Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Stuff to see

Catch this if you can. I did, and it was well worth it. I did not have time for this, but I hope to the next time I'm in DC.

Driving is fun.

However I have a small problem. The moment I sit behind the wheel, I begin to feel drowsy. I harbor this paranoid suspicion that the wheel is covered with a potent brand of chloroform.

Black coffee helps. Not much, but a bit. At least the sixth cup does. So does chocolate…and pizza. This means that I have to work out for sixteen days to get over the harmful effects of a five-hour drive.

The radio helps the most. However when traffic is crawling, do not tap your foot on the brake in time to the beat of the song. It seems to annoy the other drivers. But that would be interesting, wouldn’t it? If the traffic moved to the beat of Paint it black or Imagine.

The drive from northern Virginia to State College is incredibly beautiful. Rolling hills and dense woods and a gloomily beautiful, slightly overcast day with just a hint of an early morning fog.

Now something not as pleasant. My cell phone has decided that the backlight is a luxury, and so in effect my screen has died. Well, not exactly. The backlight occasionally does come on when the phone is flipped half open and then promptly shuts down the moment it is fully open. But just to make things interesting, it sometimes comes on only when the top is at an angle of fifteen degrees to the bottom. So I need to hold the phone up to my eye and peek at the screen to figure out whom I am calling.

I think I’ll get a new phone, but in the spirit of minimalism, I think I’ll just have it be a phone. Nothing but a phone. Actually I think I’ll just carry one of those old, black, rotary dial phones in my pocket and get myself a really long extension cord.

Bah. I’m in a good mood, and nothing has pissed me off enough recently for me to rant about. I need someone to say “buh bye” to me while sitting in a kiosk. That might work.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Buh fucking bye

Add this to kiosk.

I fucking hate it when people say “buh-bye”. I need to physically restrain myself from throwing a heavy, jagged object at them.

I get the point when you say “bye”; The “buh” does not help in any fashion. It either makes you sound like you have a bad stammering problem or it makes you sound like you have the intelligence of a retarded slug.

Note to you children out there, it might not be wise to call a person interviewing you old and boring, but sometimes it is.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


I'm too lazy to go to sleep, and this chair is so comfortable. Been on the road most of today and the car hasn't caught fire yet. I am as surprised as you. I'm tired as hell and I feel good.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Read the book

Starship Troopers the movie is utter crap.

Starship Troopers the book is excellent.

I haven't finished it yet. But you have to give credit to an author who manages to do combine a fascinating grunt's eye perspective of a space war with his views on civilization, government and the individual’s responsibilities to the two.
(Long sentences are good. Avoid commas, they are evil.)

Stranger in a Strange Land is now next on my list of books to read.

I drive to New Jersey on Thursday. I hope to avoid a repeat of this, this and this.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

We're number 13. Yay!

The Princeton Review's top party schools:
1. University of Wisconsin-Madison
2. Ohio University-Athens
3. Lehigh University
4. University of California-Santa Barbara
5. State University of New York at Albany
6. Indiana University-Bloomington
7. University of Mississippi
8. University of Iowa
9. University of Massachusetts-Amherst
10. Loyola University New Orleans
11. Tulane University
12. University of Georgia
13. Penn State University
14. West Virginia University
15. The University of Texas-Austin
16. University of Tennessee-Knoxville
17. University of New Hampshire
18. University of Florida
19. Louisiana State University
20. University of Maryland-College Park

I saw that here.

And from an online ad:
"Welcome to Cameron Brook, where home is in the details. You will find the service superior, the interiors specious and the amenities first-class!"

I’m too lazy to write today so I felt the need to share this email that got through my spam filters
Strong erection
Long lasting effects
No prescription needed

2 popular medicines:

Discreet packaging

"Discreet packaging"? As opposed to having packaging that had CURE FOR ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION printed on it with a ridiculously large font? Not that I would know. Really.

A few more vignettes.

Arrested Development is still the funniest show on TV, but Starved comes close.

A gin Manhattan was a figment of my diseased imagination.

And I just noticed that Bangalore now has its very own Craigslist.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Monstrous Regiment

…but Ankh-Morpork had overtaken cunning a thousand years ago, had sped past devious, had left artful far behind, and had now, by a roundabout route, arrived at straightforward.

-Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Airplanes, computers and strip clubs.

Airplanes, computers and strip clubs. Not necessarily in that order.

So I needed to fly to Atlanta for a job interview. And unfortunately flying meant that I had to take an airplane, flying did not mean that I could strap on a pair of wings, make like Icarus and flap my way across five states. Flying meant that I had to sit down in a plane and feel my stomach and the rest of my body part ways whenever we hit an air pocket. I really, really hate that feeling. But that is nothing compared to the view from the window. For some unfathomable reason, I always seem to have an excellent view of the wings. And the wings….they vibrate. Like tuning forks with Parkinson’s disease. Like a guitar string after a particularly energetic riff. Like a…well you get the idea.

Matters aren’t helped by the fact that deep down I am not convinced that planes should be able to fly. It seems to me that they fly simple because everyone has been tricked into believing that they are able to fly. Talk to anybody who builds planes and they’ll say “Um…air pressure and lift and drag and you know mumblemumblemumble”, and then at this juncture they’ll get a really shifty look in their eyes and they’ll say, “Voila!” and point to a huge plane streaking thought the air.

They’re just like computers, which also work because people are deluded into believing that they should work. THEY SHOULDN’T. Nobody knows how computers work. Not even the people who build them. You have transistors and thingummybobs and stuff and when you turn around, you have sixteen billion circuits on a chip the size of a thumbnail. And if you ask them how they did it, they’ll get that same shifty look in their eyes, and say, “Voila”, and point to a supercomputer streaking through the air.

This is how chips are made. A bunch of hardware engineers get together with a whole bunch of electronic components, and they dance with wild abandon around the parts to call upon the Voodoo. And when the dance is done and the virgins have been sacrificed, “Voila”, a supercomputer streaks through the air.

To summarize, airplanes and computers do not work because of science. They are held together by the Voodoo, black magic and mass delusions.

Anyway, I caught my flight to Atlanta from Pittsburgh, so I drove to Pittsburgh on Monday. It is a very scenic drive, farms and rolling hills and countryside and stuff like that. And then the occasional strip club. Well, not occasional…not even intermittent, it would be more accurate to say frequent. Yup, the frequent strip club. Establishments with names like Divaz and Streekers[sic]. Doesn’t leave much to the imagination, what? It is quite possible that Divaz was actually a school for budding altos, but somehow I doubt that.

Well I have nothing against these establishments, and if I wasn’t in such a hurry to catch my flight I may have dropped by to further investigate, purely in the spirit of scientific curiosity. Really. Honest. However, one such place advertised itself as being or having a drive through peep show. Let me repeat that. A drive through peep show. Now I haven’t a clue how that could even be physically possible. Peep shows by their very nature compel you to peep as the …um show occurs, and driving works out well only if you are actually looking at what is in front of the vehicle. So unless the ahem “show-er” is actually perched on your hood as the show goes on I think they might be advertising under false pretenses.

Airplanes. Check.
Computers. Check.
Strip clubs. Check.

And I learnt about this thing called rephotography. It is really quite fascinating and gets my seal of approval.

I'm back...

..and if you did not notice, I was away. In Atlanta. I just got back(ergo the title). I'm sleepy, but expect a post on planes, computers and strip clubs when I get around to it. :D

G'nite all.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Of people prancing about in Khaki shorts

As I had promised, this post will be about, a site which by its name ostensibly claims to be about Indian Pride (a good thing) but is actually a chauvinistic Hindu Pride site spewing hate-filled nonsense (a bad thing). As a secular Hindu,(something that the creators of this site do not like) this pisses me off no end. I’d like to limit my views about this blot on the internet to a single post, but I doubt that I can. The sheer amount of crap on this website is mind boggling, and the creators of this website, or as I prefer to call them, jackasses, have done a fiendishly perfect job of mixing truth with half truth with fecal matter.

I will start at the “Did you know” page. These pages are usually fun, because they contain stuff that I usually do not know and knowledge is a good thing. But this “Did you know” page, like the rest of the page contains crap of epic proportions. The dissection of the crap follows:

India gave to the world the days of the week and their names. The names prevalent in India like Ravivaar, Somvaar, Mangalvaar, etc. were adopted by the west in the same sequence and were directly translated to other languages like English where you have Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc. 

Sunday The name comes from the Latin dies solis, meaning "sun's day": the name of a pagan Roman holiday.
The name comes from the Anglo-Saxon monandaeg, "the moon's day". This second day was sacred to the goddess of the moon.
This day was named after the Norse god Tyr.

Go here for the rest.

Pandit Onkar Nath, the great musician, appealed to all Gujarati young men as far back as 1949 to join RSS. When RSS workers needed some money to liberate Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Lata Mangeshkar gladly gave a charity performance for them in Pune.

Fascinating? Um no. Interesting? Uh, not quite. I have no clue why this is up here. Here however is what I do know about the RSS, they wear dorky Khaki shorts and march around with sticks and stuff, they have way too much political influence and they object to Valentine’s day (The last is due to envy at other people having better social skills than them, I suppose).

Christmas is not the celebration of the birth date of Christ. Different researchers place different dates for the birth of Christ but there is virtual agreement among scholars that December 25th is not the birth date of Jesus Christ, but an annual pagan festival celebrated in honor of the sun which was too deeply entrenched in popular custom to be set aside by Christian influence. The pagan festival with it's [sic] riot and merrymaking was so popular that Christians were glad of an excuse to continue its celebration with little change in spirit and in manner. During the first three centuries we find no trace of any feast for the birth of Christ.

Again, what is this doing on They decided that they’d have a party on the twenty fifth of December. You have a problem with it why?

An intensive research conducted by Zenab Banu of Gujarat on the cause and effect of communal riots since 18th century (which was a topic of her Ph.D. thesis), wherein she had analyzed and documented major Hindu-Muslim riots spread over 250 years, shows that in over 95 % cases the riots were initiated by Muslims. Her thesis has been published in a book entitled 'Politics of Communalism' (1978). 

There are fifty-seven nations in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Not one is yet a democracy.

Well I suppose that having dissed Christianity, the natural segue was to start dissing Islam. And since this is a right wing Hindutva site, Islam certainly has them getting their panties all in a bunch.

St. Francis Xavier, after whom many educational institutions are named in India, feverishly declared, “When I have finished baptising the people, I order them to destory [sic] the huts in which they keep their idols; and I have them break the statues of their idols into tiny pieces, since they are now Christians. I could never come to an end describing to you the great consolation which fills my soul when I see idols being destroyed by the hands of those who had been idolaters,” (from The Letters and Instructions of Francis Xavier, 1993, pp 117-8).

What does this teach us boys and girls? Religious extremism is bad. Unless it’s us. In that case it is right and good.

After partition, when the Maharaja of Kashmir was harbouring the idea of retaining Kashmir as an independent kingdom, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had sent Guru Golwalkar of the RSS to convince the Maharaja to join India. After discussions with Guruji, the Maharaja was convinced and agreed to sign the Instrument of Accession to India. 

This certainly rings true. I’m sure the fact that the Pakistani army was invading had nothing to do with the ruler’s willingness to sign. It was the sight of Whatshisname prancing about in his shorts that convinced the poor Maharaja.

When the Europeans newly arrived in America in 1492, they took the natives to be devils and for about forty years it was legal to hunt down the natives like animals. It was only in 1530 A.D. that the Pope relented and declared that American Indians were human!

Just to keep with the theme of Indian Pride I suppose. I guess that others’ acts of inhumanity make us more humane. ”We’re bad but they’re nasty.”

In 1895, eight years before the Wright brothers flew their first plane, Shivkar Bapuji Talpade and his wife gave a thrilling demonstration flight on the Chowpatty beach in Mumbai. Mr. Talpade, an erudite Sanskrit scholar, constructed his aeroplane named 'Marutsakha' based on the description of Vimanas available in the Vedas.

The theory of the Ion Engine has been credited to Robert Goddard, long recognized as the father of Liquid-fuel Rocketry. It is claimed that in 1906, long before Goddard launched his first modern rocket, his imagination had conceived the idea of an Ion rocket. However, Shivkar Bapuji Talpade used an Ion Engine to take his plane to a height of 1500 ft. in 1895, many years before Goddard. 

(In my best Darth Vader voice) Impressive. I’d just like, you know, that little thing they call PROOF. Incidentally I have teleporter made from a cereal bar and a pair of dirty socks that I’m looking to sell. Email me.

Only a few years ago, the Chinese discovered some Sanskrit documents in Lhasa, Tibet and sent them to the University of Chandigarh to be translated. Dr. Ruth Reyna of the university said that the documents contain directions for building interstellar spaceships! The Chinese announced that they were including certain parts of the documents for study in their space program.

Um waiter, I’d like to have what that dude over there is smoking.

When the city of Mohenjodaro was excavated by archaeologists, they found skeletons just lying in the streets, some of them holding hands, as if some great doom had suddenly overtaken them. These skeletons are among the most radioactive ever found, on a par with those found at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Ancient cities whose brick and stonewalls have literally been vitrified, that is-fused together, can be found in India, Ireland, Scotland, France, Turkey and other places. There is no logical explanation for the vitrification of stone forts and cities, except from an atomic blast.

A double order. That there chemical is good stuff.
Honestly even if this were true, do you really feel the need to be proud of the fact that we might have invented the Nuclear Holocaust? “Huzzah, we learnt to blow up our planet three millennia before the Americans and Russians.”

The shrouded Qaabaa at Mecca, the holiest shrine for all Muslims of the world, was once a temple containing 360 different deities which were the object of reverence and worship. Acting upon the orders of Allah, the almighty, Prophet Mohammed waged a jihad or holy war against the worshippers of these deities to gain control over Mecca, after which he destroyed the icons and slaughtered the idolaters. 

Refer comments about looking good by contrast.

Those communities among the Hindus who are called Bhangi, Mehtar, Chookad, Hela, Valmik or Halaal Khor, etc. are actually descendants of brave Kshatriyas, who, inspite of many atrocities by tyrannical Muslim rulers, had refused to accept conversion to Islam. The Muslim tyrants, with a view to humiliate them to such an extent that they would forsake their faith and accept Islam, forced them into the work of carrying the night soil of the begums, keeps, relations, courtiers, etc. 

The horror! Making descendents of the proud “upper” castes do the work reserved for the true “lower” castes. Woohoo, hypocrisy makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

When the World Parliament of Religions passed a resolution a few years ago proclaiming that all religions were various pathways to One Ultimate Reality and called for unity and brotherhood of all religions, the Vatican came out with a prompt rejection of the view and emphatically proclaimed that Roman Catholicism was the only true religion and others could not be accepted to be true.

Yeah dudes, you convinced me way back that Christians aren’t nice folks. You’re now preaching to the choir.

In a recent report, UNESCO pointed out that out of 128 countries where Jews lived before Israel was created in 1948, only one, India, did not persecute them and allowed them to prosper and practice Judaism in peace.

True, probably because there are probably a hundred Jews in the country and you couldn’t summon up the enthusiasm in your shorts-clad hooligans to assault them.

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and also in North America. 

Again, and this pisses you off why?

Christianity always associated bathing with vulgarity, lascivious thoughts and bathing in public baths, rivers and lakes, even during summer months, as sinful. St. Agnes never took a bath. St. Marget never washed herself. Pope Clement III issued an edict forbidding bathing or even wetting once [sic] face on Sunday. Since 18th century nuns were asked to take bath with their robes on. In 1736, in Baden, Germany the authorities issued a warning to students against the vulgar, dangerous and shocking practice of bathing.

Yup, youve convinced me, Christians are nasty…AND stinky. And if I read this correctly, um...are you endorsing pubic nudity? So we're decided then, YES to public nudity, NO to Valentine's day.

This was quite an effort. Some of the points I do not discuss because they are correct or at least I think they are (What that means is that I’m too lazy to hunt further for contradictions).

I’ll come back to this glorious bit of the internet in the near future. But expect my next post to rant about people who do not FUCKING flush after they finish using the toilet.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Mirror, mirror on every fucking wall.(Yes I said fuck. I will not be censored.)

I’m temporarily crashing with my former roommates until I move out of town. They’ve moved to another apartment. It is a very nice apartment, large and with a wonderful patio. A very nice apartment indeed, except for the funky ass floor length mirrors all over the apartment.

One would think that the landlords would have shown a little restraint, but that isn’t the case. There are mirrors on all the bedroom closets. That is acceptable if not exactly desirable. I do keep expecting them to crack from end to end when they catch a glimpse of me in the morning.

But that is beside the point. Those mirrors are to some extent acceptable. However, the landlord felt the need to put a floor length mirror on the shoe closet, so that you can peer dreamily into your reflection as you enter the house…Or as in my case give a nervous start as you wonder who the fuck that is standing next to you as you stagger sleepily to the laundry room in the middle of the night.

And then there’s the floor length mirror on the utility closet, which serves absolutely no purpose apart from confirming to you, the fact that you are walking down the corridor when you are actually walking down the corridor. I can see the landlords saying to one another, “Clearly, this house is going to be occupied by people who might be beset by doubts that they are not walking down the corridor, when they are in fact walking down the corridor. We must do our best to help them, but what should we do?” They ponder this question for a while and then the most narcissistic among them chimes, “Let's put mirrors all over the apartment. That’ll help them”. And the landlords chime in unison, “Make it so.” And it was made so.

I am surprised that they stopped where they did. Any day now I expect to return to the apartment, (an apartment where I am now only a guest) to find that all the surfaces are covered with mirrors, mirrors in the refrigerator, and in the oven, mirrors in the dishwasher and in those little cabinets above the stove. Mirrors on the ceiling, like in some bachelor pad from a sixties’ Bond movie. A veritable cornucopia of mirrors, an orgy of reflections! (Unlike most others, I use exclamation marks only when appropriate. Has anyone else noticed that the characters in Archie comics used only one of two punctuation marks when they were speaking, either a question mark or an exclamation mark. So even the most innocuous statement, such as “Let's get a bite.” would become “Let's get a bite!” a statement that is vaguely sinister. One would begin to wonder, what was it that they were going to bite? Was it illegal? Were they biting That Which Shouldn’t Be Bitten?)

And this bit of frothing-at-the-mouth chauvinistic insanity deserves a post all by itself. I will be mocking it in my next post. Until then enjoy it in all it’s hair brained glory.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Clicky clicky click click

Um, here.

Edit: this is my hundredth post. Go out and get drunk. I do not care if it is ten in the morning where you live. Go out and get smashed.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Boil and bubble...

I was trying to think up of a post that wasn't in the least bit mean, sarcastic or cynical. All I could come up with was, “I like cookies, in spite of the fact that they are loaded with calories and fat and have no nutritional value at all”. And for some reason, I think I failed in my attempt.

But, speaking of liquids that we pour into our bodies (Smooth segue there, what?), has anybody seen the list of ingredients o a can of Diet Pepsi. There are a whole bunch of chemicals listed in little black letters, acids and bases and other exotic compounds that only Electric Man is familiar with.

But what worried me was that the last two chemicals were listed boldly in red. And I do mean boldly. A larger font, richer color and very prominently located on the valuable real estate that is the surface of a can. That cannot be a good sign can it? One wonders, are the chemicals so bad that even the giant capitalistic conglomerate that is Pepsi felt so guilty that it decided to list them in red? I can imagine the executives in the boardroom asking the executive in charge of cans, “Avast good sire, forsooth hast thou listed the chemicals on yonder can?” and the executive saying “Forsooth I have, and for thine consciences’ sake and mine yonder chemical hast been in red listed.” That incidentally is a scene from that little known play, The Taming of the Brew.

And still speaking of liquids we pour into our bodies, I had a cup of coffee. Well, it was decaf coffee, with non-dairy creamer and sugar substitute. So you can pretty much say I had pretend coffee. Or that I pretended to have coffee. Maybe next time, I’ll mime having coffee and won’t have to actually go through the energy sapping motions of actually drinking that fluid.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Adventures of Electric Man - Part 3(the musical interlude)

My humble contribution to the greatness of Electric man. Part 1 can be found here, and Part 2 here. I apologize for the atrocious choice of song, but I just moved and I'm in a foul mood. And it was so easy.

Electric Man, yeah
Rig that circuit, yeah
Electric Man, yeah
Rig that circuit right
BunsenBoy's back, alright

Hey, yeah
Oh my God, we're back again
Professors, students, everybody sing
Gonna bring the chemicals, show you how
Gotta question for you better answer now,(Notice how his tendencies show over here.)

Am I original(research)?
Am I the only one(who can build a electron microscope from 3 op amps and a string)?
Am I sexual(orgies with transistors)?
Am I everything you need(Chemically and electronically I mean)?
You better Rig that circuit now

Electric Man, yeah
Rig that circuit, yeah
Electric Man, yeah
Rig that circuit right
BunsenBoy's back, alright

Now throw your organic chemicals up in the air
Wave them around like you just don't care(This line cannot be improved)
If you wanna research let me hear you yell “DioxychloronitrobnzoicJappoChunkyDevioxy ParaMonosodiumglutamateicacidsomewierdoricess

Cuz we got it formulatin’ on again

Electric Man, yeah
Rig that circuit, yeah
Electric Man, yeah
Rig that circuit right
BunsenBoy's back, alright

Electric Man, yeah
Rig that circuit, yeah
Electric Man, yeah
Rig that circuit right
BunsenBoy's back, alright

So everybody, everywhere
Don't be afraid, don't have no fear(I am the light of knowledge in the dark)
I'm gonna tell the world, make you understand(I’m a professor at heart)
As long as there'll be chemicals, we'll be researchin’ back again

Electric Man, yeah
Rig that circuit, yeah
Electric Man, yeah
Rig that circuit right(Rig that circuit right)
BunsenBoy's back, alright

Electric Man (Electric Man)
Yeah (Rig that circuit)
Rig that circuit (Electric Man)
Yeah (Electric Man, Rig that circuit)
Electric Man (Electric Man, Rig that circuit)
Rig that circuit right (everybody)
BunsenBoy's back, alright



Really really sucks. More on that later.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Smile...or not. I don't give a *bleep*.

I’m channeling my inner Lewis Black, so here goes.

Photography. Well, not really. More photographs. Unless I know you and the other people in the photographs, I really am not interested in looking at them. The last thing I want to do is waste fifteen minutes of my time, fifteen minutes could have been wasted playing Snood, looking at those visual records and going, “Um, and what are you doing here” and “That’s interesting.”

Because they aren’t interesting. The sappy grins and the glassy stares begin to get on my nerves. Years later your grandchildren will stumble upon them and one look at you grinning at them will cause them to forever lose any trace of respect that they ever had for you. I would appreciate it if in future the mindless hordes would cease and desist. Or if they really felt the need to share, they would limit themselves to one photograph. Preferably one that does not have me regretting that wrap I had for lunch.

And I’ve never understood the reason for people deciding to be in their photographs. Are they presenting it as evidence that they were present at the scene of the crime? If they say that they were in Manhattan on the fifteenth of February 2004, I believe them. They do not have to present me with exhibit A- sixteen billion photographs of them in Manhattan. Let them show me photographs of the island without them in it. I rather like the architecture there and I will appreciate it.

The reason for this rant is because people always complain that I rarely show up in any of my photographs. I reply that they should consider this a blessing. I have seen me and I am not a pleasant sight. Apart from that I know what I look like. I see myself in the mirror daily. I do not vary much from day to day, apart from the steady beard growth. I see no reason to mar a perfectly good photograph by inserting me in it.

Say cheese. Now go jump off a cliff.