Friday, February 29, 2008


Back home in Pune when I was still "studying" engineering, there used to be an intercollegiate orchestra competition called "Kalyani". One of the items in the competition was that a couple of days before the actual competition, the organizers would give each college band that was participating a poem written by some random guy. This poem was in marathi. The band had to set this poem to music and play it on stage during the competition, along with every other song they had practiced.

During the second year (in a row) that my band won the Kalyani Cup for our college, the poem that they gave us was called "tu astas tar". It basically means "If you were here...". The poem outlines a series of environmental changes that would transpire, were the object of the poet's affection to suddenly appear in the immediate vicinity. For example, it goes on to say that he / she would immediately have converted the harsh sunlight into gentle starlight and silence into sweet song and so on and so forth. We Maharashtrians hate sunlight with a passion that is rivaled only by our hatred for silence. I don't know what we're gonna do if this global warming thing turns out to be true. Or if those Bose sound-canceling headphones actually turn out to work.

But getting back to the point, for the second year in a row, it was up to me to set this poem to music. And now, about ten years later, I have finally managed to reconstitute that sophomore effort on my home synthesizer and make it available to the music industry executives who frequent my blog. Now although the original musical performance included a drummer, a guitarist, a bass guitarist, a tabla player, two keyboardists and a dedicated sound mixer, unfortunately I did not have any of these in my apartment and so I had to play every instrument myself on the synth. Also, since I have a hideous voice, please imagine that the trumpety thing playing throughout the song is actually the voice of a marathi lass singing marathi lyrics.

So, here's the song :



Some day I hope to elevate myself to that highest of existential levels where every thought, desire or complaint I have will be expressed purely through the usage of appropriate Seinfeldian quotes. That day is not too far.


Well, my immune system, she fell asleep at the wheel and no doubt lately she's had a few sleepless nights of overwork due to battling other people's sweat from the gym but I still think she could've done more than just handed me over to the virii (viruses?). Which she did. Didn't even put up a fight. So no more soup for you. Come year.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Review in short :

Bare bones show, refreshingly low-key and devoid of its usual self-indulgent pomp and pageantry which allowed the peasant class to watch it without becoming aware of our own grime and unworthiness.

Glowing women. Glowing Daniel Day Lewis. Somewhere inside that painstakingly crafted sculpture lies a man, or so the story goes.

Javier Bardem. You are not as scary in person. In fact, you look like you could be trusted with a newborn puppy.

The Coen Brothers. Joel Coen, least interested multiple-Oscar winner. Ethan Coen, achiever of highest laughter to words ratio.

Walkway to the podium : problematic.

Helen Mirren's deliberate invocation of the word "cojones" : priceless.

Jon Stewart : extremely funny but more importantly, classy and kind.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


When I came to the US, these are the three music cds I purchased with the first paycheck of my graduate assistantship. And they continue to be the top three favorites in my collection.

Antichrist Superstar


I went to this bar today, the Silver Ostrich Pub, just to see what people looked like since I haven't seen people for a while. I was just gonna get a beer and fuck off since the Weather Channel told me that everything that was made of water was supposedly going to turn into ice by 10:00 pm including the road and the rodentia. So I quickly ordered a beer and they asked me, Sir, do you need a menu, and I said sure, because, hey why not look at the menu while I was drinking. So I looked at the menu for a while and the waitress came over and asked me if I was ready to order and I was about to say no, I did not wish for food, but that is when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw this phrase on the menu that said, "Sauted Kangaroo in Dijon sauce" and I said to myself, listen Mac, let's be honest, with your fast fading age and the relatively low life expectancy of people who drink and drive on PA highway 309, do you really think you're gonna find yourself down under at any point in the future?

And predictably, the answer was no. So, I grabbed this opportunity to taste the roo. Yes yes, I am ready to order, said I, I want the roo, the roo with the dijon. However, I have a question : Is this actually the roo or just imitation roo, you know, like the flesh of the muskrat infused with roo pheromones? No, I was assured, it was indeed authentic roo. Bring it on, I said. Let us feast.

Eventually the roo came out smothered in brown dijon and shredded lettuce. I severed one of the roo pieces with the aid of a steak knife that I was provided and hauled into it. Let me say this right off the bat. The roo did not guide me to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The roo was okay. It was deftly cooked and was bereft of gut and gristle. However, that was the only kind thing that could be said about it. It had a gamy fishy taste that was more smell than taste. Perhaps it was the culinary crew of the Silver Ostrich pub that was more to blame than the deliciousness of the roo. But basically what I am saying is this : If you have a choice between tasting the roo on PA 309 or traveling to Australia, please choose the latter. I am sure the roo is tastier down under.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Namrata Shirodkar, the 1993 Miss India winner and sixth place Miss Universe had the following statement to make during the 1993 Miss India contest:

"I would not want to live forever because I don't believe that one can live forever. And so, I don't think I would want to live forever."

It is indeed, a small world.

Although to be fair, Namrata's quote was only the 21st dumbest in VH1's list of dumb celebrity quotes. Dumber than Al Gore's "A zebra does not change its spots" and less dumb than Brooke Shield's "Smoking kills. If you"re killed, you've lost a very important part of your life." So it's not too bad.

Anyways, the point is, apparently me and Namrata, we are related by blood, semen, pollen dust or suchlike. That explains quite a bit about what's happening on this blog.

Update : Bonus dumb quote by Jason Kidd of the NJ Nets : "We're gonna turn this team around 360 degrees"

Snowed in

The backyard.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dear Mitt Romney

If I were you, I would delete this photo from my album.

Also, whatever it is that you are planning, count me in. My talents include squeezing through barbed wire fences and unlocking toilet doors from the outside.

via Raw.

Results of poll#1

The question was "Would you like this blog to poll you with regard to stuff?"

87% of you asked if you would get paid.

Only 12% said "yes". That 12% was one person.

I seem to be hosting a very materialistic crowd here.

Somehow the poll lost track of the remaining 1% of voters which, if you calculate it correctly, would make it somebody's little finger or maybe part of an earlobe. I am sorry for your loss sir and assure you that the next poll will be better equipped with finger and earlobe protecting safety devices.


I have come across a new law of nature and I will call it gawker's law, assuming that no one else has had the free time on their hands to postulate it yet. It goes as follows :

"No matter how many different routes you take to work, they will all consume approximately equal amounts of time, all of which exceed the amount of time that you think they ideally should."

I have tried 4 different ways of going to work and they all cost me 30 minutes. Having performed all kinds of complex traffic, speed and school-zone restricted speed limit-based calculations, I believe that it should rightfully take me a mere 25 minutes to go to work. Therefore, the search for that elusive 25 minute work-route continues. Some day when it is a government holiday, I shall find it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Jon Stewart is killing on Larry King right now. If you're not watching it, you're missing something beautiful and delicious. Watch it again at 12:00 am EST in case you're too busy right now having dinner or wiping dust off the fake plastic tree in your bedroom.

Onion headline of the day

Onion headline of the day.

And while we are there, this is pretty much an accurate description of me.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lunar dried shrimp noodles with oyster mushrooms eclipse

Today at 8:45 pm, I went outside on my deck. I was afraid it would be cloudy, but it wasn't. I bundled up in my UMass jacket, the only thing that can keep me warm at the bottom of the ocean. I took plastic garbage bags with me because it had rained. I placed those garbage bags carefully on my deck chair. I took a bottle of Smirnoff vodka to accompany me because it was cold. I made myself comfortable. I cleaned my binoculars, adjusted their focus and called up zambezi to find out if he was also on his deck. Oh I forgot, he doesn't have a deck haha. Zambezi didn't answer the phone. He probably has caller ID. I sat on my chair and waited. The moon was bright and full.

At 9:00 pm, the moon was still bright and full. I went inside and logged on to my computer. I reread this blogpost. Alright, it was on Wednesday and not tonight. So, instead of stabbing myself in the chest with the vodka bottle, I went and cooked dinner. I made dried shrimp and oyster mushroom noodles.

1/2 bag of dried shrimp
1 pack of oyster mushrooms
Chinese chilli paste, 2 tablespoons
4 green chillies
1 pack of one minute Chinese egg noodles
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 cups chopped scallions, hold the rap
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic

Heat a cup of water in the microwave till it boils. Pour it in a bowl. Add dried shrimp to the bowl. Soak for ten minutes.

Put some water on the boil in a pasta pot. Let's say 4 cups. Let's also say that I am probably guessing because who the hell measures water?

Chop garlic. Chop scallions. Chop cilantro. Chop green chillies. Quick. Chop chop.

Heat sesame oil in a wok on medium heat. Try to keep yourself from repeating the word "wok" just because you are intrigued by how it sounds.

Add garlic, one cup of scallions, oyster mushrooms, green chillies to the oil. Stir fry for a couple of minutes. Add dried shrimp. Stir fry for about 5 more minutes, give or take 10.

Add soy sauce and two tablespoons of red chilli paste. Stir it into the mix.

If the pasta pot is boiling, pour Chinese noodles into it. Wait for a couple of minutes, then drain them. Pour them into the wok.

Stir everything together so intimately that the mushrooms and shrimp have a baby with the noodles and call it Ling. Top everything off with the remaining cup of scallions and cilantro.

Delicious noodles for two are ready for consumption by one because it is only me here. Enjoy with Tsingtao beer.

Watch the eclipse on Wednesday.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I remember when I was a little boy in India, we used to regularly set our neighborhood garbage bin on fire. I don't know what prompted us to do it, perhaps it was just the sight of humongous quantities of flammable material in the bin that were currently not aflame. So whenever the garbage in this bin rose up above eye level, which was always because no one ever came to pick up this garbage, we applied matches to it and hey ho, a great fire was had by all. It was very enjoyable.

Enjoyable only to us kids, of course. This fire resulted in a lot of foul-smelling smoke. Especially in the evenings after the cool air set in and the smoke refused to move to a higher altitude. Practically every dwelling in the neighborhood turned into a smokehouse and everybody's dad and mom cursed at us for setting off the fire. But we didn't give a fuck. Matches were freely available. And in our youthful wisdom, it was God's will to set shit alight otherwise He wouldn't have bestowed upon us so much pleasure in the aftermath.

But the point of this flashback is, today my fucking neighbor across the woods decided to start a fire in his backyard. Gathering twigs and leaves and what not. I saw the industrious bastard spend all his afternoon walking all over the woods gathering stuff and putting it on his fire. The smoke drove away all the birds and it blew right into my home and onto my deck where I was trying to watch some birds. How times have changed for me. This is what it must mean to be an adult. To have all the goddamn senseless acts you did in your childhood to be perpetrated on you in return. Being an adult sucks big time. But not just because somebody started a fire and blew smoke into my house. It sucks because I totally lost the ability to enjoy that fire.

Amazing photograph

I just took an amazing photograph. It is of my grilling thermometer lying inside a flower pot on my deck. The flower pot is full of ice and half the thermometer is embedded inside the ice and half outside. I didn't actually take the photograph because my camera battery is dead and even if it weren't, my camera cannot take night pictures. But imagine the magnificence of the photograph, were I to have taken it. Imagine it conceptually : a thermometer lying inside ice. It is irony worth a Nobel photography prize. I trust you understand. Fuck it's cold tonight.

What is this ya

When I left my India, we were saying stuff like "what's up yaar" and "I don't know yaar" and "Come on yaar" and etc statements such like. Yaar, of course, standing for "friend" in Hindi. Now when I turn on Indian MTV, I see Indians and especially women, saying the same sentences, except using the word "ya" instead. "Come on ya" and "I don't know ya" and so on and so forth. What is this "ya", my fellow Indians? Sometimes I even catch Indian men doing it, although not very often and only when they are in the company of women. It is as if Indian women need to be spoken to in their own special "ya" language. So again, I ask you, my fellow Indians on television, what the fuck is this "ya" business and when did it take over the Indian language? Much obliged. Thank you please.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Just so you know, I am still carrying 3 plastic trash bags full of plastic grocery bags from my previous apartment that I accumulated over the past three years and was too lazy to recycle but too conscientious to throw in the trash. Carrying in my car which I drive to work everyday. I drive 3 trash bags full of plastic bags to work everyday because I don't know what the fuck to do with them. Just so you know. Hello plastics industry, are you in need of bags please?

Secondly, watch this movie.

Thirdly, it is beginning to feel like home instead of some house I am living in as a guest. I am no longer afraid that my closets contain a dead body that I haven't discovered yet. And today when I used my toilet, it didn't feel like I was using the previous owners' toilet. At that moment, I would have gone down on my knees and embraced the toilet bowl. I will do that this weekend after I clean the toilet bowl.

Fourthly, dear SnowGod, I asked for snow and not ice. The difference is in texture. Please consult your handbook.

My hood

The very same evening of the day we moved, we were sitting in the Iron Hill Brewery, a neighborhood bar, having a couple of beers to celebrate our move and also because why can't a guy just have a beer if he wants to? We weren't sitting per se because there were no seats available at the bar so we did the next best thing, which is standing. As we were standing, we were waiting for someone at the bar to leave. We scouted out all the people sitting at the bar and sorted them in descending order of probabilities of imminent departure. People who had the table buzzer and were just sitting at the bar waiting to be buzzed when their table would become available were the highest on the list. Then came those who were eating but had a nearly empty plate. So after a quick discussion, we decided to choose a couple who had a table buzzer and kept gazing frequently in the direction of the foyer as if they were expecting to be called soon because it meant that they had been waiting for a while. And so, as is the protocol, we planted ourselves behind the couple and I began humming to myself, a low irritating hum in order to hasten their departure. I also ordered a beer, a light lager if you must know.

About five minutes later, another couple entered the bar area. They observed the lack of bar seats. Then, they looked around, walked over to our couple, tapped them on their shoulder and spoke to them. I wasn't worried. They probably knew each other, were probably double dating and would be sharing the same table after they left the bar area.

But my wife, with her keener powers of observation and hearing, believed otherwise.

"The woman just asked the guy to place his hand on the barstool", hissed my wife.

It was then that I realized what had just happened. In a display of nonchalant brazenness, the newer couple had calmly walked in, asked the sitting couple if they were leaving and on being told yes, were preparing to assume control of the barstools.

Now usually, I am not a very pro-confrontation kind of guy. If challenged, my favorite response, like that of the armadillo, is to curl up in a ball, pretend I am dead and let the threat pass me by, relying on my hard overlapping epidermal scales called "scutes" to protect me from predators. These scutes are mainly composed of bone with a covering of horn.

But that day was different. I had just moved into my new home. I was a home owner. And I was hanging out in my own fucking brand new hood which I had taken a vow to serve and to protect. I would be damned if I let somebody push me around in my own hood. It wouldn't be a good start to a new citizenship.

"Apun ke ilake mein aake apun se hi panga?", I asked my wife with puzzled amusement. "Why are you speaking in Hindi", she asked me. I don't know, it just felt like Hindi time.

Soon, the couple who were seated began to make preparations to leave. The new arrival's grasp on the barstool became tighter. He must have become aware of my intentions. This guy was tall, well-muscled and wearing a cap, which is always a reliable forbearer of an aggressive demeanor. And he was with a girl. Again, not a good sign. And to make matters worse, I was Indian. If you're a white dude with a chick and you lose a philosophical battle with an Indian guy wearing glasses, chances of you getting some tonight would probably be slim to none. Just too emasculating.

But I wasn't daunted. I had already decided. I wasn't gonna go quietly into the night. I wasn't gonna vanish without a fight. I was going to live on. I was going to survive. Today, I would be celebrating my independence day.

As the seated couple got up to leave, two things happened. One, they got up from my opponent's side. And two, this forced him to release his grip on the barstool to give them the right of way. Grabbing my opportunity, I pushed my wife into the vacated area in the form of an initial invasion.

The guy looked dumbfounded.

"What are you doing", he asked me.

I replied, "Taking our seats. Why?"

"What? What are you talking about? These are our seats", he said.

"Sorry buddy, I was here before you. These are our seats", I responded.

"Well, those guys gave us their seats before they left", he said.

"Well, they can't do that. These aren't their seats to give". The balls on this guy.

"Well, whose seats are they then?", he asked me, confident that he had trapped me in a corner.

"These seats belong to the restaurant", I said. Also, fire is hot and water is wet.

"Buddy, these seats belonged to those people. Then, when they left, they gave them to us". He was certainly making a good attempt at an argument.

In order to calm down and keep myself from jumping up and down screaming "Goddamnit are you a fucking idiot", I tried to imagine that I was explaining this to a little child. "Okay, when those people left their seats, they returned those seats that they had temporarily borrowed back to restaurant ownership. Once that happens, the next person in line gets those seats. Which is us."

"Well, how do I know that you were next in line? Maybe you just came in."

"Well, how about we ask the guy who's been serving me beer for the past 15 minutes?" I was bluffing because I doubted that the bartender serving me beer for the past 15 minutes would recognize me. Also, I had only been there for 5 minutes. But the bluff succeeded nevertheless. The guy looked at the glass of beer in my hand and conceded defeat.

"Alright, how about we let each of the ladies have a seat?" I couldn't believe it. I had won. I had actually confronted someone and won. Well, maybe it wasn't a complete victory but at least I hadn't lost.

So we sat there some more and I drank some more beer and my wife drank tea and then just as we were getting up to leave, a guy who had just entered the bar asked me, "Hey are you guys leaving?" Yeah, I said. "What amazing luck", said the guy. "Thanks for the seats".

Monday, February 11, 2008

Giants no more

Ever since I first entered this world, they used to periodically measure my height by making me stand up against a wall and placing a ruler on my head. Later on, when I grew taller, they gave up this method of height measurement because placing a ruler on top of a tall person is demeaning both to the tall person as well as the ruler. Instead, a new measure of height was invented, namely, how much taller I was than my dad, through approximate visual inspection.

Now my dad knew for a fact that he was six feet tall. So consequently, I became six feet half an inch, then one inch and finally, six feet two, where I've been ever since. It has been a pleasure and a luxury to be six feet two because my exceptional height allows me to reach and grab things that even six feet one people cannot, as long as that thing is no more than an inch above where they can reach. Do the math, it is simple.

But then yesterday I went to the doctor and being doctors, they assume that they have the license to do all kinds of demeaning things to you and one of those was to put me against a wall and place a ruler on my head. I told the doctor, you know, you don't have to put me up against the wall and place a ruler on my head because I can tell you myself what my height is. But no, they wouldn't listen because apparently it is against the Hippocratic oath to trust your patients. And so they put and placed.

And surprise, surprise, I was only five feet ten inches and 3/4ths. What? How could this happen? Have I really been this short all my life?

And then I began to wonder whether my dad had padded on to his own height when he passed the mantle of six footer on to me. And then I wondered some more about whether he himself had been a victim of his own father's padding. And then, I went and wondered even more about how deep inside my family tree this web of deception went. Someone at the beginning of time, perhaps my great-great-great-grand ape must have thought to himself, fuck and goddamn, I am so short and people have been making fun of me all my life, but maybe I can help my son not go through all the hardships I myself had to endure. So may the sacred banana tree forgive me, but my son, he will be taller. And so it began, this line of fake giants, each one wandering around this world thinking he was taller than he actually was.

But it is time to end this deception now. Instead of being a seven footer and perhaps getting into his school's basketball team, my son will be his true height. He will have to be content with possessing the ability to wipe the top of the refrigerator and no more. Because in my opinion, what is more important than passing on the gift of height to your offspring is the gift of honesty.


So I finally determined the origin of the David Letterman-shaped patch on my living room ceiling. Turns out that the pipe connecting my drier to the vent that transports steam from the drier to the outside world had come off. This led to my laundry room filling up with steam whenever the drier was operated. This steam then condensed on the pipes inside the dry-wall that bring cold water into my washer. The condensate then dripped off the pipes and onto my ceiling. How did I discover this? Through the creation of another patch. So basically I am now on step two of the homeowner experience, namely, I'm finding out all the things I shouldn't do by doing them.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


To the person who came here through the Google search phrase "why does microsoft word capitalize mohamed and not jesus", great find. Applause. Now go get a fucking life.


This one takes me back to the age of school friends and engineering exams and all-night-outs, ostentatiously for the purpose of studying, that were actually spent listening to music, scrambling eggs, drinking out of friend's dad's whiskey bottle and replacing consumed whiskey with tapwater, getting acquainted with the writings of Ms. Nancy Friday, manufacturing a home-made Ouija board for the purpose of carrying out a seance, carrying out the seance and getting convinced that a spirit had actually been summoned because everyone swore that they hadn't touched the triangle, seriously, they weren't kidding, it had moved and they had not touched it. Basically spending time doing everything, literally everything in the entire fucking world except studying. And ultimately, concluding with the breaking of the dawn to be enjoyed on the terrace with a steaming hot cup of tea in the hand. Goddamn I hated tea but in that situation, it had to be tea or the entire thing would have been meaningless. Good times. Life needs a rewind button.

Friday, February 08, 2008


Yesterday I spent my first night alone in this house. It feels strange and I don't know how people in the US can be single and live alone in a house. The woods were calling from outside but they couldn't get in because my windows were closed and drapes drawn. As my friend zambezi explained when he purchased his condo, it is a novel experience to familiarize yourself and get used to the night sounds of your new home.

The fact of the matter is, American houses tend to be somewhat noisier than Indian ones at night. This is mainly due to their wooden construction but also perhaps because of the greater amount of sexual activity occurring within. All that wood and sex causes these houses to creak a lot during nighttime. Hence the popular proverb that goes, "If the house is a-rocking, don't come a-knocking". As opposed to a similar Indian proverb which goes, "If the house is a-rocking, you're probably in the middle of an earthquake and it would be best if you found a safe place to hide".

In the case of my house, it is not so much a noisy house as it is an abruptly noisy house. It will stay quiet for prolonged periods of time and you will be like, "ah what a wonderful quiet peaceful poltergeist-free place this is" and then one of the water pipes will clang for no apparent reason and after you pick yourself up off the floor where the floor meets the bed, it will quit clanging and go back to its dormant state.

Yesterday I had fallen asleep in the living room and at 4:00 am, I woke up to discover that there was a party going on in my kitchen and somebody had forgotten to invite me. As I became a little more awake and a little more aware, I realized that it was less of a party and more of something falling over something else. As I grew awaker, I concluded that I had purchased a house with a rodent problem because that could be the only possible source of those tap-tapping sounds emanating from the kitchen.

I fleet-footed to the kitchen, assuming that fleet-footed means walking silently like a fleet of cats. There was no one in there. I checked the sink and it was empty. The tapping had ceased. I checked the cabinets which were also empty. Then the tapping started again. It appeared to be coming from the fridge. I opened the fridge compassionately, expecting to find a frozen mouse signaling for help. However, there was nothing inside. The sound appeared to be coming from the freezer. I knelt down to check what the fuck was happening. This is what I found.

My freezer appears to have a rectangular opening in its back. This opening was periodically emitting a tapping sound. At the same time, water was falling from above the rectangular opening into the bottom of the rectangular opening. I confess, I am not as well-versed in refrigeration technology as I am with blogging technology and so I must request you to tell me what the fuck is with this tapping and falling water? Is that water? Is it going somewhere it shouldn't? Is my basement turning into a swimming pool? Where is the water coming from anyways? And why the tapping? Because it's tap-water? How many more years till we run out of Middle-Eastern oil? Answers to these questions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Book Shelf

Yesterday, at the Berwyn train station, I saw an empty shelf on the wall with a sign saying, "Take a book, Keep a book".

When I see a book on it, I will let you know.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Football is officially over. What to do with sundays now? Sure, there's the pro-bowl this sunday but who the heck watches the pro-bowl except people in Hawaii hoping to see their relatives in the stadium? My sundays are open now. I need to come up with a plan. Plus, the wife has left me for another guy called India.

You know what I realized recently is that having nature and woods behind your home is all well and good in theory but these things get kinda scary at night. The other day I thought I heard a whistling sound coming from outside. I was concerned that it was coming from my gas heater so I walked down to my basement, out onto my patio and inspected my steam vent. In the distance, something howled. It was a very short distance, somewhere near my right elbow. I jumped back into my basement, ran back up and walked out onto my deck which is above ground level and luckily, way way above ground level. I peered into the dark. The howling was strange. It was a combination of a dog with tuberculosis, a baby choking on sand and a cat drowning in a well. This cat-dog-baby thing appeared to be loose in the woods and was probably hunting for mouse-bone-toy things which are its natural prey. Occasional splashing sounds in the creek appeared to confirm my hypothesis. To this day, namely, the day after that day, I do not know what that thing was. Maybe the nature of teeth-marks on that corpse will confirm its identity.

But during the day these woods are great. They are a bird-watcher's wet dream. By the time this article went to press, I had already seen a family of cardinals, a group of blue jays, a happily married purple finch couple, a nuthatch, a red bellied woodpecker, a hairy woodpecker and something that looked like a hawk with a yellow chest. Deer yes, they've been around too and they appear to be well fed and healthy. The only thing I haven't seen yet is a fox and by God, those things are awesome. I still remember the sight of a red fox running around in the snow as I watched it from my bedroom window in New Hampshire. Foxes, whew, they are beautiful creatures.

By the way, for anyone who was feeling sympathetic towards me for living next door to a band, that issue has been solved. I had a talk with the guy the other day and I asked him, hey man, are you in a band, and he said, yeah, sorry about all that noise, and I said, oh come on, it wasn't that bad, in fact I worry more that my television might be disturbing you, and he said, okay then. Uh, I said, okay then, keep playing. Did I just tell him to continue playing? Sure I did. So to recap, I am okay with people who live next door to me and play loud music in their basement as long as they come to me and apologize for it. I would make a bad president.

Hey Iran, I heard you were making nuclear weapons.

Oh yes, Mr President we were meaning to tell you about it, we apologize.

Oh okay then Iran, I guess I will see you around.

So basically don't bother voting for me in the primary.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Indian television

We took this opportunity of our move to switch to DirecTV. Not just because Comcast was stealing my pants and was asking for my shirt after I ran out of pants, but also because my wife wished to partake of Indian programming. So now we have two satellite dishes on our roof which allows the aliens to transmit their mind-controlling signals into our brains in 1080i high definition. Apart from alien mind-controlling signals, we now also receive Star Plus, Star One, Doordarshan, NDTV, Star Nyuz (which is how they write it in Hindi) and something called Cricket Plus which allows me the luxury of watching live cricket matches between the Dominican Republic and The British Virgin Islands, yes, I said live. I don't know about you but I don't think I could wait till tomorrow to find out the Dominican Republic - British Virgin Islands score, hell no.

It's been a while since I watched Indian television and everything feels very different. For one, I could not help but be surprised at how young everybody on Indian airwaves is. Here in the US, most television anchors, reporters, etc are on an average, about forty - fifty years old and the only people who are younger are on Comedy Central. On the other hand, the average age on Indian television has to be about eighteen. It's amazing. It's like someone threw all those broadcasting jobs up in the air and said okay, whoever catches 'em can keep 'em. And while the old veteran broadcasters were looking around searching for their canes and eyeglasses, the young people, being nimble of ankle, supple of thigh and perky of breast, and who could jump higher and faster than those older guys, were successful in capturing all those broadcasting positions.

It is very disconcerting to watch a news channel where everybody appears to be younger than you, especially when you're not that old. How can that little girl know more about weather than I, you think. After all, you've been surfing from before she was born. It feels like a media being run by children. Which is actually not a bad thing when you come to think of it. Hopefully these kids still have the baby fat of idealism under their lovely smooth skins. And although I am fairly positive that someday they will grow up and sell their souls to whatever evil force it is that controls Rupert Murdoch's cortex, today is hopefully not that day.

It is also strange the way India does reality TV. Now by definition, reality TV needs to be real and devoid of any kind of outside interference. But Indian producers do not appear to be aware of that fact. Let me give you an example. On Star Voice of India (the twentieth different Indian offshoot of American Idol), whenever a singer falters or loses his or her voice or forgets the lyrics, the producer behind the scene adds the sound of explosive thunder to the proceedings. It's as if we viewers cannot be adequately trusted to grasp the drama of the situation due to our feeble intellect and therefore, have to be made aware of it and guided to it through the use of external audio stimulii like explosive thunder.

I am also concerned by the widespread abuse of slow motion imagery in Indian television. It so happened that somebody in the industry came upon a button, a magical button that could play video back at a slower frame-rate. And then in no time, this button became the hot technology of our generation. It made a lot of sense to utilize this technology to the hilt in reality TV, even though reality does not actually move in slow motion. After carrying out a considerable amount of research on this topic, it was concluded that the image of a person clapping his hands in slow motion is infinitely more dramatic than that of the same person clapping his hands in real time. And the act of someone walking to the podium to accept an award needs to be savored more fully by reducing the speed of that person's gait through the use of this button. Even the simple nondescript act of someone blinking in order to hydrate their eyeball, it was discovered, could be made acutely electrifying by chronicling the travel of the eyelid in minute detail as it descended towards who knows what fate, perhaps a collision with the upper cheek?

I think that the problem here is that we Indians, through regular doses of Bollywood slapstick and over-acting administered to us throughout our lifetimes, have become so inured and desensitized to drama that we literally need someone to slap us with a stick before we can grasp any kind of subtlety in a situation. Or, at least, that is the opinion Indian television bigwigs have of us. And I guess it's probably accurate.


This was the first garbage truck visitation in my new home. I stood there while the guy emptied my trash can. I had a lot of cardboard I wanted to recycle. I would like to save those trees. I asked him hello sir can I recycle all this cardboard? Sure, the garbage guy said. He took the cardboard from my hands and threw it into the back of the truck along with the rest of the trash.

This anecdote has been offered unaccompanied by additional commentary.