Any clod can have the facts, but having opinions is an art.
- Charles McCabe

12 May, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: From The Buick 8

My first Book Review, My first Stephen King, My first horror read... All in all, lot many firsts. But let's get down to business already.

The book has been classified as 'horror', but it's only for want of a better classification. A couple of explanations about what goes on in this thing, and it might just have gone down as a sci-fi offering. But the beauty of Buick 8 is just that — it leaves things unexplained.

Basically, the plotline (as spoiler-free as possible) goes thus: A man in a black coat arrives one fine day on a petrol pump to refuel a car, a vintage 1954 Buick Roadmaster, except that it just feels... different. Then the man simply disappears to seemingly nowhere, and as a division of Western Pennsylvania cops called Troop D take over the 'car', they begin to realise that this may not be a car at all...

The character fleshing is quite okay (Although not as good as my previous read: Ken Folett's Code To Zero).
The story proceeds in a series of narrations in flashbacks; right from the day Troop D saw the Buick to all the insane happenings that took place around it as the story progressed.

However, the best part, undoubtedly, is the way the narration is handled. As the characters who narrate the incidents keep switching over, the reader is provided different perspectives of the happenings; and the writing style is also considerably changed to match the character narrating the tale.

And then, of course, comes the climax. And I must say, this one is more for those who believe 'It is the journey that is important; not the destination'. Books that manage to keep up such a feverish pace right throughout, at the same time withholding many elements from the reader; many of which comprise the 'Big Picture' (What is that Buick thing anyway?) face imminent danger of falling to a whimper of a climax; and Buick 8 almost manages to fall in the same trap. However, as the book says, 'The word almost covers a lot of territory. If might be the only word in the language that covers more'. The description of one scene towards the end manages to salvage most of the climax.

All in all, if you'd like to spend the better part of 2 days with a 450-page tome, doing pretty much nothing else in life; then I recommend this to you. Go ahead. Take the ride.

Rating: 8/10


30 April, 2009

... But The Constant Stays [Result Analysis: Part 2]

And Part 2 of the Result Analysis.

I feel like pi, aka 3.141592... (Not pie...). The entire result charts around me have turned and twisted as if caught in an enormous hurricane (Maybe they were...). But I have been the only constant in the Top 5 (as far as I know, anyway; correct me if I'm wrong). And, moreover, it's just a matter of plain, simple luck. I had hardly studied (As I made very clear in Part 1 of this post), and it is, to this date, a mystery: How on earth do I manage to score high without studying much? (And earn nicknames like 'Scholly', 'Padhaku', etc.)

Let's rip it apart subject-by-subject:

1. Design and Analysis of Algorithms (DAA)
81/100. Quite an incredible jump from the 19/40 in the Unit Test to wind up as highest in the class. And, all the more, in one nightmare of a subject. We were expected to know extremely complex maneuvers in C Programming even when the basics of most of the students were not clear. The result? Most of the class (In fact, more-or-less all) opted for rote-learning the algorithms with varying degrees of success, and scored an equally varying pattern of marks...

2. Computer Graphics (CG)
82/100. Ah, my favorite. Mostly because it's the easiest on offer (And I'm usually not the one to fall for word play in the questions). I expected good marks in this one, and got them, again highest in class (In spite of the paper being 4 mks too lengthy).

3. Electronics and Telecommunication (EXTC)
80/100. Now, this is the biggest surprise on offer. This is a subject based mostly on 12th Standard Physics, and I'm here, a 12th Commerce student. After a terrible viva-voce (What are the Berkhausen Criteria, by the way?) and desparate last minute preparation (All credit to Sagarika and Viraj), comes the theory paper. It's too long, I wind up leaving an 8-mark question. (Which, ironically, is the very same question I was unable to attempt in the Unit Test). And, guess what? Highest in class.

4. Professional Skills Devpt. Course (PSDC)
71/100. Now, this is surprising on the other side of the scale... Of course, I couldn't attempt about 12 marks, and this is total theory (Questions that appeared in the exam included "Explain the advantages and disadvantages of the telephone."). But all the same, this is a little below what most would expect of me...

5. Mathematics - II
72/100. Well, it's low (especially Parna's Blitz-krieg 97 puts my effort in sharp perspective), but when I tell you I got only about 6 sums fully right will you understand how high this is... I walked into the examination hall to a friend (Neha) pointing out a silly mistake of mine I'd been overlooking for 2 whole months... And the saga continued. Whether it be totally forgetting the (upon pi) in the Fourier series formula or writing 9 + 9 = 19, silly mistakes were the bane this time around... (As usual!)

All in all, a predictable result from a series of unpredictabilities!

Do leave comments... I love 'em!


29 April, 2009

Who Do You Want To Impress? Quiz Result

You Want to Impress Strangers

You want strangers to think you're attractive. You want to be seen as gorgeous and sexy.

You want your friends and family members to think you're smart. You like been seen as insightful and wise.

You are at your most playful when you are around family and friends. You are more serious around people you don't know well.

You have no problem letting strangers see the real you. You are upfront about who you are.

You are open to becoming close to people, but it takes some time. You don't let just anyone in.



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