Fairy tales

What does ‘The Three Little Piggies’, ‘Red Riding Hood’ and ‘Jack and The Beanstalk’ have in common besides being fairy tales for children? They all involve the eating of one or more of the characters and in the case of Jack, the preparation to eat someone. It amazes me that these bloody and violent tales are considered wholesome staple bed time stories. Pigs actually boil and eat wolves for supper and in protest the wolf eats grandma and her pretty little grand-daughter after a game of deception. With the help of the kind hearted orge’s wife, Jack barely escapes being cooked in an oven.

What kind of message are they giving to our future generations? Feeling bored? Stuff your baby sister in the microwave and dinner is served. Its good for a laugh too.


The Mighty Fall

31 years and counting. Thats how long the Fall have been at it and they are every bit as relevant as the day they were dragged kicking and screaming into the punk scene. While the Rolling Stones turn into the embarrassing grandparents on life support that refuse to die, Mark E Smith and his ever rotating group of musicians stay steadfast to their goal in life; never compromise. They have never and by the sounds of their recently released 26th album “Reformation Post TLC” they never will.

Nothing will prepare the senses for their first meeting with the Fall. The band will force you to unlearn everything you know about music. Forget choruses and verses; they’re just details. Its all about ATTITUDE, baby. Stupidity is not an option. There is a laser-sharp wit and intelligence to the whole proceeding centered around the lead singer and only constant, Mark E Smith. He speaks in his own invented code and to get it, you must be similarly endowed with an acrobatic mental faculty.

Here’s a dance that is pure hell
Enter at your peril
Take five dead beat steps
Do a stroll
Act like you just got outta jail
You must be repellant
Dance dead beat descendant
(an example from ‘Dead Beat Descendant’)

The late great John Peel was an important patron and to date they have recorded a total of 24 live radio sessions for him besides performing live on his lawn during his birthday. How cool is that!

Listening to the Fall is like walking down a gray alleyway for the hundredth time and yet finding new and strange things to marvel at. It may be ugly like hell but its still new. Mark E Smith is not a singer in the strictest sense of the word. Rather he growls and barks into the mic barely keeping in time with the instruments raging and tripping over each other. To the uninitiated its all a mess but there is a tangible groove driving each song to its inevitable end only to start all over again on the next track. It should not work but it does, to startling effect. There are no hooks to hang on to, no maps, just blind faith in the genius of Mr. Smith.

By hellfried Posted in Music

Simple list of things to do after a Ubuntu fresh install

Beryl in action

After about 3 years of using various versions of Ubuntu, I have more or less come up with a gameplan following each fresh install of our favorite friendly neighborhood linux distro. I was bugged for the longest time that I could not get Beryl to run in Edgy Eft (version 6.10 for the uninitiated). I did it with the previous Dapper Drake and knew that my PC could handle it and handle it well. The various threads I found in the Ubuntu forums only made me more confused. Being a lazy Saturday I decided to do a clean install and perhaps finally get to enjoy all the eye candy that Beryl promises. Which brings us nicely to the point of this post. Many newbies to linux or Ubuntu will be largely underwhelmed when first confronted with the far from beautiful brown desktop. Worse still is the fact that the thing is mute and blind too. Due to fear of copyright infringement, Ubuntu has no multimedia capabilities out of the box. This does not mean it can’t be done. You just need some simple tweaks.

1. Upgrade the OS – as soon as you log into the desktop an icon on the top panel will inform you that there are upgrades available. Click on it and follow the resultant instructions. A broadband connection to the internet is essential.

2. Multimedia – Being a lazy ass, I decided to give the much touted Automatix a spin this time around and it did not disappoint. Before long Morrissey was singing from within my PC.

3. Graphics card driver – I found this automated script recently and it worked like clockwork. You will need the latest driver for Beryl to work.

4. Beryl – Finally. The best tutorial I have found so far is this one here. Everything but the kitchen sink can be found here. Scroll down to the section on “Eye Candy” and go crazy!

5. Should things not work out do not despair. Hop over to the friendly watering hole that is the Ubuntu forums and you will find people who will go out of their way to help you out.

That’s all you need to end up with a dancing, singing Ubuntu desktop environment.

Disclaimer : These things worked for me in version 6.10 codenamed Edgy Eft

Saturday morning

Woke up real early and found that I could not go back to sleep. The thought of 2 open days in front of me just fills me with excitement. Thank god for the weekends!

Everything just seems brighter(even though the outside is pitch black at this unearthly hour) and the world is full of potential again. The steaming cup of coffee beside me augments my sense of well being. Yes people I am happy again!

Surgery is a strange thing

There is nothing natural about surgery. Everything it stands for, except for the desire to cure, is against existence as we know it. When was the last time you saw a monkey slicing open the abdomen of another monkey when the latter falls ill? Have you ever seen a lion performing brain surgery on a member of its pride? Don’t even get me started on all the barbers in ancient times who moonlighted as surgeons and whose idea of anesthesia was plying their patients with alcohol before mutilating their bodies.

I just dropped someone near and dear to me off at the hospital for a surgical procedure. Everyone at home was downplaying the whole thing but it was obvious to me that tension had taken on physical form. It was perceptible in the way everyone was avoiding eating in front of the person since she has been fasting since the night. A few hours before midnight, she was stuffing her face with junk food; something which she rarely does being the health freak that she is. It would have been comical if not for the fact.

At this time she should be wondering the anesthetic-fueled landscape of her mind. I sincerely hope she is as comfortable and pain-free as modern medical science can allow. I hope she finds something good there.

A message to all online criminals of the world

Can’t these online con-men and spammers take a hint? For the past few years I have been inundated with emails telling me that my paypal account needs verification. They have threatened to close the account if I do not validate my information via the provided link. They have indicated that all my monetary transactions will be halted (not that I have so much money to transact with in the first place). The latest email tells me that there is a message of earth-shattering significance in my paypal mailbox. I just need to log into it via the embedded link.

Listen up people; the mail account that you are sending all these threats to is not even the one that I used to sign up with paypal! So please, get a job, a life and f**k off!!

Life goes on

….. life goes on,
long after the thrill of living is gone…. (excerpt from John Cougar Mellencamp’s ‘Jack & Diane’)

After a particularly taxing day at work the above lines coming out from the car stereo can hit your senses like a steam train. When did I lose the ability to look at things and situations in awe and pure unadulterated wonder? I do not believe that these things do not exist; its just that I have lost the ability to appreciate them for what they are. In the meantime life marches on at its own funereal pace.