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.