Yesterday while at a friend's house, the following conversation took place -
She: What's that cologne you are wearing? It's so strong.
Me: Uh... Eau Savage.
She: I don't like it. It's too strong.
Me: What? You don't like Christian Dior?
She: (looking puzzled) What has this got to do with Christianity?
And another female was, apparently, under the impression that porn was just some topless women (and hardcore porn was topless women dancing?!) and couldn't figure out why guys liked watching it!
I don't know what the world's coming to these days! *rolls eyes*
Saturday, April 30, 2005
Friday, April 29, 2005
I had dream last night, in which I was back in school again. It brought back memories of all those crazy games we used to play as school-children. I mean, the games and variations that we invented back in St. Vincent’s were so out-of-this-world, that I'm sure a US patent would not be undeserving.
Here are just a few -
Let's start off with that King of all Indian games, shall we? The irony of the situation was that cricket was officially banned in our school. The words "officially banned" here are a bit misleading. All they meant was that no student could bring a cricket bat or ball to school and use them in the following manner - one student hurls the ball over his shoulder at another who uses the bat to strike the ball thus hurled, with other students standing around to intercept or catch a ball thus struck.
This of course only proved to be a stimulus for the fertile imaginations of the young cricket enthusiasts in my school and gave birth to an endless string of variations of the sport, that could be played without breaking the law.
The less imaginative resorted to using a tennis ball and a field hockey-stick as a bat. Others would scour around for a small bough from a tree. The more imaginative would obviate the need for a bat itself. The most popular form was "leg-cricket", where the bowler rolls the ball along the ground and the batsman(?) takes a swipe at it with his foot. The concept of LBW was obviously non-existent in this variation. There was also a slightly less radical variation which involved one hitting the ball with a closed fist. In this variation the was a certain zone in which the ball had to bounce so that it didn't reach the batsman too high or too low.
All the above variations necessitate the existence of a tennis ball. But there were even more extreme variations which did away with this need as well. The most common one involved the use of a clip-board and a ball made out of a rolled up hand-kerchief! Throw in the "book-cricket" that we played in the class-room itself and you have quite a list!
More commonly known as football in these parts, soccer was easily the most played sport at St. Vincent’s. It was not uncommon to see matches going on during the lunch break that involved 40-50 children. The rule was simple - anyone who came and wanted to play could just join in. The law of averages ensured a roughly equal spread of players in both teams. If it didn't, then there would be a mid-game reshuffle. Another point is that on any one pitch you would have 6-7 soccer matches in simultaneous play. Keeping track of which match you were involved in was a tricky feat. Like the experts say, "Always keep your eyes on the ball!" Failure to do so would often lead to embarrassing and sometimes dangerous situations!
As you can imagine, in a 20-a-side game touching the ball itself was a feat that called for celebrations on the scale of what you would expect after a Senegalese goal in the World Cup! It's safe to say, I stayed well clear of such matches, which often reminded me of 12th century barbarians playing rugby!
Not all budding soccer enthusiasts though were courageous enough to brave the melee on the soccer pitch. These individuals would have their matches on the sidelines with a tennis ball and 2 backpacks to signify the positions of each goal!
It pains me to admit that us basketball players were probably the least creative of all the to-be-sportsmen at St. Vincent’s. Sure, there were half-court matches and D-games; but nothing very extraordinary. And the basketball courts like the soccer pitch, weren't spared the hordes either! Five on five became twelve on twelve! And yeah, once again each court would have at least 4 games in progress simultaneously!
There was no scarcity of creativity in sports like table tennis, tennis and even volleyball.
Table tennis was played on one of the flat benches, with a line of twigs in the center to demarcate the two halves. Paddles were only used if you had them, else the palm of your hand sufficed. This, when there were official table tennis tables in the hall 15 meters from these benches!
Tennis was played with a tennis ball (what else?)! The court was shrunk down in size to about 4 meters by 8 meters. The net was a line of lunch boxes and our palms made-do for racquets. The variations included singles, double, triples, quadruples.
What if there were say 7 people? No worry! The game would get underway three on three with the seventh guy sitting out. After the first point, the person committing an unforced error or missing a shot would be replaced by the seventh guy and then this process would continue. All fair and everyone's happy!
The volleyball court never had a net and so sometimes on Saturday when we wanted to have a game of volleyball we would use a soccer goal instead. The two uprights and the crossbar would serve nicely as a net!
Behind our school hall there was an area of about 12 feet by 12 feet with a flat wall on one side. This served as the venue for our squash games, played with a table tennis ball and bats. Of course, the rules were suitably modified to meet our needs.
Apart from all these variations, we also invented quite a few sports. Like, for example, once five of us got together on the basketball court with a soccer ball. So we came up with this strange sport where you use only one basket, and the aim is to put the ball into it. What's so strange about that, you ask? Well, you could only touch the ball with your legs, head and torso! In other words exactly like in soccer. All five combine and help each other to try and score a basket. It was a mini-court and so the basket wasn't very high. Whoever was the last one to touch the ball before it went in scored a point. But somehow I don't think that game was about winning! Too bad it didn't catch on.
posted by Arnold at 10:26 PM
Okie, so today I stroll into my house at 11pm after a hefty study session at a friend's place and check the mail. Actually, the word study is a malapropism of sorts. What I meant was a eat-drink-and-be-merry session at a friend's place. Eight of us getting together to try and implant some Software Engineering knowledge in each others minds. The trouble is that only thing we learnt is that 0 multiplied by 8 remains 0. In order to teach the others, someone in the group must know something in the first place. So after four hours, a lot of jokes, some juice and snacks and a few "this-is-sure-to-come" questions, we all left.
And that's where my story actually begins. So I reach home and check my mail. Not e-mail, the actual post-it-in-an-envelope variety. There's this envelope for me that's got AIR MAIL stamped onto it. That isn't too unusual since I do know quite a few people who live outside the country. It seemed really strange, though, that any of them would actually resort to snail-mail to send me something other than a Christmas or birthday card. So with a puzzled frown spreading on my forehead, I rip it open.
And whaddaya know!! It's a check...
Yup! That's right, mes amis!! A genuine, bona fide check! So I look at the address - Pleasantville, NY. Now I don't know anyone from there, so I turn to the accompanying note to try and elicit some more information about my anonymous benefactor. And that's when I get my biggest surprise! Reader's Digest!!
It suddenly all comes back to me. They must have selected one of my articles! Yay!! I immediately break out into a Chandler Dance! I double check (pun intended) the whole the thing to make sure it's legit. And it is!! There's even this small paragraph that goes -
"By your endorsement of this check, you hereby transfer and assign to the Reader's Digest Association, Inc. all right title and interest, including all rights of copyright, in and to the following literary work ... "
Now, I know that for all you software engineers out there with your fat pay-checks, 100$ isn't a big deal, but to me it is. Because it's my first WRITER'S CHECK! All the money I've won at stupid events at various symposia may in monetary value be worth more than this; but that's irrelevant! Even if the check was for 2$ it would be just as important to me. Because it's a my first goddamned writer's check.
It's like the poor artist, who although he loves his work, can never sell any of it. So he's living in poverty, trying to make ends meet. And then suddenly one day someone buys a piece. That's what I'm feeling like right now! I'm on my way! Try and stop me now, guys!
Okie, I'm still very excited about the whole thing! Maybe I should frame the damn thing.... Hmm... I gotta do another Chandler dance!!
(And then to sober me down a little bit and dampen my excitement, I find out that my sister's planning to have a massive sleepover tomorrow night with all her friends coming! On second thoughts, a bunch of girls in their nighties having a pillow-fight doesn't seem so bad...)
posted by Arnold at 12:28 AM
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
There is no dearth of quizzes and tests available on the Net to help you find out exactly which character from F.R.I.E.N.D.S you resemble the most.
So I thought, "Hey! Why not come up with one more?"
Thus after months of hard labor, here's my very own - "Which F.R.I.E.N.D are You?" test!!
(Choose only one option for each question...)
1. Are you...?
a. High Maintenance
c. Sarcastically funny
2. In High School, you...?
a. Weighed 300 pounds
b. Slept with an elderly librarian
c. Were the class comedian
d. Never went to high school because you were fending for yourself on the streets after your Mom had killed herself
e. Were busy having sex
f. Were the bitchy Home-coming queen
3. Have you..?
a. Fallen in love with a 50-year-old moustached eye-doctor who doesn't want to have any more kids
b. Married a lesbian
c. Molested yourself in a parked car behind a Wendy's
d. Married a gay ice-dancer who then turns out to be straight
e. Voluntarily locked yourself in a cabinet so some strange guy can rob your apartment
f. Left an orthodontist at the altar
4. Your sibling(s)...?
a. Is a nerdy elder brother who can do no wrong in the eyes of your parents
b. Is an overweight younger sister who your parents constantly look down upon
c. No siblings. You were an only child, mentally traumatised by your parents awful marriage
d. Is a twin sister who you don't get along with
e. Are seven Catholic sisters each one hornier than the previous
f. Are two rich, spoilt blondes with amazing racks
Now since assessing the results of the above quiz is extremely difficult, it cannot be automated. Hence if you want to know what the interpretation of your choices are, please send them to me in a mail. They will then be subjected to heavy analysis after which I hope to be able to draw a conclusion and let you know which F.R.I.E.N.D you resemble the most!
posted by Arnold at 7:39 PM
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
... whether dogs call Doggy Style just Style?
(and what do they call The Missionary, while we're at it!?)
... if Egyptians really walked like in The Bangle's song "Walk Like an Egyptian"?
... what strippers would do for a living if man had never started wearing clothes?
... why Noah didn't just swat those two moquitoes?
... if colors look the same to all people?
(For example, even though we are both seeing the same color, say red, we may both perceive it in very different ways and never know the difference! It's just "Red" to us!)
... whether a hermaphrodite can get it on with himself/herself?
... whether God just created the universe to look like there was a Big Bang 15 billion years ago?
... if there were just 2 girls left on earth, whom would they bitch to each other about?
... whether animals practise homosexuality?
... how, in the cartoons, the bad guy just puts on a moustache and no one recognizes him?
... how only clothes that are bought just the right size shrink when washed and not those bought one size too big?
posted by Arnold at 9:26 PM
Friday, April 22, 2005
If any of you guys have a relative or friend working in the Maharashtra State Electricty Board, please don't ever mention anything about them to me. I swear I will hunt them down and ensure a slow and painful untimely death for them. Breaking one bone at a time, blowing out one kneecap at a time.
The incessant power cuts used to be bad enough. Then about 4 months ago, they started this load-shedding exercise, consisting of regulated 3 hour power cuts five times a week. And as if this isn't bad enough, now they want to increase it to 4 hours. It's so ridiculous it's not even funny any more!
Why can't the Maharashtra board be privatised? It's the simplest solution. And the most effective too. Maybe some guys will lose their jobs. I don't care! They don't deserve to have them in the first place, taking into consideration the current scenario. Bombay's power supply is privately managed, and the results are there for all to see. It's virtually unheard of for there to be a power cut.
I don't think the problem lies in our inability to generate enough power, but more in the lackadaisical and callous attitude of those responsible for ensuring its generation. I'm sure the homes of government officials and bureaucrats are not facing any sort of power cuts. It's only the common man bearing the brunt of the problem.
I was informed by someone (probably in jest) that the government was planning to switch off all street lights after 10pm every night, in order to conserve energy. "Yeah," I replied. "Or instead they could just rememebr to switch them off during the day!" This, my friends, is the sad situation that we find ourselves in at present.
Another interesting manner of tackling this problem was put forth by someone in the editorials a few weeks back. He suggested that for every hour that a household is not supplied power a certain amount should be deducted from their electricity bill. This would hasten the Board to ensure a more regular power supply if they wish to avoid a serious drop in revenue. The problem I see though, is that with this mechanism in place, the Board may end up having to pay us instead of the other way around!
Another point that warrants a mention is that quite a few households that I know of have installed 'inverters'. An inverter is a device that is connected in parallel with your main supply, which charges itself when the supply is on and then should the supply be switched off, it acts as the supply in the circuit. These sustained power cuts have forced a large percentage of households to thus purchase these devices, thereby cutting a sharp hole in the average family's pocket.
Besides, an inverter only works on the power it stores from the main supply. Now one of the fundamental laws of nature is that there exists no perfectly ideal machine. The output power, to restate it in a slightly simpler manner, of any machine would thus always be less than its input power. Thus to supply power during the power cut, the inverter would have to consume that much power plus some more during it charging phase. Bottomline - this household is now consuming even more power than it would have done before the load-shedding came into existence. How then, does the MSEB plan to reduce power consumption by load-shedding is the question?
posted by Arnold at 8:54 PM
Thursday, April 21, 2005
... I disagree with everthing.
"No, I don't!"
... I ask too many questions.
"What makes you think so?"
... I am too sensitive.
"Now, why would you say a mean thing like that?"
... I am too inattentive.
"Would you please repeat that?"
... I use the F-word too often.
"Who the fuck gave you the right to make such a fucking statement?"
... I am too sarcastic.
... I speak too much.
posted by Arnold at 11:41 PM
Why can't we have more self-service filling stations in this country? The way things currently stand, everyone is out to pull a fast one on you.
There is one particular gas station, on the way to my college, which I have always been suspicious of. I therefore normally refrain from filling from there; but today since my tank was bone dry and it was on the way, I decided to stop there.
As I drew my motor-cycle up to the pump, the attendant had just finished filling up another motor-cycle. The previous customer's total came to Rs 40 and I had wanted to fill in Rs 200 worth. The setting was perfect, and the attendant saw it.
There were two of them. One to fill up the vehicle and the other to collect the money. Let's call them Pete and Joe, shall we? So Pete looks at Joe, and they tacitly come to an agreement that I look like easy meat. Hah!
Joe tries to divert my attention away from the reading on the pump. "Instead of 200 if you fill in Rs 210 worth, you'll get an even 5 litres."
Pete meanwhile, is deperatetly seeking an oppurtunity to insert the filling hose into my tank without resetting the meter. Fully aware of what is happening, I try to keep my eyes glued to the meter. I tell Joe, without looking at him, that I only have 200 bucks on me so we'll have to settle for that.
By now the filling hose is almost into my tank, and the meter has not yet been reset. They try one last ploy. Joe asks me to move my bike slightly ahead. I could see no reason for this, since there was no one behind me, other than to distract my attention from the meter. I move it ahead without averting my gaze. Finally, sensing futility they decide enough is enough. Pete resets the meter and proceeds to fill the tank.
Now since I was on top of the situation at all times, I got through unscathed. But a more innocent soul would, in the same situation, have been easily cheated. So my advice to you is to ALWAYS ensure the meter is reset before the attendant starts filling. I'm sure you've heard it plenty of times before, but it's surprising how quickly they can work. The hand is definitely faster than the eye in this case, and all it takes is a slight distraction for half a second.
There's an interesting counter-attack strategy that I've come up with. Fight fire with fire, and deviousness with deviousness. The trick is to pretend that you're not paying attention, when you actually are. So after he starts filling without resetting the meter, you wait for a few seconds and then protest. You accuse him of not starting from zero and demand that he fill it again from zero. This way you get extra gas, since he has already filled some into your tank before you yelled out. One important thing to ensure is that he did indeed try to cheat you in the first place, or you could just land yourself in some trouble. I think I'll try it the next time.
Another matter that irks me to no end is that at the older pumps, which do not have the facility to set the amount automatically, the attendant always stops a little lower than the amount mentioned. For example, if I ask him to fill in Rs 100 worth, he only gives me something like 99.67! This, though not a big deal, irritates me. If I'm paying Rs 100, then he can jolly well stop at 100. If he's so clumsy, put in a little more than 100 and I won't complain. But don't stop below it. I have half a mind to hand him Rs 99.50 the next time. If he's going to round off downwards, then so can I!
I feel the situation can drastically improve with the initiation of more self-service pumps. They're already in existence in most other countries, so why not this one? Get rid of the middle-man altogether, eh! What say?
posted by Arnold at 6:45 PM
I speak over 11 languages! Over 11 fake languages, that is! What are fake languages, you ask? Well...
Here's a mathematical definition -
A fake language of the language L, say L' can be defined to be a non-sensical, gibberish conjunction of sounds that when heard by a listener who does not understand the language L, can convince him to believe that what he/she heard was indeed spoken in the language L.
The above convoluted paragraph is the best I can offer by way of a rigid definition. However, to clarify matters for the non-mathematicians amongst you, I shall elaborate a little further.
Imagine you did not understand Russian. You knew how it sounded but would not be able to understand anything that a person said in Russian. (For most of you, this would be true, and so not much imagining would have to be done here!) Now let us say, Pierre ambled up and warbled something out to you in French. You obviously would not believe that that was Russian, since you know more or less how Russian sounds. It's a lot gruffer than Pierre's soft flowing French. That's the first important point - even though you may not be able to understand a language, you can still indentify it. Basically, all languages sound different.
Now, imagine I strolled up behind Pierre and mumbled something else that sounded Russian-like. Close enough to actual Russian for you, a non-Russian speaker, not to be able to make out any difference. Now that's fake Russian!!
Remember, I don't know Russian either, and what I spoke was pure, unadulterated gibberish. But the only important fact is that it could convince someone who doesn't speak Russian, that it is indeed Russian. Period. That's all that counts.
In case you're thinking by now that this whole fake language thing is childishly simple - think again! It's a lot harder than you may first imagine. Remember you have to convince someone who knows exactly how the language you're supposed to be speaking sounds like. Thus you have to be able to perfect the respective accent and it wouldn't hurt to occasionally throw in a couple of words that actually exist in that language. Careful attention has to be paid to which syllables in a word are normally stressed and other such minute details. Bottomline - it's not easy!
After a lot of practice I can proudly claim that my fake language count stands at 11. Amongst others it includes fake German, fake French, fake Spanish, fake Italian, fake Latin, fake Russian blah blah...
An interesting fact to note in this regard is that it's often easier to speak fake Schmazz when you don't know how to speak Schmazz in the first place. Thus for me fake German was a lot tougher to master than fake Russian, since I know quite a bit of the former. Somehow when you know how to speak a particular language, even if you're trying it's fake counterpart, genuine words seem to some out instead. (Going by these standards, fake Hindi and fake Marathi were a cinch for me!)
So go on ahead - try practising your own fake languages. And if you ever want any tips (and I'm strangely unavailable), try contacting the cast of the hit TV show "Who's Line is it Anyway?" They're the masters at this fake language stuff. In fact they're so good, they could even write a fake book in a fake language!!
posted by Arnold at 2:55 AM
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
The wait is over; we have a new Pope. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, no longer Cardinal of Munich but instead Bishop of Rome and Pope of the Catholic World.
It was a special moment for me last night to watch on TV the white smoke emerging from the Sistine Chapel and then hear the tolling of The Bells of St. Peter. Well, 'hear' isn't exactly the appropriate word since the noise of the crowd rendered it almost inaudible, but just watching the bells tolling was enough to send shivers of excitement down my body.
This was followed by the announcement of the new pontiff's old Christian name in Latin followed by the new name he has chosen for himself. Here there was another rather freakish surprise in store for me. Not so much in the fact that the new pope was Cardinal Ratzinger but in the name he had chosen. For as I had been watching the tolling bells, I was speculating as to what name the new pope would choose for himself; and somehow the name Benedict came to my mind. It means "blessed" in Latin, and I knew there had been a few popes named Benedict in the past, but I was unaware of exactly how many. Or when the most recent had reigned. So I couldn't know just which roman numeral would follow the new pope's name, but I somehow knew it would be Benedict __.
So you can imagine my surprise when Cardinal Estivez announces in Latin that the pope shall now be known as Benedict XVI. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I'm still not exactly sure of what this all means, but what I do know is this - I knew the name the pope would choose, in advance! And it's not like I was going through possible choices and Benedict was just one of them. Benedict was the only name I considered.
As for the pope himself, it's clear that Benedict XVI has a similar outlook on doctrinal matters as John Paul II did. What is not certain as yet is whether he will be able to put forth his viewpoint with the same charisma as his predecessor. JP II won the hearts of even those who may not have always agreed with him (me, for instance). I'm not sure Benedict XVI will be as successful in the same. Only time will tell. It would be extremely unfair, though, to gauge the success of the new papacy by comparing it with previous ones.
I do not agree with the Vatican on a few issues. I was in many ways hoping for a pope who would represent a newer, less rigidly orthodox ideology. I can now only hope that Ratzinger mellows down in his stand on matters like birth-control, abortion and homosexuality, after being elevated to the highest office in Catholicism.
For me personally, things feel very weird now. The only pope I ever knew was JP II, and it will be strange to hear the words "the Pope" and know they do not refer to him any more. I can only compare it to what most people in Britain will feel when Queen Elizabeth II passes away. It'll be weird to have a new monarch when you've grown up only ever knowing someone else as queen.
One thing we can be fairly certain of is that this will not be as long a papacy as the last one. Let's also hope and pray that it isn't as short a papacy the one preceding the last one!
(The author is an ex-Catholic but current non-believer)
posted by Arnold at 12:02 PM
Sunday, April 17, 2005
I just don't get why girls are so afraid to make the first move and ask a guy out...
About 4 out of every 5 girls I've questioned on this issue agree that they would never make the first move. I'm not sure whether this reluctancy stems from the thought that by asking the guy out they may be putting themselves in an inferior position or whether it's just plain stubborness to conform to traditional methodology.
Almost all the girls I've spoken to regarding this matter believe that they would rather wait and wait (and then wait some more), until the guy they liked asked them out. Meanwhile the guy in question has no idea that this girl likes him and so would never end up asking her out. So she waits some more. I fail to think of a better example of the classical "lose-lose" situation.
The girl believes the guy should be able to read the signs of interest that she is emitting and then take up the initiative. What she doesn't realize is that guys are thoroughly incompetent at reading between the lines in such matters. Body language is Greek to them. Except if he's Greek, in which case it's Swahili. (If you happen to be interested in a boy of mixed Hellenic/African parentage, then go ahead with the signs!) It would just be so much simpler for both parties involved if the girl spoke her mind. Really.
Everyone like to hear that someone likes them. A guy is no different. So if you like him, just say so. It's not going to be as if you're selling yourself short. And he's definitely not going to think any less of you because of it.
In the words of a famous ad-line - "Just Do It!"
posted by Arnold at 11:00 PM
Here are ten reasons why I think it's better to be a woman!
10. You can get through those tough oral examinations by simply wearing a short skirt and leaving the top button of your blouse open.
9. You don't have to pay for dates.
8. You live longer than men.
7. Bursting into tears will get you out of almost any sticky situation.
6. You have Women's Rights Activists and other feminists fighting for you all over the world.
5. You will never have to experience what a kick in the nuts feels like.
4. You're capable of thinking of other things besides food, cars and sex.
3. Multiple orgasms.
2. Ability to fake orgasms.
1. Any time you want to see breasts all you need to do is look down!!
posted by Arnold at 1:50 AM
Saturday, April 16, 2005
The term's finally over and now that dreaded period of pre-exam study leave commences. It's ironic how during this period I seem to be able to find so much to do other than study, and yet once the exams are over and my holidays start I'll be bored to death. That's the way the cookie crumbles...
My folks (except for my sis, that is) have hightailed it off to Goa this weekend, and will be away for about 5 days or so. Had this been during the semester I would probably scarcely have even noticed their absence, since the (very) little time I spend at home is all in my room!
Now that I'm at home more, it's nice to have a bit more space to myself. I think I'm gonna enjoy meself these five days. My sister's gonna be out almost all the time. So that leaves me to run the castle as I see fit...
This is one of the reasons why I want to get a proper job so that I can live away from home. With a female room-mate, hopefully! I mean it's great living with your guy friends, but cohabiting with a girl is something else altogether. After all, no guy I live with would turn red in the face at the sight of a toilet seat left up!!
I've got to start playing more basketball. I need to get some real practice in before next year, since I plan to try and make the basketball team. I have just one more year in college, and I'm going to pack in as many extra-curricular activities as possible! So my goal would be atleast two sports teams (basketball and softball) and as many quizzes as possible! Let's see how it turns out...
posted by Arnold at 8:58 PM
Friday, April 15, 2005
Today was a day of much debate and discussion in college about a particular topic - "Do more girls prefer jocks or nerds?"
Does the stereotypical tall, blue-eyed, well-built football player score over the equally stereotypical bespectacled, geeky, technical whiz?
My own opinion on this matter is quite firm; girls do prefer jocks over nerds! It's quite an obvious fact. That's why I was rudely surprised to find most of my female friends vehemently deny the same. They claimed brains came first and then looks afterwards. (Except for one, who was strangely adamant that she wouldn't choose either because she could have both!)
I fail to understand this. If asked to state my own personal preferences, I wouldn't think twice before picking the dumb model over the brainy astrophysics major. There's nothing much to think about. It's quite an easy choice!
I was unable to digest the fact that so many girls claimed otherwise. This led me to do what I do best - conduct a poll! The results were rather surprising. A large majority went for the nerds. I think the only safe conclusion we can draw from this is that girls are NOT very honest survey respondents!!
What do you'll guys out there say? There was, also, another equally interesting discussion; this time featuring guys' choices - Do you prefer boxers, briefs or hanging free?
posted by Arnold at 8:10 PM
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
It's been a long while coming; but I'm finally on board the G-Mail Band-wagon! Yeah, I'm a bit slow with these things.
Anyways, sheer lack of creativity (and time, to an extent) has given birth to my rather business-like id -
dsouza [dot] arnold |at| gmail [dot] com
Update them address boxes, mates!
posted by Arnold at 9:00 PM
Monday, April 11, 2005
My initiation into the (not so) glamorous world of quizzing is complete. And it will be a memorable one, if for some of the wrong reasons.
To begin with, I couldn't find the place. It was in a part of town that I hardly ever visit and I didn't have the proper address. I was just told the general locality and that the venue was in the PSPL building behind Domino's Pizza. To make matters worse I soon found myself stuck in the middle of a traffic jam. It was the festival of Gudi Padwa (as I later learnt) and some bloody idiots had decided to take out a procession. So there I was, with camels, a brass band and other frustrated commuters for company. Ten minutes later I managed to sneak out of the mêlée into a side lane, only to emerge out onto another road, completely lost.
There seemed to be very few people around who looked like they would have even heard the word "pizza" before, so asking for the nearest Domino's was out of the question. It was the intervention of sheer providence that I finally managed to arrive at the venue; sweaty, angry and frustrated.
Can't have had a worse possible start, I think. That's when I was given a rather cruel reminder of the veracity of Murphy's Law. My partner Kunal T is supposed to go to GS Labs for some work related to his BE project and won't be able to make it!
So now I am angry AND alone. Course many of my friends were there; but all with partners. Who, after all, would land up at a 2-member quiz without a partner? Who, that is, except an idiot like me!
I decide I might as well sit and take the Elims alone. Just as they are about to start, the Quiz Master inquires on the microphone, "Is there anyone without a partner?"
Two hands stick up; one of them mine. I glance at his face and think, "Two heads better than one!" I wave him over to my seat. I soon discovered that I was wrong; sometimes two heads aren't better than one! The guy was quite obviously at his first quiz too. He knew nothing. Wait! He knew less than nothing. He couldn't even figure out the workable questions. Save for one question on Hindu mythology, he got nothing right. When the answers were revealed, I realized all his guesses (the few that he actually made)were wrong. Speaking for myself, I managed to get 13 right. That meant that our overall score was 14, not bad when you consider that the last team to qualify for the finals was only something like 21-23. And if you also take into account the fact that I was alone (in effect, considering my partner's uselessness), it was a pretty decent effort methinks!
The quiz itself was pretty good. I liked it and am looking foward to some more. Unfortunately, I've been informed that this may just have been the last quiz of the season (although there may just be one more coming up sometime in May)!
Anyways, I have tasted blood. It may have only been a minuscule drop that I had to lick of the floor, but it was blood nevertheless. And I shall be back. Watch out, you quizzers! This bad boy ain't gonna go away quietly. There's some major ass-kicking coming up!
posted by Arnold at 7:44 PM
Friday, April 08, 2005
Today I was witness to one of the most horrid sights one can ever imagine - a girl in college wearing a sleeveless top WITHOUT taking appropriate care to rid herself of certain unwanted hair! Yup, I wanted to gouge my eyes out. And to make things worse, she's one of the better looking girls around and so I had a pretty nice image of her in my mind. But that image has now been ruined, and I'll never be able to look at her the same way again. Not just her, I'm gonna be rather wary of any girl I see in college; even someone who isn't wearing sleeveless. I mean, if this female could do such a thing then anyone could. Damn! My faith in everything feminine has been shattered.
Girls, why can't you just trim the approriate areas? How hard is it? All am asking is smooth hair-free legs and well trimmed arm-pits. And if by some chance you don't wanna do it, then PLEASE do not wear clothes that expose the hirsute regions. There are some things NO ONE wants to see.
Today was also the Farewell of the Final Year Students in our Department; and as Third Year Students we were also invited. It was a lot of fun. Especially the part where the students themselves went up on stage and spoke about their feelings towards the staff and their fellow students. There was a also plenty of mimicing of their favorite (and not-so-favorite) teachers. Although some of it was rather harsh, it was all in good spirit and well taken by the faculty. My only regret was that most of the student speeches were in Marathi and I had to keep asking someone what the last joke was all about (thereby causing that person to miss the next joke)!
The Final Year Students have decided to institute a rolling trophy for best outgoing student of the department from the coming year onwards. I think I better start working on my acceptance speech now itself. *winks*
I've also come to the conclusion that all Maharashtrians have different surnames; unless they're a Joshi or a Kulkarni!
Any of them wish to disagree... ?
posted by Arnold at 10:59 PM
Thursday, April 07, 2005
...sitting in the dark and singing at the top of your voice and strumming your guitar along for accompaniment!
And yeah, don't play the guitar according to the song, but rather play it at random and then adjust your singing to match the chord! Just like the way Phoebe does in F.R.I.E.N.D.S. It's so easy - go try it. And be sure to make up the song as your singing it...
posted by Arnold at 9:17 PM
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
OMG! I'm soooooo excited! KFC's finally come to toooown...
I couldn't understand why KFC had never opened an outlet in Poona or Bombay. They had outlets in Bangalore and Chandigarh, but that was it! No other city in India. And it cheesed me off because they're only like my favorite food-related MNC. Compared to them, McDonalds sucks like a thirsty baby! (Yeah, I know - the 'compared to them' is not really needed. MD sucks. Period!)
I ABSOLUTELY loved all the chicken I ate at the KFC outlets in Bangalore and Muscat (holy shit! that was soooo looong ago!). I can't wait to hit the new one here. But my love for KFC is more than offset by my hate for crowds and so I may end up waiting until the initial rush dies down...
(There also seems to be sometime wrong with the 'o' key on my key-board. Damn thing keeps getting stuck. Ciaooooooo...!!)
posted by Arnold at 8:32 PM
Despite regularly rubbing shoulders with the some of the crème de la crème of Poona's college-quizers, my own participation in the quizzing circuit has been nil. I've never actually taken part in a quiz. For some of my mates at college quizzing is a passion. They've been bitten by the bug, though somehow I've remained immune. It is sometimes fun to try one's hand at a bit of trivia, but somehow I just don't see myself as I quizzer.
But now I've decided to give it a try...
I do not wish to deceive myself; my talent for quizzing is neglible to the point of being non-existent. But after having observed quite a few quizzes recently, I have come to the conclusion that success as a quizzer relies not as much on talent as it does on experience. Talent and knowledge while needed, are no substitute for the big E.
So I shall make my much awaited quizzing debut at the PSPL quiz this weekend. Now all I need is a partner. Any of you interested in going down in history as The Great One's first ever quiz partner, please contact. This may someday (when I'm famous, of course) be a piece of trivia in some quiz somewhere.
Q - Who partnered Arnie in his first ever quiz?
All in all, it should be a lot of fun!! Can't wait for Saturday...
posted by Arnold at 8:32 PM
Monday, April 04, 2005
It's gone far enough and now I'm really pissed...
The whole thing started when we were asked to select our elective subjects for next semester. There were three choices -
Design and Analysis of Algorithms (DAA)
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Digital System Design (DSD)
The norm in the previous years has been that most students have opted for DAA, and the other two subjects splitting the rest roughly 50-50. Or so it was until last year, to be more precise.
Last year saw things start to change a little. A brilliant introductory lecture by Udayan Kanade, the guest lecturer for DAA, so captivated the students that 90 of them opted for DAA and only 7 for AI. That's when the staff went against one of the oldest adages in the book - "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" But no, these morons just HAVE to stick their leg in the way; poke their nose where it ain't needed!
They decided that the 90/7 proportion wasn't appropriate and so started trying to convince students to switch. Some students were even taken aside and personally informed that there was no way they could clear DAA and they would be better off with AI. Don't ask me why this was done - I haven't quite figured it out myself. However, the ploy worked, and the end result was DAA - 34, DSD - 0 and the rest AI. DSD was therefore not offered and everyone was happy.
Fast-foward to this year. This year they decided that taking last year's fiasco into consideration, it would be better to skip the introductory lecture. When the time came to make the decision, almost everyone selected AI, save for a smattering of about 7 souls (your's truly amongst these elite few)! The reasons were as cockamamie as any I've heard -
Someone - "DAA's too tough!"
Someone else - "I don't know anything about either subject, so I just chose AI!"
B - "A has chosen AI so I have chosen AI!"
C - "A and B have chosen AI so I have chosen AI!"
D - "A, B and C have chosen AI so I have chosen AI!"
E - "A, B, C and D have chosen AI so I have chosen AI!"... you get the picture.
Ironic that they are choosing a subject titled Artificial Intelligence without displaying any "intelligence" in the first place!
I won't be surprised to hear something like, "My initials are AI so... !" It's ridiculous!! Herd mentality! The blind leading the blind! Pigeon-shit!
To add to the woes, Udayan decides that since there are so few intersted in DAA, he would only conduct a few guest lectures instead of the entire syllabus! This is disastrous, because I have never come across a teacher half as mind-blowing as he. And knowing my utter disgust for most teachers and my stinginess when it comes to showering praise, that says A LOT!
Why am I so disconsolate about the situation? For two main reasons -
a) DAA is a core Computer Science subject, and it pains me to see so few of my batch-mates interested in taking it. It's of only three subjects that we have in our syllabus that are REALLY, REALLY important from the Computer Science point of view (the other two being Theory of Computer Science and Data Structures and Algorithms). What makes the matter even worse is the stupidity of the reasons being proffered! Ok, so I agree DAA isn't the easiest subject in the world and you may actually end up with 5-10 marks more in AI. Maybe even 15. But's it's your final year and that's not as important as the stuff you'll learn in DAA. I cannot over-emphasize the essentiality of this subject. Whether you plan to get a job or go for further studies, knowledge of this subject is a must. Some US universities even require this as a complusory subject in your transcripts. And it actually hurts me to see so many people reject it so thoughtlessly. Even if you were planning to pursue further studies in AI, I'd be hesistant about recommending the course, because this syllabus is something of a let down. But at least then I'd understand. Now I'm just puzzled...
b) The second and more important reason though, is that if there are less than a certain fixed number of students for an elective, it won't be offered at all. And currently there are less than the required quorum for DAA. So unless things change in the next 2-3 days DAA isn't going to be offered at all, and this is what REALLY pisses me off!!
I'd like to state in conclusion that any of you who are reading this and currently in the AI camp - Please give your decision some more thought. If after having actually thought it through, you still prefer AI, then I really can't force you into anything else (and neither would I want to do so). But all I'm asking of you is to think about it a little, instead of blindly following the others...
posted by Arnold at 6:52 PM
Sunday, April 03, 2005
My fascination for the art of magic stretches back too far for me to remember. It is hard to me to pick the exact reason why I first got interested in it. The numberous magic shows that I saw as a child were obviously a big factor in it. As were the tricks that my Mom bought one evening from a fair she had visited. Simple tricks really, but interesting, nevertheless. And when I actually managed to fool a few adults with them I was more surprised than anyone else.
For a very long time after that I really had no connection whatsoever to anything remotely magical. Then one day comes the Messiah that would rekindle my faith in the art. David Blaine. There was something about the way he performed his tricks on the road that interested me. The way he would stop normal people, everyday Mr Joe's (and Miss Jane's) and bedazzle them for a few minutes with some sleight of hand.
For a person who found talking to people he didn't know too hard for his liking, magic seemed like the perfect answer. The ideal ice-breaker. That's why I prefer street-magic to the illusions performed on stage before an audience. There is something about the one-on-one aspect of former that appeals to me and that is completely missing from the latter.
And then there's performance art. No sleight of hand here. Just plain endurance and a dash of craziness. Like being frozen in an ice block for 3 days or standing on a 10 storey pillar for 35 hours. It appeals to that latent craving for attention that we all possess. It is also very satisfying to see the crowd there; pulling you on, praying for your success. These feats, I am certain, would not be possible to pull off were it not for the presence of an enthusiatic crowd. You are just as much doing it for them then, as you are for yourself. Failure to complete the task would be letting them down. Something you just cannot do. I hope to one day be able to pull off some of these "crazy" acts myself. Only time will tell whether I accomplish this goal or not.
My own experience performing tricks, though little, has been extremely fulfilling. The expressions on the faces of the people I've performed the tricks for are worthy rewards in themselves. Including the one on the face of a girl I once scared with my eyes. (If she's out there and reading this, Hi!!) Suddenly it becomes a lot easier to start a conversation with someone. And hey, it helps to impress the ladies too!
I can't see myself making a living performing magic because it's too late too start. I would liked to have done so though. However, I think I'll just continue with my amateur performances and settle for the smiles and flummoxed looks instead of the huge million dollar payoffs! I think they're worth more anyways.
posted by Arnold at 7:48 PM
He looked upon the dreary scape,
With eyes that could not see.
The object of his constant search,
Visible to all but he.
A wanderer in a desert,
The panic had just begun.
The next few hours, he knew
For sure, would not be fun.
He floundered about in darkness,
Came up with empty hands.
He knew for sure end end had come,
Right in these foreign lands.
The story of my life has been
Quite like the one above.
The oasis I've been searching for,
Is a simple thing called Love.
posted by Arnold at 7:48 PM
A lazy Sunday morning with nothing to do...
Pope John Paul II passed away last night, his health having deteriorated over the past few weeks. He was a special Pope in many ways, and will surely be dearly missed by more than just the 1.1 billion Roman Catholics world-wide. His suffering here on Earth is over. May his soul rest in peace.
It's a freakish coincidence that I finished reading Dan Brown's "Angels and Demons" (which involves the passing away of the Pope) just last week. Somehow I don't think the real world scenario (selection of new Pope, et al) is going to be as exciting or action-packed as Brown's novel, but you never know! *winks*
Again coincidently, I'm currently reading the book "In God's Name" by David Yallop, which deals with the alleged murder of Pope John Paul I (JP II's immediate predecessor) in 1978. Just too many coincidences for my liking. Am starting to get freaked out!!
My Mom just popped her head in the door because I was singing too loudly! Lesson learnt - Do not try to alleviate your Sunday morning boredom by crooning in unison with Don Henley!! *blushes*
Before I go though, here's a joke I heard yesterday -
You know you're in the US when you hear a wife rushing in shouting out to her hubby, "Come quick! My kids and your kids have teamed up and are beating up our kids!"
Yip Yip Cheerio!!!
posted by Arnold at 11:49 AM
Saturday, April 02, 2005
I have this weird feeling - I feel just like Jack Dawson!! That's LDC's character in Titanic, by the way. I don't really know why I feel this way, but everything fits... for some reason. Don't ask me who's Rose though...
Cable rates are supposed to go up (yet again)!! These scum-filled, rascally cable-providers deserve to be shot! There's no limit to their greed and since they've been able to monopolize their trade, hikes in rates have become a common affair. It's time the people stood up to them. I think everyone should just discontinue their cable services. There's nothing worthy on television these days, as it is. I don't watch more than 10 minutes a week, and certainly wouldn't miss it if it were stopped. That should teach those rats a lesson... *shakes fist angrily in the air*
In the words of Groucho Marx -
"I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on I go into another room and read a good book."
Same here, Grouchie boy!!
posted by Arnold at 10:39 PM
This girl, she blew my mind,
And blew a lot more too,
But the sweetest thing she ever did,
Was say, "I love you!"
I wont forget the times I've had,
All with her by my side,
And the only thing I truly want,
Is to have her as my bride.
I know for sure the day won't come,
When we both fall apart,
For of the many things she blows,
One of 'em ain't my heart!!
posted by Arnold at 9:07 PM
Well, I was just going through some of my old writings (from an era before I started blogging), and here's a gallimaufry of snippets from there... *sigh* (it brings back so many memories...)
The Paradox of Love
A person needs your love the most,
When he deserves it the least.
If it troubles you to criticize someone,
You are probably doing the right thing.
If you get even the slightest pleasure out of it,
That's when you should stop to reconsider.
Live every day as your last,
You're gonna be right someday!
The greatest gifts rarely can be seen or bought,
And the greatest one of all is unconditional love.
The dancing eyes reflect wisdom far beyond her age.
The compassionate heart shallt never runneth dry.
The comforting shoulder softer than any pillow,
The laughing face a lighthouse in a storm.
The helping hands always at work,
The sharp mind never at rest,
The patient ears every ready to listen,
The soft lips part into a smile.
A true friend can be hard to find,
A shoulder to cry on, one's troubles to empty,
In the most unexpected of places,
The least likely of people,
Can one finally some solace and comfort derive.
Expressing everything without saying a word,
Listening more with heart than ear,
A lifetime of worries compressed into nothingness,
A new ray of hope for the way ahead.
The outstretched arms and warm touch,
Manna for a broken soul,
Dividing sorrows and multiplying joys,
Reinvigorating sagging spirits again.
Than a thousand
Thank you's can say,
Is what I
Owe to you.
Words, eloquent as they may be,
Prove horribly ineffective
When it comes to expressing
Some of the most profound emotions.
Silence can often convey
Much more than any conversation could.
The Human Touch
Few feelings in the world
Can match the warmth
Of another human being
Sitting beside you, arm in arm.
The power of a hug
The power of a fist.
Lonliness is the worst feeling in the world.
You can be surrounded by a thousand people
And still be lonely.
The hardest thing in the world
Is to let go of someone you care about.
But it can sometimes be selfish not to do so!
Nothing's ever as good or as bad
As it initially seems.
"Suffering is only worth anything
When it brings about some good somewhere."
The best thing about being a pessimist,
Is that most of your surprises are pleasant ones.
Some of the strongest memories are smells...
posted by Arnold at 8:55 PM
Friday, April 01, 2005
I was getting my journal signed in college today and I had sloppily forgotten to write the date. So my 20-something female teacher writes, "Date?", in red and hands it back to me.
It took all my will power to stop myself from writing, "Thanks, but I don't really fancy you ;-)" in return!
The last few days before the end of the term is not the time to piss off any teacher (and that's a lesson I've learnt the hard way!)
(For all of you from VIT Comp. Dept. - the teacher was Kurkute!)
posted by Arnold at 9:06 PM
I've just finished reading Dan Brown's "Angels and Demons". The book is nicely written except for one major let-down. It's far too similar to "The Da Vinci Code" by the same author. AnD was, in fact, written first and so the above sentence should actually be twisted the other was around. I can understand the fact that tDVC was a sequel to AnD and so some similarities would be inevitable; but I think Dan Brown's overdone it.
To elaborate -
* both books have the same protagonist, Robert Langdon (of course, considering one's the sequel to the other)
* both books kick-off with Langdon being awoken in the middle of the night by a phone call
* both times the phone call is to announce the murder of a European man
* both times the man in question is nude, and there are some sort of symbological connotations related to the death
* both books have another protagonist, who is a young European woman (strikingly beautiful, of course) who is directly related to the murdered individual
* both plots involve the Vatican and an ancient Secret Society that has beliefs that contradict the Church
* both plots involve an elusive, solitary killer hired by the bad guys
* both books involve Langdon solving some ancient symbological riddle with the help of the lovely lady
... and many more other such similarities. C'mon Mr. Brown, how about some creativity and imagination. Not sure if I want to read his other two books now...
posted by Arnold at 9:06 PM