I finally got to read Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein the other day. I say the word “finally” because I bought this book years ago, during one of my high school book-buying binges. And even though it’s a relatively short book, I never gave it a shot, mainly because I felt I knew everything there is to know about Frankenstein:

Let’s see …

Tall, inherently evil, athletically-built SGM seeks SGW, having a penchant for slow walks with arms fixed straight ahead, who enjoys bellowing out incoherent grunts and monosyllabic words. [let your own preconceptions fill in the rest]

Well, after reading the book, I see now that I had a few things completely wrong. First of all, I always just assumed “Frankenstein” to be the name of the monster, I didn’t realize that the monster doesn’t really have a name, other than his possessive association with his creator: Dr Frankenstein’s monster.

Then another one of my preconceptions went sour, and in fact, became the exact opposite of what I expected. I imagined the monster to be very inarticulate, and if he had any written dialogue, I figured it would be as unreadable as Jim from Huckleberry Finn. But I was quite mistaken. He was extremely intelligible and even eloquent. Not to mention well-read, there is a mention of him reading Paradise Lost, and Plutarch’s Tales (the former being a book I struggled a bit with in my British Lit. class). The monster is plaintive and rational, with tender emotions that are quite hurt by the repeated responses he gets by humans, who do nothing but snap-judge him by his hideous looks and reach for arms. During one instance, the monster risks his life to save a little girl drowning in a nearby river, and is rewarded only by a shot gun shell to the chest. A gift of firewood to a starving indigent family is met by fear and hate, with yet another attempt at the monster’s life. And there were many more similar episodes. Largess rewarded by scorn, appeals to reason, retorted by violence; It felt like the label of monster was placed on the wrong group of people.

There also seems to be a splash of The Merchant of Venice influence. During one long sorrowful speech by the monster, I was almost expecting him to break down on his knees with: “Hath not a monster eyes? … if you prick us do we not bleed.”

Overall, the book is very well written and really an excellent story, I’d recommend it to anyone. It has such relevant themes, particularly on the grossness of ignorance, prejudice and preconceptions, and how in this regard the ostensibly intelligent, like the learned Dr. Frankenstein, can be ruefully stupid. I initially avoided reading this book due to my own assumption of what I would find–which inturn made the book’s message, that much more effective.

Graduated Finally

I can’t believe I’ve finally graduated. In fact, the thought never really hits me until someone else mentions it, and that is usually followed by a lifted glass towards my direction–and plenty of smiles.

The last five years have been quite an experience, to say the least. But I suppose five years of anything can be considered “quite an experience.”

There was my brief episode of being an English major, fomented mostly by the physics and math classes that I was never too good at. It’s a fact; I can’t do simple math; I can’t do complicated math either. It’s really quite embarrassing.

But I ended up switching my major again, back to computers. And then some how or another I muscled through it. So here I am. Another green computer scientist, fatted up with 5 years of schooling like a prized hog, and now ready for the workforce.

Tis a consummation devoutly to be wish’d !

Star Wars iii Review

I got to see Star Wars III the other day with my good friend Laboss and my cousin Lalith. We were able to see the film a little early through my mother, whose company handed out sneak preview tickets to each employee; I guess received as a reflected incentive for Hasbro’s commercial partnership with Lucas Studios in creating all sorts of neat little figurines like the uber-cute Mr. Potato head Darth Vader, and plush, verdant, Yoda dolls that also cute they are. Anyway, I’m going to seize this opportunity to throw my two cents at this movie.

Let me start be mentioning the obvious. The original Star Wars IV, V, and VI, were absolutely brilliant. And although they didn’t have the hi-tech CGI luster that the new I, II, and III have, the script was so solid and engaging, that were it performed in the globe theater with little more than pine floors and a dozen oddly placed load-bearing columns, the story itself would have stood ground.

But, I’m afraid, I can’t say the same about these recent 3 Star Wars films. The effects were dazzling, and I dare say, “too” dazzling, but it was completely lacking in story. If you were to consolidate the fight scenes in this last move, part III, which looked so rehearsed and were so onerous to watch, it would easily take up a little less than half the run-time of the entire movie. As for the story, it was predictable. Most of the fighting involved either Obi Wan Kenobi or Anakin Skywalker. And every fight scene with Obi Wan, I knew would leave Obi Wan the victor, seeing how he has to make an appearance in Star Wars IV. Every Fight scene with Anakin Skywalker, I knew, would leave Anakin the victor, again for the same reason. The love scenes with Anakin and Padme made me want to vomit. Hayden Christiansen for the most part had a frightful performance. And, the movie’s dialogue was just plain bad.

Futhermore, all the screens were too brilliantly rendered with computer graphics that it made every scene seem more like concept drawings, rather than a palpable reality. Also, is there really a need to preface every Star Wars film with the most complicated of short narratives? Maybe it’s just me, but I find the introductory scrolling yellow text to be a little too complicated a story to be planting in the beginning of a film— especially when you have only a few seconds to read it. Okay: so the separatist movement of the republic has lost momentum in the unanimous confirmation of the senators to deter Chancellor Palatine’s movement to commend the release… boy it’s tedious to read.

I know what I like in Science Fiction, and these last 3 Star War’s films were not it. I found all the little quips extremely corny and irritating. The fighting was a complete bore. The story was completely predictable and lacking. In Short, this film gets my two thumbs down disapproval.

Review of Chrous Concert

I have been set with the task of writing a review on the University Chorus and Concert Choir’s performance on April 30, 2005 of Gabriel Faure’s Requiem. Let me first start off candidly and admit that my concert-viewing experience is quite limited–especially with chorus concerts. The only recent memories I have of seeing someone physically singing are sorrowfully limited to the dreadful impromptu talent in Fox’s American Idol, the obligatory ballgame anthems, and of course, the garish perennial SuperBowl halftime shows. So although I may not have the requisite expertise and experience to make what would be considered a thorough and informed review of Saturday’s URI chorus concert, I will give it an honest effort and commit this task to the best of my ability.

Let me first start of by making note of the key figures of Saturday’s concert. I have already mentioned the two chorus groups: the Univerity Chorus and the Concert Choir. The directing of the night’s performance was shared by Carolina Flores and Mark Conley, and the man-on-the-piano (for lack of a better term), was Eric Mazonson. All of whom, performed quite aptly—at least I think so. Let me put it this way, if there were any mistakes, they were expertly inconspicuous.

The chorus also performed quite well and I was very much impressed at the talent. I would like to share a small comment on the piece sung by the Univerity Chorus called “Now from the World (The light of God is Gone)”. This piece had a musical accompaniment with Michelle Gorgone playing the clarinet. Although Michelle did an excellent job with her part, I felt the piece as a whole sounded a little awkward with the clarinet. The unsteady dynamics of the clarinet (which I assume were unintentional) made the steady vocals drift in-and-out of hearing.

The mood set by the concert was—to say the least—melancholy. I understood very little of the lyrics when they were being sung by the chorus, but the melodies from each of the songs were mellifluous and pleasant to the ear. The final piece, Requiem Op.48 was also quite enjoyable to listen to. And you’ll have to excuse my more summary-like analysis of this concert. The different pieces seemed to mix together so fluidly, and the tones all sounded so similar, that it is a little hard to focus on individual pieces so much as the concert as a whole.

So on that note, let me just say that in summary, I quite enjoyed my experience in attendance at the URI Chorus Concert of Faure’s Requiem. I found the whole thing to be quite a successful display of vocal talent, and from my observations of the other spectators watching the concert—they seemed to enjoy it as well. Well done!