Thursday, April 30, 2009

Take the ‘A’ Train…Again

Yesterday was Duke Ellington’s 110 birth anniversary and how beautifully it was celebrated! It holds a special significance to me since Take the ‘A’ Train is the most spanning and nostalgic signature tune I’ve ever heard. Conover comes to mind yet again.

Beautiful words

Aging is like that. The memories pile up. More things are done for the last time than the first.

-Roger Cohen, NYTimes

My favorite browser, touted

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Breaking into a party

We had little reason to…and we grabbed all of it to break onto a chicken feast for dinner. Mani was away in Ranchi and Mantu seems to have forsaken Bangalore for good. Santosh and I hardly have the time to speak to each other what with his odd hours making communication nearly impossible.

I suggested mutton, at which Santosh readily concurred. We walked to Monday-to-Sunday but found mutton too expensive and settled for chicken instead. I placed an order for a few photo prints en route.

Switching between IPL and flicks made dinner all the more fun.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Farewell, Yahoo! Mail

After 2 years of patronage, it was time not to renew my Yahoo! Plus Mail account subscription. Paying $20 for a service that I don’t use anymore just didn’t seem to make sense. Google Apps works a lot better. I hate to concede Yahoo! ground to Google, but this time the game was overwhelmingly in favor of the latter.

The suspension of subscription was also my muted protest against Yahoo! Domains charging me a staggering $35 while others charge just $15.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Someone drops the anchor

Oops, it’s me!

After years of wandering adrift through the world of news and even drawing a semblance of non-hierarchical order via RSS, it was finally time for me to settle down with something a little more austere and less distractive than conventional news sites. I chose loyalty to The New York Times. Not only is the quality of reporting exemplarily superlative and globally renowned, I love its conservative and intensely analytical style. It suits my taste.

To be honest, I hardly think NYTimes is the best source of news on all possible topics. It’s America-centric, technology news is abysmal, science articles could do with some proliferation and there are too many frivolous categories that should be consolidated into one. Still, it’s the literature that leaves no doubt in my mind that this is the one news source I wouldn’t mind allying with.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The unreliable weatherman

It’s raining elephants and blue whales as I write this post, quite contrary to what the weatherman had said: today will be bright and sunny with no prospect of a rain. Experience has taught me to be dismissive of such predictions. They are often so wrong, I have a hunch it’s the anachronistic astrologer doing the back-office job for our meteorologists. The forecast from The Weather Channel for today until a few hours ago painted the sun in such resplendently incandescent yellow that I feared the pixels forming the circle on my screen would burn up. At least the sun is now shown sheepishly slipping behind a patch of clouds…if only to make reluctant amends for the egregious prediction.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Perfect News

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Times Reader from The New York Times is my ultimate news source.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Proximity

A friend of mine works at the same hospital in Cambridge where Dr. Stephen Hawking is currently recuperating. Thankfully, after a sudden scare, Hawking is well on his way to full recovery.

I’m jealous of Vishal.  He actually got to see the great man.

Walking free

I’m officially untangling myself from the Web. It’s high time I got a life.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Star Diagonal

I’ve finally placed the order for the star diagonal from Tejraj.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

It’s raining yet again!

The only problem is the swarm of mosquitoes invading our house. Playing with Pallavi is great fun.

A deep desire


I wanna learn the piano…not kidding.

The solo piano rendition of Rimsky Korsakov’s The Flight of the Bumble Bee by a gorgeous Chinese pianist named Yuja Wang at the YouTube Symphony Orchestra was breathtaking. Though the composition was originally meant for the orchestra, the piano transcription was almost equally impressive in depicting a bumble bee in flight.

Here’s the orchestral rendition.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hot, Humid & Harried

Last night’s rain has made today very humid. Our penthouse is bearing the full brunt of the Greenhouse Effect and sudden power cuts have stalled air circulation in our rooms.

Act Two: YouTube Symphony Orchestra @ Carnegie Hall

Friday, April 17, 2009

Calendaring

I’ve always had a fascination for calendars, starting with the ones Dad would get from TELCO where each flipping month would adorn the wall with a beautiful new TATA vehicle. Pohela Boishakh is remembered for the fascinatingly decorative and flimsy Bengali calendars that vendors would gift their customers in hopes of continued loyalty and goodwill.

P.S. - I had planned on a lengthy post on this one, but I’ve just lost interest and deleted 2 paragraphs. I’m uninspired.

It’s Raining!

It’s Raining!
It’s Raining!
It’s Raining!

Curious Constructs

Music and the Internet are without a doubt two of the most powerful unifying forces. Even gravity pales in comparison! And so it was only a matter of time before people from all over the world with a passion for music would somehow attain a logistical victory to assemble in New York after successive rounds of audition, undergo quick but grueling practice sessions and finally perform at the renowned Carnegie Hall. The auditions were open to all and selection was done by the YouTube community. What a remarkably democratic accomplishment!

The selection process was rigorous and winning an invitation to Carnegie wasn’t easy. After all, I can play the fool reasonably well but that didn’t win me a ticket. It’s another matter that I figured out my worthlessness on my own and didn’t even apply. The only instrument I could play as a child was the harmonium but I’m not sure the orchestra would be willing to accommodate such a horrible instrument.

The YouTube Symphony Orchestra summit this month represented nearly all regions of the world with 96 musicians from 30 countries - only Africa and the Middle East were conspicuously absent. I guess people in the Middle East are busy butchering and bombing each other to gain free access to 72 virgins in heaven - no credit card required! On the other hand, Africans are fiercely communal and would rather use money to buy weapons for ethnic cleansing than on food and bandwidth. It’s such a shame.

In the end, the event was a resounding success with the potential to dramatically alter the way musicians come together. The YouTube Symphony Orchestra literally levels the playing field and extends a helping hand to passionate musicians who would perhaps have otherwise never had the opportunity to showcase their talent. It’s a paradigm shift and does its bit in dissolving borders. Bravo!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Those links say it all!

News article about a performance. It shook me.

This is the guy who went on to win at the same show 2 years ago.

Peripheral for my telescope

Star Diagonal 90° Mirror Diagonal 1.25"OD . . . . Rs. 300

I guess it’s time to knock on the doors of my beloved Tejraj & Co. I’m looking for an inexpensive star diagonal for my Galileoscope and Tejraj seems to be the only manufacturer in the whole wide world that fits the bill perfectly. Others cost more than the telescope itself!!!

There’s one critical glitch. Tejraj remains a brick-&-mortar shop whose only web presence lies in a few partially-constructed web pages. There’s no Internet payment gateway and orders have to be placed the old fashioned way.

Monday, April 13, 2009

My anorexic pillows

I’ve 2 pillows, both suffering from a weight problem. The first one had a caesarean over a year ago and since I never bothered to stitch it up, it’s been losing mass ever since. It seems to have a half-life of 1 year.

The second one had an unexpected but normal delivery a few days ago. Half its content just came out before I stuffed it back in. I didn’t know asexual reproduction was in fashion again.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

TARGET

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Cover of Target Magazine 1988 Annual Issue (June). A fan post.

 

target_cover_1

I remember this cover!

 

MOOCHWALA_1

I remember this strip!

A requiem.

Picasa Easter Eggs

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Ctrl-Shift-Y pops these funny creatures!

How I loved him!

File:Gardhab.jpg

Gardhab Das created by cartoonists brothers Neelabh and Jayanto Banerjee was a comic section run in the Indian youth magazine Target. The main character Gardhab Das had a donkey face and was always depicted wearing a kurta and pajamas. His main trait was his singing or lack of it. He was a perpetually unemployed music teacher. Famously known for disturbing the peace with his vocals and his harmonium, he was always at loggerheads with his landlord, being a penniless 'singer'. In various strips, he gets jobs as a siren for the fire department, as a weapon during a war, and he also manages to fight and get the better of people like Tike Myson, a play on Mike Tyson and Bruce Lee. He also trains the double of Mykill Packson (Michael Jackson) on his tour to India. His only weapon: his vocals and his harmonium. The name Gardhab itself means 'donkey' in Sanskrit and Das is a common Indian surname.

The strips were simplistic, and their appeal lay in the funky illustrations. This along with Detective Moochwala made Target a highly anticipated magazine for children all over India during the mid 80's through till the early 90's.

-WIKIPEDIA

Saturday, April 11, 2009

SCB & DVD

I’m paying the price for allowing a friend to use my credit card to purchase a laptop 2 years ago. He has often failed to clear the monthly dues on time and this has resulted in not only fines being levied but a lot of annoying calls being directed at me from the call center. Since this friend has been in Ranchi for the past few months, accessing him has become rather difficult. Thankfully, we are nearing the end of our installments and this headache should be over soon. I had to visit the Standard Chartered Bank ATM to drop one of the installment cheques this afternoon.

Walked to Big Bazaar after the payment and bought a boxed set of 25 DVDs. My ever-growing music collection had become too large for the hard disk and I had to house it externally.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Galileoscope

I’m so much in love with the Galileoscope. It costs a paltry $15, but shipping costs add unnecessary flab. Shipping to India would be insane.

I think I should settle for nothing less than the Celestron C65.

TOI is at it again

Given the gaffe-prone Government of India trying to repeatedly curtail the rights of its citizens in the face of technically challenging adversaries, it wasn’t hard for me to fall prey to a very misleading news article a few days ago from the sensation-hungry Times of India.

Here’s the article. In effect it meant that all email ids of Indians must be hosted on Indian servers. Not only that, the ids MUST end with .in and not anything else, like the ubiquitous .com. Are these guys kidding me, I thought. Nowhere in the world has such a ridiculous ruling been implemented. It’s technically impossible to achieve and circumventing it would be child’s play. I know most of our ministers are poorly educated, but they aren’t really illiterate!! They aren’t really thinking of designing a mini-Internet just for Indians, are they?!! I was immensely perturbed.

A search dispelled the cloud. I heaved a sigh of relief and restored my faith in our netas. I couldn’t help thinking of what happened a few years back when the government banned access to all blogs in India as they were perceived a security threat! To be honest, the government only wanted some malicious blogs to be banned, but our ISPs took the opportunity to ban all blogs as they didn’t have the knowhow to ban specific sites! And India is an IT superpower! Thanks to some guys in Pakistan who helped me access my blog uninterrupted.

I’ll never open a .in mail id. If you know me, you won’t ask why.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

What joy Pallavi brings into my life!

I discovered her giggling and sipping into a Frooti this morning. I pretended to want it. She would have none of it. I chased her. She ran and sipped even faster to exhaust the supply. Soon she was out of stomach-space and offered me whatever remained of her drink. I sipped a little and offered it back. She giggled but refused. I emptied the drink.

We don’t speak a common language. We don’t need to. Sometimes I feel the world would be a much better place had we never crafted languages that only serve to spread suspicion, jealousy and hatred. The language of the heart is enough.

Adults may be more knowledgeable but children are wiser. True wisdom comes from a lot of unlearning.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

This jerk has won the Padmashree

02akshay

Padmashree is an award given by the Government of India generally to Indian citizens to recognize their distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity- Wikipedia

This clown displayed his ‘distinguished contribution’ by asking his wife to unbutton his jeans publicly at the recently concluded Lakme Fashion Week. Next time he may ask her to go a step further and give him a ****job. Who knows, she too may be in the reckoning for the award for her distinguished contribution! Obscenity was never so profoundly rewarding.

This is a personal blog and I’ve usually refrained from commenting on all the antics that hog media attention. However, sometimes I just can’t help breaking protocol.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Padmashree for Aishwarya

AP09033103534

This junk award is worse than I thought.

The making of a fool

This isn’t about Santosh being told early morning that there was a courier for him at the door.The poor chap dragged himself out of bed only to learn that Mani had just bamboozled him!

This is about Abhishek sending a well-meant email to some of his friends informing them of ATM cards being accepted at ATMs of all banks without incurring a charge – starting April 1st. Well, this is according to an RBI directive issued last year meant for implementation from today. It was all over the news then…and it’s all over the news yet again. It’s obvious that some people would still miss out on this information, which is perfectly understandable.

What’s not so understandable is why are some people dismissive of new ideas without even checking the facts first. These established fools are so secure in their ignorance that they could even proudly hit REPLY TO ALL and retort that it’s only an April-1st prank. Even GMail was launched on April 1, remember?

Unfortunately for this quintessential fool, I was one of the recipients. I cut him to size and asked him to check the facts first before proving his ignorance to others. He didn’t like what I wrote and lashed out at me. Normally, I don’t squabble…but I decided to hit back for a change. The textual duel continued all day and spilled over to the next (yesterday), but I delivered the final punch. It was fun!