Aranmanai Siruvayalil – Seattle Pongal Special

Seattle Tamil Sangam Play
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Aranmanai Siruvayalil is a play sponsored by Seattle Tamil Sangam on the account of Pongal celebrations at Seattle. Though Pongal completed a week back, on Sunday Jan 29th, this play will be staged in Sammamish High School, where the Gujus play Dandia during Dussehra.

Incidentally there are two bloggers out here, who are playing a role in this play. A long time blogger Swami and his wife Lakshmi are the bloggers who are playing play roles in Aranmanai Siruvayalil. Both of them have prior experience in stage plays, given their experience in staging S. Ve. Shekar’s Thattupillai, and acting alongwith him. If you are around Seattle, do take a spin.

Jaya comes home !!

jaya tv

After graciously failing in attempts to get Sun & Vijay TV, the only option was to get connected to Chennai was through Jaya TV. So I subscribed to Jaya TV through Num TV. Sometime back, Uma and few others recommended Jaya TV but I wanted to watch the tamil channel on a television. So I didn’t pursue that seriously. Left with no options, I succumbed to watching TV on the PC.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t a bad deal. The streaming video is at 300 kbps with good clarity, good enough for comfortable viewing. It doesn’t match the TV-on-TV quality yet it ain’t bad. The good news for me is that kollywood has moved nearer to me through Jaya TV. And I could see Kushboo and the jacket design on Jack..Jack..Jack…Jackpot. So much for missing Tamil Channels. Anything written here in relation to satellite channel, hereafter refers to Jaya TV, unless otherwise specified. So if you start smelling too much of kollywood here, you know why.

This morning, I got see Simbhu‘s pongal special program, with clippings from his latest flick, Saravana where he was trying to acting like Rajini and even like Vijay. He claims to have done comedy for the first time. Deja Vu or is it me. He said the same stuff during his movie Trisha named Alai. Alai never got to see even 25 days in theatres and this ‘i’m doing comedy for the first time’ seems to be coming around. This whole thing seems to be a big comedy itself. For the kind of opening he go and the oppurtunity he gets, Simbhu should just act for the character given instead of developing his ‘own’ style. Given KS Ravikumar and Jothika in the movie, I’m hoping Saravana would be a bearable watch. Or is it not ?

Thaneer Desam

This is the 23rd consecutive day of rain in Seattle. The record is 33 days, set in 1953, reads the headline in Seattle PI. Another 10 more days of rain and Seattle will break its own record which is set to 33 consecutive days of rain in 1953. CNN has more on this marathon rain.

And now you know why there is not much spice in the blog. Before I could tackle the windy downtown rains and reach home, a Netflix DVD awaits me. So there goes the blogging spirit. Jokes apart, coming from chennai(I mean the Chennai before the monsoon of 2005), this Seattle rain was like heaven, when I first reached here. I still enjoy the drizzlings especially the early evening drizzles are a cheer to the bored souls. Last saturday, while walking to Subway, my umbrella just broke due to heavy winds. Its then I realized that the rains have started to be a daily affair.

Being locked in the house, due to this rain, I planned to get the ‘amusing’ SUN TV via Dish network. Guess what. No Signal. Two trees standing right in front of my apt are blocking Sapthaswarangal and Selvi entering my home. DirectTV broadcasts Vijay TV but I’m not sure if the trees would allow its signal. So I went ahead and booked the suite of HBO channels today combined with a digital box. With the 8 HBO channels and numerous On-Demand movies through Comcast, I hope to wade through the rainy days. I hope.

Please keep moving !!

Snoqualmie Pass
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On a new year day like yesterday, found some time escape from the usual and drive to Snoqualmie Pass, a skiing facility. Snoqualmie Pass is located some 52 miles east of Seattle and is also called as Snoqualmie Summit. The northeast of Seattle, is filled with mountain ranges and shopping malls(they are there everywhere). These mountain ranges get snow throughout the winter and hence serve as a perfect skiing escapade(read as vazhukki vizhara area). Because I wasn’t prepared to push myself from the top of the mountain and keep falling down like the Roja‘s Arvind Swamy, I was playing with the snow, like a Mani Ratnam heroine. Though I had been to a skiing resort once in Chicago but it was only yesterday, I got myself amidst mountains, covered with snow. Am planning to plan for another week of this slipping down(read skiing) exercise.

As you hear the priest say, after giving you three sips of the theartham, ” Please keep moving !!”, you know you are in a desi temple. Common language. The temple at Bothell was overfilled with people and was full of chaos. Amidst all the chaos, I found some time and place(!!) to meet Raj Kumar, a fellow blogger from the other side of Seattle. We had planned to meet since March but were able to meet just yesterday. What else. Had the lemon rice served as prasadham and drove back in the drizzling rain.

Watched The Polar Express. Being a big fan of Robert Zemeckis and especially being aware of his enthusiasm in animation, I was expecting a gala fare. Zemeckis widely known for his Forrest Gump, was actually the guy who revolutionized the animation industry in Hollywood by having animated characters act with the cast in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

If Sin City was re-telling of the teenage comics, The Polar Express is like opening a children’s book. I was reminded of some russian comics, I read during my childhood. The animation isn’t the same as other hollywood movies. The characters are extremely real. Tom Hanks looks exactly like him. From the wrinkles in his face to his expressions, its just Tom Hanks. Seems to me that all the characters were performed by a cast including Tom Hanks and then they converted the film into animation.

In a time where the spirit of Santa Claus getting diminished, year after year, the movie expresses a noble motive by trying to keep the spirit going. Contrary to the name, the movie doesn’t travel in express speed except for the beginning sequence. That should probably be a reason for the movie failure. Also in a world of Incredibles and Shrek, where animation movies feed the adult, Polar Express is for kids. To keep them as kids and induce the belief of Santa. Certainly a treasure in your house, for the kid in the house.

NPR's Fresh Air

I love to hear the talk radio while driving to work but then I probably end up with those news stattions constantly screaming the traffic updates.

NPR is certainly fresh air for me. I am probably their newest subscriber to their programs. Accidentaly, I got to listen Terry Gross’ Fresh Air on the net. Since then its keeping my MP3 player busy. Am patting myself on a self-found gem.

Kalinga in CompUSA

Been stuck at office like a car after heavy snow. Loads of work before the million dollar baby goes live in two weeks from now. Curious last moments is what makes a software engineer’s life, a bliss. And I’m enjoying every moment of it trying to keep myself cool without getting panicked.

Talking about getting panicky, Seattlites just got freaky over the last few days owing to the weathermen going over-board about the expected snow. When snow came down, people left the office thinking that the snow would take over the city. What happened was an anti-climax. Snow came down, life went on as normal. Nothing much was distruppted except me being late for the evening coffee by just a few minutes.

By the time me and friends reached the COMPUSA store on the thanksgiving night, it was 11:30 pm. Around 500 Indians(yes, 98% indians and 2 % asians not indians were the only people around) were already in the line with monkey caps and their wives, who showed no interest in accompanying their husbands to an electronics store. Stroke of midnight, people started walking inside the shop and as usual a bunch of desi dudes ran inside the shop without coming through the line. By the time I was inside the store, it seemed like a kalinga war was just fought. The hard disk section was ransacked and I just got hold of some box which I didn’t know what it contained. Following the old quote – follow the stream, as everyone was picking up couple of boxes, me too picked up two of them. Later when I saw that they were 250 GB hard disks costing $180, i left them back.

Did you just think, Technology has improved so muchaaa. Wait. Around 200 of the desi crowd was just climbing one upon other like the first day first show of a Rajini movie to get a 512 MB USB pen drive for $9.99. Phew !! I came back home without buying anything.

The Thanks ‘buying’ stuff finally arrived. Like I planned, I bought the 160 GB external accomdata hardisk but for $70, instead of $50. I bought them online at Fry’s Outpost. Also went to CompUSA next day of Thanks giving to find hundreds of wireless routers lying around, which were missing on the previous night. I am a mobile blogger now. Yep, the home network is all set, thanks to CompUSA’s wireless router. So I can browse and even blog while eating idli molagaapodi on the dining table.

As it gets colder in Seattle, it gets exciting too. The snow this morning while driving to work, lifted my spirits. The tall evergreen trees with snow cap on them makes the whole place look so beautiful. Accompanied with Rahman’s Tanha Tanha on the CD player, it was a sight that I would remember for a long time to come. Meanwhile the city is getting it’s holiday dressing. Street trees are decorated with serial lights, Santa socks and caps being sold even in medical stores(!!), the work place is getting decorated with holiday trees and the shops are open even longer than the original working hours to meet the holiday sales. The year end seems to be the most exciting part of the year, be it in India or in US. Oh yeah !! I’m missing the marghazhi kutcheri.

Midnight Thanks 'Buying' !!

I am not an electronics nut. Still the plan for tonight is this. Myself and a bunch of self-proclaimed geeks are haunting the COMPUSA, opening at 11:59 pm. Have decided to buy a couple of ‘essential’ electronics including an 160 GB external hardrive at $49.99. Thats a kill for that money.

Also, planning to wait in the Seattle cold from 4:30 am for the opening of Best Buy at 5:00 am tomorrow morning. Haven’t yet decided what to buy because there is always something to buy. XBOX 360 ? Not sure but I’m raking my brains and thinking if $399 is worth it. If it was PS3, I would have readily bought it. But then, the ads of XBOX 360 is just scintillating. Looks like it will be a quite an experience.

There is also a wireless broadband router at sale. Sony 5 megapizel with 10x zoom on sale. DV-Rs, CD-RWs, DVDs, Camcorders, MP3 Players are all on sale for this Black Friday 2005. For a male, even if you window shop, electronics is dope. And BTW, who said I am not an electronics nut ?

Saturday Blues !!

Bellevue and Redmond (yeah !! the same Microsoft Redmond) are like twin towns nearly overlapping each other set to the east of Seattle. Supposed to be one of the most pricey communities in & around Seattle, which I was oblivious to until I found myself paying rent through my nose. My community, near an array of Microsoft offices is one the picturesque place.

Was driving in the early morning to Redmond. It was drizzling just like any other day in Seattle. The fall colors seems to come out fast and you could spot the whole spectrum from light yellow to bright red leaves. Combined with the wetness due to rain and the bright fall colors, it seemed like a picture postcard shot. Coming from India, anyone would be awestruck by the colors and ofcourse the rain. Though I’ve travelled in a ferry to see the Washington Island fall colors, in Illinois, this morning it was a revelation. Just taking an ‘U’ turn from the home, I could see the dazzling fall colors. Seattle is partly a heaven. Once I visit California I would agree another part of ‘delicious’ heaven is out there. I suddenly remember, Illayaraja singing, Athu Nammoru Pola Varumaa. What a paradox ?