Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How Not to Order Food

Ordering food at a restaurant or cafĂ© always gives me the heebie-jeebies. I have strict requirements, you see. No, they're not vegetarian or heath related requirements. I always like to leave the place feeling “exactly full”. That means a state where even a single morsel after that would provide a negative utility value. Also, I don’t like food being left behind on the plate when I’m done. So every time I visit a restaurant, I need to pick a set of dishes, comprising of the various courses, so that they all total up, in volume, to exactly the amount of space in my stomach. That is, apparently, something known as an NP-Complete problem. It’s not MY fault I can’t always solve it.

To add to my woes, there are other people sitting at the table to be considered. They’re going to eat some of my food, and surely, I’ll dig into some of theirs. The variables just begin to pile up. And it's really hard to do all these calculations because, let's not forget, the odds are that I'm really hungry!

Then there are the unknowns -- unless it’s a place I eat at often, I can’t really be sure exactly how large the portions are going to be. So I don't even have all the information required to tackle the problem. The best I can so is take calculated guesses regarding the various amounts and hope that my errors turn out to be cancellatory rather than cumulative. Often, I'll get it all wrong.

Whenever we go out to eat, most of the group will be scanning the menu to see what sounds delicious. I'm desperately trying to do triple integration in my mind. My thoughts might go something like this. "Hmmm. I think I'll start with a bowl of tomato soup and then have some of the chicken tikka. But then, I'll need three rotis and if I call for the rice after that, well, let's see. The square root of this is so much, and so blah blah blah [...] blah and then after factoring in Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and Hofstadter's Law, we get so and so. Damn! Overshot it! Okay, time to backtrack and try another alternative." Soon my circuits will overheat and there'll be sparks coming out of me. After that happens a couple of times, restaurants tend not to allow you to go back there any more.

The point I'm trying to make is that it's okay to have weird idiosyncrasies, but it's probably a good thing to ensure that they don't get the better of you. Also, please ask me out to dinner sometime. No one ever does any more!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Advantages of Being Gay

I was pondering on and wondering about homosexuality the other day, and I realized that there are quite a few advantages to being gay. Firstly, allow me to state that I believe most people are “bi-sexual”. By this I mean, if 0 is completely straight and 1 is completely homosexual, then most people would lie somewhere in between. A large majority of people are close to 0, but they’re not exactly 0. Most things in this fuzzy world are gray (as opposed to black or white) and so I would assume that it should be no different for one’s sexual orientation. I would define true “bi-sexuality” as somewhere between 0.4 and 0.6, but that’s open to interpretation.

Getting back to the advantages. To begin with, homosexuals operate in a perfectly balanced demand-supply market. There are as many gay men as there are, well, gay men. D = S. If you think demand and supply don’t really matter much you were obviously never an engineering student. As a straight guy in India, I’m swimming against the demand-supply tide. There are more single straight men around than single straight women. Of course, quality will always come out on top and if you’re either rich or have a lot of money (the only two things chicks look for), you’ll get plenty of constant poontang anyway. But it’s a lot harder because you’re in the majority and so you’re devalued that much. Strike one for gays!

Then, as Jerry Seinfeld once sagaciously pointed out, if you’re gay and you’re dating someone with roughly the same build, you automatically double your entire wardrobe. For a guy, this may only mean four pairs of shoes instead of two, but for a girl the numbers are staggering. A gazillion times two pairs of jeans and a squintillion (that’s where you have to squint just to see all the zeroes) times two pairs of shoes. I can’t even do the math. But it’s definitely another plus point in favor of homosexuality.

But the final, and most important, advantage I see to being gay is what I call the “what’s your point?” retort. Let me explain how it works. Normally, when you do something stupid someone else will be quick to poke fun at you saying, “That’s so GAY!” Now, if you are in reality gay, then you can come back with a “What’s your point?” Let me give you an example.

Big Stud: Hey, look at you, calling for the menu at the bar. That’s just so goddamned gay!
Cool Gay: And what was your point again?

Admittedly, this last advantage is only applicable to male homosexuals but I have a feeling it’s slightly made up for by the fact that lesbian have an entire porn industry for their pleasure while gays have practically nothing on the internet that would interest them.

Okay, so on the flip side, being gay means that you can’t visit Iran without losing your head or Israel without shaking the place up (link from here) and in the small eventuality of the Bible actually being true you’re likely to get rogered in hell for all eternity when you die. But to me it seems like it’s totally worth the deal.

What advantages can you think of?