Wednesday, January 31, 2007

happy first birthday blog

I was watching the commercial for the new Nike basketball commercial, "The Second Coming" (with a dope anthem by Juelz Santana of the same name) and it hit me, aside from my initial test posting, my bloggo is officially one year old. Hooray.

It's been over 304 posting (including this one) and 17,859 hits....which gets to an average of 49 hits per day. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. Okay that's enough horn tooting for this year, but truth be told you can expect the following over the course of the next year:

1) more podcasts
2) more hard hitting journalism
3) more posts perpetuating stereotypes
4) more posts mocking other Indians and Indian institutions in a spirited way such that people think I hate my motherland

Oh the future is looking bright. Konichiwa Bitches.

Monday, January 29, 2007

being a liar, Loud Talkers, and Ohio

Have you ever met a strangers and just had an intense desire to lie to them? I'm not talking about having a problem with ramapnt lies, but just like little lies. For example have you ever had a conversation with a stranger in a waiting room or something and you get this desire to impress them for no reason? Even though after 45 seconds of conversation you have a very strong feeling that you really do not like this person at all....and yet....for some reason you feel the need to make this person see that you have a rather high Awesomeness Quotient by telling an outlandish story.

Why should I want to impress people I don't like. I mean it's not like I'm in high school anymore.

On Friday I was stuck in a lovely airport in Ohio for 4 hours longer than I needed to be when had the misfortune of a Loud Talker sitting next to me. Every bad airport situation usually has a Loud Talker, someone who fulfills most of the following criteria:
1) They like to show others that they travel frequently (e.g. stories about other airports or "Europe" are frequently topics of discussion).
2) Someone who behaves in a manner such that any travel delays or airline inefficiencies are being done for the sole purpose of screwing up their day. The fact that several hundred other passengers are also feeling the pain is purely a side issue.
3) Someone who talks loud, hence the name Loud Talker.

In my case my Loud Talker of choice on Friday afternoon was a woman who had the following rant: "I can't believe we're delayed here, the weather is great, why are they doing this. They are gonna make it real hard for me make my connecting flight to London. You know in London just can't handle anything. I went there once and they cancelled flights because a tornado came. I asked them 'how many people died?' and they said 'no one, just saw cars were dented.' I can't believe that..." At this point some older woman nodded in agreement adding "those English just don't know anything."

I'm sorry, but I may be tired, hungry, and a little annoyed about being stuck at the airport, but I was not about to have some second-rate citizens try to pretend like they were more cosmopolitan than I. I'm like the James Bond of Indians, minus the women, adventures, and neat gadgets. Plus the old woman was wearing a sweater with a hand stiched dog on it. I am not gonna stand for that.

It's at this point that I got the urge to make up a whimsical story about how this whole experience is nothing, that I've been through far worse. The problem of course is that I really haven't. I mean everyone's been delayed at an airport. If only I had a distinguishing story...something dramatic... if only I had been in a plane crash or something. Sadly I have not.

It is at this point that I proved that I was better than my Newark-bound counterparts...I didn't say anything. Some of you may read this and say "Hey, wait a second Shakes, how come you just change the rules in order to make yourself look good no matter what the outcome is." Well, that's the reason I'm the writer and you're the reader. Life isn't fair. You have 24hours in your day, I've got 25. Taste the rainbow, biznatch.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Surya the Desi Apprentice: Part 4: Save Surya

The Apprentice: season 6, episode 4

First there was Gandhiji and his hunger strikes, then came Surya. Well let's call a spade a spade, Gandhi never had to try and sell tacos to people. This week's apprentice was marked by Surya actually appearing for a little more than 30 seconds. First he gave up his position to live in the house to opt instead for the slums right outside. What a guy. What a desi. In India this would never happen by the way. An Indian version of the Apprentice would probably have violence breaout when it came time to have someone voluntarily leave a nice mansion. Well I guess that's not really so much an Indian reaction as it is a human reaction, but still....

The second exciting development was that the first signs of Anti-Surya Sentiment (A.S.S.) developing. The A.S.S. showed its ugly rear-end when the team leader Aaron (a white person) labeled Surya (a brown person) as being conservative. Well clearly anyone who saw Surya on the fashion runway a few weeks back or his fantastical fro would not describe him as being conservative. In many ways I can't help but feel that Surya is the same victim of racist taunts and just mean-spiritedness as the patron saint Shipla Shetty was in her Big Brother TV Show experience (she just won it too!). With people like Shilpa leading the way, the future for Indians everywhere looks a little brighter. Why pick on Aaron? Because he's there. Sure Aaron is one of the few normal people on the show that I can stand and he's not really a racist, but it's just a lot more funner to think of him as being evil and sinister. Perhaps I'm just trying to make up a fake race war to drum up some interest, generate some excitment, and in the end have the architect of the war (me) be the sole benficiary. But I ask you this, isn't that the point behind most race conflicts?

Was it not Surya who once said "A threat to a desi anywhere, is a threat to all desis everywhere....unless of course it is Shady Indian Guys at a club who find any reason to drink too much and get in a fight at every single desi party, including the Congress party." Okay maybe he never said that all, but that's neither here nor there.

Surya Quote of the Episode: "Keep on doin' what you're doing."
You know they say Socrates was also a man of few words. But that didn't stop the Greeks from killing him.

Surya lived for another week and so this series of posts shall continue.
Remember Surya, Keep it real. Keep it brown. Keep it gully.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

From Facebook to MySpace: The Evolution of Vince Vaughn

One of the more annoying developments over the past few years has been the preponderance of friends-linking-friends website in order to give everyone their own personal beachhead on a little invention I like to call, El Internet. While many have come and gone, the three main ones remain Friendster, MySpace, Facebook.

[stage directions: insert comment by incredulous reader saying "tell me something I don't know" here]

All of the sites are pretty funny because I inevitably end up replicating the exact same profile and looking to add the same cluster of friends that I have on the other website. Moreover every week I seem to add one extra thing to my profile to make it seem like it perfectly capture me (should I add The Shins to my favorite music groups or will people think that's too cliche?) Why do I need to do this you ask? Well did Sancho Panza ask Sir Edmund Hillary why he's climbing Mt. Everest? Did LaFawnduh ask Kip for a picture before she visited him? Can you put a rainbow in your pocket? As any good student knows, there are some questions you ask, and there are some that you do not. But I digress...

As I was replicating the exact same profile on Facebook I started noticing that the same people will put a different status on different websites. I've commented on this before how the simple field of status (i.e. single, dating, Brahmin, etc. ) can effectively be like a press release to the world about your personal life. Facebook is like being in a college dorm again as the standard deviation in ages is probably the most minimal with most people having a college education. Here everyone feels safe. Thus every daily crush that one has is placed on your profile. Every dorm relationship which has an average life of about 3-4 days on average is updated constantly here. Even better is the ability to name the person that you're seeing and link to His/Her/Its page. How sweet.

Friendster is like Facebook, but graduated from college. Here the friend circle includes a few more random characters...people who didn't quite make the whole college scene. Furthermore the polite etiquette requires that you only really change your status if it's a real relationship (e.g. it has surpassed over 25 business days). Thus you don't have to keep your virtual community on pin and needles with every ebb and flow of your relationship status, but people expect you to stay honest. It's really the least your online friends can ask.

MySpace is like walking into Venice Beach and deciding that you would like to reenact your engagement with all the random shmucks from the comfort of your own home. And by everyone I mean everyone, from the steroid infused body builders, to the hobo dressed in garish colors, to the plastic girls walking down the boardwalk. It's like you looking out into the distance and saying "I love this, these are my people and I want to just breathe this moment all in... and please tell me your music interests too because I really would like to know which indie rock group just got formed today." On MySpace everyone is single. It's like Sketchville, USA.

If I may paraphrase Vince Vaughn from "Swingers," Friendster is the guy in the PG-13 movie that everyone really hopes makes it happen; MySpace is like that guy in the Rated R movie, the guy you're not sure whether or not you like yet. You're not sure where he's coming from. Okay? You're a bad man.

People place the lowest priority of changing their status on MySpace. It's like 40-something men who hide their wedding rings when they're out of town or go to a bar in the city. C'mon we know you're a bit sketchy for hanging out at a place like that...but am I so much better than you because obviously I'm at the same bar observing you?

[click to go back to the top of the blog]

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Anze Kopitar for President / Changing the world, one hockey fan at a time

In my life I'm sure my parent had visions of me changing the world, ending poverty, or perhaps even being a catalyst for world peace. While all those things may still come to fruition my goal in the meantime is showing love for my beloved sport of hockey. People sometimes get asked "if you could meet one person in life, who would it be?" Tony Blair? No way. George Bush? I'd actually wanna talk about politics in an informed manner Bill Cosby? Now we're getting warm. Real warm. But the real winner i think would be Bob Miller, the longtime voice of the L.A. Kings. I would be the happiest person if I had a chance to chat with him over a meal, or just shake his hand.

If there's anyone out there who can make my Bob Miller dream come true, just let me know. Well that aside, my birthday was made the other day by writing to a hockey writer E.J. Hradek for ESPN and having him actually write me back, this is our conversion:

From: Me
Sent: Monday, January 22, 2007 5:33 PM
To: Hradek, EJ
Subject: Kopitar in 2008

EJ,

For all that the league is doing to increase it's profile through PR moves, new ad campaigns, etc, why don't they do the simplest thing possible: ensure that Reebok or whoever their uniform supplier is doesn't charge $150- $400 for replica jerseys.

There are different ways in which the league can make the game more accessible to people. Having more ice rinks available for people in Southern California to skate on is certainly one way, but the primary way for hockey (or any sport) is to make it easy and affordable for fans to support their team. I've never skated on ice and I've only been to handful of Kings games in my life, but I became a lifelong and diehard Kings fan because of two reasons:

1) the combination of my parents getting cable TV to watch games and Wayne Gretzky coming to LA at the same time
2) once I bought my replica Rob Blake jersey (with the old silver and black logo) for $40 made my Starter, I felt I had a piece of the team with me.

I would argue that the first impression that a random person gets from going to their first hockey game end up liking it is more substantial than any of the 4 main sports. What better way of solidifying the new potential fans than enabling them to buy a piece of the team without losing an arm or a leg in the process? High ticket costs isn't a hockey phenomenon, it's an American sport phenomenon; I understand that. . But the biggest ad campaign and PR move the league can have is by kids seeing other people walking around with jerseys in the real world (i.e. outside of Madison Square Garden). I'm not saying the jerseys need to be $40 again, but even $70 can be on the verge of an impulse buy for people.

But the longer you have hockey jerseys costing so much the less likely the average kid/adult/human/Canadian will look at Cameron from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" sporting a Gordie Howe Red Wings jersey and think it looks completely normal.

Cheers!

Kopitar in 2008,
- Shakes, the only transplant LA Kings fan in New York


And the response!!!.....



From: Hradek, EJ [mailto:EJ.Hradek@espn3.com]
Sent: Monday, January 22, 2007 8:06 PM
To: Me
Subject:
RE: Kopitar in 2008

You make some great points. I think I’ll pass them along to some folks at the league. I fear that it’s all about the money these days. I guess it’s that way in a lot of different areas of life. Of course, when people aren’t paying attention to the league, maybe the prices should be a little more reasonable. Let’s see if the laws of supply and demand bring down the prices. Thanks, EJ


Well this just made my day. Can you imagine how cool it would be someone actually mentioned this to somebody in the league office? It takes a village people. It takes a village.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Surya the Desi Apprentice: Part 3 - Look mom, he's still on!

The Apprentice: season 6, episode 3

If a cynical person of South Asian origin (i.e. all of them) were only told the following details that "someplace, somewhere there was a great competition involving a desi person which ended with someone voluntarily quitting" their immediate reaction would probably be "Oh that's great, I love talking about the Indian cricket team." Well fear not people, we're not talking cricket…and we're not talking about an Indian being the person who quit.

Such was the high drama that gripped the nation last night. By "nation" I'm speaking of course of the plethora of DVR's that were taping last night's episode of the "Apprentice" while most people were watching the climax to the Colts/Pats game. For whatever it's worth, an Indian did not quit in that game either. There weren't any involved of course. In fact the only two Indians in American pro sports that I know of are Manny Malhotra of hockey's Columbus Blue Jackets and some Indian dude who played WR for the 49ers like way back in the day. But I digress...we can have a comprehensive and illustrative panorama discussion about the history of Indians impacting the American professional sports diaspora when we all have 60 seconds to spare some other time. Back to the Apprentice!

Surya Quote of the Episode: well he didn't really say anything again

Flying lower under the radar than an Air India flight, Surya and the rest of his teammates weren't really threatened to be booted this week, but alas the teaser for next week was an inter-Apprentice romance. Oh snap. Could it involve the great brown hope? Could our dear Surya be the Shahrukh Khan of Sunday Night TV on NBC? Will Abhishek and Aishwariya's engagement last until marriage? Only time will tell.

[click to go to the top of the Blog]

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Welcome to Williamsburg...now let's get away!

Brooklyn is one of the few borroughs left where you can order three drinks at a bar, give a $20 bill, and still get some change back. This is quite refreshing compared to Manhattan where you usually would find yourself owing a couple of Dead Presidents.

The problem with Brookyln is that it contains the hipster magnet area of Williamsburg. Within 5 minutes of entering a bar last night (Laila) where I went to watch a friend's band, the glory of Williamsburg made itself known in my conversation with a random stranger. I think the stranger, or Pamela as she's known, probably saw me and said "Look, there's an Indian guy who's dressed up like he just came from work, surely he wants a quick update on my life story over the past 6-7 years along with with hope, ambitions, and career choices." Bakri chod.

So with that Pamela found yours truly and after introducing herself I made the dreaded mistake of leisurely asking "...so do you live in Brooklyn?" and got the following answer:

"Well I just came here you but you know I've live in some many places. I've lived in the Valley near LA, up to Fresno, Paris and Capetown. But you know I'm into marketing. That's what I do and I like the internationalism of the internet. I mean it's so grassroots. I know this is sooooo Web 2.0 of me to say but it's just breaking things down like typical corporate structures are from the top down but now poeple on the bottom are like 'Fuck this I'm not happy' and so now they have the tools to really make change. I have this killer job with a start-up where you know the main guys are all living upstate....you know it's so hard to find a place to live in the city you know?...and I'm the only person down here so I'm the person doing things and in the weeds...and sometimes with weed too if you know what I mean...and it's so killer because I just like being at the bottom working up because it's like the web is a giant wind blowing through and shaking everything and it's not just in one direction it's swirling and shifting and I mean if the world is a tree and someone's shaking the branches then I'm saying let's be by the roots right?"

Riiiiight. Dude I just wanted to ask her two questions, "What the hell are you talking about and what did you smoke to make those thoughts?

There is no way that I can make up something like this. I'm not sure where to begin but I'll leave you with two observations:

1) I don't try to stretch stories for the sake of being dramatic, but I'm pretty sure she said the whole diatribe above in one breath.

2) I don't think people should be allowed to use the word "killer" if your only experience of living in Southern California is living in the Valley. Furthermore if you had spent any time living in Northern Cal you are banned from using "killer" and must you "hella" instead.

For all that is good in the world, there are places like Williamsburg and Darfur that make you be glad to be home.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Save Shilpa Shetty!

Remember people, for those of you scoring at home, or even if you're single and by yourself, if Shilpa Shetty gets voted off the British version of "Big Brother" then the terrorists win.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about then let's just say that the biggest rift in Indo-Brit relations since the whole colonialism thing is currently talking place on a TV probably not-so-near to you.

While the issue at hand is semi-serious, albeit spectacularly bizarro how it's actually affecting politics in both countries, the most logical thing to do is to figure out a way to profit from this. And like many people who live in the East Village I share the mindset that the best place to make political statements is on overpriced T-shirts.
What better place to incite and capture the imagination of an entire subcontinent than these T-shirts. Wear it with pride. Wear it for fashion. But most importantly, wear it for Shilpa.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

doormen, why are people idiots?, & hockey

[editor's note: I use the F-bomb quiiiiiiite a bit in the following email]

Anyone who knows me understands that for the most part I'm pretty happy-go-lucky, but simple things can really tick me off. A few weeks ago I thought my dad was coming and figured "hey what would be better than to goto a hockey game with him?" So after happily buying my tickets for the Rangers/Thrashers game this Saturday on EBay I waited patiently for the tickets....and waited.....and waited.

I never got them and after doing some research on the FedEx tracking numbers I found out that they got delivered to the wrong address. Last week. What the fuck. So after some random phone calls and mining my doorman's vast knowledge of the local building doormen, I was able to get a hold of the doorman from the other building who signed for my package. My conversation went something like this... well for the benefit of the reader at home and for the sake of perfect accuracy I added my own personal internal monologue and thoughts into the dialogue in BRIGHT GREEN to symbolize the emotional angst that I was going through:
[Act 1: on the phone]
Me: Hello I live in the Harrison building, apartment 1510 and I think a package of mine got sent to someone in the 1510 in your building by accident
Alvarez the Doorman from Victoria building: Hello. What package?
Me: Fuck. I have a FedEx package which a doorman named Alvarez signed for on January 10th
Alvarez: That is me. Let me see, yes we got something. I signed for it
Me: Brilliant. Listen can you check if you have it there at the lobby still
Alvarez: Okay boss, let me go search
Me: Fuck
Alvarez: I can't find it, it says someone has checked it out It's not here
Me: What! Someone took my package? You gotta be kidding me.
Alvarez: No I'm not.
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
[Time Out. comments by our writer]
Listen I try to respect people jobs and all but to be honest what does a doorman really do? I'm not sure if you noticed but you guys certainly don't even open the door anymore. What the fuck is that? I mean last time I checked people are supposed to do what their vocation states them to do. I mean it's not like a guy is called a Pilot but then he just decides that he won't fly the plane anymore on the flight and instead serve peanuts. You just don't do that. As far as I understand it doorman have two jobs, one is to open the door, the other is to sign-in packages. Clearly they don't do any of these things
[okay, Time In, back to the script]
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Me: Okay well let me give you my number. I bet you that the person in apartment #1510 in your building took my package. Please call them and tell them I'm looking for my package and that if they accidentally opened the envelope it's totally okay...I just want my tickets. Give me a call when put a message into them
[Act 2: our hero, me, gets home]
Me: There's no message on my answering machine. That fool never called.
Me: Fuck.
Me: Okay I'll just walk over to the building and get it...
[Act 3: at the Victoria building]
Me: Hello, I have a package that was accidentally sent to this building. I spoke to Alvarez this morning and he said that if I came over we could call the person it was sent to
Jaime the other Doorman from Victoria building: (glancing at name tag) I'm not Alvarez.
Me: Yes, I know this. I'm from Harrison #1510, can we call the person who accidentally took my package .
Jaime: What is this package
Me: Listen On Jan 9th my package was signed in by your doorman even though I don't live here and someone in #1510 here was told it was their package.
Jaime: Let me look in the back
Me: It's not in the back...the guy already checked this afternoon..
Jaime: (leaves for 3-4minutes)
Me: Fuck
Jaime: It's not there
Me: Yeah way to go fucktard. Congratufuckulations.
Jaime: Let's see in the book of records when it came
Me: Okay someone signed for it on Jan 9th
Jaime: (flipping book back a few pages from today's new package list)
Foreign Lady: Hello! I have a package!
Jaime: Oh hello!
Me: Fuck
Jaime: Let's look for it...hmm your apartment is #3200...hmm...hmmm I don't see it
Me: Sir, you're on the wrong date. I think you need to flip back to today's date to find her apartment number
Jaime: Please hold on I'm trying to help her
Me: Fuck. If i'm going to have to wait for this fucktard to find this package I'm gonna be here forever
Jaime: silence
Foreign Lady: (murmuring in Cantonese)
Me: Listen, you're not going to find her package that just came in today on the page from a week ago, you need to flip it forward...
Jaime: Wait! The date is wrong, the pages never flipped forward
Me: Fuck
Foreign Lady: Oh! (foreign lady then proceeds to actually sign under the wrong apartment number...the irony is not lost upon me)
Me: Okay look back to January 9th....look there I am. See it says my last name and as you can see, I don't live in this building. Odd how my name is on this sign in list?
Jaime: But you never signed for it. The box was never taken
Me: Well it wasn't signed for on Jan 9th, but maybe it was taken on a day or two later
Jaime: Oh yes. There it is!
Me: Okay!
Jaime: (smiling)
Me: Okay, can we call this person??? You no good pirate whore.
Jaime: I don't have their phone numbers
Me: You don't have the numbers of tenants who live in your building? How do you warn people about Chinese food deliveries
Jaime: No we don't
Me: Okay, bye, I'm just going to go up and knock on their door. I'm guessing if you let random people sign for packages that aren't theirs that you just blindly put the package slip in the mailbox based on the apartment number. I'm off to #1510
Jaime: Wait! Come back!
To make a short story long, I went to apartment #1510, knocked on the door, met a nice woman, and got my tickets. The end.
Dramatic? Yes.
Exciting? Absolutely?
Something worthy of enduring in the name of watching hockey? No doubt.
A dialogue worthy of reading for the past 5 minutes? Umm... Questionable.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Surya the Desi Apprentice: Part 2 - The Great Brown Hope

The biggest desi sensation since the announced marriage of Abhishek Bachchan & Aishwarya Rai has hit again for round 2! While this sensation doesn't involve a nation of a billion consulting their local astrologers and gurus to forecast their brightness of a bollywood romance future, it's right up there. Well actually it's probably also slightly below that Ganapati drinking milk miracle from about 10 years back...

Be that as it may, the Great Brown Hope, Surya Yalamanchili (who has his own personal blog here) made it through another episode by using his cunning, his wit, and unlike most other contestants, he doesn't act like an idiot. In fact he's the only person who seemed to dress the part while at the Playboy Mansion. Mummy and daddy will be quite proud that he is hanging around with those Americans with no value. Bakwas I tell you, bakwas. Surely someplace, somewhere, there is an uncle who is thinking "In my day we would be happy just to see Hema Malini shake her hips. Now that was a woman...although you mother is fine too..." Or maybe they'd say something like that. God knows. Hai Bhagwan. Jai Hind. Jai Maharashtra. Jay-Z


This week didn't really have a Surya Quote of the Episode (sponsored by Vicco Turmeric Ayurvedic Cream) because he didn't really say anything, as you can see below:

Surya Quote of the Episode: none

Ahem, see, that's what happens when you don't believe me. Our A-1 Top Class Hero didn't really have much lines but actions spoke louder than words as he walked on the catwalk, thankfully not in hot pink trunks. That element is a different issue altogether if you know what I'm talking about.

All this aside another growing phenomenon is a vociferous anti-desi sentiment on internet message boards, including NBC's. This is pretty jacked up. While some messages have been taken down, they range from him smelling like curry to perhaps his real job interview should be one at 7-11. It's sorta funny how Indians can have a free pass at poking at Indians and the same applies for other races/ethnic groups. But when you say shit like that to other people, well it's....for the lack of a more eloquent way of saying it...it's just not cool. Reading other desis say "just watch all Indians do badly on TV shows" is not really a personal thing towards the character in question as much as it is a form of slightly pointed self deprecation.
In some ways it's a little disturbing because more than being outraged at how ignorant some people can be, it triggers a bit of a flashback to when you were a kid and heard people say shit like that to you. Growing up in Southern California there weren't a lot of Indian kids in my school and I didn't really have a lot of Indian friends until college. So it brings out feelings of being an outsider all over again.

At this point some of your are thinking to yourself "Wait a second Shakes, I'm just a random guy at work who found your blog because I Googled the search terms "desi, hema malini, girls gone wild" and the next thing I know I'm stuck reading about your feelings here." Well that is just unfortunate. Perhaps THIS will suffice in the mean time. (please note the plethora of Shady Indian Guys, SIGS, who are busting out their phone cameras)

[click to go back to the top of the blog]

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Super Fan #99

I love the L.A Kings, I love them. Anyone who really knows me, knows this. I would say that my love for them exceeds my love even for the L.A. Lakers. The problem is that they've sorta sucked the past few years. But like any member of a good, healthy relationship it's important to keep the faith despite being constantly let down and watching the other side give only a half-ass effort despite your all-out enthusiasm.

I think you can measure one's loyalty to a sports team by using this following equation:

True Love = (Enthusiasm for Team)/(Success of Team)

Hence if you really like sucky teams (large numerator, small denominator), your love is infinitely large. If you're a person who casually likes good teams (i.e. bandwagon fan) then you have a small amount of enthusiam (small numerator) for a highly successful team (large denominator). Hence you don't have a lot of true love. In fact in order to exhibit any True Love as a bandwagon fan you basically have to paint your face at games and drive to New Jersey. It's really quite simple. Math, who would've thunk that it could be useful?

I think it's also pretty easy to see that this formula can be applied outside of the realm of sports when identifying and valuing love.

Whenever I'm feeling low about hockey the following clip from the movie "Swingers" has always made me feel better, despite the egregious violence to my beloved team and the beloved Wayne Gretzky.

It's because of this clip...and always seeming to lose while playing NHL '96 in college... that I would be taunted by being called Super Fan #99.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A.D.D. & you

Attention Deficit Disorder used to be the type of thing that kids in elementary school were closely observed for and treated accordingly. Now I'm pretty sure that I can' say with certainty that everyone has ADD. It's true. It's my opinion and it's a fact. When was the last time you let you iPod play a full song? I think if you're like most people who probably hit next after like 45 seconds and this sorta feel normal. Frankly you can kinda get bored of the song before it even begins.

In fact there's a pretty good chance that some of you are tired of reading this after only a few sentences. Go figure. The problem is with the reader I say, not the writer.

The funny thing is that if you keep the focus on music it's not exactly a recent phenomenon that you get tired of songs quickly. In fact that's the whole point of pop music, catchy song that were kept under 3 minutes. I mean listen to an oldies radio stadio and all the songs are like that...although I must say that it's rather odd that early 80s stuff appears on oldies now so hearing The Police is a bit disheartening. Nearly the entire Beach Boys catalog follows that formula... and some of my hater friends would argue that all their songs sound the same too, but that's clearly not true. The Shins (new album in January!) were founded on the premise of making 3 minute pop songs too.

Hooray.

So basically general ADD is not a new phenomenon, it's been there for a while. I often think about the old TV show "Little House on the Prairie" and thank god I never lived in the olden days, reincarnation withstanding, I'd get so bored. If I did live in those days I'd probably go upto Michael Landon and be like "the shit is wack, i'm bailing from this village." Or something like that.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Sorry I'm A Champion..... "Lost Ones" by Jay-Z & my thoughts on its meaning

Okay, here's a little change of pace, I'll do a little analysis today of a song that I've really been thinking a lot about lately.

Jay-Z's last album "Kingdom Come" was disappointing to some who expected to be completely blown away. But much like most things in life, often times we have an expectation for something mind-blowing or big without really thinking what exactly would be required for you to be satisfied (e.g. New Years). As such it's sorta like the guy can't really rap about selling drugs or living in the projects when that's not what he does anymore. Instead he ends up rhyming about his current life style to varying degrees of success.

Unlike a lot of stuff you'll hear on the radio "Lost Ones" actually shows an incredible amount of honesty. Instead of flossing about money, cash, & hoes, Jay-Z rhymes about losing someone. "Lost Ones" is really about three people Jay's lost, whether it be professionally, relationship-wise, and in his family. If you actually consider yourself a friend of mine then you know I put this song on my last podcast :)

Uh, Uh, Uh, Uh
It's Not A Diss Song, It's Just A Real Song
Feel Me?

I Heard Motherfuckers Saying They Made Hov
Made Hov Say, "ok So, Make Another Hov"
Niggaz Wasn't Playing They Day Role
So We Parted Ways Like Ben And J-lo
I Shoulda Been Did It But I Been In A Daze Though
I Put Friends Over Business End Of The Day Though
But When Friends, Business Interests As They Go
Ain't Nothing Left To Say Though
I Guess We Forgot What We Came Fo'
Shoulda Stayed In Food And Beverage
Too Much Flossing
Too Much Sam Rothstein
I Ain't A Bitch But I Gotta Divorce Them
Hov Have To Get The Shallow Shit Up Off Him
And I Ain't Even Want To Be Famous
Niggaz Is Brainless To Unnecessarily Go Through These Changes
And I Ain't Even Know How It Came To This
Except That Fame Is
The Worst Drug Known To Man
It's Stronger Than, Heroin
When You Could Look In The Mirror Like, "there I Am"
And Still Not See, What You've Become
I Know I'm Guilty Of It Too But, Not Like Them
You Lost One

[chorus W/ Marsha (jay-z)]
Lose One, Let Go To Get One
Left One, Lose Some To Win Some (you Lost One)
Sorry I'm A Champion, Sorry I'm A Champion
You Lost One

I Don't Think It's Meant To Be, Be
But She Loves Her Work More Than She Does Me
And Honestly, At Twenty-three
I Would Probably Love My Work More Than I Did She
So B, Ain't We
It's Me, And Her
'cause What She Prefers Over Me, Is Work
And That's, Where We, Differ
So I Have To Give Her
Free, Time, Even If It Hurts
So Breathe, Mami, It's Deserved
You've Been Put On This Earth To Be
All You Can Be, Like The Reserves
And Me? My Time In The Army, It's Served
So I Have To Allow She, Her, Time To Serve
The Time's Now For Her
In Time She'll Mature
And Maybe We, Can Be, We, Again Like We Were
Finally, My Time's Too Short To Share
And To Ask Her Now, It Ain't Fair
So Yeah, She Lost One

Lose One, Let Go To Get One
Left One, Lose Some To Win Some (oh Yeah, She Lost One)
Sorry I'm A Champion, Sorry I'm A Champion
You Lost One

My Nephew In The Car I Bought
So I'm Under The Belief It's Partly My Fault
Close My Eyes And Squeeze, Try To Block That Thought
Place Any Burden On Me, But Please, Not That Lord
Time Don't Go Back, It Go Forward
Can't Run From The Pain, Go Towards It
Some Things Can't Be Explained, What Caused It?
Such A Beautiful Soul, So Pure, Shit
Gonna See You Again, I'm Sure Of It
Til That Time, Little Man I'm Nauseous
Your Girlfriend's Pregnant, The Lord's Gift
Almost Lost My Faith, That Restored It
It's Like Having Your Life Restarted
Can't Wait For Your Child's Life, To Be A Part Of It
So Now I'm Child-like, Waiting For A Gift
To Return, When I Lost You, I Lost It

Lose One, Let Go To Get One
Left One, Lose Some To Win Some (colleek, I Lost One)
Sorry I'm A Champion, Colleek, You're A Champion
You Lost One
The first stanza (in purple) is about Damon Dash, co-founder of Roc-A-Fella records with Jay-Z had split from to head up Def Jam records. They went from buddies to professionally divorced. Particularly interesting is Hova's rhyme that "We forgot what we came fo' ... I ain't even know how it came to this/Except that fame is the worst drug know to man"

The second stanza (in green) I believe is about Beyonce. Basically he says that his relationship with her is not what it used to be because she still wants to pursue her professional career and put their relationship on the backburner. He even hints about marriage (I think) by saying "to ask her now, it ain't fair." Although "ask[ing] her" could just refer to asking her to choose him over her work...

But I think the most poignant lines are in the third stanza (in blue). Jay writes about the guilt he feels about having someone die in a car that he purchased. "My nephew died in the car I bought/So I'm under the belief that it's partly my fault." The car he bought refers to his nephew Colleek Luckie who died in a car accident in June 2005. Jay had bought the 18-year old a Chrysler 300 as his graduation present. He then continues "You girlfriend's pregnant, the Lord's gift...It's like having your life restarted/Can't wait for your child's life, to be a part of it." This really touching stuff about a guy who is haunted by something which is not his fault. At the end he then changes the chorus from "Sorry I'm a champion" to "Colleek you're a champion"

I know it's a little weird to go stanza by stanza for a song but I just think that in hip-hop these days you don't see a lot of very honest songs and this one struck me. Like most songs I guess I get lured in by the beat first, the lyrics second. This is a mellow slow fire which I would say is a gem on an album which is actually not too bad when you take a step back and listen to it.

watch the video....

Monday, January 8, 2007

New York smells... details at 11

...and no it's not just the smell of Jersey City ("the Sixth Burrough!"). Oh dear. At least this causes real alarm unlike last year when the smell of maple syrup (I'm dead serious) was nearly everywhere in the city on two separate occassions and no one had an explanation for it and everyone actually seemed happier because of it.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Surya: Part 1 of The Apprentice

Keeping It Gully in the '007...

Every generation has a desi legend. For some it was Gandhi. For others Amitabh Bachchan. Sadly there really hasn't been one for a little while, so for the time being we'll have to resort to rooting for the mediocre on a season-by-season basis. This season's Great Desi Hope, Surya Yalamanchili, on "The Apprentice," a 24 year old Brand Manager from Cincinnati.

Surya was noteworthy for not really saying very much at all during the premiere and getting picked towards the end of the initial group division. In many ways it was a tearful tribute to all the Indian kids who have been picked last in their PE class for playing on sports teams. His big impact though has to be his Dynamic Fro & Soul Patch. We salute you Surya. Keep it real. Keep it brown, Keep it gully.

Surya's Quote of the Episode: "I've seen Wolfgang Puck on TV and apparently he knows a thing or two about cooking"
- Surya upon eating at Spago

[click here to go to back to the top of the blog]

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Friday, January 5, 2007

DJ Shakes_2007-01-05 (eclectic)

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

Okay I debating doing a 2006 retrospective or something but quickly grew tired of the idea, so instead you get a themeless mix. Don't worry, you'll live.

The mix has more than a slew of foreign languages. There's English, French, Hindi, and Thom Yorke....he's a language of his own. I don't think one human has been able to decipher his lyrics at first listen on any of his songs since Pablo Honey...

T R A C K L I S T I N G (approx 66min)

[0:00] Intro - Me
[0:53] Amadou & Mariam - Beaux Dimanches
[3:43] Dorfmeister vs. MDLA - Boogie No More
[9:28] Depeche Mode - Useless (K&D Session remix)
[11:47] Carla Bruni - Quelqu'un m'a dit
[14:22] Justin Timberlake (feat. TI) - My Love
[18:46] Jay-Z - Lost Ones
[22:17] James Brown - Funky Drummer
[25:29] Mr. Vegas - Heads High
[26:37] Elephant Man , Pitbull, & Yin Yang Twins - Shake (remix)
[28:44] Wu-Tang Clan - Milli Bros
[32:34] Girl Talk - Bounce That
[35:56] Michael Jackson - The Way You Make Me Feel
[40:00] Pilot Speed - Barely Listening
[43:56] Radiohead - Go To Sleep/Little Man Being Erased
[47:05] Indian soundtrack: Guru - Tere Bina
[51:50] Brazilian Girls - Last Call
[55:51] Jamiroquai - Alright
[59:21] John Legend - Slow Dance
[61:59] Depeche Mode - Dreaming of Me


I think the first song is incredibly catchy and the Carla Bruni song (11:47) is extremely pretty. One of the most amazing pieces is Girl Talk (32:34) which takes the concept of a mash-up to an exteme. In some ways it's akin the sorta stuff the Avalanches do except they don't just use instrumental snibbits, but rather non-obscure vocals and acapellas as well. Finally you may remember the reference to James Brown's "Funky Drummer" from a previous post.
Finally the last song is one of Depeche's first singles. It's sorta funny how they went from a synth-pop type group to a pre-industrial/goth-type vibe. Phew. I do so much work for you all. Sheesh. Anyhoo I hope you enjoy it.


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

(If the link doesn't work, just message me and I'll upload the file again)

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Life Moment of the Year #1, Bluffmaster, & my new years resolution

  • Tickets for a New Years Eve Event: $135
  • Airfare & Hotel to Bermuda: $1000+
  • Leaving the formal New Years Eve party at 11:30pm in order to go up to your room, change into swimming trunks, and hit a golf ball into the Atlantic on a deserted beach with four of your friends in time for midnight: Priceless
- - - - -
Say what you will about the Hindi movie "Bluffmaster" but the thing that struck me the most was that rarely do we live life to its fullest. While this is a cliche, the concept struck me most in the way it was told...in particular was the dialogue between a doctor consoling his patient (Abhishek Bachchan) about the fact that he only has 90 days to live. The doctor merely said that in 3 months one can live a lifetime... people who are 30 years old barely really remember 10 or 11 Moments, but if you live life to the fullest you can make more Moments in that short time-span than people have in a lifetime.

Okay so that's a bit dramatic I know, but I like the idea of creating Moments. Moments that you will remember. They don't have to be wild and crazy things, they don't have to be your streaking in the quads, they just have to times when you do something a little bit different than normal and in an odd way end up expressing who you are.

Hence I'd put running to the beach at midnight to be my first life moment of the year. As such my new years resolution is to have 5 Life Moments this year. If I can do that, I will be happy. Why five? Well it's not too much to make me start pretending that I'm going through Life Moments over trivial matters ("remember that time I ate 10 White Castle burgers in 15 minutes, that was a good Life Moment, right?") and yet it enough to force one to go a little bit out of there way every 2-3 months. ,

I'm not saying all this to brag or anything else, I'm just saying it's good once in a while to not lose sight of making memories.

So there you have it, you have my permission, go on, live life. Make it personal or do it with others. You don't have to always be the one who comes up with the idea, you just gotta be able to say to yourself "man, that was pretty cool." Do it for yourself. Do it for Gerald Ford.

Monday, January 1, 2007

So, who did you text message at midnight?


It seems that about 3 or 4 years ago text messaging became the preferred method of wishing friends and loved ones a happy new year. There is nothing more personal and intimate then receiving a text-blast (or as my friend Davey says, getting spammed) with the words "Happy New Years" that someone decided to send to their entire address book. Multiply that event by 7 or 8 times and you have a modern New Years celebration. It's really the post-high school equivalent of receiving the infamous phrase "have a cool summer!" in your year yearbook. If the girl was particularly attractive or popular you would then spend the next 3 months over summer examining each detail of her handwriting and reading deeply into the meaning of any hearts or smiley faces that were added in the message.... not that I did that or anything.

Occasionally
people feel festive enough to add an exclamation mark to their wishes by typing "Happy New Years!" As we all know, adding punctuation marks and whatnot takes a few extra seconds on text messagse since you have to scroll through extra characters, so we should take a moment to appreciate the effort that went into such a fine tailored message.

New Years tends to be a time of grave disappointment as for some reason or another everyone that you want to be with isn't there OR you expect something dramatic to happen and it doesn't.

All of this which leads to the question posed in the title, who did you text at midnight?