Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Toy Broom - Illustration

Last night, my mom scolded (read: screamed at) me for the umpteenth time about how messy my room is. Being as lazy as I am, I wish there was someone (other than my mother!) who could do my work for me.

When I was a kid, I used to love reading the Enid Blyton fairytales. When the children slept all the toys in the nursery came to life and played and held races and stuff. Or even that once you close a book, the characters in it come to life. It's the kind of thing that you can't possibly disprove, even though it's obviously made up! I still love that 'What if...' feeling you get when you read fantasy fiction!

Like now, what if... when I'm all tucked up in bed and asleep, the brooms just came to life, just like the toys, and did all the tidying up for me!

For 'Toy' at Illustration Friday.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Teaser Tuesday #1

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page

  • Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

  • I am currently reading the book Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. It is a comedy fantasy novel with a humourous take on the Apocalypse. Written in 1990, it is a parody of the 1976 movie The Omen and similar films. With its quintessentially British humour and pure, undiluted fun, it is a wonderful read!
    These teasers from the book not only have no spoilers, but in fact, have pretty much nothing to do with the plot. But they do give you an idea of the style.

    "If Bruce Springsteen had ever recorded "Born to Lurk," these two would have been on the album cover. They had been lurking in the fog for an hour now, but they had been pacing themselves and could lurk for the rest of the night if necessary, with still enough sullen menace left for a final burst of lurking around dawn.”

    "Three slightly crooked model airplanes hung on cotton cords from his bedroom ceiling. Even a casual observer could have seen that they were made by someone who was both painstaking and very careful, and also no good at making model airplanes."


    (I will definitely write a review after I'm done reading it!!)

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    Cavemen vs. Astronauts

    If cavemen and astronauts got into a fight, who would win? Spike and Angel (the two main characters from the tv series Angel) have a passionate, 40-minute argument over this; Spike supports the cavemen and Angel, the astronauts. Many thanks to Joss Whedon for this!!

    Spike: I am talking about something primal. Right? Savagery. Brutal animal instinct.
    Angel: And that wins out every time with you. You know, the human race has evolved, Spike!
    Spike: Oh, into a bunch of namby-pamby, self-analyzing wankers who could never hope to—
    Angel: We're bigger. We're smarter. Plus, there's a thing called teamwork, not to mention the superstitious terror of your pure aggressors!

    (P.S. - No weapons allowed)

    Scenario 1: The cavemen see the astronauts. The cavemen attack. The astronauts die.
    Scenario 2: The cavemen see the astronauts. The astronauts attack. The astronauts die.
    Scenario 3: The cavemen see the astronauts. The astronauts run. The cavemen attack. The astronauts die.
    Scenario 4: The astronauts play mind games (see: psychological warfare) on the cavemen. They turn the cavemen against each other. The cavemen fight among themselves. The cavemen die.

    In spite of the glaring obviousness of the cavemen's victory in the first three scenarios, I support the astronauts.

    If it comes down to physical strength, the cavemen will win, no doubt about that. But, like Angel says, we have evolved to have bigger brains. All the astronauts have to do to keep the first three scenarios from happening, is distract the cavemen. We can't ignore the paranoia of the near-wild cavemen. If the astronauts make loud banging noises and showcase how terrifying they are, the cavemen will easily be scared. It will give the astronauts time to think, or even run away themselves.
    And if astronauts are as intelligent as they appear to be, they might just be able to tackle the cavemen using something they are better at, i.e - their intelligence. They can make complex plans of action that the cavemen's underdeveloped brains couldn't even begin to figure out. All this assuming that they can keep the cavemen from attacking them for long enough. Which they will, as the astronauts must be physically trained in some way; they won't be scrawny little boys. All the astronauts need to do is run and hide away till they can put their smart plans into action. I'd say 'Brain over Brawn' any day.

    And yet, if you really think about it, if you put the classic caveman known to us against the classic astronaut viz. Fred Flintstone against George Jetson; it would be a miracle if Jetson managed to survive for more than a couple of minutes.

    What do you think? Cavemen or Astronauts??

    (On a nearly unrelated note, this is my 50th post on this blog! Yay me!! I wonder how I'll celebrate this...)

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn




    The mirror exclaimed in quite a boisterous voice, “You know, there’s just one word for your zany spectacles: UGLY”.


    I know, anthropomorphic much? Just a sentence I was trying out, a pangram (a sentence containing all the letters of the alphabet) actually! I guess I should work on the part where you have to use minimum letters.

    So, this is the thing my mirror is referring to:

    I notice my reflection in the mirror. It reminds me of those times, when I wore those specs of mine.
    I definitely don't miss putting on those specs. It’s not been long since I took them off. The ones which I’ve worn since forever! Not genuine specs but pretend specs.
    They modified my thought. I often tended to see things differently. I used to judge people, form stereotypes. But I see now how it’s wrong.
    I did numerous things these recent couple of months which helped me see the ‘true truth’, unlike my own “beliefs”. Some things I wouldn't commit to liking turned out to be pretty wonderful. Books, movies, not to mention, writing blogs! This surely delighted me.
    So, now my specs? Yes, they’re off for good.

    Wow. That was anything but easy. Although, 'fun' is definitely one of the things it was. Notice anything different? No ‘a’s in the above italicized paragraphs.
    I don't need to say it, do I? True, that was a very, very poor attempt at writing without an alphabet. But, I've got time to work on it. I have decided to do this one at a time with every single of the 26 alphabets; then maybe we can thinking of not using two at time. And I'll make it a point to write longer, sensible-er things next time! Gosh, I have a long way to go!

    What brought this on?


    Well, I recently read the book ‘Ella Minnow Pea’ by Mark Dunn. Ella Minnow Pea (‘LMNOP’) is a girl who lives on a small island called Nollop. This little island was supposed to be the home to Nevin Nollop, the guy who created the panagram ‘Quick brown fox jumps over the lazy goat.” There is his old statue on the island, with the pangram written below it. However, the rusty alphabets begin to fall off one by one, and along with them the language of the island begins to crumble. Every time a letter falls off it is assumed by the islanders as a message from Nollop himself to stop using that alphabet forever. Since the books is written in the form of letters that Ella writes, the author also stops using the letters once they fall off.
    That book is pure, unadulterated fun; you should really check it out.

    And what I tried to write (the specs thing), weird as it may sound, is true. But more on that later! As for my real spectacles, I still have to wear them. Rather unfortunate, don't you think?

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Love on the Rocks by Ismita Tandon Dhankher

    Originally posted here.


    One woman, twenty four men, one ship and one ocean; things are bound to get exciting! Less than a year after their wedding, Sancha and her new husband Aaron Andrews, an officer in the merchant navy, set sail on the Sea Hyena. What Sancha doesn’t know is that only a month before, the chief cook was found dead in the meat locker, the cause of his death an accident. However, following a mysterious theft on the ship, it soon becomes clear that it was, in fact, a homicide. The ever curious Sancha decides to take the investigation into her own hands. List of suspects? Among many of the ship’s “inhabitants”, it could be the obnoxious captain Popeye, the unruly engineer Harsh Castillo, the meek Baldy and not to mention, her own husband. After stumbling upon some evidence, Sancha is left stranded at crossroads, left to choose between love and justice. All the while, there is a psychopath lurking amongst them, and it is up to investigating officer Raghav Shridhar to figure out who it is, before it’s too late.

    Love on the Rocks is a romantic thriller written by Ismita Tandon Dhankher. It is the author’s debut book, and a great one at that! Right from the lively cover, to the interesting blurb piece on the back, the book is a wonderful combination of love and trust and spine-chilling suspense.

    The plot is full of twists and turns, but it stays consistent. The book is emotional, but without too much drama. It is quick and fast-paced. Right from the prologue, things fall quickly into action! As I read the book, I was reminded distinctly of many Sidney Sheldon books that I used to like.The language is good, with, thankfully, no use of Hindi! However, a little more descriptions would have added colour to the book. There is a tinge of humour to the author’s style of writing, which puts a smirk on your face, and a couple of running gags in the book are bound to crack you up!

    The characters are great, but I think the author should have dug deeper into their thoughts. A lot is left to the imagination. A little less dialogue would have seemed better! You hear the story from different perspectives and the author has managed to wonderfully thread them together, not losing the pace of the book at any time. Yet, the only voice that distinctly stands out throughout the book, and leaves a mark on you is that of Manna. If only each of the characters had their own unique way of writing, talking, expressing; the book would have crossed another milestone.

    What I liked the most about the book is that there is no pretense of a higher profound life meaning, other than what the characters experience. And why should there be? It is just a great, honest story that deserves to be read.

    I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from the author. But as of now, I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fun way to spend some time; it is surely an enjoyable book!

    Rating: 3.5/5

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Books or movies?

    What do you like better? I've always said that the movies that are based on books are either way worse than the books, or almost as good as. Never better; for the simple reason that, however extraordinary the direction or the acting or the camera angles (or whatever) might be, it's still nothing without the story! And you have got the book to thank for that!! Here are two books that I loved the MOST, and the movies based on them were only a tad bit worse; probably only because I had already decided that the books were going to be better! Anyway:

    1. Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King:
    Andy Dufresne is wrongly accused of murder, and is sentenced to imprisonment at the Shawshank prison. There he meets the narrator, Red, an inmate who is known for smuggling contraband into the prison. Andy gets Red to deliver him a rock hammer and a large pin-up poster of Rita Hayworth. Then he goes on to do something that has never been done before: escape Shawshank!
    This is a novella by Stephen King that was published in 1982 as a part of his collection called Different Seasons. If there's any author who knows how to create wonderfully complex characters and build up their lives, it's Stephen King. And this book is definitely King at his best. The 1994 movie Shawshank Redemption, starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman received multiple award nominations including seven Academy Awards!

    2. Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris:

    Clarice Starling, an FBI trainee, is assigned to the case of a certain serial killer known to all as 'Buffalo Bill'. She has to interview the infamous serial killer, Hannibal the Cannibal, as he is the only one who might be able to help them solve the case. Dr. Hannibal Lecter, once a brilliant psychiatrist, is now kept in a secluded chamber in high security in a mental institution. As the story unfolds, it is he who leads Clarice to the solution and helps her uncover the truth.
    Silence of the Lambs is a book written by Thomas Harris, published in 1998 as a part of his Hannibal trilogy. This book has won the Bram Stoker Award for thriller fiction. The novel is one of the best in its genre. The 1991 movie based on the book, starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins has won the five most prestigious Academy Awards.

    Do make sure to read these books too, by the way, since I cannot imagine anyone who hasn't seen the movies!

    (This slightly uncalled-for post is my attempt at getting rid of a case of writer's block that isn't allowing me to write some things that I want to finish writing today! Hope it has worked!)

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Happy Women's Day!

    Honestly, I don't love my teachers, friends, my mother, sisters 'because' they are women. They just happen to be women! If I had a brother, I'd love him just as much!! So, there's no question of specially reserving 'Women's Day' to tell them how much I like/need/owe them! But, I thought about it and there are a bunch of people(who also co-incidentally happen to be women!) that I really admire and would like to thank! So, I'll use this day and this space for that!

    1. Enid Blyton: For giving me the most imaginative childhood a kid can dream of! She's the reason I started loving books. Call me silly, but I wouldn't get tired of reading 'A Book of Brownies' or a 'Five Find-outers' mystery even today. In fact, I'm pretty sure there's a 'Yellow Story Book' lying on my desk as we speak. I still haven't come across an author who can describe food the way she could, really! Our love for Enid Blyton's books was one of the reasons me and my best friend became, well, best friends!!

    2. J K Rowling: For giving me some of the best times of my life!!! Harry Potter is more than just a book, it is like an alternate reality. The only reason Rowling is 'second' is because I was older when I read Harry Potter! I don't think I'll ever love a book more. There aren't enough words in the English language to describe how much I love the series. I have written here the best I could!

    3. Anne Rice: For giving me something interesting to read on Facebook every day. She is most famous for her 'The Vampire Chronicles' series and her books on Christianity. But it's not her books that I love her the most for. I joined her fan page on Facebook ages ago, and I have been reading her updates every day ever since. She writes about politics, religion, books, writing. It's not only that I like that she interacts with all her fans; I've just fallen in love with her writing!

    4. Keri Smith: For bringing back the lost artist in me. Keri is an illustrator, author, guerrilla artist and a blogger! This, here, is her site! Be sure to check it out. There's no other word for a person who has 'written' books titled 'Wreck this Journal' or 'Tear Up this Book' than: crazy(albeit in an awesome way!!) Plus, she was the reason I did this!!

    Last, but most definitely not the least,
    5. Marta Kauffman: For co-creating and co-writing only the best sitcom in the history of time. For those of you who couldn't guess which, in spite of the very accurate description; that'd be FRIENDS.

    Now that we have established that the only things I do, or that matter to me, are books, television and doodling around, let me get back to the less interesting, more necessary things like studying, for instance.
    And of course,
    Happy Women's Day, everybody!