Nov 2008 BLOG

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2008-11-24 Mixed Peoples

Played the party game Celebrity with about 15 others at the Spauldings during the almost-Thanksgiving post-lunch session. Each of us wrote 15 names of supposedly well known people. Duplicates were expected. Rather naturally the biggest mix was from politics and entertainment industry. Its amazing what people know and care to remember and the kind of clues they can give. I did not know most of these celebrities, and as a result ended up playing it much like Charades. Considering that, did pretty well. I naturally did not use any Indian celebrities, or else the others would have been required to play it like Charades too. Rhymes, and spelling were not allowed, but same name as, nth letter etc. were being tolerated and used. Fun overall.

2008-11-11 This is not cricket?

Phrases travel. Sambit Bal says on cricinfo:

Australia have the soundest cricket system in the world, designed to produce international quality cricketers, but like Indiašs now-departing batting quartet, they were blessed with a few once-in-a-generation cricketers in the same era. And though a West Indies-style freefall is unlikely, Australian cricket is now officially in recession.

For years the rest of the world tried and failed to catch up with Australia. That era has now ended and now it is a more level playing field in Test cricket.

2008-11-08 linear stories and nonlinear pictures

Finished reading Notes to a sci-fi writer by Ben Bova. Fairly instructive. He emphasizes how the protagonist needs to have problems and those should be solved and something should give way in that process. That its a linear process and how you need to hold on to the readers attention all through. Good read. (Though I do not agree with all his points).

Strange Horizons has a pretty exhaustive list of what not to send them. Makes interesting reading.

Had been to Norton Simon on my monthly visit. During the tour we were shown several pictures where the patron had himself or herself or the spouse incorporated in a biblical scene. Sometimes the artists would make an appearance too. These would often be somewhat smaller, or to the side, but not always. While these do stand out, they are not always jarring to the eye. They could pass off, like Hitchcock in his movies. That reinforces the fact that pictures are not linear. Unlike a story, you can take liberties and not have the reader (i.e. viewer) put the art down. What about music? Will come back to the internally consistent ways of music later.

What not to write
2008-11-06 Having it easy

Scientists in yesteryears had it so easy. Many things that are now common knowledge were not known then and they managed to get a lot of credit discovering or inventing them. Some find that view pessimistic and counter that the next generations will say the same of us, and so it evens out. While talking about the larger picture and theory and simulations with Nick and Dominik at lunch today a thought even more pessimistic struck me. What if indeed all the simpler things have been found, and the next generations will have it better than us because they will have faster, well connected computers and larger telescopes? That does leave us in a hopeless situation, doesn't it?

2008-11-05 Blackward looking America

Barack Obama goes on to become the 44th US president (well, elect) and the first black to get there. A true indication of the will of the people, the diversity, and the need for change. John McCain was very gracious in his concession speech seeking to unite both party members as Americans working towards greater good.

While all this was happening, Prop 8 in CA was being passed. It opposes Gay marriage. While people work for equality, rights, a right is being taken away. Why?

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