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Moving. NOW.

I’m now blogging at http://www.agrimsingh.com . That means i’m no longer posting here. I’ll be shifting all the posts soon to the new blog.

Suit up!
http://aimun.in/

Suits my colour scheme, eh?


Source: http://akshatb.com/

At Gyaan.in our attempt is to help students preparing for various competitive exams all over to country to prepare for the General Knowledge/General Awareness Section. Mostly such exams are full of questions from Current Affairs or Static GK (History, Geography, Political Science, Science, Economics etc).

Do check out Gyaan.in’s special Entrance examination questions here.

Gyaan.in – the “nothing official about it” Indian quiz forum.

Oh Manchester United!

Manchester United’s successful run to the Finals of the Champion’s League has ended, and a very sad moment this is. United lost on away goals! 😦 But for a team which was leading 3-0 before halftime, it was a game well played.

The mindgames had already begun, with Ferguson ruling out Rooney as an option, but adding on that he might be included if he can change Fergie’s mind. And there he was, an hour from start of match, Rooney was named in the starting 11! His presence is such that it can lift the morale of the whole team, and with 75000 people at the Old Trafford, this game could just have been one of the best.

ManU started with a bang, with a lesser known Darren Gibson scoring within the first 5 minutes. Gibson is a new player who has played in a few premier league matches for MU, but HE wouldn’t have been part of any team formation the opposition could have expected. Rafael, Rooney and Nani combined to attack, European style, with Valencia putting in dangerous crosses one after another. Rafael’s game ended after he was shown a second yellow and the referee was mobbed by the germans (typical, could have expected this) and he was sent off. Rooney was taken off and replaced with O’Shea who was making a comeback after 5 months. The game was a nailbiter, but even though MU won 3-2, Bayern made it through to the semi finals on away goals, a splendid last one by Robben.

This is the first time since 2003 that no english team has made it to the semi finals. With Chelsea’s campaign ending against Inter, and Arsenal getting drubbed by Messi, MU was the only hope left.

MU’s season this time has not been upto the mark, with only a Carling Cup for silverware. I feel that we still have a chance at winning the PL, provided we win all our matches now and wait for Chelsea to slip down, the only option being a loss to liverpool.

Hope all ends well for Manchester United!

Sir Alex Ferguson was pretty sure that Manchester United’s campaign for a 19th Premier League cup and the Champion’s League won’t be derailed without Rooney. He surely is being proved wrong here.
Rooney hobbled of the pitch in the match against Bayern and it seemed certain that without a man whose in prime form, having netted the ball 34 times this season, Manchester United will be a pale shadow of themselves against an in-form Chelsea and the germans in the second leg. Although it is pretty obvious to note that Bayern can still be taken care of and ManU can definitely make it to the Champions League semis, beating Chelsea seemed out of the question.
They say “no one is irreplaceable” – you can always find substitute stars for an injured player who can play equally well. But there are always some players who have that specialness with them, the X factor, which can turn the game on the head and make that difference. I am a die hard supporter of Manchester United, and have been following them for 7 years now. But even though the pundits were all in favour of ManU winning, specially when the match had to be played on home turf, I couldn’t join them, because it was certain that ManU was missing that special player in their unit. The team may seem pretty balanced, and you have to give Sir Alex the credit for that. But at the same time, he will have to buy an all-out goal scorer like Rooney, because at this moment he doesn’t have any. The only players who met Rooney’s standards int he team were Ronaldo and Tevez. Ronaldo, being the man that he is, ditched the team that made him and left for the Spanish lands, where he isn’t really doing well. As for Tevez, it is certain that Ferguson is missing him. For a man who wasn’t worth the 25 million pounds spent on him as said by the manager, the Argentine is scoring at almost the same rate for Manchester City.
We saw Chelsea leave Drogba on the bench for matches and we also know Rooney and Drogba are players of such class that can fill rival defenses with fear, and Rooney’s absence fired up Chelsea even more. Ancelotti’s decision to leave Drogba on the bench illustrated the Blues’ strength-in-depth compared to United, so lacking in goalscoring strength without Rooney.
The season is almost over, and the title race is still wide open for Arsenal, Chelsea and ManU. And this season has made it clear that Sir Alex will be looking for a second goal scorer for next season and whether he buys x or y, ManU will be a big force this transfer season. Ferguson has always stressed that the team is up for it without Rooney as the team hadn’t lost a match without him. But after this match, there is no saying that the Talisman is not missed. No mind games are going to work now, we need a goal scorer to support Rooney. Berbatov is not upto the challenge most of the times, Owen frequently gets injured and substitutes are not to be relied on all the time. Giggs and Scholes do turn back the clocks with their mesmerizing performances now and then, but they wont last forever.
The reality also brings out the fact that Sir Alex was fully aware of this before the match. And now he cannot deny it.

Clash of the Titans
Clash of the TitansOpening: 1st April 2010

ONE LINE REVIEW: Occasionally entertaining, yet ultimately hollow.

Running Time:106 mins
Genre:Action, Drama, Fantasy
Rating:PG
Distributor:Warner Bros
Director:Louis Leterrier

Cast:Alexa Davalos, Danny Huston, Gemma Arterton, Izabella Miko, Liam Neeson, Mads Mikkelsen, Ralph Fiennes, Sam Worthington, Tamer Hassan

Here’s my first movie review on my blog, and about the first movie I watched in a theatre in Singapore 😀

I’ve never seen the original 1981 version of the same movie, and I didn’t plan to go for this one either because it seemed at first that its not going to be more than a computer graphics display, which it sadly was. And to quote the film’s lead actor Worthington from his interviews, he’s no more than a man in a skirt with a toy sword which he uses to kill other men, not to forget that it materialized out of thin air. But then again, he IS a demi-god.

The movie is set in the Greek city of Argos where this war is about to happen between the mortals and the Gods. This dude, Worthington plays the role of Perseus (yes, greek myth) who is raised by a fisherman after he is fished out of a err, coffin like box with his mom  dead in it. He thus is raised as a fisherman, but in fact is a demi-god. Perseus realizes this fact pretty late after his parents are killed by Hades, god of the underworld and that’s where our “hero”, son of Zeus, decides to take on the planet, to kill Hades and avenge the death of his parents which was brought about by him. Also, it is Perseus’ ‘destiny’ to save Argos from the ruthlessness of Hades and his beast, Kraken and thus, our hero leads a group of soldiers with nothing to lose on a quest to defeat Kraken, preventing Hades from overthrowing Zeus and destroying mankind. In the movie, Hades offers the citizens an option regarding the future of Argos, either to sacrifice the princess, Andromeda or perish with the city. The movie, in some sense, may feel like a 101 guide to Greek Mythology, although its nowhere near that.

The movie was watchable, to say the least. It was flawed in all departments, from cast to screenplay, it lacked that thought and action that goes into place. If anyone wants a movie with a hybrid character or a 3D movie generally, Worthington’s the man – half man half machine in Terminator: Salvation, half man half Na’vi in Avatar, and now, half-man half-god who’s tasked to save Andromeda of Argos from being monster sacrifice, should he be able to defeat Hades’ Kraken, the source of his power and threat to mankind. Worthington seems pigeon-holed into these kinds of role, and because of Hollywood’s current dearth of worthy action heroes, Worthington becomes the latest It boy with his physique and perpetual scowl, being suited perfectly well into this scarcity of actors who can act with their fists, without the compelling need to launch into lengthy dialogue as a professional and career development. Talking about dialogue, there was no emotionality, all the little tid bits of humor fell flat at every turn. It was like Michael Bay wrote the dialogue!

The other actors have been made to prance around in fancy dresses like gits – Liam Neeson had that constipated look in his costume playing Zeus and for an actor who’s been part of great movies like Chronicles of Narnia, Batman Begins and Simpsons, this wasn’t the best role in terms of his capability. Ralph Fiennes now believes that all villain roles are to be enacted in the same way, be it Voldemort or Hades, this time with a raspy voice. Even Pegasus for that matter goes through a colour change! I always believed that winged horse was white and now its black! The other Gods in Cloud City have jack squat to do or say anything – they’re there to fill up that place available.

The movie’s plot is pretty straightforward and often the film seems as if its in a hurry, trying to move from one action sequence to another at a frenetic pace. The scenes between these action parts amount to nothing. Even the action scenes aren’t memorable, they are at such a pace that most of it seems disoriented and with no character development shown in the movie, I couldn’t be bothered about the outcome of these actions. But even if it doesn’t make you say wow, it ii *did* get me laughing once a while, sometimes giving me the idea that this movie is inspired by pokemon in terms of commanding animals to kill others! Even the epic Kraken, which is given quite possibly the most epic introduction ever, isn’t all you think it would be cracked up to be. Nothing really pops here, and that’s a real shame. With all sorts of great Greek mythology to pull from, it could have even been possible to pull off something as epic as was played in God of War III.

And finally, the 3D effects. You probably know that this movie wasn’t shot in 3D and this effect was only added during post production, after Avatar’s success. Yeah, there’s depth of field, but I can vouch for the fact that the action could have felt better while watching in 2D, simply because there isn’t any “in your face” kind of action – not surprising since the movie was conceptualized to be a flat presentation.

Ultimately, Crap Clash of the Titans ends up as a forgettable, watchable movie with a lot of miss and hit action, I cannot complain too much, it tries to be much more than what it is, but it sticks to its action scenes to move the story and give it direction. A regular 2D view will give you a better shot at the film,  in terms of entertainment and the story as a whole. Even Worthington’s called it a “popcorn flick”. Take from that what you will.

Overall: 2.5/5

Lamb of God is coming to town! :D

Metal Junkies unite! Step inside and feel the wrath of LAMB OF GOD! Metallers guitarist Willie Adler, drummer Chris Adler, bassist John Campbell, guitarist Mark Morton and vocalist Randy Blythe – will be in town as part of their Wrath World Tour this April and will be performing at D’Marquee, Downtown East in Pasir Ris.

Lamb Of God are touring in support of their vicious new album Wrath. The album made its debut at Number 2 on the Billboard 200 charts and sold 68,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release. Lamb of God consists of guitarist Willie Adler, Willie’s drummer brother Chris Adler, bassist John Campbell, guitarist Mark Morton and vocalist Randy Blythe.

Tickets are available at www.tdc.sg. Tickets are priced between S$85 and S$100.

Walk with me in Hell, metalheads! 😀

Bullet want to give their fans a very special first listen to the new album Fever, which will come out in April ’10. The song “Begging For Mercy” is available on the official site for free.

You can get the download here – http://mblx.us/bfmv

Trinity Grade 8 Examination: Its Done!

After going through turmoil the whole damn year, the day arrived – the Grade 8 exam was today and to be honest, it wasn’t the greatest, but fine anyway. Grade 8 happens to be the last in the list of grade examinations after which one can take the diploma exams, and passing grade 8 is no piece of cake, its the whole bakery.

Pieces in Grade 8 become too classical with a whole lot of stress given to the technical aspect. My selection of pieces:

Praeambulum (from Partita no. 5 BWV 829) – Bach
Classical to the limit, this piece was more like a finger exercise, going up, going down, scale change, back to square one. There wasn’t a lot of dynamic change to this one, but definitely had a shape to it.

Vogelflug (op. 127) – Sigfrid Karg-Elert
Now this was pure mean stuff, mean to the core. The piece was modern and thus lacked a basic melody to it. A mismash of notes, scaleless, terror. The title “Bird Flight” just gave the impression that its got to be light, fast. And the german instructions given in the piece just added to the misery. THIS was the piece that took me ages to work out and finished two days before the actual thing.

Take the ‘A’ Train – Billy Strayhorn
Mr Billy was the arranger for Duke Ellington, a jazz specialist who was, in one word, Legendary. Duke sat there, expressionless, but his fingers brought out the true FEEL through his works. This was my selection because I had this liking for the piece, but who knew that it would beat the hell out of all my fingers since 4 fingered tetrachords weren’t my cup of tea at all! But towards the end of preparations, I thought I stood a chance only with this piece because for one, I enjoyed playing this one, and secondly, this was the only piece I was confident with.

My preparations for the whole thing had been disastrous to the effect that I completed my last piece two days before the D-day, and that too only the notes. Scales, Arpeggios and exercises were to be played by memory/sight reading because I had NO time to actually practice these! And there was sight reading, which even after practicing gave no results. Sight reading is a common method of torture made compulsory for all students of the higher grades (6-8) wherein one must read a piece within 30 seconds and play it out. Usually, pieces given to grade 8 students are a page long and I have always avoided the reading bit by improvising my way out of it (Caution: highly inadvisable to do so). Pieces are marked in three categories – Notational Fluency, Technical Ability and Playing to an Audience. I solely relied on the last category to make the cut.

The exam. 4.16. And I walked in. The examiner was an old uncle Mr. Evans, who had called me one of  his ‘victim’ the evening before. Started with the scales and arpeggios – played through but arpeggios were a disaster. The nervousness had started getting to a high when I played my exercises, messing the last one completely. And now came the time to play the pieces.

Praeambulum started well, till the second page, after which I just lost control over the whole friggin piece. Finger exercises at a fast pace, that too on an acoustic piano for beginner keyboardists is capital punishment. Surprisingly I played through will enough confidence to give it a big, definite ending. Bach sucks.

Vogelflug began with creepiness, soft, nimble, quick. A few slip ups, too many sustained notes, and half a page later, managed to get a grip to the whole thing and ended on a light, very soft roll.

Take the ‘A’ Train. Now before I began this piece, I had royally messed up more than 60% of my exam, with the Torturous Sight Reading still to follow. And I said, “lets play as if I’m practicing, with full flow. This doofus is a one time visitor. ” And I played, sang the notes, swayed as if I’m playing live in a jazz concert, getting that feel into every note I played. Ofcourse, there were slipups, but concert pianists never let the audience know that there were slipups and I followed suit. Managed the dynamics fairly well, emphasis on alternate beats with a low walking bass on the left hand, overall it was sweet.

Additional tests began. Sight reading, to be honest, was a major disaster. I couldn’t read beyond the first two bars, just knew that the scale was a B flat major. And the rest was just improvised. Got the last bar in place but the rest was just…there. Ear tests were good, apart from pointing out mistakes in the second question, got one on three I guess. The first question asks us to talk about the piece in general, structure, texture, dynamics, time signature etc. I talked for like 15 min JUST about the piece, baroque period, sarabande type of a piece, with a 6/8 time signature to it, like a waltz. Dunno what the examiner thought once I left. 😛

Got a message from my teacher the same night. I had *PASSED*. Not by a big margin, 4 marks, but I PASSED. She couldn’t believe it, she said she’d be pretty unhappy with Trinity if I passed. But, I *still* passed, and that fact gives me enough happiness because I know, I could have gotten more marks with more practice, but with the amount of practice I put in, 5 -6 hours a day for a week and a half, I’m satisfied. 🙂

A late bummer

Was off again, but since I have a LOT of time on hand, blogging starts again, this time with a lot of happenings 😛

BTW, India rocks SL today at Rajkot with a 414 thiller, Sehwag the culprit again. And come to think of it, India wins by just 3 runs, just to show how cool the match must have been!