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It’s complicated

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There might be spoilers below, but quite frankly, it’s less about the story and more about the other stuff which makes ‘The Social Network‘ so good. So you decide whether or not to read on.

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TSN (or ‘The Facebook Movie’, as it’s referred to by quite a few people) is possibly the non-nerdiest geeky movie of all times. Like what xkcd says, some people like being called geeks, some get offended, most people in either category don’t really know what a ‘geek’ is. It might be helpful to educate yourself on this.

I was unsure whether to be embarrassed of my nerd-roots or feel proud about them while watching the initial portions of TSN, when I could actually follow the things ‘Mark’ does to hack into websites to create the image database for his Facemash venture. It reminded me of things I’ve done (and people around me did) what seems like ages ago – writing scripts to download ‘pics’ from various websites and black-listing network id’s in the process; using codes to make the mundane and repetitive tasks less painful; spending a day to write a code to automate a 5 minute daily process (I do that sometimes at work even now, to be honest). But that was where the nerd bit ended.

After that, it was all about the idea. There’s been another very recent movie which focused on how powerful an ‘idea’ can be, equating it to a virus for emphasis. TSN is essentially about the underlying principle on which all social networks, virtual and real, are built on.

The lead actor Jesse Eisenberg – who, I have to mention, looks Jewisher than Jerry Seinfeld, the real Mark Zuckenberg and all others of his faith who have taken over Hollywood right now – manages to ensure that people don’t remember him as the kid from Zombieland or Adventureland, which is quite a feat. Justin Timberlake’s a bit weak playing a personality as colourful as Sean Parker (here’s a slightly long but quite interesting Vanity Fair profile), but otherwise the casting is quite spot on. The script is tight, fast and quite interesting. The director David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en, Benjamin Button) has proven himself already, and the screenplay is by Aaron Sorkin who is one of the best in the business right now (A Few Good Men, Studio 60,)

The characters are well-sketched, the dialogues crisp and fast-paced, the humour cheesy and a bit forced at times, the interludes between friends-turned-foes, foes-still-foes and geeks-and-the-rest quite well played.

TSN is one of the best movies of this year, but not the best movie ever (disagreeing here with Scott Adams). It’s a fascinating insight into the evolution of something which has become so integrated with our lives – the poking, the tagging, the sharing, the ‘Liking’, everything. Lastly, it’s an ode to the people who’ve given us what is possibly the best gift of Facebook – ‘It’s Complicated.’

Written by sujaybedekar

October 17, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Social Networking?

with 4 comments

I’m yet to decide whether I am glad or dejected because I haven’t been tagged in any of the viral things doing the rounds on Facebook these days – Wall photos, 25 things you didn’t know about me, songs which come to my mind first when I read this and other Notes. What I am fairly certain about, though, is how highly irritating these things have turned out to be. I find myself torn between 2 extreme emotions: despair at having my notifications page being bombarded with random alerts, and an intense urge to find out who is the sluttiest person in each of my acquaintances’ friend circles.

What is most irritating, especially about all the random lists people generate, is that most of the things people include are solely meant to be cute/funny and hence end up being quite unreal. I would be very interested in knowing if, for example, someone colour-coded his underpants to work, or things which turned people on (and off). But telling me that you like taking long walks or that you do/don’t cry that often is just a criminal waste of cyberspace. As a mark of protest, here’s my list of things (in no particular order) which I find quite irritating –

1. People who talk about themselves all the time, only to pause and let you talk about them. This can be especially irritating when you want to talk about yourself.

2. People who don’t follow loo etiquette. As if it isn’t scary enough that foot tapping while getting epiphanies can have risqué implications, it can be quite pathetic when people make small talk out of plain relief (no pun intended) or just to dispel uncomfortable silences. This includes saying stuff like ‘I’m so awesome’ on making surprising discoveries. (People also have a tendency to say the most ridiculous/scandalous things in office restrooms – it’s almost like they forget that they still are in office and can very easily be overheard).

3. (Picking up from the previous point) – People who find it absolutely essential to dispel uncomfortable silences. Uncomfortable silences have a very specific purpose in life – to make people uncomfortable and shut them up at the same time. Breaking them, then, is just plain unnecessary.

4. People who ask redundant questions – ‘Ooh did that hurt?‘ after stepping on your foot. ‘I’m sorry am I blocking your view?‘ after coming late to a cinema hall and ambling along to their seats with their eyes glued to the screen. ‘What do you think?‘ after having already decided to buy something and asking for a second opinion just to give you the illusion of relevance.

5. People screwing up their grammar. I know, this might sound a bit finicky, but when someone says ‘I forgotted …‘, what is said thereafter gets, well, forgotted. Or ‘No I didn’t gone.‘ Or ‘I does not do this.’ Or ‘He catched it so well.‘ Mildly irritating.

6. People who screw up my name. I’ve had a wide range of people from Credit card call centre representatives to Rating Agency helpdesk individuals giving me advice on how to pronounce and/or spell my name. How tough is it to accept that someone can be named Sujay and not Sanjay, Sujoy, Suja or (this I swear I am NOT making up) Suagy? How in god’s name do you even pronounce the last one?

7. Pseudo-secularists, because they are full of BS. And armchair critics, because their purpose of existence is as mysterious, if not more, than slugs and bedbugs.

8. Arabic football commentators. I went through the entire 1998 Football World Cup telecast on the (then) newly-launched Ten Sports channel genuinely believing that the ‘experts’ on TV had all been infected by the same strain of strep which made them cough/clear their throats while talking. And they had a very irritating habit of yelling Goaaal GOaaal GOAaaal GOAAAAL! in an infinite loop when … obvious. Same goes for Latin American commentators who shout ‘GOLAASO’ ‘GOOLAAASO’ with a similar passion and sense of urgency.

9. Indian cricket commentators. And Pakistani ones too. ‘Nuff said.

10. The new FB interface. It is not just irritating – it is quite crappy.

11. Over-exuberance.

12. Tomato skin. I’ve talked about this before in great detail.

13. Babies who cry in cinema halls. And parents who act like their kids will shut up if they are ignored. Kids cry because they need attention. Makes you revisit the principles of Idiocracy every single time.

14. Having to explain jokes, especially those which aren’t meant to be classics and have a very, very short shelf life (i.e. bad ones). I go through this particular agony almost every day.

15. People who oppose something (a team, an idea, anything) you support just to have a stand (or to piss you off). I refuse to argue with someone who argues for the sake of arguing.

16. Honking at red lights. There might very well be some deep-rooted pyschological/Freudian explanations for this phenomenon, but there is no doubt that this can get mighty irritating.

17. Atheists who are atheists because it is cool to be one. For that matter, anyone who is something just because it makes her cooler. Although for atheists, I think most of the times they are (as a thumb rule) a little bit irritating anyway. Same goes for PETAmaniacs.

18. French footballers and Australian cricketers. I have no rational justification for this, though.

19. People who post ‘Sorry for not blogging in a long time …’ or ‘Blogging has been slow because …’. Seriously, the world has existed and will continue to exist without your contributions to cyber-literature.

20. People who add unnecessary points to lists just to have a ‘nice’ number of entries.

(This list is not exhaustive and is likely to swell with the passage of time. The round number of entries right now is purely coincidental, and doesn’t contradict point # 20. )

Written by sujaybedekar

March 26, 2009 at 6:17 pm

Moral dilemma

with 6 comments

There’s an app in Facebook called ‘Cities I’ve Visited’ in which people can show off all places they have traveled to. For me, this app has raised a moral dilemma –

On my recent trip to the land of infinite opportunities and shady mortgages, I took a week off as mentioned earlier and roamed around Northern USA, which turned out to be not quite the best travel plan due to the infinite snow I encountered wherever I went. And it is the ‘wherever I went’ part which is the bone of contention … the stumbling block … the main hurdle … the faltering step … the cause of the dilemma.

On the face of it, I am now a well-traveled man, having been to Minneapolis, Fargo, Chicago, Urbana-Champaign, Ann Arbor, Detroit, New Jersey and New York City (phew). But the following table tells a different story –

Place Visited Time spent in all
Time spent in Bus station/ Airport/ Train/ Broken down car
Edison, NJ 5 hrs Train (2 hrs)
Minneapolis, MN 18 hrs Airport (3 hrs), Greyhound bus station (3 hours)
Chicago , IL 6 hrs Greyhound bus station (5 hrs), Car (1 hr)
Marshall, MI 2 hrs Broken down car (2 hrs)
Detroit, MI 4 hrs Airport (4 hrs)
Dubai 4 hrs Duty Free (4 hrs)

One might scoff if I give naivety and inexperience in planning such trips as an excuse for such a sucky outcome, although in my defense the horrid weather conditions were partly to blame. Nevertheless, I would like to resolve my dilemma which is giving me such sleepless naps –

Am I allowed to flaunt the aforementioned places on the Fb travel map?

Nb: I always thought dilemma was spelled as ‘dilemna’ … but firefox spellcheck thinks otherwise

Written by sujaybedekar

April 4, 2008 at 6:01 am

Posted in new york, travel, US

Tagged with , , ,