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.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Passenger 19B

There are a lot of pretty people in the world. Careful observations of others and myself have proven this to be a fact. It is also true that these people must fly on planes at some point in their lives. After all, they certainly aren't taking Amtrak. So why can't they ever be sitting next to me? I've always wanted to have a really hot person sit next to me on a plane and frankly it's never happened. The law of averages has affected me only from the perspective that only average people tend to sit next to me. However on my latest jaunt through the friendly skies... oh shnap I just realized why the aircraft company Airbus is called Airbus, it's literally an air bus, how European, but I digress... the arrival of an aforementioned hot person took upon a nearly mythic event. The seat between me (seat 19A) and the friendly college girl (19C) was open until nearly the last two people ran aboard. One was our lady friend in 19B.

Who would've thunk. What a lucky turn of events. The problem though was that she seemed to be with the other guy (also desi) that she came on with. Hmm, was she married? A quick glance at her hand seemed to show no evidence of a ring. Sweetness. That being said I'm sure a lot of you are wondering "Hey, what did you do to take advantage of this 6 hour opportunity?" The answer, absolutely nothing. It struck me that by sitting next to her I couldn't really look at her and furthermore I didn't know what to say. I tried to make a passing joke about my inflight meal (pizza...well at least a doughy cheese and tomato sauce thing) but she didn't seem to understand.

Maybe she was just dumb. Maybe she was sooooo blinded by greatness in such a near viscinity that she could only hope to turn away to save her sight, sorta akin to staring at the sun.

Regardless my hope and/or dreams are over. There's nothing one really can do in a plane. Well, almost.... I did manage to do the most professional and respectable thing possible, and mind you it was only for the sake of this blog, not out of my own personal volition...I managed to take a picture of her with my cell camera in its night vision mode. Again, I was doing this for you, the reader at home. Some may say that that sounds like the actions of a stalker, or at least one sketchy mofo, but I think we can all agree that once cooler heads prevail that taking a picture was indeed the right thing to do.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

stereotypes and you

Stereotypes are fun and exciting ways to judge people without having to get to know them. We all do it, it's just a matter of admitting it. For me I like to take common stereotypes for ethnic groups and apply them to other races. It makes for a much more funner way of interacting. Once in a blue moon, for example, if I see a white person walking down the street late at night, I'll cross the street so we don't cross paths. Also I like to pretend that old people don't lie, cheat and steal. Finally I try to imagine that little children are in fact full of joy and have relevant things to say.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Giants jump shots

In other odd news the Giants defense now shoot jumpshots after making big plays. In case you were watching Monday Night Football and wondered what was going on...it's ridiculous. I love how they also act like they're dribbling the balll beforehand.

Here's a little background on it...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The 5 Days of Diwali

There's no better way of celebrating the Hindu holiday of Diwali then making up a song based on Christmas jingles. For our non-Hindu bretheren I've made ample linkos (yes I meant to say "linkos" and not just "links") to websites so you know what I'm talking about

On the First Day of Diwali my Lakshmi gave to me, one Maruti Suzuki.

On the Second Day of Diwali my Lakshmi gave to me, two boxes of pohe and one Ma-ru-ti Su-zuki.

On the Third Day of Diwali my Lakshmi gave to me, three packs of paan, two boxes of pohe, and one Ma-ru-ti Su-zuki.

On the Fourth Day of Diwali my Lakshmi gave to me, four desis praying, three packs of paan, two boxes of pohe, and one Ma-ru-ti Su-zuki.

On the Fifth Day of Diwali my Lakshmi, five sisters asking for gifts, four desis praying, three packs of paan, two boxes of pohe, and one Ma-ru-ti Su-zuki.

There, I think we all have a better appreciation for the holiday.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

asset portfolio theory, Partial Friends, & why your friend is a slut

Portfolios theory is pretty easy to understand. Instead of taking exposure to one stock and experience the highs and lows with it, you can diversify your assets, diminish your risk, but potentially keep at least the same returns. The reason of course that you don't want single-name risk is because more often than not, there doesn't really exist that one asset class which has everything that you're looking for. So you take little pieces of other things here and there and you can customize and create the investment profile you're looking for.

Stocks as it turns out are much like people. They all have different risk profiles and things you like. But very rarely does find everything in one person. To extend the metaphor a little bit, an arranged marriage would be akin to being forced to invest in a stock that you don't really know a ton about...however after a few years you'd grow to accept it and start thinking "you know what, I was leery about investing in Russian farm equipment manufacturer stocks, but now I'm quite happy I did and if I had to do it all over again under my own volition I would do the same thing."

The parallels as you can see are rather stunning.

That being said, enter portfolio theory. In the absence of finding the one person who has everything we're looking for we end up piecing together this person synthetically by hanging out with people who have small characteristics that we like. Enter the Partial Friends. Partial Friends are who contain these Partial Elements that we look for. More importantly from the outside, no one else in your Normal Friend circle can understand the role of these Partial Friends. Partial Friends (PF's) come in all shapes and sizes and tend to fall under these themes:
  • The Funny PF - they have great personality, but they don't have any common interests and sometimes have lapses in maintaining personal hygiene

  • The Goodlooking PF - their sole role is to be eye-candy; if you're going out in a small group setting, they're perfect to have around as you make other strangers jealous; they make up for their good looks by lacking anything of interest to say
  • The Cultured PF - they have differing political views, they sometimes seem sketchy, but they like going to cultural programs with you when no one else does
  • The Understanding PF - they seem to like hearing about your hopes, dreams, and struggles....on a daily basis.... and they're more interested in your life than you are, which is also they're downfall
  • The Going Out PF - these people are sketchy, morally vacuous, have odd personalities, and are not terribly amusing...but they like to go out and more often than not when you're trying to think of someone to do something with they're game
  • The Crazy PF - "look at Pedro!, he's dancing on tables again with a flaming glass on his head! he's sooooo crazy! I love hanging out with him, except when I want to talk about things of interest, my political views, or anything conversation typically not done in a bar with generic house music in the background"
  • The Desi PF - they are simply brown; what can brown do for you?
Now much like smurfs there are potentially millions of other variants of Partial Friends that I left out due to time contraints (e.g. the PF who's so weird and goofy looking everyone else seems to better looking and funnier around). That being said the funny thing is that I'd like to imagine most people like a dose of these elements in other people, but it's hard to find one person who has it all.

The thing about Partial Friends is that only a very very small number of people share the view that the Partial Friend satisfies their niche. For example few people would end up agreeing that the Funny PF is in fact funny. As I said before, the rest of the Normal Friends don't understand another person's Partial Friends. Hence all we see is your friend hanging out with all these random people. In fact Normal Friends can hate this because they think you're cheating on them with these people who seem rather unexceptional. (this is why you think your friend is a slut)

All of this is hard to digest at once, I know, but the next thing to really think about is the fact that all of us serve the role of a Partial Friend in some periphery friend circle...those people you don't really know too well but see often. They are people who are more like acquaintances or friends of friends.

Which Partial Friend are you?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

old people in Columbus & babies as liquid transporters

There are a lot of funny things in the world, you just sorta have to pay attention. No place screams of fun and hilarity quite like the airport. I was in Ohio today (that's not the funny part) when the usual chaos and frustration around the security check begin. One of the security guys was solely responsible for manning a table where people could place their water bottles, gels, and other banned liquid materials. Thus as people passed by the table while moving in line, they would part with any displeasing items.

A slight chuckle came when an old guy started asking if his bottle of shampoo was permissible. The security guy responded "is it small, less than 3oz?" The old guy, let's call him Walter for the sake of our little story, replied "no, it's bigger, I dunno, but I need the shampoo!" At this point yours truly started giggling. What had been lost upon everyone there was the fact that it was ridiculous how much Walter was protesting to keep his shampoo, when he was in fact nearly bald. Not only does dandruff seem to be the least of his worries, but even if he did need it he probably needs veeerrrry little. Perhaps enough for a strand or two of hair. Mayhapsly.

At this point the man opened up his carry on bag and started sifting through it on the ground, looking for his shampoo, or "the 'poo" as they'd say in the hair care industry. So while Walter was searching for his poo I decided that this was a good chance to interject my 2 cents worth... which for any of you out there who've ever had the pleasure of working with me or going to school with me or involuntarily befriending me can attest, my 2 cents are always value added. Always. So I said aloud "maybe you should just turn in your whole bag to the table." Walter did not laugh, after all, his poo was lost. But my fellow line mates snickered at poor bald Walter.

When I mentioned to the lady next to me how it was ironic that a bald man would have a problem with shampoo she said aloud "maybe it's a hair growth shampoo." People in Ohio seem to lack the ability of controlling the volume level of their voices. Funny part #2 came when an unsuspecting family with their little baby walked by the counter and my voice-modulation-impaired line mate (V.M.I.L.) yelled, "that baby should have to be turned it, it's a large carrier of liquids." The V.M.I.L. then decided to end the friendly laughter by adding "like the liquids in her diaper!"

Oh dear. It's funny when people go out of their way to embarrass others in public. That is unless it's you. People all want to be celebrities but in reality there is nothing as discomforting as having a large group of people pay attention to you when it's beyond your control. That's why tripping or falling sucks because your first thought immediately isn't how much your faceplant hurted but it's because you become embarrassed. You become so embarrassed that you try to act totally cool and say things like "That's okay, that didn't hurt, my ear always bleeds like that. I like it like that. It's cool."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Thought of the Day/Night

If I had a panda I would name him Monium.
That way it could always be panda Monium.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

DJ Shakes_2006-10-15 (my morning soundtrack)

http://hbshakes.blogspot.com
theme: from wake-up to work/ my morning soundtrack

A new mix after a long delay!

People often stop me on the street and want to know what it's like to wake up with me...wait a second, that came out wrong... actually I'm not sure what the right connotation would've been. Ahem. What I meant to say is that people have asked me what I listen to in the morning. Instead of answering the question with one or two song names I've decided to drag out the answer to be this week's mix. I figured I'd make a soundtrack of what I like to listen to from the moment I wake up to walk in to work...which turns out to be basically an hour long. We start out with an alarm bell to get you awake to sorta mellow to peppy then soaring and finally battle music preparing you for work...

T R A C K L I S T I N G (approx 58min)

Wake up & brush your teeth! (slow)
[0:00] Alarm bell
[0:25] Midival Punditz - Morning

[1:26] O Saathi Re - from Omkara (Indian)
[4:29] The Association - Never My Love

Shower time (monotonous to peppy)
[7:22] Howie B - Who's Got The Bacon?
[9:43] Lemon Jelly - In The Bath
[14:08] Beck - Think I'm In Love

Getting dressed (trying to smile)
[17:18] Echo Soundsystem - Calma Mamma (GP Mix)
[19:45] Bob Marley - Lively Up
[24:33] Pizzicato Five - Sweet Thursday (hooray for J-Pop!)
[27:12] Tropicando - Les Baxter

Walk outside/ In the train (soaring)

[29:30] Interpol - Untitled
[33:09] Sufjan Stevens - Chicago

[38:03] The Lightning Seeds - The Life Of Riley

Arriving in Manhattan/Walking to work (NY state of mind)

[41:52] The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony
[47:30] Rolling Stones - Sympathy For The Devil

At work and waiting forever for my elevator (game time)
[53:31] Wu Tang Clan - C.R.E.A.M.


One pretty neat thing which was totally unintentional is that this has almost a little bit of every genre. In order it was bells, Indian classical, Bollywood, oldies pop, drum & bass, electronica, alternative, reggae, J-Pop, bossa nova, rock, Euro-rock, oldies rock, and hip hop.

Now isn't that special?

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

Thursday, October 12, 2006

desi shopkeepers

I think a lot of Indian storeowners are in business despite themselves. I feel like a lot of them go out of their way to be as unhelpful as possible. I'm not sure how they stay in business. Hell I'm not really sure how they chose commerce as their vocation of choice... I mean it's not like they really like customers. The other day after work I decided to get a new cellphone and for whatever reason the phone I wanted was really only available in Curry Hill (well really Murray Hill in Manhattan, but the area from 27th to 29th St & Lexington is a bunch of Indian stores). Well the place I was aiming to go to was closed so I went to a random place next door. Inside I was greeted by a man who did his best to give his store the ambiance of a shady street bazaar store.

Now what I'm going to say next is a bit childish, stereotypical, cliche, and racist, but for the love of god why can't many shopkeepers grasp the fact that deodorant is in fact a good thing? Sweat is not cool, even if it's from Nelly Furtado. I just don't get it, I mean do people not pay attention to their surroundings? Not only was this a rather ominous way of beginning a consumer experience but the guy himself knew less about the products he sold than I did. I asked him if he had my phone model and he said "yes, it's here." So I was like "whoa, really? I mean this phone isn't available yet in the states and you allegedly have it just sitting in your display case." Since I couldn't see all the phone models I just asked him simply "well can I see it?" This seemed like a logical question to ask given the situation. His answer: "can you come back in 30minutes?"

30 minutes? Are you kidding, there was nt one else in the store and from the looks and smells of it, no one else had been through the front door in days. And with that, our conversation proceeded:
Me: What is happening in 30 minutes?
Shopkeeper: The case is locked, the key is coming.
Me: The key is coming?
Shopkeeper: Yes
Me: From where? who?
Shopkeeper: The man with the key. He open it.
Me: You don't have a key to your own showcase?
Shopkeeper: It's locked
Me: Um, okay then. Well listen, are you sure you even have the phone back there, otherwise there's no reason for me to wait..
Shopkeeper: Oh yes. What is the model number?
Me: (sigh)
Shopkeeper: Do you want this phone instead? (pointing to a phone outside of the display case)
Me: But that's a regular phone. I want a cell phone
Shopkeeper: Okay no. Sorry. No thank you.
I've traveled to Indian city areas far and wide.... from the wide streets of Cerritos to the cramp paan stained sidewalks of Jackson Heights and I'm continually amazed at how Indian shops can stay in business. There are basically 4 types of vendors: food, DVD/CD stores, jewelry, & phone cards. This is not exactly your most diversified product offerings, especially given the fact that there are like 10 of each stores selling the same thing. To be fair occasionally you'll see an electronic store that specializes in 220 volt appliances and kitchen utensils. Regardless of the items being sold, desi shopkeepers seem to do their best in scaring away potential customers through a combination of sheer neglect and inability to be responsive to their customers.

If the motto for most retailers is that the customer is always right, the desi store wala's motto is probably "service comes last...after my tea break and I get paid"

On a total concluding sidenote, I always liked to refer to the DVD/CD stores as the Video Goondas because that's what they are. A lot of them are sorta shady and are a little too cool to actually help out. Also they constantly chew paan and wear clothing that says either Diesel or A/X is a block letters. That being said, if you can get in tight with the Video Goondas, you can get like CD's for less than five bucks. This my friends, is pay dirt.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Amigoster

A lot of people have rather boring lives. I'm not naming names or anything but it's not like many of you have appeared in Japanese tabloids or anything. Well almost everyone...

It's with that that I find Friendster and Facebook to be really funny, because they basically serve as press releases to people about developments in otherwise unnoteworthy lives. Changing your relationship status from "single" to "relationship" is a surefire sign to the rest of the world that you have found happiness in your personal life. While the Whitehouse has a press conference in the Oval Office, you get Friendster. You're a winner. You're a star.

The weirdest thing is that once you commit to documenting your personal life on it you are almost obliged to update it at every ebb in turn.... and thus somehow Friendster becomes like your little gossip page. How sad.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Spot The Desi #6

America's fastest growing quiz show sensation returns...Spot The Desi!

For those of you new to this, this is a part of my ongoing efforts of helping people develop desar (desi radar) in order to identify P.O.H.I.P's (Places Of High Indian Probability) and subsequently spotting desis

Okay this one is actually pretty easy. For your intermediate and expert level candidates consider yourself shamed if you can't get this one.

Okay so this is the scene:

1. Turkish restaurant
2. People speaking Hindi gibberish
3. One person has big white sneakers

Presto. That wasn't so hard was it?

Sunday, October 8, 2006

mom, it's puff puff pass...

There are certain laws of ettiquette which we as a society must obide by. More often than not they are simple rules which if they are broken all mayhem will break loose. For example, don't shoot other people. Don't steal things. Don't wear brown shoes with a black belt. Don't tell someone who offers to buy you french fries "no it's okay, I'm not hungry" and then ask to share their fries when they get it. If someone lets you merge in front of you in traffic you MUST give them the small wave/hand of acknowledgement; failure to do so pisses people off. It pisses off good people. Decent people. People like me.

All of this which leads me to the latest anecdone of my life. With my mom in town and a Sunday dinner finished what better way of capping of the night then going for her first round of hookah. If life were a Super Mario Brothers game, mom won infinite cool points. The only problems were the fact that her technique was a little bit lacking (she exhaled into the pipe instead of inhaling) and she didn't fully follow the two puffs and pass ettiquette....hence the long drawn out opening to this post.

I don't really have any deep thoughts or drawn out thoughts about how this simple event defines the Indian diaspora, so I'll just leave it at that. As Roger Federer would say, "I go with mom and have time fun, then I write in blog."

Being Roger Federer: Part I

(if you have no idea what's going on or why I'm talking weird, please read the bottom of my last post HERE)

Hi, this weekend be good. No bad dreams. Thing I wonder is why winter comes just like. One day it sunny and summer and next day mamma nature say ok, it be cold now. Oh well. I go shower now and prevent bad dream from coming back

Thursday, October 5, 2006

hi this is Roger, i have bad dream and hurt foot


This may be the most ridiculous story to ever hit the newswires...well with the exception of reports involving Mexican entertainers in bee suits.

Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Roger Federer, the top-ranked men's
tennis player, injured his leg while having a nightmare in his
hotel room, then recovered to win a match at the Japan Open in
Tokyo today.

The 25-year-old Swiss hit the corner of his bed and had to
be restrained by his girlfriend Miroslava ``Mirka'' Vavrinec,
who is also his manager, Federer wrote in his ``blog'' for the
men's professional tour. He sustained a bruised tibia.

``I must have had a nightmare. I jumped out of bed and
stood up screaming in a state of shock,'' Federer wrote. ``I did not know where I was, and I ran back and hit the corner of the bed, which is solid wood and sharp. Luckily Mirka was there. She grabbed me and told me to relax.''

Federer, who won three of the four Grand Slams this season to lift his tally to nine overall, later defeated defending champion Wesley Moodie of South Africa 6-2, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals against Japan's Takao Suzuki. Federer didn't know what triggered the incident, though speculated it was something he drank.

``It was pretty scary for a moment,'' he wrote. ``It's never happened to me before and hope it will never happen again.''
This is awesome. Not only is this borderline extremely embarrassing but who puts this in their blog to see? What kind of person even keeps a blog? Surely they must be shallow and/or lonely. Although studies show that many of them are quite dashing and handsome and don't have a mangalik. Further studies show that they are well-mannered and like having dogs as pets.
But that is neither here nor there. In tribute to Roger. I've decided to make the next several days of my blog in Federer-speak. This will help you, the reader at home, to be able to simulate how it would be like to read Roger's blog. Consider this like a public service for the imagination-challenged. Obviously you could just read his blog directly but what fun would that be?

winter marches on....

Monday, October 2, 2006

a funny thing happened on the way to the ER...

So I was hanging out at the ER for 14 or 15 hours on Sunday, as I am wanton to do, when I stumbled upon a rather curious thing, the Sabbath Elevator. I've never heard of this before but one of the hospital elevators was named the Sabbath Elevator. During Jewish holidays (according to the little notice inside it) the elevator stops at every floor. What the hell? (no pun intended) A hospital elevator that is purposely slow? You gotta be kidding me, this has to be some sorta joke.

What reason could this serve? Maybe it's because Jewish people are so stingy that they wanted to save money by making an elevator with no buttons to stop on only selected floors?

While this may initial theory may be a decent overlay of a common stereotype at best, it's probably not fully correct. During Sabbath some Orthodox Jews abstain from turning on and off electrical devices. Enter the Sabbath Elevator. As such an elevator that has no buttons to be pressed gets around this. Hmm.

Okay, I'm gonna say something now which is rather insensitive and goes against decades worth of sociology...or maybe all of sociology ever...or some -ology... but at some point you have to call a spade a spade....I think some religious practices are a bit over-the-top and borderline weird. Or put a bit more nicely, some religious practices are a little bizarro. At some point doesn't practicality of certain situations give way to the ideal manner in which a religion is supposed to be practiced? I mean come on, will God really punish you for pressing an elevator button if you're sick? I mean the fact that you're in the hospital probably means God owes you one or two. I'd venture to say that pressing elevator button qualifies as one of your passes.

It's sorta funny to pursposely put yourself through a process that artifically takes too long for little or no rational reason. It's sorta how I still use the Brita water filter on my tap even though it is blinking a red light, implying that the filter isn't doing anything. But I still have the water from my tap go through the mini filter for no apparent reason. As a result my water drips out of the filtration system slowly....and it's the same water quality. I could just shut the filter off and fill up my glass of water quicker, but there's something about water dripping slowly which makes it feel healthier. Sometimes having things be painful gives it more value....and when it's not painful you assign less value. Sorta like finding a perfect parking spot in the city. Sometimes a good spot looks too good to be true and you just pass it out for no reason. Surely there must be something illegal about a parking spot with no fire hydrant nearby or signs stating there's No Parking.