehru stadium but that is not worth commenting on.
Shankar seems to have an obsession with violence. He always gives out the message that death is the punishment for people’s misdeeds. I cannot understand how he can justify Anniyan killing a guy just because he is lazy. Even if people are bad, no one has the right to take their lives.
Vikram is amazing as Ambi and Anniyan but sucked as Remo. His acting was top notch in the climax. Sada comes and goes. Vivek’s comedy is hilarious and is the only saving grace for this film. Prakash Raj is really good with the idiotic role he has been given. Sujatha’s dialogues are a class apart. The songs and BGMs were good. The picturisation of the Kumari song was disappointing considering the locales they had. It was a very mediocre film but the very sad thing is that some people actually liked it. I am still wondering how Oscar Ravichandran spent 26 crores to make this stupid movie. Anniyan is a technically brilliant film but is left wanting in its storyline.

My rating: 3/10 (Watch it only for Vivek’s comedy and Vikram’s acting).

Friday, July 08, 2005

My review for Cricket 2005 (PS2)

I bought the Cricket 2005 game for the PS2 and here is my review:

Let us start from the menus. It definitely looks better than C2004 and the addition of EA Trax is much appreciated. The whole look resembles that of FIFA 2005. You have options like friendly, tournaments, My Cricket 2005 and team management. Tournaments is dived into International and Domestic. The create player option is very similar to the one used in FIFA 2005 but a big downer is that you cannot modify the faces of existing players (Players like Sachin Tendulkar look nothing like themselves. Sachin has moustache which makes him look like a Rajput warrior).
You have a lot of teams from which you can select two when you enter the Friendly menu. A huge disappointment is the fact that India has only one stadium, Eden Gardens and most other countries have only one stadium too. Every other feature here is the same with the pitch conditions, number of overs and so on. EA Sports does not give us the luxury of selecting the squad of our opponents. This really infuriates me since many teams do not have the proper starting eleven. For India, Gambhir opens the batting in ODIs and Kaif is omitted.

The graphics are amazing. The players, their movements and reactions are very realistic. We have different umpires for different ends which was not seen in C2004. EA has definitely done its homework as far as graphics go.
A copter shot

The batting controls are the same as the ones used in C2004. We have a confidence meter(which I have really not tested due to my horrible batting) as before. The ball mark is shown just before the bowler delivers and this means that you cannot move the batsman as you wish and strike the ball. This is definitely an improvement as it makes batting difficult. The fielders are incredibly fast. You cannot pinch easy singles any more. It is also very difficult to hit a boundary without using the power button. The outfield is very, very fast and the ground seems to be too small. I have so far found it incredibly tough to score runs. I play only in the legside cos I always scoop up a catch when I play in the covers. I have not scored a single run in the V. All this makes batting a nightmare. It makes for better gameplay, you may say, but it’s horribly difficult and I am playing with medium difficulty. The lineup bug is thankfully removed and so is the run out bug.

Bowling is awesome. They have made it much more difficult to position the ball (though with some practice, positioning can be perfected). There is no exaggerated swing movement but spin bowling is very good, especially if you are bowling with a leg spinner. If you bowl well for an over or so, you get to bowl special balls like googlies, flippers, doosras and slower balls and yorkers if you are a fast bowler. There is no manual appealing as EA had promised. Bowling is difficult too as you get clobbered to all parts of the ground but if you bowl cleverly you can pick up wickets. Run outs are rarer this time around. Overall the bowling aspect of the game is satisfactory.

Catches are much more realistic and so is the ground fielding but the fielders are too damn fast. Fielding could definitely have been made better but still its an improvement over its predecessor as the keeper finally has been given the power to move his legs.

In a nut-shell:

Graphics: 9/10
Gameplay: 7/10
Sound: 8/10
Commentary: 3/10
Lifespan: 6/10
Overall: 6.6/10

Verdict: Buy Cricket 2005 if you are a cricket fan and if you hated Cricket 2004 or wait for BLIC to hit the stores.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

"Who is Harry Potter?". "Wait. Give me a minute. Ah yes, he's that farm boy in Illinois, right."

I always felt that I was a very big fan of the Harry Potter series. I though that I could ace any quiz based on the books. I was proved terribly wrong yesterday when I tried competing with a twelve year old who happened to have read the books a gazillion times. I felt that I could assert my supremacy over him and so I went to the Scholastic website and clicked the link for the Harry Potter quiz. My highest score was 5. His highest score was 17. He could have scored more but I told him a couple of wrong answers and his scoring run was unfortunately cut short. I could only cover my head in shame as he answered questions like “What happened to Neville’s chair when his wand slipped?” and “What did the mirror in Ron’s room say to Harry?” while I was struggling to remember the wood with which Harry’s wand was made. It was a really embarrassing experience considering the fact that I had boasted quite a lot about my Harry Potter knowledge. I always tend to make a complete buffoon of myself when I start bragging and so I decided to take the quiz a few minutes ago without any high hopes or any twelve year old sitting next to me. Here are the results of the quiz.
My awesome score
P.S: I rock!