Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Interesting posts.


I request all parents with girl children to pay attention to this message. Kindly bring up your girl child such that she grows up with no brains or personality whatsoever. In case your little girl shows signs of being pretty bright, or questions what you might believe, get her lobotomized. For if you let her grow into a person with a mind of her own, she'll only be asked to dumb it down and toe the line at all points of her life. Or she'll grow up, think she's found this cool place or this great chap, only to be asked to become a mute spectator to her own life. And if she tries to stand up for what she believes in, she'll be spat upon and torn down. Do your girl child a big favour - bring her up to be sheep. For no matter what we say, we still live in a deeply male dominated society and the norms are still sexist, if only less blatant.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

25 years of smiles

The smiley celebrates its 25th birthday. Excerpts from Scott Fahlman's site:

By the early 1980’s, the Computer Science community at Carnegie Mellon was making heavy use of online bulletin boards or “bboards”. These were a precursor of today’s newsgroups, and they were an important social mechanism in the department – a place where faculty, staff, and students could discuss the weighty matters of the day on an equal footing. Many of the posts were serious: talk announcements, requests for information, and things like “I’ve just found a ring in the fifth-floor men’s room. Who does it belong to?” Other posts discussed topics of general interest, ranging from politics to abortion to campus parking to keyboard layout (in increasing order of passion). Even in those days, extended “flame wars” were common.

Given the nature of the community, a good many of the posts were humorous (or attempted humor). The problem was that if someone made a sarcastic remark, a few readers would fail to get the joke, and each of them would post a lengthy diatribe in response. That would stir up more people with more responses, and soon the original thread of the discussion was buried. In at least one case, a humorous remark was interpreted by someone as a serious safety warning.

This problem caused some of us to suggest (only half seriously) that maybe it would be a good idea to explicitly mark posts that were not to be taken seriously. After all, when using text-based online communication, we lack the body language or tone-of-voice cues that convey this information when we talk in person or on the phone. Various “joke markers” were suggested, and in the midst of that discussion it occurred to me that the character sequence :-) would be an elegant solution – one that could be handled by the ASCII-based computer terminals of the day. So I suggested that. In the same post, I also suggested the use of :-( to indicate that a message was meant to be taken seriously, though that symbol quickly evolved into a marker for displeasure, frustration, or anger.

Keep smiling :-)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ah, well

I seem to have traded a relatively hassle-free existence for one that's stressful as hell. Somethings are meant to be stayed away from, no matter what the temptation or how sound the reasoning seems to be.

Say "keep within the boundaries if you want to play."
Say "contradiction only makes it harder."
How can I be what I want to be?
When all I want to do is strip away
These stilled constraints
And crush this charade, shred this sad masquerade
I don't need no persuading
I'll trip, fall, pick myself up and
Walk unafraid
I'll be clumsy instead
Hold my love or leave me high...


That's all I have to say.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Firefox hit 400m downloads. Market share has also increased to 17.4% from 11.8% last year. Great news. In other news, if you live in Ulyanovsk, you get Wednesdays off to make babies, and get rewarded for it!


Do you ever think that people are like colours - blues, violets, reds, golds in a world thats multiple shades of gray? No, that would be an oversimplification. People, like the world, are multiple shades of colours. Take blue for instance - cool & breezy, light & summery, dark & mysterious, dull & gloomy - the list is endless. Sometimes you get the brightest, the softest, the most mellow, soft and comforting. Something that makes you feel that all is right with the world and everything will be fine. Sometimes you get the harshest, the coldest, the most violent shades, which leave you reeling in shock and pain. Close your eyes and picture the colours that we meet everyday. And pray that today's palette will be warm and soothing.

Heard it first on Pandora. Miss Pandora.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Who I wanna be today

Never Forget.
Never Forgive.

This too shall pass

Trying to breathe easy. On that note,

Love the video, love the song.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Super cool

Via Slashdot: CIO magazine rates the 7 wonders of the IT world. Candidates includes Google's top secret data centre and the computer farthest from the earth.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Shine On

Spent the better part of the weekend feeling vaguely sick. Work week not helping matters either. Anyway, here's a song:

On the bright side, I took home a haul from the Landmark book sale. Loot includes a heavily discounted copy of the System of the World, Part 3 of the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson.

Friday, September 07, 2007

I need a vacation

On the bike, wind in my hair, no city in sight. And this song:

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Need I say more?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

They call this research??

New research findings have found(!) that men pick women primarily for their looks. No surprises there. I wonder which idiot funded that research. Ask anyone on the street and they would have told you the same! Now women supposedly know what to go for. I wonder.

New one

Matchbox Twenty is out with a new album. Can't say I like the new single too much.

In fact, I don't. Sad.

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Recently, I came to know that this girl I've known for nearly 3 years suffers physical abuse at home. Needless to say, I was shocked beyond words. Reading Khaled Hosseini's "A Thousand Splendid Suns" brought back the same questions - why do women put up with domestic violence? why are their men such stupid beasts? why does society tolerate, or in some cases, encourage the repression of women?

Khaled Hosseini's over-simplified book does not aim to answer any of the above. Instead, the author proceeds to milk the premise of mistreated women in Afghanistan to fill his coffers with royalty payments. Having read The Kite Runner, it was easy to anticipate the narrative in Suns - Hosseini's repertoire is quite limited. At no point in the misery laden lives of Miriam and Laila could I connect with the characters. It is easy to sympathize, but something made me stop short of truly caring about these battered women and their plight. Still, the horror of living in a country where there is no way out is staggering just to think about. When Laila is about to deliver her second baby, the doctor performs a c-section without anesthesia, under constant fear that some Talib might find out that she's taken off her hijab in order to see better while she's operating. For the sake of the Afghan women, I hope Hosseini's just exaggerating.

One thing the Hosseini does well (as he did in The Kite Runner) is bring out the rather violent and murky history of Afghanistan. Living in a country like India, which had no single ruler till the British came along, I sometimes wonder if we're meant to be a single nation. Afghanistan, by Hosseini's account clearly isn't. There are too many factions, too much aggression in these people to be a peaceful unified country. But then, that would be true of all human nature wouldn't it?

Verdict - Average. Hosseini will have to come up with something really good to make me read him again.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Eat Me, Drink Me

Picked up Marilyn Manson's "Eat Me, Drink Me" last week. Critical acclaim aside, I think this is Manson's most moody and mellow work to date. Written mostly after a manic depressive spell and through a troubled relationship, the lyrics are largely ignorable. The music is something else- listening to it on headphones transports me to a happy place where good music is still alive. Manson claims to have sung most of the album lying down on the studio floor, which makes him sound like he's tripping a little more than usual. Love it, except for the sellout club mix of Heart Shaped Glasses. Manson, if you do anymore of this, I solemnly swear to hate you. Great album otherwise. My current favourite is Putting Holes in Happiness.

Monday, September 03, 2007


This girl just took the dumb blonde story further:


The only time I was grossed out was when the entire rat population from the sewers of Paris got in gear to help Remy cook his best for the emaciated food critic Anton Ego. Even the fact that they washed up before cooking didn't help. But that was the only time that I even thought that the idea that a rat would become a chef was ridiculous, which according to me is Ratatouille's greatest achievement.

Various reviews have suggested that this is fairly routine stuff for a studio like Pixar, and I agree to some extent. This is a rather simple but warm hearted tale of Remy, a wannabe chef whose primary handicap is that he isn't human. Inspired by the Munnabhai-Gandhi-like spirit of the jowly chef Gusteau, Remy pursues his dream. With some help and co-operation from the hapless Linguini, the garbage boy with no talent for cooking.

Story wise, this is nowhere in comparison to the originality of Monsters Inc. or the hilarity of Toy Story or even The Incredibles. But its a Pixar movie after all, and the quality of animation keeps getting better and better. The landscapes are just brilliant - both rural France where Remy first lives and the great French capital are brought to life in breathtaking detail and splendour. Remy, for some reason, is blue, but he is 100% rat down to every strand of fur and his cute little nose.

The humans are highly stylized as well, especially Skinner, Ego and Linguini - one look at them and you can sum up the kind of people they are. Linguini is tall and loose limbed with the kind of wide-eyed earnestness that stops just short of total vacancy. Chef Skinner, at about 2 and half feet, is all malice; his pencil thin moustache is as expressive as the sneer he sports. But deserve all applause for Anton Ego (voiced excellently by Peter O'Tootle), the severe food critic who cannot swallow if he doesn't like the food. He is coloured like he's always a minute ahead of being 6 feet under and so painfully thin that you wish that people would cook some good food so that the poor man wouldn't starve.

While Monsters Inc. cracked me up with just the ridiculousness of the premise, the humour in Ratatouille is more physical - Remy's ingenious way of controlling Linguini and as described earlier, the very characters themselves. Regular fare for people like me who have come to expect more from Pixar. The obligatory Disney sweetness in the second half is a bit too tedious. Otherwise, not bad at all. The absence of less-talented-but-more-famous celebrities as the voices of the main cast helps as well.

The best bit about watching Pixar movies are the shorts that precede the actual movie. Lifted, the short that played before Ratatouille was freaking amazing and totally hilarious! I got my money's worth from that alone! Enjoy.