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Merry Christmas!

Tuesday · 25 Dec 07 · 04:16 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: General

Well, I'd like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.  I did a little drawing to celebrate the occasion too, but it isn't exactly what you might have had in mind!  You see, I remembered reading this blog post a year ago, which talked about the best Christmas movie ever.  Want to know what it is?  Die Hard!  Go read the article, the author had some interesting points to justify his choice.  Well, Die Hard being an awesome movie and all, I decided to use that for a small Christmas card —

Merry Christmas from Karthik Abhiram [Die Hard Drawing]

This was a quick drawing done in ballpoint pen and coloured with GIMP.  I got some reference pics of Bruce Willis as John McClane from Google and used those for this picture.  By the way, the original drawing on paper had his "Yippee-ki-yay" line on it too, but I removed it for the final version!  And speaking of Die Hard, have a look at this video if you haven't seen it already.  It's the hugely popular Die Hard song by Guyz Nite.

Varun also has an interesting post up on his blog for Christmas — he actually baked a cake yesterday!  So the process of making a cake is described with some photos too.  Here is the post.

Christmas Cake

That is me above, enjoying one of those cakes he made with a nice big mug of tea.  Also watched a bit of Die Hard yesterday.  You can click the picture to see a larger version.  By the way I've now upgraded my Ubuntu Linux installation to the latest version, 7.10, called "Gutsy Gibbon".  Apart from the updates to the various programs that it comes with, it has some very nice glossy and sleek visual effects.  I am also using Pidgin, which is an instant messaging tool that allows me to use my Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Live and Google Talk accounts simultaneously.

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The Dark Knight and Hellboy II Trailers!

Tuesday · 25 Dec 07 · 12:58 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

There are two recently released movie trailers that I'd like to talk about.  First we have the trailer for The Dark Knight, which appeared online in a leaked version (someone cammed it off a theatre screen and posted) a couple of weeks back.  A few days later, it was officially released in a high-definition version, at this site: A Taste for the Theatrical.  The trailer is amazing and it only succeeds in raising expectations for the movie even further.  It also contains the first proper look at the Joker in action!  When we first see his face in this trailer, it's positively scary.  I think it's simply great characterisation.  Can't wait for the movie to be released.  The music on the trailer is fantastic as well.  You can go to the site linked above and download the trailer, or watch it online on YouTube, here.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army — Drawing by Karthik Abhiram

Another amazing trailer that was recently released, is the one for Hellboy II: The Golden Army.  Another superhero film coming out this summer, this one looks incredible too.  Looks like director Guillermo del Toro has taken his imagination to a completely higher level than what we saw in the first film!  I love the tagline in the trailer: "Saving the world is a hell of a job"!  Watch the trailer on YouTube here.  You can also visit the official site for the movie, to watch a better quality version of the trailer and also have a look at tons of other stuff related to the movie.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army — Drawing by Karthik Abhiram [B&W version]

I'm a Hellboy fan so couldn't resist doing a quick drawing based on this movie.  You have Ron Perlman as Hellboy and Selma Blair as Liz Sherman from the movie.  Once again, done quickly with ballpoint pen, and this one was also coloured in GIMP.  There are larger images available for both versions, simply click to see them.

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My name is Billa!

Monday · 24 Dec 07 · 10:38 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

Last Thursday, I got to see Billa at Prasad's Multiplex.  I haven't watched a Tamil movie in a while, and was glad that I got to see this one.  Billa 2007 is a remake of the 1980 Rajnikanth movie Billa, which itself is a remake of the 1978 Amitabh Bachchan movie Don.  Now this 2007 remake also takes some pointers from the 2006 remake Don!  Are we clear about this yet?  Let me complicate things a little more — there is a Telugu movie called Don that has just been released in theatres!

Ajith Kumar as Billa — Drawing by Karthik Abhiram

Anyway, 2007 Billa has Ajith Kumar as gangster David Billa whose current base of operations is Malaysia.  He is wanted by authorities all over the world, and the person who has been tracking him for years is DCP Jayaprakash (Prabhu).  When Billa is killed in an encounter, the police pull a switch — they get the kind-hearted thug Velu to impersonate him and infiltrate Billa's gang.  The plan is that Velu will lead the authorities to the super-crime boss Jagadish.  In the mix is Namitha as Billa's lover CJ, and Nayanthara as Sasha, who enters Billa's gang with an intent to kill him (as Billa had murdered her brother earlier).  As you can see this movie follows the plot of the Hindi Don movies, but it is a more straightforward, tighter story (the twists that Farhan Akthar introduced in his 2006 Hindi version aren't there, and neither is the entire Jasjit/JJ subplot).  Still, the second half seemed slower-moving, and somehow was not as good as what had come before it.  Anyway, it was an entertaining movie overall.  It is stylishly directed by Vishnuvardhan.  I liked the music by Yuvan Shankar Raja as well, and as usual, he uses a variety of musical styles in his score.  7/10.

Ajith Kumar as Billa — Drawing by Karthik Abhiram [B&W version]

I did a quick drawing based on Billa.  This was done with ballpoint pen and took about 5 or 10 minutes to do.  Later, I spent some more time on it and added colours digitally.  Both versions are viewable above, and further, you can click on them to see larger images.  The interesting aspect of these images is that I did ALL the post-processing (touchups and colouring!) with The GIMP on Ubuntu (that's a first for me)!  I did a couple more drawings too, this way, which I'll be adding here in upcoming posts.

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Recent Movies Watched

Monday · 24 Dec 07 · 10:24 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

After the last couple of posts which were all about me installing Ubuntu Linux on my computer (been using this for a week now and it's going good), here is an update on the recent movies I watched —

  • I Am Legend — Three years after a virus goes out of control, Dr Robert Neville (Will Smith) is (he believes) the last man on the planet.  Most humans died, the remaining were turned into creatures called the "darkseekers" who, like vampires, are extremely sensitive to light.  Daily, Neville broadcasts a radio message, just in case there are uninfected people somewhere, and continues his experiments, trying to set things right.  I liked the movie, and thought that Will Smith carried it well too (as he's on screen for the majority of the running time of the movie).  This is from Constantine director Francis Lawrence.  8/10.
  • Contact — A very thought-provoking science fiction movie, starring Jodie Foster as astronomer Ellie Arroway, who works with the SETI project.  Now we (humans) have been sending transmissions into space for years, hoping that someone will pick these up and actually drop us a line sometime.  What would happen if an alien civilisation decided to make contact with us?  That's what this movie is about.  While there are some (Arroway) who see this as a discovery that would further humanity, there are others (US Government Military Advisor, played by James Woods) who believe that it is a defense threat, and yet other religious fanatics see this as an ominous sign that might mean the end of the world.  The further twist in the tale?  The transmissions that Arroway receives contain data.  Thousands of pages of data.  What does it all mean?  Excellent movie.  Directed by Robert Zemeckis.  9/10.
  • Billa — There is a separate post about this movie.  You see, I did a drawing based on this yesterday and also experimented with colouring that digitally with The GIMP.  So I thought I should give that a post for itself.
  • Death Sentence — This movie comes from Saw director James Wan and stars Kevin Bacon as family man Nick Hume.  When a gang related incident causes the death of his older son, Hume goes after the gang members and wants to eliminate them one by one.  Well done movie.  7/10.
  • Beowulf — Don't get me wrong, the animation (done through performance capture) is very good and I watched this one in IMAX 3D, so the effect was awesome.  But maybe this is not my type of movie or something... I didn't like it all that much.  Set in Denmark, 507 AD, this movie is about the warrior Beowulf (Ray Winstone) who kills the monster Grendel, only to later face Grendel's mother (Angelina Jolie).  Directed by Robert Zemeckis.  6/10.
  • Saw IV — This is the second time I am watching this and it was a great movie!  Though Jigsaw is dead, officer Rigg (Lyriq Bent) finds himself involved in another "game" that will take him 90 minutes to play.  Loved the way they gave more background on Tobin Bell's John Kramer character before he became Jigsaw.  9/10.

A few more posts coming up...

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From Windows to Ubuntu: The Saga

Wednesday · 19 Dec 07 · 10:50 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Tech

To make a long story short, I removed Windows XP from my computer on Sunday and installed Ubuntu Linux instead.

What follows in this (again, lengthy) post is a description of the circumstances that led me to do this.  Also, hopefully, you will find some tips here on these points —

  • Keeping a backup of your files
  • Using your system when your Windows installation refuses to boot
  • Recovering data from a non-bootable hard disk
  • Mounting an NTFS partition under Linux
  • Installing Ubuntu

With that said, first, let me talk about what happened on Saturday night to my computer, that led me to start on this path less travelled —

History Lesson

For a very long time, my laptop (running Windows XP with all updates installed) had been running very sluggishly.  At a certain point, it got to a stage where it would take half an hour or more to boot.  So, a couple of months back, I moved much of the data off the main hard disk into an external hard drive (from there, the data went off onto a few DVDs).  This improved the situation somewhat [refer this post].  Still, usability of the system was nowhere near what you'd expect on a 1.86 GHz computer with 512 MB RAM.  Anyway, I got by for some time like this.

Saturday night, we (me, Varun, parents) were leaving to watch I Am Legend, and before that I forcibly turned off my computer (normal shutdown wasn't working properly).  When we returned after the movie, and when I turned on my laptop, it refused to boot.  I'd get the opening Windows XP logo, and then after a minute or so, I would get a Blue Screen of Death reporting that I had an UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME.  This has happened a few times before, and usually, restarting in Safe Mode or whatever used to help.  But this time nothing worked.

Ubuntu Logo

An Edgy Rescue, and a Cunning Plan

Fortunately, one year ago, I had downloaded Ubuntu Linux 6.10 (Edgy Eft) [refer this post], and I had the Live CD with me.  I had only used it one time previously [refer this post] but had a very good experience with it.  So I put in the CD again and started the computer.  Like I expected, it started up, running the operating system from the CD itself.  I was able to use the system and had access to the internet too.  I could even connect my external USB hard drive to the computer, and it detected this without a hitch.  Now, my cunning plan was this: to somehow access the data from the non-booting hard disk, and transfer it off to my external hard drive.  Then I could do whatever I wanted with the hard drive on the laptop — reinstall Windows XP after formatting it, or experiment with using a Linux distribution as my primary OS.  This was a task which was left for the next day, though.

Wrong Turns

Let us say you have a Windows XP installation and the system doesn't boot.  There is one thing you can (and probably should) try first, which is described below.  I did, but it didn't work though.  If, in fact, the part of the hard disk responsible for booting has become corrupted, you can try and fix it using the Microsoft Recovery Console.  If the fault is a mechanical one, and there are weird whirring or clicking sounds coming out of the disk, then you've got a far more serious problem on your hands.  Anyway, here are some points on using the Microsoft Recovery Console —

  • Put in your Windows XP CD and boot the computer from that.
  • On the next screen, you will have an option that says "To repair an existing installation, press R".  Pressing R starts the Recovery Console, which allows you to execute some useful tools.
  • At the Recovery Console, I tried the command fixboot first, which did not rectify the problem.
  • So, before going to sleep on Saturday night, I started chkdsk /r and let it run.  It was supposed to identify bad areas on the disk and recover whatever was possible.
  • Unfortunately, the next morning, this was stuck at 51% (after running for some 5 hours) and did not move beyond that for an additional 2 hours.  So I restarted the computer.  And then I got a scary message that said SMART Failure Detected, and further told me that a hard drive failure was imminent, and that I should immediately back up data and replace the hard disk.
  • At this point I kind of gave up and decided that tinkering with Ubuntu and recovering data was the best possible option.  Had chkdsk run fully, I would have tried fixmbr next, which was supposed to fix a corrupted Master Boot Record.

Rescue Operations — Recovering Data from a Non-booting Hard Disk

Once I'd decided that extracting my data using Ubuntu was the best way to go, I proceeded to boot the computer again, with the Ubuntu Live CD.  The computer started and I had access to the internet.  I connected my external hard disk to the USB port and it immediately showed up in Ubuntu.  With great anticipation, I opened a Terminal window, and typed mount /dev/hda1 /mnt, to mount my Windows partition, so that I could access it in Linux.  I got back an error saying that only the root user could do that.  Oh yeah?  So next I retorted with sudo mount /dev/hda1 /mnt, and it mounted the partition successfully.

But, there was a problem now.  Though I was able to see my Windows folders, I was not able to open any of them, to copy stuff out!  I later learned that Ubuntu mounts NTFS partitions (that was what my Windows partition was) in a restricted-permissions mode.  A peek at this excellent article told me how to mount the Windows partition in a way that I could copy stuff from it.  I've given the steps I followed in sequence here though, for completeness sake (all these commands are issued at a Terminal Window) —

  • I first unmounted the partition: sudo umount /mnt
  • Created a mount point: cd /mnt and sudo mkdir windrive
  • This step was not really necessary I guess (if I'd messed up anything, I could simply reboot from CD), but I followed it anyway, and made a copy of my fstab file: sudo cp /etc/fstab /etc/fstab_back
  • Now, I opened up the file in a text editor: gedit /etc/fstab
  • To this file, I added the following line, which according to the article, would allow Ubuntu to read the NTFS partition: /dev/hda1 /mnt/windrive ntfs nls=utf8,umask=0222 0 0
  • I saved the file and then issued the command sudo mount -a, to remount the partitions.

Success!  I was able to browse my Windows folders nicely, and with great anticipation, copied one file.  Then, I navigated to my external hard disk, and tried pasting it there.  Damn!  My external hard drive was also formatted as NTFS!  So I couldn't paste the data there.  I didn't want to follow another complex procedure for mounting this one in read-write mode, so I went out and bought a 1.8 GB USB drive for Rs 750.  This was a FAT filesystem, so no problems.  I connected this drive and then started copying stuff off my Windows hard disk into it —

Recovering data from a non-booting Windows hard disk through Ubuntu

You can click the image above to see the full-size screenshot.  There were certain files that I couldn't copy, but I managed to get most of the important stuff off the Windows hard disk.  It took me almost the whole day to do this, but at the end of it all I'd copied off more than 3 GB of data, which I would have simply lost, were it not for Ubuntu.  This was transferred to my external hard disk on Varun's computer.

Installing Ubuntu

Now that my data was safe, I decided to take the plunge and install Ubuntu on my computer.  Note: Ubuntu had no problems with my hardware when I was running it from the CD, so I was confident that it would work well when installed.  If there had been problems running it from CD, then I would not have installed it permanently.  Installation is extremely simple.  There is an icon on the desktop that says "Install", and all you have to do is double-click that to start the installation process.

Beginning the Ubuntu Install

It opens up a dialog that asks you for the language to be used during the install (which is Step 1 of 6 — which means that it doesn't take far more than six clicks of the mouse button to install this OS!), then asks you to select your time zone.  You then need to provide your administrator password and such, and choose which partition you'll be installing the OS on.  Then comes a crucial step, choosing how you want Ubuntu to be installed.

Wiping my hard disk to install Ubuntu

I had a broken Windows install anyway, so I decided to simply wipe the hard disk clean and only install Ubuntu.  If I wanted to have a dual boot system, then I'd have had to resize partitions on the hard disk appropriately.  But that is a different story.  Anyway, once I selected this option, Ubuntu proceeded to format my hard disk with the ext3 filesystem, and then began installing the OS.

Ubuntu Install Progress

In just a little over 20 minutes, the OS was effortlessly installed.  Additionally, you must note that I had my USB drive connected during the install, and I was happily taking screenshots (which I've used in this post).

Ubuntu Installation Completed

I then got a helpful message which told me that I could still continue using the OS from the Live CD, or I could restart and use the freshly-installed Ubuntu!  I picked the latter option, and was surprised to have my computer boot up in under a minute (like I said at the beginning, I was used to 30-minute boot times!).  I've been using Ubuntu for a few days now and have had a very good experience.  Pretty much everything works right out of the box, and the system automatically downloaded updates.  With the Synaptic Package Manager, I later installed some commonly used applications (xmms media player, VLC media player, etc.).  All the screenshots you see with this post were processed with The GIMP, and I used gFTP to upload them.  Of course there is more exploration to be done, but for now, I am comfortable using this.

Some Concluding Points

I have no hard feelings against Windows — Windows has been practically the only OS I have used till date (started off with 95, then 98, then XP... for a short time at Chennai I even used Vista as they installed that on my office computer).  I did briefly have a dual boot system with Windows 98 and Red Hat Linux 6 for a short time though.  I find Windows XP to be the best of the Windows OSs I have used.  It ran well on my old Pentium II 333 MHz with 192 MB RAM.  And on my laptop I used that for more than 2 years, and had it not been for the hard disk error, I don't think I would have changed OSs.

I must consider myself extremely lucky in this situation.  I would have lost much more data than I did, had it not been for the fact that I'd moved off lots of data onto DVDs a couple of months ago.  Also, I am fortunate that I had the Ubuntu CD when I needed it.  I'd downloaded it one year back, and never thought I would be exclusively installing it on the computer one day.  Almost seems like the Shyamalan-type coincidence we saw in Signs!  It's also good that whatever hardware I had on my laptop was easily recognised under Ubuntu.

Well, that about wraps up this post.  The next thing I have to do is upgrade to the latest Ubuntu version.  Currently, I have Edgy Eft (6.10), which I need to first upgrade to Feisty Fawn (7.04) and then to the latest Gutsy Gibbon (7.10).  This can all be done easily through the Update Manager though.  Things have really come a long way since a few years ago, when if you wanted to install Linux you had to resize partitions and all through a text-mode installer (yes, I did that for Red Hat 5 many years ago).  I hope this post was educational in some way!  Please remember YMMV [Your Mileage May Vary] in such matters.  I was lucky that everything worked out the way it did.

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Bye Windows, Hello Ubuntu

Tuesday · 18 Dec 07 · 01:49 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Tech

I no longer have Windows on my laptop.  I've switched to Ubuntu Linux as the primary OS on my computer, as on Sunday.  Here's what my desktop looks like, now —

Ubuntu 6.06, Edgy Eft

To make a long story short, I did this over the weekend because of hard disk problems (and the fact that Windows wouldn't boot), and it is thanks to Ubuntu that data loss was negligible in this case.  More details to follow, in an upcoming post, which will cover why I switched operating systems, and also will have tips on recovering data from a non-booting hard disk.

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Varun's Cacoward

Wednesday · 12 Dec 07 · 01:04 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Doom

So my brother got a Cacoward yesterday.

For those who don't know what I am talking about, the Cacowards are an annual feature at Doomworld, where they recognise achievements in Doom mapping for that year.  They are announced on Dec 10 every year, to coincide with Doom's birthday (10 Dec 93, 14 years now!).  I saw the article Doom Turns 14 at Doomworld, followed the link to view the 14th Annual Cacowards, and I'd actually read most of it when one particular entry on the list caught my attention —

Varun Abhiram's "The Outer Darkness" gets a Cacoward

Varun's level, The Outer Darkness was recognised as one of the Top Ten levels released in 2007!  He'd already gone off to sleep sometime before I saw this, so I went and woke him up, and told him that Doomworld had posted the Cacowards, and that there was something he had to see.  He pointed at me with a questioning look.  If there were subtitles here, they'd have probably read "So, you got something?".  I shook my head and pointed right back at him.  Subtitles: "No man, you did".

No need to reiterate what I've already said about this great level [his site, my post], I'm very happy for Varun.  Great work, man!

By the way, this is the 100th post on this site since I did the redesign in 2006.  Was thinking of posting something special to mark the occasion, glad to have this to write about!

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Drawing: Animator

Monday · 10 Dec 07 · 02:58 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Art

A new drawing has been added to the gallery, this one is called Animator and is based on an Illustration Friday topic, "Little Things".

Animator — Drawing by Karthik Abhiram

The idea this time is a little weird.  Click the image above to view the complete drawing and read the explanation of it!

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Project Shadowchaser II

Sunday · 9 Dec 07 · 09:06 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

A couple of weeks back I was looking for some movie to watch, and I wasn't able to decide for some time.  Finally, I picked up one of the Video CDs I had bought long ago (in Chennai or Bangalore, I don't remember exactly now) —

Project Shadowchaser II VCD Cover

Yes, that is a movie called Project Shadowchaser II, a direct-to-video release from 1995 [IMDb].  Let me tell you a bit about how I came to see these movies.  Back in 1992 or 1993, a movie called Project: Shadowchaser came out on videotape and was made available in rental outlets here.  I actually saw this movie at that time, and I remember liking it quite a bit (the music score was ripped off from Danny Elfman's Batman theme).  Sure, it was a low-budget film and a rip-off of Die Hard and The Terminator (the movie has an android and a group of terrorists seizing a hospital building, and it is up to a guy called D'Silva to save the day), but it was an entertaining movie.

Some months later, a video of Shadowchaser II came out, but get this, that video was actually the Michael Crichton-directed Runaway, with a cheap title replacement tacked on.  When the actual title of the movie came on, you got a black screen with text that said "Shadowchaser II", in a font similar to what you used to see on wedding videos at the time (I might add, one more movie that was retitled this way was Under Siege, for which a camera print I believe, was titled Univarsal Commando... yes, "Univarsal")!

But then a bit later, the actual Project Shadowchaser II came out on video, and I got to see it sometime in 1995.  If I remember right, the tape I saw had the title Project Shadowchaser: Night Siege, and I later got to know that the movie was also known as Armed and Deadly.  I remember that the movie was quite good.  Once again, no one was going to mistake this for a work of art or anything, but then I was younger and had a taste for action movies, and this one had a killer android taking over a nuclear base on Christmas eve.  It even had a nice, fast-paced instrumental version of "Jingle Bells" playing over the end credits, so I was happy.

Later, I'd tried to buy the video but it just wasn't available anywhere.  A couple of years ago, though, when I was in Chennai, I often used to randomly buy VCDs of movies which weren't available on DVD.  On one of these occasions (most probably it was in Chennai, but like I said at the beginning, it might have also been during one visit to Bangalore) I spotted a VCD version of this movie released by Diskovery Video in a Landmark outlet, and so bought it.

Project Shadowchaser II — Drawing by Karthik Abhiram

Diskovery Video is one company that began releasing movies on tape initially, and later, disc (briefly, laserdisc, then primarily video CD, I believe they've started with DVDs also now), and the quality of the transfers on these is quite varied.  Some of these are made from good sources, so you get a nice copy, but in some other cases the quality isn't that good (I have a copy of their release of Kickboxer II, which is horrendous — very murky video).  In this case the video quality was pretty good, if a bit darkish.  I also think it is a cut version, with some trimming done to the more violent scenes.  And, like all their releases, there is a "Diskovery" watermark on the video, so that is a bit distracting.  Anyway, I'm still happy that I own this movie!

Above, is a drawing I did quickly, based on this movie.  I think the sheet of paper where I drew that, is the only one of its kind in existence — after all, where else would you find a drawing plus handwritten review of a low budget movie such as this!

As a post-script, it must be mentioned that Diskovery has released some good stuff officially in India — most notably, Pulp Fiction, a videotape of which I've owned for years and watched several times, and later upgraded to Video CD.  Also, Project Shadowchaser II was followed by two further sequels, both of which were shown on AXN Action TV many years ago.  I don't think they're available here in any format now.  The sequels are Project Shadowchaser: Beyond the Edge of Darkness (a.k.a. Project Shadowchaser 3000 and Project Shadowchaser III), and Shadowchaser 4 (a.k.a. Orion's Key, Alien Chaser, Project Shadowchaser 4... by this time, the "Project" bit doesn't even apply).  While the first three movies in the series all feature Frank Zagarino as an android (and all directed by John Eyres), the fourth had him as some sort of alien, which further distanced it from the series.  The fourth movie was pretty bad (directed by Mark Roper, no offense to the man though) if I remember right, whereas part 3 was a good one, and had the crew of a spaceship run into a derelict craft with a severely malfunctioning, shapeshifting killer android!

Whew, if you've made it till the end of this long post, you must be thinking I'm mad for writing all this stuff about some more-or-less obscure B-movie.  Perhaps, you'd be right...

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Rory's Death Kiss

Sunday · 9 Dec 07 · 05:20 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Art

After the last post about The Dark Knight, I did this drawing at office the next morning —

The Joker [The Dark Knight] — Drawing by Karthik Abhiram

That is supposed to be Heath Ledger in his role as The Joker, and the drawing was done with ballpoint pen and red gel pen.  Did this one from memory and very quickly so it's all very scratchy.  The quote on the top — "The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules" — comes from the Why So Serious site, and was the result of one of the activities that fans could do there.  I absolutely love the quote so I used it here.  I can't wait to see the way the filmmakers introduce and develop the character of the Joker in this movie.  From what I have seen so far, the Joker is portrayed as a truly psychotic and quite insane villain.  Heath Ledger's makeup looks positively creepy too.

The headline of this post, Rory's Death Kiss refers to another The Dark Knight viral site, which actually has photographs of people dressed up as the Joker at various places (if I'd have known about this earlier, I'd also have been interested in submitting one!).  By the way, the entire viral marketing campaign for this movie is designed by 42 Entertainment, the same company that did the Alternate Reality Game based on the Nine Inch Nails album Year Zero.

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Why so serious?

Thursday · 6 Dec 07 · 08:05 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

It was a slow week last time and a slow weekend, hence I didn't post anything.  But yesterday, when I saw this, I just had to write about it —

Why so serious? — the poster for The Dark Knight

Above is the first official poster for The Dark Knight (which is a sequel to Batman Begins), and as you can make out, it is awesome!  I love the way they represented both the Joker (black disfigured eyes, blood red lips) and the Batman (the symbol) in one image.  A large version of the poster is available at the Why so serious viral site, but it isn't on the main page, rather, it is at this link (I saw this through this article at JoBlo).  You'll also notice one more thing if you go to that page — there is a super-large version of the poster available for download.  It is actually pretty scary because that is a 100 MB JPEG file (at 300 dpi and 7517 × 11136 resolution, which means you can print a full-size movie poster out of it).  I downloaded the 100 MB version too just out of curiosity, and checked out the file properties (and EXIF Info) in IrfanView —

The Dark Knight Poster — Image Properties

The Dark Knight Poster — EXIF Info

It took several minutes to open the file on my computer, and the small image I posted above is actually a resized version from the 100 MB image (the resizing took some 20 minutes I think... the image properties picture above was taken after resizing).  It must be said that the studio is doing a fantastic job marketing this movie.  They started with the publicity months before, and things will only get better as the release date for the movie (May 2008) approaches.

In other news, Varun added an RSS feed to his site too (I hope my article was helpful in some way!), and he's also posted three nice desktop wallpapers at his blog.

I recently watched a few movies, including Southland Tales and the DVD of Athadu.  Also downloaded The Limitless Potential (which is an open-source remix album of Nine Inch Nails songs).

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Dark Fate 2 is a singleplayer level for Doom II, replacing MAP01.  It's a small-sized hellish level — and there's a walkthrough video as well.

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The Author

Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

Email: karthik82 -AT- gmail -DOT- com
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