Sunday, December 31, 2006

Final Thoughts for 2006

[editor's note: touchy feely post ahead]

Last night after sitting on a beach in Bermuda near midnight in proper formal clothes an idea struck me: maybe we (myself and party of 4 others) should jump into the Atlantic for a wade. The shocked look on everyone's face wasn't because we would have to sort out how to dry ourselves off, wipe sand off, and not ruin our clothes....it was because I was the one said it. Go figure. Why was it odd that I said it? I'm not usually that concervative, am I? My favorite motto maybe that "the best fun is planned fun" and I do consider myself to be a voice of practicality when people have outlandish ideas that have no hope of striking gold, but I'm not unspontaneous, am I? I like to crazy things sometimes. I like to spray unsuspecting people with my water gun from my window at night. That's crazy right?

But when did I become this way? When did I become so pragmatic that I'm on the borderline of being a killjoy? Why is it that when the others are thinking about renting scooters to ride up and down the island my first thought it "ooh, this could be dangerous, something bad could happen" when I know deep down inside that I'll be the one who enjoys it the most (and I would argue did...as some of the others got annoyed for me going too fast).

It's odd that sometimes the only time you ask yourself why you got the way you did is when you remove yourself from the environment that helped create you. Okay maybe I'm going a bit overboard on the touchy feely side of things, after all most of you are probably here for some joke about random observations that I make as opposed to my own personal musings. Fair enough, well think about this fact, there are a shitload of desis in Bermuda. Most of them work in the service industry and it's pretty bizarro coming to an English territory to see British people with the proper jobs and Indians slaving away. So much for 1947...the sun will always shine on the British Empire as long as they have Bermuda...and they act like the 51st state of the US.

There. Happy?

Okay back to me, during the mid 1800s in the Age of Enlightenment the prevailing tenet was that reason and rationality were the guiding lights in science, medicine, and society as a whole. Deducible rationality can explain why things are the way they are. That being said there was a minority view that reason and rationality couldn't explain the most important things like. While these irrationalists felt there was a certain logic to things, a scientist could never reason on how animal evolution (for example) would play out. Likewise I'd love to see Roussea try to explain Love, why the Beatles broke up, or why we can't just recognize that it's J-Timberlake not Usher who is the real King of Pop.

In a similar vein it's not exactly rocket science to apply this thinking to how your own personality develops. Its creative evolution occurs in little twists and turns through days, weeks, and years that seem very insignificant until you take a look back and you wonder what happened to me? And yet when you pick apart the little facets of who you are it all makes perfect sense.

So my parting thought is a highly unstunning and unexciting postulate that sometimes it's okay to be happy with you how you turned out. Your new years resolution should be less about being a different person (both for nice self-esteem reasons and the practical one that you're not really gonna hold onto your resolution past 3 weeks) but rather to accent different parts of what you do well and to do more of it.

If I may delve into the slighty personal side of things for one more moment, 2006 may have been my hardest personal year ever and I'm pretty happy to see it go, but as much as I have a vision of things I'd like to see happen next year I think all being said if I were to end up in the exact same place 365 days from now, I'd be okay with things...it would just make my 2008 that much more stressful.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

nooo, big white Reebok shoes have never looked cool on Indians...

As the year draws to a close I think it's important to come clean on certain issues and reveal to people our innermost thoughts. As such I wanted to reveal that ever since college I've become uber jealous of Japanese people. Japanese kids can wear anything they want and look cool with it.

Cowboy hat with Vans shoes? No problem.
Fargo-esque monkey hat with a faded t-shirt that says "Atari" in a cheesy font? Blammo.
Pencil thin jeans with a bright orange jacket? Bring it on.
Camouflage shorts with a puffy vest? Konichiwa bitches.

Meanwhile if an Indian kid wears the very same clothes he'll look like an idiot. Tragically unhip if you will. (Although to be fair it really wouldn't be "tragic" in a classic sense because according to Aristotle a true tragedy must involve several key components, one of them being that bad shit happens to a noble figure...and many desi kids are not noble figures, far from it...). If you wear brightly colored clothing it looks like you were told to wear these odd clothes as opposed to it being a fashion choice. If you wear t-shirts with random 1980's pop culture references it looks like that was actually a shirt you used to own back in the day.

To put it another way, no matter how much we may try, most Indians cannot pull off the difficult fashion maneuver of ironic-cheesey-coolness that has become so trendy over the past 2-3 years (Exhibit A: everything sold at Urban Outfitters) that the Japanese have mastered.

Also on a sidenote, can someone just admit to the fact that 95% of the clothes at Armani Exchange sucks ass? I know it says "Armani" and they're expensive, but c'mon people! Try to display some independent fashion tastes. I mean this is the kinda store which the movie "Zoolander" was practically made to mock with its derelicte fashion line. A lot of AX's stuff looks like trash and I have no idea why so many SIGs (Shady Indian Guys) feel the need to wear AX hats. Chicks don't dig big logos on guys. I don't know this for a fact, but I'm willing to argue/hope that most girls older than the age of 17 do not get moved by this...

Some people may say "Hey Shakes, while this is a great series of points, why do you feel the need to write about this nonsense in the middle of the night while you're on vacation in Bermuda?" My response: Because it's just that important, dammit. My poeple have suffered far too long without being able to realize these things for themselves.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

fyi...

...by the way, for those of you who didn't know, in 2007 I've decided that I'm gonna bring sexy back.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

James Brown is dead!

Hopefully some of you got the title's allusion to the song by L.A. Style ... but it's true he is dead. Now if you're gonna claim that you didn't really know anything about him, the chances are that everytime you turned your radio on you were listening to him... or if you've ever seen The Cosby Show episode when the family dances to "I Got That Feelin' " in celebration of Cliff's parent's 49th anniversary.

I tried to figure out if there was one comprehensive list of all the hip hop songs that sampled him, but the reality is that so many of them never got offical approval. They were sorta "borrowed." So with some help from an old blog called Sample Spotters, here's a pretty comprehensive list of people who used samples from just one song (albeit one of the most popular ones...so it's not exactly a random sample) "The Funky Drummer" from 1969:
2 Live Crew: Coolin'
808 State: Pacific 202
A Tribe Called Quest: Seperate / Together
Above the Law: Murder Rap, Untouchables, What Cha Can Prove
Allison Williams: Sleep Talk
Aphrodite: Velvet Seduction
Awesome Dre: Frankly Speaking
Beastie Boys: Shadrach
Big Daddy Kane: Mortal Combat
Biz Markie: Spring Again
Black Rock & Ron: Stop the World
Breeze: Great Big Freak
BWP: A Different Category
Cash Money & Marvelous: Drawers
Choice MC: Bad A-s B----h
Chubb Rock: Bump the Floor, Talkin' Loud, Ain't Sayin' Jack
Coldcut: Say Kids, What Time is It?
Compton's Most Wanted: The Final Chapter, Wanted
Conscious:Unconscious
Convicts: I Like Boning
CPO: Flow to the Rhythm
Criminal Nation: I'm Rollin', Insane, It's a Black Thing, The Right Crowd
De la Soul: Oodles of O's
Deep Forest: Deep Forest
Depeche Mode: My Joy
Derek B: Get Down, Human Time Bomb
Digable Planets: Where I'm From
DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince: 2 Damn Hype, Hip Hop Dancer's Theme, Jazzy's Groove, Magnificent Jazzy Jeff, Pump up the Bass
DJ Mark the 45 King ft Lakim Shabazz: When a Wise Man Speaks
DJ Master T: Wind Me Up
DOC: Let the Bass Go
Domination: Back at it Again
Dr. Dre: Let Me Ride
Eazy-E: We Want Eazy
Enigma: Carly's Song
Eric B & Rakim: Lyrics of Fury, Paid in Full, Relax with Pep
Father MC: Ain't it Funky
Fine Young Cannibals: I'm Not the Man I Used to Be
Freddie Foxx: F. F. is Here
Fresh 4: Wishing on a Star
GangStarr: 2 Deep
George Michael: Waiting for That Day/You Can't Always Get. . .
Geto Boys: Mind of a Lunatic, Read These Nikes
Goats: TV Cops
Gus Gus: Purple
Guy: I Like
Hard Knocks: A Blow to the Head
Heavy D: Peaceful Journey, We Got Our Own Thang
Hi-C: Take a Ride
HWA: Trick is a Trick
Ice Cube: Endangered Species, Jackin' for Beats
Ice T: I Ain't New Ta This, Original Gangster, Radio Suckers,
James Brown: She Looks All Types A' Good
Jaz: The Originators
Kid 'N Play: Foreplay, Slippin'
Kid Sensation: Emergency
King Sun: King Sun with the Sword
Kool G Rap: It's a Demo, The Butcher Shop
Kool Moe Dee: Bad, Bad, Bad, I'm Blowing Up, Knowledge is King
Korn & the Dust Brothers: Kick the P.A.
Kris Kross: Jump, Lil' Boys in Da Hood
Kwame: The Rhythm
Lakim Shabazz: Black is Back
Leaders of the New School: Sobb Story, Teachers, Don't Teach Us Nonsense
LL Cool J: Boomin' System, Fast Peg, Mama Said Knock You Out, Nitro, Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
Low Profile: Make Room for. . .
Maestro Fresh Wes: Let Your Backbone Slide
Mantronix ft Wondress: Got to Have Your Love, Fresh is the Word
Marky Mark: Good Vibrations
Masters at Work: Jus' a Lil' Dope
MC Frontalot: Good Old Clyde
MC Lyte: Brooklyn
MC Shan: So Def, So Fresh
MC Smooth: Blow the Whistle
Mellow Man Ace: Hypest from Cypress, River Cubano
Michel'le: No More Lies
Michie Mee: Jamaican Funk Canadian Style
Milli Vanilli: Girl you know it's true
Ministere Amer: Traitres
Mistress & DJ Madame E: Hypergroove, Show 'em How We Play
MMG: Only the Strong Survive
Mobb Deep: Flavor for the Non-Believes
Nas: Get Down
Naughty by Nature: Hot Potato, Ready for Dem
New Order: Ruined in a Day
Nikki D: Freak Accident, Gotta up the Ante for the Panties
Nine Inch Nails: Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now)
No Face: Half
NWA: F--k tha Police, Quiet on tha Set
Omni Trio: Nu Birth of Cool
Paperboy: The Nine Yards
Paris: I Call Him Mad, On the Prowl, The Devil Made Me Do It
Pete Rock & CL Smooth: Go with the Flow
P-Funk All Stars: Dope Dogs
Pharcyde: Officer
Prince Johnny C: Comin' to Get Ya, Kevey Kev is a Dancer with Soul
Prince: Gangster Glam, Gett Off, My Name is Prince
Public Enemy: Bring the Noise, Fight the Power, Hazy Shade of Criminal, Rebel Without a Pause, She Watch Channel Zero, Terminator X to the Edge of Panic, The Enemy Assault Vehicle Mixx
Redman: Rated R
Roxanne Shante: Have a Nice Day
Run-DMC: Back from Hell, Beats to the Rhyme, Run's House, Word is Born
Salt-N-Pepa: Let the Rhythm Run
Scarface: Born Killer
Sinead O'Connor: I Am Stretched on Your Grave
Sir Mix-A-Lot: No Holds Barred
Slayer & Atari Teenage Riot: No Remorse (I Wanna Die)
Slick Rick: The Moment I Feared
Smooth Ice: I'm Coming, Without a Pause
Sons of Bazerk: One Time for the Rebel
South Central Cartel: Neighborhood Jacka
Stetsasonic: DBC Let the Music Play, Sally, Speaking of a Girl Named Suzy, The Hip Hop Band
Stop the Violence Movement: Self-Destruction
Style: Victim to the Vinyl
Sublime: Scarlet Begonias
Super Lover Cee & Casanova Rud: Do the James, Let the Drummer Get Ill
Sweet T: My Beat
Tim Dog: Goin Wild in the Penile, Low Down N---a
TLC: Shock Dat Monkey
True Mathematics: For the Lover in You
Tung Twista: No Peace Sign
Tupac ft Richie Rich: Lie to Kick It
Ultramagnetic MC: Give the Drummer Some, Moe Love on the One & Two
Vanilla Ice: Stop That Train
Wagon Christ: Filthy Drummer
WC & the Maad Circle: Ghetto Serenade
Yomo & Maulkie: Mockingbird
YZ: Return of the Holy One
Z-Trip: Rockstar, Rockstar 2
...and yes you did just see Vanilla Ice in that list. Your eyes aren't lying. The drums themselves are played by Clyde Stubblefield, so I guess you could literally call him the Funky Drummer. Anyhoo, that is my James Brown tribute...

Monday, December 25, 2006

stealing from Santa, my brother, & blackmail

As millions of kids start slowly waking up to trees full of toys one thing struck me, why do kids try to stay awake to see Santa? When I was much younger and less of a sage I decided I would sleep in our living room by our tree in order to capture Santa. I'm not sure what I was looking to achieve but it seemed like a noble enough cause. I mean it's not like you need to spot Santa in order to ensure that you get your presents, I mean that part is going to happen anyways. The reality is I, like most kids, didn't really have a gameplan as to what I would do once I spotted him.

What's funny is that many years later (i.e. now) I've actually thought about what the ideal Santa Scenario would be. If I spotted Santa in my living room I'd probably try to steal his sack of toys. I mean think about it, getting your own toys is well....err...child's play, the money shot would be to steal the loot that would go to all the other kids. Plus let's be honest, often times Santa saved his better toys for the kids across the street. What a jerk face. In fact it strikes me as incredible that no other kid that I've come across has thought about this robbing Santa idea. It's ingenious.
If I could do it all over again Santa would have a lot of explaining to do when he shows up broke at other kids' homes. Is it better to give than to receive? Yes of course, especially when you have all the loot to choose from for what you want to give.

That being said my other Christmas thought is that every family that has a tree goes through their own present opening tradition. I think very rarely are kids allowed to rip right through their presents like they do in movies. In my family you had to do two things:

1) make sure everyone in the house was awake
2) open your presents in a rotating order with other family

The culmination of these two events usually make the Christmas festivities go about 5 hours longer than the average kid (me) could wait for. Rules #1 was done primarily for the benefit of the parental units as they would make egregious demands like making them tea and coffee before they officially "wake up." Sadly jumping on people didn't work like it used to.

Somewhere between the ages of 8 and 13 my brother started to abuse this as well by asking that I prepare him things. He basically got over the fascination/desire of waking up at 5am to open presents only to see our parents make their annual demands. So when he realized that I was always waking up anyways he stopped getting up. Why work when you have the younger brother become the errand boy while he blissfully slept. Furthermore he had the audacity to make demands of his own. He knew his power was limited baed on when mom and dad arose, so our conversations would go something like this:
[6am]
Me: Hey wake up!
Brother: Are mom and dad up?*
Me: No. We have to wake them!
Brother: Okay excellent, tell me when they wake up. Also make me some toast
Me: @#$@#$@%!~
Years later of course I got wise to the game and resorted to lying. This transformed our morning-time interactions to this:
[6am]
Me: Hey wake up!
Brother: Are mom and dad up?
Me: Yes!
Brother: Really?
Me: Yes they are!
Brother: Have they had their tea and coffee and stuff?
Me: Yes, they are waiting by the tree! You are the last one!
Brother: Oh, okay...

[15minutes later, sitting by a vacant tree]
Brother: Dude mom and dad are still brushing
Me: Yes.
Brother: Why did you lie to me?
Me: I dunno
Brother: I'm going back to bed
Me: Aw c'mon...mooooooooom
...and so on and so forth. So to all the blackmailing brothers out there, Merry Christmas.


*on a sidenote, isn't it interesting that you always say "mom and dad" never "dad and mom"

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Global Warming is Fantastic!

Who needs a White Christmas when you have weather in the mid-60s two days before Xmas? Today's weather may be the most unexpected thing since the time I discovered that the female vocalist in the song "Rapture" by IIO is a Pakistani girl by the name of Nadia Ali.

As such the only thing which makes today even more perfect is my obtaining of fried chicken, cole slaw, and mashed potatoes from KFC.

Roberto Benigni is right, life is beautiful.

Friday, December 22, 2006

it's better to give than to receive...

...and sometimes what we need to give others is simple advice, like "Hey Lafawnduh, those jeans don't quite fit your body no more... you're making them explode."

Now some people may ask why is it that i'm going around in shopping malls taking pictures of people's bums? Is it for my own pleasure? Is it for my own enjoyment? I answer with an emphatic "no." No. I put myself out there on the line for the benefit of my readers. It's a public service really.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

bring back nelly furtado

Once upon a time Nelly Furtado was sweet and nice. She like a bird, she could only fly away. Then she became all weird like Gwen Stefani and not as sweet. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I don't even recognize her anymore. Woe is me.

I used to think that I would marry Nelly. Now I'm not so sure. Okay I still probably would, but I'd require a dowry now.

These are my thoughts. Discuss.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

This just in from the biased news department...

U2's new video for the single "Window in the Skies" is just awesome. The band released it on YouTube before anywhere else and you can watch it below:


The video itself is a montage of other singers from concert and video footage which makes them look like they're singing bits of U2's song through a phenomenal job of editing. The real question is how many of the artists can you identify in the video. There are only 4 or 5 brief U2 cameos in it and there are like over 30 other artists, from Elvis to Nat King Cole. Although this is by no means the official list, and there are some gaps, it's something like this based on other people's thoughts and my own:

00:14 Frank Zappa
00:17 Billie Holiday
00:19 Simon & Garfunkel
00:20 Roy Orbison
00:23 Aretha Franklin
00:24 Bob Marley
00:33 Louis Amstrong
00:38 David Bowie
00:44 Lou Reed
00:46 Frank Sinatra
00:47 John Stirratt (Wilco)
00:49 Kanye West
00:50 Johnny Rotten? (Sex Pistols)
00:51 Mick Jones (The Clash)
00:52 Nat King Cole
01:01 Sam Cooke
01:02 Ozzy Osbourne
01:15 Nirvana
01:26 Johnny Cash
01:27 Iggy Pop
01:31 Paul McCartney
01:33 Thom Yorke (Radiohead)
01:34 Mary J. Blige
01:36 Red Hot Chili Peppers (?)
01:38 Elvis
01:46 Jon Bon Jovi
01:47 Britney Spears
01:48 Elton John
02:08 Adam Clayton
02:16 Arcade Fire
02:21 Keith Richards
02:22 George Harrison (Beatles of course)
02:23 Jimmy Hendrix
02:30 Adam Clayton
02:32 Chrissy Hinde
02:33 Alicia Keys
02:34 Ray Charles
02:39 Sam Cooke
02:43 David Bowie
02:45 Smokey Robinson
02:47 Elvis
02:51 Robert Plant
02:52 Vladimir Horowitz (Pianist)
02:55 Tina Turner
02:57 Dusty Springfield
03:03 Queen (?)
03:07 James Brown
03:12 David Byrne (Talking Heads)
03:21 Adam (dark glasses) and Edge
03:26 Jerry Lee Lewis
03:29 Bono
03:33 Larry Mullen
03:36 Patti Smith
03:37 Steve Wonder
03:47 Pete Townshed
03:51 Edge
03:54 Adam
03:55 Edge
03:56 Larry Mullen
04:04 Frank Sinatra

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Greatest Office Christmas Prank Ever

People often come up to me and say "Hey Shakes, you celebrate Christmas in a non-religious manner, how should I join in the festivities?" Well you've come to the right place. I think a very practical and cost-effective strategy is to take a cue from the Griswolds and decorate the roof of your house with lights that can be seen from space along with a mechanical fake deer (one with a red nose of course) on your front lawn and a miniature replica of the Nativity Scene. All of this should cost you no more than several thousands of dollars and a few man hours.

What's that you say? You seem excited by the prospects of spending so much money but you are lacking a house to do it at? This is indeed a bad sitch my friend. Have no fear my friends, have I got an idea for you...

Well the next best thing is to bring the holiday cheer to work! Impossible you say? Do you work on floor full of cubicles that reminds you more of Alcatraz than the North Pole? Are the prospects of the Grinch walking into your cube and stealing your soul more likely than Santa Clause dropping off some presents?

Well have no fear.

With a little bit of work you too can do what my brother did to a co-worker (Glenn) while he was out of the office for a week and decorate a cube in the holiday spirit...and no my brother is not the Indian dude who appears in some of the pictures below, that's someone else. All Indians don't look alike. Sheesh. That's just racist people....

STEP 1: Identify a cubicle of a co-worker and enlist the help of several people at work. Home Depot provides great construction material for the frame.










STEP 2: After assembling a frame, proceed to make a roof












STEP 3: Every good cubicle home needs a front door


















STEP 4: Decorate the cubicle house in a Christmas manner, add a chimney and presto! You have your very own Santa's workshop in the middle of your office!











STEP 5: Watch as the owner of the cubicle (Glenn) returns to work and is forced to work inside his little workshop for the past few days because he is unable to dismantle the whole thing by himself.









STEP 6: (Bonus points) Get former President and peanut farmer Jimmy Carter's seal of approval















Now I don't want to pretend that I'm the complete authority on Christmas and/or pranks, but if this isn't the greatest thing ever, I'm not sure what is.

[back to the top of the blog!]

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lost: my Chapstick

My Chapstick has now been missing for two days. If anyone has any knowledge of it's whereabouts or even hints that it may have been hanging out with someone else's lips, please let me now. I will negotiate a reward if needed. Please I just want my Cherry Chapstick back with its adoreable little white cap. I've posted an artist rendering of it here as well, so hopefully that helps.

To be fair I don't think any human being has actually maintained possession of their Chapstick long enough to actually use the whole thing up. In an odd poetic way Chapsticks are meant to get lost. It's almost like a seasonal metaphor for life: It is better to have moisturized your lips and lost, then to have parched lips forever.

Poignant. Touching. True.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

an ode to my missing chapstick


O' Chapstick Where Art Thou?


O' where O' where can my Chapstick be?
O' where O ' where could it beeee?

As a lip balm ointment
With it's fla-vored assortment
I always pick cher-ry

O' bring back, bring back, bring back my Chapstick to me, to mee
O' bring back, bring back, bring back my Chapstick to me, to mee

I lose it so often
Thus my lips can't soften
It glides on magicallly

I have never finished a whole stick
Because it gets lost faster than a falling brick*
For my lip to be healthy it's keeeey

O' bring back, bring back, bring back my Chapstick to me, to mee
O' bring back, bring back, bring back my Chapstick to me, to mee

I feel like I buy a new one ev-ery week
Only to find them months later in the sum-mer heat

Every step away from me that you take
It's like watching my heart break
But I'll replace you hap-pily

By the end of winter season
I'll need no more lip healin'
You served my faithfully

O' bring back, bring back, bring back my Chapstick to me, to mee
O' bring back, bring back, bring back my Chapstick to me, to mee


*Ok I know some idiot is going to ruin my whole poem by saying "Hey how can you say that your Chapstick gets lost faster than a falling brick, a brick merely falls due to the forces of gravity which applies equally to all objects regardless of their mass?" To you I say that you are an inconsiderate brute (or brute-ette) and honestly I couldn't think of anything to rhyme with stick that would seem applicable. There, are you happy? Does that make you feel better? Sheesh.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

some day are better than others


Some days you wake up and just tell yourself that you can't do this anymore. Not getting enough sleep on a constant basis sucks. Some days you just don't have what it takes to wake up and drag yourself out of bed and go to work. This is not living. I mean sure you do it on your own volition but sometimes you feel like you still don't have a choice. The fact that you wake up early every day sorta screws up your sleep patterns so now you always stare wide eyed at your ceiling no matter how much you try to sleep.

Some days you have nothing left and as you turn towards your alarm clock and prepare to scan the time you realize, IT'S SATURDAY.

Hooray Saturday, we salute you.

Friday, December 8, 2006

the first metrosexual

Often times people think that the first metrosexual was David Beckham. I mean the guy is (was?) pretty badass on the soccer pitch and yet he's impecabbly dressed and well groomed. He's an Indian mom's dream come true...minus the whole sport part....and he's of the wrong caste... and he's like not Indian. But aside from that he's great. Well, he hasn't exactly been starting for his club team lately. But I digress...

Now while it's envouge to talk about guys being metro people these days the reality is that there was a role model for this movement that happened much much earlier in our lives. I'm not talking about Rock Hudson. I mean he was a good looking dude, but he just gay, so that pretty much disqualifies him. But I digress. I'm pretty sure we're all familiar with who I'm talking about. Scratch your noggin and don't look at the picture to the right.

That hero of course, is Vanity Smurf.

Just look at him, he's always looking at himself in the mirror, he has a flower in his hair, and kisses people on the cheek. Of like the 100 smurfs he was the only one in seemed to practice any sort of basic personal grooming techniques. (this is a little bit of a skewed statistic of course because there really was only one girl in the whole village, Smurfette, and the rest were male Smurfs...unless you count those Smurf kids that were added in later cartoons). So deep down when you strangely find yourself thinking about getting a pedicure as you're walking by some beauty salon in the mall, just think that it was work of Peyo's Vanity Smurf which implanted those ideas in your head.

...On a sidenote "The Smurfs and Magic Flute" was the first movie I ever saw in a movie theatre

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

DJ Shakes_2006-12-03 (driving music)

http://hbshakes.blogspot.com
theme: night time driving

Okay with this mix I was looking for music I like to listen to while driving. If you don't understand why I put the first song, DMX, then you must watch the opening credits from "Romeo Must Die."

T R A C K L I S T I N G (approx 70min)

[0:00] Intro - Me
[0:59] Fragile State - Seraya
[1:26] DMX - I'm Gonna Crawl
[5:16] A Tribe Called Quest - Check The Rhyme
[8:44] Rachael Starr - Till There Was You (Erick Morillo mix)
[13:50] Chemical Brothers - Electrobank
[18:27] Jay-Z - Nigga What, Nigga Who
[22:13] film: Waisa Bhi Hota Hai - Sajna Aa Bhi Jaa (Binni remix)
[25:29] Meat Beat Manifesto - Spinning Round Dub
[30:15] Bombay Dub Orchestra - Mumtaz
[33:02] The Smiths - How Soon Is Now
[37:58] U2 - Windows In The Skies
[41:40] Elastica - Stutter
[43:54] Messiah - Temple Of Dreams
[48:41] Propellerheads - On Her Majesty's Secret Service

[51:03] Afro Medusa - Pasilda (Knee Deep Club Mix)
[54:03] Beastie Boys - Root Down
[57:34] Eric B & Rakim - Know The Ledge
[61:12] Asian Dub Foundation - Culture Move

[64:26] Jeru The Damaja - Whatever
[67:16] Jay -Z vs. Russ Divine & Qatil Nazaar - Dil Ne Jise Apna Kaha


DIRECTIONS: Right mouse click on the tracklisting above to save the entire mix (mp3) directly or Podcast Me! Simply drag the orange podcast icon on the top left of this page into your iTunes. Or:
  1. goto iTunes
  2. click on Advanced
  3. click on Subscribe to Podcast:
  4. paste this URL http://feeds.feedburner.com/EngineEngine9

Friday, December 1, 2006

There is nothing more shocking than seeing something and feeling as if it is your story. (A close second is seeing a paan wala in a chaddi). I felt like this happened to me while reading "The Namesake" and at times I could identify with Hugh Grant's character in "About A Boy"....and surely everyone has felt as disconnected from the rest of the world as Zach Braff is in "Garden State."

But this is me sometimes.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

my political thoughts for the day

I think one of the most noteworthy issues to hit recently has been the banning in France of hijabs or headscarves in public schools. In addition it seems as though Britain may be moving towards the same thing as well. State interference with religious practices is nothing new, but I think it's incredible that a Western state is imposing the form of dress that its citizens may or may not wear.

I think it's difficult to view the ban as being anything but a thinly veiled (no pun intended) shot at Islam itself. It is nothing but an explicit statement of the general sentiment of many "natives" feel towards new immigrants: they don't look or act like Us. As such the natural instinct is to make them conform to our norms.

Now the hijab ban in particular is interesting because I could go a lot of directions that sound appealing on the surface but are spotty at best when you look deeper. For example, I could make an ill-fitting analogy of a headscarf being like a yamaka and show the severity of France's ban by saying "What if Jews were banned from wearing yamakas in public?" While that argument would easily elicit support, it's biased because it fails to take into consideration the underlying gender roles that a hijab represents versus a yamaka. In other words, some may view the hijab ban as being liberating for women. Any defense for Muslim women to be able to wear their hijab can be countered (rightly or wrongly) by those who feel that it frees them from a sexist and oppressive religion. In this scenario the state actually forces male clerics to enable women to do something they wanted all along. On the opposite side such an argument ignores the fact that women themselves have been a large voice of dissent against the ban. ("oh but it was the male clerics who made them do it!")

That being said, instead of debating the merits of a headscarf it's a bit more fruitful I think to take a step back. At the end of the day the West's engagement with the Middle East, whether it be through war or diplomacy, has been to create a liberal society that in theory is a reflection of our own. In a vacuum you have to think that this is a noble goal. Sure you can argue that we are culturally imposing upon others but it's awfully enticing narcotic to think that in the end it's better for people everywhere to have the freedom of thought and expression. If we have to impose on other cultures, then so be it ...and therein lies the rub. How can we tell other people to have an open society when we ("we" is used loosely of course) ourselves do not foster one? What kind of example is that?

I will never be able to fully place myself in the shoes of a woman who has to make the decision of wearing a hijab or not, but I can imagine that when they compare their options of being forced to wear one in their motherlands versus not being able to wear one in the current country, it places them in the exact position: they have no choice. The real breakthrough would be to create a setting where those who want to wear one are free to wear one, and those who don't want to practice their religion in that manner are free to do so as well. But that kinda wishful thinking is a bit too easy for me to try and get away with. Most religions or moral codes, no matter which one you follow, need to be constantly reinforced precisely because they impose upon us a set of norms that are not natural to us. We follow them because the sacrifice we make is the price for a greater good (going to heaven,. making up for the original sin, etc.). At the risk of stating the obvious, while some may say that you should be able to practice your religion any way you want, others would claim that what makes it a religion is the fact that you don't pick and choose how you follow it. [insert a comment here from someone who totally misses my point and the fact that I'm trying to show both sides of the argument]

I don't want to wax poetic about my views on religion, because no one needs to hear that from me, but it just seems hypocritical that we are making the people to whom we're trying to demonstrate the virtues of a liberal society to the most, give up the most freedom.

(please tell me if I'm totally offbase)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

will sell coke for fashion

I feel that my job on a daily basis is to both entertain and to enlighten the mind. Occasionally I actually achieve this. The following article from my hometown L.A. Times about people in the Congo who spend excessive amounts on lavish clothing while living amidst incredible poverty:
In a country where many survive on 30 cents a day, Papy Mosengo is flashing $1,000 worth of designer clothing on his back, from the Dolce & Gabbana cap and Versace stretch shirt to his spotless white Gucci loafers. "It makes me feel so good to dress this way," the 30-year-old said when asked about such conspicuous consumption in a city beset by unemployment, crime and homelessness. "It makes me feel special."

But Mosengo can scarcely afford this passion for fashion. He worked eight months at his part-time job at a money-exchange shop to earn enough for the single outfit, one of 30 he owns, so he'll never have to wear the same one twice in a month....

..."When I dress this way, and sit here with a beer, no one can touch me," said Patou Coucha, 29, in a tomato-red Paul Smith suit with thigh-length coat. It took him a month of selling cocaine to raise $1,500 for the outfit, which was bought secondhand by a friend in Europe. "I don't hear anybody else. I do what I want."

Japanese designers are the hottest right now, they said. Yamamoto and Miyake. They pooh-poohed American rappers and hip-hop stars for copying their style.

"They don't really know how to dress," said Dede Forme, 27, wearing red Dolce & Gabbana pants and a matching sailor shirt. "We're the one setting the tone." (L.A. Times, 11/28/06)
It's pretty incredible if you think about it and makes you wonder how people can live that far beyond their means.... or maybe it's not so strange. Whether it's living where you can't afford in Manhattan or driving what you shouldn't be driving in LA the underlying principles are not that foreign.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Autism: The New Black

When I was younger I thought it would be cool to be autistic. Contrary to popular belief, the inability to relate with humans in a normal way is frowned up. Likewise doing muliplication tricks is not a good party trick. Math is frowned upon and so is autism.

I remember watching "Rain Man" and thinking that the only real downside of autism would be having a real craving for watching Jeopardy on a daily basis. This seemed but a minor bump in the road of life. As it turns out the road is not so smooth at all. After learning about autism and it's effects on people I did what any normal human does when they learn of a new illness, I began to identify it in others around me an alarming rate. By the time I finished 6th grade I sorta suspected that nearly half of my class was autistic along with a PE teacher and one campus security guard (Mr. Rule, no pun intended).

As it turns out, many of them were not autistic, they were just socially retarded.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

a day in the life of my dog Kobe

I woke up today and watched as the Younger one slept on the couch downstairs. The sun started making things bright so I jumped on him and lick his face. He turned over. I shall slide on the blanket. The mom came and started speaking to me in Hindi. I do not understand. I must pee. I stand in front of the back door and it is opened and I go out and pee. I see an oppossum. I shall hug him with my teeth and shake him vigorously. I will do that later. I am done peeing.

Food and water have been given to me. The others are awake now. They give me various names and call me as such, I want my ball. I go get my ball. Ball makes me happy.

I sleep now.

They are now putting their shoes on, implying that they must leave soon. I will goto the backyard and refuse to come in. This will delay their departure. The Older one has come with the ball. I do not want the ball now. They are playing mind games with me. The Father one now has come speaking something to me. He has placed chicken in my bowl inside. I must go get the chicken.

They have tricked me; the door is locked behind me and now they are able to leave. Why do they toy with me as such? I will not play with them. They leave. I will not touch my food now.

I sleep now.

I see noises from outside. The car is back. I must quickly gather my bone and toys as an offering to them. The door has opened and now I shall attack them with love. Alas I do not have thumbs and hence cannot use tools. There are so many of them and I merely have my mouth to bring the offerings. I must run around the house in rabid fashion in order to greet them.

I shall now eat my food and play with them in the living room. I make small noises and call them various names but they do not understand my simple commands. Instead they make up various names and direct them towards me. I think they are referring to me. They are dumb. If it wasn't for my barking they would never know when they phone rings.

I am tired from this activity and need some alone time. First I must pee though. I stand by the door and it opens. I now pee.

Peeing is good. I must find ball now and play. I want to now attack a plastic bag. The bag is evil, akin to the gardeners who come on Tuesday and chop up my pee sod.

They are eating food now. I shall peacefully watch and hope they give me some. The Elder One gives me little snacks. I shall attack him first. No dice. The Mom has a soft heart, perhaps she will give me cheese too. I shall wag my tail vigorously.

My charm offensive did not work. I wagged my tail many a time. I just got puppy chow with little chicken here and there. I shall not eat the dog food part.

I am sleepy now. I shall sleep.

Friday, November 24, 2006

how to get rich: #432

Samosas stuffed with Thanksgiving stuffing.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

turkey, desis, & Anti-Family Time

Thanksgiving maybe the greatest holiday ever. There is no issue of presents, there isn't any religious undertone, and the entire point is to be with your family, eat, and watch TV. What more do you want in life? Everyday should be Thanksgiving. Hooray for quality time with the fam.

The funny thing about Thanksgiving is that it keeps striking me, what do you really do with your fam. One easy thing to do is to leave the family and hang out with your friends instead. While this may be more enjoyable it is generally frowned upon. The funny thing about an Indian family is that my parents seem to feel sleighted whenever I hang out with my friends. It doesn't matter if you spend all day with them and leave at 10pm, they still consider the day to have been spent with "the friends." Even if alternative means staying at home would mean you're the only person watching TV in your living room...

Thus the funny thing about coming home as you get older is that you actually find yourself spending more time with your parents in a concentrated period of time than you ever did before. The problem is that no one else really recognizes this and as such when you sit in front of the TV for 12 straight hours and half of it is spent with no words being exchanged you start thinking "what is wrong?" But nothing is wrong, or so I'd like to believe.

(Also the fact that Thanksgiving has had horrendous football games for the past 5 or 6 years isn't very helpful either. While football in it of itself is a great tradition, having to watch Dallas and Detroit is painful.)

Family Time in our household always tends to involve a few common family activites: eating food, watching a movie, or shopping. Much like matter/anti-matter, Family Time also has its arch-nemesis: Anti-Family Time. Anti-Family Time involves the same series of events except in an unenjoyable format that must always accompany the happier version. Hence Anti-Family Time includes: complaining over the choice of where we're eating and/or why everyone wasn't involved in the decision making process, bickering over which movie to watch, and resentment towards shopping.

Anti-Family Time is so prevalent that it often squashes attempts at creating Family Time. "Well let's not go shopping because no one enjoys going together." The problem in this particular sense isn't so much the act of shopping perse as it is the Indian Way of Shopping (IWS). The IWS involves the whole family walking slowly together in the mall from one store to the next. Invariably 95% of your shopping experience is spent in stores or departments that you have no interest in and hence make it well known to the others that you want to leave. This makes others bitter. Likewise when you get to the one store you really care about (your 5%) everyone cuts your time short. This has the effect of making your bitter.

Now the whole problem could easily be solved if everyone was allowed to go their own merry way and meet up at a pre-designated spot...but that would be too simple. That is not The Desi Way. This whole exercise after all, is a Family Time initiative and hence we must conduct commerce as one organized desi family unit. This is the way our grandparents shopped, this is the way our parents shopped, and goddamn it this is gonna be how we shop. Shopping and misery must go hand-in-hand.

So this Thanksgiving weekend perhaps the best thing to do with your family is to not impose Family Time.... and if you really must then please guard against the IWS.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

i'm type-A because i like saving my meatballs

Spaghetti & meatballs can tell a lot about what kind of person you are. At this point in time some of you are probably thinking "But Shakes, I don't eat meat and hence don't eat meatballs." Well to you I say that you should probably really look in the mirror and think about whether you are a person.
action is to eat spaghetti only bites first and to cut all my meatballs in half to double the bites with some amount of meat (unless it's Chef Boyardee in which case the meatballs are too small to cut in half).

Invariably everytime I go overboard and eat too many noodles first and then don't have room for all the meatballs. So basically in the pursuit of saving joy I end up wasting it. In the hopes of giving myself something to look forward I end up having a lot less than if I just enjoyed it at the moment.

Spaghetti & meatballs is a rather good metaphor for life. I guess the obvious answer is "Why don't you just eat the meatballs first and if you need more later, just take seconds." Silly bakri chod, that answer is too simple. By doing so you end up taking the joy from others. There is only a limited amount of joy that can be had, it's a zero sum game. It's a tragic consequence to this methaphor, but certainly it must true because any thoughts to the contrary would poke holes at my thesis. We wouldn't wanna do that on the even of Thanksgiving now, would we? That would just be wrong.

Monday, November 20, 2006

fun times

There is nothing funnier than the thought of pranks in someone's home. Perhaps you can rearrange their dishes in the kitchen. Perhaps you can put silly string in their living room. But here's an idea to take it to the next level: bear repellent.

According to The Sierra Club "The proper use of bear pepper spray will reduce human injuries caused by bears, reduce the number of grizzly bears killed in self defense, and help promote the recovery and survival of the grizzly bear." Bears are a big problem. It's time we eradicate them.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

how did you get here?

One things which is good to check once in while is what makes people actually read this blog every day or so. Is it for the fantabulous writing? Is it for the feeling that for a short fleeting moment you can somehow feel like you're closely connected to a person like me? I know it's hard to believe but as it turns out a lot of people don't start their mornings with the sole explicit goal of hearing my views on random things. Shocking.

Because yours truly is a bit of a stalker I can trace what links people clicked on to come see my site. Now clearly most people love me for me and have me bookmarked in your browser right next to "CNN.com," "ButterScotchbodypaintingtips.org," and "Pandasgonewild.com" ...and then for others let's just say the fact that you're here is a bit of an accident....basically you Googled something and the next thing you know you're reading about advice on spotting desis...

Okay without further due, these are the top Google searches which somehow lead here:
  • "Rani Karnik" - Ah yes, the damsel who I wrote about many moons ago. Apparently she has no shortage of people who Google her and now I'm one more resource for the reading public
  • "that Engine Engine #9 song" - People like the group Black Sheep, they just don't know it. I've always said from day one that I want to be the link to hip-hop's roots. Sadly people like Run DMC and "artists" have taken that throne for me. Luckily Google thinks otherwise. Konichiwa bitches
  • "Air India" - Millions of Indians love the airlines. Actually they hate it, and now people see my views on the matter..
  • "Tatti" - I'm the shit. Literally.
  • "Desi" - Some people interpret my observations about Indians as implying that I don't like brown people. I respond to them by saying I am the voice of the Brown Planet.
Now with these key datapoints in mind, it's clear that if I just use certain words or phrases, unsuspecting users will be directed to my website thereby increasing my readership and increasing my grip on the brains of impressionable people around the world. Simultaneously perhaps it can be leveraged to make lady friends.

Either way I figured now would be the most appropriate time to list off a bunch of high-interest words that people Google:
  • metallic cabinet making
  • pick-up lines for Bollywood actresses
  • easy Thanksgiving recipes
  • Clooney
  • Panasonic TV sale at Best Buy
  • low mortgage rates
  • how to make your Bloomberg terminal a part of your social life
  • electro chaddi
  • new James Bond film clips!
  • (for our Chinese readers)
  • Donald Trump hair tonic
  • Rani Karnik (if it ain't broke why fix it)
I'm a star.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

deep thought of the day

There are two types of people in life. Conveniently they neatly fall into their buckets basaed upon their answer to this scenario: "If you're sitting at a table in a restaurant and a waiter accidentally grazes the back of your head, what do you do?" There are people who get very annoyed and proceed to tell the whole world about their Waiter Incident; and then there are those who just brush it off and act like nothing happened.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Spiderman filming is ruining New York!

One of the obvious facts about NY is that there is always some sorta movie filming going on...if you haven't noticed it then you clearly haven't been to the Lower East Side on a weekend. While some movies claim to be set in NY, a lot fewer of them actually are shot here (Vancouver being a popular cheap substitute). That being said some movies stay true to city. One of the funnier things that has happened over the past couple of months is that everyone seems to be spotting the filming of the third Spiderman movie. It's staggering the number of times that people have texted or emailed to say "[salutation] they're filming Spiderman on [insert street name] Street! For those of you who aren't good with working from generic sentence templates, here's an example: "Dude they're filming Spiderman on Spring Street." And of course each passing message contains the yearning for wanting to see the filming. I wanna Tobey Maguire!...or so quoteth many a screaming teenage girls.

I quote Turtle when I say, "F@# you Peter Parker"

Well Spiderman seems to pop up so often that people have linked it to random annoyances in the city. When a giant crane fell in Union Square splicing a taxi cab in half, several eyewitnesses said "I thought they were filming Spiderman." When my cab driver got stuck in weekend traffic on account of a closed street, the cabbie explained "I think it's the Spiderman there." Turns out it was just the weekly food fairs that rotate throughout the city. Other happenings:

Question: Why did Yankees lose in the playoffs this year?
Answer: Spiderman

Question: Holy smoke where did my dry cleaning go?
Answer: Spiderman

Question: Why does the N and R train lines never run on time?
Answer: They're filming Spiderman on them!

It's gotten to the point that I would claim that more New Yorkers are terrorized by Spiderman than terrorists. Spiderman comes to our city, jacks shit up, and then leaves on his web of lies. Not to mention that he also consistently lets down his main love interest, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). Not even terrorists do that.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Charlie Brown and me

Many years ago when I was small I watched Peanuts special "Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back." Basically it was Peanuts crew going to France and get stuck staying in a barn. Also it rains a lot. Amongst other noteworthy events is a long Snoopy/Red Baron scene. Midway through the show I started crying.

Many years later after I got my first paycheck in New York kids did random things with their hard earned money. Drinking and strip clubs seeemed to be the investment of choice. As for yours truly I bought Voltron and the VHS tapes for the Charlie Brown special. I hadn't watched it in the intermittent years and it was the sheer curiosity that drove me to buy it. What was so sad about the movie that drove me to tears? Surely it's not so bad. Well I put the tape in and blammo...I was nearly crying again. What the hell was going on. It REALLY was sad.

I'm telling you this story not as a way of revealing a weakness that you can exploit for years by demanding barrels of oil and candy, but rather to say that everytime it rains I think of Charlie Brown being stuck in a barn.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

3 months until V-Day

[insert shameless plug to get sympathy]
Only 90 days left to ensure that I'm not alone again...

Monday, November 13, 2006

i am harold crick

After watching "Stranger Than Fiction" I've come to the conclusion that I am in fact Harold Crick (gracefully playing me on the big screen was Will Ferrell). The underlying theme of the work is of a guy who is struggling to put meaning into his life outside of his day-to-day activities. While it may seem rather deep and revealing for me to say this is akin to my own thoughts, the reality is that I think most people fall into this category.

In order to fill up this void I guess that's why God invented religion, family, poker, and origami.

Okay that's a bit harsh. God did not invent poker. The devil did. But that's neither here nor there.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

"...nothing lasts forever in the cold November rain..."

What better way to spend a miserable Sunday than to not goto work, watch "Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back" (playing like all weekend on Cinemax) and "Roll Bounce" for the 20th time. Even worse is the fact that when it rains I can't take any pleasure out of using my water gun on people...

Okay well if that has you feeling down, do yourself a favor and turn on On-Demand and watch the movie preview for "The Pursuit of Happyness" (misspelling intentional) starring Will Smith. It releases December 15th and after only only seeing a 3 minute clip it's my odds-on favorite to be the movie of the holiday season.

What, what is that you say? You're too lazy to turn the TV on and watch the movie clip? Bakri chod. Okay here's the clip:



...are you crying yet? Okay, maybe a little wattery eyed? See, yet again, I told ya so. So the real question is who wants to be my date to see this when it come out?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Spot The Desi #8

Oh yes, just when you thought it couldn't get any better, it's back, Spot The Desi. American's fastest growing desi-based quiz show sensation.

As always we help others identify Places of High Indian Probability (POHIP) based on key environmental metrics.

Let's play the feud!

1) location: Ludo (formerly Chez es Saddah) on 1st & 1st...a popular Indian hangout

2) time: 11:30pm, early by NY standards, but decent timing for our desi debutantes

3) Female bartenders + no cover + no bar line = desis in the area.

Of course yet again my presence in the area is merely serving as an observer of the behavior in others.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

DJ Shakes_2006-11-09 (eclectic)

http://hbshakes.blogspot.com
theme: eclectic

It's another podcast!...and that's all I have to say about that. This mix is a bit of a lot of things but of note is my recent fave first track, "Deep Inside '06". DJ Rashad is one of the DJ's in a Chicago subgenre called juke, which they say is like a mix of hip hop + techno. Hmm. In reality I think it sounds a lot more like a combo of early acid house and freestyle. This is a good thing. Also if the slow buildup in "Rez" that crescendos at 9:07 doesn't get your head bopping that you should probably go get yourself checked out....

T R A C K L I S T I N G (approx 64min)

[0:00] Borat
[0:23] DJ Rashad - Deep Inside '06
[3:03] Cassisus - Feelings For You
[4:40] Underworld - Rez
[10:40] Future Soundz of India - Shang High
[15:55] Manitoba - Jacknuggeted
[16:27] Thunderball - The Road To Benares
[20:39] Massive Attack - Karmacoma
[24:02] Method Man - Say (feat Lauryn Hill)
[27:37] Styles of Beyond - Get It
[30:35] The Roots - Long Time
[34:17] Coldplay -Warning Sign
[38:19] Govinda - Something
[42:07] Karsh Kale - Manifest (Yoshi's Fine Eccentric Mix)
[44:54] Kascade - For You
[50:30] Willie Bobo - Spanish Grease (Dorfmeister vs. MDLA Muga Reserva Mix)
[55:09] John Legend - Each Day Gets Better
[58:30] Red Hot Chili Peppers - Desecretion Smile


DIRECTIONS: Right mouse click on the tracklisting above to save the entire mix (mp3) directly or Podcast Me! Simply drag the orange podcast icon on the top left of this page into your iTunes. Or:
  1. goto iTunes
  2. click on Advanced
  3. click on Subscribe to Podcast:
  4. paste this URL http://feeds.feedburner.com/EngineEngine9

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

little john

"Um, it's ok, I'll take the urinal on the right. I need the extra space."

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

i'm on the pill

One of the things you can never change about an Indian mom visiting you is that they never cease to tell you everything you're doing wrong in life. It's not so much where does the list of things end, it's where do we even begin. For me an easy point is my eating habits. To say I don't eat very properly is akin to saying that Africa has a lot of black people. It's sorta pointing out the obvious.

My dinners, if I eat them, tend to cheetos and Coke. I once got so bored of food that I just started buying Ensure, the energy drink for old people that has all their nutrients in liquid form so they don't have to chew. I don't really know how to cook but I know people who can cook. There's a Chinese guy, a Mexican guy, a sushi guy, and a fusion guy. They cook for me and I pay them money. It's a lovely relationship really. It's gotten to the point that after hearing my phone name & number the Chinese place automatically say, "okay sesame chicken and noodles...anything else?"

I'm a star.

So it isn't a surprise that within 72hours of my mom staying for me she had somehow obtained a cocktail of vitamins and nutrient pills that I should be taking everyday. If looks like I have the same vitamin regiment as someone 3 times my age. Oh well. In a growing sign that I'm maturing I've decided not to argue with my mom about the necessity of taking all the pills. No one really wins those arguments. Everyone is made worse off. Instead I'll just nod, grin & bear, and wait it out for 14 days. Then I can just tuck the pills into a cabinet never to be seen again. Maybe I'll put it next to my bottle of salt.

Monday, November 6, 2006

hanging on the passenger's side of my ride...

There's something funny about life, I find that as you get older the role of your parents and you switch. Soon you become the one telling your parents how to dress, what to do in public, and that it's no okay to point at things with your middle finger. Today was one of my bigger moments as I taught my mom to drive. Well she knows how to drive and she drives rather well, but since she's with me for the next few weeks I was showing her my car.

This is the problem.

You see in the 2+ years of having my first and only car ever, I've never let anyone else drive it. Ever. It's the one material possession outside of my music collection that I value the most. I've never been so uncomfortable in my life (well not since I had inadvertently worn a dhoti at my thread ceremony). I've never even sat in the passenger seat before. I guess it was good to confirm that it worked well. But that is neither here nor there. After showing mom all the controls and where the lights are and had her readjust all of my mirrors (how lovely!) we pulled out of the garage... and this is where the funny part begins.

There is something funny about teaching someone about the streets in the neighborhood when you live in Jersey City. If you wanna show someone nice long stretches of roads to drive in well you've come to the wrong city. The fact of the matter is that while the area by the water is nice a wrong turn here and there can land you right in the ghetto. So not only am I slightly frightened about just being in the passenger seat to begin with, but the idea of driving by areas of endless liquor stores and and pawn shops....while cruising around at 15mph. I think Paul Wall said it best when he said "Drive slow homey / Ya never know homey might meet some hoes homey / Ya need to pump your breaks and drive slow homey". I couldn't have said it better myself.



Giving my keys to my mom was like the feeling every parent gets when they first hand over the keys to their kid, "WTF am I doing, they're going to ruin my pride and joy." To help with your visualization of the scene is the fact that before we left the garage I mentioned to mom that the navigation system can respond to your voice so all you have to do is hit a button on the steering wheel and say your commands aloud, e.g. "Go Home," and the car will tell you how to go home. So as we were driving through the finer parts of Jersey City mom forget she had to hit the steering wheel button and just kept yelling alound incessantly "Go Home! Go Home!" If you were able to bifurcate the whole danger element, the whole scene was hilarious. Luckily our windows weren't rolled down as we were cruising past the liquor stores otherwise her commands of "go home" could've been interpreted very differently.

Well needless to say we made it safely and lived. Sadly my pride and joy, the one thing which keeps me happy in the absence of having a wife, kids, and/or dog is not in my hands for the next two weeks. Drive slow mommy, drive slow.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

smell the flowers but just don't move them

[warning: in case the following post makes you wanna scrape your eyes out, please watch this instead]

Each day millions of people turn to my blog to get deeper understandings of how I view life and interesting comments about Indian society. Sometimes I meet their expectations and other times....well...I end up posting pictures of Indian people with arrow pointing to them announcing how I've spotted desis. Usually I aim to separate my personal thoughts from this place, and I find that I fail...usually.

There are times when I try to desperately get away from everything from my world and it is at those times I end up getting confronted with it the most. Haven't you sat on a earm beach, saw some guy working at a shack who was as happy as could be and wonder "what am I doing?". I was sitting at a wedding reception this afternoon and struck a conversation with a person who told me that she actually was at the train station underneath the WTC on the morning of Sept 11th. She was supposed to be with her boss 100 floors above but she was running behind on some other work. The boss meanwhile was meeting a client who was falling desperately late. When he decided to leave the client happened to walk out of the elevator. The boss, seeing that he was too late for another appointment decided to reschedule the next morning and promptly too the elevator down. Unfortunately the express elevator wasn't working so he had to take it down to like the 78th floor and switch to another "local" elevator. It's at that point the plane hit the tower....a few floors above. If there had been any delay in taking the elevator the boss would've been stuck above the floors of impact.

It is those little things that make you wonder how arbitary a lot of things are. It's those things that make you wonder that perhaps you should be more patient with those around you and take a little time to enjoy the moment. And yet....

With my mom in town I've once again painfully realized that I can be a bit picky and moody at times. It's not that I'm irrational about it (oh no no) but I find that in the dwindling personal time I seem to have I get very much annoyed if someone changes things in my little world. For some reason my mom feels the need to suprise me whenever I come back to my home after work. A new picture hanging here, a new place to put the forks over there. All along are healthy pieces of advice on what to eat, why Coke is poisoning me, and why I need to change my brand of fabric softener. People don't realize sometimes that their helpful bits of advice are really a bit burdensome to those who have to listen. It really boils down to someone telling you that the way you've done things is not as good as it should be. After all, isn't that the underlying basis of most "simple suggestions" are? Or am I being too cynical.

I don't get overly wound up about a lot of things in my personal life merely because I get wound up for a living. It is for that reason that I find it exceptionally taxing when I have prolonged discussions about things that are borderline insignificant. I like to imagine that I'm not alone in this. I'd like to imagine that there are others like this. It's not that I'm indifferent to what's going on around me, I'm just deciding to pick and choose when I should worry about things and when I should just let things be.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

mom + Borat = high five!

It's official. The potential awkward moment of the year has passed and I haven't been kicked out of the family (yet). Thank you though to all of you out there who volunteered to let me spend Christmas with you in case I was disowned after taking my mom to watch Borat. Mom neatly summarized the movie and the whole experience by saying "it was a very very funny movie except for the naked wrestling part which was less funny"

Konichiwa.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Borat & my mom

There are times in life that you get a sense that imminent danger is around the corner. For some it's the feeling that they are about to get fall into a ditch, for others it is the feeling that you're going to get hit by a snowballl thrown by a pack of wild gypsies.

In my case it's watching the Borat movie with my mom.

Every so often I get these weird impulses to cross the great divide between Parental Unit and Child. Sometimes it's telling things that you'd only tell a friend and other times it's doing thing with your parents that you wouldn't normally think about doing. But for some reason I figured that seeing the Borat movie with my mom today was a good idea. In many ways this is gonna be like watching a train wreck. As I've gotten older I've gotten more and more uncomfortable being around my parents when there is mild kissing or revealing moment in movies. I think it's just me becoming more cognizant of how odd these scenes can be.

Well I don't know everything that's in store for me, but I do know that towards the end of the movie their is a naked wrestling scene between Borat and his rather rotund director. Hooray family time.

If I come back writing in this space pleading to have a family, it's because I've been disowned.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Borat Fever


In the background of an embarassing own-goal in the England/Croatia soccer game it's everyone's hero.....

Monday, October 30, 2006

passenger 19B: part deux

Now that I'm back home I can actually upload pics....so without further adieu and due to the high demand much fanfare, here is my sneak picture of my recent planemate.

As you can see the picture is rather dark and blurred. You can sorta make out her round head, which has been helpfully accented by the green arrow. Clearly many of you are wondering "Hey how are we supposed to believe your claim that she was hot?"

Believe you me I understand your skepticism. So with a few digital enhancements, I present to you the picture cleaned up a little in order to enable you to see the girl as well as I did...


As you can see, my opinion is pretty hard to argue against.