This blog as might be apparent from the title has to do with running, biking and basically other outdoor individualistic sports, sometimes extreme, such as rock climbing . But don't be surprised if you find articles on work, personal life, music and even philosophy, this blog is an exception in this aspect in the blogosphere of running blogs and I am trying to revamp the blog to make it more runner friendly. You might want to look at the sidebar titled 'categorised', which as is obvious, categorizes my posts into different areas of interest.
The other thing that might interest many people is a section on 'running videos' and 'general videos' on the side bar, which I keep updating now and then.
I plan to bring in more posts on running and biking, with some added colour, so as to make them 'complete'. That's about it for now.
As a post-note, I have run a half-marathon, but I am yet to attempt a marathon, which through some concerted effort and time should happen in the future, but that ofcourse is not the culmination of this blog, it would on the contrary be something to jumpstart this blog onto new vistas.

Friday, January 19, 2007

On Lucidity and the thread that unfolds

Lucid. What does this word mean? The meaning of this word centers around clarity. Instances of the word in use: Lucidity in thought, lucidity in speech.
I was wondering if this word could be applied to what are known as dreams.
Lucid and dream....hmm, there are two possible ways I can think of combining these words: a) Dreaming lucidly b) Lucid dreaming

Dreaming lucidly
Now the first one, I guess has to deal with seeing dreams clearly, if that makes any sense. Dreams are anyway vague so why bother making them more clear, they might lose their charm, so you say. I can't agree more. But on second thought, I do think there might be an unexplored world of unusual visual sights awaiting us if only the dreams which we dream were to be more clear and colourful(which might be the case with many, though I am not sure). All the dreams that I chance upon are more or less seen in black and white, but sometimes its not even that, its more of a caricaturial interaction of people discussing and doing vague things in even vaguer situations. Though I tend to forget dreams, the one thing I remember about them is wondering in the dream how some incident could occur, as it was something out of the world!, something that doesn't happen in waking life, something that doesn't obey the physical laws that we know of. For where else, would you happen to observe a usb-drive metamorphising into a cell-phone.

Lucid dreaming is a term that refers to the state where a person who is dreaming realises at some point that he is seeing a dream and is then said to have become lucid. Astounding but possible. There are many resources on the web that cater to this particular paradigm of becoming lucid.
The movie waking life deals with this particular concept in depth and also touches upon associated philosophical tenets.
In the movie, the dreamer(D)interacts with many characters in the dream world and has brief discussions on topics ranging from free will to quantum physics, philosophy and dreams. He even wakes up in a dream only to realise that he is still in the dream!! He is taught by a dream character(DC1) on how to identify whether one is in the dream world or the so-called real world. According to DC1, digital watches malfunction in a dream as do light switches. Thanking DC1 on this piece of information, D begins to leave the room where the discussion occurs and just to test this piece of information, flips a light-switch and is baffled when it doesn't turn the light-bulb off!!
In another instance, D wakes up from a horrible dream and takes a look at the digital-watch and he can't decipher the time and then the realisation hits real hard - He can't get out of the dream. Well, that's another story altogether.
This reminds me of a story by Chuang Tzu. 'I remember having a dream where I dreamt that I was a butterfly happily fluttering around. And when I woke up, I didn't understand whether I was a butterfly now dreaming that I was a human or whether I was a human who had just woken up from a butterfly dream.'
I think 'dreaming lucidly' and 'lucid dreaming' are pretty much connected since, when you know that you are in a dream, you might want the dream to be more clear or lucid. Or maybe we(I) don't remember much of what hapenned in a dream once we wake up, and hence can't detail the clarity of the dreams.

Waking life is a great movie touching on many deep and abstract concepts necessiating revisits to the movie to actually comprehend the essential message of the movie(if there is one), which is built on seemingly random events that are woven together in a framework that makes sense - the dream. And I recently chanced upon it for the nth time around and in one of the encounters D has with a dream character(DC2), an interesting event unfolds: D is descending a stairway presumably into a subway and bumps into a woman(DC2). He excuses himself and starts proceeding when DC2 calls back to D and asks if they could go over it again. D bulbs and doesn't understand what she means by that.

The thread that unfolds
DC2 explains how we are all like ants moving around in an ant colony with antennas to recept people and send out standard responses. You see a person in the hallway approaching you, you wait till the gap narrows down to the appropriate distance, give a glance and say 'hello' or 'how are you doing'. Actually speech is not necessary here, even a nod would have sufficed, since what's actually happened is the acknowledgement of the existence of the other person. The 'hello', 'how are you doing' is just a euphemism or a social construction that presents the acknowledgment in a more pleasing manner. Would you like to have a conversation beyond the 'hello, how are you doing' - Probably not. And why is that? Oh, we are all busy people like the ants doing things that busy people do - Again a social construction: The need to be busy all the time or convey the same. Otherwise you would get comments like, "Jobless fellow, go do some work". And I have found this tendency to be busy both during weekdays and weekends particularly prevalent in the US in the few months that I have been here to experience what I am talking about. The American dream ofcourse, be busy all the time. Work hard, climb up the ladder. What if I didn't want to work hard, maybe I just wanted to have some fun.

The distinction between 'work' and 'fun' comes in the first place because work is not considered as something people would love to do per se, not to say of doing it and really liking it all the time. You work over the week, so that you can do things that are fun during the weekends and in general over your life time. What if life was meant to be fun or let's say 'work' that's fun, then the societal contraption that's been put into place would make it difficult to do the same. For instance, its tough to not to do anything at all for a day here. All the work that needs to be done is compressed into 5 days and the weekend is associated with fun and stuff like that and then you complain that the week was very stressful. Ofcourse it will be. I mean, you can work and have fun on all days including the weekend right. This repetitive cycle of getting stressed out and de-stressing over the weekend seems pretty depressing to me.
Also notice that the transition is easy only one way: From work to fun. Not the other way around. What's called the monday blues. I mean what's the point in saying you work hard and stuff if its not balanced and not enjoyable. Not my model of work and life.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

More exotic fusion music

This can be considered a follow-up post to the The fusion route to Indian classical Music.
I found some nice videos on the tube, a couple of days back:
1) Percussion tango: Tabla(Zakir Hussain) meets the Japanese Drum
- Here. Its wonderful to see how the Japanese drummer starts out tentatively, but then gradually gets into perfect rhythm with the Tabla. Reminded me of the drums used for the music played in the carnival in Matrix II.
2) Guitar and Sitar - Here. Reminds me of the music background for the serial "Bomkesh Bakshi" aired on DD1. This piece has an excellent beginning and ending, with pop level music in between, interspersed with classical notes on sitar.
3) Guitar and Tabla - Here. Worth a click.
4) Guitar, Indian ensemble, Zakir Hussain and John Mclaughlin : Then and now. Same music and spirit.
5) Trance and Tabla?? Seriously, check it out here.
6) Beenie man and Tabla!! - Here
7) Another fusion with Tabla - Tabla Guy - Here

These are really an aside and not fusion per se(thought it would be good to put stuff in one place):
8) Tabla dude, Zakirs' tutelage - here
9) Zakir and Shiva Kumar(Santoor) - here
10) An intro by Suresh to mridangam, a south Indian percussion instrument - here
11) An intro by Suresh to ghatam, again, another south Indian percussion instrument - here
12) An intro to South Indian classical(carnatic) vocal by Soumya - here
13) Alam Khan's intro to Sarod - Here

Finally, unrelated to fusion music or classical music (call them psychedelic if you will), one of my favourite rock songs(click here to know why) ever:
14) Blue oyster cult, 'Astronomy' Live - Here
15) Drums to the above music - remix - Here

Kennenisa Bekele with the WR

Robbie Mcewen and steve o'grady - The 'Nudge'