Sunday, 23 December 2012

A lot of war and some peace

After my second attempt I finally managed to read all of "War and Peace" within a space of about 6 weeks recently. Previously I had started but then got a bit distracted/bored and stopped.

If anyone is going to attempt reading it I would suggest reading it quickly and without long gaps in between sittings. Otherwise you will lose some of the characters and plot developments.

So how do I feel about it now that I finally finished? Its hard to summerise but I will try. Overall the second time around I enjoyed the book a whole lot more. I managed to remember about 95% of the characters and I think this really helped to enhance the experience.

I think that while being lengthy this book is not a difficult one to read especially when considering some other famous Russian novels. One thing I most enjoyed was the satirical way in which the characters were depicted which on occasion produced chuckle out loud moments. Some of the characters were almost caricatures and while serving the plot and conveying what the author wanted well, they were hardly believable or loveable. While I cared what happened to certain characters in certain sections of the book there was no one character that I loved or cared about deeply. The unmistakable omniscient voice of the author and sometimes his overt maneuvering made it obvious that they were just there to serve a purpose and be a tool for what the author wished to convey. You can argue that all characters in all books are just that but I found it very obvious and in my opinion sometimes too obvious.

As the title of this blog suggests most of the books seemed like it was in the war related events and times. I'm not a fan of war films or books but I found the war related plots very interesting and enlightening. Most things happen not because of the will of some amazing person or one decision but because many small things coincide to produce which in hindsight appears to be a significant event. All wars are useless and pointless - "War is not a polite recreation but the vilest thing in life, and we ought to understand that and not play at war".

I loved some of the beautiful analogies the author used to convey what he was saying.

"Just as in the clock the result of the complex action of innumerable wheels and pulleys is merely the slow and regular movement of the hand marking the time, so the result of all the complex human activities of these 160,000 Russian and French - of all their passions, hopes, regrets, humiliations, sufferings, outbursts of pride, fear and enthusiasm - was only the loss of the battle of Austerlitz, the battle of the three Emperors, as it was called; that is to say, a slow movement of the hand on the dial of human history"

Often the author would use several analogies to get his point across and I sometimes felt as if I was being hit over the head over and over again. I just wanted to shout out and say 'YES! I GOT IT.. LET'S MOVE ON". I think this book could have done with better editing especially towards the end. I'm not saying that because I dont like long books but I believe this book wont lose anything wonderful in it even after some serious editing. Some people might disagree.

I want to finish by recommending this book to everyone to read.

Here are some beautiful lines from it:

“I simply want to live; to cause no evil to anyone but myself.” 

“We are asleep until we fall in Love!” 

“Because of the self-confidence with which he had spoken, no one could tell whether what he said was very clever or very stupid.”

“Everything depends on upbringing. ” 

“The only absolute knowledge attainable by man is that life is meaningless.” 

“A Frenchman's self-assurance stems from his belief that he is mentally and physically irresistibly fascinating to both men and women. An Englishman's self-assurance is founded on his being a citizen of the best organized state in the world and on the fact that, as an Englishman, he always knows what to do, and that whatever he does as an Englishman is unquestionably correct. An Italian is self-assured because he is excitable and easily forgets. A Russian is self-assured simply because he knows nothing and does not want to know anything, since he does not believe in the possibility of knowing anything fully.” 

“the same question arose in every soul: "For what, for whom, must I kill and be killed?".

"Everything was just as it was everywhere else"

“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.” 

“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”

Sunday, 2 December 2012


Cool infographic about HTML 5 from here.

Infographic: HTML5 and Why Developers Need It.
HTML5 Infographic by Ignite UI Infragistics Jquery Controls

Friday, 30 November 2012

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


Last Saturday the 17th Nov 2012 Pramo and I went to the Harvest festival @ Parramatta Park.
Here is the line up:

We saw Cake, Beck and Sigur Ros but I have to say Sigur Ros alone made the whole thing worthwhile. I have never seen Sigur Ros live and have only started to listen and love their music the last couple of years (yes, I know where the hell have I been?). The show was mesmerisingly beautiful with amazing lighting and great sound. They had 3 people on strings and 3 more on horns along with the Sigur Ros band members on stage.
The sound was turned up and the kick on the drum made my heart ache (in a good way). The crowd was captivated the entire hour and a half they were on stage and those epic 10+ minute songs made the time go very quickly.
It was one of the best shows I have seen and the concert was everything I love about their music and more. People were quite still, slowly swaying to the music, sometime listening with their eyes closed, immersing fully in the achingly beautiful sounds.
They played a few tracks from their new album which has a more rocky/heavy feel to it but I liked it straight away - must go an listen to it and see how I like it as a whole.

Here are some pics and clips from the concert (the sound is clipping due to the crappy camera phone)...
Setting up before Sigur Ros 1
Setting up before Sigur Ros 2
Sigur Ros on stage

Sigur Ros from Pramo's phone

Sigur Ros from someone else closer to the stage


Beck video

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Steampunk R2D2 - I want one!

I saw this Steampunk R2D2 a couple of years back in Boing Boing and wanted it ever since. I wish I knew how to make it or convince the person who made it to sell it to me. I love steampunk everything!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date. Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed; But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st, Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade, When in eternal lines to Time thou grow'st. So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
This is one of my favourite poems. It's probably Shakespeare's most well known and loved sonnets. I will never get sick of reading it and I still recall the first time I read it which may have been in English class in high school thinking how beautiful it was and dreamily hoping I would meet someone who would woe me with poetry... ahhhhhhh!
Anyway, here is a nice reading of it.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Enroute to Kandy

Another beautiful photo.