Friday, September 28, 2007

An account

Here is the account of last weekend's biking trip down the Schuylkill Trail as seen from zambezi's eyes. It was pretty much the same as seen from my eyes, except our eyes were on different bicycles and his were behind Govinda shades which he had mistakenly purchased thinking they were biking goggles whereas mine were behind spectacles worn by normal people who are not Govinda.

So it happened that after an entire summer of lethargy, apple-picking and meadow-strolling, zambezi finally managed to get convinced to go biking with me. Actually, to be fair, he was the one who approached me because his wife was out of town and he wanted to deal with the loss through physical exertion. As expected, he got lost on the way from New Jersey to Pennsylvania and would have made his way to Pittsburgh if I hadn't called him up and asked him to get off the next exit on the turnpike. I was not sure if zambezi would last through the bike ride so I administered a dose of creatine to him before we started.

He did good. We did good. The weather was mild and cloudy and it had just rained before we started. We made it to Manayunk in just under an hour where we had a couple of beers at the Manayunk Brewery on the bank of the Schuylkill. And then we continued on to the Museum of Art. Because the Independence Brew Pub has closed down, to partake of our celebratory brews, we had to do a west to east traversal of the entire Center City of Philadelphia in order to reach the Triumph Brewing Company on the Delaware River side. I ordered the fish and chips which they served in a conical contraption like the one in which they serve bhelpuri on Chowpatty beach. Zambezi ordered the chicken but unfortunately it was one that had been stunted from birth. Don't order the chicken if you are there. And if you do, ask them to bring it out to you before they cook it so you can give it a complete medical checkup. I had the scotch ale after a long time, one of my favorite beers with 7% ABV.

After the food and the beer, we biked back to Market East station where we caught the train to Norristown. Zambezi stretched out on the seat and fell fast asleep. During the ride, I checked his breathing once or twice just to make sure. Back in Manayunk, zambezi had commented to me that he didn't feel fatigued at all and in most countries, that would be an acceptable testament to his awesome physical shape. And I repeat what I told him then, that it is the final two or three miles that are the hardest, when the only thing that keeps you from admitting your leg muscles into the emergency room is sheer willpower and an overwhelming fear of being ridiculed on your friend's blog.

All in all, a commendable feat (33 miles) by a first time biker such as zambezi. Since then, zambezi has been calling me up once every two days and insisting that I compile a celebratory post about our outing and his accomplishment, making his case by declaring that if he had failed in the endeavor, I would probably have started typing even before we reached home. Which is probably true but only because of our warped media culture which tends to revel more in the story of an athlete's downfall rather than his glory.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


The question isn't why Diet Coke came up with Diet Coke Plus which contains vitamins and minerals, but why it took Coke or anyone else such a long time to come up with this idea. I say put vitamins in everything, why not? They already have this thing called vitamin water for people who were reluctant to drink water and needed an incentive other than the certain onset of acute dehydration and cessation of all bodily functions. So my question is, why is everything else in life still vitamin-free?

How about vitamin fries? Vitamin-infused McDonald's double cheeseburger value meals? If you are going to eat and drink crap anyways, wouldn't you eat and drink more crap if you knew that there was at least some crap in all that crap that wasn't as crappy as the rest of it? Put more vitamins in crap and people will buy more of your crap. Which part of "selling more crap" do you big corporations not understand?

It's not like vitamins are expensive. I have a bottle of One-a-Day which costs 25 bucks and contains 200 tablets. Grind half a tablet in a food processor, mix it in your product and you will be vitaminizing it with 50% required daily intake for just 6 cents. I just don't see what is wrong with this business model, people.

But that's just the beginning. I want vitamins to be in everything I ever come in contact with in my life. That's the only way I can be sure I'm living a healthy vitaminelicious life. I like the idea of vitamin-infused soap. I would buy it. Who wouldn't want to live in a world where getting soap in your eyes is actually healthy for you? Nothing could be more logical. And also vitamin-infused underwear for the Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohans of this world. No mother, I have a premiere to attend and I don't want to wear my undergarments. Wear them sweetheart, then you won't need to put soap in your eyes today.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hello sports

Dear Phillies
Quit bothering my left ventricle. I am okay now. Congratulations for the 5-0. I assume a 0-5 will follow soon.

Dear Eagles
Please bother my left ventricle. And my right auricle. And my left hand. And my right leg. We are all asleep. Wake us the fuck up. Wake the fuck up. What the fuck is wrong with you. I will come beat you with my fan rhetoric. 0-3 and I am throwing my Eagles cap (II) down Pennsylvania's Niagara Falls. (Bushkill. Not something you should be proud of.)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Independence Brew Pub

Good Bye Independence Brew Pub. It was nice to have known you.

It used to be there right next to the Market East Station in Philadelphia, a convenient venue that gave every visitor to Philadelphia a last-minute opportunity to dull the pain of their impending return back to the suburbs through a pint of fine microbrew. For me, it used to be the high point and the culmination of my weekly excursion on the Schuylkill Trail.

It was a religious pilgrimage. Bike the 21 miles from Valley Forge to the Museum of Art, continue on to Philadelphia Center City, look for its tiny entrance off Market Street, secure the bike to a parking meter, tell the woman who'd just approached you for directions that you didn't know where Filbert Street was, a moment later realize that this was Filbert street, feel ashamed for letting a fellow human down, go on in, wash the salt formations off the face and finally settle down to a glass of beer. Yes, it was a wonderful ritual.

Apparently the owner of the brewpub was kicked out for not paying his rent. I'm not totally surprised though. If I owned all that beer, I would also probably go through life unaware of what day it was or the month or the year. And the fact that he was evicted while he was in the middle of a beer only serves to support my theory.

Anyways, word on the street is that some other brewery will be taking over the lease so all might not be lost. It will be interesting to see who it is.

Monday, September 10, 2007


So I called up zambezi on saturday to see what he was up to. He picked up the phone and muttered in what was a conspiratorial whisper, "My window's open".

"What?", I said. "I can't hear you."

Again, he whispered, "My window's open, man".

"Oh okay", I said. "What does that mean?"

"I'll call you up later", he whispered.

I began to wonder if he had discovered an intruder in his house and whether I should call 911.

After a couple of minutes, my phone rang. It was zambezi.

"So is your window closed now?", I inquired, in a suitably concerned voice.

"What are you talking about?" he replied.

"What were you saying earlier about your window being open?"

"No man, I said I'm at the US Open. I couldn't talk", he replied.

Enlightenment dawned upon me.

"Oh okay, Are you at the game?", I asked him.

"No, I'm at the US Open", he said.

"Yes, yes, I said, are you at the game?", I asked testily.

"No man, I'm not at the gym, I'm at the US Open", he said, still with remarkable patience, considering the fact that I was interrupting him at the game.

"Okay, listen, I will call you up later tonight once I get out of here", he finally said.

"Alright. Have a good work-out", I said and hung up before he could respond.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Manager's euphemism of the day

"Cook in one's own juices" : The culinary process involved in the creation of a piece of software designed as if for his own use by a developer, thereby rendering it completely useless to the client it was actually intended for.