Thursday, April 19, 2007

Prepare for Glory! - 300 - A Spot Review


I watched the movie "300" two weeks before not as a historian or a Frank Miller fan.  At first I was skeptical; I never expected it would be worthy for the time spent, as I was busy with a lot of other things, but now I think I have been mistaken. The Movie is taken from FRANK MILLERS COMIC which is based around the event itself. It is a romanticized take on history; therefore, like everyone, I also expected to see Xerxes depicted as an evil tyrant and king Leonidas portrayed as some sort of superhero. In my view, it is a movie of amazing cinematography and unmatched action sequences. It combines the newest aspects of technology with old school warfare and it works. Like I said before, I watched this movie not as a historian or a comic book fan; I never have such a cross of ideals worked so well, putting prejudice aside and try to appreciate what; it as a very good movie. From the way I see it,  the film set out primarily to entertain, and in that it succeeded with me. I liked the use of the grotesque monsters and such, just because those characters made the film fun.

The summary of plot is like this.

During the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, an alliance of Greek City States fought the invading Persian Army in the mountain pass of Thermopylae. The Greeks held back the then Persian Army which was vastly outnumbered in one of the most famous last stands of history. Persian King Xerxes led an Army of well over 100,000 (Persian king Xerxes before war had about 170,000 army). Men to Greece was confronted by 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians, and other Slave soldiers.  The battle lasted for about 3 days, and after which all 300 Spartans were killed. The Spartan defeat was not the one expected as a local shepherd named Ephialtes, defected to the Persians and informed Xerxes of a separate path through Thermopylae, which the Persians could use to outflank the Greeks. 

Since I watched the movie at home and my neighbor was preparing for exams, I couldn't enjoy the  acoustic effects of the DVD to its full extent, and I couldn't anywhere compare it with the theater. Because of the excellent soundstripe editing, the mixing as well as considering the DVD print, I got the real experience of a #1 movie. I could experiece its sound mixing perfection from the very beginning.

The movie begins with the birth of the Spartan King Leonidas, his childhood, and combat training. Furthermore, I can say countless events up to the last moment of the movie; like the growling of the wolf, the first shot of Persian messenger’s arrival and the impressive scene of Persian messenger with conquered King Heads, King Leonidas's reaction towards the messenger, etc.  Therefore, I think it's one of the best movies I have seen in the recent times. Below listed are the names of some of the actors and their names in the movie.

Gerard Butler - King Leonidas
Lena Headey - Queen Gorgo
Dominic West - Theron
David Wenham - Dilios
Vincent Regan - Captain
Michael Fassbender - Stelios
Tom Wisdom - Astinos
Andrew Pleavin - Daxos
Andrew Tiernan - Ephialtes
Rodrigo Santoro - Xerxes
Giovani Cimmino - Pleistarchos
Stephen McHattie - Loyalist
Kelly Craig - Oracle Girl

Some scenes from the Movie:

Proving to be a Sparton.

Persian Army a small portion

The Queen

Revenge of the King

Rain of Arrows

    Courtesy –

Monday, April 2, 2007

My customized Table

Part 1: The Investigation
    When I came to Bangalore looking for a new job I also took my Computer with me. The reason is simple. I cannot live without my computer even for one day. It will be so much boring, so that I fear even to think about such a situation. So that’s the case. In the first rented house that we got, we kept my Computer in Floor as we thought it may be okay. But because of my habit of using computer for long times, it become very difficult to sit in floor for extended times. So after about two-three weeks I decided to purchase one Computer Table.

    I enquired for a table which is reasonable of cost and provides enough features. I went to KR Market near SP Road one day. This place is very well known for availability of these types of shops. I looked almost all the shops but was unable to find a model which is satisfactory to my need within my price range. Only few models I found have had a draw with lock, leg space and can be detached. But all of them where much highly priced than what I expected. So that day I went home without fixing anything.

Part 2: New Plan and rollback.

    Next day I went to my Cousin George’s home. There I saw a computer table which is very simple in construction but contains almost all the basic features I wanted. I started thinking of building one like that. So the next day I went to one shop which does woodcraft works. I gave the plan and wire frame of the table to him and asked for the cost of building one like that. But that was the worst thing. It came to almost double the rate of the best table I saw in the market. So what you can assume, that plan also went to a big flop!

Part 3: Transactions

    After two or three days I came to a final decision….anyway I need one table so go and purchase one table that I can get under my current budget. Don’t look into additional features of table like detachability and leg space. Later I can throw it out and take a good one when I get one good job. In that decision again I went to market next day with my friend. We started looking for Computer Tables in shops from one side of market. After one round of wandering for about 2 hours we met one old shopper with whom we bargained and fixed up a table with fairly good price.

Part 4: Transportation Problems

    My friend went to get one Transporter Auto for taking the table to our room. He came back and asked me to come with him as he was not able to get any Auto’s with a decent fair every one is asking almost double or triple of normal charges. At this time itself my friend invented a new thing (to me the worst invention at that time). He told this could be a problem if we are shifting the house in near future because of its bulky size. Even if I manage to take the table home now later we could face problem if it cannot be disassembled. And this finding became the turning point of the story. After I started looking at the structure and quality of tables I found that it is not suitable for disassembling by default but if I replace all the screws of the table with nuts, bolts and washers then the table can be made completely detachable. After ensuring the overall quality of the table plates and wooden parts I selected one from a set of similar tables.

    And here is another joke that happened. After giving the amount to shopkeeper I told my friend I was planning to disassemble the complete table and replace all screws with nuts and bolts. Then he came up a new brilliant suggestion that we can take the complete Table just by hand in Bus and save the transportation charge if we can disassemble the table there itself. So we asked shop keeper for one screw driver and spanner set. When they asked I told them our plans. Hearing this they got shocked and called me crazy as they were 100% sure that if the table is detached it cannot be reassembled any more. I think the shop owner actually become so much worried and that is why he called his son to make me understand the problem. But I was not ready to call for an auto as I thought it is not worthy at all. So at last owner’s son called a head loader and asked him to carry the table to bus stand nearby. We started walking towards to bus stand with the head loader and upon reaching Bus Stand he placed the table inside a bus that is going to Ramamoorthy Nagar. On the way to Ramamoorthy Nagar we called our other two friends to carry the table to home. When the bus reached our stop they got into the bus and helped us to get the table out of the bus. We carried the table to our home as it was only around 50 meters from main road.

Part 5: Plans Postponed

    I was planning to do the conversion of table that week itself but later I postponed the disassembling plans of table for some time because of the problems with job search. So it went on and on so that I used the table as such until, we stayed in that house. One of our roommates got Job at native and we three started planning to shift to other friends. At this point my cousin George asked me to come to his house and actually this turned out to be a turning point in my carrier life. Because of space problems I was not able to move all my materials to his house. So I decided to take what ever essential to his home and split the rest into two and keep it with my other two cousin’s homes. For this purpose I disassembled my table for the first time after purchase. Along with other materials I kept the table pieces at Robin’s home and kitchen items at Cijo’s home. All these items where in these houses only, until I got my job and later on moving to my current room where I am writing this Blog.

Part 6: The Conversion Phase - Planning

    After moving to our new room, I decided to take the table as I didn’t had a place to keep my PC. After getting all the pieces of table in the room when I started reassembling I found, that will be the right time to customize my table. First I thought only about the replacement of screws with nuts and bolts for making table fully detachable. But while taking the estimate for that, I found that if some of the pieces are removed I could makeup the leg space for a better sitting comfort. So I started thinking about new design that I could make use of all the available pieces. It took around one week for me to create a new good design for the table. I calculated the materials that will be required additionally and cost for that. The additional items required where nuts and blots of different lengths and sizes, 4 roller wheels, and some block joints and a Haxo Blade and holder as don’t have any cutting tool with me, other than essential tools like player, spanner set, screw drivers etc which I already had at that time.

Part 7: The Conversion Phase – Design and purchase

    By next week purchased almost all the items for the table. After getting all the required components one Sunday after coming back from mass I started the work. The overall idea of the work was to cut the lower section of table into two pieces (Section 4*) and detach the left holder area (Section 1*, 2*) and place it in the right side of the table. Screw-in the removed block (Section 3*) to the back side between the left panel and second left panel of the proposed leg space area so that the table support can be increased. Then find the screws which should be unscrewed for detaching the table and replace them with nuts and bolts. So this design can make the table completely detachable and I can get enough leg space and also get an additional space for keeping my PC Cabinet.

Part 8: Conversion Climax – The Construction

    So on next Sunday after coming back from Mass I started my work. First thing I did was enlarging the screw holes into full sized holes which I could use it for nuts and bolts to screw it from two sides.

    After this I started with my next phase of customization i.e. cutting the bottom main panel. After that I thought about fitting the roller for middle section (4*) and for the Cabinet section (2*). Alas!! At this time only found a critical bug in my design. During the design time actually I missed out a difference in height between left and right sides of the leg space area. Because of this difference the right leg space roller wheel will not touch floor if I fit it as per my current plan.

    It actually requires an additional piece for fixing this problem. So I stopped my construction and I revisited my design. I have to purchase an additional piece, but getting an additional piece that looks like my current table panels could be a problem. I looked in the table pieces which I can take one piece out. Is the finding of bug was earlier I don’t know because it didn’t caused any problem to me, even the conversion was about 80% of its way. I found if I could reduce the height of the Cabinet holder I can get a piece from its lower area which could be sufficient for solving this problem. I just told it was earlier because if I had first fitted this panel I could have already created screw holes in the right side of the table. So as per my changed plan I sawed the piece into two and attached one piece into right leg space section (4*). Then I went on with fitting the support board

After completing the Support Board I screwed in the right side Cabinet Holder Panel.

    The overall construction took around three days. I wonder how I got such a beautiful design which utilized almost all the available good pieces and without any additional one. Actually this one is one of the best I have made until today. I don’t know will I get a chance to have a creation better than this!

(A Complete View of My Table with its functional Units)

    And now it remains in my room as one of my precious works.