Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Would You?

At lunch I had a discussion with a friend about how the university wants us to voluntarily take one to five days off without pay to save money.

Post lunch, I am sitting here at my desk, listening to music, and thinking - so what would happen if I really get laid off? And to make things worse, what if I don't get another job? Like, forever?

I think I would probably beg my friends to take care of me. I think I would offer to do their laundry, dishes, etc in exchange for free food and some pocket money.

This is no joke.

Hey guys, you will take care of me, right? *Eric Cartman voice*

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Root Of All Evil..

This is absolutely hilarious. Larry King is evil!!!!

NASA Simulator Prepares Astronauts For Rigors Of An Interview With Larry King

Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Name Is..

I finally started building my robot today. What you see are just the legs of the humanoid. Apparently, he is supposed to walk but I really could not test Alpha Rex's walking skills because I did not have batteries :-). I am hoping to post a video here once he is built and programmed.


After installing the "Subscribe to" gadget, a thought came to my mind - who in this world would want to subscribe to my posts?

I mean I know that my blog has some regular readers who read the posts and sometimes even comment. There are also those secret admirers who read my blog on a regular (?) basis but never post comments. But seriously, who on this planet would want to read my posts as soon as I post them? Who are those eager creatures who are dying to know about my life, thoughts, existence, and all that jazz? Because in all honesty, what I write about is nothing but shit (for lack of a better word). I just think that this gadget would never be used.

However, I would take this opportunity to thank everyone who reads this blog. To all the secret admirers - I don't expect you to post comments. As a matter of fact, I don't expect anyone to post comments on this blog. This blog is only for your reading pleasure. A mere mention of my posts in parties or drinking sessions is proof enough that I do an okay job.

Once again, thank you to all. You get my mojo going :-).

Don't Do It Again..Please


I really hate it when people say "Welcome to the club". To be more specific - whenever I do/ buy something I tell people about it. If those people have already done/ bought it they say " welcome to the club". They usually have a smile on their face that tries to convey a certain message which goes something like, "hey, you know what, you did what I had done a long time ago, and your life would have been totally incomplete if you hadn't done what you just did."

I don't care about the message being conveyed, but the phrase annoys me - annoys me so much that I almost make an ugly face when somebody says it. In my mind I say WTF? to myself, but keep quiet. No I don't keep quiet. For some strange reason I say "thank you" to the other person (WTF, right?). And then I smile. I don't let the annoyance brewing inside me show on my face. I just decide not to offend the other person.

If you really want to use that phrase on me, use it when I really join a club that you are already a member of. Please don't otherwise. Please.

I hate it.

Another phrase that totally annoys me is "believe you me". I go "WTF?" every time someone says it. It doesn't make sense at all. If someone asks my name, do you think I would say "My is name Venkat"? I am sure you said no to that.

So all you nice people out there - if your friend does/ buys something that you already have - don't annoy them. Don't try to welcome them to a non existent club that only you are a member of. Say "Oh how nice!" or "Cool!" or "Attboy/girl" instead.

Thank you.

I just added a few "gadgets" here to make you wait a little more for this page to load. See if you like them.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Joy To The World..

Decided to buy myself some nice christmas gifts. Sudden decision of course.

Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes

Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts I - IV

Snow Patrol - A Hundred Million Suns

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Grand Theft Auto..

Something totally bizarre happened yesterday.

Whenever I come out of a Wal-mart store carrying more than one grocery bag, I open the back door of my car from a distance, walk up to it, open the back door, and keep my stuff in the back seat. Yesterday, when I got out of the store, I did the same thing. But when I opened the door, the light turned on, which I thought was bizzare (it's usually doesn't). Anyway, while keeping my grocery bags in the back seat, the dashboard in the front happened to come in my line of vision, and that kind of freaked me out. There were around four knobs there, and I am used to seeing only too. There was a little too much of blue and red around those knobs, and I am not used to seeing too much of that at all. I actually panicked. I could not understand how it could all happen. Then I thought that maybe this is how my car looks like from the inside. A second later I thought that maybe I am hallucinating. The left back door was open, my stuff was on the back seat, and I was half inside, staring at the front from the back in astonishment, thinking what really went wrong.

All this happened for not more than 7-8 seconds. And then it struck me.

It was not my car.

I quickly took my stuff out, shut the door, and looked around. My car was parked next to this one. Same color. Same freaking size. This one was a Ford Focus. I quickly looked around again to see if anyone was watching. There was a huge SUV parked at a distance with lights on. I thought that the guy would perhaps call the cops and tell them about how a terrorist planted a bomb in somebody else's car and drove away in a red Honda Civic. But that didn't happen.

Moral of the story - before you get in "your" car in a parking lot it is better to do a thorough check to make sure that it really is yours. And for God's sake, please don't leave your doors unlocked.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Spare Me Some Rock & Roll?

For some strange reason I felt like listening to Led Zeppelin today. I logged in to Rhapsody and searched for Led Zep, only to find out that most of their albums (and songs) are for sale only. You cannot listen to individual songs. I was mad. I wondered if I was getting the most of my subscription.

Anyway, I was already in the mood to listen to classic rock. I decided to listen to AC/DC. Searched for them too, only to find out that most of their albums are not on Rhapsody at all. I did find a cover of "You shook me all night long" by an unknown artist, and when I played it, I freaked. It was instrumental, and the entire song was played on a violin. I mean it was kind of cool to listen to that song, but I really wanted the classic heavy guitar riffs and Brian Johnson shreiking his lungs out. I half heartedly decided to switch to Aerosmith. I heard a live version of "Walk This Way", but without Run DMC. The annoying part was that the song ended with the opening lines of Aersmith's version of "Hey Jude" by The Beatles which went - "Hey Jude, lend me a penny...". WTF.

I was dissapointed. I was so in the mood to listen to classic rock but wasn't getting what I wanted. I was in the head banging mood, but somehow wasn't getting the head banging element. I felt very nervous and anxious. I felt like how when you are jerking off and you are about to reach the point of no return and the doorbell rings. You almost had it, but you never really got it.

I switched to Pearl Jam, but that did not satisfy me either. I finally gave up and decided to give Fleet Foxes a chance..

..and I am loving it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I Am Awesome..

Okay, so am I awesome or am I awesome.

Yesterday, after coming from work, I felt like eating chaat - paapdi in particular. Luckily I had all the ingredients that were required (I have been making bhel puri quite often these days :-) ). I must mention that I have never attempted to make paapdi before. Anyway, I went in to flashback and just tried to remember what all the "chaat wale bhaiyaas" do - how they start, what all they put in it, and what it looks like. So, it took me around 2 minutes to recall everything and come up with this:

I think yesterday was one of the days when I totally impressed myself. For the first time I felt like I had magic in my fingers. The paapdi was yummy to the power of n, and I was a little sad when I finished the entire thing. I wanted more, but the idea of boiling the potatoes and making the chutney again demotivated me.

Awesomeness totally blossomed yesterday.

You have perhaps figured out by now that I have totally stopped running, and that I have been eating like a pig these days.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Will It Ever End?

..and the saga continues.

I went to the temple around 2 weeks ago to pray for a few random things in life. Well, the real reason is that I had spoken to my mom that morning and she asked me to go to the temple instead of just sitting at home and sulking (it was a saturday). I tripped on endless cups of chai the entire day and finally decided to leave at 7.

The temple closes at 8.

It took me around 45 minutes to reach there because one, it was raining, and two, for some reason the folks who built the temple decided to build it in the middle of a tiny, godforsaken town, the roads to which have been cursed with endless number of speed limits at different stretches. Also, the last road that takes you to the temple was covered with a fine layer of pure white ice (not snow, ice).

Anyway, I park my car and entered the temple. I saw panditji talking to an Indian couple. His wife was also standing there, just listening to the other couple crib about life. I removed my shoes and went to the hall where all the idols are. I folded my hands, closed my eyes, and started praying. But, the constant bickering of the husband and wife outside stopped me from fully focussing on what I was supposed to focus. They both were so freaking loud - it was like they both were trying to outdo each other. The guy was telling panditji about how he told his boss that he would not go to California and that he wants a project in Des Moines and all that. In my mind I was like, yeah right, as if that's going to happen and as if you actually talked to your boss in that tone. The wife was complaining about the weather and about how they don't have comforters and what not.

Anyway, those two idiots left the temple, and at the same time I finished my prayers. Panditji came to me and said, "main aapka naam bhool raha hoon" which literally means - I am forgetting your name. I told him my name and he went, "oh yaad aaya" (Ah! Now I remember). He asked me why I was visiting after a long time (September). I just rambled something and escaped the situation. Obviously he did not remember our conversation from my last visit, so he said, "to south se hain aap" (So you are from the south) to which I made a funny face and told him (again) that my parents are from the south and that I was born in Gujarat and brought up in Delhi. He said no wonder you speak such good hindi. I smiled a "whatever" smile. He then brought forward the silver plate that had the lit karpur so that I could take aarti. The plate also had a few one dollar bills that other people must have donated. I took the aarti, looked at the bills, and then looked at panditji. I saw a gleam of expectation in his eyes. I think he was envisioning me pulling out my wallet from my pocket, taking out a dollar or two and keeping them in the plate. I, on the other hand, was thinking about the only dollar bill that I had in my wallet (I keep it for a rainy day. I am more of a credit card person - I am a sucker for 2% cashbacks), and whether or not to let it go.

I decided not to.

I kept looking at panditji. He kept looking at me. After a few seconds, the gleam in his eye vanished, and I saw anger. And perhaps a little bit of embarrassment. I am sure he must have called me an a-hole in his mind. But I really couldn't do anything. I definitely felt bad for coming to the temple and not donating anything, but I went with my instincts on this one.

He chatted with me for a few more minutes, but only this time I could not look him in the eye. First, because I was embarrassed, and second, I thought that a third eye might pop up on his forehead and burn me to ashes there and then. He gave me prasad also - four bananas, probably because it was time to close the temple and he wanted to finish those bananas on me. I got excited nevertheless, and grabbed those bananas with a smile on my face.

I went outside, got in my car and kept thinking about when the day would come when I would go inside a temple and come out without embarrasing myself or someone else.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Some Music News..

Apparently Darius Rucker is a country singer now. When he released his album a few months ago I had thought that he would flop. But no. He is a huge hit, with a #1 country single under his belt. WTF.

Rucker is a great musician, and I just feel that he is wasting his time being a country singer. He is cut out for something totally different. I just wish Hootie and the Blowfish were still alive. I hate to see Rucker in a white shirt and blue jeans, playing the guitar and singing about love, relationships and whiskey.

And also, Marcy Playground is turning country too. Oh goodness, seriously? There goes all the sex and candy down the drain.

Rolling Stone's top 50 albums for this year has all kinds of shit, but not R.E.M. Spin, however, has a different opinion, and has given Accelerate a place in the top 40 (Kings of Leon made the RS list, which is good). Rolling Stone also has a list of Top 50 re-releases. It goes without saying that U2's Boy made the list, but Murmur was nowhere to be seen. I wonder why Rolling Stone would give the re-released Murmur a 5/5 and not include it in the Top 50. Assholes.

Finally, enjoy this funny "Carmensita" video by Devendra Banhart. Natalie Portman is oh so pretty!! And she dances really well in this video too. Check out her expressions and all.

I feel so good after writing this post. I feel that the enthusiasm I used to have in the 90s (in terms of following music) is back in me. I think if I had access to the Internet when I was a teenager I would have kicked total ass.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Bean There, Could Never Do That...

I don't usually go to coffee shops, and I have my reasons for not going to one.

Having said that, I must mention that this post is being written inside a coffee shop.

But wait.

I came here straight from work because I am supposed to be somewhere at 7:30. So instead of going home and taking my evening nap (which has become a ritual) and missing my appointment, I decided to come to this coffee shop and finish reading some notes my boss prepared yesterday for tomorrow's meeting.

Whenever I go to coffee shops I see these young kids studying - with huge books and notebooks around them. Some have computers too. The look on their faces tell me that they are really grasping what they are reading. And usually, in such a situation, just one question comes to my mind.


I have never seen a coffee shop that does not play music. The music usually is not very loud, but loud enough to stop you (me?) from focussing on whatever you are supposed to focus on. And of course, it goes without saying that there are always loud people in coffee shops. I consider those people to be very rude.

So anyway, here I am, sitting in "Cafe Diem", drinking my chai and trying really hard to focus on my boss's notes because tomorrow's meeting is kind of important and I want to be somewhat prepared for it.

It took me nearly an hour to read around ten pages of a word document. Why, did you ask? Because...

There is music blaring - Christmassy music, since it is festival season. It is not very loud, but loud enough to tickle my ears and disturb me. As it is I cannot concentrate, and now I have to "face the music" to make life harder.

Oh and did I mention that there are loud people around?

There is a group of five women sitting at 10 O' Clock. When they all gathered and greeted each other I thought they were all childhood friends or whatever, meeting after a long time and all that. They shouted for like 15 minutes, took pictures, and then all of them pulled out a blue book out of their purses. A fucking book club in a coffee shop. Sure.

There is an older man sitting at 11 O' Clock who looks like an executive. He has a diary on the table, and a cell phone in his hand. He has been constantly calling up people and talking business. Loudly of course. 12 O' Clock is a group of two girls with I think their mom and grandmom. They are chattering about something that I cannot comprehend - it's all noise to me. 1 O' Clock is a kind of cute girl, doing something on her mac. She is either chatting with someone or seeing pictures because she has a smile on her face, kind of an astonished smile. I think she is seeing pictures of someone else and just "found out" something about them. Whatever.

Sixth member of book club just entered the room [I am so Yahoo!]. Expect more chatter.

So I ask those people again who have the "totally focussed" look on their faces in coffee shops - how?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Plan A Update


I think Plan A was a success.


Side View:

Viewer View:

TV View:
To Be Viewed View: Empty Stomach View:

Blogging: The ultimate Internet based anti-boredom tool.

Oh God! Please give me the strength to do my laundry tomorrow!!!

...Ah! But I digress..

Plan A

Okay, I have a very ambitious plan for tonight. Since I cannot go out (not that I do every saturday night), I decided to cook good food (I am cooking chinese style fried rice. I also have egg nog) for myself, bring my tv and xbox in my bedroom and watch movies while lying in bed. I also plan to clean my bedroom to get a 5 starish room feel.

Let's see how everything goes.

*Wide grin*.

Biding My Time...

I have neglected my Mindstorms NXT robot for a long time now. I paid $222 for it when I was unemployed (yeah, I know I am stupid). Well, the reason for this horrendous mistiming was the fact that it was nowhere available around an year ago - It was absolutely out of stock everywhere. I had checked so many websites and stores, but nobody had it. Finally I found this guy on e-Bay who was selling it for less than its MSRP of 250 bucks (wonder why) and he was also giving away stickers and batteries (yay!) for no additional cost. Of course, there was free shipping too. So thanks to my ultra handy credit card, I bought it. I did build a simple robot out of it (when I was in Baltimore), but within a few days I had to come to Ames, so I disassembled it, and bought it with me. Since then, the robot parts are sulking in their little box, not knowing when they would see daylight again.

I decided to unpack my Mindstorm today and build a nice little robot, but then I remembered that my rechargeable batteries are stuck inside something that is perhaps used more often - my xBox controllers. The only option is/was to go to a store and get some batteries, but then you cannot get what you always want, right? And of course, the almighty God needs to have a chuckle once in a while by totally stopping me from what I plan to do.

It snowed today.

There's snow everywhere, and now I don't feel like going anywhere. Not to mention that I have zero experience driving in the snow, so I really don't want to take chances. I can actually walk to a store that is not far from where I live, but dressing up and getting slapped in the face by the wind while walking to the store and back does not really excite me.

So here I am, sitting at home, drinking my chai, biding my time. [This line kind of rhymes with the line "I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine" from Norwegian Wood by the Beatles. Sing it!]

One of the joys of living alone - You can crap with the bathroom door open. 

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I have a knack for building strong relationships with people who are way too different from the rest of us - people who defy the rules of normality, have weird quirks, and are most of the times stubborn (in a very non- annoying way). Initially I thought they were annoying but went on to become my good buddies, and if somebody is my good buddy they know that I will never forget them and would do whatever it takes to keep regular contact with them. Also, all these strange friends of mine have great enthusiasm - they all see life from a different angle, and do what they have always wanted to do.

Vineet Singh was one of them.

I saw him struggle when he lived in Delhi, and I think I was his only companion back in those days. I would go to his house and we would both smoke cigarettes, and drink chai for hours, and Vineet would keep talking tabout how his childhood dream was to join the army and how he plans to fulfill it. He would keep joking all the time - he was very very spontaneous with his one liners, and was a master in the art of making a fool of himself. There were times when he would be sad, but he would just brush the sadness away instantly and get back to his usual self.

After school he decided to get his engineering degree. He left Delhi and went to a school near his home town to pursue his education.

I recently found him online, after 8 odd years, and got to know that with his super dedication and a childhood dream to back him up, he did join the army! He had served the Indian army for a couple of years, and now was back to school because the army wanted him to learn advanced stuff. We talked online for some time a few days ago, and his laughter and zeal made my heart smile. He had not changed, and I told him that. He said the same thing to me. I smiled.

Just today I got to know from Nitin that Vineet met with an accident and is no more with us. I don't know the details - I guess it doesn't matter. What and how it happened is immaterial. What really matters is he is gone, which I still cannot believe. As I type this post, I see Vineet's smiling face right in front of me. I had plans of meeting him during my next India trip. I guess that would never happen now.

I always wanted to tell him what a great guy he was, and that his presence has always been appreciated by me and so many other people. Now I will never be able to tell him that, and that seriously makes me very uncomfortable.

I stole his pictures from orkut. I hope he won't mind.

Here's a salute to a great human being, a true army man, and a great friend! I will miss you.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Supply Chain Gone Wrong Or Just Indifference?

In grad school we read so many case studies and articles about how amazing and powerful Wal-mart's supply chain is, with the real cool satellite links and sophisticated tracking systems and what not. I knew for a fact that the case studies were fairly accurate not because I never found anything missing in a Wal-Mart store, but because I always saw so many Wal-Mart semis on city roads and highways. Of course, there are so many of those always parked in the unloading zone of every store.

But lately, I have seen that they don't have stuff available - stuff that I really want. Last week, whenever I went to the Wal-Mart in my town to get green chillies, they didn't have it. I went there around 3 times. They didn't have it. I once went to the store in the morning to get my breakfast, and the presence of those freshly sprinkled peppers made me smile. I thought to myself that I would buy them on my way back home in the evening. I went to the store in the evening - they didn't have it! )

I wanted ginger yesterday (dry cough sucks!). I went to the store and did not find it. I even asked an associate, and she pointed me to a certain area and said that I would find ginger there. I told her that I have already looked there.

"Then we don't have it".


For two weeks I have been trying to get wheat tortillas at Wal-Mart. I just cannot find them. They have all kinds of tortillas - tomato basil, spinach, four flour, and what not. But wheat - no sir.

Whenever I don't find anything in a Wal-Mart store, I think of the articles I read in school, and then I go - "No, this can't be really happening". But the only problem is that it really is. Are the satellites hibernating? Is the tracking system malfunctioning? Or am I just over reacting to the absence of veggies in the store?

If I go tell one of them authors from HBR or Business Week or whatever about my experiences, would they believe me? I am sure I will be a tiny little dot on the graph far far away from the others, and they would outlie me. Perhaps, they would not even believe me in the first place.

But it's just sad to see things not available in my favorite store.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

I like, I hate..

I hate:

- Doing my laundry.

- Folding/hanging my clothes in the closet after I do my laundry.

- Ironing my clothes.

- Vacuuming the floor.

- Doing the dishes.

- Getting up in the morning.

- Shaving in the morning.

- The feeling of going to work and spending eight hours there pretending to be productive.

- The fact that good clothes are so ridiculuously expensive.

- My non - existent sex life.

- Crazy people.

- Loud people.

- Drunk people going/gone berserk.

- The fact that Art Wolfe's pictures are so expensive.

- Assholes.

- Rapes/Sexual assault.

- Bombs.

- The fact that I cannot afford a DSLR.


I like:

- Lying in bed, watching tv/playing video games.

- Doing nothing at all.

- Eating food cooked by someone else.

- Music.

- The Office.

- Driving around without knowing where I am really going.

- Hayao Miyazaki.

- My friends.

- Barack Obama.

- Myself.

- R.E.M.

- Art Wolfe.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Ajit Ninan..

Just by chance I found out that Ajit Ninan's cartoons are published in the Times of India under the cartoon section. It's just amazing to see how these cartoonists maintain their style over the years. Nothing about their cartoons change. In case of Ajit Ninan, every politician has a huge moustache, wears a kurta, dhoti, and often a Nehru topi. Cops are usually stupid, and usually have a beer belly. His jokes are very very simple - not too much intellect required. If you know a little bit about what's going on around you, you would have no problems understanding his cartoons.

I really liked his cartoons when I was a teenager. His cartoons were printed in my favorite magazine that time - Target, in a section called "Funny World". Another comic strip called "Detective Moochwala" by Ajit Ninan was printed in Target. Too bad Target was discontinued, but I am just thrilled to find Ajit Ninan cartoons again!

See his cartoons here.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Oh Gawd!!

This post may gross you out a bit.

After so many years, I puked like crazy. Yes sir, friday night. I went to a bar friday night with a couple of friends, got totally hammered and did not even realize it. I was totally okay when I was inside the bar. But once we got out and sat in the car, my head started spinning. I still could not anticipate catastrophe, because I end up with a spinning head almost every friday and saturday anyway. But deep down inside I knew something was not right, that is why I did not even bother to go take my car which was parked at my friend's place. I got back home, took my shoes and pants off, and crashed out. Within minutes I could feel stuff coming out. Usually I try to hold it in my mouth and swallow it back, but only this time the volume and pressure of the stuff was way too much for me to handle.

So I let the stuff come out. And hence, I technically puked.

Of course, once this process starts, it goes through multiple cycles. So I puked again. But only this time, I rushed to the bathroom. What I did not realize was that my room was a dirty mess, with my stuff (read clothes) lying around everywhere. So I pretty much puked on my clothes before I downloaded the remaining puke in the wash basin.

When I got up the next morning, I almost cried. My eyes could not see and believe the mass destruction I had caused the previous night. The entire episode flashed in front of my eyes in a few seconds. And oh yeah, my head was screaming with pain and disgust. I followed the "bread crumbs" to my bathroom and saw that there was puke around the wash basin too. Then the thought of what I did (that I always do when I go get drunk at a bar) grossed me out. I have a tendency of overtipping the bartender whenever I go to a bar, and I realized that I had tipped the guy 50% . Like always, it hurt. But the sight of puke lying everywhere hurt me more.

My friend picked me up soon so that I could go to his place and take my car. Take my car I did, and went to Hy-vee to buy a carpet cleaner and some food. I came back home, watched a movie, and ate my food, my head still spinning like a crazy catherine wheel. After a while, I started scrubbing my carpet. Scrubbed like crazy and got the stains to "kind of" disappear. Did my laundry too.

I sulked the entire day - I did not really know what was happening and did not really know what to do. In the evening I went to the only Indian restaurant in town, got me some food, came back, ate it, and slept. At 10, which is totally bizarre.

I got up this morning and felt so much better, and the fact that I gained an hour made me jump with joy :D.

The last time I went on a puking rampage was in 2001.


I have noticed that I have started procrastinating when it comes to cooking. I think I am slowly losing interest. The thought of just cooking food for myself tires me. There was a time when I used to start cooking food for myself at 7PM sharp. Now I don't cook for days, and when I do, I just prepare something and eat it. I am actually cooking right now, and I see that my partially cooked food has something missing - genuine efforts I guess.

Another indication of me losing interest in cooking is the fact that I have stopped using onions, because I feel that chopping onions require too much time and energy. I just heat up a little oil and dump whatever I have in it. I of course add spices and all that jazz, but still the final outcome is not what I expect it to be.

I have sometimes also wished that I had someone who would cook food for me. A robot, perhaps.

I just hope I gain my interest back.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Do I Need Change?

So I just realized that it is way easier to parallel park when you are drunk.

I just got back from my friend's house. She had made Diwali dinner for a bunch of people. I was in a group in which just about everybody was atleast a Ph.D - very intimidating. For the first time I realized that just having a masters is not enough. And anyway, I have always believed that people who do their PhDs are just great. They deserve to be on a different planet - with their own kind of people. They could/should leave this small world for us mortal people. Well, I think I will never discuss this story again.

But a discussion about marriage with my friend and her husband over a few rum + cokes kind of left a deep impact in my brain.

My friend said that as human beings we constantly seek change. We cannot just keep doing something that we have been doing forever. I thought she was right because I think I am at that stage where I would enjoy somebody's company. I am not referring to a potential girlfriend or wife, but perhaps a social circle which would keep me busy and entertained. People usually ask me about my marriage plans and I tell them that I would probably wait for another two years. I know for a fact that all the pretty girls have been married, but I think at this age, I should look at how beautiful a woman is from the inside. Beauty, after all, is only skin deep.

No, sorry, that's bull crap. I would still want a pretty girl when I decide to get married.

Anyway, I came back home and decided to blog. I started writing my post but stopped in the middle because my head was spinning really bad, and I wanted to sleep. It was three in the morning afterall.

I got up this morning, totally hungover, and suddenly last night's discussion popped into my mind from somewhere.

I laughed out loud. And I am still laughing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

ODC??Power User??...Namaste Ji!

I met this very nice guy a few days ago (he is Abnormal's friend) who has come from India on a project. We started talking about software projects in India ,and at the end of the conversation I realized that I now have a decent understanding of how onsite/offshore teams function. He was very kind and patient - I had so many questions and he answered all of them. I now understand how people are selected, how they are placed in projects, and what can they do to get kicked out of a team/project/company. His profession as a techie guy has allowed him to travel to many countries - he mentioned Germany, Singapore, New Zealand, and the US. I asked him if it's fun to travel around the world on a ticket paid for by the office. He said it can be, but the shorter trips don't mean much (~a month). Apparently monday to friday is spent in office, and there is only so much you can do on weekends. I guess it does make sense. But still, I think all them techie guys in India are damn lucky :-).

Dang! I should have taken a picture with him! I like getting my pictures taken with nice people.

Anyway, a different story - this is more about my experiences with random nice people. There is a lady at the Wal-mart I go to who looks hispanic, and has great interest in Hindi. Every time I meet her she greets me with the usual namaste. I think she learns words and phrases from other Indian customers too, because after the usual namaste, she once said kya haal hai? (how are you?) and something else the second time. She asked me to teach her "good morning" and "good afternoon". I did tell her what good morning was in hindi (I wrote it down on a piece of paper), but guess what - I did not know what good afternoon was. I totally blanked out. I tried to recall, I was pretty sure I knew what it was, but just could not come up with a/the word. This was yet another moment where I made a fool of myself by giving the impression that I don't know stuff about my own country/language. Digression - this keeps happening to me at work, when my colleagues ask me "India" questions and more often than not, I don't have an accurate answer. I sometimes make things up, but I do tell them that "I may be wrong". Then I usually look it up on Wikipedia and go, "oh! this is what it is!". Anyway, so I sheepishly told the lady that I don't know what good afternoon is in hindi( I actually wanted to say that there's no hindi equivalent of good afternoon, but stopped - I did not want to make a fool of myself yet again), said bbye, and walked out of the store, thinking how stupid I really am.

I might not go that lady's register again.

Nah, I will.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's Not The Couch, It's Not The Floor...It's Not Even The Sleeping Bag!

I am couch friendly. I am floor friendly. I am sleeping bag friendly.

These are the things I sleep on/in whenever I visit friends over weekends. But this weekend was a lot different - I got to sleep in a bed! A pretty big bed with 2 pillows and a comforter!! Seriously, it was a privilege, considering that I always carry my own pillow and comforter everywhere because my friends don't have extras.

Anyway, I am just looking forward to my trip to Dallas. Seeing the concert with Dr. sahab should be fun. I hope he has learnt the lyrics to all the songs by heart by now.

I had deer meat today. It was good.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Run, Forrest, Run!!!!

I have been pretty inconsistent with my running, and I openly blame my shin splints for that. I have been running almost everyday now. There was a time when I couldn't even run a mile. Now, on a good day, I can do 6. But I know for a fact that I cannot do 6 miles on a regular basis. I usually end up running between 3-5 miles. I try to run atleast 3 everyday. Yesterday was perhaps the only day that I ran only a little over a mile mostly because it was suddenly very cold outside, and I was running in my shorts and t-shirt. The cold wind slapped my chest constantly and I could not breathe. So I decided to stop there and then. But, like I said, I get shin splints every day. Every day my legs hurt - the right one more than the left. I have tried icy hot, and pain killers. I also bought new running shoes for God's sake.

But when I run I can feel strength building up inside of me. I think I get shin splints because I am running after a long long time. It will go away for sure. I just have to keep running, and I think I have reached that point where I somewhat feel cranky if I don't run at all. And guilty.

My legs may cry after my daily run, but it sure feels wonderful when I am actually running in the park.

I finished watching all the Wes Anderson movies just a few minutes ago..

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

It's OK, It's Not All That Good: Pain - tagram

While listening to music at work yesterday I decided to check out Pentagram, the Indian rock and roll band that I slightly admired when I was in India. When I searched for them on Rhapsody, I found two entries for Pentagram. The first one was a doom metal band, which I knew was't the one. The next one did not have a genre attaached to it, so I clicked on it. It turned out to be the band I was looking for - the band from Mumbai, and their newest album was listed there too. It's called "It's OK, it's all good". The cover of the album has a peace sign and a "I want to rock & roll" next to it. Anyway, I added the songs to my player and started listening to them one by one. The first song, "Today", got me totally bewildered. I was expecting some cliched Iron Maiden/ Metallica kind of guitar riffs, but instead I heard an entirely different "sound" - a mish mash of metal/techno/punk-pop, a heavy bass line, and Badlani's filtered voice. I must say I liked the song - very much. It was something I did not expect from an Indian band. Kudos to Pentagram for introducing a new sound to the Indian rock and roll sound. All the head banging losers should now realize that it is time to change. The world has a lot more to offer - not just Maiden, Sepultura and Metallica (oh btw, the newest Metallica album is apparently very very very very heavy - for the first time their fans complained and asked them to turn the volume down a little bit).

So, the first song had a lot of energy and was very encouraging. But...

The second song, "Electric" is a blend of NIN, daft punk, LCD soundsystems, digitalism and any electronic band you can think of. Of course, Dadlani using filters to sing kind of gave him a Danzig voice. This song made me cautious. "Are all the songs going to sound the same?" - I though to myself.

And sound the same they did. Every song is an over ambitious attempt at making the song more electronic, which is totally fine. But the only problem is that usually, every song on an album has a different feel to it. I once again appreciate Pentagram's attempt to introduce a new sound, but their lack of experience perhaps let them down. And 16 songs on an album? Please, nobody has the patience to listen to 16 songs now. Give me 10 good quality songs and I am more than happy.

Of course, Dadlani should stop singing. Has somebody ever told him how bad his vocals are? Thank God he used filters, but still in a few songs he sounds like himself which is totally disappointing. Make way for someone else now, Dadlani.

And the lyrics..oh My God! Childish and hilarious. They have tried to sound very bold and serious, but the words are just silly and nonsensical. "Man Eat Man" is a joke. Listen to it if you get a chance. I think it's about how Man has created everything that is bad. I could not understand many of the words because of Dadlani's filtered voice, but it's just stupid. And oh, this song has a very peppy beat to it. Who would ever think of singing about serious things in this world to dance beats, huh?

I heard 5 or 6 more, then gave up. It was deja vu. I had bought their first album in 96. It had a few good songs, but the album was not solid. This one is very similar, except that it's electronic.

So in a nutshell:

- Pentagram's got balls *applause*.
- Very over ambitious , should have been a little cautious (first attempt at something new, you see).
- Don't use filters on all songs, you guys.
- Dadlani should stop singing. He is a good musician, and an equally bad singer.
- Hire a lyricist.
- 16 songs on an album? Don't joke with me please..

Monday, October 06, 2008


Some people are just so disgusting.

I just watched Hugh Hefner's birthday on TV a few hours ago. First of all, this guy is pathetic - 82 years old and still screwing 20 year old females. His so called girl friends should be shot in public for getting screwed by this creep every day and every night. Show a little class and dignity now, you girls.

Anyway, so they were showing his birthday party on TV (his birthday is actually in April but the party was broadcasted now). So this dude goes to "The Palms" in Vegas with his girl friends where the owner of the hotel gifts him his own table. The table has black and white pictures of Hugh and the three chicks with "Hef's Table" written in red in the middle. The dude and the girls are surrounded by hundreds of people who are obviously excited to see this old pathetic fuck.

Apparently there's one more surprise party for the guy. The girls and the dude go somewhere else where...oh my God! I just could not believe it. I still cannot believe it.

Pamela Anderson, naked from head to toe, greets our man. She is holding a birthday cake in her right hand with so many candles on them. She is kissing this old fart non-stop and this lame bastard, who is all smiles, is kissing her back and what not. I was surprised to see how Hugh Hefner was caressing Pamela's ass - and she wouldn't stop smiling as if she was enjoying it a lot.

Now the grand finale - They all go back to his mansion (Pamela too). There the girls, Pamela, Hugh's sons, and a few more people sing "Happy Birthday to you.." for him, he blows candles once again, and then receives gifts from his girlfriends. Now, these are not ordinary gifts - he gets chocolate casts of private parts of his girlfriends. He gets Kendra's ass in white chocolate with a brown circle in the middle (oh sick!), Bridget's tits, and Holly's vagina..

Oh man..enough.

I think this entire Hefner' birthday experience was the most disgusting thing in the world to the power of n.

I will go puke now.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Being John Malkovich?

I cannot believe it..I just cannot believe it! I am so proud of myself..I am so so proud of myself!

I just found out that I went to the same school as John Malkovich!!!! I was just browsing through the ISU Alumni website when I came across this page:

I don't think my blog allows people to see magnified pictures..but it's true! John Malkovich did go to Illinois State University in the 70s..woohoo!!!!!

Okay, You should be able to see the enlarged image here.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Aunty Samosa Please..

I had planned to go to Des Moines this weekend to do touristy things because I have been near Des Moines for nine months now, but unfortunately have seen only the airport there (oh and the state fair). Friday night I was looking up tourist attractions in Des Moines when my friend from Minneapolis called me and asked me to come over. Well, I said okay, and immediately chucked my Des Moines plan. Some other time, I thought.

So saturday morning, before getting on I-35N, I decided to grab a bite to eat. I stopped at a Burger King, and got in the line to order stuff. The lady behind the counter looked like she was in her 50s, and very Indian. Anyway, I ordered the usual - enormous omelette sandwich meal with "no meat", but only this time I forgot to say "no meat". She said, "five seventeen". Suddenly I realized that I had not given her the "special instructions". I asked her - "Did I say no meat?", and she goes, "Oh, no meat?" and quickly changed my order.

Obviously we were conversing in English.

Then she goes "India se?". I go "haanji". She goes "India mein kahan se?". I go "Dilli se."

I think she thought that I am new in America, so she started telling me about other vegetarian options on the menu. I told her that I am aware of those options and that I really like the EOS without the meat. I didn't feel like telling her that I avoid bacon but would eat it if I have very few or no other choices.

Then she asked me if I go to Iowa State. I said I work there, and that I graduated from Illinois State. She goes "kya? professor?". I go "nahi, programmmer/analyst". Then she tells me that her son did his internship at Caterpillar in Peoria, and that he goes to Iowa State. I said, "swell".

Now the best part - she told me that she cooks at home and sells stuff - like samosas and all. I was like "kya baat kar rahe ho aunty?". She said, "haan, main karti hoon. Kabhi aao ghar pe - main mall ke peeche rehti hoon." I told her to give me her contact information. She did. I was very happy. I thought maybe she sells stuff for cheap, unlike the international store dude who sells a somasa for a buck and a half - a total ripoff. She might have been happy too, because she had just found a bakra. Whatever. I think once I go back to Ames I will give her a holler.

I later realized that she was a little too nice to me. I was supposed to get a medium coffee - she gave me a large one. I had asked for four creamers - she gave me five. I said "that's swell" to myself and finished my breakfast.

I think I keep having these random encounters/experiences with nice people once in a while, and whenever I think about those incidents, I smile.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I Win!!

Oh look, I got an Oscar!! I finally made my Mom and Dad proud..thank you SilentBeauty2001.:P

PS: Now seriously, thank you SilentBeauty2001 for being a regular reader :-).

Thursday, September 18, 2008


So traditionally I make a fool of myself whenever I go to a Hindu temple, and this time was no exception. 

Last friday I went to this Hindu temple around 30 miles from Ames to get Pooja done for something new I bought. When I entered the temple I noticed that the Panditji was about to start a Pooja for someone else. So I also decided to stand there with folded hands, knowing that my Pooja would not be done that day, and that I would have to come back some other time. Anyway, Panditji started the Pooja, and there were around 10 of us. To be honest (sorry God!) I get very bored during Poojas that last more than 15 minutes. So after 15 minutes I totally lost my focus and started looking at all the idols inside the temple. I was also thinking of blogging about the entire situation too. I was in a different world. That is when I noticed that Panditji was asking each one of us our names and our gotras. I instantly knew that the time had come to embarass myself. I vaguely remembered that my mom once told me that my gotra is haritsa. But somehow I was not very sure. I kind of convinced myself that it was not haritsa. Panditji came to me and asked me my name first. I said Venkat. Then he said, "Which Gotra?". I blurted out "Haritsa" and immediately I said, "I don't know". Panditji gave me a weird stare. I said Haritsa again, and Panditji started chanting shlokas in sanskrit. By now I was very much convinced that my gotra was not haritsa. There I was, standing and thinking that the Pooja would have no effect on me whatsoever because of the wrong gotra.

So now two things were happening to me. Firstly, I felt like a complete idiot. I, a 28 year old guy, did not know his gotra, and by saying "I don't know" in front of 9 other people, I made a complete fool of myself. Secondly, I lost my focus again. I started thinking about food, the rain outside, the people inside and what not. 

I usually dont care when I make a fool of myself because it has become a way of life, but this time was different. I strongly felt that I should have atleast known my gotra for God's sake. And also, there are so many other things in life that I cannot ignore/avoid anymore. I thought to myself that I should start behaving myself, and that I should take life more seriously. I cannot just keep having fun all the time.

But two days later I was like - screw it. I am not going to kill myself thinking about just about every minor thing in life. 

I know for a fact that I am as stubborn as a mule. I don't think I would ever change.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Brett Favre of cycling - Lance Armstrong.

Update - 09/10/2008

I take my words back. Lance Armstrong is not coming back because he was confused earlier (like Favre). He is coming back to spread awareness about cancer. I just read about his comeback and his reason.

I think I just got a taste of my own foot.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Fannie, Freddie..Fucked

So Fannie and Freddie have been fucked to the bone - well almost. But thanks to the Fed, both the companies should be able to see light at the end of the tunnel in the coming months, or years. All the lenders involved in the subprime mortgage crisis screwed everybody, and because of that, Fannie and Freddie have been dealing with nightmares since July 2007. Both the companies would never have thought that they would one day be really penalized for their MBSs. I just wonder how it feels when a nightmare comes true.

From CNN: The Fed has almost 80% ownership of Fannie & Freddie now. Dividends have been put on hold, and all "charitable" activities of the company are under review. Good job Fed, I say. Charity begins at home.

I am just wondering what would have happened if Fannie and Freddie had declared bankruptcy. After witnessing the subprime mortgage crisis in July last year, and the chaos that it created in America, F & F's bankruptcy would have caused a chaotic situation hundred times larger in magnitude. But desperate situations demand desperate measures, and that is why the Fed intervened - at the right time, I guess.

GSEs like F & F in a capitalist economy are a good example of socialism (in a capitalistic economy) and social interventionism (in the 30s and 60s perhaps), and it has its own advantages and disadvantages. Its presence made sure that people belonging to lower income households got to own houses. It's absence would have saved trillions of dollars, but would have also made the housing market much more aggresive - if there was someone big enough to replace F & F.
Dr. Indiana Jones is the greatest hero ever ;-)

Thank You Mom and Dad!

I have always valued what my parents have taught me over the years. They have always given importance to morality, ethics, honesty, and level headedness. They have always told me not to let success get into my head, always to respect people, never to shout at someone - however annoyed I may be, and to always keep my cool.

I know for a fact that they are absolutely right. My dad used to run his own business, but he could never get rich because he could never lie, he could never cheat, and he could never be dishonest. My mom always supported him. As a kid I always thought that money was everything, but now I know that it really is not. If you don't have peace of mind then you are basically screwed to the power of n.

When we grew up my mom preached us constantly. She always reminded me that we should conform to humanity and that we should respect others. She still tells me that shouting at someone is never a solution to anything, but dealing with the problem in a cool and composed way can automatically solve so many problems so easily.

There is something wrong with my cable box - the TV guide does not download properly. I have called my cable company three times, and while calling them today I almost wanted to shout at them , but I did not. Whenever I am in a shitty situation or I am pissed with someone, I remember what my parents have taught me - and I automatically calm down.

It's nice to be nice to someone.

I am proud of what my parents are, and what they have taught my sister and I. I promise to stick to their principles - come what may.

Snow Snow Go Away...

It has started getting colder - already. I don't like it, I just don't like it. I mean I like what it is like right now - slightly chilly, cloudy and really really nice. I may want the weather to be like this forever, but what I don't like is the fact that the niceness would make way for hideousness in the coming months. Last winter was the worst I have ever seen, and the fact that it took so long to go away added to my misery. I dread the sight of snow and ice everywhere, and wind literally slapping my face while I walk on ice, trying my best not to land on my buttocks.

I hope the winter this year is nicer than last year.

I hope there is less snow.

I hope I get to see a tree somewhere with leaves on it.

I hope I don't start smoking again.

I am listening to Sugarcult as I write this post. I think I like them.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Everybody Here Comes From Somewhere..

My R.E.M. experience has not yet ended. For some reason (thank you God) R.E.M. decided to add Dallas to their world tour. They finish touring Europe and come back to North America to perform in Dallas and New Orleans in October, before proceeding to South America. When I heard about Dallas I immediately bought the ticket. It wasn't cheap for sure - well, seats in the first few rows are never cheap, right?

The only dilemma I have now is whether to fly or drive to Dallas. It's pretty far - 800 miles. If I drive, I will be exhausted. If I fly, I might get stuck - again.

I just might drive.

TAPFS is coming to Des Moines in November. Have heard a lot about their shows, and I think the ticket is only 30 bucks. Should be fun.

Friday, September 05, 2008


I will not spend any money on anything fancy and useless this month. Last weekend I think I spent more than I was expecting to spend on my Chicago trip (which was Uber fun!). I have also bought a nice little surprise for some people I know - but that's it. No more toys and video games this month. If I go to Minneapolis next weekend, I will spend on alcohol because I have asked my cousin to get drunk with me.

That's it.

PS: I can't believe I spent close to $100 last month on toys. I usually buy small toys from Wal-mart but last month I went to Toys-R-Us, and the rest, as they say, is history.

But I like the toys I bought - Die cast war helicopters and tanks, and Eric Cartman and Butters bobbleheads ;-).


Wednesday, August 27, 2008


You know how when you hear someone sing a song and you like it, you start singing it all day long and just don't stop? Well, I remembered a few songs that I keep singing these days non-stop. These are from TV shows..

1. Charlie Harper(Sheen) in Two and a Half Men. He changes the words of the popular christmas carol "Joy to the World.." to "Joy to the world, I am getting laid..I am getting laid tonight..."

2. Charlie Harper in Two and a Half Men again. He is supposed to write the theme song for a TV show based on an Anime character "Oshikuru". This is what he comes up with:

"O O O O Oshikuru
O O O O Oshikuru
My oh my he's a demon samurai..
Who's the guy who had to die...

Here's the video:

3. Karen (Rashida Jones) in The Office - Phyllis's Wedding. They show her sing just one line of "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" By The Police.

4. Dennis and Charlie in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Oh my God! Crazy song from the craziest TV show I have ever seen. Take a look.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's always so good to talk to old friends...I sometimes just wish they were not!


Oh my God!

Can't stop watching "Women's Appreciation" from season 3 of The Office. Watch the first few minutes of that episode when Pam tells Michael that Phyllis was flashed and he starts laughing and then does stuff with his finger. Oh my God! Absolutely hilarious! It's really really gross and cheap, but that's why it is so funny, right?

I still can't stop laughing.

Steve Carell is the master of comedy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Three Cups of Tea...

Greg Mortenson will be in Rockford, IL next month, and I am seriously planning to go and see him. Those of you who do not know who Greg Mortenson is, please read his book "Three Cups of Tea.." or follow one of the links on the right sidebar. What he has done to educate muslim girls in Pakistan is commendable - started with a failed attempt to scale the K2 and ended up (no, still going) with building schools in the remotest of regions in Pakistan, where fund from the government do not reach (perhaps because the government is not interested in educating children in those regions).

It's good to see that people still conform to humanity and morality. I want to do something very similar - but where, when and how? I don't know. I would perhaps write a letter to Dr. Gireg and ask him for suggestions. I am pretty sure I would not be able to volunteer in Pakistan, but if he has some kind of a desk job for me, I would be more than willing to do it :-).

Greg Mortenson - remember this name. You might hear this name again in the coming decade or two - when he wins his Nobel Peace Prize :-).

Fourth Time Lucky?

So Shawn Johnson won her third silver medal yesterday - not sure if Hy-vee is disappointed. Apparently, Shawn signed a huge deal with the grocery chain, which was pretty evident from the Shawn Johnson commercial that used to be on TV everyday much before the Olympics started.

It's okay if she has not won a gold medal yet in Beijing, and I really like the fact that she keeps smiling, even after losing, and that's how I define a real champion. Also, the way she smiles constantly makes me think that she is never under pressure. Of course, her goal is to win gold medals for her country but can she help it if her team mate keeps falling (shit happens, Alicia), or another girl from Romania is just too good? Maybe not.

Would she turn into a lovable loser in the years to come? I don't think so, considering her past record. Her luck is not helping her too much in the Olympics, I think.

Another reason why she is never under pressure is because she is really liked by her people (by the way, she is from West Des Moines), so she knows that even if she doesn't win, her fans would not be disappointed because they would know she tried.

Update (08/19/2008): She won her gold medal..finally!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Missed Connections?

Lance Armstrong was in town, and I did not know. That was last month. He was in town to promote RAGBRAI. Apparently he does that every year. I got to know about it when I (over)heard two girls talking about it. I was in the mall buying birthday gifts for myself. I asked the girls if he would be in town the next day. They said they weren't sure.

Maybe I will get a chance to see him next year.

Totally missed Lollapalooza, and I hate myself for it. I had to miss it last year because I had an exam. I had to miss it this year because I had to move into my new apartment. Hate it!

So basically I missed NIN and Radiohead. Fuck.

NIN came to Minneapolis too. Couldn't go because of the same reason - moving.

Monday, August 11, 2008

8:08 PM On 8.8.08

And those of you who missed the Olympics Opening Ceremony in Beijing - I declare you a disgrace to mankind.

I have never seen such a spectacular show before. The experience cannot be described in words.

It was just Spuh-len-did.

The most creative thing to have ever been shown to the people of this planet. Now we are really not talking about what the 15,000 participants had to go through (maybe nothing, who knows), but the end result, which was not supposed to be missed by any creature alive.

Into The Wild..

While shopping at Target the other day I saw Into The Wild's soundtrack CD. I picked it up instantly simply because I had heard so much about Eddie Vedder's work on this CD.

Went home and played it, only to find out that it's a very very soft and mellow album - not that I expect grunge from Pearl Jam/Vedder any more. Vedder has experimented a lot with different instruments on this CD- "No Ceiling" actually has nice banjo strums.

Again, I could not grasp the music. I listened to it time and again. I played the CD around 8-10 times a day (it's a little more that 30 minutes, so..) but still could not figure out what the music is all about. After a few days I decided to watch the movie because I was pretty sure that the songs had connections with certains scenes/ overall theme of the movie.

Watch the movie I did.

And was lost for words.

Not because I had found the connection between the soundtrack and the story, but because the film shows Alaska, and oh my God, Alaska is beautiful! Very beautiful! I was totally spellbound by the snow covered mountains, the mooses, the rivers of Alaska, especially when they showed bird's eye or panoramic view of the state. The craziness of the story added to the excitement.

I would want to just go and live in the wild too, but I cannot live in the wild forever. I am pretty sure I'll chicken out.

Also, watching the movie first would help you enjoy the soundtrack all the more.

Last night, I tried to use the CD as a lullaby, and I think it was very effective.

Friday, August 08, 2008

This Or That..

Okay, I succumbed to temptation and bought a subscription to Rhapsody just a few minutes ago. I can now listen to Radiohead for an n number of times, without any interruptions.

While making the payment I was thinking of discontinuing Netflix. Maybe I would. I don't know. I got the Starz/Encore package with my cable, so maybe I should get rid of Netflix. Or maybe Starz/Encore should go after a month or so. It's clear that I have way too many sources of entertainment now - Something has to be sacrificed.

I think Netflix would stay.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Just One More Time Please...

Okay, won't let me play full Radiohead songs anymore because I have probably finished my quota of free plays already...daaaaaang it!!! I hate it when that happens. is the source of my music at work these days.

I was actually trying to avoid a Rhapsody subscription because I thought I could stick to forever because it is so nice and it always lets me play full tracks for free and all that . Well, it is nice, but I just got kicked in the ass by am revisiting Radiohead these days and was the only place where I could listen to all there albums for free. I will probably have to bring my own MP3s from home.

I may not get a Rhapsody subscription after all because I got cable & Internet for my new apartment today and guess what, I will be shelling out 60 bucks every month for both. Well, that one came out of nowhere, but I am supposed to get some really good channels in digital, so that should be fun.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

OK Computer...

Have been listening to a lot of Radiohead - at work, and I think I have found the missing link.

When I heard Kid A in 2000, I was totally shocked. I really could not believe that Kid A was a Radiohead album. It was difficult for me to grasp the weirdness in that album. I must mention that I had not heard OK Computer, and between 95 and 2000 I kept tripping on The Bends and assumed that OK Computer was more or less like The Bends, which, I would say, was alternativish, if not very.

But I really could not understand how Radiohead transformed themselves from a regular "guitar based" band in Pablo Honey and The Bends to an electronic, or as I like to say, "different and unusual sounds" band in Kid A.

Until I heard OK Computer.

So basically, It all started with OK Computer - the weirdness, and the unusualness. OK Computer has some great "guitar based" songs like Paranoid Android and Karma Police, but the rest of the songs are totally different, and unusual. I listen to OK Computer everyday, and like it a lot. Now when I listen to Kid A, I feel alright. I am not confused and disillusioned anymore.

No wonder Radiohead is one of the greatest bands in the world.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me..;-)!!

I am 28 years young now.

I have never really given much importance to my birthday. Every year my birthday came and went, but I never got excited - it was just another day.

But this year was different, more so because my own perception changed a bit. A couple of days before my birthday I sat down and tried to think about why I don't really celebrate my birthday, and why, on the other hand, just about everyone gets super excited on their's. By definition birthdays are supposed to be special, and I decided to make my own birthday (this year) worth something, if not special.

To start with, I bought myself two shirts. Giving gifts to myself was strange - I do buy stuff for myself all the time, but there's never a "special" reason. I usually buy stuff either when I really want something or when my brain goes for a holiday.

I must mention that I now share my birthday with a two year old girl who happens to be my colleague's daughter. Now that's really an amazing feeling - two people, from different generations (!), born on the same day. This is what excited me, and perhaps added a little bit of "specialness" to my birthday. I made sure I bought gifts for her too - a Webkinz pug, and a t-shirt and shorts. Now shopping for her clothes was amusing because I have never stepped into the kids' section of a store before, and this time when I did, I was totally lost. I did not know what to buy, and the ultra super compressed size of the clothes made me laugh. But I shopped for her the way I shop for myself - just picked something up, without bothering too much about style, color and all that jazz.

I took cookies(5 dozen!) for my colleagues at work. Some of them even sent me a personal Happy Birthday email, which was really nice. My colleagues from Vet Med took me out for lunch, and Dr. Roth insisted on paying for mine- he said it was tradition. Later in the afternoon, they had cookies too, and all of them sang the Happy Birthday song which was a totally awesome feeling. When they were singing I tried to remember the last time I had heard that song being sung for me - It was so many years ago.

I was generally happy. It was a very nice feeling. But the best was yet to come.

Andrew invited me over to his house in the evening. When I reached his house, I was really really surprized to find out that Andrew and Sarah had cooked for me - and it was not something ordinary, it was something that I really really like - Falafel and Hummus! And there was turkish salad too! I swear I could have finished everything on that table for two reasons - I was really hungry and everything was uber delicious. Also , the fact that both Andrew and Sarah "invested" so much energy and love into making stuff for an ass like me, actually added to the taste. I did not know that Andrew had invited more friends over! Travis and Lisa showed up very soon, and Travis's usual funny antics made me laugh non-stop.

Then the cheesecake came - that Sarah had made, and then they all sang the Happy Birthday song for me again! The cake was (and still is) just out of this world! Absolutely delicious to the power of n. Sarah was kind enough to let me take the rest of the cake home with me.

The grand finale to this truly great show was at Old Maine, where Andrew bought us a beer sampler - 8 different kinds of beer in small glasses.

And the birthday was a success, thanks to the so many wonderful people I met this year, especially Andrew.

Also, I must mention that I received this "beautiful" greeting card from Kedar, which was a really nice surprise. I was so not expecting it, and it just made my day so special. It really feels nice to know that people care and appreciate your presence in their lives.

If only all of us could do something to make others smile.

So that is that - and once again, thanks to all you lovely people out there, I am 28 years young.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I Don't Want To Work At Dunder Mifflin...

I kind of have always liked The Office but never really followed any season because I have always been too busy dealing with South Park, and Two and a Half Men.

Recently I laughed my lungs out when all my office mates watched two episodes of The Office in the conference room of our department. You know how it is with funny movies/tv shows - when too many people watch something of that sort, funny suddenly becomes funnier.

Well, I decided to give The Office some attention. Right now, I am performing my weekly, saturday night ritual of drinking beer (6 pack is so easy) - but instead of watching the usual movie from the library or Netflix, I am watching The Office online, and boy, Am I loving it!

But really, the presence of an asshole like Michael Scott in the office can be absolutely brutal - I for one, would probably quit my job and perhaps talk myself into doing something totally unchallenging and boring, just to avoid an assholic boss like Michael Scott. But I think the reason why this show is such a big hit is because most of Michael Scott's actions are just gross to the power of n - most of the viewers know that what he does is really not possible in the "real world" (as my statistics professor would say), and that is why it becomes absolutely funny.

I am drunk and I think I make no sense whatsoever.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I Love Her..I Love Her Not

Yesterday was perhaps the first saturday when I sat at home the entire day (well, I did go out to get myself a Subway sandwich). Since I had to kill time somehow, I decided to watch movies, and ended up watching four.

And then I fell in love.

Some of you may not know but I have a thing for girls with short hair - I find them cute. I go absolutely crazy when I see a girl like that. My brain goes for a holiday, and my heart starts to smile. The damage is doubled if the girl has a very very cute smile...just like Amelie.

Watching Amelie was deja vu all over again. I was in a similar situation 10 years ago - when I had fallen in love with Meg Ryan. Internet in those days was a new and expensive concept, and every month I ran up my telephone bill high, downloading pictures of Meg Ryan. My dad always got mad, but then I was pretty sure that I would have gotten slapped if I had told my dad how much I loved Meg.

So well, the same thing happened last night. I totally fell in love with Amelie, and throughout the movie I could not help wondering how cute she was, and that what would I have to do to get a girl like her. I kind of swallowed my pride for a moment and decided to hunt for a girl like her. Life can be a blessing if spent with a girl like Amelie, I thought. Her presence would bring a smile to my face, I thought. Spending the rest of my life with such a pretty yet sensible girl would make my existence worthwhile, I thought.

The movie ended,...
..and I finished my third beer and slept.

I got up this morning at 11:30, and smiled. The effect of last night's beer had totally vanished from my body, and here I was wondering if I could have gotten up at 11:30 if I were married. The answer was clearly no. I thanked God for my singlehood, made myself a cup of tea, and spent of the rest of the day doing absolutely nothing.

Is This What You Think?

Little Sister blog saw a lot of action in the last few days, and would (hopefully) continue to see more action in the future. Manoj and Kd volunteered to contribute to the blog - and they have already posted some very nice pictures with captions that would perhaps help you understand life better. Okay, gross exaggeration here, but that's the concept behind Little Sister blog - to capture simple, weird, exaggerated, difficult, complex, beautiful, dramatic, subtle, and whatever concepts of life and describe them in our own words. This idea can either be appreciated or ridiculed - doesn't really matter. But what matters is that we all have different thought processes. What comes to your mind after looking at a picture may be completely different than what comes to my mind. You can either appreciate my perspective towards life, or ridicule it totally. But again, the message to be conveyed here is - we don't think alike.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ooh La La!!

Sometimes I just impress myself...

After watching Spain beat the daylight out of Germany this afternoon, I wanted to eat something. I was super hungry. My head and tummy both were spinning. I was really not in a mood to cook elaborately, yet I wanted something funky - not the usual, and something I would really enjoy.

So I decided to make Aloo Tikki. This is what it looked like.

Now I don't know about you, but I think it looks very impressive. And how did it taste? Awesome. Seriously, It was a nice surprise by me for me.

Just so you know, I did not have imli and pudina chutney, so I used Bountiful's Simply Santa Fe dressing, which I usually use to make pasta (I just love Bountiful!!).

Shalva, this one's dedicated to you ;-).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

R.E.M. - In Action!!!

I am a big big huge huge R.E.M. fan, in case you did not already know.

When I was a kid, my folks wouldn't get cable because I was still in school, and they thought that cable would corrupt me. My only companion was a radio that did not even have FM. Thanks to my mom and sister, I listened to a lot of Michael Jackson, Cliff Richards and the Beatles, and the occasional nice song on the radio.

Things changed for good when MTV, for some strange reason, collaborated with Doordarshan in 1994 to show "western" music videos on India's national channel. That is how I was introduced to Rock & Roll. That is how I came to know that the music world is not just about MJ, CR and the Beatles, that there is an entire array of bands making exceptional music, and that the greatest band in the world is R.E.M..

Every saturday morning I would get up at around 9:30 to watch the European Top 20, which had a lot of techno, and dance music unlike the US Top 20, which mostly had alternative songs. But on that lucky day, for some reason, they did not show the European Top 20 - instead they showed two concerts of R.E.M., one of them being the Unplugged. They showed the other concert first, and I was just amazed by Michael Stipe's (I didn't know his name back then) enormous levels of energy, his jumping around, and his interaction with the audience! I of course did not know any of the songs they played. Then I saw the Unplugged in which Michael Stipe kept smiling throughout the show. The one song I remembered from the show was "Half a World Away".

The very year R.E.M. released "Monster". I was at home one day, almost ready to go out and play soccer - was just tying my shoe laces when "What's The Frequency, Kenneth?" came on TV. The super-psychedelic video caught my attention immediately. More than the orange/blue/green lights emitting from the TV tube, it was the sound, the music, the "wailing" solo and the amazing bass line that made me sit back and watch the entire video. I instantly knew that this was and would be my most favorite song for the rest of my life (trust me, it still is). There was an instant reaction in my head and heart.

I watched that video everyday.

I bought "Monster" very soon and listened to the entire cassette every day - for hours.And that was just the start. I soon bought "Automatic For The People" and "Green". And then "Out of Time". After about five years or so I asked my sister in the US to bring me the rest of the R.E.M. CDs. She did. After listening to the entire catalog, I sat down to think - about how a band can make such amazing music that touches the heart and makes you appreciate their music all the more. The energy, the joy, the sadness, the anger in the songs made me more curious, and thanks to the Internet, I started learning about the songs/ lyrics to know what really the songs and the band were about.

Cut to March 2008.

I am not in India anymore. I am in the US now. I graduated in December 2007 and have a job now. I don't live in New Delhi, India anymore. I live in Ames, IA now.

I was super excited to know that R.E.M. was releasing "Accelerate" this year. I was reading about it online, and most of the articles said that it would be a "rocking" album, unlike the last three. I was glad to hear that, but the reason for my heightened levels of excitement was not the fact that Accelerate would be "rockier" than the previous three, but the fact that an album launch means the band would go on tour soon(and thank God they did). As soon as they announced their tour, I bought a ticket to their concert in Chicago which was scheduled on June 6th. $100, which meant that I would be very very close to the stage. I was counting down days. I can't tell you how excited I was. You had to be me to really know it.

I told everyone at work that I would take 6th June off because I am going to see R.E.M. live in action. I told them that I had waited 14 years for this day. All my colleagues were excited for me.

On 6th June I was to fly from Des Moines to Minneapolis to Chicago. It is a weird route alright, but it would take me to Chicago, so no complaints whatsoever.

6th June comes. I reach Des Moines airport. My flight to Minneapolis was to take off at 12:10 PM. I check in and get to know that it has been delayed and that now it would take off at 1:05 PM. My connecting flight from Minneapolis to Chicago was at 2:40 PM. It was a 45 minutes flight from Des Moines to Minneapolis, which meant that I would still make it to Minneapolis in time to catch my connecting flight.

I board the flight at 12:30. everything's going really well, I say to myself. The plane starts to taxi towards the runaway. I say "wow", and "finally" to myself, and that is when the plane halts. Right before the runway. The pilot announces that we would have to wait there for around 15-20 minutes. Apparently, the weather in Minneapolis was really bad, and the pilot was to get another report from the air traffic conroller about when he can take off. I am still okay.

After 20 minutes, the pilot announces that we would have to wait there for another 50 minutes. He also said that we should call NWA and reschedule our connections. I said "f*ck" to myself and did just that. Now I was on the 4:30 flight from Minneapolis. After an hour or so, the pilot announced that we would have to wait for another hour or so at the very spot because the weather was really bad in Minneapolis and that no planes were allowed to enter the Minneapolis airport. I called NWA again, told them to put me on a different flight - perhaps on a direct Des Moines - Chicago flight. I lied to the rep and told her that it was a "life and death situation" and that I had to be in Chicago downtown by 6:30PM. She apologized and said that she realy could not do anything because "everybody is in the same boat". I said very well. She put me on the 5:30 flight from Minneapolis to Chicago.

At around 4:15 PM the pilot announced that he was going back to the gate because he has not been given permission to take off. After getting deplaned, we were given "our sincere apologies, get $25 off on your next reservation" coupons. The plane was now to take off at 5:00PM.

I could not believe that all this was happening to me. I called NWA again and put myself on the 7:00 PM flight. I was really desperate to see R.EM. As I mentioned before, I had waited 14 years for this day. That's a crazy amount of time. I figured that even if I reach Chicago downtown by 9:00 PM, I would be able to see R.E.M. , if not the opening bands.

The flight finally TOOK OFF at 5:45 PM. It was a good sign. At least, I was on my way to see R.E.M., and it looked like I would make it successfully to Chicago in time. I reached Minneapolis airport at around 6:35, and I ran towards my gate, which was at the other end of the airport. When I reached the gate I looked at one of the wall mounted monitors and realized that my flight was delayed. It was now scheduled to take off at 7:30. Excellent. Instead of taking off at 7:30, I boarded the flight at 7:30, and then I kept sitting inside the aircraft for another one hour and fifteem minutes before it took off.

I reached Chicago airport at 10:15PM. United Center was another hour away from the airport. There was no way I would have made it in time. I said screw it and went straight to my friend's house. I did not go the venue at all.

I met my friend, ate my dinner, and took control of his mac immediately. I was agitated. Frustrated. Annoyed. Sad. I could not believe that what I had gone through that day had actually happened to me. Me. A nice guy, who doesn't do any harm to anyone. Who always wishies well for others.

I went to remhq and looked at R.E.M.'s schedule. They were performing at Jones Beach on the next saturday, which was the 19th.

My next set of actions:

Ticketmaster->Buy ticket to Jones Beach concert.> Buy MSP to JFK and back for $284 (for some strange reason, DSM to JFK was $800!).

Spent saturday and sunday with Vinay and Shalva, which diverted my attention from the most ridiculuous friday of my life ever.

On my way back, same shit happened. My flight from Chicago to Minneapolis was delayed by 5 hours. I again missed my connection and ended up spending the entire night at the Minneapolis airport. The next morning, I was put on a flight to Des Moines at 10:20AM which was delayed by an hour because a "VIP" was flying over Minneapolis and our guy was not allowed to take off. Thanks to the VIP, I missed my bus from Des Moines to Ames.

I had to call Andrew who was more than willing to pick me up from Des Moines. I reached home at 3:30 PM on monday the 9th of June, year 2008.

Cut to 13th June, 2008.

I rent a car and go to Minneapolis to catch my flight the next morning at 7AM. Luckily (thank you God!), my friend who lives in NJ, decides to join me for the concert. Without him, I would have missed the concert again!

The next morning, as I am about to board my flight to JFK, I realize that I had forgotten to bring my concert ticket with me! I could not believe it again. It was deja vu all over again. My "jinxness", if you will, had started. I said "f*ck".

But it wasn't going to be as bad as last week after all. My friend would be with me this time. I forwarded him the ticketmaster email that had the link to the ticket and asked him to print it out for me (I emailed him from my phone, which made me realize how important technology is to mankind). Now, the email had a link that my friend was supposed to click to get the actual ticket that he was to print. The email clearly mentioned in bold that "THIS EMAIL CANNOT BE USED FOR ENTRY".

I meet my friend in Wantagh. He was hungry, so we went to the nearest McDonald's to grab a bite. After that we sit in his car and he gives me the ticket.

My friend had printed the email, not the ticket.

I told him that he had made a mistake.

We now drive to the nearest Kinko's, which was 6 miles away. We do get lost a couple of times but finally make it to Kinko's. At 45 cents for 15 seconds of Internet, I print my ticket. Not one, but three - just to be safe.

Before going to the venue, we go and spend some time at the Jones beach - but more about that some other time, or maybe never.

We enter the venue at around 6:30 PM, and sit at seats that did not belong to us. I am all charged up and excited. I MADE IT!!!!

The National opened at exactly 7:00PM. They are a good band, but I did not really pay much attention to their music, perhaps because I was eagerly waiting for R.E.M. to come on stage. they played for 45 minutes and then made way for Modest Mouse, which I should admit, were really good.

Modest Mouse played for around 40 minutes. They were still playing, and it started to rain. What?? Yes, It starts to rain, and I have not seen R.E.M. yet. People start moving here and there to seek shelter, but I convince my friend to keep sitting , telling him that it's an adventure and all that shit and crap. He sits for a few minutes but soon gets up to protect himself. I keep sitting, and I plan to keep sitting. It is raining like crazy.

And that is when it happened.

Lightening struck. Around 20 seats behind me, and I am not joking. It was perhaps one of the cruelest sounds I have heard in my life. The moment it struck, thousands of people got up and started moving towards the exits. I had to move too.

Chaos chaos everywhere, not a glimpse of R.E.M. to be seen.

Thank God nobody slipped on the stairs, otherwise it would have been a major stampede. It was almost a stampede as it is.

It was raining like crazy now. There were thousands of people not inside the arena, but outside, hiding under covered roofs. The organizers announced on the PA system that the show had been postponed by an hour, and that R.E.M. would come on stage at 10:00PM.

But it was raining so bad that I almost thought that the show would get cancelled. In my mind I was making plans of going to Atlanta next saturday, and the same time was wondering why I was being punished for being a loyal R.E.M. fan. I could not really find any logic behind whatever was happening to me. Then I thought that perhaps I was being punished for something that I might have done in my previous life.

But "Sweetness Followed" soon after. It was announced that R.E.M. would indeed come on stage. Luckily the merchandise store had started to sell ponchos (for $5. I have dedicated a pocket for it in my back pack) which my friend and I bought. We entered the arena with courage. The courage to stand in the rain.

R.E.M. came on stage at around 10:20. My reaction:

It was all good from then on. I finally got to see R.E.M. I saw them perform "It's the end of the ..." which they played only for us - the crowd at Long Beach...Micheal Stipe was very chatty..he talked with us a lot...he said we looked like garbage bags, which was true yet funny.

My dream had come true. My dream of 14 years, and I am proud to announce to the world that I did whatever it took to make it come true. From New Delhi to Ames to Chicago to Ames to Long Beach - who would have thought.

The one thing I want to do is meet them in person. I don't think it's possible. I don't think it ever will be. If I ever have children, I will tell them how adventurous their dad is, and what he did and had to go through to see the greatest band on this planet.

I can die peacefully now.