domingo, mayo 28, 2006

The Da Vinci Bore.

Disclaimer - Those of you who're about to see the film and don't want any spoilers, stop reading now.

Having just seen the film 57 minutes ago, I can safely describe Ron Howard's latest in one word - crap, crap, crap. Ok that was 3 words, but guess what, Ron didn't keep any of his promises either. I don't believe that this is the same guy that gave us A Beautiful Mind. Clearly, the guy's losing his touch.

Let me make this clear - I'm no Da-Vinci-Code-the-book fan. I think the premise was superb, the suspense build up was great, but Dan Brown pretty much butchered the ending, so I wasn't expecting the movie to blow me away anyways. Although, I didn't expect it to be so bad.

So, what was so wrong about the film? Just about everything. I can understand that directing a film that's based on a best seller is tough, and that the director has to make certain allowances to the plot, but I was aghast at the liberal interpretation RH has made of the novel.

Things I didn't like -
1. Extremely patchy. I wonder how much sense it made for someone who hasn't read the book.
2. The entire film seemed like a seedy treasure hunt, reminiscent of Indiana Jones or The Librarian - Quest for the Spear (I just saw this on TV yesterday - BAD movie).
3. The liberal interpretation that I was talking about up there - like 24 Rue Haxo being inscribed on the key instead of being written by Sauniere, like Sister Sandrine having a list of the members of the Priory - with their names on it!, like Sophie and Robert walking into Bois de Boulogne and buying some stuff off a junkie for 50 bucks (what was that about??), like the Swiss bank account coming with a "safe passage" clause, like Remy admitting to Silas that he was the Teacher, like doing away with the first cryptex entirely, like Sauniere not turning out to be Sophie's "real" grandfather.. I could go on and on and on.
4. Tom Hanks. The guy is brilliant, but that entire movie was such a waste. I only hope he got a lot of money for it, coz it's definitely not getting him any awards.

Things I liked -
1. Sophie trying to walk on water. That was funny.
2. Sophie, i.e. Audrey Tatou, and her accent. Yummy.
3. Jean Reno, did a good job as Fache.
4. Did I mention Sophie?

So in short, it was a good waste of money and time, if you don't happen to like Audrey Tatou. They say Spielberg's planning to direct the prequel Angels and Demons, and I sincerely hope he does a better job. There, I'm done.

Boy, if you've come this far, you either really dislike the movie or really like me, or have nothing to do. So for your sake more than mine, I'm gonna go off to sleep and hope to apply for my PCC tomorrow.¡Hasta Pronto!

Filed in:

After sitting on my behind for quite a while now, I finally seem to have shrugged off some of my laziness and have started moving in the right direction - I finally applied for a bank loan! This of course, is the loan for the (rather steep) tuition expenses I have to bear to study at IESE. How steep? So much that 5 years ago, I hadn't even imagined that I'd be shelling out this much money for *anything* in the world. Yet today, I'm ready to mortgage my soul to the devil even, to lay my hands on Eur 60,000 approx - and that's just the tuition fees.

The good thing, however, is that IESE has a tie-up with Banco Sabadell and thanks entirely to this agreement, accepted students get a collateral free loan from the bank. In plain words, all the bank needs is a signature on the application, and you get yourself a loan. No showing lots of money in the account, or providing proof that your family owns land equivalent in value to Versailles.

That's easier said than done, though. Here's the current deal they're offering (this may change anytime, as it rests at the discretion of the bank) -

Loan amount - Eur 60k approx
Repayment period - 8 years
Capital deferment - First 2 years (i.e. you don't make any capital related payments to the bank for the first 2 years - that's when you're studying - but pay for the accrued interest)
Interest rate - 4.05% for the first year and 4.05% + - some variation.
Guarantee - Personal only. No co-signors, no collateral required.

The only flip side is the Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) that non-Spanish students have to take mandatorily, and the premium amount for the PPI for 8 years works out to roughly Eur 8000, which needless to say, is covered by the loan. But it still comes out of my pocket, when I'm repaying the loan.

Anyways, PPI or no PPI, I've at least gone ahead and applied for a loan. And quite honestly, it was the best deal I could've got. Come on, who in India is ready to give that big a loan, solely on a personal guarantee, at 4% odd interest, unless you're royalty, in which case, you don't need a loan! I rest my case. Next step? PCC, here I come!

jueves, mayo 11, 2006

As I was coming home from a nice night-out with my friends, I had the bizarrest conversation with the Rickshaw-driver (Mumbai's ubiquitous three-wheeled medium of transport). It went something like this -

Me: (Exhausted) Phew!
Rickshaw Driver (RD): So, had a late night?
Me: Yeah, well..
RD: Did you get off early today from work?
Me: Huh?
RD: No, it's just that I picked you up much later the other day..
Me: (Still confused) No, I wasn't working... you picked ME up? When?
RD: 10 days ago, it must have been 3 in the morning. You'd finished your night shift and were going back home.

Now this was too much. Not only do I not work in shifts (I *hate* the whole system of working in shifts), I distinctly have no recollections of someone picking me up at 3 in the night! So -

Me: Are you sure it was me? It could've been anyone.. after all you drop off hundreds of people a day...
RD: No Sir, there are four categories of people whose faces I never forget - Lawyers, Cops, Professors and people from my village.
Me: (Trying hard not to laugh, as I'm neither of the 4 above) Ohh yeahhh.. I'm glad you remembered me. It's hard to find Rickshaw Drivers who actually remember people they've dropped off! So, how are you today?

That, I guess was the pebble that broke the barrier. For the next 20 minutes, I had to listen to stories of how he remembered faces, returned forgotten items like mobile phones and cash to their respective owners just by remembering what they looked like, and how it was physically impossible for him not to remember me from the last time, as he had such a photographic memory!

There sure is no dearth of strange people in this world!

lunes, mayo 08, 2006

Alright, I agree, sometimes I'm just plain lazy. In all my years of blogging, seldom have I used a standard, ready-made template for my blog. But the last few months, I've been overwhelmed with certain tasks - researching schools, applications, interviews, handing over stuff at work - that I'd put the whole template issue on the backburner.

Since I don't exactly have a valid excuse any more, here's my new template. Due credit goes to Stock Xchng for their amazing frame that I've used as the background. That, and a little bit of Photoshop can do wonders, even for someone with practically no HTML knowledge! There, now I finally have some place to call "home"!

martes, mayo 02, 2006

The last 24 hours have been quite eventful as far as IESE and meeting/speaking to people are concerned. First up, the guys from Mumbai, with the exception of Anindya (Andy) decided to meetup for a leisurely lunch yesterday. Both Ketan and Vivek turned out to be very cool, easy-going guys, and if any of you is reading this - Please try not to talk Greek the next time we meet ... or wait until I know what contra funds and hedge funds are! :-)

Then late last night around 0130hrs, I got a call from Jose, my Portuguese friend, classmate and housemate. Needless to say I was asleep, and the first time he called, I thought it was actually my alarm clock going off and it was time to hit the gym. So I did the obvious - I cut the call and went back to bed. Thankfully he called back, so was great talking to him too, although in my stupor, I'm not exactly sure if I made any sense.

Finally early this morning (yes, 0830hrs constitutes early!) I got a call from - of all people - Andy, my very first friend from IESE, who was calling from a sat-phone on his ship, somewhere close to Russia? He's due to return back to Mumbai soon, so hopefully this time around, we'll have a full-fledged meet up - Ketan, Vivek, Andy, me + Uruguayan Girl??

I, Me, Myself

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