Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Apple - taking iTunes and the iPod to the next level

Apple - Education - iTunes U: "Apple shares common goals with education — to advance teaching, learning, and research through innovation, and engage and empower students. Students expect a campus environment that accommodates their digital lifestyle, adapts to their individual learning needs, and encourages collaboration and teamwork. Introducing a way to simplify and meet all these needs — iTunes U. "

Though this paragraph is marketing speak, if you look beyond the hype, you'll realize how Apple is reaching out to the iPod Masses. If this concept catches on, no student on campus would want to be caught dead without his or her iPod. That's nearly half a million kids a year. You do the math...

Monday, January 30, 2006

Late Night Meals

I've known this for a while but since this recurred last night, I thought I'd write about it. After an intense workout at night, I've started having a smoothie at the Club to replenish my body's store of vitamins (through fruit), and protein (whey). I get home within an hour of drinking my shake and what do you know, the hunger pangs returned with renewed intensity. I end up eating some dairy (yoghurt, string cheese or a glass of milk) to make the pangs go away but most nights, I need to eat something solid - bread, cereal, something!

Starting today, I'm going to try something new - I am going to drink a whole lot of water to fill my stomach up. If that doesn't work, I'll drink tea. Chamomile has been strongly recommended so I'm going to take a dip. Do you have any other "late night" meal avoidance suggestions for me?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

My New Media Center PC

... has changed the way I watch TV. One thing's for sure, I spend much more time sitting on my couch catching up with the shows that have been recorded for me by the MCE. And I have just 12 channels to record programs from!!!

The Australian Open Men's Final is streaming live over AORadio to my computer. As I said, I don't have too many channels and the Australian Open is being shown on ESPN2 (not in my list of channels) so I have to make do with the radio broadcast. Oh well.

I just watched the Series Finale of Sex and the City. Even though the four girls are in stable relationships and there wasn't much more they could've explored in the episodes, I can't help but feel short changed. I will say this though, each episode in this final season touched upon one human emotion or insecurity and made me think about when I felt similarly. My misgivings aside, I now understand why this show was such a huge hit.

Enough of this blogging for now, time to enjoy the radio commentary while I get ready to go to bed. Cheerio...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

From TVs to toys, the best time to buy everything - Jan. 20, 2006

All you deal hawks, here's a guide that will help you save on the big stuff. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

OCC and the Teutels - Real American Heroes

The only real reality show on TV today is American Chopper. The Teutels take people's dreams to fruition by carving biking marvels out of raw metal. And of late, it's the only show on TV that brings a tear to my eye. Their compassion and benevolence is unparalleled and even if they are 50% as good as the show makes them out to be, they've still got my vote of confidence. The best part is, they know how to have a good time. I wish more people I knew (myself included) could value good times...

Show Details
Airs on Discovery Channel
8pm Monday nights
Re-runs most every night at 2am

Aaron wants to be Paul Senior. I just want to be on the show, just once. That's my dream now...

Monday, January 23, 2006

Mondays Blow

I'm currently experiencing all of the following:
- Exhaustion
- Headache
- Nausea
- Thirst
- Ennui

On the positive side of things, tomorrow is Tuesday and all will be well...

Dinner for Four - Casa Manoj

As I drove home from the grocery store this afternoon, I heard the radio announcer say, "This is a very big evening for the Seahawks. If they win, it will be the first time in franchise history that they make it to the Superbowl." I felt one with the Seahawks because it was going to be a high pressure evening for me too, a first time for me actually. It was the first time that Karan's mom was going to visit my apartment, and I was going to cook dinner...

I started preparing for Sunday night bright and early on Saturday morning. It was the afternoon actually by the time I jotted down a list of things to buy and started cleaning up. Good thing I started a whole day earlier coz I had so much to do - vacuum, clean the floors, clean the bathroom, clean the kitchen, clean the ...

Dinner at Ameen/Deep's was the break I needed from all that scrubbing. Ameen is a great cook and last night's meal was no exception. Her specialities are continental and european dishes, the kind that I rarely get a chance to experience - the anticipation of tasty treats makes the 25 mile drive worthwhile. And what better way to top of a Saturday night than with drinks at Kell's?

Sunday morning and early afternoon were all about procuring ingredients. The Indian Store, QFC, Trader Joe's, "Amruta's kitchen"! Amruta did a lot of the cutting and was the official taster as I laboured over the stove. Here is what ended up on the table:

The Appetizer
Tender Egg Plant Rolls
A mixture of sun-dried tomato pesto and goat cheese rolled in grilled, tender Egg Plant Wafers. Served warm with a sprinkling of oregano and paprika.

The Main Course
Paneer in creamy, Cilantro gravy
Lightly roasted cubes of paneer in a creamy gravy made from a blend of fresh Cilantro leaves blended, cashews and pine nuts. A faint aftershock of green peppers ensures that the taste of the gravy stays with you as you swallow.

Good ol' Black Dal
The no frills, great tasting classic Dal that compliments every Indian meal. Served warm and with a touch of butter.

Roti and Black Bean Pulav
'Nuff Said.

Dollops of ice-cream served over a slice of cake

A shot of espresso poured over 2 scoops of Vanilla ice-cream - belle!

Karan brought the alcohol and made great martinis. Thanks are due to him and Amru for helping me put stuff together for the evening. I could repeat everything Aunty, Amruta, Karan and Monu said about the evening but I won't. Instead, I'll just say that I made a good impression. About time, eh?! Phew!!

Friday, January 20, 2006

First Satisfying Workday in 2006

Today is the first day I've spent at work and felt like I accomplished something. I now understand why I was addicted to work; this feeling of satisfaction is a narcotic and I have an addictive personality. Did I do anything extra-ordinary? No. Extra-ordinary accomplishments are too few and far between. I've learnt to extract pleasure out of the small things...

Today I'll really enjoy my workout, relax without guilt at home over the weekend and enjoy Sunday's dinner with Karan's family. Here's to more days like today!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Moving Forward

Maybe we need to get over who we were,
in order to become who we will be...

Sunday, January 15, 2006

What better way to 'Thank the Lord'?

If you asked Mr Bachchan, he'd say offer a 100 million rupees to a temple...
"HYDERABAD: Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan may soon revisit Andhra Pradesh to offer diamond ornaments worth Rs.100 million to Lord Venkateshwara, temple officials in Tirupati said.

The actor, who along with wife Jaya Bachchan and son Abhishek Bachchan had offered prayers at the temple December 28 and 29 following a speedy recovery from an illness, offered to donate the jewelry as thanksgiving. "
This is so typical of Indians; they are ever-ready to give money, bucket-loads of it, to temples but are loath to giving money to charity. And you want to know what really gets me: Indians will offer a 1000 rupees to God but will bargain with a simple rickshaw driver to save Rs 1. The only entity with whom they will not fight for a bargain is The Lord! What's fucking wrong with us?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Before Sunset

Rating - 3.5/4

In this, the sequel to Before Sunrise, Jesse is in Paris for a book signing where he has his second encounter with Celine. Reviews of this film contain the other "technical" details for this film so I'm not going to waste time with those. I'll just say that Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy play their parts to perfection; I wouldn't be surprised if they fell for each other through the duration of the scripting and filming of this movie.

Back to my review of the film. The interactions between Jesse and Celine are spunky, quasi-intellectual and charged with emotion. The two could have been meeting after a few months, not nine years. As the movie "unreels", their bond seems unreal given the passage of time between their meetings. They are both very much in love with each other but can't admit it to one another. During the course of their conversations, they touch upon the world, their work and everything in between. There is an invisible electricity that flows in the space between them that adds to the tension of the situation. And then, their conversations get personal...

Both unhappy in their current relationships, they bemoan the possibility that the one night they spent in Vienna nine years ago might have sucked up all the romanticism they had to offer. They talk incessantly through the streets of Paris, their boat ride on the Seine and in the car as he drops her to her apartment, discussing their feelings and thoughts about that one night in Vienna. His desire to spend every possible moment with her made me crave for that one person that I'd like to feel this way about. And as Celine strummed her guitar as she sang "A Waltz" to Jesse, I reflected on the times I wrote letters or poems for women I was smitten with. It was as if she was picking my heart's strings, and the lyrics were my own.

True to form, the movie ended abruptly, leaving me on the brink and begging for closure. The possibilities for the two were endless and the director chose not to pursue any of them. He chose instead to let me, the viewer, ponder over what the best course of action might be and to maybe reflect on similar experiences in my life. I'm adding this movie to my list of gifts to friends and by that token, I'll add it to my list of recommended movies. Go grab a DVD and check it out.

Friday, January 06, 2006

4:30 4:15 3:45 3:45

These are the times I've approximately gone to bed at night this past week. Wake up time: before 9:30. Small surprise then that I have a hard time keeping my eyes open through the day; it takes every bit of will power to go to the gym in the evening but it's gotta be done. I have some ideas for why this insomnia has set in again:

- Caffeine after 4pm
- Intense workouts
- Builder Duties
- Poor schedule management

I'll make up for the REM deficit over the weekend and actually try to fix my schedule so I sleep better and am more effective at work. Truth be told, I'm very edgy without sleep and my tongue can get very sharp at times so for my own sake, I should sleep. An acerbic and sarcastic Manoj isn't very pleasant...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Email publishing test II

Can I post to 2 blogs at the same time? Hmm, let's see if this works.

Ctrl+S will post to this site and hopefully, email the post to my msn spaces blog. Fingers crossed...

Who are you to tell me not to display my affection publicly?

This scene unfolded in a public park in Meerut, a small town in Northern India, a couple of days ago:
On a crisp winter's afternoon in this small, unremarkable north Indian town, several couples - some married, some not - sat together on the benches of a well-groomed little park named after the country's most famous champion of nonviolence: Mohandas K. Gandhi.

Soon came a band of stick-wielding police officers with television news cameras in tow. They yanked the couples by their necks, as though they were so many pesky cats, and slapped them around with their bare hands. The young women shielded their faces with their shawls. The men cowered from the cameras.

Apparently intended to clamp down on what the police consider indecent public displays of affection among unmarried couples, the nationally televised tableau in Gandhi Park backfired terribly.
Granted Indian society is conservative, but such a crack-down on the "aam junta" (the civilians) is unpardonable especially given the promiscuity of film stars and the sexual content in blockbuster films. Hindi films, the main form of entertainment for the masses, have become more risque in the last five years. The youth are bound to mimic the actions of their idols, the film stars, forgetting that what they see on screen is a dream conjured by the wizards of Bollywood.

I can understand if Hindu religion mandates norms of decency, stating clearly what behaviour is or isn't decent. Wait, isn't there a temple in India with the positions of the Karamsutra sculpted on its walls? You might consider my statement irreverent and impious, so I'll take it back. And though I don't accept the relgious imposition of anything, for the sake of argument, I'll overlook that side of my personality too. What I can't stand for is what I read next:
In interviews on the local college campus a few days after the police raid, students said they frequently bore the brunt of police harassment if they were seen with members of the opposite sex. They are pulled aside, threatened with a stick, ordered to give their names and addresses and released usually only after paying a bribe.
Aah, it's India and a simple bribe can make a person bend his or her belief system. I wish more religious activists can be made to open their minds through either bribes or gifts of money. Wait, they do get gifts of money...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

First Day Back At Work

Today was the first day at work in 2006 and I can say this much, the vacation really helped. I was on time for meetings, I got a fair bit of work done and am looking forward to heading in to work tomorrow morning. I have a problem though, I can't get my brain to stop racing away at night. The raging thoughts have been keeping me awake; I have to be at work at 10am everyday, which makes sleeping at 5am a bad idea(r).

Blogging is not going to help with stopping them thoughts, correct?! Signing off...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

2 0 0 6

I can't complain about 2005 at all, actually there won't be anything for me to say that I haven't said already! I had a relatively eventful 2005 but I'd like to put it behind me and look forward to 2006. I don't want to hold back in the coming year, I want to travel and I want to spend time building meaningful relationships. 2005 was the year of doing work, of finding my way and finding out who I am. Armed with this new knowledge of self, I want to now look outward and explore the world. I hope you find what you're looking for in 2006 too.

And oh yeah, the new look is a 2006 special.