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Connection problems at home / Update from office!

Thursday · 17 May 07 · 07:35 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: General

For the past two weeks the net connection at home hasn't been working, so I've not been able to update.  Also was busy at work with various things.  Anyway, I have a little free time now at office before my bus leaves (8:30 PM) so I thought I'd post this short round-up of recent events:

  • May 15 was my birthday, haven't been able to check my Gmail or orkut messages yet so if you've sent me anything, I'll reply once the net connection is restored.  I got a lot of nice gifts and wishes from various people (you know who you are!) and would like to say a big thanks!
  • I got a DVD of Kaakha Kaakha with a director's commentary audio track and watched it.  It was absolutely awesome, listening to director Gautham Menon providing so much of interesting facts and information about the making of this excellent film.
  • We had a Technical Quiz event at office on May 15, and I got the opportunity to conduct the event as quizmaster (my first attempt at doing so).  I had a total blast with this, was great fun coming up with interesting questions and all.  Also, while actually conducting the quiz I tried to give a lot of interesting info and titbits, which I think the audience appreciated.
  • Last weekend was spent at Pondicherry at the first ever HR Deployment Team Meeting, and it was pretty good, once again, we got a lot of cool stuff to take back.

Haven't had the time to do much else recently, and looks like I'll be busy next week too, as I have to spend a couple of days in Madurai for supporting Campus Recruitment, and then the weekend in Hyderabad for supporting a Recruitment Drive.  Let's see how things go.  And I hope the net connection at home gets restored soon.  Varun said that he's made a new video and I'm really eager to watch that.

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Spider-Man 3 and a new Drawing

Saturday · 5 May 07 · 05:51 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Art

That week at home went by very quickly, didn't it!  In another couple of hours' time I have to board a flight back to Chennai, but then I have a Sunday to relax before I have to be back at work on Monday.  Anyway, I watched Spider-Man 3 at Sangeet theatre today (didn't get tickets for the IMAX version).  I'd give it an 8/10 — the story as such was nothing very special, with the usual trouble between Peter Parker and MJ, and Harry's grudge against Peter.  Things got interesting whenever the villains (Flint Marko/Sandman and Eddie Brock/Venom) showed up, and I thought these were better villains than Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2.  Anyway, the aspect that stood out most in this movie were the visual effects, and there were a couple of excellent action sequences as well.  I enjoyed Bruce Campbell's small appearance in the movie too.

Rough Sketch of Salma Hayek as Santanico Pandemonium

Yesterday, I completed a new drawing!  A few days ago, I watched this video tutorial by Matt Busch where he talks about light and shadow, and draws with white and black colour pencils on grey paper.  I decided to give it a try and got myself some grey paper and colour pencils as well.  The drawing I did is one of From Dusk Till Dawn, and while it may not be that great compared to some of my other drawings, I really like the effects you can get if you use grey paper, as you have more levels of light that can be represented (you can do shading with black pencil, and then go in and add highlights with white).  Have a look at the picture here and post your comments please!

By the way, the small picture above is a rough sketch I did for one part of the finished picture.

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Robert Rodriguez's "Bedhead"

Wednesday · 2 May 07 · 04:07 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

I've been in Hyderabad for the past couple of days and apart from watching movies (I saw Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation last night, pretty nice direct-to-video sequel) I also got to do some work on my Doom II map, Stygian_Nebula.  One of the things I did yesterday to this map was to warp (or bend) the walls and doors in different places, which gives an interesting look to the level.  The level is taking much longer to complete than expected though.  It is a trade-off I suppose — on one hand, I want to finish the thing quickly; but on the other, I don't want it to turn out badly.

Bedhead — a film by Robert Rodriguez

Anyway, that is not the main point of this post.  What I wanted to write about is a short film called Bedhead, which I watched today, courtesy YouTube.

I've admired director Robert Rodriguez for quite a long time, and am a big fan of his Desperado and From Dusk Till Dawn.  I also liked his first two Spy Kids movies, and most recently, was fascinated by his segment, Planet Terror in the collaborative project Grindhouse.  Apart from the films themselves, the man is extremely talented, it is not unusual to see him serving as director, writer, producer, editor, cinematographer, composer and visual effects supervisor for a single movie (I think he did all this for Spy Kids)!  He also has a way of shooting amazing films on a very low budget.  Desperado for example is a low-budget film but does not look like one at all, and his first feature El Mariachi was made for something like $7000 (just to compare, according to this article, Warner Bros apparently spent $5 million for making ONE SCENE in the upcoming Will Smith movie I am Legend!).  Anyway, I'd heard that Rodriguez had made a short film called Bedhead earlier, and that it had won several awards.  I never thought I'd get to see it actually, but thanks to YouTube, I got to see it today.

Bedhead — a film by Robert Rodriguez

This is simply one of the most awesome films I've ever seen!  You'll be going "wow" before the actual film even starts, as the opening titles are done in animation, cartoon-style.  The film itself is about a little girl called Rebecca, who is constantly annoyed by her elder brother David (he has this unkempt mass of hair — the "bedhead" of the title).  One day they get into a fight, Rebecca bumps her head, and develops telekinetic powers!  It's a quirky story, and Rodriguez develops it at a manic pace, with slapstick-style comedy and Sam Raimi-style camera moves.  Like Spy Kids, there's even a sweet moral at the end, and the whole thing has nice music too.

Considering the fact that this was shot for next to nothing, in black-and-white, with all the characters being played by Rodriguez's own family members (Rebecca is actually Rebecca Rodriguez and David is David Rodriguez), this is a real achievement.  It's a very imaginative movie, and technically too, you'll be wondering how he did some of those shots with the equipment he had.  Great stuff all through!

Oh, almost forgot.  Here is the link to watch Bedhead.  You won't be sorry you did!

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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).

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