Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The miffed paperboy

A couple of weekends ago, I was sitting at home watching a baseball game, pretending it was a football game, and that Chase Utley was actually an anemic Donovan McNabb and the portly third base coach was really a blond cheerleader in short skirts.

My doorbell rang. I walked downstairs and peered through the peephole. Peephole has such a guilty ring to it. As if I'm peeping into somebody else's home, which I'm not, since I'm in my home, looking outside, which isn't illegal or immoral. It should be called a lookhole. Or a freedomhole, in this age of patriotism and courage. But as I looked out, I saw that my porch contained a black person.

I'm always wary of black people visiting me on weekends. Because most often they turn out to be this group of individuals, friends of this guy named Jehovah, who are trying to get you to testify that when Jehovah was allegedly robbing a bank, he was actually playing monopoly with you in your apartment. Or something like that. Jehovah seems like a shady fellow. They call themselves Jehovah's Witnesses and once they get you to open your door, the only way you can get rid of them is by telling them that you are extremely sorry but it is now time for your namaz.

Nowadays, the Jehovah's Witnesses bring a couple of white people along as they make their rounds. And it works because c'mon, when you see a young white guy standing on your doorstep holding hands with a young black guy, only someone who hasn't seen "Mississippi Burning" or "Remember the Titans" about twenty times on TNT will fail to experience a nice warm feeling at the bottom of his heart at the sight of all that racial harmony and not let those two inside.

But on that particular day, it wasn't a Jehovah's Witness at my door. It was, in fact, a little black girl with a notepad in her hands. She said that she was interested in pursuing a college degree and was trying to raise money for her tuition by selling newspaper subscriptions and would I be interested in purchasing a four week subscription to the Daily Local News.

Now I am not really a newspaper kind of guy. I get all the news I will ever need by watching commercials on television. So I hesitated. I told her I do not read newspapers. It was then that she increased the size of her eyes and asked me, "Sir, don't you want to help me go to college?"

I was in a fix. You see, I did want her to attend college because the alternative could quite easily be her joining the Jehovah's witnesses, and I could already see that this girl had it in her to convert even the most hard core of non-believers. And that was a tad risky because I would rather have her be successful in getting a hundred newspaper subscriptions out of my pocket than enlisting me into that gang of weirdos and accompanying them as they go around doing whatever it is that they do.

I made up my mind. It was the "Sir" that did it. I ran into my apartment, wrote out a check for twenty eight bucks and gave it to her. She wrote me a Daily Local News receipt, thus putting to rest the nagging suspicion in my mind that my money would be going towards the purchase of a Lil' Jon CD. Fitty Cent I am ok with. But not Lil' Jon. The guy is bad news.

But after all was said and done, I was the proud owner of four weeks of local news. Huzzah. I couldn't wait for the first newspaper to be thrown violently against my front door.

A few days later, I returned home from work to see my first newspaper delivery resting against the door. I picked it up, went inside and placing myself in a newspaper reading position, began to read it.

It was then that I came to realize exactly how "localized" the contents of the Daily Local News were. There was not a substantial amount of space devoted to events occurring outside of the Tri-County area. The front page story appeared to be "Valley Forge Park struggles with deer overpopulation", an emotional rendering of what appeared to be a pretty major issue affecting the residents of my locality. For someone like me, a nomadic herdsman drifting in and out of apartments and townships on a regular basis, there does not exist sufficient attachment towards any neighbourhood at any given time to give half a fuck about all the petty issues affecting its existence. Also, about three quarters of the newspaper was filled with obituaries. Yes, people around me were dropping like flies. The end result was, I put the paper down, never to pick it back up again.

The next day, I did not even bother to bring in that day's copy of the paper. And that's what happened the day after that as well. Soon there was a small pile of unopened unread newspapers cluttering up the sidewalk in front of my door.

And then, one day, this pile of newspapers abruptly disappeared. And then, the newspapers stopped being delivered. Was the paperboy pissed at me, I wondered. Was he mad because I had disrespected his delivery by not bringing it inside my apartment and putting a roof over its head? Was he angry because the fact that I was not reading the fruit of his driving labors was depriving him of the job satisfaction he so craved? I do not know.

But I sure do hope the little black girl gets to go to college.

Monday, September 25, 2006

I work at The Office

So I was watching the season premiere of The Office on NBC, the American version, not the British one, because ever since I got over my colonial hangover, I began to not understand the British accent. So I was watching it and being happy that I do not work in An Office when suddenly Jim said to the camera, "The people here call me Big Tuna because I ate a tuna sandwich on my first day at work. I doubt they even know my name".

And then it hit me. I work at The Office. Because even though the people at my Office know me by name and pronounce it in a way that would make my ancestors fly screaming off their funeral pyres, I am known as The Subway Guy because I eat exclusively at the neighborhood Subway restaurant. Everyday, a couple of minutes before lunchtime, there is a long line of people outside my cubicle patiently waiting to ask me the million dollar question, namely, whether I am going to eat at the Subway today. And when it is 12:00 and not a minute before, I let them in, one by one, and they ask me the question, get yes for an answer, chuckle to themselves, thinking it's such a huge fucking joke that I eat at the Subway everyday and then walk out with the sun shining brighter in their previously overcast lives because they got to ask the Subway Guy whether he was going to eat at the Subway today and haha he was.

Some days I do not eat at the Subway because I am human and there are other things in life which cannot be obtained at the Subway. Those days are worse. Because not only do I have to reply no, that I am going to have to forego Subway today, I have to provide a detailed and credible explanation on why I am taking this drastic life-changing decision.

So, to recap things, fucked if I eat at Subway, fucked if I don't. I am the Subway Guy and I work at the Office.

Friday, September 22, 2006


I don't know how many of you here in the US are television fanatics so much so that you will watch whatever is on at the moment because the alternative would be to stare at a blank screen.

We have these Enzyte commercials here featuring a guy, "Bob" who used to have a small penis until he started taking Enzyte, a natural male-enhancing drug. Now Bob walks around with a creepy grin on his face and a perennial bulge in his pants. His wife (who looks 60 by the way, thus accounting for Bob's previous deflation), is very happy now because until now there used to be a vast gaping void in her life which is now being filled. And these Enzyte commercials chronicle various events in Bob's life which give him an opportunity to showcase his brand new refurbished member. For example, in one such instance, Bob jumps into a swimming pool and when he steps out, his shorts are observed floating in the water as his guests, especially those belonging to the female persuasion, stare transfixed at his luminous chlorine-bleached knob.

They have a number of these commercials, all of which feature Bob and his Jack Nicholson grin as they fight crime and prop up the drooping garden hoses of their neighbours (this is not a euphemism, taking Enzyte really does wonders for your garden hose) by introducing them to this marvellous drug. The following is one of the better ones mostly due to its liberal usage of puns (even though I profess to be someone who hates puns).

The reason I bring up the topic of creepy Bob and Enzyte is because Enzyte appears to have defrauded thousands of its customers by promising them free samples and then placing unauthorized charges on their credit cards. You see, those penis enlargement spammers are not fools. There really IS a market for that stuff.

But the point I am ultimately trying to make is, I wonder how hard CNN had to battle with its conscience in not issuing a headline saying :

"Male-enhancing drug company stiffs its customers"

Aren't you glad you continued reading till the end?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Lungi Dance

Here. Lungi Dance. Someone tell me what the song is. I had to turn the sound off at work. Video received via email.

It appears to be an Usher song of some sort (updated : "Yeah"). I like the move where he coyly lifts up and twirls his lungi around just the right amount in order to afford his leg the freedom of movement necessary for it to gyrate to the left, thereby keeping it tasteful but not obscene, while at the same time leaving us wanting more.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tearing your hair

You know how it is when you go through half your earthly life thinking you have an understanding of some concept and then one day you find out that you were mistaken and that all these days you really had no clue as to what that concept really meant.

So it was with me and the phrase "tearing your hair out" in frustration. Throughout my childhood and early adulthood, whether it was due to my being untouched by a single hairtearworthy event or me having a healthy respect for my hair, I had never ever performed this act in practice. Consequently, I had a very theoretical idea about what that whole thing entailed. Hey, I thought tearing your hair out involved a sequential plucking of hair from your scalp one hair strand at a time and giving it back to nature. Although I was quite clear in my mind that the plucking and discarding was of a violent nature, similar to throwing breadcrumbs at ducks.

But recently as I was strolling through the sunset years of my life, I found myself right slap bang in the middle of a fierce hair tearing session with myself and what do I see? Only that I was all wrong about the entire thing. It wasn't how I had pictured it to be at all! For starters, there was no plucking of individual hair follicles. Here, this is what actually happens when you tear out your hair. The following is a dramatization of an actual event and it should not be attempted by children or balding people. First you sit down because this is an act where your being seated is fundamental to its success. Placing both your elbows on your knees and staring at China, you run both your hands through your hair. And then, just as your hair strands relax between your fingers, you tighten your grip on the bastards and with an abrupt jerking motion, attempt to free them all from their moorings.

It is important to understand that the philosophy feeding this act is deeper than a mere crazed desire to separate hair from scalp. No, what you are actually doing is trying to create separation between your scalp and your skull in order to construct a buffer zone between your brain and Society with whom you've had a falling out of sorts. Hair is just an innocent victim, a mere pawn of circumstance.

I hope it all makes sense to you now as it did to me.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Chicago : Day 1

I will recount my adventures in Chicago to the best of my knowledge, abilities and memory.

It all began at Chicago's Midway Airport. The Bible tells of its origin. After God had gathered a hunk of his own feces to create Adam and then sculpted one of Adam's ribs into Eve, he asked Eve to part with any body part of her choice to create Chicago's Midway Airport. Eve, being a selfish possessive bitch, merely agreed to donate a toenail. And that was how Midway Airport was born.

Chicagoans who do not believe in the literal word of the Bible have a different story to tell. They say that at the junction of West 55th Street and South Cicero Avenue in Chicago, there used to be an average sized pothole. After people started complaining about it, workers from IDOT filled it up and just as they were standing around admiring their handiwork, someone realized that the area they had just filled up was big enough for planes to land and take off from. And so, Midway Airport was born.

The point being, Midway Airport is small. And it is in the middle of a residential neighbourhood. And just as your plane is about to land and your landing gear is scraping across the rooftops of the tired, the poor and the huddled masses, you can see those huddled masses giving you the finger from their bedroom windows where they've been desperately trying to conceive a child amidst the din of jet engines and maintenance technicians being sucked inside them. It is not a mere coincidence that Midway Airport was where a plane skidded through the entire runway one winter's night and crashed into a car on the adjacent road. So yes, it is a small airport, disproportionately so, compared to the size of the planes that attempt to land on its minuscule runway.

But no, this is not a post exclusively about Midway Airport. The first day of my sojourn in Chicago began at 6:00 in the evening. It involved getting wasted with my jackass of a colleague who had discovered a long lost friend at the trade show (already under way) and decided to get together with him with me tagging along for the heck of it. The meeting took place at the ESPN zone, the only place in the US where every urinary receptacle, by law, has to have a television set of its own. I have been told that this was done in order to reduce bladder explosion fatalities during football games. Men, the cute and stupid species that we are, often refuse to heed nature's call if it's 4th and goal in the final minute of the game and the only way they could put an end to those exploding bladders was by allowing us to watch the game while we urinate.

Secondly, if you wish to partake of adult beverages at the ESPN zone, here's a rule of thumb to calculate the damage a single glass of beer is going to inflict upon your wallet. Take the cost of a regular glass of beer. Then, include a bartender's tip approximately equal to 100% of the price. Finally, add to it the cost of rocket fuel required to transport this glass of beer to the moon and back.

But getting back to the night in question, this friend of my colleague, who turned out to be a Bush supporter, after the requisite number of pints had been injected into him, decided to inquire about my political leanings. The sad fact about life is that most political debates not taking place on network television occur under the influence of alcohol. And so, many coherent points that could and should have been made during the debate fail to see the light of day. Which is why, enthusiastic as I am about trying to convert people from the dark side in order to show them the light, after a point, it was inevitable that the honest discussion on the topic in question would degenerate into a honest discussion about what the topic in question actually was.

The political discussion continued in the taxi cab as we left the bar. Fortunately, it so happened that our cab driver was an Iraqi Kurd, who had his own opinions on the matter. Unfortunately, his opinions turned out to be those that did not coincide with mine. Much yelling ensued and we were thrown out of the cab. Note to self : Never again try to convince someone whose people were gassed by a dictator that the overthrow of this dictator was a bad thing.

Our evacuation from the cab led us into another bar which I will call George's bar because that was its name. It was the smokiest bar I have ever had the privilege of coughing violently inside. It was an awful bar. Sorry George, but that is the naked unvarnished truth. If I were to be rating bars and if I were to give a bar where the bartender spat in your beer, kicked you in the crotch, threw it in your face and then billed you for it a rating of 1 star, this bar would get 0 stars. There had to be a reason for all that smoke. I think it was poor ventilation but I can't be sure because visibility was also poor. Forget second hand smoke, the only way you could get more cigarette smoke into your lungs would be by shoving raw tobacco down your lungs along with a lighted matchstick.

There was a strange thing about this bar. As I was groping around (in a non Arnold Schwarzenegger kind of way) for the restroom, I happened upon a door. I opened it and on the other side was an identical bar, with bartender, drinkers, lung cancer and all. I said oops and sorry, closed the door and returned to my side of the parallel universe thinking, goddamm, I really need to pee. The restroom was on the second floor with one of those urinals where you urinate into a basin pretending to be connected to plumbing but which, in reality, has a hole in its bottom directed towards your shoes. That simple act of urinating on my own shoes caused a brief moment of homesickness to rise in me like a violent bout of seasickness because the total number of fingers on my hands and legs outnumbers the times I've had this happen to me in an Indian movie theater, but only barely.

But all good things must come to an end, in this case, at about 2:00 in the morning. Tomorrow would be my first appearance at the trade show. The last thing I remember before falling asleep was thinking that falling asleep at 2:00 was not such a great idea.

Next : The Trade Show.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I am back. Give me a day to recuperate.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Off to war

I have been summoned to the battlefront. Despite my dishonorable discharge from the armed services two years ago due to my failure in removing the undergrowth on my chin, I have been urgently dispatched to the Chicago frontline by my commander-in-chief who has already departed along with the rest of the troops. The mind races and the mouth salivates at the prospect of once again tasting Chicago cuisine in the wild. However, the stomach also churns at the prospect of conversing with living breathing human beings 10 hours a day every day for a week in order to get them to buy stuff. Adding to this problem is the fact that these conversations will be carried out in a fake American accent on my end which, as I have now been told, doesn't bear even the slightest resemblance to the real thing.

Initially the stomach churned for an additional reason. I was going to have to share a hotel room with the President of the company. Although he is a great guy, it is very difficult to relax your bowel muscles with the same carefree devil-may-care attitude which the knowledge that the custodian of your paycheck is not within clear earshot brings. Plus you can never tell whether your choice in leisurewear could have any kind of detrimental impact on your ascent through the corporate ladder. However, I have now been informed that I will be getting my own private sanctuary where I can withdraw after the sun sets and a temporary ceasefire has been called.

Today was also a great time to realize that I do not own any trousers of a dark blue slash black color that are not made out of some kind of denim. I shall therefore have to visit a vendor of garments on my way to the airport in order to acquire such a pair of trousers. This acquisition is essential for me to fulfill one of the many stringent conditions imposed upon the troop contingent (along with having a smooth chin, that is), namely, the ownership of a pair of dark blue slash black trousers not made out of some kind of denim.

And so, with these words, I take your leave. I hope to be able to chronicle the course of the battle in the coming days right from the foxhole after a hard day of slaying the competition. Hopefully I will be sober enough to do it. So, adios and be good.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Stupid Photo of the day

I have been tagged. So here it is.


Actually that's not me. The inherent stupidity of this photo lies in the fact that I was so terrified of scaling that precipice with my bicycle in hand that I requested my co-biker to transport it across for me. In return I promised him I wouldn't tell people that he had fallen off his bike headfirst into a thorny bush, although in retrospect, I now realize that I just did.

Bonus stupid photo of the day :


That, in fact, is me. As I've said before, I am wearing camouflage which is how I blend seamlessly into the background.

I tag no one. I believe stupidity, especially when captured on film, is a very private, a very personal thing and it should be hidden from public view. Unless of course, you run out of things to blog about.

And finally, to cleanse the atmosphere of all that stupidity, here is something less stupid.


This is a late fall view of the Lehigh river from high atop the Switchback trail in Jim Thorpe, PA. It used to be a favorite biking trail of mine till last winter when a fierce winter storm caused a number of trees to crash and block the trail and park maintenance decided that clearing all that shit up was a waste of their precious time.