Saturday, December 06, 2008
Book 1: Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
A couple of quotes from the book.
"You, too, have turned into a typical lousy Greek, a tavern-loafer, a wallower in café-life, because you need not think only cafés are cafés; books are, too, and habits, and your precious ideologies. They are all cafés"
"the highest point a man can attain is not Knowledge, or Virtue, or Goodness, or Victory, but something even greater, more heroic and more despairing: Sacred Awe!"
Book 2: Collapse by Jared Diamond.
I loved the "cautious optimism" that Diamond advocates. I've almost stopped being a doomsday prophet.
Here's a blog recommendation. I'll be watching (and working on) this VERY closely.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
"Some speculate that cones of metal were secretly brought here and buried in our earth as guidance systems for their spacecraft. Some think that it is in fact the spacecraft itself burried deep within the ground. Other theories include carbon dioxide permeating from the earth, a hole in the ozone layer, a magma vortex, the highest dielectric biocosmic radiation known anywhere in the world, and radiesthesia. Whatever the cause is, it remains a mystery."
You'd be surprised at how many people actually believe that rubbish! The only mystery there is "What the hell was the architect smoking?". Farce or not, the place is good fun and it does give you a few insights on how your brain works. Here's VA climbing a wall...
...and AJ dodging a bullet.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I'm a fan of Bill Maher and I think he, as he proves it here, can be insightful while being funny and caustic at the same time. That's why I had high expectations from Religulous. I did have a lot of fun watching it and I believe every man, woman and child should go watch it.
There are all kinds of nut jobs in the movie but my favourite was a researcher from Israel who specializes in working around the sabbath laws. For instance, you are not supposed to dial numbers on a telephone during the sabbath (the old testament is more comprehensive than I thought). So this guy has invented a telephone where all the keys are pressed by default, and you un-dial the numbers that you don't need. Apparently god approves the design, because armageddon hasn't struck! Then there's a "scientist" who runs a Young earth museum. The main attraction there is a scene depicting rubber humans running around with rubber dinosaurs.
While I laughed all along, I was disappointed that the film didn't aspire to anything greater than just making fun of religion. Despite its strong material I doubt if it will change attitudes. People who are in denial will continue to be in denial. How often have you heard people say "
My only other complaint is that Maher completely ignores my religion. Come'on bill, aren't we ridiculous enough to make the cut?
Book: Zorba, the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
Sunday, October 12, 2008
1. Warren Buffett's last name is not pronounced like the self-served meal. "Booffay!" sounds like he is a comic-book villain who aims to amass vulgar amounts of money and dominate the world. Hey wait a minute!!
2. Roulette, for some reason is being called "roolay" by a lot of people around me. In Las Vegas, I got condescending looks from my betting partners when I pronounced it the way it should. I assure you, that is why I lost all that money.
And then there is pseudo-greek. Why do the Americans pronounce processes like it rhymes with hypotheses?
While I'm cribbing about it, I must also mention that when the republicans talk about the "Nucular" weapons in "eye-rack" it feels like a fork on porcelain
Monday, October 06, 2008
* Gambling is addictive. I was up $65 by the end of Saturday. I thought I had figured out the roulette. I couldn't wait to double my money on Sunday. By the end of the trip my net loss was $105. It's all orchestrated. The dogs make you win on Saturday so that you get reckless on Sunday.
* What's a few hundred dollars? I put something else at stake on Sunday evening, my life! The rides (XScream, Insanity and BigShot) on Stratosphere are the meanest I've ever been on!
* The casinos are impressive in their scale but there's something stupid about watching a replica Eiffel tower with the Louvre (I think) in between its legs!
* Driving 20 hours in a weekend is hard. In the one hour that I decided to take a break and hand the wheels over to my co-passengers, we got pulled over for weaving too much on the highway, almost rear-ended another car on a freeway exit, burnt so much rubber while braking that we could smell it for the rest of the journey. I even once opened my eyes and found that we were cruising along on the wrong side. I took back control and drove the rest of the way. Concentrating for 20 hours is tiring as hell. I think I built a lot of character. Now, how often can you say that about a Vegas trip?
* What(ever else) happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. So that's the end of that.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Fiction: The Fall by Albert Camus
The narrative is a monologue in the form of a confession. As the protagonist lays his soul bare I got persuaded into some really intense reveries from my own life. In the end I was sighing at the meaninglessness of it all. Sartre called this Camus' best work and I can see why.
Short Stories: Dark Side by Guy de Maupassant
Here's a little excerpt from The Horla that I really liked
"Jul 14th: The French national holiday. I went walking in the streets. Fireworks and flags still delight me just as much as they did when I was a boy. Of course, I realize that it is quite idiotic to rejoice on certain dates fixed by government decrees. Ordinary people are a silly herd, sometimes stupidly docile, and sometimes fierce and rebellious. When they are told: "Enjoy yourselves!", they enjoy themselves. When they are told: "Go and fight your neighbours!" they go and fight. When they are told: "Vote for the Emperor!" they vote for the Emperor. And when they are told: "Vote for the Republic!" they vote for the Republic.
Those in charge are also fools, but instead of obeying other men, they obey principles that can also only be inane, sterile and false just because they are principles, that is to say, well-established, certain, immutable notions in a world in which we can be sure of nothing, since both light and sound are nothing but illusions."
Non Fiction: Origins of Virtue by Matt Ridley.
Song: GnR's cover of Sympathy For The Devil.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I've been broke for a few days now. A couple of days ago I was driving my car wondering where I will get the money I needed for a project. Just as I had resigned, my guardian angel appeared in the guise of an irreverent, murderous, totally obnoxious auto driver ("Is there another kind?" - Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men), overtook my car from the left and flashed me a sign. I'm convinced that there's a very appropriate financial advice hidden there. I didn't figure it out, and I'm still broke, but I managed to come out of my blues. I'm guessing it's because you can't really be perplexed about one thing and worried about another at the same time. The "what the fuck does that mean!" feeling had completely displaced the "I'm doomed" thought. Guardian angels work in mysterious ways.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Monday, July 07, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
What I still haven't found an answer for is why we yield our emotions to the persuasions of a nice song. Today, for instance, I felt rapture and pathos and calm and angst all in the space of 15 minutes, while the different instruments played the same notes for dramatically different effects. Well, I think I should listen to A for once and just enjoy the experience without the noise of a million questions.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
The annual school trip to Nandi Hills was my groundhog day. Every nandi hills trip was like every other nandi hills trip. The only detail that ever changed in the 6 trips I made to that place was that when I was in the 7th class I wore shorts, but the year after I wore trousers.
The trip would begin with the assembly in the school grounds. It was then followed by the bus trip on which we were allowed to loosen our ties but were warned using not-so-subtle clues that we were being carefully watched. They always fed us apples on the journey. As soon as we arrived there, Peetappa herded us out and made us count ourselves. It was then time for breakfast, which invariably was uppittu and kesaribath. I have no recollection of what we did for the next 5 hours, which is a good indication that we never did anything fun. All I remember is that some of us who were in the boy-scout and NCC troops reminisced our own grander getaways. At dusk, we used to be served tea and biscuits before being packed off back to the school where irritated parents waited to pick us up.
As you can see, I don't have too favorable an impression of Nandi Hills. However, I agreed to go there a couple of weeks ago, mostly because it is really difficult to say 'No' to the S-man. And boy was I in for a surprise! It probably made a difference that we left at an unearthly hour, reached there just before sunrise and were treated to some gorgeous sights of low flying clouds. Take a look at these pics.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
We bangaloreans are given to a lot of nostalgia constipation. We just cannot stop ranting about how Bangalore has changed so unrecognizably. As a consequence we really cling on to those few things that have remained constant. For instance, even the rudeness of the waiter at MTR makes us all emotional. One character who has stayed on unchanged continuously for at least the last 25 years is our newspaperman on Anandrao circle. He still insists on calling out the "breaking news" in his high-pitch excited voice. He has lost all his teeth and you can bearly understand his words, but he still manages to evoke curiosity. He's probably the last of his kind.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
All in all, it felt great to be in that sea of humanity, coming together for a seemingly inane activity, but nevertheless feeling that warm fuzzy sense of togetherness. At the parking lot, trying to get our cars out of the almighty mess, though, we were all back to hating each other.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Yesterday I collected my marathon kit. Although I know I paid for more than what I got, I still can't stop getting excited about "freebies". The kit has some really useful things such as a water bottle, some biscuits and candy. But some things in that bag are bizarre. There is a packet of instant pasta. Ok, maybe pasta makes you fasta, but what's sugar-free doing there, robbing you of the carbs when you so badly need them? And most weird of all, there's a packet of chilli powder. R had the last word "I can think of 18 ways in which you can employ chilli powder to make ANYBODY run the full marathon!". Makes sense.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Another incident elicited a different kind of fear but very similar bodily reactions. RR asked me if I want to join his startup. I don't know the future there, I don't know the pay and I don't know the work so I gave him a courteous but phoney 'I'll give it a thought'. Now lying on my bed I'm actually giving it a thought and I can sense all my organs starting to malfunction.
I'm going to be awake for a long time now.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
S: Write this down! Kannada won't make it to the next decade.
RJ: We've got our first caller on the line. Rekha, how are you doing today? Tell me, why do you think women are better than men?
S: How about that we've never started a war? ever!
S: How about that we never install rear spoilers on our cars? ever!
Rekha: ... women are more flexible, responsible, creative and strong.
RJ: Wow! That's so true. You win yourself...
S: ... a gift voucher to a shop that'll sell you a misguided beauty ideal.
Friday, February 08, 2008
* This guy is explaining to me the new house that he is building. I manage to overlook his excessive attention to detail and his over-the-top lifestyle obsession. He wants me to be impressed by his "achievements" and I play sport. However, I lose it when, for the second time, he pronounces the word Duplex like it's a french word "Dew-Play!". So I say "Oh Duplekkkss! that must be nice". He gets the hint but he is convinced that I'm uncultured and wrong. So he frames a completely contrived sentence with the sole intention of using the word so he can convey the correct pronunciation. I, for my part, forfeit the use of pronouns just to be able to use that word in another sentence. This exchange goes on for a couple more iterations and before things get too "Com-Play" and I do a quick pranayama and bail out.
* I'm not proud of this but file names with spaces irritate me.
* People who enter the lift before everybody has stepped out.
* And then there are things that not as much irritate me as make me lose faith in humanity, such as Dan Brown and Puneeth Rajkumar Fan Clubs, or worse still, the latest fad of sticking up gauche posters wishing pseudo celebrities a happy birthday. We, as a people, are not very well-known for our visual aesthetic sense- just look at our (Karnataka) flag if you need the proof- but these posters take gaudiness to a whole new level. Like the one wishing Rajnikanth a good day. The words go "There can be many suns and many moons but there can be only one star" and has a Rajni likeness covering most of the real estate on the poster. Wherever there are spaces, you have pictures of moustachioed men speaking on their mobile phones.
I'll post a picture soon.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
On the other hand, V (and I found myself nodding in immediate agreement) had a simpler set of expectations: nothing an average cosmetic surgeon couldn't furnish. Once again, the temple had the answer.
We did pay dearly for our shallowness. We were "objectified", evaluated and judged during the rest of the trip. That apart, I couldn't have asked for a better way to start the new year.