Archive for November, 2004

24-Nov-2004

November 24, 2004

Whew! What a weekend! I was planning on writing this earlier, but I got lazy.

So I went down to the O.C., to visit my cousin Hemal. He works down there, but will be starting a new job in the Bay Area next week, so we decided to party one last time in SoCal. There ended up being 4 of us cousins there. The other players were Virat (who works for Accenture) and Kunal (who started grad school at USC). Our parents are all direct siblings, so we’re relatively close. ; I arrived Friday night, and H, V and I (hmm… rearrange those letters… ) went to a nightclub nearby called Sutra. It supposedly had an Indian theme, but I didn’t see much of it. We got there around 12:45, since H didn’t feel like rushing. Got a drink and were standing around. Suddenly, around 1:20, one of the servers asks us if we want something before last call. That’s right, last call was at 1:20 (and it closed at 2), making that club almost as lame as Ithaca.

Woke up late the next morning. H took us for a drive to south Orange County, where all the money is. And I gotta tell you, it definitely looked pricey. Towns like Laguna Beach, Laguna Nigel, Costa Del Mar, and all sorts of other fancy sounding Spanish names. We made a U-turn and drove back along the Pacific Coast Highway (aka Highway 1), which actually goes along the coast and through the towns. Stopped at a well-known pizza place (BJ’s Chicago Style Pizza) for pizza and beer, then went home and rested.

One of the advantages of working for Accenture, as V explained to us, was that he earned lots of frequent flyer miles, as well as points that could be used to earn free hotel stays. So he got us a room at the Westin Century Plaza, on the Avenue of the Stars in Beverly Hills. That way, the 4 of us could crash without having to drive 40 miles back to Costa Mesa. We picked up K, as well as a friend of H’s.

After showering and changing (and downing a couple of drinks from the minibar), we made our way to Sunset Blvd. Specifically, a club called Avalon (formerly the Palace). Along the way, we discovered that H’s brake lights weren’t working, which led to the amusing scene of the backseat passengers (including moi ) looking frantically out the back window everytime H would brake suddenly (which is how he drives). Anyway, we made it without incident (except it had started raining. Damn rain). Cover was $30. We met up with some of K’s friends from USC (including his girlfriend). However, there was a slight problem. One of his friends didn’t have any ID. At all. No license, no passport, nothing. Suffice it to say, we were pissed, since H, his friend, V, K, and I had already bought tickets. Anyway, the idiot and two of the other guys went back to USC, but K’s girl and two other people joined us inside. The night was now about to begin.

To be continued…

19-Nov-2004

November 19, 2004

Some time ago, I was watching episodes of the classic 60s TV show, I Spy , starring Robert Culp and Bill Cosby. Yesterday, I was watching another DVD with episodes from the show, with one major difference. This DVD had commentary by Robert Culp himself.

Normally, when a movie or TV show has commentary, they’re talking about the specific film or tv episode, along with some general stories. But these commentaries (the whole thing was broken into 3 parts) were completely separate and independent of the episodes, even though you could only hear them when the show was playing. Anyway, he talks about the creation of the show, and what it was like to put the thing together.

The reason I’m writing about this is because, aside from the fact that Culp’s commentary is fascinating, he used a phrase that I absolutely fell in love with, and have committed to using regularly from this day forth. When talking about the show’s executive producer Sheldon Leonard, Culp said that, “he was a great general, George Patton to his troops. He had cojones that clanked!”

Cojones that clanked. Hehehe…

18-Nov-2004

November 18, 2004

I’m the 2nd last person to leave work today. Yeesh!

So I’m going to Orange County this weekend. My cousin Hemal works down there, but he just got a better job in the Bay Area (about 30 miles from where I live). A few of us cousins are going to be in the area, so he told me to come down and we could have one last big party before he left that area. I didn’t feel like driving 12 hours total by myself in 3 days, so I looked online and bought roundtrip tickets for about $215 on Southwest. If I’d booked them earlier, I could probably have gotten them for under $100. Anyway, that should be fun.

I’m spending Turkey weekend with family in Houston. Primarily my sister Roshni and my cousins, who just had a baby girl that I haven’t seen yet (and who Roshni claims is a “doll”). I haven’t heard from my friend who lives there, and I don’t think I’ll be meeting too many other people, so it’ll be up to Roshni to show me a good time. Primarily, that will involve going out of Houston.

In other news, normally when I’m interested in a girl, I tend to fall hard and fall fast. When it inevitably doesn’t work out, I am then stuck with the problem of trying not to think about the person who I had previously been thinking about all the time. Fortunately for me, I am easily distracted. In this case, I can thank my trusty PC (for some reason, the thought of naming it “Bessie” popped into my head just now). Specifically, I can thank the makers of Splinter Cell , one of the more fun games I’ve played in a while. It’s a stealth-based third-person action game. Basically, I control Sam Fisher, an operative for one of those super-secret divisions (that doesn’t exist, natch) of a US government agency. My job is to go in to sensitive locations, retrieve information, and get out, preferably without getting seen. While Sam is proficient in killing people, the idea is to never let the enemy know you were even there. Sam has some pretty cool moves at his disposal, and the game feels pretty realistic in the way it handles situations. Overall, it’s an awesome game and I can’t wait to play more of it. And since exactly ;1 of my readers (maybe 2) is in any way interested in computer games, I think I’ll end my gushing here.

15-Nov-2004

November 15, 2004

Looks like I have a fan club:

iitbum: I must say … impressed with your articulate blogs on xanga….

Thanks, Papad.

Saw Veer Zaara on Saturday night. Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. The movie was at least 30 minutes too long, and there were too many songs. It was formulaic, and too slow in it’s pacing. But, after all is said and done, it’s not a bad movie. Good performances from the 3 leads (the ladies especially doing well). Besides, I’m just a softy at heart, and the idea of someone going to such lengths to protect the woman he loves appeals to me. I can honestly say that I much prefer the character of a Veer Pratap Singh to a Devdas.

The best part of the movie was the surprise appearances by several guest stars. I guess that’s the advantage of not reading too much about the movie in advance… you have a greater chance of being surprised. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil them. My one big complaint about the movie was that too much of it was in Punjabi (for story purposes), and if it weren’t for the subtitles, I would have had a hard time following the dialogue. Bleh. Still, the movie gets a 7/10. Watch it, but be prepared for lots of songs. At least they’re not bad in and of themselves.

14-Nov-2004

November 14, 2004

Wow. That’s all I can say. Wow.

Went to the Yanni concert last night. I gotta tell ya, it was something else. I had some pretty sweet seats, about 30 feet from the stage, off to one side. The show itself was pretty long, lasting over 2 hours and 40 minutes, but that included a 15 minute intermission. Out of all the songs they played, I recognised about half of them, which means there’s a lot of Yanni music I haven’t heard yet. The orchestra itself was a good deal smaller than the one at the Acropolis concert, and I could kind of tell that the orchestration wasn’t as full. But that didn’t detract in anyway.

In the Acropolis concert, several musicians were spotlighted, especially the violinist in the red dress and the drummer (a Yanni staple, Charlie Adams). The violinist wasn’t here, but Charlie was back, and he was awesome, especially when he had his little drum solo section in the middle of Marching Season . There were several other artists who had “spotlight” moments. My personal favourite was this big Venezuelan dude who was playing wind instruments. He primarily played the sax and a wooden flute, but he played a few others as well. And, as much as the flute might seem like a girly instrument, he was absolutely badass while playing it. There were a couple of outstanding violinists, an awesome trumpet player, a gypsy-wannabe harp player, a guy playing the dulcimer (i.e. santoor), the other main percussionist (who had this great routine where he was banging two big sticks vertically on the ground and using that as a rhythm), and this Australian dude who was playing a didgeridoo . There were a couple of female vocalists also.

A lot of times, whenever I’m listening to music that really affects me, I literally feel this shiver run through me. It happens whenever I feel some overwhelming emotion. I gotta say, there were several moments when that happened last night. One of the best parts was at the end. I had been waiting for them to play Santorini , one of my favourite pieces and one of his most famous. In case you’re wondering, it’s the song that opens the Acropolis concert. The bugger waited till the end of the concert before they played it, but it was worth it.

After the concert was over, there were the usual curtain calls and an encore. But he claimed that they didn’t know any more music, so they ended up playing a song from earlier in the concert. Fortunately, it was one of the more exciting ones, with the spotlight being transferred among the violinists, trumpeter, harpist, and flautist. A great end to a great concert!

Tonight, I go to see Veer Zaara. I hope it’s at least decent. For my next entry, I’ll probably relate a conversation I had with one of my best friends about the differences in dating between India and here. Nothing earth-shattering, but it helped me realise a few things…

12-Nov-2004

November 12, 2004

Going to see Yanni today!! Will update after the concert.

9-Nov-2004

November 9, 2004

Saw The Incredibles on Saturday. Technically, the film was amazing. But it just seemed to lack a little … something. An emotional pull. The movie looked great, and it was an awesome achievement, but in all honesty, after almost 2 hours, I just didn’t care . Compare that to Monsters Inc., when I had a lump in my throat at the ending, or Finding Nemo, when I was honestly happy when the dad finds his kid. These weren’t surprising endings. It’s just that the movies had done a good job of making me feel for the characters involved. With The Incredibles, I felt kinda detached. It’s still a good movie, but not the best they’ve done. Still, it’s worth a watch. 8.5/10.

I was just reading a few news articles about how Karl Rove stated that Bush would “absolutely” push for a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. In his words, “If we want to have a hopeful and decent society, we ought to aim for the ideal. And the ideal is that marriage ought to be, and should be, a union of a man and a woman.” For all of the rhetoric about Bush keeping this country safer against terrorism, it’s a sad statement about America that the President owes most of his survival to standing in the way of legal equality for an unpopular class of Americans. I stated 5 days ago that this country would be worse off after 4 more years of Bush. I guess this is just Phase 1. One can only hope that he backs down and finds some form of compromise. If his greatest legacy is changing the constitution in order to deny certain freedoms to some of America’s citizens, it’ll be a sad moment in history indeed.

On another note, I consider myself to be an honest person. A straight shooter. A What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get kinda guy. When I feel strongly about something, I express my opinion. And when I feel strongly about someone, I let that person know. But almost everytime I’ve done this, it’s always ended up hurting me, and yet, I never seem to learn. The next time a chance appears, I do it again. My friends and closest advisors (yes, I have advisors) tell me to play it cool, to not try so hard. And I make that effort to hold back, I do. In fact, I have never held back as much as I did this last time. But, aside from being an honest guy, I’m an all-or-nothing kind of guy. Either I give it everything, or I don’t bother. That way, I have no regrets. I’d sooner try and fail, rather than go “I coulda/shoulda/woulda done something.” But there’s only so many times I can keep doing this. There’s only so many times I can put myself out on that limb, only to cut off the branch myself. And everytime I vow to not let it happen again… it happens again. I can laugh about it after time has passed, but I gotta tell ya… it’s pissing the hell out of me. And it’s not doing wonders for my self-confidence either.

Sorry, I had to rant there. I might unload another time or two in the near future, but I think that was the bulk of it.

7-Nov-2004

November 7, 2004

About a week ago, I’d sent an email to my senator, Dianne Feinstein. I’d seen a notice on my credit union’s home page asking its members to send an email to public representatives, asking them to make sure credit unions maintain their tax free status. Anyway, I was pretty surprised to get a response from the Senator (well, her staff more likely) which specifically addresses my concerns. I know it shouldn’t be that big a deal, but it was impressive nonetheless. Democracy in action. I can’t wait for the next big issue that will motivate me to write in.

I had recently read somewhere about a classic sci-fi show called The Outer Limits, from the 60’s. It’s black and white and has very cheesy special effects, but it’s supposed to be a very deep show. Each episode is unrelated to the others and has a brand new cast of characters. There are 8 episodes per (double-sided) DVD, so it’ll keep me busy for a while. Let’s see how it holds up.

6-Nov-2004

November 6, 2004

Hahaha!!! Apparently, Coke has yet another ;unintended use .

I saw a very interesting movie last night, Inherit The Wind . It is based on a true court case, the Scopes Monkey trial, that took place in Tennessee in the 1920’s. A schoolteacher was arrested for knowingly teaching evolution in class (which was illegal in Tennessee at the time), and the movie is a thinly disguised fictionalisation of those events. ;The best part of the movie was ;the debate between the two lawyers pleading their respective cases. There were some killer lines in the film, and this one was my favourite. It’s spoken by the reporter who wrote about the case, and delivered to the prosecuting attorney:

“Mr. Brady, it is the duty of a newspaper to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

I thought that was especially apropo given the dereliction of duty displayed by mainstream media in this country over the past few years. Anyway, the movie starts to flag a bit towards the end, but I love films that challenge conventional religious thought ( Dogma is one of my favourite movies, and not because it’s by Kevin Smith). I give it 9/10. Rent it now. And, to complement that fine film, I will be getting my first disc of Everybody Loves Raymond Season 1 in the mail today. Netflix rocks!

Also, I am currently attempting my first conversion of a DVD audio track into an audio CD. But first, I need to see if there are recordable CD’s with capacities greater than 80 minutes. Guess I’m going to Fry’s today.

5-Nov-2004

November 5, 2004

Four more years. Damn. I just get the feeling that this country is going to be worse off in 2008 than it is now. Every great civilisation has eventually declined. I wonder if George Bush’s term in office will mark that time for America’s role as the world’s superpower. We’ll just have to wait and see.

In other news, World of Warcraft has been scheduled for release on November 23rd. This means I have less than 3 weeks to complete Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne in order to caught up on the storyline. There will be some crazy gaming in store for me in the days ahead. Let’s see if I can do it without cheating.

The Incredibles releases today. Maybe I’ll go see it tonight… hmmm…