Saturday, September 30, 2006

Bimbos? Not Quite!

How many of you have seen "Bollywood Calling" ? This was the one Nagesh Kukonoor movie with Om Puri, Perizaad Zorabian and some Firang in it. It was a sorta kinda funny movie but don't remember too much of it. One thing that I do remember though is Perizaad telling "We are not so dumb you know. Acting is good money and I am paid very well to act dumb. I am smart enough to know that I have to play dumb!" This is not quite verbatim, but you get the gist. :-) I then see Jessica Simpson and she epitomized this statement totally.

Basically Jessica came on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. She was her bombshell self and walked onto stage in total confidence. Now, this is expected from her, she is after all a stage performer. But what surprised me was the ease with which she played the role of this typical blond bimbo and at the same time totally owned Jay Leno. Now Jay is a certified smart ass and can give the best a run for their money. But this girl, while looking silly and nodding her head at anything also managed to hold her during the entire interview and in fact made Jay Leno look stupid at times and he didn't even realize it! Now, unfortunately I don't remember all the small incidents that happened on the interview, but trust me, this was one of the rare episodes where Jay Leno got bummed and I loved it!

Remembering the dialogue from the movie and seeing Jessica Simpson do her thing, I wonder if its reason enough to see Mallika Sherawat or Nisha Kothari in a different light. :-)

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Voyage across the seven seas

Well.. not quite the seven seas, maybe a couple of seas and a couple of oceans. Doesn't make the travel any less bearable though. Every time I travel to the US the interest to put up with the whole charade dies that little bit more. Writing this from the Hong Kong airport, while the memories are still fresh. nose smile

This to me is like the problem we have with white cricket balls used in one-day internationals. Somehow with all the technology and feedback the situation doesn't improve. Usually I go for non-veg asian, and since I haven't exactly enjoy the spread earlier, I chose veg asian meal this time around. And verdict... no better!


HongKong-SFO {Dinner}:

HongKing-SFO {Lunch}:

The photos above doesn't tell the full story because with all the equisite packing any food will look good. I look around and see all the chinkies(includes japs, koreans, singaporeans etc) gorging on what has been served to them. Am I picky or do the non-indian airlines not know how to make a decent indian meal?? Since I am not a food connosieur I would think its the latter.

Security Checks {OBL Standard}:
I fit into the classic wheatish complexion bracket and this is enough for every security officer to suddenly feel the need to do their duty! In the flight from Singapore to Hong Kong there were only 2 indians(yup.. just 2) on board. Don't know about the other chap, but of all passengers an officer came up to me and said "Sir, random passport check...'. Something told me it was not so random! nose smile He looked long and hard at my face, a little too much eye contact, if you ask me. I was dressed as decently as I could, not creating any ruckus, no extra baggage(just the laptop bag) and minding my own business. I really wonder what qualified me to be the lucky guy! It was racial profiling at its best, but felt quaintly special too. I felt like looking up to all the chinkies and telling "You can only dream of this much attention!" wink nose But then, on second thoughts, if all this racial profiling can ensure that I don't die saying "Howdy" to some guy sitting in some high rise building, I am all for it!

Even the help staff would rather help anyone but brown skin. Here was me walking all around the place with nothing to do and an obvious question mark on my face. I didn't have anyone come up to me and ask "Can I help you?", while I saw about 4 chinkies and couple of goras being ment this special treatment. Now, ofcourse we desis are smart(me included :-)) and don't need this help, but then, remember I am now expecting special treatment till I reach fatherland! Looks like special treatment is only when someone feels like groping me under the guise of checking and not when I am looking around for McDonalds and obviously going the wrong way.

Initially the surprise was limited to the ever changing requirement of the photo dimensions for an US visa. Now, the whole travel is filled with such surprises.

Surprise #1: Batteries not allowed! Wait a sec... rechargable batteries are special, but the officer is not sure and disallows them. It almost looked like this fresh rule is made on the fly, almost like "Aaah.. Ajay is travelling, lets just make his travel that much more exciting!" Just while I was wondering what I would with the batteries... Surprise #2 attacks.
Surprise #2: I am told that I can have only one hand baggage. All I have is one laptop bag and my backpack(a small one at that). I suddenly have to squeeze anything important or costly into my already filled up laptop bag. Luckily my batteries found a way of getting into the now have to be checked-in backpack. I now comply with the rules and have only one hand baggage, having checked-in my now empty and "free to open" backpack.
Surprise #3: Now that rules for Ajay have been formulated, its time to make him sorry for not having bleached his skin! Almost all chinkies getting into the plane are carrying cameras and in fact taking photos! Some are carrying more than one hand baggage and no one is stopping them. The situation gets worse at Singapore and Hong Kong where you are allowed to carry in as many "duty free shopping bags" as you want/can. Grrr... and they make me part ways with my good ol' backpack! angry


My memories of Singapore Airlines will always be good, as I cannot remember taking my eyes of the personalized TV screens. Nice movies, new movies, food/service/sleep/anything else can wait! But in Cathay, as has been the case the last couple of times, they expect you to pay to watch the new movies. They play old movies, but they are ones that have already been screened a zillion times on HBO or Star Movies. Radio channels have one/two english ones and one hindi in a very short repeat loop. The travel just got very boring!! Add to the fact that since the time diff between my Indian and Cathay was about 45 mins, I got the window seats for
the leg from Singapore to Hong Kong and also for the Hong Kong to SFO one! Sigh....


How can I forget work! Usually these Business trip types are 50% timepass, 50% work. But with my current employer, it almost certain that I will be slogging it out there. I almost feel the duckling walking into a desert with vultures almost impatiently waiting for me. :-(

Why do I put myself through this? Do I have to come to fatherland? Do I have to eat this food? While these questions keep consuming me, I am interrupted by myself... "Hey, Did I just see a Circuit City 2 miles from office? Did I just see a Fry's flyer with an almost moronic deal on a Sandisk Memory Stick?"
nose smile nose smile

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Geekdom threatened!

Its almost like the whole mess is an Alien plan to destroy mankind. The mess I am referring to is the laptop battery explosion incidents. Though this may sound too generic, but any person worth his/her salt owns a laptop these days(office laptops included cool). And as the name suggests it will finds its way to your lap sometime during the day. So, if the aliens can manage to booby-trap this one single piece of equipment, they would have managed the most effective attack ever! Looks like they have started off by first attacking the ubergeeks like Alan Cox (via engadget)!

Steve jobs knew this was coming and he is doing his best to atleast save the nuts of the apple-lovers. wink nose Atleast he told you guys to not place the iMacs on your lap. nose grin

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Multiplex of problems

Just about 3 years ago, Bangalore didn't have a single multiplex theater. Innovative Multiplex was the very first and it was more than welcomed by Bangaloreans. Though located on the outer ring road near Marathahalli, which at that time was sparsely populated, it had people coming in from the center of the city and actually waiting for 3 hours to watch a movie as there was nothing better to do around the place in case you didn't get tickets for the intended show.

Infrastructure wise the glossiness of the multiplex was only external and inside it was the pits to start with itself. They didn't have noise/echo cancellers and during the silent parts of a movie you could actually hear the going-ons on the next screen. They never provided decent parking. They have never had any offers that I see advertised (though once I did manage to get weekday 3.30PM show tickets at 50% off). They were the only big business on that service road then and they didn't do anything to improve the situation of the road leading up to the entrance(something like what Synopsys is doing on Old Madras Road near Benegenahalli).

One always expects such things to improve over time, but it was not to be. The approach road remains pathetic. The entry or exit on a four wheeler is nothing short of a nightmare during weekends. The parking facilities remain bad and to think that they have actually given up some of the land that was previously used for parking to an upcoming Benetton showroom! With respect to audio, they have some kind of noise cancellers installed now, but it is still far from satisfactory when you consider that you pay almost the same/more than what you would pay at the Forum Mall or Inox Multiplex. They still have no offers running. They have no electronic or for that matter white board display of the status of the movie ticket sales and you have to resign to wait-and-watch-and-pray. The ticket salesman/woman also are far from courteous, comparatively. The bucket of woes is never ending when you consider that there is so little "value for money" at this place.

The theatre continues to do good business though. My guess is that the people living in and around the place want to save on fuel or the traffic pains of going to the center of the city and live up with such costly mediocrity. I had long stopped going to this theatre and I unfortunately ended up there today and all the bad memories just came alive! Desperately waiting for the IDEB Venture (includes a multiplex) coming up on the Marathahalli-KR Puram outer ring road stretch. :-(

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Movie Review: Lage Raho Munnabhai

Nothing to review really.... A lot to laugh, a message in there if you want it, a good-looking lass, a great cast, excellent screenplay, lively direction and some decent songs. I would give it 7.3 out of 10.

The first successful sequel of bollywood that I can remember. Do I see a franchisee somewhere??

Nice movie, watch it!!


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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Colour of Music

We have a new FM station in town, Indigo FM 91.9. They have these huge banners on the Outer Ring Road and I was wondering what it was all about. A little googling and I get to know that Indigo was the starting point for popular RJs like Darius, Rohit Barker and Sunaina. Indigo FM were apparently part of the Worldspace family and now they are trying to go solo. They have actually started broadcasting and infact plan to add Kannada programming by Nov 1st.

They are mainly into international chartbusters. This should make up for the severe lack of decent international tracks on the completely desi MTV and Channel V. Welcome Indigo, colour the airwaves!

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Where it rains goodness....

Chennai or more so Tamil Nadu is a very nice place to live in these times of Mr.Karunanidhi. As part of his eagerness to get to power, he promised:
1. 15kgs free rice and then at Rs.2 per kg for every household with a ration card
2. Free Colour TV to 10L households
3. Free LPG stoves for poor families

Though this causes a hole in the Tamil Nadu exchequers pocket, the CM has gone ahead with his promises! Whether the money could be put to better use is a very valid question, but the CM has shown that he does not forget those who helped him come to power. He offered a unlikely bribe and has paid in kind in record time!

My take is that when you have terms as vague as "poor families", a lot of these goodies will be eaten away by the involved. Santa Claus sure has come early this year in Tamil Nadu. Wonder how many "poor" from the neighbouring states are planning temporary relocation.... wink big nose

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Open Source arriving...

Take any new worthwhile distro of Linux and tell me how long it takes to get started if you follow the dumb route, like what windows forces you to do during its installation. Surprisingly the answer would be lesser time than windows, easier to use than windows and of course more stable than windows. This is not an empty statement, I have tried a couple of installations and only if you want to do *more* than usual, you need to take the help of someone(more often than not this someone is the Internet).

I have 2 examples to cite:

A friend of mine at office, dimpy, has completely moved over to Linux and survives without any hassles in a predominantly windows office work style. This includes emails, document writing et al.

This is not all, take even the windows world. Another friend at office, nsd, took the task of going completely open source on his new laptop. He hardly has any Micro$oft or other paid products, nor does he have any pirated stuff. He is using only open source tools and again is surviving and more in the otherwise costly windows world.

Now, these can be cited as geeks doing what they do best. If so, here is a more compelling argument to indicate the growth of open source. The Kerala government decided to go completely Linux a while back. This made huge headlines in Kerala and this also made a few passive computer users wake up. For e.g. my uncle asked me during my last vacation:

How is Linux? Is it as simple as windows? Can you install it for me?

...and my father-in-law asked me:

I want to know more about Linux? Is there a book you recommend? Can I do something using it?

Now these are people who have nothing to do with the geeky side of the computer industry other than their children working in the IT industry and the increased awareness is resulting in they showing interest in Linux!!

Linux has been making waves for a while now and using it as the flag-bearer, open source is now hitting the shores of Kerala, India, The World!!

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Naive Time Management

Simplest time management technique which is highly ineffective but very popular is "fooling yourself". What I mean is to set your watch or clock ahead by a few minutes. I keep wondering how anyone felt this can be of any help! If you are the one who is setting the clock ahead in time, would you be blessed with amnesia everytime you look at the clock and making you forget how much you set the clock ahead by and in effect make you think that you are running late?

At home someone(and I may know who) have set a clock ahead by 10 minutes and another by 5 minutes and maybe the smaller time pieces are also skewed. This ensures that I need to maintain a table in my mind to add a correction factor to the time that I see in the clocks depending on the room that I am in. Since I have been blessed with very bad memory, I invariably end up looking at my cell to figure out the exact time!

How many of you have done this or still do this or know people who do this? If the answer to this question is yes, please ask why?? I am very interested to know the answer. nose smile

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Welcoming the latest entrant

Not quite a gadget, but still....:-). We got a new Maruti Switft Vxi, Its quite a nice ride. I gonna be giving it a run-in for the next couple of months and then its gonna go to my parents.

The car handles very well, though I already knew that on my trip to Goa. Now gotta go buy a nice music player and speakers for the car. Aaah.. some more gadget shopping needed. ;-)

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

and we are back...

Almost a 10 day vacation and I don't feel like had one. The first few days were fun with Onam celebrations and the next 5 were spent running around for a marriage in the family. Since the hardwork happened in the later part, I think I need another vacation to recuperate. wink nose

... but its nice to be back in the pseudo, dog-eat-dog, back-stabbing, polluted, congested real world(with net access). wink big nose

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Monday, September 04, 2006

No More Crikey

You have seen him on every animal channel worth a mention. You have seen him play with the crocs, handle deadly snakes, run behind ostrichs and kangaroos, and get into trouble for being reckless with his kid. And now, the famed "Crocodile Hunter", Steve Irwin is no more. He got killed off the coast of queensland while filming a scene for his 8 year old daughters TV show.

I must say, the guy was annoying at times. But that notwithstanding, you could tell at a glimpse that the guy just loved animals and was doing more good than harm. I suppose he chose just a bad day to splash water with a pissed of sting ray. frown

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India on the move

A few years back, at my native, I could have a tubelight lit only after 9PM. This was because the voltage would be real bad and not good enough to light a tubelight. Today I am writing this blog entry from my native place where I have broadband! I have about 80+ TV channels to see and also a DTH at my cousins place. This is in no way indicative of we getting affluent as this is the story in almost every household around ours.

We may be slow, our move may not be obvious, but "WE ARE ON THE MOVE!". cool

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Saturday, September 02, 2006


...say the darndest things! Very recently the very respected Dean Jones spoke a little too much during the recent Sri Lanka vs South Africa series. He inadvertently called South African batsman Hashim Amla a terrorist!!

Dean Jones ended up being sacked instantly for that series and probably will be forgotten for a few more series to come.

Yesterday I was following the match between Andre Agassi and Marcos Baghdatis. This is going to be Agassi's last US Open and the home crowd was urging him on no end. The Cypriot was fighting this, Agassi's still consistent game and also injury, and was not doing too bad. He was down 2 sets and got 2 sets back. Towards the end of the fourth set, he won a real tight point and immediately the commentator went "Hey Baghdatis, you are doing ok and so is Iraq!". I tried hard but couldn't figure any reasonably close connection. The only possibilities that came to mind were:
1. US is continuing its war on Iraq. So, anybody "fighting" against someone from US, even in sports automatically becomes an Iraqi.
2. Baghdatis sounds like its been derived from Baghdad.

Either way, that was a weird comment!! shocked