Monday, May 30, 2005
God knows, what happened and may his soul rest in peace, something that obviously life wasn't letting him do, but 2005 seems to be a suicide-themed year, not the marriage themed year I thought it would be. I mean I get scared whenever Friendgirl jokingly or otherwise wants to kill herself. Sooner or later at this rate, someone very close to me might just get themselves. This is getting very scary.
Anyway, the only way to deal with news like this is to forget it, and sweep it under the dark recesses of your brain, hoping that your synapses never fire in a fashion to make this memory come back to haunt you again.
Before I heard this news, I had a decent Sunday. Friendgirl had been particularly sweet in the morning, I watched a lot of TV in the afternoon after single-daddy cancelled (as is usual) and then caught the European GP with Wertti and Friendgirl. I felt really sad for Kimi Raikkonen, because it meant that I hadto watch Flavio Briatore dance up and down the park firme. And that was followed by a very nice dinner at Dum Pukht at the Maurya, which is always good. And then you hear that someone you know has killed themselves. Am I depressed? I guess not, just confused. I mean what can go so drastically wrong that you have to kill yourself. I think this country is heading into a golden era of suicides. I wonder when the national newsmedia will catch. Wait no, we are more obsessed about Lalu Yadav's nose hair. Maybe in a years time India Today will suddenly make an awful cover and headline it 'Why are more young Indians killing themselves?'. Outlook will do jackshit because a suicide cover won't get their editor an ambassadorship which only Congress chest beating stories can (might) get.
I feeling like sighing. A lot.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
I realise that I didn't write a decent report on the Innova, which I will do later. But first...
NEVER EVER GO TO ORANGE ROOM AT THE ASHOK.
There I said in big bold letters. It is really that bad. I mean the decor is nice and the drinks are OK too, but the DJ is really fucked up. Why? He was interspersing contemporary Hindi indipop music (which is bad enough as it is... but this Delhi for God's sake - Bheegi Bheegi Yaadein which translates as Wet, Wet, Memories was played umpteen times) with Michael Jackson, Bee Gees, Madonna and god knows what else. There was not even a single relative contemporary (as in last 24 months) song the guy played from an English artist - No Usher, No 50 Cent, None of the pop tart brigade (which was a good thing). But Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal? In 2005? At a night not advertised as 'Retro', and is even politically correct to play MJ nowadays, given that the man is standing trial for 'loving' young boys. Now I don't want to pass judgement on the fact that MJ 'loved' those young boys 'metaphorically' or 'physically' but anyone who has had a nose job or ten too many is weird. And Madonna's Holiday, which passed into the netherworld of music two decades ago was our DJ's choice for the night. I asked the guy for daft Punk, and he looked at me like 'What?'
Stupid and bad DJ. A good DJ can make even a crappy place seem good, like the old Mezz. But a bad DJ can ruin even a decent place, and this was a very good (or bad) example of that. Unfortunately, Delhi bar and restuarant owners have to realise no matter how good you make a place look, the food, drink and (in nightclubs) music have to be good. And while you'll never see Today give a bad review of any single place (bread and butter syndrome) it should seriously start doing that. And people vote with their feet and wallets, and if I went to someplace which sucks because a tabloid told me to, I will be very pissed at that tabloid. Bad places deserve bad reviews.
Now, there is the Innova. Well, honestly the top end version of the Innova the 'V' model is actually very comfortable. It is easy enough to drive, has very good pick up in the low-to-mid range and potters around nicely at 80-90 kmph. If you push it hard, it protests a bit, mine even had a weird case of unintentional gear slippage. But, it can go fast. However, the ride is amazing. It is more comfortable (by miles) than the Qualis, the ride (and this was a test drive vehicle - which means it had been raped by auto journos before me) was surprisingly good. It was actually nicer to ride in than the Camry. It is bigger than the Camry, and it has two AC's. Rides nice and high, costs around Rs 10 lakhs and its got enough space for two Great Danes. The vehicle (it is a van, but Toyota wants to call it a car, which I can't so this is a compromise term) is a bitch to park though. It is huge and though the steering is light, parking this thing is difficult. So is maneuvering it through Delhi mad-hour traffic. Good vehicle, but a bit too big. Or maybe I'm just too used to my little Alto by now. The baby just crossed 9000km today, and its only seven months old (The more I drive, the more I lose resale value, and with digital odo's clocking will be difficult)
OK, so the dirver losing the 'keys' was a bit stupid, but anyway... I enjoyed the Innova a lot. And I hated 'Orange Room'. Kind of equals out.
I'll blog a bit more tomorrow, while watching the F1 race. I support Kimi Raikkonen for this season, because I can't stick Flavio Briatore, Renault's team manager.
Friday, May 27, 2005
One good thing did come out of the last few days, Wertti got me a book called 'Born to be Riled' - the collected writings of Jeremy Clarkson. Thanks mate!
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Anyway, I went to the Maruti Swift presser and for once tried to leave the presser before I stuffed my face with food. I had to work you see. But no, Bill Clinton didn't letme work. How, you might ask did the 42nd President of the USA stop my work. You see, the presser was at the Maurya and Billy is staying there on a visit to India (presumably to search out young plump women with blue cocktail dresses) and the hotel got sanitised - nobody could come in, or in my case go out. From 1.30 to 2.45 in the afternoon, even with some insane driving to office, the earliest I could make it was 3.10. I suddenly hate the Democratic Party.
Then, once I got in, the STD line decides to go bonkers. I've had to make several calls from my mobile, which is cool, but office doesn't pay my bills, but work has to get done after all, and 'The STD line was down", won't cut it as an excuse. Why phones go down in this day and age is beyond my comprehension, but theyb did. I want to stamp and break the instrument.
All this at a time when I haven't partaken of any substances in some time (I'm trying to be a good boy), plus I'm to cut down of cigarettes. Brilliant.
I'm going to buy one of those new fangled consoles and buy a good shoot'em game. Maybe I'll just buy a PS2 as soon as I save up some money.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
After finishing off Freakonomics where I discovered that Japanese Sumo Wrestlers are cheats and that legalised abortion has been the unspoken cause behind the dramatic drop in crime witnessed in the US over the past decade - controversial theory - but Steven Levitt makes it sound sensible and palusible. Anyway, back to the topic at hand, which for reasons of work related prudence I have to type at astonishing speed.
I have been noticing that there is serious competition between Indian Express, Hindustan Times, Outlook and Tehelka to be the government's main mouthpiece. Not in many years has there been such ferocious competition to be the main promoter of government thought. Lets look at motivations shall we - the IE boss wants an RS seat, HT's owner wants an RS seat, Outlook's editor wants a ambassadorship and Tehelka is well, Tehelka. Sad but true.
That said, IE finds itself in an awful position because it loves Arun Shoerie, NDA demagogue and former IE editor. The government trying to pander to the delightfully confused Commies is trying to crucify him. Something which the the Two surds and Chiddu Chodu actually agree on is that Shourie is an honourable man, and they cringe at the thought of attacking him. Nope but the commies want Shourie's blood. You know something - the former disinvestment minister has a developmentally challenged son, and he has never taken any money to even help his sons treatment. The commies on the other hand would do just about anything to send their kids to an American University.
HT, former employer of mine, and an organisation with zero HR skills (though I am seriously beginning to think that even my employers are losing it while Jain and Jain Company Limited is undertaking 40-120% mid-term salary hikes across the board in Delhi) is pretty bad. Today, they even tried to bury the Bihar story, why I have no clue whatsoever. The blasts are over get over it, and Lalu's shennanigans are the big story of the day. I know Madam wants an RS seat desperately (from Rajasthan no less, how the Congress will get a RS seat in Rajasthan however is beyond me) and HT is quick becoming Lalu's biggest promoter. It even gave the Banerjee report the whole of its front page.
Outlook is a lost case - its like handing the government a bullhorn. Tehelka is not as pro-government as it seems, but after the NDA was voted out, it seems to have lost all purpose in life. I mean the "Aishwariya is all PR hype" story was good - but they forgot to mention how fat that girl is getting. Yeah, but that was a good story. Talking about weekly's - I am still flabbergasted at this weeks IT cover photo. Well, at least it wasn't a badly done Photochop job, but weird cover nonetheless. The less said about the hundred-odd pages inside the better.
I know I have right-wing tendencies - but I'm not a BJP fan (unlike some other blood relations) either. I believe that there is a clear space in this country for a decent right-of-centre political outfit, with decently liberal social views and and a progressive economic outlook.
I should join politics soon, both coalitions are jokes in this country. One boycotts the democratic process, the other indulges in a witch-hunt. Madness.
On other notes..
My horoscope for the week has me a bit worried!
"Libra (Sept. 22-Oct. 22)
You've got the jimmy legs, nervously biting your nails and fidgeting as the week begins. Better find an outlet for all that excess energy, like jogging. Or fisting."
Kimi Raikkonen drove an amazing race down at Monte Carlo on Sunday. But, the move of the race was when Nick Heidfeld shoved his Williams past Fernando Alonso. This looks like being a great season.
And if you like seeing classy pics of naked women, this is the Hubba-Hubbaness site for you.
The 9/11 Commission said that one reason no-one could predict the attacks on the day that changed the world was a 'Lack of Imagination.' Well, lack imagination no more. See the ways that terrorists will atack next. Other than blow up movie halls showing Sunny Deol movies.
Monday, May 23, 2005
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Back to the Swift. KD, Maruti's PR man owed me a drive on the Swift. Before it got launched, so along with me, he called around six other journos (three from ET, one from PTI, Asian Age and FE) and called us to Manesar (I took Brotherman down because he is between sessions at DU), where we were bundled into four brand spanking new Swift's. I had seen the car ten days ago at the factory, seen it but not exactly tested it.
In some deserted roads in the Manesar industrial estate, we took the Swift (I was driving a dark grey one) and boy did we trash those cars around. In fact, one car had its clutch burn up (bad driving, not the car's fault). We had a decent one and a bit km stretch of road. The Swift has some very decent pick-up thanks to some new cogs. You can touch close to sixty on first and nearly reach 100 on second. I did 0-100 in 12.4 seconds, Hormazd (Autocar's ed), I believe did it in 11.6 seconds. Not too bad, I could do better. The road was not long enough to get to top speed, I managed to max out at 130 before I had to brake really hard (and thus engage the ABS system, which led to a smoking brake disc) to take a sharp U-turn at the end. And therefore discover the Swift's nicest feature, its sublime handling. The tyres tend to make a bit of a racket if you rev the car up for speed, but they grip the road hard. Really hard, no matter how fast you throw it into a turn. I took a sharp 90-degree left at 75k's and the car held on with all four wheels. I would never do that even in the old City-VTEC. The new 185/70R14 JK Vectra tyres are solid.
Good car, if they get the price right the car will do well. Very well. OK bijli's gone, will edit this post later.
Sorry, I took a long time to edit. Anyway, if there is one adjective to describe this car - I'ld use the term 'Spunky'.
Plus, Arsenal kicked ManU's ass in the FA Cup final. OK, so Rooney played brilliantly, but at the end of the end Arsenal won, and defeating ManU is all that matters.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Friday, May 20, 2005
On the plus side, I met a guy from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute today morning. Desi dude from Chandigarh who wanted to be a code-jock like hundreds of other desi's in the US but ended up being an 'Ocean Engineer' (his description not mine). He was quite a guy - a bit roboticist, biologist, geologist, archeologist, software engineer, materials engineer, aerodynamist all rolled into one. Hanumant Singh was a tremendously interesting man. I'll enjoy doing the story, pity its only a pager.
Anyway, now I must try and get over my drunkeness, and I have to remember to go for Sharma's engagement tonight. Poor sod.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Anyway, somehow I do have work, yet have strangely found the time to surf all day long. And as usual as it is with me, I have found a load of inane websites for all of you to enjoy!
The Curse of the Asian Man.
31 Really bad Mastrubation techniques.
Cunnilingus in North Korea (Not reccomeneded for those prone to epileptic fits).
Anyway, there are two intesresting blogs which I've come across in the past few weeks. One just had its last ever post, and that was Darth Vader's tremendously moving last post. I mean the guy sounds like King Lear. Well, a mix of Lear and Hamlet. Lucas was seriously inspired by Will the Bard. This is a another great blog - the Diary of a Porn Star. And, this is a great article in Slate which explains Star Wars to non-Lucasites.
I saw Raduprakash on TV for some promo for V, Roduprakash's girlfriend (he claims 'ex') was also there. But when I called the twins to see what was going on, I was politely reminded that it was their birthday two days ago. Damn. I have to not be forgetful. The Vedu twins celebrate their birthday on May 17, keep note in blog and search sometime.
Short morning post for now. Enjoy the rest of the day.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
This is the test I took.
Funnily enough, I've only done 'shrooms about three or four times, and my wildest experience was at some party near the Hindon Rivera few years ago. That was a buzz, I must've done three or four packets of the stuff. My stomach collapsed the next day. Of course, there are people I know who do 'shrooms on a industrial level. However, it is very difficult to find someone who sells 'shrooms this side of the world. That said, if you do get your hands on some, buy them, they are really the best hallucinogenic substance, and au naturel to boot. I don't know how true this is but I believe the mythical Somras that the Gods in the Hindu pantheon and the Asura's (The evil guys or the Hindu mythical version of the Greek Titan's?) fought over was the liquid obtained from crushing mushrooms.
This is what Erowid has to say on the topid of Psilcybin Mushrooms (aka 'Magic' Mushrooms)
But why is there a 38% chance that I do nothing at all? I thought I answered every question in such a way to imply that I love the narcotics. I live becasuse I love stuffing my physical self with all sorts of stuff. Except Opiates. Damn stupid test!
Edit : I don't want to make a whole new post, so I'm adding this here. There is some kick-ass erotic reading over here. Fuck, this shite is horny!
I am also now on a mission to check out this Arindam Chaudhuri guy. Seems like big fraud. Was talking to someone who handled his PR and he told me that the man survives on people joining the place to run their family businesses. They have average course fees of Rs 1.36 lakh per semester, which compares to the Rs 40k that Wertti paid for a sem in IIM-C. And I was also told that Ponytail Chicken Counter picks up the best students from his course and puts them into his own firms - consultancy, BPO, events, PR etc.
They have a batch size of around 3000 students and thus manage to get a lot of big companies onto campus. And with so much choice, some guys do get picked up, some don't want to get picked up and some (like in all B-schools) are too dumb to get picked up. And by putting huge ads in every bloody magazine and paper in this country, the man has managed to build enough media hype around the place that it can't get bad press. However, thanks to #2 who made some sweetly acidic remarks to the father of Che Kabir Chaudhuri (that kid is going to hate his father) he withdrew ads from us. Thank god for small mercies. I will get to the shady bottom of IIPM.
We recently did a Samsung story, why we did that story I have no idea given the shadiness of Samsung's recent past and the cases that have piled up against some of their former officials. Sometimes, things are quite puzzling.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
But then, the evil empire of gaming, Sony struck back. The new PS3 looks cooler.. just look.
OK, so the controller looks far out, but the console looks so so sweet. I want one even before I read the specs. After the specs, my jaw dropped. To the core of the planet. These are beyond real specs, these are seriously "WHOA!" specifications. I want to plugged into a PS3. Just read them.
CPU: Cell Processor
PowerPC-base Core @3.2GHz
GPU: RSX @550MHz
1.8 TFLOPS floating point performance
Full HD (up to 1080p) x 2 channels
Sound: Dolby 5.1ch, DTS, LPCM, etc. (Cell-base processing)
256MB XDR Main RAM @3.2GHz
256MB GDDR3 VRAM @700MHz
Storage: HDD - Detachable 2.5” HDD slot x 1The XBox360 is dead, it was king for four days. Long live the PS3. It will the king for the next few years.
I/O: USB: Front x 4, Rear x 2 (USB2.0)
Memory Stick: standard/Duo, PRO x 1
SD: standard/mini x 1
CompactFlash: (Type I, II) x 1
Communication: Ethernet - 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T) x 3 (input x 1 + output x 2)
Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 2.0 (EDR)
Bluetooth (up to 7)
Network (over IP)
Anyway, I found these print adverts rather hmmm... interesting, but not smutty. Just look at this lovely Playboy advert from Holland.
There were even some ads for Kingfisher Beer, which never made it here given the rather stupid ban on alcohol and tobacco adverts. I don't think the government quite gets that banning the ads makes people drink or smoke less, and we end up with stupid surrogate adverts. Nothing beats Vijay Mallaya's ultimate surrogate advert - an airline. Kingfisher Airlines won't be cheap though, and SpiceJet is cheaper. When I met the CEO of Spicejet, a oldish Canadian gentleman called Mark Winders he told me the secret behind the naming of SpiceJet - it was one of the few decent, snappy, Indian-ish airline names that had a web URL free.
Anyway, last night I had a nice chat with Wertti on suicide. Nice chat. I don't know if too many people remember the American sitcom M*A*S*H about the Korean War that starred Alan Alda. Anyway, the point about that serial over here is that the intro song that was composed by Johnny Mandel and the lyrics by Mike Altman. Here are the lyrics to that song.
Through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see...
that suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
I try to find a way to make
all our little joys relate
without that ever-present hate
but now I know that it's too late, and...
The game of life is hard to play
I'm gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I'll someday lay
so this is all I have to say.
The only way to win is cheat
And lay it down before I'm beat
and to another give my seat
for that's the only painless feat.
The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn't hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows stronger...watch it grin, but...
A brave man once requested me
to answer questions that are key
is it to be or not to be
and I replied 'oh why ask me?'
'Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
...and you can do the same thing if you please.
The ET annoucement was peculiar, 'Free' for me means 'No fucking money out of my wallet whatsoever", which somehow is beyond the comprehension of telecom journalists. This 'Free' service from MTNL would cost a whopping Rs 2/MB. That people is a rip-off. Just typing this page would be a few MB, and the way I work I use a lot of bandwidth, at Rs 2 a meg I'll be down at least five grand for the month. Idiot. But then again, Economic Times is by far and away the worst of all Jain and Jain Company Limited when it comes to truth bending, the mother paper doesn't even come close.
But, lets look at the Express, no thats the job of The Spindian Express, which does a far better job than me. But, another telecom correspondent in the Express today tried to say that TRAI shouldn't give bandwidth away free. Maybe, but honestly isn'ty the government already making money from revenue sharing. I think 3G-type services are still a long way away. What will happen is happen though soon is the addition of 3G-style network compression - more calls on less bandwidth. Now, that said, telecom companies are getting away giving shitty service, godawful customer care and then making Rs 1400 crore in profits (like Mr Mittal). Only Hutch is a semi-decent operator, Airtel sucks on mobile (but I have few problems with their DSL service - no pain no worry - other than that time I tried to change my bill plan but then I ended up pulling out rank. There have to some advantages to being a biz journo). No Idea about Idea.
Now, there is old employer - HT. Hmmm... Lets see, stupid FM adverts, stupid TV adverts, stupid campaign and stupid news. Really, I know half the bleeding ass liberal bloggers in this country hate Jain and Jain Company Limited, I mean Desi Media Bitch has a single point agenda against them, but none of those fuckers have worked in HT. I have never witnessed a culture of corruption so ingrained in a newspaper, and after spending time in that culture, where it was alright to take any 'gifts', 'freebies' or 'junkets' that came your way, where the former editor wanted to fuck anything with boobs, Times felt like manna, and ethically, they are far beter. I mean Jojo and ASG are clean to a fault. I know HT has changed, but their concept of news hasn't, no harm intended Nag, but really I think HT comes very close to carrying the maximum permissable amount of foreign content. Lots of pictures, no news. That said, HT City is now better than Delhi Times in terms of presentation, but I still think Today is bitchier, but other than a few writers, the afternooner is quite sad.
Anyways, on my way to work today I was hearing a lot of U2, and I started to wonder who the hell was the first guy to think that With or Without You, was a love song. Just look at the lyrics.
See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
I wait for you
Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait
And I wait without you
With or without you
With or without you
Through the storm we reach the shore
You give it all but I want more
And I'm waiting for you
With or without you
With or without you
I can't live
With or without you
And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away
And you give
And you give
And you give yourself away
My hands are tied
My body bruised, she's got me with
Nothing to win and
Nothing left to lose
And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away
And you give
And you give
And you give yourself away
With or without you
With or without you
I can't live
With or without you
With or without you
I can't live
With or without you
With or without you
Love song? Or song of despair? I am still trying to a figure out. Because U2 is the top gospel rock band of all time, they may not sound like it, but there is a surpringly huge amount of Christian whatdoyoucallit ... thoughts and ideals scattered across their songs. Pay attention, the amount of times the songs direct their message to the man up there. Anyway, I was thinking that its even stranger that U2 other than Adam Clayton (who sexuality is suspect anyway!) are Protestant. I mean an Irish Protestant gospel rock band. Ironic.
Anyway, will go eat lunch, because I'm rather hungry right now.
Monday, May 16, 2005
And by good old porn, check out Mayfair magazine. Mayfair was a British smut magazine of the late 70's till 1990. This site is trying to archive and scan as many pics as possible. Old smut is a lot nicer than new smut.
I mean porn is making its way everywhere. Billboards scream out SEX, and lets not even go into Indipop videos. I'm not prudish, I'm the last thing from being pruish, after all I love smut - OK, maybe bukakke still disturbs me - but on the whole the interweb has been a dream for people like me. However, how much smut must we take? Must sex be used to sell everything from tea, batteries, ice cream and tyres. I can understand condom ads being sexy, but the new Moods condom ad is not at all that blatent. I mean the girl is biting the guys ear lovingly (hornily?) but she doesn't show us skin. I mean a skin show in a condom advert is understandable. On the other hand the new Kwality Walls adverts are well.... Hmm.
I think I agree with the point being made here.
And then there is that right-wing media hype creation Ann Coulter, made famous by Faux News (I've spent three and half weeks in the US to know that Faux News is really bad). Well, her nemesis is at it again.
Then there is the XBox 360. This my friends is the mother of all gaming consoles. No, it is the grandmother of all gaming consoles. Fuck, the spec chart makes me want to wank off. To a piece of computing superpowerness. This thing ought to be clasified as a supercomputer. Three 3.2GHz G5 chips. Not one, not two, THREE!
And to make things better for gamers (now occasional ones like myself included) Namco is releasing Soul Calibur III. I still remember the first Soul Calibur I had on my Dreamcast, it was the most advanced game of its time, and the second installment wasn't bad either. I lost the link, but it is something to look forward to. Why don't the electronics companies invite Indian journos to E3 in Las Vegas? I promise I won't screw around. Not too much anyway.
And you want to see what beauty on four wheels is? Then see the Mayback Exelero. It is fucking beautiful, and more. I'ld sell my soul (a la Dr Faustus - also German) for this. Wow!
And I'm not really that desperate to ever go to Chicago, but this article in the NYT gives me a very good reason to.
Why? Let me quote....
"So if it’s not the environment and it’s not safety, why have the world’s woolly-headed left-of-centre nitwits got it in for the off-roader?
I found a clue recently in a road test of Aston Martin’s DB9. It appeared in The Guardian and it had been written by the red-headed, red-blooded, red-flagged Robin Cook, MP.
Let me give you some of his observations. He said its sheer wanton opulence was “positively repugnant” and that if you want to build a “cohesive, fair society” the Aston is a car you should avoid because it makes you “very nasty indeed”.
You see the problem here. When I look at a man in an Aston Martin I think: “One day I’ll have one of those.” When Cook looks at a man in an Aston Martin he thinks: “One day I’ll have him out of that.”
He’s consumed with jealousy, and jealousy of course is the bedrock of socialism. That’s why Cook and his kind have got it in for the off-roader, because they’re expensive and because they’re tall, so the driver gets to look down on lesser mortals in their Vauxhalls and Fords."
I don't know if you've seen this movie, its called Star Wars Revelations and its pretty cool, is a fan movie made by Star Wars geeks.
Anyway, my next post should be from within the bconfines of the stupid Videocon Tower in the middle of parking hell sometime tomorrow. Take care and I should eat dinner now.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Anyway, I was listening to local FM Radio yesterday and despite the rather pleasant discovery that 93.5 Red FM was playing Green Day's American Idiot, which was surprising to say the least. Even though some the other 'Angrezi' songs included crap by Ronan Keating and Boyzone, hearing English was quite a surprise on the non 102.6 airwaves.
Talking about English, I think the people who write the Angrezi lyrics in Hindi songs should be all lined up in the heat have honey daubed on them and then put on top of an anthill. To give you an example, these are the English phrases from the superhit song Dhoom (which also encouraged unsafe motoring) 'Dance with me, Dance with me, This is my philosophy.' Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Big time.
What is really weird of late is that suicide talk is happening all around me. First I read about how suicide becomes a epidemic - Malcolm Gladwell gives the example of American Micronesia in his book Tipping Point which I read on Friday. On Saturday, Friendgirl got depressed and said she wanted to jump in front of a car. And then today, I hear that a friend of a friend just did that because he was depressed.
What is it with depression. True, I've been uphappy several times in my life. Like when Mom and Dad used to fight when I was a kid, when they finally got seperated, when each of my relationships broke up. I've never been depressed over academics results, but thats because I always did decently well (even though my English results in the Xth and XIIth boards were frustrating given that I did fucking well in school otherwise). But, never did I ever want to kill myself. Suicide to me is the ultimate sign of giving up. Life is always worth living, no matter how depressing, because things look up eventually. They always do.
Anyway, I have to go get beer, because Double Daddy is calling people over and I want to drink beer. Despite polishing off a bottle of some Egyptian Cabernet Sauvignon at Single Daddy's place. It was called Omar Khayyam - sweet, very sweet, and a decent aftertaste, but not as good as some Israeli wines I've had. Double Mommy is off to Switzerland tomorrow, I wonder what the Swiss will make of the little Gopal when she is eating Fondue. I still don't get it.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
On another note, I just finished reading a book that #2 told me to read, and it was frigging brilliant. It is Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point and it is a great read. I loved the example about Lester Wunderman in the book. I've actually met old man Wunderman in Jaipur while I was covering AdAsia 2003, he is a wonderful man, and though he found it difficult to defend spam emails, as they are after all an insididous form of direct marketing, it was a great meeting. I think I still have transcrpits of all the interviews I took during that event and might just post them up soon.
I have also decided to make minor changes to the blog. One the light green hyperlink colour is a bit too low contrast for me, so I'll change the template. In the process I also plan to change the heading and the blurbs here and there. Might as well work on this baby. I might be a member of the mainstream media but I have actually taken to this blog.
Anyway, for the time being, while I work away at changing the look of the blog, here are some links.
I post Darth Vader's Blog again, read bottom up.
You can't make this up.
The Nokia fashion phone ads by David La Chappelle
Firefox adverts by Funnyfox (note: You need to update your Firefox browser)
Now, to change things. Will post before I go to Fat Ron's wedding!
Friday, May 13, 2005
After we got there, I managed to catch up with a lot of people I haven't met in a long time, and with some booze as well. I hadn't touched alcie in four days, so a few drinks were not out of order. But few for me usually means that my liver will be processing alcohol for the next 48 hours. So I had fewer than few drinks - some beer and vodka. The snacks - especially the prawns and pork were nice too and the dinner was pretty good - something called 'Mala Chicken' I particularly liked. Sorel had pulled out the stops for the launch. This place it seems will be the only decent place that plays Rock music in Jaggery Village. Now, the rock might sem rather tired (nowhere near as eclectic as say someone like Bossman would want) but better than hearing dhik-chik all the time. I think Sorel should do well given the large number of professionals in Jaggery Village. Hey, if you're a Jaggery VIllage type, and like some rock music with your booze, check this place out. Something, after all, is always better than nothing.
Anyway, the reason I went there was just to catch up with Sorel, I went there to watch Parikrama. Now, Parikrama, was at one point of time, Delhi's biggest rock band. That time was ten years ago. I remember my first Parikrama show, it happened the day my tenth boards ended and man it was fun. I had seen Parikrama before as the invited band at some inter-school rock contests (whatever happened to those?) but usually by the time Parikrama took the stage, guys from my school ('bums) would be trashing the modernite men (and some making out with their chicks - which inevitably caused the fight - 'How dare they kiss our women!'). Anyway hearing Parikrama for the first time after some five years was good fun. Nitin Malik their frontman has finally realised that his voice isn't the same, but now it seems he doesn't go through a 20-pack of cigarettes in an hour, in fact he hardly smoked at all. Me on the other hand was busy getting rather stoned as well, and because rock loving Chuddy Buddy (who is going to get engaged next Friday) was company, it was fun. And thank god my cellphone battery died, 'cos FriendGirl wanted to kill me for something which I forget now. Thank god for drunkeness.
On the whole, it was a good night. And the place seems good . They supposedly have a 'Media Night' set-up on Thursday's, I'll go with Siddy next week and check it out. If you want to go this place - its at the Regent Square on MG Road in Gurgaon. That's the building with the large Kotak Mahindra signboards.
And Sorel did promise that he would do something to sudhrofy Media night at TC. That has degenerated into a mess - with creative guys in ad agencies making asses of themselves and its worse when the adsales guys come in from TV channels. I've quit that. I suggested that he make it a 'journalist' night and have a separate night for those advertising idiots.
Anyways, gotta work now.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Yesterday my day was messed up playing an elaborate juggling game between Friendgirl, Family and assorted friends which involved a plan of going to watch 'Kingdom of Heaven' which unfortunately no hall in the bloody capital is playing, because Warner Brothers India have had a spat with Ajjay Bijli (he of the double J's). Now as much as I hate most PVR halls, for gods sake they are the only option here, maybe Bijli should get his dad's old goons to beat up the Warner Brothers chaps here, maybe that'll teach them. So, the plan was to go to Neeodha to Wave. Instead I ended up going to eat dinner at 'The Great Kebab Factory', which is unashamedly meaty and awesome.
But, it was a bad day before that. My gym trainer told me that despite hard work nothing much was happening so he decided to try and kill me, or rather get me to kill myself. I can't move my biceps properly today. I'll end up looking like one of those monkeys in the gym. I am seriously beginning to think if this gym business was a good idea after all. But I will persist until some weight goes.
Before that there was the story drama. Y'see I have somehow ended up with two big stories by a strange quirk of fate. So associated headaches of stories are thumping me. And then things get surreal, which is not a good thing when your head is thumping and you have the weirdest photographer in your magazine in tow. And then I had to meet a man with an electric car who is trying to tell me that this is the car of the future. Meet Chetan Maini, I mean the guy is really sweet and all, but 5000 electric cars in a year next year. The man plans to sell as many as 1200 this year. 800 of them in India.
I have driven a Reva. Nay they had given me one for a week. Yes it is cheap to run, insanely cheap. Ten units of power cost at most Rs 40 and that can power you 60-80km. OK, so feel like you'll die at any moment, because a mad blueline driver will mistake you for a colourful speedbreaker. And being made of plastic, it doesn't really fill you with confidence. That said it very easy to drive, heck even av drove the car. But coming down Moolchand flyover, as the car manages to go past 70k's you feel as if its going to come apart, really. Even the Balupunkt system they had put in the car I was driving couldn't drown out the rattling, because my vertebrae were knocking against each other.
Now Mr Maini has said that he has developed a roadster, with new battery technology, which bumps range up to 200km, a car with a 37kW engine (thats more powerful than my Alto), more torque than a Qualis and a top speed of 120k's. Which is fast. And all thanks to some new battery technology called Sodium Metal Chloride, which has 130kWhr per kg versus 37kWhr on the old lead batteries. Hmm..
He hasn't productionised the car yet, but even I've got to admit that it looked sweet - DC Design and all. However, the guy really has to get build quality better. Much better.
Now, I have to get back to work, will post later.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
But, the new Swift that MUL is launching soon is a good looking car, very good looking, I mean by Maruti car standards. Even Jaggu Dada admitted that calling the car, "not Japanese", Saito, Maruti's top Suzuki man, said "Maruti cars velly good, but bowling, this is an individualistic car." (I have no idea how Saito-san pulled off individualistic, but his English is a lot better than a lot of Jap or Korean execs). The problem with the Swift is not the looks - which are in a weird sort of way - like a new Mini on a baseball-esque steroid diet.
See what I mean.
Maruti is pitching this as the 'Big' small car, somewhat like a Palio and Indica size and it will go head to head with the Hyundai Getz. Problem one, it has less space than an Indica at the back, especially with the seat pushed all the way back. I'm 5'11" and to put it mildly slightly stout and it was a problem getting out. Y'see the floor of the car is a good 35mm below the door level and getting out is a problem. But then again, the car is wide, lots of ass space. Rear boot, well hatch, um, not too bad, but again the loading area is rather high - big 175/70R14 tyres (all JKTyre - surprising!). The Maruti engine range tends to be more exciting than that of Hyundai, so I'm pretty sure that the Swift with the 84bhp 1.3 unit will easily outgun the getz and the Indica and Palio too.
The trump card with the Swift however may not be this year though. That will happen when Maruti gets their new 1.3 diesel mill. This common rail unit will make the Swift go head on with the Indica and given that both will have next to nothing maint costs, that should be fun for Mister T. And I'll let you know a little secret, Mister T is pushing for an excise cut (or removal) on the "One Lakh Car", he also wants certain safety norms removed. The interesting thing is that if the government (being a part owner of Maruti with a 18 percent stake still) removed all excise on the 800, that car would cost only Rs 1.3 lakh. Hmmm.....
Monday, May 09, 2005
Friday, May 06, 2005
Anyway, surfing the interweb always leads to some pretty interesting finds.
Like people in Texas wanting less sexy cheerleaders.
And the musuem of tobacco adverts.
How does she stay so thin????
Logo, logo, logo.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Also, today brotherman enters third decade of life. Now if only his freaking social skills enter at least the second decade of life it would be great. Have to buy him something, which involves vast sums of money. Damn!
Went for a Boeing presser today. Blah blah Airbus is bad blah blah Airbus doesn't know what they're talking about blah blah We make better planes blah blah Air India was right. In all honesty though, I can't understand why Airbus is screaming and shouting so much about not getting the Air India order. Actually, in Boeing's defence the 777 is a killer aircraft when compared to the A340, I've flown on Singapore and Thai 777's while the Air France A340 was a rather bumpy ride.So big deal, Airbus, get over it.
Anyway, aircraft orders here aren't decided by aircraft rather by politics and cozying up to the US is better than cozying up to the Europeans, despite what the 'most knowledgable' Arindam Chaudhuri says. The man is quite a fraud.
Met Wertti last night and now that his DVD player is working again we treated ourselves to a movie I have been cringing not to watch, but had to watch because I had to complete something. Movie in question was Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Aw-fucking-ful. But, if I have to understand Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, I had to watch the movie. Yuck-yuck double yuck. And why did the press hype up Ayesha Dharker's two-second role into something it wasn't, anyway you can't even make out its her under the Queen of Naboo make-up.
If there is a movie that you must watch however, and god knows why I am thinking of it today, it is amazing movie called Shattered Glass about the guy who preceded Jayson Blair in print journalism fraud. Indian print editors would do well to watch the movie. And just looking at half the fraud and faux news stories on Aaj Tak, CNBC (especially) and NDTV (Profit in particular) and how can we forget the smaller channels which make a dead dog into headline news, so should TV editors. Anyway, thats it for now. Must go to gym and work on reducing some flab.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Oh and if wanted a really really good reason to watch the movie, the women in it are smoking hot. I know the movie is 45 years old, but man those women are hot.
And this story in the NYTis kick-ass, welcome to the world of alt-porn. (Login reqd for NYT)
Monday, May 02, 2005
This is one of my all-time fave sites - Badmash - a site for NRI's - but after meeting so many Kal Ho Na Ho types, those cartoons seems all the funnier.
And of course, there is this one chap who obssesses about Popeye cartoons, and I just discovered that Olive Oyl is over 85 freakin' years old. That has to be the oldest cartoon woman ever. Shizzle my fizzle. Whatizzle. Anyway, I really liked this Bluto page.
The big news nowadays are the two cult movies coming out - Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy and the third (the sixth and last unless LucasFilm decides on a Postquel) and last of the Star Wars prequels - The Revenge of the Sith. The former movie is out and people are still debating if its good or bad, well I kinda liked the book, so I'll donate some money to the Ajjay Bijli benevolence fund (aka PVR Cinemas) and watch this movie. This city seriously needs more movie halls - no wait there are lots of movie halls up north and in the east - SOUTH Delhi needs more halls. Anyway, I believe that the fight scene between Anakin and Obi-Wan really lives up to its billing - in case you didn't know Obi-Wan defeats Anakin (cutting off his legs and arm) and leaves him in a pool of lava - this was known in 1977 so don't kill me for saying it. Anyway, i'll watch that movie whenever it releases too. But I gotta get the first two episodes because I haven't really watched them very well.
Anyway, they came and took the Camry back today morning. And my comments after a weekend remain more or less the same. Yes, it does feel comfortable like a luxury liner, and unlike say the Hyundai Sonata it doesn't wallow when you push it into a corner really hard. Problem one - Toyota should really have put in a reversing aid on the car, really. problem two - It is too freaking big. OK, so everybody and their uncle (or aunt - like mine) owns either this or a Accord in the US. But, Americans don't drive like we do. Nor do they have mad pedestrians intent on getting themselves killed, or auto-rickshaws, and my current numero uno enemy on Delhi roads - those motherfuckingly horribly fucking irritating cargo three-wheelers - which not only will move at 20k's but do that in the fucking fast lane. I sometimes wish I had a Humvee with a gun mounted on the roof, so that I could well.. y'know. No really, these three-wheeler cargo carriers should be banned, and I don't care how many livelihoods it takes away, they are polluting and for gods sake, half of them cost just a little bit less than a Maruti Van, just pay the extra road tax and buy a Maruti Van, at least they move faster.
Back to the point, the Camry, quite unlike my really small Alto is not the car you would want to make these sudden direction changes in, and getting cut off by a three-wheeler is even more frustrating because even if you touch them in one of these cars - the damage repair will cost you more than an auto. That said, something that people forgot to mention in a recent story about Bajaj - their cash cow is not the Pulsar but those three wheeler montrosities - the Bajaj CNG three wheeler costs over Rs 1.45 lakh. That is a shitload of money for something that offers you almost no protection from the elements, is gloriously unsafe and has an engine that isn't even strong enough to pull water out of Delhi's soil. Again, for the last mentioned thing, I guess you'll need 150hp engines in a few years time.
And the Camry's engine might come in hand. If you do press the car a bit, it can move, pretty fast too. I managed to eke out a semi-decent 180-190k's in Lutyen's late late late last night, but the automatic, which was tremendously smooth in tarffic, shifting up and down like soft butter, didn't allow me to play too much. That is why the Sonata V6 and the Accord V6 with their 'H gates' are better. And with a price tag of just under Rs 20 lakh, the little additional width and length the Camry offers is really not worth a few lakhs more than the Accord. Especially, if the Accord V6, which I consider to be the best steal on Indian roads today in the Rs 15-20 lakh segment is a far better drive, and delivers virtually the same 8-9kpl economy. That said, the Camry does look a bit more handsome and has killer legroom in the back.
Anyway, read what I had to read - must go to the Jim now.
To me, communism is an idea far ahead of its time, while I agree that wealth distribution should be more equitable, given the rather extreme differences we see in India - Inequality as we know it is inevitable. This is why half (maybe all) the jholawallahs in college hated me, because I argued against this sort of stuff. I argued against revolution the way only someone who has grown up around mad people who believed in revolution can. Society according to me is founded on inequality. Every single relationship is based on that. An equitable society akin to what Plato (incidentally Plato means 'Broad' in Greek and he was a professional wrestler who quit when he was denied entry into the Olympic Games) proposes in The Republic, make sure people mate only to have children and when the children are born raise them in a commune away from their parents. Plato, my friends, I believe deeply inspired Hitler as well as the villain in Moonraker.
That is possibly the only way you can get some sort of equality in the world. And needless to say, that is impossible. I mean just imagine the size of creche that India would need.
However, this does not take away from the fact that we do need some level of 'income adjustment'. I mean, half the people in marketing that I meet should ideally be removed from the human gene pool, thay are that dumb, really. Especially guys who sell TV's and carbonated soft drinks. And they get paid a ton. Now, ToI the other day carried an article with the contention that India would gain over China because we have so many young people. Oh hell yeah, we have to create 300 million jobs in the next decade. Now, despite media booms (which has led to very dumb people becoming journos) and BPO shit-shat, 300 million fucking jobs is a freaking scary number. And when you go to villages or semi-urban India the gap between urban and rural youth becomes starkely apparent. These people have been given a taste of the good life by TV, they know the latest products and gadzmos, but they don't have the incomes to get them. And the cities are letting few outsiders in thanks to their nepotistic culture.
I mean just look at St Stephen's College - its a weird game of 'My Daddy Strongest' over there half the time. Everybody whose anybody in this town and has a decently intelligent kid go there to student. Only losers you see go abroad for undergrad. And anybody who says, mainly girls, "Oh I got admission but never went", are usually lying (in 99.999% of the cases, there is only one genuine case I've heard about where a girl turned down SSC for LSR but ended back at SSC, it does that). And back to the issue, SSC turns out more psuedo jholawallahs than any other institution in the country. JNU chaps are not so psuedo, just terribly misguided - towards Nestle. Example - my favorite teacher in college - Ashley Tellis (homosexual and proud of it) wanted the RSS banned, while Naxalites were fighting for a cause and we argued for months on this. City thinking. While I disagree with half of what the RSS says, they are the best relief organistion in the country. More organised than any (and I mean this) left-wing NGO. At most relief sites the RSS is there before the armed forces and way before jholawallah NGO's get in.
OK, so the RSS is led by a bunch of people who are mad, but still the organisation just needs a bit more pragmatic leadership. As do the Naxals and Maoists. And the country mind you!
Because we have to create one heck of a lot of jobs as well as make life more equitable here. God knows how it will happen, but you bloody well pray that it isn't through a social revolution, because it well may be.