Friday, July 30, 2004

Stop Press!!

I just had to put in this gem from everyone's favourite rag, the Pune Times. Research from PT's crack team of investigative reporters has shown that inspite of Brad Pitt's stellar performance in Troy, many Pune men are still reluctant to wear skirts(sic)! Shocked, arent you? I suppose this year round, the Pulitzer Prize Committee will relax the 'only for Americans' rule to allow Sheetal Kiran (who's the one responsible for the groundbreaking article) a chance this year.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Its been a very slow week. Nothing of importance happened, except that I just got a motorcycle. So, no more Scooty for me, yey! (Or should I say, Hoodibaba!!). Apart from that, little postworthy stuff happened. College continues at its slow pace, quizzes seem few and far between, I havent read any new books, and no one seems to invite me to parties that I can criticize, Page 0.3333 style.
This, however seems to be what JRR Tolkien calls "the deep breath before the plunge" (The Return of the King pg 748). Inquizzition, Oorja and a host of other quizzes need setting. Malhar beckons. My Spanish class starts tomorrow. AIESEC is trying to recruit me. So I think we can expect either a flurry of posts in the coming weeks, or none.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

10 reasons I'm happy I didnt take up Engineering

I have found that when some people meet me for the first time (mostly these are distant relatives or friends of the family), they tend to ask me, "So what branch of Engineering are you doing?", rather than "What are you doing?". Perhaps it's my nerdy demeanor (no offence to all those cool and trendy engineers) or maybe it's my know-it-all attitude, but people think I'm engineeming material. I had also wanted to be an engineer right up to my 10th standard (when I actually made the decision to do Arts). So the question that should be on your mind (if you've been following my train of thought) is "Why?". Well the answer to that is, I'm lazy.

But to abandon these digressive musings, here's the list:

1. I can see the 9pm movie and still get eight hours of sleep on working days.

2. No practicals.

3. No Ties.

4. No KTs.

5. Three months of holidays.

6. Two hours of study per subject (for the entire year) = 63%.

7. My textbooks for an entire year weigh less than 2kgs in total.

8. I get to go into a line of work where shaving everyday is not encouraged.

9. My Alma Mater will never change its name to PIET.

10. I have enough time to goof off and come up with stupid lists.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Die, Cricket Die!!!

Being the Rugby nut that I have recently become, I was eagerly awaiting the first Tri Nations Test between Australia and New Zealand at Wellington today, which Star Sports had said they would telecast live (it would have been sometime this afternoon). Imagine my horror then, when instead I saw them broadcasting the Sri Lanka vs. UAE Asia Cup Cricket match. I checked the ESPN-Star listing, and found that the only repeat telecast is on Monday at 11 am.

Now I realise that Rugby is not a sport that is very popular with the average ESPN-Star Sports viewer, and reneging on an advertisement to show the Tri Nations opener just might not make it to the Top 10 list of his grievances with the said broadcaster. So what, you almost hear him ask. You might even agree with their decision to show a cricket match instead of a rugby test. However, when they start taking world class sporting action off the air to show a pathetic Tom Thumb vs. Paul Bunyan encounter whose only purpose seems to be giving the Lankans a chance to notch up some more world records, you start to get the feeling that all is not right with the world. What is the purpose of having tiny tin pot Asian countries playing three of the strongest cricketing sides in the world you might ask (apart from giving them a chance to win occasionally). Singapore, Hong Kong and the UAE have as much right to play ODIs in the Asia Cup (or any other major televised tournament) as they have to be in the Superbowl. And for them to replace the All Blacks on TV, that's just blasphemous.

So, what I am basically trying to say is that all Network executives should die or be Goshdarned to Heck. The fact that the All Blacks beat the Wallabies 16-7 (see Match Report) in a game that avenged the Aussie's cowardly victory in the RWC semifinals has only deepened my dissatisfaction, and caused me to write this Paul Waite-like Rant and Rave style post. Aaaaaaaaaargh!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Bring on the Morons

Those of you who have actually seen me in the flesh know that I am partial to T-shirts with humourous messages. I was wearing on of these today. It basically says that I am "Allergic to Morons". Its not a shirt that I wear very regularly, so every so often I come across someone who has never seen it before.

So, as I was walking to a class, I met this guy I know slightly. He looked at the shirt. He looked at me. He smiled. It was a smile I'd seen before, and I knew it well. My heart sank.

"He he he he," he smirked. "So you're allergic to yourself eh? He he he he!"

I often face really stupid comments like these. Once, when I was wearing this same shirt, and two real idiots who I have the misfortune of knowing started arguing over which one of them was causing the cold I had that day. Another time, when I was wearing a T-shirt that says "Take me drunk, I'm home", a casual acquaintance kept badgering me about how no one could "take you drunk, they must 'get' you drunk". Then there are the guys who dodge around a guy wearing an "I'm with Stupid" shirt so that the arrow doesnt point to them. A friend of mine once wore a "99% of all girls are hot. The other 1% are in my college" shirt, and someone asked him if he had conducted a survey.

Perhaps these fools are subconciously threatened by he shirtmaker's (or wearer's) sense of humour, and so feel they have to make an even more humourous statement to reassert their dominance or something. Or maybe they're just idiots. Whatever the case, they're pissing me off.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Confessions of a (long suffering) McLaren fan

Many things have changed sice McLaren's last podium finish in Suzuka in 2003. Many of my friends who were also McLaren supporters have now defected to other, more promising teams. Those who (foolishly) bought McLaren merchandise keep it hidden and never speak of it. Nobody even considers McLaren a serious challenger for either the Constructor's or the Driver's Championships anymore. Steve Slater is now a Renault man.

However the combination of Kimi Raikkonen and the new MP4-19 is changing all that with their 2nd place finish at Silverstone today. McLaren now has a real chance of beating Renault, Williams and BAR in the Constructor's (they are now plaed 5th with 32 points). In fact, todays result brings up memories of the halycon days of McLaren's 2nd worst ever season. Could we really look forwrd to another second best season finish?

Now if Raikkonen could only win a race....

Saturday, July 10, 2004


I was watching the Laureus Sports Awards last night, and though overall the show was very balanced and fair, there was one award, the Best Team award (possibly the most important) that was given to the worst possible contenders, the #$%@&^ English Rugby Team!!! As a recent convert to televised Rugby, I was shocked and apalled. England have won only one major rugby tournament this year (granted that it was the World Cup), but they got slaughtered in the 6 nations (they came 3rd, and lost to the Irish in perhaps the first major Irish victory in any field since 1023AD), the Bledisloe Cup, etc etc. Also, there were other, better teams to consider, like the Australian Cricket team (much as it pains me to praise those @#$%*), the Ferrari Formula 1 team (ibid), and the 'Alinghi' Americas Cup winning team. They deserved the award about as much as they deserved to win the RWC, that is to say, not at all, the rotten cheating scum. This just goes to show that if your nation has a mediocre sporting record, all you need do is use your tabloid media to hype up your teams and players to such great heights (Rooney is the next Pele, Wilkinson is the best rugby player ever(snort!)etc etc) that you really convince others and yourselves that these inanities are the gospel truth.
@#$#@% knackered *&%*$#@s!!!

(The author wishes to apologise for the rambling incoherence of this post, and pleads that he is just very very angry right about now.)

Friday, July 09, 2004

A Very Belated Review of Troy

I finally saw Troy today, and I must say that apart from a revisionist view of history (semi Mythology?) that would make MM Joshi blush, costumes, sets and armour straight from 'Xena Warrior Princess' and some very unimpressive special effects, it is still a rather mediocre movie.

As a wannabe Greek History/Mythology fan, I cringed at some of the scenes in the movie, the battle against the Thessalonians being a case in point. Agamemnon, the Emperor of Greece in waiting seemed to be inspired more by Memnon from the 'Scorpion King' than Homer's character. The fate of Paris and Helen, which I believe should have been given some importance at least, is completely overlooked (the movie ends when Achilles dies). However the movie takes inspiration from the legend in some very unexpected places (the Aeneas character, for example).

American Directors are well known for taking artistic license in historical/mythical stories to great lengths with movies like 'Braveheart', 'Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves', 'U-571', 'Pearl Harbour', 'First Knight' and 'The Mummy' (cringe, cringe). With 'Troy', Wolfgang Peterson boldly goes where all these movies have gone before. Wouldnt it be cool if one day a major Hollywood movie (and not an 'art' film) actually followed the historical/mythological script, rather than make what amounts to "Kilroy was here"-like changes all over the story. You'd still be in contention for the Screeenplay Oscar, Guys. (The same goes for Bollywood, too. What, oh what were the creators of 'Ashoka' thinking?)

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Higher Learning

I learned to read today. This rather momentous occaision in my education came about when I decided to attend my very first Compulsory English lecture today (its at 7:30am, so normally I dont bother). As I entered the class, I saw that most of the people attending were English Special students who are compelled to attend, and who were looking around with a resigned, hopeless look one generally associates with people who think they've gotten a really bad deal in life. I should have taken the hint, but I didnt.

The teacher came in (10 minutes late). She opened her textbook, instructed us to do likwise and started saying something about "reading skills". I was a little nonplussed, but I convinced myself that it couldnt be a big deal. It cant be a big deal, I thought. Maybe these are really advanced reading skills, I surmised. Perhaps the Marathi medium students will really benefit from this, I opined.

I was wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. The teacher, having taken the attendance and completed all the other preliminaries to the class, started teaching. "You should move your head from left to right while reading", she said. "Read each word, and string them into a sentence". I reeled. PG Wodehouse has spoken at length about the difficulties of reeling while sitting, but I managed it nonetheless. Perhaps this is the effect of an "elitist' convent education, but I had always thought that reading skills should be taught a little earlier in the course of one's formal education, like standard I, perhaps.

Anyway, the rest of the lecture is a sort of a blur to me right now. I remember her testing our recently acquired reading skills by making us read an advertorial from the 'India Today', and finally, the bell rang. I have heard no sweeter sound in all my three years in college. Staggering out, I thanked my stars that our College doesnt set much store on attendance. Maybe there is a God, after all.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

The age of Heller

I just finished reading "Picture This" by Joseph Heller. It's unlike any book I have ever read. It's not fiction, nor is it non-fiction. It isn't a novel, nor is it a history. It isn't quite a satire, nor is it a biography. It defies classification. Just the kind of book you would recommend to Hiranyakashyapu, in other words.

Flitting between ancient Greece, 17th Century Holland and the modern world, the book is set in Rembrandt's painting 'Aristotle contemplating the bust of Homer', with Aristotle as the detached observer looking at the world around him through the ages, comparing it with the Greece of his birth, and leaving you to draw parellels.

Basically it is a work of political satire that today's world leaders would do well to read. Many parts of the book are extremely funny, while others contain more intellectual jokes (ie, I didn't get them). Heller doesn't quite follow the beaten track of 'Catch 22' and it's sequels, but the book doen't suffer for it.

As 'Picture This' predated Lorenna Bobbit, reviewers contented themselves with saying the book was 'as sharp (and thoroughly American) as Lizzie Borden's axe'. Others rate it as one of the funniest works by American authors. 'Vivid', 'Three Dimensional', 'Strange and Clever', 'Chimerical' are some of the words they used to praise it.

Now if these are lies, then they are very impressive lies ;-).

Overall, I absolutely recommend you read it.