Monday, September 28, 2009

The Lost Symbol - The Movie

The Movie

In this world full of uncertainties, there is one thing that I am absolutely certain about. Somewhere someone right now is thinking about making a movie called ‘The Lost Symbol’. Absolutely no secrets there. I also know that Tom Hanks is going to play Langdon. Further I know that people who are going to watch this movie without reading the book are going to find it a little difficult to figure what is happening and the people who will watch the movie after reading the book will have not have a clue as to what, in the devil’s name, is happening in the movie (this, I can tell from personal experience).

Still I am looking forward to this movie to see what Hank’s hairstylist does. He did a far better job the second time. But for that and may be a new girl (and absence of that loathsome albino), I would not have been able to tell one movie from other.

I read that Dan Brown has twelve Langdon Stories. Given the gap between two novels, the further latency in getting the movies to the theatres and the fact of life that even supernatural beings like Tom Hanks will have to die some day, simple maths will tell that they will have to preserve his body (which is a good thing) to play the protagonist in these movies. If they manage to keep it secret, no one will know the difference given his acting standards in these movies. No, I don’t have anything against his acting abilities; I just think he is wasted. In fact I am absolutely in love with this guy. I even voted for him last time but those jerks made Obama the president. He is good but he ain’t no Tom Hanks.

Whenever this movie comes, here are a few suggestions for all

1. Don’t go to watch this movie after a long day at work.
2. Even if you do, don’t try to follow the movie. You might faint. It’s probably not worth the trouble anyways.
3. Make a point to notice the acoustics, seats, temperature control, etc at the theatre. These are small things which accentuate or mar the movie experience. This use of time will help decide if this theatre is good enough for next movie.
4. While you are at it, measure the time it takes for a round trip to the restroom. For the same reason as in 3.
5. If you are a TV-Traveller (i.e. Travel & Living addict), go watch this. They are going to show certain facets, buildings, etc of a city which you thought were just not there (and probably are not there).
6. If you have lived or worked in the city where the movie is based go watch this movie. You just might see your home or work place or favourite coffee shop or mall whiz past in one of the many whirlwind sequences. I am jealous, that particular sequence is going to make sense just to you.
7. If you are not an absolute movie fanatic, or study movie making, or fit in 5 and 6, etc. Don’t do 1-4. Stay at home, go camping, smell the roses and have a good time with family and friends.

That is it. And I will be extremely happy if the book (thin chances, going by reviews) or the movie proves me wrong. I am all for entertaining books and movies, as long as they make sense.

By the way, how do you read “Secret/Mysterious/Bizarre Brotherhood/Sisterhood/Fellowship /Society”? Secret-slash-Mysterious-slash-Bizarre Brotherhood-slash-Sisterhood-slash-Fellowship-slash-Society? Let me know what?

The Lost Symbol – The Book

The title I wanted for this was “The Lost Symbol – Robert Langdon, New Girl, Stupid Law Enforcers and a Secret/Mysterious/Bizarre Brotherhood/Sisterhood/Fellowship/Society”. But I didn’t actually use it because
1. This is too long for a title.
2. I think most of us (including me) don’t know how to read out words with ‘/’ in between.

I will make do with the current title only and talk about the book that I have not read yet and later about the movie that has not been made yet.

The Book
The book is out and there are thousand reviews on internet. Here is the summary. “This is one pathetic piece of literature rife with factual blunders which you cannot put down, if you are not rational or if you know the art of suppressing your rationale. If you don’t know this subtle art, you can’t go beyond ten pages.” I for one believe in dying to go to heaven (probably hell in this case).

Apparently planes flutter their wings like a big bird before they take a heave and get lost in the misty skies while at some other place CIA is given an amputated hand as a souvenir from a crime scene where they have no business being present at and have no jurisdiction by law. See the beauty?

Many are of the opinion that Dan Brown’s books stick firmly to the formula. This is where I can happily contradict everyone. In my opinion there cannot be a formula for mass consumption which does not have big dose of sex and a very big dose of gory violence involved. Watch any Hindi movie from Bollywood that was made in late 80s and early 90s to know what I mean.

If you are more of a reader then read Sidney Sheldon. He is the king of formula and he was done passing off his genes to new generation before he started writing his 'best sellers' after he turned 50 (that is when his genes mutated). Well, I just made the gene thing up. That the only hope that my kids won’t have to read the works of any ‘legal heir of Sheldon’s legacy’ (as they would write in the reviews). I wouldn't mind more of I Dream of Jeannie though.

I do think that Dan Brown has found a new formula. Find some mystery or a conspiracy theory which is unresolved. Collect generally prevalent information (that is not easily verifiable) from Wikipedia and try to connect the dots in a super fast paced narrative that leaves people breathless. Throw in a few paragraphs of moral sermons now and then, just to give those half illiterate readers a feeling of reading something more profound than what they are actually reading (I have personally collected data to prove this). Voila! Now run to the bank.

As for the book, I will wait for the paperback to come. Will read it with absolutely no expectations and would love to be surprised. Here is a little disclaimer: I reserve all rights to go back on anything I have said before, if I find something different than what everyone else has found and what I should expect based on the two other Langdon books.

We should give credit to Dan Brown to find a formula that is ingenious and takes considerable talent, not necessarily of literary kind. We should give him credit for creating a formula which is extremely difficult to follow and will probably die with him.

Raise hands all ye who want it so.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Lost Symbol - I

These days the literary circles are abuzz with the new Dan Brown book, The Lost Symbol. And that instantly makes me nostalgic about how I first read his book.

It all started with missing a connecting train. That was a long-long time ago. Missing that train is another story worth telling, but some other time. So there I was stuck at a train station and no train for another five hours and the journey itself was of about eight hours. It was seven in the morning, sometime in October 2004. I roamed around, loafed around, and killed time. Basically did everything that a young male does. Then the sun came out, the market started opening up and the pirated books were laid out on the pavement. Yeah, I was not so rich then to buy an original. Now I am rich enough to buy originals. Come to think of it, this is the only change in my fortunes in all these years. So I got this book. The Da Vinci Code. Now ever since I can remember I have loved this guy. Not Danny boy silly, it was Leonardo Da Vinci whom I have always been in awe with. I all ready had read whatever I could read (and historians could write) about him. Besides just three months back I had completed a course in cryptography and I was sure that there was no code called Da Vinci code. You see the title itself was so exciting to me. So I bargained hard and picked the book. Little did I know that I am going to experience the history from a very different perspective (is convoluted the right word?). Monalisa’s crooked smile (due to bad printing, pirated book, remember?) didn’t entice me enough to start reading it on the platform. I killed some more time. Train came jam-packed and I still could get a window seat. How I miss those days when I could do that. So I have eight hours to sit and a new book in hand.

I started to read it, very soon it picked pace. This book seemed to have more twists and turns in the plot than any roller coaster. I just kept on turning pages. And all of a sudden the story ended. Just like that. I almost wished I had not read the last few pages. I felt so betrayed. I mean, it’s like you drink a gallon of water and hold it for half a day. Then you empty your bladder and not feel even a little bit of that overpowering nice feeling. That kind of betrayed. All of a sudden the story was back to where it started. I mean if the curator was smart enough write so many super complex codes to make the protagonists to go round in a circle trekking the continent at a breakneck pace to end up at the same place where they started at, he could as well have written just two semi smart codes. One for telling them where the girl’s brother was and another just to say “about turn”. And semi smart because no one other than Langdon seemed to have any clue about anything anyways. I do think that this guy had an ego problem. That probably is a part of the membership plan of some forever secret brotherhood.

Thus I was introduced to Mr. Brown’s works. One evening, not too many days later, I thought I will read all his books. You know what kind of mental state one decides such things in. I won’t explain that here (my family reads this), just blame it on hot-blood-just-out-of-college-lad thing. Ok, since this post is about codes and clues, I will give you one. That was a Saturday evening. Well, what is more disturbing (now when I think about it) is that I actually started to read them. Angels and Daemons, then Digital Fortress and then Deception Point. That’s as far as I could go. I just could not get myself to read “187 Men to Avoid: A Survival Guide for the Romantically Frustrated Woman”. Yes Sir! Along with “The Bald Book” that is one of his earliest works co-written with his wife. I don’t know who was giving advice to whom. I just wish they had thought about having kids to occupy their free time. Or may be bring a pet. Don't even get me started on why 187 only and not 189. Is that some secret message?

So much about my history with Dan Brown. Now I also wanted to talk about “The Lost Symbol”, the book that I have not read yet and the movie that has not been made yet. But wait till next time dear people.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Harbhajan Singh and Overworked Techies

Ok then, here is the first post. I mean the (real) first post.
Lately I have come across two things while going through various sites (that I keep shifting through). Let me tell you about them.

Harbhajan Singh
Those of you like Wikipedia or are addicted to it, will surely have noticed the featured articles on the main page. On September 17th 2009, Harbhajan Singh was the featured article. So whats the big deal, you may ask. No, there is none. Just that over the years, I have noticed that the featured articles are either (a) something from history, (b) something bizarre or (c) something novel. Having Harbhajan featured just confirmed (b) and (c). (a) will anyways get confirmed sooner or later. And all of a sudden I also started to notice that these articles at times are funny too.

Overworked Techies
Today I read it on TG Daily that “UK researchers have found that 35 percent of IT staff is working more than 48 hours a week and 7.3 percent work between 60 to 75 Hours.” No it’s not news for me. I have always been in that 7.3 bracket. Ok, to be fair to the world, I do get into the 35 percent at times in small stretches (I am writing this at work). This article is not what I want to talk about though. It’s one of the comments.
In the comments one of the guys says, he worked for a firm, with unpaid overtime in the contract. This guy thought the jobs are just not there. Anyways, in six months he could not take it anymore so he put the resume online, in two days, he was working across the street for 20K more (that is USD). And he is happy now. He says IT still has enough staffing needs to hire you and not make you sign a contract that declares you are sub-human. Ah, brings tears to the eyes, to see one of our kinds happy. For ever after? Well,not so fast buddy!
So here is the point of telling you this story. If you are inspired by it, and actually manage to switch to a job where you get to work like human. Just let me know how. Exact details, each step. Please I beg you.

I admire Mr. Harbhajan Singh. Just thought it was weird to find him in the featured article. If you know what I mean.

Thousand miles and first steps and so forth

Funny, isn’t it? The way you want to have a blog, you want to tell people things or may be just think-aloud. And still when you are there you don’t know what to say. I think this is the first-post-hiccup (if it’s not a term yet, it just got copyrighted).
By design or coincidence I often come across many things, as an observer or a participant that are worth letting the people know. I guess that is what it will be most of the times. And when it is not it, then it will surely be better.

It’s really nice to have you here and I hope that you will keep coming back.


Related Posts with Thumbnails