Thursday, March 27, 2008

really, really, really belated update

I'm posting over at http://caffeinated.tumblr.com now.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I would update more often

I would, I really would.

But I'm afraid that even if I did, you still wouldn't read. And then I'd have no excuses left to hide behind.

List of things I like to think I'm good at (excerpt)
Writing

Sunday, September 17, 2006

doin' the technorati thing

whereas I don't actually do the blogging thing...

Technorati Profile

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

This is a test...

This post should show up not only here, at rajivbatra.blogspot.com, but also on Facebook as a "note" attched to my profile. Let's see if it works.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Anyone can find redemption if he gets to sleep with Liv Tyler

About a month ago, Spencer and I watched Lonesome Jim on the Independent Film Channel. It's a dark and uncomfortable film (starring Ben Affleck's little brother) with the tagline "Change your outlook. Change your life." In it, Casey plays "Jim," a depressed, purposeless, and ceaselessly brooding twentysomething returned to his childhood home after failing to make it as a writer in New York. He plunges headlong into the tedium of living with his parents and unwittingly inspires his brother's suicide attempt while establishing himself in Indiana smalltown life.

Jim shows all the reasons that probably contributed to his short tenure in New York: he mooches off his parents, smokes crack-laced weed with his uncle, and throws out gems like, "I sort of came back to have a nervous breakdown, but my brother beat me to it" and "I love my family all to death, but I just don't like them very much." But then, in what would be one the biggest deux-ex-machinas of all time if it wasn't essentially the central plotline of the film, Casey picks up - no, gets picked up by - Anika (Tyler) at a dive bar near the hospital where his brother is staying. Inexplicably, he proceeds to have sex with Anika in a hospital bed - a process devoid of romance, emotion, or duration.

Yet unaware that he's hit the ultimate upchicked lottery, Jim doesn't call or otherwise attempt to contact Anika again until they awkwardly meet at Jim's brother's bedside. From there we embark upon Jim's excruciatingly slow emotional development - like the calling and leaving messages scene in Swingers, except stretched out over 1/2 a movie - as he belatedly comes to the realization that Anika completes him and blah blah blah.

Here's the thing: if you're going to show me a film about the redemption and epiphanic love of a kid returned to his bumblefuck town, you can't cheat and have his redemption come by having Liv Tyler pursue him. Anyone can find redemption if he gets to sleep with Liv Tyler, all the more so if he can get away with demonstrating no romantic instincts at all while having her do all the work to develop and maintain the relationship. No matter how depressed and self-loathing the protaganist, how hard is it to convince me that he'll find value in his life if he gets it on with a ridiculously hot girl who also happens to be pretty well adjusted except for her latest choice in men?

Redemption waiting to happen

Despite all this, it's not a terrible film, but it doesn't have much more to offer than your typical mainstream romantic comedy or trashy chick-flick Cinderella story. The dialogue is good and there are some truly funny moments, but in the end it's too much of a fairy tale - miraculous love story leads to happily ever after - except depressing most of the way through.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Declare a New State!

Last night Elaine and went to the see The Submarines at Cafe du Nord. I'd been obsessing over The Submarines ever since I heard their single, "Vote," on Live 105 during the Madden Promise. With lyrics like,
And some have said that true love's something we are sure of /
but only hope lies in your being confused.
When all is said, I would wait 100 summers /
just once again to be with you.

and a musical style that I would call Death Cab meets Stars, I was hooked. But don't take my word for it; listen to their debut album for free, and when you love it, go buy it in local stores or on (blah!) iTunes.

"Vote" might be my favorite song on the album, though the opening track "Peace and Hate" would be a 1b. The album is mopey and wistfull, composed of songs bandmembers Blake and John wrote about each other before forming the band or apparently realizing they were both in love. Sweet, huh? I'm a sucker for stuff like that.

Cafe du Nord was a new experience for me - I'm not sure I'd even heard of it before. It was a cute little restaurant / lounge / venue - an ideal place to show up and watch the second opening band, feel hip, and have a $2.50 Miller High Life (ah, the champagne of beers). The Submarines fit into the scene perfectly, not big enough yet in stage presence for a larger venue but drawing enough of a crowd that it didn't feel like they were up there for their own benefit. We bounced after they finished playing essentially their whole album out of order, skipping the main act entirely. If anyone has heard of or really likes The Bedroom Walls, feel free to let me know what a sucker I am for taking off after the Submarines wrapped up.

I also scored a sweet poster as we left. At $10, it was overpriced, but I felt it was needed good karma after I had purchased Declare a New State on allofmp3.com. But seeing the bands you like live is the best thing you can do to support them, right? And blogging about them is a close second?

Love notes in the Mission

If you've ever walked around the Mission District in San Francisco, you've probably had some quality food and maybe had a fun night out at the bars. But if you haven't looked down on the sidewalk, you might have missed a whole storyline under your feet. Througout the Mission and parts of the Castro and Hayes Valley are a series of graffiti messages painted onto the sidewalks.

There are at least three sets of messages in different typefaces and colors. The dominant themes are love and hope, with most of the messages repeated throughout the neighborhood. This photoset is a prelude to a map with the photos plotted on there - any recommendations on what map service to use for a mashup?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Blogging in code, conclusion

No one who reads this blog (aside: no one reads this blog) doesn't already know what the "blogging in code" posts were about, why they were written in code at all, and what the final result is. But I'm posting a final update anyway.

He shoots!
Palo Alto, Cambridge, uptown New York City, Grenwich Village in NYC, downtown Chicago, Philadelphia, Berkeley, Charlottesville, Ann Arbor, Washington D.C., Westwood, Austin, South-Central L.A., Seattle

He scores!
Uptown NYC, the Village, Charlottesville, Westwood, South-Central, Seattle

He misses!
Palo Alto, Cambridge, Berkeley, Austin

Refs reviewed - inconclusive in time allotted
Ann Arbor, D.C., Chi-town, Philly,

Result: I'm going to Columbia Law School! I held out for the old boys at Hah-vahd, but after that hit the back iron I declined the waitlists at Michigan, Georgetown, Chicago, and Penn. I'm a New Yorker now (or I will be in a month) and a student again. Time to show the east coasters that flip flops are truly the greatest footwear of all time.


Don't call them "mandals."