Monday, April 28, 2008

back home, jet lag, and a snazzy new blog header

Yes... it's 4:20am, I can't sleep and I have to "wake up" for work in 65 minutes. Well at least I was partially productive by altering by blog header. Also in case you haven't noticed I added a thingy on the left side called "your recent graffiti" which has people's recent comments.

Huzzah.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

greetings from Dubai

People sorta refer to Dubai as being everything from an adult Disneyland to a shopper's paradise. I think in the end it seems more like a outpost town on the frontier, like they would have in the Old West.

Okay so maybe my recent viewings of Westerns, namely "3:10 to Yuma" and "There Will Be Blood" has influenced by thoughts but I don't think I'm far off base. If you walk into the malls and hotels you see a random spattering of Chinese, Indians, East and West Europeans, an American or two, and blacks. It's like a scene out of that "Star Wars" bar Mos Eisley Cantina, there are creatures from all over the galaxy.

All that's missing is that weird clarinet song that gets stuck in your head like . [you can also giggle at THIS]

Friday, April 25, 2008

kidnapped !!!

Last night I was kidnapped by a random sardarji (guy wearing a turban). He forced me and my friends to go to another club and dance to 80s music. He was like his late 40s but seems like a nice fellow. Or perhaps that's just my Stockholm Syndrome kicking in.

He was a friend of a friend of my cousins (all good stories begin with such close connections) and at about 1:30am at a club he appeared along with this dude, Gary Lawyer a C-grade singer. Jay
(as the turbanator was named) then said "okay we're going to Polyester (another club) and so who is coming in the cab?" After goofing around a bit at the club Jay picked me and forced me to go. Remember again, I've never met this guy ever before in my life. I tried to call my cousin and her friends in their car following us and he said "If you text them I'll take your phone and punch you!....have ever been kidnapped before?"

All in good fun of course.

After repeatedly yelling at our cabbie to drive faster and faster we made it across town in record time and caught the club just in time to dance to "Blue Monday" and "Like A Player." * The extra highlight was that I was ordering a drink from the bar and before I paid and looked for Jay and yelled "Hey you've kidnapped me so you have to pay for the drinks." Jay, who at this point had about 5 drinks too many looked over and said "yeah, that makes sense actually."

When he spotted my Kingfisher was only half empty on the counter he ordered me to drink it...which I replied, "but we've got to keep some remaining for all our fallen soldiers and friends who can't be here tonight"

Great line, if I do say so myself, I'm not sure where I pulled that one out of but it worked. And ultimately I ended up getting home in one piece. Just another night in Bombay.

*I didn't pay for the cab ride either for two reasons, (1) he was older than me, (2) he was kidnapping me... I actually told him "Kidnappees don't pay for anything"

Thursday, April 24, 2008

other funny people, Dettol, & death

As it turns out, I'm not the only funny person who happens to possess a lush coat of brown skin color. From time to time I get people who write to me asking me to read their blogs and here is one of my recent faves.
Stuff Desis Like - This site is spot on about many observations, whether it's that desis love Niagara Falls or desi tax consultants. (thanks Azad for this tip)

Desis 101 - We are a simple but complicated people. This website will help you understand us.
For example we enjoy talking about our tracts. It is what it is. I don't provide any opinions, I don't make any apologies. I'm just a reporter of facts.
One day I'm sure both site will hit upon the idea that no matter what social, technological, and cultural advances occur in India, there still is nothing better than Dettol soap. I say this of course with first hand (no pun intended) experiences over the past few days while I've been in India and refreshed my love affair with the cleaning product

For all the problems and ill consequences that colonialism has wrought upon former Third World countries, Dettol is a shining example of what can go right.

Of course much like heroin and Elmer's glue sniffing all good things are to be done in moderation. In 2007 Jacques Niemand "cleaned himself to death." While it's not clear how the OCD suffering Englishman OD'd from Dettol, he is known to "habitually placed buckets of Dettol around his flat."

I think I can safely say that children everywhere are both rejoicing and horrified. On one hand they can now refute their parental unit's requests to "wash-up" because of these potential consequences....but on the other hand maybe it means that all parents are trying to kill their kids. Particularly around meal time and after playing outside in mud...exactly when kids are weakest.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

flying to Bombay, bears, & Burt Reynolds

Sometimes we hit big life epiphanies in the most amazing places. There is something about being outside of your normal elements that cause a bit more introspection. Other times we make insignificant observations at 30,000 feet. So it is here while flying from Madras to Bombay that I made one of life's fine realizations: truck drivers refer to cops as smokey bears!

I was listening to C.W. McCall's 1971 superhit "Convoy" (oddly enough I purposely selected to listen to it as opposed to it being a weird occurrence while playing songs under the shuffle) and actually paid attention to the lyrics. The CB-esque voice of the main narrator kept talking about smokies being on the ground and even in the air


Suddenly everything started making sense. That's why those Burt Reynold's movies were called "Smokey and the Bandit". Burt was the Bandit (duh) and the highway patrolman was Smokey.

We had eighty-five trucks in all But they's a road block up on the clover leaf An' them bears 'as wall to wall Yeah them smokies 'as thick as bugs on a bumper They even had a bear-in-the-air
I guess the next logical question is why are cops called Smokies to begin with? Maybe it's because of Smokey The Bear, who despite his good intention of telling people that they could prevent forest fires could be seen as being rather bossy and a know-it-all? Clearly he could be a target of hate from both other wilderness animals and traffic violators alike.

I guess this would be a neat thing to research further but my plane is landing. As usual once I touch land most of my intellectual curiosity diminishes and my inability to stay interested in any topic longer than 3 or 4 minutes returns. I shall now listen to my iPod playlists and skip each song after 30 seconds.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Greetings from Madras (Chennai)

Land of 1000 degrees (doesn't really matter if its in Celsius or Fahrenheit, it's still hotter than a mofo).

The pic on the right is with my cousin. One thing which is clear to me, A/C's are essential parts of life. The funny thing is that A/C's in hot and humid areas creates the strange desi heat paradox. On one hand you're too hot without it on, on the other it's often times so blisteringly cold that you feel the need to wear a long sleeve shirt and pants to stay warm.

Oh desis!

This of course leads to the next problem. When you're at some function (notice the use of the term "function", quite a key one) do you stand inside and get frozen or do you step outside to warm up and inhale exhaust fumes?

These are the issues brown people must face everyday.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

now we're getting somewhere

It looks as though I've gotten myself a column in an new monthly Indian magazine based out of Chicago. It's generally aimed at people in the 20-35 year old demographic. The magazine comes out in June/July and it leaves me with two pressing issues which you the reader at home can help me figure out:
  1. What do I call my column?
  2. What should I write about in the first issue?
Hopefully if all goes well the comments of 2 people will determine my journalistic future...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

awesome Indian hair: #1

Ah yes, there is nothing sweeter than looking at the totally bodacious hairdos of my fellow South Indians. While we may come from the same sub-continent, our sense of style is worlds apart. Perhaps this is the next stage of evolution hinted at by the 4th obelisk in "2001: A Space Odyssey" ?

Dramatic intros aside, let's go to the picture! This is a gem that I spotted on the train this past weekend.SWEET HILLBILLY JESUS! Check that out. He has some much hair he doesn't even know what to do with it. I nearly didn't notice him because the hair of his lady friend/wife/sister/neighbor almost blends in with his. Only the trained eye can discern such things. And that my friends is why I'm the writer and you're the reader.

In fact to show you how dedicated I am to your enhance your entertainment experience I went to get a close-up picture of our hero. As you can see it's a bit blurry and from the back. But I think it's safe to say that we can all see that the evidence is pretty clear.

Frankly the sighting was akin to that of spotting the famed Big Foot in the wild (pictured to the left). The similarities are pretty shocking.

Some people may ask "Shakes, why the hell do you do this to innocent people?" Well let me answer your question with another question: "Can we afford not to archive the low points of man?"

Monday, April 14, 2008

"mommy, what's a meth lab?"

Yes, today's question of the day. There's nothing better than having those public service signs in the train trigger an awkward family conversation. In this case the kid in blue asked his mom and dad that after seeing a sign in the PATH train saying "A garage can be a meth lab for children. It's never too early to talk to kids about drugs."

And what better time than with dozens of your fellow commuters on a lovely Sunday?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

meaningless post of the day

I like to imagine that my family is atypical, and so with that lay down the following challenge: I don't think any Indian family in the history of the world has partaken in the 3 events we did in one night (last night):
  • Went to a bar for beers
  • Came home to watch hockey (Montreal/Boston)
  • and figured Saturday is the best time to put in the epic "2001: A Space Odyssey" and watch it...
Not too shabby, eh?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Indian observation of the day

Indian people do not own pick-up trucks. They don't aspire to have one and they have never considered getting one. If they are looking to haul around large bags of Basmati rice or industrial size containers of ghee, a Toyota Camry works just fine. Thank you very much.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

good morning


Good morning. As I sit here with my toes in my blanket while watching TV a strange thought hit me... why is MTV riding Puffy's jock?

(The other question that hit me: why can't I breathe and it feels like an anvil is pounding on my head? The reason of course is because one of my beloved co-workers conducted germ warmfare on me.)

I'm sorry but I know he's rich and all, but his music is the most overrated shit ever. In case he didn't realize, "Making the Band" is like the worst talent show ever on TV. And as for his own music career, all I can say is that if your tag-team partner had been Mase at some point in your life, then that's a pretty bad sign.

But forget about what I think about him, why is MTV stupid enough to follow his tracks. Somewhere there's a MTV exec who's like "You know, I know the first three Making the Bands were not good....but I reeeeally have a feeling about having a fourth season." Now while watching TV there's another show following Puffy during Fashion Week....ugh. Are there really people who watch it and are like "likeohmygod, Puffy is like so hood!"

Well I have a newsflash for you sistahsoulja, his royal wackness has not put made or produced a good song in like a decade

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

torched

The disaster known as the 2008 Olympic torch relay is pretty funny when you think about the symbolism of the event in context to the outrage the IOC President has voiced over its disruption through Europe. Protesters have tried (and succeeded) to extinguish the torch to demonstrate their outrage toward China's dealings with Tibet and the general state of human rights in China.

The Olympic Prez (Jacques Rogge) said ``I was very saddened at what happened. This was actually tainting a beautiful symbol, a symbol of peace, a symbol of unity of all the people of the world, irrespective of their religion, their ethnic origins, their language, their political systems and their culture"

Um hellooo Jacques, but do I sense irony here? Newsflash, but as weird as I think some protesters can be (have you seen the Falun Gong people?), their underlying message is essentially that China doesn't uphold their end of the human rights bargain. So by way of a elementary reasoning having the games in China is what taints the "beautiful symbol, " not protesters.

Of course there are undoubtedly a few protesters who have the less eloquent motivation of "Dude, let's mess with the torch and Chinese!" but the logic remains. There are two reasons these protesters are targeting the Olympics versus say the 2008 Ping Pong World Championships:

  1. Demonstrations against the Olympics has a wee bit more publicity (duh)
  2. It's precisely the reason that the Olympics are supposed to represent a true meritocracy

That's why people get annoyed about steroids, because it's no longer pure. Instead you know have a risk of an opening ceremony where athletes lie about taking their vow to compete cleanly and the hosts lie about caring about promoting basis human freedoms.
That being said, it's not like the Olympics have always been spot-on about human rights…1936 Olympics in Germany…anyone? And they hosted the Summer AND Winter Olympics. Also anyone who loved humanity would've stopped the Jamaican bobsled team many moons ago. They're lucky they didn't kill themselves...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Weekend Review

Friend: "How was your trip?"

Me: "Trip was just awesome. Landed in Manchester at 6am, and didn't sleep until 8:30am on Sunday - jet lag and all. Paintballing in mid-shin deep mud and shit (no literally) and pouring rain for 5hrs, clubbing, a trip to the Emergency Room as one guy in the group got punched and broke his jaw and passed out and started bleeding from the head at like 4am. He had to get staples in his head." [editor's note: see picture to the right]

"The Everton/Liverpool match was intense especially since I was sitting in the Away stands with Everton (see news article below) , and made a mad dash to the train station for a 3.5hr ride back to London where drunk Liverpool fans sung the whole way back. Got to bed at 2am after playing an hour of Wii Tennis. Woke up at 5:30am to catch a cab to Heathrow. 53 hours, 7 hours of sleep."


from the The Telegraph
Before kick-off, a banner was unfurled in the visitors' end at Anfield which read: "Everton FC welcomes all Liverpool fans to Merseyside."

From the Kop came a quick and throaty response: "F*** off to Kirkby, the city is ours," a sarcastic reference to their guests' proposed relocation to the suburbs.

Back came the Everton followers with an ugly tirade about the home life of Steven Gerrard. To which the home supporters let rip with an intemperate chant concerning Joleon Lescott's appearance.

Welcome, then, to the City of Culture derby, a local spat played in what became at the turn of the year Europe's official capital of the arts. It is always a robust exchange, this one