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Inconsequential..



This blog is a work of friction between my neurons and cerebral fluid triggered by the itch of scribbling in my heart resulting into a different kind of friction between my fingers and the keyboard. It started as a curiosity, became addiction, stayed



Updated: 2014-10-02T00:45:32.288-05:00

 



I saw History with my eyes today

2008-11-05T01:38:15.917-05:00

Late into the night of the 4th of November of 2008, America wrote history when John Mccain conceded the presidential race to Barack Obama.

After 220 years, 2 active wars and an economic meltdown, the message of hope for change, for unifying the nation with all its diversities for a better tomorrow awakened a new generation and was heard beyond the boundaries of race, gender, age, state geographies, wealth, politics, beliefs and ideologies.

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Barack Obama will take over as the true 21st Century President, the 44th President of the United States of America in 77 days. As the world wakes up tomorrow, a new era has already begun.



No Such Thing as Magik

2008-09-14T21:21:45.826-05:00

With moderate expectations, i watched Rock on! during the opening weekend on Aug 30th.The film kicks off with a great promise laid down by a racy number with zany electronic music and catchy camerawork. The energy quickly dissipates and the pace vanishes and what follows next though is a mediocre stretch of 2 and 1/2 hours with predictable and hokey scenes.Surprisingly i found rave (really really rave) reviews of the movie over the internet. To be fair to Abhishek Kapoor, the movie looked better than its predecessor-hyped movie - Jane Tu Ya Jane Na. That apart, it's a movie of a music band re-union. I don't think that sounds original to anyone reading this post or watching the movie.I think they made Farhan Akhtar's debut as an actor and singer bigger than the movie. He did good as an actor i would say, but his vocals, hmmm, more on that later.Let me list down where the movie scores and where it falls.1. Throughout the movie, all we hear is the band 'Magik' wants to be a rock band. Their haircuts, their dressing sense, their 'attitude' towards life, collectively speaks the language of a rock-star dream. And now look at the lead vocalist of the band. He does not, SO NOT, have the voice of a rock star. I can't imagine leading rock band of the country to have Farhan Akhtar's vocals. He can easily be and should be a country singer. Or a soft pop artist. Did anyone watch 'Americal Idol' this season? From the beginning it was a one on one between David Archuleta and David Cook. D A has a very soft and honeyed voice. He could have easily been the Idol but a big nay for a rock star. Idol is not a rock-band competition mind you. D C on the other hand has a very matured voice, perfect for a rock star. Hear a song he sung and you would know what is an upcoming rock artist should sound like. That's why i am comparing with him and not established rock vocalists. And if you don't want to go that far, just listen the 'Zahereelay' song of the same movie. You may not like the song (neither did i), you may or may not like the singer's voice, but that my friends is a rock star's voice. Farhan A's voice is too shallow, and he could not take any song to higher notes, or at least i never noticed.The song they picked for the contest - 'Peechhale saat dinon mein' is way out of category for a rock song. They still manage to win the contest because they are our movie stars and not rock stars. They should have at least used the services of Luke Kenny who was right there on the sets playing Rob.Our supposedly rock artists are purists, they live by principles, so they don't want a remix song in their album. But they have no objection towards 'Tum Ho To' song. I like this song, it's a soulful melody, but what about the rules they just set for themselves.2. Arjun Rampal - This shouldn't come as a surprise. Someone should convince him he is way far from an actor. His cold demeanor and stone face is used quite cleverly i would say in the movie. Nice way to use someone's inabilities to act to project his character. Acting apart, if you want to see someone really uncomfortable with a guitar watch A R strumming strings on the concluding stage show. Even the extras could have done better.3. Storyline - Is it only me or everyone thinks they have seen this before in movies, on TV ? You know what i read on internet, that this is Dil Chahta Hai part 2. The only apparent similarity is Farhan Akhtarand S E L.4. Cliche's - There are so many of them, that it hardly keeps you guessing and mostly boring. It's full of sequences created to cramp into storyline.Devika's goa acquaintance at her shop, the character of Aditya's boss, Prachi's leaving Aditya to her Mom's house and quickly coming back, to count a few.1. I quickly became the fan of the music. To me that's the only non ordinary thing about the movie. All the songs put together, Shakar Ehsan Loy have done a superb job. Rock on! is catchy, Socha Hai is racy, Tum ho to is soft and romantic. I also liked Phir Dekhiye song, it's equally soft and melodious.2. F A is ok as an actor. Can[...]



Olympics are over - what can we learn that we never learn

2008-08-27T20:46:00.916-05:00

Another olympics came to a scintillating close. China waived goodbye to the thousands of athletes, coaches, press and media and millions of eyes watching from around the world with a grand celebration and its head held high.Apart from the obvious controversies of athlete's age, garbage judging in gymnastics, boxing and just a few doping incidents, the olympics was a phenomenal success for the communist nation.This time i followed the olympics much closely than before. I kept up late nights watching games on NBC or the canadian CBET channel. So here are some observations.1. It's a big pain in the butts to keep up late nights watching them and getting up early morning to be in office in time.2. Great Britain won 7 out of 10 gold medals in indoor cycling. That's an incredibly high % of medals in any event and takes a huge chunk out of the 16 golds GB won overall.3. China won 7 out of 8 gold medals up for grabs in diving. Except for the 'final dive' heroics by the Aussie Matthew Mitcham, China swept the golds in diving.4. Ethiopia won 4 gold medals, all in long distance, won by 1 man and 1 woman. Two were men's 5000 m, 10000m and 2 were women's in exactly same categories.5. US won 13 gold medals in swimming alone. That's more than 1/3rd of their total gold count.6. Jamaica won 6 golds, 11 total medals. 100% of them in track and field. 100% of them in sprinting (100, 200, 100X 4).7. There are 7 gold medals to grab in 'rowing' , 11 golds in 'kayaking/canoeing' , 6 golds in 'equestrian' events.8. There are 14 golds to dig in gymnastics (China won 12 of these) and add 2 in rhythmic gymnastics.Why i list these here, cos i felt a certain trend in these. For a medal deprived country like India, which spends exuberant amout of money, and excessive attention to the sport of cricket that is not part of the olympics at all and even if it is included in future can fetch only 1 (or 2) medals as a whole, look at the opportunities to grab medals !!For the startes, we must put this on a notebook, how much of money, sponsorship which sports require. Look at Great Britain and their olympic program. They pay part of the tax money as salaries to athletes and they got excellent coaches who turned their cyclists (who also are great athletes) into world champions. If GB can do it, why can't we !If Ethiopia can win long distance double gold, why can't we. Why can't we pick sports which have greater potential of giving results (and less fluff) and target them.Jamaicans are known for sprinting. They have troubled the US athletes all the time. This time was their greatest trimuph.One thing i've always heard is 'desi' ppl lack in strength and stamina to africa or western countries (no offense meant). But then what @ diving ? what @ gymnastics. If China sweeps men's gymnastics golds, and almost sweeps diving (you should have seen the Chinese divers, they are sleek, extremely lean and small compared to others. Being sleek and light is quite an advantage in diving. Their women's synchro pair looked like twins both in form and movements off the board.) there is no question of someone being bigger in size than you.Our boxers have done well over time. Not that well may be to win multiple olympic medals but they have been noticeable from quite a while. But then that sport never got attention to pour money into it and develop the contemporary breed of young athletes into gold diggers. We have history of medal in weightlifting as well.Abhinav Bindra won gold in 10m rifle - shooting. That doesn't require you to be big and heavy. And he won. There are so many ways to target certain sports and do good in them. Of course the first attempt may not fetch any gold medals but that would take you close to the podium. Even a bronze in a 'systematically targetted event' is a harbinger of future success to come. But we rely on individual athletes working their ass off w/o any financial support or security or little help in world class coaching and facilities. Somehow our folks manage to scrap a medal or two and whoa !![...]



Age, myopic judges and Gymnastics

2008-08-15T15:58:03.434-05:00

Nastia Liukin won the all-round gold in gymnastics. Finally something other than the Chinese National anthem played at the medal ceremony in the National Indoor Arena.

She conquered the allegedly underaged Chinese, garbage scoring by horribly inconsistent judges and her good friend and reigning world champion Shawn Johnson to claim the top spot on the podium.

My heart goes out to Shawn. She got hammered in the uneven bars routine despite doing well (of course at a lesser difficulty level than Nastia) and she wasn't given her due on the balance beam in spite of an incredible performance. Her do-or-die floor routine was stunning too!.

My heartiest congratulations to the women's new all-round olympic champion. Way to go Nastia !!



Take your pick - Cooking or Wedding

2008-08-06T19:52:08.021-05:00

25 something bachelors staying away from home, beware. If you cringe that you hate cooking, even a casual line that you did not want to cook y'day night or you were too tired of work to cook or u want to go out for lunch on a weekday, you just got yourself into trouble.
A pervasive statement in it's many flavors would be hurled at you from all sides, "You should get married" or "Go get married" or "why don't you get married" or "it's time to get married" or "find yourself a girl to get married".
Now, what has cooking to do with wedding bells. Agreed, after marriage probably your wife would cook for you (and her) but shouldn't there be more reasons to get hooked up with someone for the rest of ur life than having to do away with the boring cooking chore. Besides, in world like today's, it's likely that you would be the one toying with skillet and pans for both of you than her. Or you might just get a maid to do the kitchen stuff. Or, and quite unlikely, you may just enjoy cooking yourself !!
hmphhhhh !



Salute the Knight

2008-12-13T00:37:25.486-05:00

What happens when you give the keys of a superhero franchise into the hands of an outstanding director who finds talented screenwriters either employing himself or his protege' brother and get the best actors to play his characters on screen. You get a movie where Amazing Happens (borrowed from the NBA) !To me, the Batman really started with Batman Begins. Nothing against Tim Burton, but i didnt really enjoy the pre-Nolan Batman movies. They were good but they were like those recipes which taste delicious, yet you still feel there is something missing, mmm, may be cinnamon, may be salt, may be pepper, you can't narrow it down and still you know it could have been better.Enough said already about the movie, so i will keep it short. I found a perfect handshake between developing the characters and keeping the pace of the movie in TDK. Just listen to the meticulously written dialogues and you would know how carefully they've written the script.Finally a movie, where we get to see the full blown villain, Joker, the man behind the painted face with special love for anarchy and chaos. Agreed he doesn't tell any jokes but he makes you laugh with his wisecracks and plain insanity. The agent of chaos is written remarkably by the Nolans and portrayed perfectly by Heath Ledger far better than the Riddler of Jim Carrey. I especially loved his confrontations with Batman - "This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.... You won't kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness, and I won't kill you because you are just too much fun !""Why do you want to kill me?" "Kill you ! What will i do without you. Go back to ripping off mob dealers? ..... You .. you complete me". Equally good were his arguement with the officer "Do you wanna know why I use a knife? Guns are too quick. You can't savor all the little emotions...... So in a way, I know your friends better than you ever did .. Do you want to know which of them are cowards? " or his "Why so serious?" tagline explanation of his scars. He's really got into the character of Joker and once again, credit also goes to the script.If Batman Begins was written for Bruce Wayne and Christian Bale, then TDK without a doubt is written for Joker and Heath. To be fair to Bale, he's done a great job showcasing the Batman who wants to turn Gotham into the hands of the "White Knight" Harvey Dent, or turn himself in to stop Joker's innocent killing and give up his suit for the love of the city. He wants to see the picture of Gotham that doesn't need Batman, but it is still not there yet, so he remains a dark knight, who like a guardian angel protects the city, takes blame for someone else to keep the hope of the city alive, the shawdow the city needs and yet loves to hate. The movie also brings out technical wizzardry of Batman and also touches the point that a completely human superhero has his limits.Aaron Eckhart couldn't have been better in his "You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain " portrayal of Harvey Dent.The stunts are just brilliant and you get to see every penny's worth on the screen. An occasional shot of perky humor, outstanding action sequences and great chemistry between some of the greatest big screen performers keep the movie racing and the clock ticking for 2.5 hours without you noticing.Atom Feed[...]



Lost and Delirious (2001)

2008-12-13T00:37:25.648-05:00

I was flipping through Youtube and stumbled over this movie. Surprisingly the whole movie is out there.Lost and Delirious is a love story, set in a posh girls boarding school. Mary (Mischa Barton) is the 'new girl' who joins her senior roommates Paulie (Piper Perabo) and Tori (Jessica Pare'). As she is trying to get over the death of her mother and getting used to life in the new place, she discovers her roommates are actually lovers. Surprised at first, she silently approves of their love playing her tacit part. No one else knows about it and the love is blossoming through the lives of the adolescent and adorable young couple. Everything seems well when Tori's sister Allison accidentally finds her in bed with Paulie. Before she could relay this to their orthodox parents and hell cut loose, Tori decides to break up with Paulie lying to Allison that Paulie has a crush on her and she slipped into her bed and Tori has nothing to do with it. That she is attracted to guys and in very much in love with Jake, from neighboring school. Paulie on the other hand, never denies to be in love with Tori, and she begins to try win her back, fending off the constant taunts of her peers. Tori, though still in love with Paulie is in a constant denial of her feelings, just to look 'normal'. It gets worse when Paulie gets a mail stating they have found her Mom but she doesn't want to reveal her identity. Paulie's desperate ways to win the only person to love her, making a scene in the canteen, in the class, in the library then challenging Jake for duel reach their limit and the tragic end dawns.It artfully captures the essence of falling in love at the adolescent age. Paulie's not giving up her love over Tori's denial, Paulie's insane actions over Tori's exaggerated praise of her boyfriend, and Mary's trying to snap Paulie out of it while discovering her coming of age are portrayed beautifully. The movie underlines you can't control when and with whom you fall in love and love is 'just is'. It captures all the hues of a love story, starting with the freshness of love at tender age, the holding hands and singing, the lying in each others' arms, the melancholy when your love walks out on you, the buckling of one of the lovers under family and social pressure, the sense of competition and determination to win your love back. All this has been brought through vibrant colors, great photography and outstanding performance by the lead characters. The movie is slow and sometimes predictable but it doesn't fail to touch a part of you. Piper Perabo outright steals the show . Isn't she as gorgeous as she's a great actor ! Too bad she doesn't do much mainstream cinema. Equally stunning Jessica Pare' has done justice to her portrayal of the lover unable to pick between what she wants over what others would say. Mischa Barton has done well too. The movie clearly goes beyond the lesbian undertones and what we get is the masterpiece of a marvelous and sad love story.Atom Feed[...]



Wisdom through Scrubs

2008-07-17T23:42:55.743-05:00

In one of the past season episodes of Scrubs, Turk and Carla are planning to have a baby. Carla observes the tightrope walk Dr Cox and Jordan had to go thru due to their kid while she also discovers she can't manage kids by herself and they are just a big nuisance. Dr Cox observes her caught up between the two worlds of the desire to have baby and the fears of not being able to raise it. And comes this from Dr Cox - "When you have yours, you'll know you had the courage to be a parent all along".

Last weekend, i spoke with one of my friends who became mom 3 months back. And after the usual Qs about her 3 month old, i threw the question - how does it feel to have the kid, to completely focus all the attention to him, to think about the baby before yourself and your husband, to bend everything to fit the new part of you into your life. She instantly said "M, when you become a parent, it just happens. It takes nothing special beyond that".

So the point is, sitcoms can be worth something, despite being so unreal or plain fake !
Another point is, it's not only about welcoming a baby into your life. It can be applied to anything new coming to your life, even your wedding, or quitting your job in pursuit of your dream.
hmmm ...



No Pain for SPain this time !

2008-12-13T00:37:25.842-05:00

It was theirs to take even before the tournament began. They entered the tournament with a 16 game winning streak and they emerged as the only team of late to win every single match to lift the European Championship trophy (after France did that in 1984 or so).

From the very beginning they displayed their skills with the football. I always liked to watch them dribble and enjoy ball possession. They however lacked taking control in midfield especially against a strong defensive team like Italy. You don't see them making long passes across center line and their tiny framework against bigger-in-size European teams was not in best of their favor.
But they had speed, and Puyol and Marchena took care of business down their box intercepting almost everything that tried to sneak to Casillas. And Casillas had the safest pair of gloves on his recently insured hands. Xavi was impressive all along and David Villa became the hottest player in Europe.
Fernando Torres finally got the credit for such a great player that he is. Whoever saw his title clinching goal against Germany would agree, no body else could've done it. It was Torres and only Torres who went to the blind side of Lahm and outran him and flicked the ball just before Lehman could grab it.
Torres could have got one earlier but it hit the woodwork and added one more to his poor luck this tournament. But he kept running. kept fighting hard for the ball and he got his dew finally.
Torres and Fabregas almost never let anyone realize that they were missing their star striker and the leading goal scorer in Euro 2008 - David Villa. With a little more luck they could've got a couple more into the net. But in the end, they didn't need one. One of the surprising things was how Spain never let Germans into attacks in the dying minutes. They made it look like Germany had already given up. That was a stamp of how dominant Spain was.

They overcame quite a bit of history to win this. They first got better of Italy in quarterfinals and then broke the jinx of yellow jersey (??) against Russia in semis. The only doubt was if they can beat the 44 years of drought of a major title and Torres and Casillas and Co showed they meant Championship this time. Hail the Champions of Europe !



Boston TeaM Party

2008-12-13T00:37:26.473-05:00

The reaction of KG said it all. Oblivious to the delirious crowd and his team mates in wild frenzy of celebration, he rushed to the center of the parquet floor, knelt down, kissed the leprechaun and collapsed. He had finally answered his own demons, he could stand up to him for once and forever here on. He wanted to savor this moment. He couldn't hold his breath when someone put a mic in front of him. He finally let his emotions flow, unrestrained, he nearly collapsed on shoulders of Posey. There came the biggest moment when Bill Russell walked over to him and hugged him and then he could once in his life say those proud words "I've got my own". Yes, he got his own. He quickly got approval from Bill when he asked 'Hope we made you proud'. For all those years in Minnesotta, he was alone. In Boston he finally found his home, he found a place where he belongs. The city that has seen it all in 16 NBA titles, was long waiting for it's 17th, so long that they could have even quit on basketball. With KG in off-season trade, they got their hope back, they got the reason to believe in the C's. They worshiped him all season. They knew the 17th banner was in the making.In Boston, like in war, there is no prize for the runner up. Their legacy is so rich, anything short of a title is flat ordinary. KG knew it, Paul Pierce knew it well through the last decade and Ray Allen knew it too. They gave the city the reward for every single moment of faith it has shown in their revived green team.When the scoreline says 131-92, no ones need a telling it was a no contest. But it came against the best offensive team in the league. They could have won game 5 in LA on Sunday and made their fans and fathers proud. But it was a close contest, and more importantly, KG had a 'garbage' game in his own words. KG was the most consistent player on either side of the board throughout playoffs for Boston. He, most of all, was not going to let this chance slip. But he didn't have a great series against Lakers and game 5 was his worst. But come game 6 and it was a totally new KG, rather the same KG we knew before, the KG on a mission. He was aggressive than ever and with clinical precision of not giving away fouls in aggression. He was there to take shots and to get boards on defense. Celtics' celebrated defense is built around him and he showed why, once again.Ray Allen shot with a magical touch, anything and everything sliding out from his fingers would find the basket. He is unarguably the unsung hero for C's. He had a crap first 2 rounds in playoffs. Nothing would work for him, and media and fans doubted him but he never changed anything. He believed in himself. Doc Rivers, KG and Paul did too. He came alive against Pistons, he was the biggest factor in that win. He was the most consistent player against Lakers. Game 6 was no different.Pierce was charging into paint, and he had Kobe silenced and perplexed. He's sacrificed his offense to guard Kobe. He did that against a more physical Lebron of Cavaliers. He could have easily scored 50 more points in the playoffs, but it wasn't individual honors for Boston. Paul, Ray, KG have seen it all - all sorts of awards and all-star selections. What they didn't have was the ring. Their own rafter, their ultimate prize, the Larry O'Brien trophy.The best thing to see was Rajon Rondo in action. I have nothing against him, he is too young, and to be a point guard for a such a high profile team, is a big weight on those young shoulders. He & Perkins give the opposition a chance to flank the floor and use free safety on their shooters. He would miss free throws, and often his extra energy would give away a turnover. But that didn't matter. Doc always had faith in him. He accepted Rondo is not getting few things right, but he never criticized him. He missed shots and FTs here a[...]



It's not a dream anymore !!

2008-12-13T00:37:26.805-05:00

Celtics v/s LakersYes, it's true !All the die-hard fans of NBA that soaked the Celtics Lakers rivalry in the 80s were praying for this dream to come true this year the moment they saw rejuvenated Celtics with the presence of KG and Ray Allen and they saw Kobe working it out with his teammates. But the Celtics didn't live up to their 66-16 record in the Playoffs. Minnows Atlanta stretched them to the limit, Cavs almost got the better of them, but Celtics survived. They hung in there, exhausted and old yet with a grit not to give up.Personally, i never saw them going past the Pistons. For Pistons were well rested and Celtics had played 14 games in 28 days going into Game 1 against Pistons. Pistons are playoff seasoned, having made it to the East finals 6 years in a row. Pistons are smart, they know how to make adjustments playing on road, they have unarguably the best bench in the league, their leader Chauncey Billups is a supercool guy and a great 3-point shooter. Prince had found ominous touch against 6ers and Rip was looking as dependable as ever. But the Celtics despite blunders in giving away handful turnovers, missing easy shots, came over Pistons much better than against Hawks or Cavs. Hmm ......I saw a different Celtics in game 6 v/s Pistons. They managed to bounce back in 4th Q on road which they hadn't done before. The most important thing i saw there was, that their big 3, all of them lived upto expectation in the clutch. In game 5 i saw Kevin Garnett passing the ball while wide open and well inside his normal shooting range. That wasn't acceptable, not from KG. Yes he had scored consistently in the first half, but that doesn't condone the no-shot in the 4th Q. What makes you 'big' is how you perform under pressure, how you put everything on line so your team can get home. You are the one who the teams looks up to. Game 6, KG was in foul trouble and he had made only 4 of his 13 shots. But in 4th, when it mattered, KG stood up and made 2 crucial baskets. Despite his poor shot%, he did not pass. Paul Pierce was firing with all the gun-power he had, very much similar to game 7 v/s Cavs. Ray Allen had found his smooth touch very early into the game. This is what everyone wanted from Celtics. Finally they looked like the 66-16 team. Rajon Rondo was playing his usual share of mistakes, giving away fouls on Chauncey, missing shots, KG and Paul also missed free throws but that was not enough to let down their undying spirit. They were running hard, they were forcing steals and turnovers. They wanted to win.Winning East isn't a job done.Lakers - are looking better than they ever looked beyond the Shaq-Kobe era. If i would like them to be the champions is for the one and only Kobe Bryant. I mean you just can't imagine them winning w/o Kobe. He can draw 2 or even 3 defenders and create easy basket for you. He can hit basket out of nowhere, irrespective of double teams. He is THE man to pass the ball to when the clock is dying and pressure is mounting. That's the difference between Pistons and Lakers. All 5 starters of Pistons could be all stars but none of them is a superstar. And does that matter? YES of course, how many times you've seen Kobe bailing out Lakers single handedly. The most recent being game 1 against Spurs and even the game 5.What happens against Celtics. The historic rivalry is revived yet again. If not for the game 6 between Celtics and Pistons, i had no doubt that it's going to be Lakers. They wouldn't have home court advantage for the first time this Playoffs, against Celtics. But they know what it takes to win on road. They smashed Nuggets twice in Denver and they silenced the mighty Spurs in their backyard. Moreover, Pistons showed in game 2 that Celtics are beatable at home. And if they can't find an answer to tie up Kobe (remembe[...]



I dont want to hear it

2008-02-04T11:36:58.179-05:00

The New England Patriots lost ! Lost to NY Giants 17-14.
I dont want to talk @ it or hear it or discuss it anymore.
Eli Manning got his first Superbowl MVP title and like everyone says the deserving team on the field (on that particular day) won.
The 1972 dolphins uncorked their champagne bottles one more time, never this late any season, but the champagne never tasted so sweet. I hate Mercury Morris.



Come on Guys, Give it to the Patriots

2008-02-02T01:53:35.394-05:00

I honestly don't think anyone deserves it more than the New England Patriots. No team riding on luck can be 18 against zilch in their record any season. They are the first ever team in NFL history to finish 16-0 in regular season. The 1972 Miami Dolphins "Perfectville" have 17-0 season including post season, 2 matches less than the Patriots.But i don't say so, just because they are AFC Champions now and with a clean 18-0 slate. Just look at who they faced this season. Not all teams face so strong teams in a season and yet able to maintain a clean record.Week 2 (home) : San Diego Chargers. What's so special about them, they reached AFC championship later after defeating Indianapolis Colts, unarguably 2nd best team in AFC. Chargers had also defeated Colts at home in a close shave earlier this season.Week 6 (away) : Dallas Cowboys. No ones needs a telling on how tough it is to beat the NFC no. 1 ranked Cowboys at home. Both Patriots and Cowboys had 5-0 record entering the game. Tony Romo in prime form and a strong physical defense. Result : Pats won by a margin on 21.I believe this must be the match where they really started chasing perfection.Week 9 (away): Indianapolis Colts. The defending Superbowl Champions. Both teams 8-0 going into the game. With the AFC Championship loss last season to Colts not off his memory, Tom Brady overcame 10 point deficit against chamption Colts, Pats defense picked off Manning and they turned the game over. Victory never tasted better. One of the best matches of the season.Week 14 (home): Pittsburgh Steelers. Now this year they were not playing really well, yet they were rank 4 at the end of the season. They were also ranked 1 in defense then. Expectations were they would shut off Brady. But what happened, Brady threw 399 yards, 4 TD passes no interception. The defense could not reach Brady even once, so well did their offensive line. Pats defense built wall to stop 4th and 1 twice, once at 1 yard line.Week 17 (away): New York Giants. This was the dream of every Pat fan, a perfect regular season. With everything on line, Pats overcame 12 point deficit and won by margin of 3. Giants played exceptionally well, got their confidence back, carried the same momentum and performed exceptionally well in playoffs. But Pats, you have to give it to them. They fought it hard. They just did not want to lose their perfect record.Pats had unexpectedly close matches against NY Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens. If they are so great, how come 2nd rung teams like these can give them a run for their money. Well , that's the greatness of Pats. Sometimes, you don't get your game going. Sometimes, even weather hurts, someone may get injured, or on your 3rd downs the ball slips out of receiver's hands, or u give away a fumble. The 'one bad day' can frustrate you, compel you to give it away at crucial moments, make u rethink ur decision of calling a play. But they did not fall prey to it. They fought against it, so much so that they just did not know losing, no matter what. If their favorite passing game isnt working, switch to running game, long passes wont work, fine switch to bullets. Keep mixing. They outthought everyone. People would stand up to the task. No wonder they have the best record in 4th quarter in the league.If you have knocked off AFC rank 2, rank 3, rank 4 teams, NFC rank 1, rank 5, rank 6 teams in regular season (and that gave you AFC rank 1) and yet maintain immaculate record, you know you are the best team in the league.They have so many plays. No team can be 18-0 with weakness in some department, hoping every time their strong hold would bail them out. You can't win so many matches with just defense, with just running game, with just passing game. If Randy Moss[...]



Thoughts to rescue !

2007-11-02T19:33:46.709-05:00

Just too many thoughts breeze thru ur mind in a single day. Wish there was a way to transfer this 'thought energy' into something useful. Bet it would be far greater in magnitude than any solar or wind energy and like a special holiday discount, it would be everlasting.



Spiderman 3 - STRICTLY under PG-13 ... or.. wait a minute !

2007-05-05T10:45:17.170-05:00

The promos of the movie hovered around 'The greatest battle is the battle within', the 'dark side of the good' theme. The expectation was Spidey wud be shown fending off emotional battle between the power and morals, remember 'with greater power comes ... ' , between selfishness and righteousness. The movie did justice to this storyline, but only slightly, and i am rather disappointed.This 3rd edition has far more action sequences (mostly digital than real) than its predecessors. The sandman is brilliantly made. All the actors have done well, photography is excellent. It also has perky humor sprinkled loosely causing occasional rounds of laughter. But the story or the lack of a contiguous storyline makes it a lackluster movie (IMO).The first impession is they tried to squeeze too many movies into one. There could hv been a movie on Venom, one dedicated to sandman and one solely on the 'battle within'. That would give them a better option of concentrating on the theme, one at a time. Sandwiching everything has made a big mess made even worse by the transformations of Harry. Bad-good-bad-good wot !!!!!!!! Today morning i feel Harry should punish spidey for his father's death, but while i go to bed at night i feel.. nay .. Harry's a good boy, Peter's best friend, so i wud wipe out his 'short term memory' till the point of his father's death. But i get a dream in which a fairy tells me, oh then MJ might really start to like him, makes me sweat in my dreams so next morning, i borrow Mr Goblin from hell and scratch Harry's medulla oblongata (or wotever is required) and he's back as new Goblin. Then our hero in black beats him hands down, and i felt ok, one prong of the mess got eliminated. But no !!!! he isnt done yet, you hv to still see his brighter n better side. Come'on !! Are we showing battles-within of spiderman or Harry, give me a break !The greatest battle shown is actually between the sandman and venom pact v/s our 'awakened' itsybitsy spidey. They are far superior as a team for our superhero and he wud hv been dead (yes, that's what is shown) had it not been for his last moment ally. Whereas he is able to conquer his 'inner battle' all by himself, although he becomes rude and hurts loved ones, matter is not totally out of hands like he going berserk punishing innocents or destroying public property. He did try to avenge his grandfather's death in the first part without needing any black suit to 'amplify' his darker side so it's ridiculous to say it's that black suit that triggered everything !!He is even shown selfish, only concerned about his iconic image, kissing his chick classmate in front of a million flashing cameras without any 'black infection' and that too when his sweetheart MJ is in emotinal turmoil, desparately in need of moral support of her superhero boyfriend. He is also gotten into his public image so much that he's become shallow to notice her tears and provide her any sort of strong hand.It does try to plug in some loop holes of its predecessors, but what about the plenty of cliche'd scenes in its own?The news reporter in the final showdown describing the events and 'what might be the end of ...' are utter platitude. Peter losing the staff job to Eddie Brock at Daily Bugle was nonsensical. The hundreds of people flocking to see the 'showdown' between venom + sandman v/s spiderman and cheering for their hero lack any sort of originality, i felt like i am watching that scene 100th time on the big screen.Imagine this.The great Mr Peter Parker has invited his GF to a plush restaurant in NYC, which even his GF knows he can't afford. An exquisite dining place, with possibly a dress code, where they can play violin on demand fo[...]



Five Points something

2007-04-11T23:21:48.787-05:00

I start this post with no particular thought. Just to scribble whatever flows thru the pen (fingers). 'musings', random thoughts, week's summary etc could have suited more for title.

So here we go
1. Happy Easter to everyone. Many of my friends had a long weekend here but not me. Ironic as it may sound, our India facility was closed on Good Friday and Good Friday wasn't an official holiday here in the US, so we were working full day.

2. Got a hair cut on Saturday, i wanted to do it on Sunday but i sensed well in time that the barber shop wud be closed for Easter. This time i had to let my head in the hands of a new 'hair dresser' (i feel the word 'barber' doesnt suit on girls). As i try a new hairstyle everytime i step into the barber shop (oh there again), i asked for the catalogue/book and this lady was completely taken by surprise. Guess she might be expecting only preselected options like 'long/short/medium' and vrooooom runs the clipper and swoop swap sweep go the scissors. In the end, i did NOT end up getting a haircut to my desire. So that's about it.

3. I started this post on Easter but it cudn't proceed beyond a point and a half. So today trying to get to make it crawl further.

4. Take ur pick - Which is the most irritating form of work that you absolutely hate but at the same time can not do away with
a. Washing the soiled utensils and cleaning kitchen
b. Pressing (ironing) your clothes (on same day as washing, on Day 2, on Day 3.. )
c. Cleaning Bathroom, vacuuming the whole apartment
d. Sorting the heaps of flyers/pamphlets/so-called-deals that keep getting posted to ur mailbox

5. This week's been pretty busy and so will be whatever is still left of it. BTW, cooking-for-fun days are now over. These days i cook only when essential or when i m weary of maggi.



Citibank $100 Deal - Last 2 days

2008-12-13T00:37:27.247-05:00

Here is the offer (click image to enlarge)
(image)
Terms and Conditions (click image to enlarge)(image) Offer home page

Additional Info
1. You must not have a citiback checking or savings account already.
2. The offer says you need to open both e-savings and EZ checking accounts 'together', which is what you do when you use the offer code CS2P.

Drawbacks
1. It requires you make initial deposite of $5000.
2. There is no 'minimum balance' requirement. BUT the fine print says 'your account must be in good standing'. So you should not withdraw everything and expect to get $100.
3. Citibank does a hard credit inquiry on you to check your credit worthiness, although they are not really offering you a credit account.

Workarounds
1. They dont need the $5000 rightaway. You just need to mention ur checking/savings account details. They would send you some documents within 7 business days. You need to sign one of them (authorization) and fax it over before 04/30/07. Only on receipt of the fax would they withdraw money from your bank account.
It gives you approx 30 days to arrange for funds.

2. There is no restriction on how you should split the $5000 between checking and savings account. The best deal is keep high amount in savings and only about $200-300 in checking.
You get 4.75% APY on savings, which is less than what Emigrant Direct offers, but 0.30% (the difference) of APY for 3 months won't earn you $100.
You can also keep about $1000 in this savings account after it becomes operative and that is still fair enough i believe (this is not confirmed, as no one can really quantify what is 'in good standing').
And keep you checking accout active, by doing minor transactions like pay for coffee, withdrawing $5-10 from ATM, depositing $5-10 and so on. (It was told that you need to keep it active, and there should be some transactions. It didnt sound like hard n fast rule but there isn't a documented way to confirm).



Credit Cards and Balance Transfers

2007-03-28T21:56:43.858-05:00

I've very recently acquired interest in this credit/finance line. Thanks mostly to two of my close friends, one being Golbguru and the other a colleague of mine.

Today for the first time i received a cheque(check) of the money that doesn't belong to me and i hv to pay it back in interest free monthly installments. It may sound weird to few but this is how the 'credit' thing works in US.
The cheque amt is meager $350, which by no parlance is something to brag about, but a start nevertheless.

I am strictly a novice in this, but let me tell you how it works.

0% APR on balance transfers - This is something you will never find in India. Normally the interest rates are 2-3% per month = 24-36% per annum (Annual Percentage Rate). In US you might get a credit card with absolutely NO interest on the money you transfer from you existing credit accounts. What a way to pull your competitors' customers.
But as the credit companies are no fools to loan you interest free money, they wud do a 'hard' credit-check on you before approving you a credit card (which happens for all credit cards that you apply for).
If you qualify you transfer your outstandings from other cred cards to this and enjoy interest-free minimum payments per month. Normally the offer would expire after 6-12-15 months and this is the time when you look for another such offer, from their competitors.
(caution : There might be a transaction charge for balance transfers, in that case, you just ignore that offer. Stay put and wait for next offer).

So now in all this, how can you make money ?
Simple - Transfer your non-existing outstandings from an earlier credit card to this card.
eg. You hold card A already without any outstanding amt and card B is the new card with 0% offer. Lets say your credit limit on card A = $5000 and on Card B you qualify for $3000 balance transfer credit.
So now transfer $3000 to your new card B from card A. The credit card company B will send a cheque of $3000 to credit card company A. Soon your acct A will show a 'credit' of $3000.
Then you call up company A and ask them to send a cheque of $3000 as on their records, you've paid excess money to this card. They would happily issue a cheque free of cost and you get the $3000 - cash (in 2-5 days) which you never owned.
Keep paying the minimum amt due every month on card B with 0% interest. This is a MUST else you lose your 0% interest luxury.

Invest $3000 into whatever options (FD/CD/stocks etc) you feel suitable, and enjoy the returns.

P.S. The colleague & friend i mentioned earlier enjoys about $20,000 credit in revolving balance at 0% APR. At 5% APY (annual percentage yield), he can make about $1000 in a year if he invests the money in fixed deposits.



Cell phones, sleep and Mr Murphy

2007-03-14T23:22:33.678-05:00

Adaptation of Murphy's law to sleep n cell phones, i never really found any so thought i may contribute myself, based on experience.

Law: Your cell phone will ring when you are right in the middle of the heavenly bliss of a weekend siesta, long and loud enough to wake you up completely.

Corollary : Your cell phone will be lying far enough to seize from you the privilege of swatting it by your left hand shutting it off, resulting into you having to get up and out of the bed, walking all the way to reach out for the phone only to find that the ringer turns off right at the moment you finally pick it up to answer.

Corollary 2: After you call names the person who'd called, you'd try to sleep again. The moment you feel you are in the crossover n sleep is about to smile, the (bloody) cell phone would ring again and .. ..

Corollary 3: If you sleep like a corpse, there will be someone else (parents/ spouse/ friend/ to-be-spouse/ to-be-parents) inside the house who would be up or would wake up and carry the dreadful instrument in as-ringing state to your bedroom and knock u out of ur sleep.

Updated (03/15/07 12.25 am)
Corollary 4: You will invariably forget to switch off your cell phone or put it into silent mode.

Due to the following Comments. Sort of 'not leaving anything to chance'

id it is said...

Interesting corollaries, but another option may be to change the setting to 'vibrate only', hehe, and then slumber prevails.

Golbguru said...

Yep, I have had that experience many times. I simple solution is to switch it off. :) If the person who is calling has something important to say, he/she will leave a message. Nobody has complained yet...so I guess that's how it will be always.



Finally onto the *New Blogger*

2007-03-12T23:37:13.905-05:00

At last !!
why - cos blogger didnt act a sport in letting me keep my old template, old settings, old customizations, carry forward old quirks and continue to use old link lists.

Huh - what's the problem in moving to a better set of things?
Absolutely none, the only slight concern is that it would mean i need to copy all my links (i wud rather move to Blogroll than adding each n every link), add chatterbox, disclaimers, remove the blogbar from top and wotever else it takes to bring it close to the one i had.

The most important of these are the links to your blogs, which r now missing, so join me in condemning blogger, if u will and at the same time, bear with me till i add them.

The old template was over worked up anyway, so i have chose a different one, although not really to my taste (two tiny columns in the centre, wasting 50% of the visible screen area, naah ! i cant really admire this. The template designers need to grow up, we are into 1024 + pixels era).

Now the point to mention is now i hv to keep swapping between 2 blogger identities.
When i moved to this new blogger, it asked 'use existing gmail acct' or 'create new'. I chose the latter n it asked for 'an existing mail id', i used my yahoo id 'altruist_m@yahoo.com' thinking it wud let me create another gmail acct, but it dint !! It rather added this yahoo acct to its 'google accts' including a google homepage and from then i use rather i hv to use this yahoo id to sign on to google services. Strange eh !!

So, all in all, my first step into the new world.

See you guys.

Addendum (03/12/2007, 11 am)
The harbor template is back and so are 'links to your blogs'.
*Sigh*

Addendum 2 (03/12/07, 7.45 pm)
I've cleansed the blog off all the unnecessary 'uppercase' lettering inherent to the harbor template.
Most of the links are back in the side bar, with different titles/vebiage/positions.



I miss..

2007-03-13T00:28:59.857-05:00

(image) Me..
I miss those VBMs where (crazy) ppl all over the world would chip in with their keystrokes n static filled voices.
I miss singing Jana Gana Mana in VBMs, i miss singing B'day songs in VBMs. I miss singing any sort of songs. I miss antakshari. I miss those unknown faces singing in melodious voices.
I miss those silly games. I miss the introduction rounds. I miss pulling each others' legs. I miss the peppy talks. I miss ..........

This Blog..

I miss those b'day dedications
I miss those accounts of VBMs/blogger meets
I miss the influx of readers, i miss those myriad comments
I miss the humor, i miss the life.

x-----x-----x

It's been more than a year that i last attended a VBM. It's been a year that i last let out an unrestrained smile on this blog.
I did make a few attempts at restoring the life back on this blog but i cudnt really pull it off.

This is another such attempt.



in a nutshell ..

2007-03-13T00:02:52.384-05:00

1. Tasted alcohol (beer + wine + rum + scotch .. not necessarily in this order, not necessarily all in one go. Also had my first shot of tequila).

2. Hoping to find a good car deal this week. I cudnt lay my hands on the ones i'd shortlisted earlier.

3. I havent been to any strip club.



Expressions of Silence

2007-03-12T23:38:53.909-05:00

(image)
She's one of the most simple and amazingly talented bloggers. A great person with head firm on her shoulders, someone who has a distinct philosophy of life, someone who believes in taking things as they come, never flustered by the rollercoaster rides of life.

Friends form the pillars of her life and something she deeply treasures.
She's a big fan of Gulzar, i wonder why she needs another topic for her PhD :)


(image)
Many Happy Returns of the Day to Neelima of Expressions of Silence. Wish You a Very Happy Birthday Neelu. Just be the way you are (else Amir khan wd need to change his dialogue of DCH). :)

Rock On !




Linguistic Enrichments

2007-03-13T00:52:31.057-05:00

M (yours truly) & his roomie are eating curd rice (OK that's the dinner :) ). There is no pickle to go along with it.R(oomie to M) suddenly remembers something : Hey M, you had some powder ?M taken aback by this sudden question .. trying to put together what on earth face-powder has to do with curd rice: eh ??R tries to explain with hand gestures, like he is putting a pinch of salt into his plate.M (and it cliks): Oh !! you mean chutney ! Yes we have. It's in the fridge :)What Ms X said : Hey park the car nearly (the visitor centre in Niagara) .when she actually meant : Park the car close to the visitor centre in Niagara. Mr X (in the driver's seat): The camera is in the middle.when he actually meant: The camera is lying in the space between the front seats. (i really didnt understand it first time i heard it.. i just looked around inside the car and then it clicked)'Can not be able to' : This is with me for years. I see people around me using it quite frequently completely oblivious to any flaws it might have.eg. I can not be able to complete the estimate in time if ..eg. We can not be able to drive if the rain continues this way.Now someone please confirm if this is correct form of grammar. As far as i know, 'can not' and 'not able to/unable to' should be mutually exclusive. I am open for suggestions. In fact really really open :)'Curry'Is there any other word for cooked vegetables, i mean shouldn't there be some distinction in the call names for 'dal, dry sabji, kadhi, sabji with gravy'.Does anything in liquid or semi-fluid form, other than sambar or rasam that can be taken with rice or chapati, fall in a geralized class of 'curry'.If 'chapati' is chapati and not tortila neither wheat-bread nor pancake, paratha (or parantha) is paratha, roti is roti then why the heck convert sabji, dal, kadhi (and the rest) into a unified common name of 'curry' :) Please please please, i m close to desparation to get myself enlightened on this.'Keep on' This is another gem. I sincerely wish the 'on' be turned 'off'. eg. The 'exits' keep on coming.He keep on talking on the phone all day.The rain keep on coming.The exits keep coming, he keeps talking on the phone all day make at least a little more sense to me.Just some random samples extracted out of my daily dealings. The point here is not to find 'whose is better english'. To be honest, i often fail to interprete what the other person is trying to put across when it's something of the kinds mentioned here. Thru this post, i m just trying to fill in the communication gap :)Your opinion?Atom Feed[...]



Here i am

2007-03-12T23:41:55.331-05:00

It's always difficult to neatly time and precisely phrase your comeback.
So w/o giving much thought let me just type in a few words.

It's bright and sunny out here right now, though there were mild showers y'day night. Played cricket after a long long span of time on Friday. Got broadband set up. Went out with my friends y'day and bought some real thick and stuffed winterwear. Lazing out today at home. The only thing i did that can be counted is configuring the wireless router.

The good news is i can now work a few hrs from home everyday, which means i dont have to wake up at 6 to catch the 7.30 am bus. I can sleep a full extra hr and pool in with my colleague who stays next door (you guys just dont know how lucky i am !! He's quite helpful. Not having a car is a painful handicap) and also hop into his car to return home.

Hoping to find a good car deal this week. I cudnt lay my hands on the ones i'd shortlisted earlier. But anyways !
Plans for the coming weekend and the long weekend that follows have already been chalked out.

Hope you all are doing well, up n kicking :).