Friday, September 30, 2005

iPod Nano or No No ?


The latest offering from the Apple stable, iPod Nano, impressively small but having its own share of defects. The BBC reports that as many as 30 iPod Nano users per hour had been directing their complaints to this website, the main problem being the screen getting scratched. What Apple tried to do by decreasing the size of the player, probably they have let down in the design department. Last heard, Apple has listened to the voice of the consumer and has promised to replace all the defective nanos through Apple Care. A note about Apple Care, they are efficient, my roomate had a problem with the iPod Mini headphones, just a single mail to them, they sent the headphones to our address free of cost with the only provisio that he send the defective pair to the return address, else be charged for it.

(Photo from Apple.com)

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Weekend Trivia

What a weekend ? Purely due to the only fact of trying to buy something so badly, and spending nearly 6 hours on the trot for two days consecutively and all the time having the money to spend for it. The thing that I wanted so badly was a broadband package. I was really surprised when in a technologically developed country like Australia, I was informed by the Dodo internet customer service that it would take nearly 10 - 21 days for the broadband connection to be activated. What a shame ?

Most of my weekends have been pretty lacklustered so far, with movies or books to keep me company with the odd photo shoot sometimes. This weekend has been interesting so far, in the sense that I managed to finish the books Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and The da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I also bought a DVD of my favorite three movies of Kamalhassan - Anbe Sivam, Aaalavandhan and Virumaandi. I feel that Anbe Sivam should have been more universally accepted at the box office, although Kamal is not an actor to care much about the box office as much he cares about critical accolades. Sometimes we get the view that he does his roles because he is a consummate actor who can really stand up and say that he chooses as he deems that right and not be overtly bothered by popular cine antics ?

In Anbe Sivam, there a lot of interesting characters who have their own moments in the movie, Santhaanabarathy during the last scene, when he lets go of Kamal to live, Uma Kamesh - especially in the scene in the projector room when she finally understands the relationship between Nallasivam and Bala. That one look from her conveys the total disappointment and despair inside her - many people had missed this, when the whole emphasis was on Bala crying it out to Nallasivam.

Actually, there is a scene following that exchange between Nallasivam and Meher where she makes him known that she had been in love with him for the last four years and also why the character Pavun kunju accompanies him to the fateful trip. When I watched the movie in Coimbatore before coming to Melbourne, the exchange between Nallasivam and Meher was not shown. Only this DVD that I bought today had it.

I had seen an interview of Uma with Yugi Sethu, I have forgotten the name of the show, but it was an interview where she displayed the multiple talents that she has. We know of models - face models, full suit models, bikini models, but Uma is a hand model. Her hands are those which appeared in Prince Jewellery along with gold bangles. She has also done hand modelling for various soaps. The next time you see something like that, it might be her. Uma also has quite an interesting voice talent, she mimics the voice of her mother Kamala Kamesh to an ultimate extent.

Anbe Sivam was inspired from the English movie - Planes, Trains and Automobiles starring Steve Martin, but only the Nallasivam - Anbarasu part has been taken from the Planes.. The rest is all vintage Kamal.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Arasan Shop

This shop at Carnegie just near to the Caulfield campus of Monash University is just the typical Indian spices and condiments shop. The only problem, the items you purchase might be as old as nearly a year ago. But, I have to admit, the lady of the shop gave me a calendar with a picture of Lord Hanuman when I first went to their shop in 2003, to buy 10 kg of rice. I still retain that calendar in my bedroom, but a crime is a crime, to quote Nakkeeran from Thiruvilaiyaadal.

I did not realise about the expiry dates of products till sometime after that, I had bought quite a few things from them, the only Tamilian family I knew in the whole of Melbourne at that time. So it was kind of meeting some kindred souls all the way from Windsor to Carnegie. The truth dawned when I bought some pickles and by chance happened to glance at the information on the container, actually I was looking for the manufacturer's address in Madras, when I noticed the expiry date was nearly one year back. I then located another and found it was from the same batch. The good samaritan in me (!!) took both the bottles to the counter and actually told that lady about the possible oversight in stocking. I was really shocked by the reply that she gave me, "Venumnaa Vaangittu Ponga, illai na angeye replace pannunga" - did not expect that from a lady who some weeks back gave me the calendar.

But I did pass on this information to some of my friends and maybe Arasan lost some business because of me. Last heard, the shop is still there, and mostly everyone who resides in the adjoining suburbs of Glen Huntly, Carnegie, Murrumbeena are aware of this and none go to their shop.

Melbourne's honest man

Jitendra Chirag Kapashi, I know his full name, because I used to work with him, has got the honour of being Melbourne's honest man. This fun loving guy living in the Melbourne suburn of Malvern, found an envelope containing $10,000 in cash, and without any qualms or second thoughts turned it over to the local police station. And, did he ask for an award, no, says the police officer, not even a thought in that direction.

Chirag is a very happy down to earth guy who held the prestigious position of a R & R executive at Telstra Customer Service and you cannot count a single soul who did not know him or did not like him. Man of the masses, as they say.

Chirag, this short post, is dedicated to you, and for making all us Indians proud of you.

Related news item here.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Immigration Turmoils

Every student worst nightmare in Australia will always be the letter from the DIMIA (Immigration Dept) informing him / her about the cancellation of the visa and the fact that him / her have to leave the country by next daylight, so to say. In fact, the organization where I worked part time during my student days was raided three times by DIMIA for students who were working more than the stipulated 20 hrs per week. To tell the truth, some of them did, but most of us, were aware of the legal hassles and almost imminent deportation that came along with it. But, doesn't Fortune favour the brave ?

But my ex roomie had a taste of the same thing albeit the reason being different. Every student who arrives in Australia has to get the work visa in 4-6 weeks after landing, so that he / she can work part time. It would take sometime as the DIMIA would ask for confirmation from the university reg the length of study, and the enrollment date etc. That was the reason why it took 4-6 weeks and the visa can be obtained by logging online. Coming to my story, I and my ex roomie went to the DIMIA office at La Trobe street in Melbourne for the stamping of the visa in the passport.

Everything was fine at this stage (April 2003), we were happy, having got the visa with the minimum possible effort and using my mother's credit card to do it, what else do I want ? This poor guy (as it turned out) tried to go back to India in July 2003 for a short trip and the customs officials at Tullamarine airport pointed out that he has overstayed his visa by nearly 3.5 months. The normal expiry date of his visa was March 2004. The problem was the official who printed out the new work permit stamp had put in the expiry date as April 2003. He was not allowed to go out of the airport to get it rectified as it would lead to deportation or detainment in an detention centre. He was eventually allowed to board the aircraft, but was advised that he cannot come back to Australia for the foreseeable future, and then he has to apply again in three years. This is even after pointing out that it was the mistake of their department that lead to this confusion. Then, the Computer Science dept of University of Melbourne was involved in this issue and it took another 2 tension filled hours to solve the issue and the officials provided another visa.

Moral of the story: Always check the expiry date of anything you get from the government and also Arasan Shop at Carnegie, but that is a different story.

Long lost photo


Every year, the Dutch Tulip festival is being held near Melbourne in the Dandenong Ranges at Sylvan. I had been there last year, and I missed posting this photo that I liked very much. This year I was not able to make it to the show due to lack of company, but will certainly hope to make it next year.

For those who have seen the movie 'Anniyan', the tulip festival can be likened to the song 'Kumari', which was shot near Amsterdam. The show is complete with real Dutch people with their traditional costumes and eatables. The flower beds will be as long as we had seen in the Anniyan movie.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Another Laptop

Thats my latest laptop.

Andre and 'Fedex' Federer


What a match ? Although I am happy that Federer has won the US Open this year by beating Agassi in a four set match at Flushing Meadows, what to say of the genial father of two who has kept coming back to Open era tennis for the last 20 years ? His bald head, a long cry from the days of Wimbledon in the 90s during which he had flamboyant blond hair, making girls go weak in their knees and a never say die attitude towards tennis.

I was among the lot of disappointed Steffi crazy citizens of the world when he married her, suprisingly, the marriage has been strong so far. Perfect example of strength of woman behind the man. Andre's tennis has improved after he married Steffi and a superhuman can play the level of competetive tennis at his young age of 35. Still, characteristicaly, Andre has made no mention of his retirement.

It is only fair to say Andre lost to a younger and fitter world number one in Roger Federer. Hats off to you, Andre...

(images from the Internet)

Friday, September 09, 2005

The photo below

Turns out that the bright spot near the moon is actually the planet Venus, which was an illusion because of the distance between them. Still it was something to see and have a snap of. The article from The Age has a better photograph, I envy Pat Scala, the person who has taken the photo.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Moonlight by the street light



I don't know whether the photo warrants such an ambitious title. This foto was shot late last night when I noticed an unusual sight in the sky, a star like body near the moon or was it something else ? I was not the only one, there were quite a few photo enthusiasts on the streets yesterday night with everything from a mobile to a digitial SLR. This is my best effort. I know it is blurred, but looking at the other snaps, this is alright. This post is more for the unusual spectacle rather than my photographic prowess (??).

And wonder of wonders, the links are back.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Grr Grr

The problem is back with the links being displayed at the bottom of the page. I have given up, trying to set it right. I know I did it somehow by changing the template, but now don't have any idea how. I guess I should start a supplementary blog just for this. I know I this problem first came about. It all started when I posted from my official email id. Have to stop doing that. So if any you want to check out the links in this blogpage, just scrooooooooll down to the very end.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Photos from Sydney III



This is the exact replica of the crown that Posh Spice (sorry Queen Victoria) was wearing when she was sworn in as the Queen of England, Scotland and Wales. Needless to say, it is all gold and glitter all round.

Photos from Sydney II



This is a figurine of Queen Victoria which is kept for viewing at the Queen Victoria Building in the centre of Sydney. The accessories and the dress is authentic and the whole figurine is kept on a turn table so that people can view it from all angles. She has a haughty look, hasn't she ?

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Taj Mahal


A different view of the Taj ...

Snaps from Sydney - I




These are some of the photos that I shot when I visited Sydney last month.