Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Worrisome Morn

This organism was awake much before dawn. It was chilly when that happened, which pushed him back into sleep, which ended after a lengthy battle with the morning alarm. It was still chilly when the reawakening happened. Since there was no time to be wasted, the organism "rose" to the challenge to find some time to waste. Then when the wasted time had been impressively wasted, some agency dragged the organism out, with the daybreak about to commence.

The initial understanding was to do a graveyard run. My organism was directed there upon stepping out, making it all the way to join the roadhead. However, seeing that it was already past 6, a return no sooner than 8 was forecasted, and thus the idea was switched for a shorter one - the JMB loop, which forecasted an earlier return. Why the return time was important was, because baby bro needed assist during his exit to office, and that exit also meant somebody had to be around, with me being the only other occupant of the house presently - hope it's understandable.

In a coupla minutes, I was at the Parao. Then came the odd news through HD (who mans a teashop in the early hours of the day ), that Lalu Prasad was missing. LP, in this context, is my favorite village mutt, who I tend to write about and interact with - maximally, of all canines - in the days out here. As per HD, he hadn't shown up since the day before. "Lagta hai bagh le gaya usko," ("seems that he's fallen prey to a leopard") HD had figured. It induced serious guilt, as t'was with me that he had hiked up through the forests the day before, an equation between man and canine that was cut short halfway when a pack of dogs came in from the other side, to scare the mutt away (as noted here ). Couldn't believe that he hadn't returned since. Wishing HD a nice day, I proceeded onwards with a perturbed mind.

Then the run happened - things that feel horrible when at it, but amazing afterwards. I still clock ~15 minutes for the ~3km stretch from Parao to JMB. As noted a minute into the run, it took me another 14mins to get there, which included a coupla breaks for photos and connecting my earphones. That I'd made it to the summit before the sun could show up was credible enough for my day, which had started in a lackluster manner. The mountain edges were layered with distinct colors of the spectrum. Then came out the sun, a small orange-pink blob for a brief moment feigning the appearance of the upper lip, which had me wishing I had a coupla lips to bite at that moment which felt so grand and romantic.

Then the walk back - with a rock in hands, to work out some upper. These coupla times that I've tried it, I have felt stupid for not doing it earlier. Any natural weight is a versatile thing. There are many motions and lifts to be done, and several muscle sets (esp smaller muscles) to be worked in isolation. As a wannabe-climber, I was impressed by how a lump of nothing gave so many holds to practice by the way of arrangement of fingers around it, making it worth something. It was planned to carry the rock all the way home, and paint a smiley face on it, and keep it forever, but alas, a fall on the floor, and it came apart in wafers (typical of the lithos this side).

Through the run, I had a new song on repeat - Miike Snow's "Genghis Khan", which talks of a strange (noncommitted?) equation between two people, still possessive of each other after they chose to keep distances.
I get a little bit Genghis Khan
I don't want you to get it on
With nobody else but me
These lines make for a catchy chorus.
And this video tops it too..

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Summing Up Today

Today was an inverted one.. lived by the morning, and death practise (ie sleep) much through the day. First ensued an insomniac's night, swinging in and out of scattered thoughts; then a hasty 30km drive to fetch bro in the pre-dawn hours; then nearly 3-hours in the outdoors for a workout, priming my organism to privations of the future; then watering the lawn, fourth day of trying to figure out how to grow a nice one; then a breakfast; and since then.. restlessness which gave way to sleepiness which turned to sleep which recently concluded. As the organism stirred into agency, Bro called with something stupendous to tell - that he had just sighted a leopard on his way back from the office. Thoughts then meandered into the wild (indoors cannot take the outdoors out of context). Now they get a break, to focus inwards, and be upto this.

Most to detail on is the morning workout - the route ended being longer than I'd conceived while leaving out, and so the experiences numbered more, as did the thoughts that came while experiencing (also dissociating). I'd walked out for just a hike up to AluK, as it was already past 7AM (the time by which I should be on the way back, since the sun is no fun so long after a sunrise).

It was probably the village mutts that joined me up that induced the feeling to go further - it felt like taking kids out, showing them around, pointing out alarm, the synchronised cycle of going ahead and falling back which kept them vacillating between the feeling of cautious discovery and comfortable self-absorption. They were considerate enough to reciprocate, coming along without questioning - only when a pack of noisy dogs came running their way shortly before the 'Toota Pahar' shortly before Nainital, did they beat a retreat. My fave mutt, B, is such a curious soul, that having him walking ahead is always exciting, his body language - alarmed and anticipative - hinting to have sensed an interloper ahead that is still not seen by a regular human being.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Persistent British Animator Dude

Started this morning catching up with the animation scene - a wide overlook mainly to tell what next to watch. In the drift, I found an old note, bearing a film title "Prologue". On my (most recent) birthday, I had watched the 2015 Oscar-nominated animation shorts, and the intriguing ones were noted for recollection. Though I didn't remember a specific short by name, it remained stuck in the head because of its brilliant animation style, the visuals being a treat + inspiration juice (having chosen nature drawing as a subject of pursuit only a coupla weeks back).  With great hope, I keyed in the name, and bull's eye! - found that short.

The Prologue (2015) - a "brutal battle between Spartan and Athenian warriors" - is a one-man-project, that man being Richard Williams. The short is actually a sequence from an unfinished longer project (adaptation of the play Lysistrata by Aristophanes). The animator Richard Williams is a veteran in the industry, and also one in unfinished projects - his most endearing project has been an adaptation of Mulla Nasreddin's folk fables, originally titled Nasrudin, which was then shelved and re-titled "The Thief and the Cobbler", which has seen the hands (and voice-overs) of many other industry veterans, which was eventually seized from Mr. Williams and forcefully released by the production house... the duration of this interesting project spans 31 years, and also has a coupla documentaries done on it.

His wiki page shows few other unfinished shorts, 8 or 9 among 17. With half things being scrapped, he mustn't have been treated well by his production house(s). But whatever he did put out, has been very creative and even path-breaking at times.

Here's somebody with their 2¢ on the animator
Richard Williams (the director/solo animator) is one of the greatest animators of this or any time, and he's a very astute observer of human motion. I've seen a fair amount of his animation, including other shorts done in this style, and while he's sometimes looked at live models for inspiration (not to my knowledge for this short, but for another he did for dancers), he's never done rotoscoping. A few years ago, at an Oscar event I attended, he showed a tiny clip of Prologue when it was still a work-in-progress, and he described that he was doing the animation based on his personal style and very meticulously over the span of several years. That kind of animation is possible for a great animator who is willing to take the amount of time Richard Williams takes, but because there are very few people at his skill level, and even fewer able to work on his timeframe, you very rarely see anything on this level. 
Persistence of Vision is a documentary on the unfinished Thief project.
The director Kevin Schreck has uploaded several related clips on his YT Channel.
There's also the Thief Archive, a related YT channel, promising hours of interesting consumption.

The Little Island - a gem of a find

Love Me Love Me Love Me - another beaut

Friday, November 11, 2016

Looking Back to a day

Armchair into PoK

Been armchair-traveling into the India that once was, now occupied by the new mulq of Pakistan. Read an article on the revival of the Wakhi music tradition in Gojal/Deosai, which revived the interest of mine in visiting it and spending time with its people someday. There is so much to do - geological features alone will induce a hard-on, and coming across good-natured feisty folks is a bonus.

About two-thirds of the song's lyrics and their own accent were decipherable.

The song turned out to be a recent one, by a young indie Chitral-based artist, Irfan Ali Taj. Here's that

Continuing on that trail, I reached to as far as Chitral, where curiosity is now hooked on the Kalash People - speaking the same tongue of native land (a mix of punjabi urdu and hindi) that (again, striking to me) is immediately comprehensible (no subtitles or translators that induce xenophobia). Theirs is a beautiful agnostic community (which doesn't endorse the major religions despite being coerced to convert for centuries), which is thinning if not preserved, and which also doesn't look for over-endorsement. I'd surely over-endorse them for their colorful culture and art that needs wider appreciation. The 'khawateen' have excelled in sustaining their culture by taking supremely creative roles, as is evident in their clothing, and their striving to live in good standards.

The belt of language that ties this region is too visible for me to speak of partisan politics based upon recently-created-shuffled nationalities.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Making a mark in the sky

So this happened last year - a solar-powered dirigible was tediously done by a bunch of dozen folks. I came through a trail of reading on solar energy, that started with a presentation by Elon Musk introducing the Tesla Solar, which seems a half-baked plan in its early days (more technology into a rather simple existing solution means more points of failure, and hence more frustration with things over longer period of time, plus the need for greater expertise if something goes wrong).

It now itches to build a small floating solar-powered dirigible of my own. Frustrating, because what is sold as "kids' toys" is still exciting new discovery about the world in my interactive-reactive head. It will lead to failures in other points of my existence chain, which might be perceived as more serious, or be seen as foretelling of a career cascade (if that's not what mine already qualifies for) and hence another thing to cope with.

But that thought aside, plans are already underway to visit the supermarket to get a new stash of bin bags. It will take taping together half a dozen of those, by my intuitive calculation (to be confirmed on paper later). Ideal would be to try replicate a "Pif", a french solar (or rather, hot-air-powered) dirigible akin to a kite maneuvered with both ends tied and connecting to a string connected to a spool that a lucky kid from a village will get to hold (of course, i do the maneuvering).

This would work best in the hills, which is coincidentally where I am. Imagine meself on a lovely morning atop a local summit doing this.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

You crave for misery, but sometimes it is hard to find. The mornings start right, but the day veers away from your favorite crave-orite theme; and on the evenings all you get to do is try to keep the fragments which were right, to stitch a thread or a garland of that which poured down in the morning and was none but a thin shower through the day. Then, with the onset of dark, you wrap yourself in the garland of your making, and order a cup of ginger tea, and sit down next to the speakers listening to an old bunch pushing you into a new dimension transcending time and space - where all your past loves whizz by, and a sight or a smell or a sensation of an experience catches your attention to consume you fully, blurring the transition from the waking self to sleep.