Tuesday, December 21, 2010

[Theatre] MPTF review - "One On One" by Rage Productions

One of our best Bangalorean Sundays in a long time started at Koshy's for lunch with a chicken steak cooked to perfection, followed on to Blossom's and was crowned by great theatre at Jnana Jyothi Auditorium featuring “One on One” by Rage Productions, Mumbai .

We were a bit leery when we saw the programme mention ten plays of ten minutes each, thinking that might be too many and too short. But were blown away by what great stories can be weaved in those ten minute slices: ranging from some great comic pieces- poking fun at babu-dom, airline food and even the funny side of terrorism- to a dark homophobic tale and even a literally dark (thanks to a lighting/power failure) and beautifully poignant story of an Indian widow coming back to life sexually.
Almost every story highlighted something peculiarly Indian that we laughed, cringed and clapped at.

The acting star of the day was surprisingly not amongst the big names like Rajit Kapur or Shernaz Patel but rather the young and very talented Anand Tiwari, who changed costumes and personalities every 30 minutes to blow away our minds with versatility.

Friday, July 02, 2010


After the very controversial refereeing errors at the Argentina-Mexico and the Germany-England quarter final matches of the 2010 Football world cup, if FIFA does bow to media pressure and think about introducing technology to assist the referee and linesmen they should definitely not do it during the world cup. There is nothing like a high stakes failure to kill technological advantages as computers have never been allowed anywhere near the same leeway as humans have.

The best way to introduce the new tech would be first at a 2nd or 1st division league game and if passing muster then at a series of international friendly fixtures (and no, there this no such thing as a friendly fixture between say Brazil-Argentina or England-Germany) and pending some time to get the glitches out of the tech and the human operators enough time to get used to it, maybe at the next world cup.

PS- Even though I am an avid Argentina supporter I'd say that Tevez's offside goal was the worse faux pas as it really killed hot-blooded Mexico's pretty decent chances. IMHO England, except Gerrard, were never there against a much livelier Germany.

Audiobooks from MP3 files

After having owned and ipod (classic, 80 gig, 5th gen) for 2+ years and listened to innumerable adverts for Audible.com on "This Week in Tech" I had decided that it was time to try out and audiobook and see if the experience was any good. However, the audiobook I had with me was a simple MP3 format and I never figured out how to convert it into an audiobook till recently.

Before I jump into a step-by-step tutorial why is an 'audiobook' better than a simple 'mp3'-

  1. The audiobook files appear under a separate menu section in your ipod instead of amongst the gazillions songs in your music library.
  2. Once marked as Audiobook the ipod remembers where you stopped listening to and replays from there the next time.
  3. And for those who find the pace of the audiobook much, much slower than their reading speed- one can speed up or slow down the audiobook file. They do it in such a way that the reader doesn't seem to have ODed on helium or transmogrified into chipmunks*. On the speed note- I've also heard that there exists some research that listening to this faster version results in higher comprehension, but as I haven't had a look at that report myself I'm not sure if they did any correlation analysis with audiobook-listening-while-driving concentration.**

So, how we do that?

  1. Add the MP3 to your iTunes library
  2. Right-click on the selected track/tracks and select "Get Info" from the menu

  3. Choose the "Options" tab and set the "Media Kind" to "Audiobook" and also enable "Remember playback position" and "Skip when shuffling".

* It keeps the audio at the same pitch. It does sound slightly weird though, at least on my ipod and I couldn't get used to it especially for dramatic reading of fiction.
** Note no hyperlink- which means I heard of the study from someone over lunch and couldn't google it successfully.