Sunday, October 07, 2007

Oh-gno!

gnot again you think?

It's been a long break since my last post. Partly because my parents, in the interim, gifted me lots of new furniture that (now) fits perfectly in my house. But mostly because nothing really inspired me enough to write....until today.

I was going through some old e-mails and discovered one from Aditi Halbe in response to my earlier post about gnus. (You can also see her picture there...She's the pretty girl holding the papaya). As a birthday present from far far away she sent me The Gnu Song...one of the nicest gifts I've received :)

Given the response gnu got last time, I thought another post in its honour would be fitting, although I am aware of how sequels are born to fail. But it can't be helped. Look at it. It is warm and fuzzy...and with an ox-head, horse-body, goat-beard all rolled into one animal, it has the gift of looking ridiculously endearing. Ecologically, it's role is to eat grass, dance around to help grow more grass, mate once a year after the rains and hang around till eventually a big cat gets hungry. Cherry on top....it's warning call, apparently, resembles a Harley Davidson and...i'm told...at some point in history it's tail made a good fly swatter. I'm quite sure a TV series called 'My little gnuny' would have had higher TRPs than those silly pink ponies.

Here's to The Gnu.



Or hear the mp3 version here

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

T-shirtisms




I can proclaim upfront:
"I am not one for t-shirts with messages".

My t-shirt does not stand for me and I do not endorse greater ideals through my t-shirt. Mostly because I haven't yet come across a t-shirt message that quite says it right.

Although, I do own and frequently don a bright pink t-shirt that says "take it easy". It'll take a lot of monetary incentive to have my t-shirt say 'naughty girl' or 'love machine' or some such. Yes, I am a prude. A convenient one. The 'take it easy' is ignored only because it wins the world's-most-comfortable-t-shirt-in-a-nice-colour award.

Here are a few t-shirtisms that I wouldn't mind changing my ideals for, in order of importance:

1. "I only eat idlis"
Because currently it stands 'largely true'. Plus idli is an important food group for any self-respecting South-Indian.

2. "If I could be a bird, I'd be a Flying Purple People Eater because then people would sing about me and I could fly down and eat them because I hate that song" –- Jack Handey
Because it's a wonderfully articulated thought which I'll never be able to memorise, making the t-shirt a good point of reference.

3. "The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax" --Albert Einstein
Because it has very genuine emotions and projects that my views are similar to that of Einstein.

4. "If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?"
Because it's so goddamn irritating that anyone would think this way.

5."Denial ain't just a river in Egypt" -– Mark Twain
Because I don't believe he could have actually said that.

Friday, January 12, 2007

PS:1--Let's Help Hamlet Help Himself


Ok. So the votes are in. What better way to spend new years eve than to count votes on a pressing issue such as this:
Existentially speaking, which one is more important?
1) To Be? 2) Not to Be? or 3) Maybe?

You guys (and Me – TIME magazine's person of the year, thank you very much) answered a question that haunted many, for too long a time to even mention...I can't help myself...406 years to be exact. Hamlet questioned himself in 1601 when Queen Elizabeth had been on the throne for 43 years. If you include Her Majesty as well (it just wouldn't be right not to) that makes a lot many years. To top that, with 4,042 lines and 29,551 words, Hamlet is the longest Shakespearean play.


The answer of course, by a wide margin, is MAYBE.

And to think all this time Hamlet was just asking the wrong question...ironic as it may seem...'tis truly A Tragedy...

Friday, December 15, 2006

If a stone can roll, a stone can poll!

Inspired by Calvin's urge to 'mess with data' and fueled by my undying thirst for systematic documentation (largely of meaningful but un-describeable emotion-like things)....allow me to introduce...the POLLING STONE.


See fancy pink haired box in side-bar? This will, over time, host a series of soul-searching questions. Votes towards each question, shall be counted automatically, analysed manually and gift-wrapped digitally, only to be re-posted (with notable highlights) for your perusal. New polls will replace old ones on an irregular basis, depending on my work-eat-sleep pattern. Much like a good South-Indian 'meals', voting is UNLIMITED, thereby giving the Election Commission a run for it's money. Needless to say, I sincerely hope the results will shatter myths, long-held beliefs and what's left of my 'brains'...

The season-opening poll is based on the theme: 'Let's Help Hamlet Help Himself'. Voting is on...so please help Hamlet...help himself...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I'm gnu to this...


The reason behind this post: I woke up one morning and found myself saying "gnu" repeatedly, first with the 'g' and then without. This I did for a long time. I've known myself long enough to not question why...so I haven't. Maybe it's because my earlier curiosity with 'how now brown cow' was over-satiated. Who knows.

I couldn't decide whether I liked the word or not. This silent consonant business has always been a little tricky. Things like 'should', 'could' and 'would' have been happily internalised. As have 'pneumonia', 'knee', 'knit', 'knot', 'knight', 'knife', 'knob', 'know', 'knock' and even 'knickers'. But not 'gnu'. Led me to the conclusion that I had a problem with silent G's (considering silent L's, K's and P's were all fine). So I put it to a test. Sure enough, there was 'gnat', 'gnome', 'gnaw', 'gnarl' and 'gnash' (can't seem to think of more) and all categorised as problematic. A winning theory. Come to think of it, if they were all spelt with a silent K, none of this would be happening. I would've woken up one morning and brushed my teeth and everyone would have gone on to lead happy lives.

Anyway, the bug was in place. I needed to know someone else's view on the topic. Serendipitously, a close friend of mine – Aditi Halbe (photo supplied herewith for your reference) happened to be online. As a brief introduction, I can tell you she has immense affection for most things–from papayas to puppies, and a sizable opinion on why she does, if prodded. Grabbing the opportunity, I asked her what her views were on gnus, gnats and gnomes. She did not respond for three days. A few days later I dropped her a threatening line stating this was serious and got a prompt reply. Needless to say she is one of the few who cares for my mental health.

This is what she had to say:
"I was a little flummoxed.... gnats, gnomes, these words make sense in my brain. I can pronounce them, speak them and see them. The Gnus stumped me. There was a vague recollection of thinking and saying it, but was struggling with the seeing part. Wikipedia to the rescue. And it tells me of gnus (pronounced with the g) in the guise of some operating system (computer jargon). Very confused. This word had no business being in my brain, forget jostling it. "Gnus is a message reader running under GNU Emacs and XEmacs." Then I saw the bit that basically said for gnus animal click here! Phew! I'm glad I am not carrying any operating system information in my head. Now to digest it. I like the idea. But you might want to consider the operating system instead of the wildebeest. Personally I prefer the latter. They are warmer and fuzzier and wear an expression. And they snort."

I decided. I liked the word.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I feel funny....

I recently stumbled upon something called 'The 3 Variable Funny Test'. Originally I was drawn to this site through a complex, academic-looking diagram which explains what kind of funny you are...in 3D space. Even I wanted to see my 'place in Humour 3-Space'...I am uncontrollably drawn to things like this, so I took the test. It is probably the most introspective I have been this whole year. Some of the questions just stumped me. Some others were so surreal that I stared at the screen for really long thinking "who am I?". I must admit, the test was eye-opening and altogether, very entertaining. 23 gruelling questions down (ok i am exaggerating, only the ones with pictures are gruelling) I am told that I am The Prankster. 42% dark, 38% spontaneous, 31% vulgar. Which, in turn, would characterise my humour style as being "CLEAN | COMPLEX | LIGHT".
Much like surgical cotton.

My detailed diagnosis states: "Your humor has an intellectual, even conceptual slant to it. You're not pretentious, but you're not into what some would call 'low humor' either. You'll laugh at a good dirty joke, but you definitely prefer something clever to something moist. (So true. And so well put...I love it) You probably like well-thought-out pranks and/or spoofs and it's highly likely you've tried one of these things yourself. In a lot of ways, yours is the most entertaining type of humor because it's smart without being mean-spirited."

Ok. All true. Dark and spontaneous is all good...but I am 31% Vulgar?? The precision is mind-boggling. Oh...and apparently I am like Conan O' Brian and Ashton Kutcher. If I ever meet them, I'll tell them. Till then what I'll do with this information, I don't know.

I love the way most of these test reports indulge in flattery...I've rarely come across one which tells me I'm a Jackass. But in any case...it's true...to the T. Mine is the most entertaining type of humour. I'm the best. Yay. You can try your shot at it here. That's the reason anyone takes tests like these in any case. To hear from someone else exactly how good they are. But then this site hosts other tests such as "The Do YOU Remember The 90's Test". Incidentally...isn't everyone trying really hard to forget the 90's?...that is, ofcourse, after they manage to forget the 80's! Plus there is something called the "The Genghis Khan Genetic Fitness Masterpiece". My bus stopped at the 3 variable funny test, so your guess is as good as mine.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

GETCHYO GEEK ON!


A NEW ISM I've recently been introduced to is 'nerdcore hip hop'. This genre, conceptually, sounds very exciting. It basically glorifies the geek, like never before. We've all been through (in order of appearance) the dot com boom, Sandra Bullock in The Net, the dot com bust, the Y2K theme parties with a man in a Jar Jar Binks costume handing-out presents, 'the red-pill or blue-pill' decision-making model from The Matrix, home-made servers, social networking for dummies, beauty pageants for animes...the list is endless and you get my point. But, apparently, nerdcore hip hop is currently WHERE ITS @ ...if you aint' there you aint' square... and so forth.

Somewhere, on a random side-bar a highlighted box asked me
DID YOU KNOW:Nerdcore Ninjas are faster than regular Ninjas?
No. This I did not know. Does that make me a geek? Or, on second thought, a non-geek? I felt very out of the loop...and suddenly realised that the tables had turned. I was now officially a non-geek...which made me what a geek was before the dot com boom...a bit like Ross with his keyboard...a geek! (you get the complexity here right? My brain is melting and I cannot explain this situation with greater clarity)

So I shall steer the discourse away from my social standing and back to the music. I did a bit of research. Nerdcore hip hop, or geeksta rap, is a subgenre of hip hop music, performed by geeks or nerds. Another criteria is that the content–subject matter, theme, lyrics, general image– needs to be nerdy. Strongly by the nerds, strongly for the nerds. Now those of you who are shocked by my description, don't be. This is not me being politically incorrect (I rarely am anyway)...this is how the community would like to hail itself. Wikipedia states clearly: The word "nerdcore" is also occasionally used as an adjective to describe a "hardcore nerd" (that is, someone who publicly takes pride in being nerdy) or anything which is nerdy to an extreme level. It is considered quite complimentary within the community. Hence, to qualify, nerdy lyrics are not enough. The artists themselves need to be inner-nerds. It's complicated...a bit like inner-beauty.

Surprisingly, this movement dates back to 1998.
While I've been focussing on growing up, others have been busy starting sub-cultural revolutions.

Below are sample lyrics that nerdcore songs would feature. These will help form a clearer picture of what a geeksta would typically rap about. It was the lyrics that got me interested in the first place (along with a glitzy article in WIRED, my monthly one kilo of cool). Songs feature lyrics like:
"Look, I ain't Thomas Dolby; science doesn't blind me. You think you're smart? Form a line behind me."
or
"My backpack's got jets! I'm Boba the Fett! I bounty hunt for Jabba the Hutt to finance my 'Vette."
or
"My flow is so intense that I'll overflow your buffer, corrupt your stack pointer, makin' all your data suffer."
or
"I'm a player, which is not to say I get a lot of chicks / But I've played through Final Fantasy 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6."

By this time I could feel the geek within me stir. The background was thesis-able, the lyrics seemed promising. Alas, after much buffering and streaming (and buffering and buffering and streaming and buffering – bedrock probably has a faster connection than I do) the music just didn't do it for me. A big anti-climax. A bigger realisation. WIRED magazine has the ability to make anything seem cool.

< shake it baby >